God drove his big blue tractor across the sky, his long white beard trailing behind him like a cloud.
He said, “It is good. But then, maybe those folks down at the Monsanto Corporation have a point. Maybe it is a little slow. Maybe them chimpanzees ought to get themselves a job.”
Feeling a little old fashioned he said, “Maybe I ought to finally plant those seeds that zealous young fellow from Monsanto gave me.”
God remembered how that young man had just laughed when He had cut an apple in two, revealing the perfect five-pointed star in the center. How he'd said, “Grandpa, forget that down home shit, these seeds I've got are guaranteed to increase your yield.”
So when God got home that night, after making sure it was a proper day and a night, though later He wasn't sure which day it was, maybe the fourth one, He reached into the back of the drawer that held interesting but useless things, like the left handed screw driver, muffler bearings, duck footed platypotomus and perpetually replenishing adolescence, and pulled out the vacuum packed, double wrapped, duly notarized and sworn packet that said: “proprietary life form; copyrighted and patented from here throughout the perpetuity of the known and forgotten universe, property of the Monsanto corporation, hallowed be thy name.”
By now kind of excited to be taking part in progress, God tore open the packet after taking note that by doing so that He was obligated under a whole stone tablet full of applicable laws to recognize the “sole, infinite and incontrovertible right of the Monsanto Corp. and all of its successors, delegates, precursors, subsidiaries, affiliates deputies, proxies, assigns and contractually appointed agents, to, (among other things) propagate, hybridize, intermingle, apportion, or terminate, the progeny of the aforesaid seeds and any and all fruits that may generate from thereof, unto the fullness of time (and shall the terms and conditions of the father be imposed upon the son).” Furthermore, it was said, “Monsanto disclaims and disavows responsibility for, including but not limited to, any and all disasters, catastrophes, atrocities, inhumanities, outrages, offenses, misdeeds, transgressions, afflictions, calamities, accidents, pestilences, misadventures, violations, debacles, havoc, trespasses, famine, or plague, that may incur through the use of these heretofore aforementioned seeds.”
God poured the contents into His palm and looked in amazement of the most souped up, modernized, great balls of fire seeds that He had ever seen.
While they looked a lot like ordinary seeds, only not quite as healthy, He couldn't help but be impressed by the lush verbiage that accompanied the packaging.
So the very next day, early, so as to get the seeds into the ground before the day and the night could be called a day, He plowed up a patch in the back forty (somewhere in present day Utah) and He planted all the seeds and watered them with the sweat of His brow and He waited.
And nothing happened. Nothing much anyway. Some scrawny shoots pushed their way up out of the ground and immediately set about dying, and would have finished doing so, if the spider monkeys hadn't evolved right about then, and eaten most of the plants, and pulled up and tossed about the rest. So after banishing the monkeys far to the south, and building a couple of deserts, the Grand Canyon, the long interlocked chains of the Sierra Madre mountain ranges, and in a precedent that he later came to regret, the Rio Grande River, in order to keep the unruly primates out of his prime fields, He called the toll free number for Monsanto's help line that was on the back of the seed packet.
After waiting on hold for what must have been at least a couple of geological epochs, if not a full on eon, He managed to speak briefly with a customer service representative, who promised that His local sales associate would be out to consult with Him in the fullness of time.
And not even a day and a night had passed before the zealous young man showed up at God's place and after being apprised of the situation, snorted out a sort of derisive chuckle and said, “Well shit Grandpa, what did you expect? These aren't just seeds, these are highly tech-ni-logical, nano-tuber, bio-ingenuous, growth initiation modules. They have been developed under careful laboratory conditions. You can't just throw them into a pile of dirt and expect anything to come of it.” He shook his head sadly while reaching into the pocket of his jacket to withdraw a glossy catalog. “Really, it's a wonder you have managed to accomplish anything at all with the techniques you're employing. Dirt is the ultimate in low-tech products. Why do you think there's a saying older than dirt? It's not meant as a compliment.”
Flipping through the catalog, pointing here and there at various items, most of them marked with the international symbol for poison, he added, “No siree, you've got to have proprietary and duly notarized and licensed Monsanto herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, fratricides and genocides, not to mention industrial strength and super-re-formulated brow sweat substitute. It's no wonder these high quality seeds refused to grow in your plain old dirt. What do you think we're running, some kind of Old Testament operation?”
