"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

Monday, April 12, 2010

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

Today brings the conclusion of what I'm going to call "the Bricks and Pie saga." If you want to read the whole story, you can bring up all three parts by clicking on the "Bricks and Pie" tag in the sidebar to the left. Enjoy!

On Sunday, April 29, Jeff went to his first Catholic mass. Even though he had spent most of his adult life as an atheist, he figured he didn't really have a choice anymore since, as of the start of the weekend, he was now working for God.

Jeff and his cousin Zeke arrived at the church early because Zeke insisted on introducing him to the priest.

"Father Andrew, there's someone who I would finally like you to meet!" Zeke said to the priest as they stood on the church steps. "This is my cousin, Jeff."

Father Andrew reached out a hand to greet Jeff. "I've heard great things of you, Jeff," he said. "It's a pleasure to meet you at last."

"Uh, yeah, you too," Jeff said. "Nice to meet you, too."

"Zeke is always telling me how helpful you always are to his projects," Father Andrew said as he patted Zeke on the shoulder. "So what is the occasion that brings you to our church today?"

"Jeff's had a change of heart, Father," Zeke said as Jeff opened his mouth to answer. "He had...an experience."

Father Andrew's eyebrows rose in surprise. "Really? That's quite interesting. I've heard some amazing stories about such occurrences. What was yours like?"

Jeff glared at Zeke, who responded with an apologetic shrug. Jeff sighed and thought for a moment.

"Well, I guess I just, uh...saw the light," Jeff said uncertainly, hoping the priest would accept his poorly formed explanation.

Father Andrew nodded. "Indeed," he said, pressing his palms together. "And did the Lord speak to you?"

Jeff flashed back to God standing outside his cubicle, changing instantly from a black man to an Asian man.

"You could say that," Jeff replied.

"Fascinating!" Father Andrew exclaimed. He glanced at his watch. "Oh my, almost time for the service to begin." He waved the men inside. "Right this way, gentlemen."

Jeff hadn't been inside a church since his father's funeral eight years ago, and it was exactly the way he remembered it: too quiet, too big, funny smelling and frightening in a kind of overly-somber, goat-sacrificing cult kind of way.

When they got back to Zeke's house after the service was over, the two men found God waiting for them on the front porch.

"Welcome home, my friends," God said, opening his arms wide. "Ezekiel, I have some blueprints in the basement for you to get started on. And Jeffrey..." He snapped his fingers and produced what looked like a scroll in his right hand, which he offered to Jeff. "...this is for you."

Zeke waved goodbye to Jeff and ran inside, and Jeff slowly rolled out the parchment. It unfurled all the way down to the patio, stopping just before it hit the concrete. Jeff scanned the list and looked up at God.

"Supplies?" Jeff asked.

"Correct," God said.

"And where can I find them all? Some of this stuff doesn't look like standard Home Depot fare, you know?"

"Correct again, Jeffrey. Some of these materials will require inquiries to industrial firms. Luckily my design will result in a relatively small construct, so mass quantities will not be needed."

"Oh." Jeff read down the list again. "Well that's a relief, isn't it..."

God smiled. "Good luck," he said, and then he disappeared.

Jeff looked around instinctively, sighed, and walked to his car. He rolled up the list as neatly as he could and threw it onto the passenger seat. He sighed again. This is going to take forever, he thought.

In fact, it did not take forever. With God's blueprints and Jeff's supplies, Zeke was able to complete the project in just over seven months. On December 15, God was back in Zeke's basement, smiling with satisfaction.

He ran his hands over the machine Zeke had constructed for him, which resembled a small car chassis, minus the curvature of the roof, sandwiched between two halves of a smokestack. There was a large hole on the top and bottom, and there were gears and pulleys exposed around the center of the contraption.

"Splendidly done, Ezekiel, simply outstanding work," God said. "It exactly matches every specification I laid out for you."

Zeke shuffled his feet bashfully. "Oh, well thank you very much, Lord, but I couldn't have done it without Jeff."

God looked up from his machine and over to Jeff. "Indeed, we cannot forget Jeffrey's assistance in this project." He walked over and placed a hand on Jeff's shoulder. Jeff felt as though he was being crushed under thousands of pounds of pressure. "My deepest thanks to you as well, Jeffrey."

God walked back to the machine and touched it, and then it was gone.

"Ezekiel," he said, turning back to Zeke and Jeff, "I would like to request your assistance with one more thing, if you would be so kind. I will need your help activating the machine next Friday."

Zeke nodded eagerly. "No problem at all, Lord. Just tell me where to be."

"Thank you, my son." God shifted his gaze to Jeff. "Jeffrey, your part in this is complete. You may return to your home, and I have arranged it so that on Monday, you will find your job waiting for you once again."

Jeff was taken aback. "Well, um, thanks, thanks a lot," he said. "But aren't you going to tell us what it does?"

"All in good time, Jeffrey," God said. He smiled again, and then he was gone.

When he returned to work on Monday, Jeff's boss, Jolene, was waiting for him.

"Good morning Jeff!" she said cheerfully as he swiped into the office. "I just wanted to tell you how glad we are to have you back. We were so worried about you after we heard about your accident."

Jeff expression twisted in confusion. "My wha-?" Then he understood. "Oh. Oh, yeah it was pretty bad, I guess." He smiled awkwardly. "Thanks for your concern." He hurried around her and made a beeline for his desk.

Jeff spent the rest of the work week in a daze, wracking his brains for any clues God might have dropped that could give away the purpose of the machine Zeke had built. He scoured Internet search engines for pictures of machines that resembled the one he had seen in Zeke's basement. It was all to no avail.

By Friday morning he was exhausted, having hardly slept all week. I've gotta figure it out before God gets Zeke, Jeff thought as he spun around aimlessly in his office chair. Wait...what day is today?

He spun back to his computer and looked at the calendar on his desktop, then typed the date into a search engine: "December 21, 2012." The search engine hunted the Internet, then displayed the results on his screen.

Jeff's mouth dropped open in horror. Oh...my...

He ran out of his cubicle and out of the office into the parking lot. He sprinted to his car, fumbling through his pockets to find his keys. He finally heard the familiar clanking sounds and felt the cold metal, and he closed his hands around the keys and yanked them out.

As he bent forward to unlock the driver's side door, he felt a slight tremor shake the ground beneath him. He stopped, almost paralyzed with fear, and looked up and behind him. He saw an intensely bright light on the horizon, and it was growing quickly.

Jeff dropped the keys to the ground and watched the massive explosion approaching. He laughed wryly under his breath and shook his head.

"Oh you have GOT to be kidding me..."

Playing on my iTunes at this very moment:
A Tribe Called Quest, Award Tour


  1. I'm sad now; but, not disappointed. I thought for sure that ''pie'' in the title indicated a happy ending.

    I love that God was considerate enough to make sure Jeff still had a job to return to on doom's day.

  2. This was an excellent story to start my day off. Payoff was completely worth it!