"There's not much doubt in any of our minds that no complete idea springs fully formed from our brow,
needing only a handshake and a signature on the contract to send it off into the world to make twenty-five billion dollars.
The germ of the idea grows slowly..." - Walt Kelly

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A plan involving steel and mortar and bricks and pie (Part One)

Greetings, my lovely audience. This is a story that began as one sentence I wrote very distractedly while watching the NCAA Championship game with Mr. Andrew Kaspereen. It has developed so nicely that I will be posting it in two parts, because it is too long and would take up the whole page. Here is part one, and part two will follow before the week is out. Enjoy!

Every Thursday afternoon at one-thirty, Jeff goes to the bank. He hops on the bicycle he has been maintaining since he was in college and rides down Chester Road towards Main Street, making sure to swerve at exactly the right moments to avoid the cracks in the sidewalk at Meadow View Road and the giant pothole along the side of West Ave.

Sometimes Jeff visits the bank to manage his own funds. He is paid at lunchtime every Thursday, and he has an arrangement with his boss, Jolene, so that while he is out for lunch he can also stop by the bank so he doesn't have to worry about it after work. Other times, he deposits his check and then wires money to his cousin Zeke, who lives in New Jersey.

Zeke is continually calling Jeff and telling him that he has just invented "the next big thing" in whatever particular industry he takes an interest. Jeff could remember them all: salt mining equipment in 2003, letter openers in 1988, scratch and sniff birthday cards in 1991, lightsabers in 1977. Every invention inexorably failed in one spectacular display of ineptitude or another.

This Thursday morning, Zeke called Jeff at work just after Jeff got out of his daily morning meeting. Zeke called his cousin so often that at this point he had Jeff's schedule memorized.

"Hey Jeffy!"

"Z, I've asked you many times not to call me that. We aren't seven anymore."

"No, I guess not, but we're fifty-seven! There's a seven in there, so that counts, right?"

Zeke laughed. He was a good-natured fellow, but on average only had a good joke once in every one-hundred attempts. His favorite strategy with Jeff was to preface a request for money with a joke, which was almost always terrible.

"What's the plan this time, Z?"

Zeke paused for a moment before replying. Jeff figured he was trying to come up with a good way to word what was surely going to be another disastrous idea.

"Well I'll get to that in a moment, but have I ever told you how grateful I am that you support all of my ideas? I really mean that, you know. I'm just blessed to have a cousin that stands up and volunteers his help, you know? I feel like God, our praised Lord, has put you here-"

"Z, shut the hell up," Jeff interrupted. "You know I'm not a believer."

Zeke coughed nervously on the other end of the line. "Well, yeah, I know, it's just, well..."

"What, Zeke?"

There was a silence on the other end, and Jeff could hear Zeke's whispered voice humming just below his hearing range. A resonating bass voice answered from the background, and Jeff swore that he could hear it echoing through the receiver.

"Um, Jeff? Could you stay on one second? There's someone here who wants to talk to you."

Jeff sighed loudly. "Zeke I REALLY need to be getting back to work. Who is it?"

"Hello, Jeffrey." The bass voice now boomed loudly and inconceivably clearly through the phone. "I've been watching you for a while now, and I have selected you to help your cousin Ezekiel build something for me."

Jeff pulled the phone away from his ear and looked at it suspiciously. He looked warily around the office and then placed the receiver back against his ear.

"Who is this? Is this Scott Bakula? Because if this is about that one time at Applebee's, I did send a letter of apology. A very eloquent one, if I may say so."

"Um...no," the voice replied. "This is the voice of God."

Jeff's eye's widened and he was silent for a moment before bursting into uncontrollable laughter. He dropped the phone and fell from his swivel chair onto the unusually plush office carpeting. Tears of amusement fell from his eyes with breakneck frequency.

There was a brilliant flash of light, and a tall, stately, black gentleman with white hair and a white beard appeared in the walkway between Jeff's cubicle and his neighbor's. Jeff stopped laughing instantly, and he thought he felt a warm moisture growing in the crotch of his pants.

"Wha-?" Jeff stuttered as he tried to form words that weren't curses. He continued blabbering for a few more seconds before the gears in his brain finally meshed and he spit out, "You're really black?"

God shrugged. "Sometimes." His features suddenly shifted, and Jeff found himself face to face with a respectfully elderly Asian man with a silvery Fu Manchu and long goatee. "If I feel like it."

He reached a hand out to Jeff. "Stand up, Jeffrey. I've come to bring you to Ezekiel's home so we may begin our project."

Jeff self-consciously covered his lap with his right hand and reached out his left to take the offered hand of God.

"What exactly are you having us work on, sir?" Jeff asked.

God smiled and pulled Jeff to his feet.

"It's quite simple, Jeffrey. You're finally going to finance an invention that is going to work."

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
Radiohead, House of Cards


  1. Cool, I love shape-shifting God and I can never help but laugh at intentionally bad jokes. I'm excited to see this in it's entirety. Will there really be pie? I do so very much love pie. Also, not to nit-pick, but minor tense tweak needed after ''Applebees.'' Otherwise, flawless and brilliant.

  2. Ouch yeah I'm changing that right now...silly typo. Thanks very much, good sir.

  3. I wasn't gonna say anything for fear of sounding like a dick but I know how annoying it is to notice something like that a week or so later.