And so, after being properly instructed in how to apply the latest in technological solutions in paradise formation, and after purchasing a multitudinous host of products with which to do so, which He bought on credit, planning to pay it all back with the profits garnered on the eighth day of creation, God went out and found a fresh new spot to plant, somewhere between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. But this time He made sure to remove all potentially invasive and competing species first. This being well before Noah, he wasn't breaking any contractual obligations when He scoured the place but good with a great flood, and then sprayed it all liberally with Monsanto's “Round Up” herbicide, of which He'd purchased a goodly supply. After that He carefully scraped away all the exposed dirt, making sure the seeds were carefully planted in plastic dishes containing sterile growth medium.
But in the end, perhaps out of nostalgia for doing things the old fashioned way, He couldn't resist mixing a little clay and water, warming it with His breath and sprinkling a pinch of the mixture atop the sterile growth medium. "After all," He said, beholding the abundance of fruits, herbs, animals, insects, trees with leaves, trees with needles, flowers, ferns, birds that swim and mammals that flew and all sorts of other examples of His old fashioned handiwork, “plain old dirt has never done me wrong.”
After that He got preoccupied with managing some extinctions and the day-to-day business of continental drift and didn't get around to checking His new fields for a while. But after a time and half a time, God pulled on His big rubber boots, got on His big blue tractor and with His beard streaming out behind Him like a cloud, He drove over the face of the waters and out into the distant field where He'd planted the newfangled, genetically-modernized seeds, although He was careful, after the disappointing behavior of the last crop, not to get His hopes up too much.
But when He got
there and saw what those seeds had wrought, His jaw dropped and His eyes
bugged out and a drop of drool slid down His chin and plopped onto the
ground creating the Dead Sea. “Well I'll be Me damned,” He said aloud.
“That is one motherfucking lush garden.” He glanced about sheepishly to
see if the Cherubim had heard Him swearing, then He remembered that He was
the boss hereabouts and there wasn't anything anyone could do about it
except praise Him even if they did hear Him, so He said, “Ah fuck it
anyway,” just because it felt so good to swear after being around the
Archangels all the time. And because the garden was so... Incredibly...
God was pleased with His garden, but not so pleased that He didn't feel a little irritated by the Monsanto Reps' continual denigration of His abilities, and so He didn't bother to tell the young man that he was going to have to spend quite some time in purgatory for saying “shit.” “After all,” said God to Himself, “who the fuck does he think he is talking to, the pope?”
They both stood there looking at the garden that God had decided to call Eden, and what a garden it was. There was stuff growing on other stuff, it was so fertile. And animals the likes of which He had never imagined before, like Persian cats and French poodles, though of course none of this stuff was named yet. And then all of a sudden there was a rustling in the bushes, and some kind of loud noise, that didn't sound like a lion, nor was it exactly like the sound an angry baboon, it was more... more...
And then the bushes rustled, and shook, and parted, and out tumbled a pair of creatures that looked sort of like chimpanzees but they didn't have so much hair, nor truth be told, their social graces. Whatever they were, the faces of these shiny, naked apes, danced between bewilderment and fear, theirs heads jerking wildly from side to side and high and low, obviously looking for someplace to hide.
A moment later there was another rustling in the bushes, and out came a bunch more of those creatures that looked sort of like chimpanzees, though not quite as civilized, and these were wearing all kinds of outlandish costumes constructed of pieces of bark hung together, making some kind of rudimentary armor plating and wearing what looked to be coconut shells or gourds on their heads.
As the first pair of creatures ran off toward the horizon, in panic, the second group started throwing rocks and pointed sticks and other materiel in their direction, knocking both of the fleeing creatures to the ground, where they lay whimpering and trying to stop the bleeding. As God sat on his tractor, scratching His head, the second group sauntered up to the moaning pair and kicked them a few times and then began tying their hand and feet together with vines.
“Hmmm. Mean beings” said God, stroking His beard and watching the scene. He could see that something was clearly amiss in His new garden and climbed off His big blue tractor and walked over to see what exactly was going on.
“Howdy” said God, “What are you lads up to?”
