Complex

Out of the rubble emerged two figures, Hashem and Adonai. Both wore long beards, white for the most part, though there emerged the brown of twigs tangled in the hair and patches were covered with gray and brown from the dust of the fallen rock around them.

“That didn’t go as planned,” Hashem said, arms akimbo, staring up at the rock face.

“Not one bit,” said Adonai, brushing dirt off his long white robe. It was a lost cause and he abandoned it soon to the fruitless attempt that was dusting his hands off. After a few minutes of silently flapping his palms in the air like a sham shaman in a B-movie, he gave up on this latest attempt as well.

Hashem walked around the pile of rocks that had fallen onto both of them and his face brightened with a realization, which he repeated aloud for the benefit of Adonai. “We did witness a miracle, though.”

“We did?”

“Yes. A pile of rocks fell on us and we should have died, but we didn’t.”

Adonai pondered this for a moment, pulling his beard gently in a soft tugging motion that was more a fondle than a caress and was, to be quite honest, very uncomfortable to watch as it looked like the action of a man being intimate with himself. “I suppose that means we mustn’t lose faith then,” he finally said. Hashem beamed at him.

“Of course not! We’re alive!” He ran around the bit of cliff-face that had decided to become crumbs-brushed-off-cliff-face and jumped up and down a time or two. “We’re alive, don’t you see? We’re just what we always thought!”

Soon both men were running around, Adonai occasionally pausing at the cliff face to kiss it and then waving his arms up at the sky before resuming his laps. Finally, when both were winded, they sat under a nearby tree and discussed what to do next.

“We could try finding a dying boy.”

“A dead one. Wasn’t he dead already?”

“He was dying. Then he was dead. Then he was brought back. Right?”

“Maybe. I can’t recall. Or we can find some water.”

“Water would be wonderful. My throat’s parched.”

“No, stupid, to walk on.”

“Or to turn into wine.”

“Why would we want to do that?”

“To give as a wedding present!”

“Why do you always like the newer ones, anyway? What about some fire and brimstone stuff?”

“I’ve had enough of stone for one day, thank you very much.” Hashem cast a wary look at the pebbles lying innocently close to his feet, the smallest bits of the broken off rocks.

“Well, if you were parched, you should’ve made sure this one worked. This was an old one, a good old classic, really. Water from a rock.”

“But it didn’t work, did it?”

“Ye of little faith.”

“I don’t need to have faith, that’s the whole point.”

“Yes, yes it is!”

The two began to laugh uproariously, until they stopped, exhausted and hungry and thirsty. They curled up to take a nap under the big tree, saying good night to one another cordially and spreading themselves out on different patches of softish grass. It took Hashem longer to fall asleep – he could hear Adonai’s snores start easily – but he finally drifted off just as the sun began to beam more orange than yellow.

**

“They’re at it again,” Dr. Roskov said, stopping at the nurses’ station for her usual afternoon chat.

Nurse Adrian smiled at the two old men napping on the grassy knoll near the wall that surrounded the grounds. “They are, the dears.”

“I find it insulting, if you ask me,” Nurse George said. He was perpetually disgruntled and bird-boned, both a cross and a Star of David hanging around his neck.

“We didn’t ask you,” Adrian snapped. Dr. Roskov hid her smile behind her paper coffee cup. She didn’t like George but she wasn’t allowed to show it. She could see his point of view, though, especially as he observed both Christian and Jewish holidays – he’d argued his case in court, claiming to belong to both religions and thus received more paid vacation or time and a half than anyone else. But then again she also saw his entire existence as far more offensive than anything the two elderly patients who’d been at the facility for years could do.

It was rare that friendships of such a lasting kind developed, Dr. Roskov knew, and she let them take root and cultivate naturally when they did occur. “Well, you tell me if they start causing any trouble, Adrian.”

“Will do, Doc, but those two – the most harmless gods I can think of, really.”

“Hmpf,” George hmpfed. “They’re not gods.” But a small voice inside of him, the one that knew he ate pork and didn’t fast for Lent, couldn’t help but think, What do you know, really?

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