“We found these criminals trespassing in our garden,” answered one of the mean beings, evidentially the leader, as he had an eagle feather with five stars painted on it stuck in the coconut on his head. “And we are going to teach them a lesson.”
“Your garden?” Asked God, as a thunderhead passed across His brow and a low rumbling started up somewhere deep inside the earth.
“That's right, our garden,” answered the one with the eagle feather, “We were here first. Well except for those savages that were here before us. But they weren't making optimum use of the resource and so we drove them out, the ones we didn't slaughter that is. We've worked hard to improve this wilderness and we aren't about to let these shiftless hippies bring down the property values by sitting around eating fruit and singing and telling stories all day.”
“I see,” said God. And turning to the fugitive pair that had by now been trussed up and were being interrogated, that is, being slapped and punched and kicked in between insults and threats He asked, “and what do you folks have to say.”
“We weren't doing
anything sir,” said the one whose face wasn't so swollen she couldn't
talk. “Me and my husband Adam were just minding our own business, enjoying
some herbs and eating fruit and singing and telling stories.”
“They're a bad example. We've got a mandate to improve this subdivision, but our employees and children keep sneaking away from the assembly line and wasting the whole afternoon with these shiftless nobodies, just sitting around with the chimpanzees all day, letting weeds and stuff grow up under their asses. We are trying to build a civilization here and we can't afford to let these backsliders destroy our family values.”
“I see,” said God, beginning to get a picture of the situation. “And just where do you get this mandate of yours?”
“From the good lord Monsanto of course, who created us, feeds us, clothes us and pays us a good salary with year end bonuses based on annual profits.”
“I should have guessed," said God, as lightning began flashing around and through His thick patch of long white hair. "I've got some advice for you...”
But before he could finish, a loud roar and the sounds of trees snapping and rocks breaking and other horrible racket ripped through the garden, forcing God to leap out of the way as an enormous tree trunk toppled to the ground, the aftershock filling the air with dust and leaves and screeching birds and half a dozen flattened squirrels. With a loud clank and roar, the shiny, battered blade of a large yellow bulldozer ripped a large patch out of the turf and came to rest a God's feet.
“What the hell is that?” Shouted God, pointing a damning finger at the machine, as if there might be some confusion as to which “that” He was referring to.
“We're building a shopping mall,” answered the one with the feather. “We've got to grow the economy.”
“Grow the what?” Asked God. “Oh, Jesus Christ!”
“What did you say?” Asked the one with the feather stuck in his coconut.
“I said, Jesus Christ.”
“That's what I thought you said. He's a wanted subversive,” said the leader. With a suspicious gleam taking focus in his eyes he asked, "Is he an associate of yours?" He made a motion with his head and a couple of his henchmen lowered their sharp sticks in God's direction. “I better see some identification.”
God rolled His eyes and the earth trembled. “Look,” He said to the two beings that were tied up, “I've got things to attend to right now. The best I can do at the moment is to give you a 200 cubit head start, after that you're on your own. I'll get some of the Prophets to check in on you from time to time. Be sure to listen to them carefully.” He waved his right hand and the vines binding their hands and feet gave way. “There's some good hiding places over there,” He said pointing at some mountains in the distance. Without looking back, the pair started running. “But don't worry,” God shouted after them, “The mellow shall inherit the earth.” Then He added quietly as if to himself, “if there's anything left of it after Monsanto is finished making it pay.”
“As for you lot,” said God, to the assembled armed troop. “As I said, I've got some business to attend to, but I'll be back, and I suggest that you get your shit together, or on that day of reckoning, there's going to be hell to pay. And I ain't speaking metaphorically.”
With that God turned around, scanning the horizon for the Monsanto Sales Rep, but not surprisingly, he was nowhere to be seen.
So God climbed back onto His big blue tractor and, with His white beard streaming behind Him like a cloud, drove back across the face of the waters, which, He noticed, was beginning to smell bad, and here and there He could see empty cans and old tires floating in it.
Cursing under His breath He drove straight up to Monsanto headquarters, climbed off His big blue tractor and strode purposefully inside.
“Just a minute sir,” said the Receptionist, “do you have an appointment?”
God shook His head in a way that said, “no, I don't have an appointment, but I'm really not in a mood to discuss it right now unless one of us wants to end the conversation as a pillar of salt,” and the receptionist picked up her magazine and went back to work.
He strode into the office of the young Monsanto Sales Rep. who flashed a sheepish grin while standing up and holding out his hand, in a way that didn't seem quite as enthusiastic as before. “God, welcome old buddy, we were just talking about you." He nodded his head toward a gentleman in an expensive suit who was taking notes on a yellow pad. "I would like you to meet our lawyer. Lawyer this is God. God, this is our lawyer.”
God started to open His mouth, but before a Word could come out the lawyer said, “Now look here, old fellow, before you do or say anything that you will regret later, I would like to remind you that you are contractually obligated to incur all of the losses caused by the proprietary seeds that you purchased, while we have explicitly reserved the rights to any and all profits, plus your first born son. So if there is nothing else, I think that we will have security show you to the door.”
Lightning flashed. Thunder thundered. A howling wind sprang up. The earth shook and trembled, God said, “You boys are on my property and I want you off.” Seeing that the Sales Rep was standing there with his mouth wide open and the lawyer was starting to build a second malicious grin across the one he was already wearing, God added, “Git off my land now!” and shook His fist, but there was already so much trembling and shaking going on that it didn't really add very much to the effect.
“Whoa, just a minute
there God,” said the lawyer, “According to our lease agreement, we have
domiciliary rights to this little piece of Heaven. And I suggest that you
remove yourself from the premises immediately, before you incur any more
penalties, liabilities or damages, not to mention,” and incredibly, a
third malevolent grin began pasting itself over the other two, “your
obligation to pay full court costs and attorney fees.”
After the lawyer had handed over the heavy document, God rolled it into a tube and swatted the lawyer across the head with it. "I hereby curse you and your kind to be perpetually, ravenously, hungry and never ever satisfied, no matter how many bread crusts you snatch out of the hands of the poor and miserable, or how high the bidding goes for your soul. Furthermore, you shall, from now until the end of time, be the butt of the most malicious and mean spirited jokes in all of creation." And for good measure God stepped on the lawyer's shiny Italian shoes with his muddy rubber boots.
“My shoes!” screamed the lawyer before dissolving into a small pile of smoldering ash.
Turning to the by now whimpering and cowering Monsanto Rep, God picked him up and, holding him above His head, He twirled him around a few times, like He had seen it done on professional wrestling programs on the TV, and giving a mighty heave, cast the Monsanto Sales Rep out of Heaven, where he fell to the ground with a crash, and sunk into the nether regions of the earth. Then God walked outside to His big blue tractor, pulled a heavy tow chain out of the tool box, hitched one end to the Monsanto headquarters building and the other end to His big blue tractor, and then climbing aboard, gunned the engine and started forward. The tractor puffed and strained, and the very ground of Heaven heaved and buckled, until finally, with a rending in the firmaments, the building lifted right up off of its foundations and bounced, clattering and groaning, along behind the big blue tractor. God gunned the engine and drove straight over the edge of Heaven, and with a jolly wink, turned the tow chain into a garland of wildflowers, the petals of which fluttered slowly and peacefully down after the plummeting Monsanto Headquarters Building, which slammed into the ground with a loud crash and the sound of expensive art objects shattering, and sunk into the nether regions of the earth.
Hearing all the commotion, the angels and archangels, the seraphim and cherubim, and all the rest of God's hired hands, came running up to see what the ungodly clamor was about. They found Him looking over the edge of heaven and rolling up His sleeves.
The Archangel Gabriel walked up and stood next to God and peered down at the cloud of dust raised below and asked, "Hey boss, you want I should go down there and smite them with some pestilences or a plague or two, perhaps a bit of educational tribulation?"
“There's no time for that,” said God. “Besides, they are the very vision of pestilence. We'll deal with them later. In the meantime we've got a hell of a mess to clean up. Until further notices, vacations are canceled and we are all going to have to work on the Sabbath. But there is one thing, Gabriel. There are some refugees down there. I sent them off to the mountains where they will be safe for the time being. But get Moses and my Son and the rest of the search and rescue team together and see if you can help them out. But it might take some coaxing, they seemed kind of skittish.”
Troy Skeels lives in Oaxaca, Mexico and is currently writing a novel. He's a former editor of Eat the State!, a feisty alternative publication from Seattle, Washington.
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