Monday, July 27, 2015

God's Gift to Women: Short Fiction

God’s Gift to Women
 Chris Costello

"So it's like this, Beth..." God stubbed out his cigarette in the ashtray and leaned across the bar, close enough for me to smell his cheap cologne. "I'm not omnipotent."

"But you're God." I took a swig of my beer. "The all-knowing."

"Well, yeah, I am omniscient. But that only means all-knowing, and one of the many things I know for certain is that I'm not all-powerful. That's omnipotence, baby."

I downed the rest of my beer, then frowned at God. I had always imagined him as a benevolent grandfather-type in white robes, standing against a backdrop of puffy clouds and trumpeting cherubs. Maybe with a flowing white beard, too. What I'd gotten instead was a middle-aged man with five o'clock shadow and a pronounced beer gut trying to pick me up at happy hour.

"That whole Jesus thing--took a lot out of me, you know?" God gestured for the bartender to bring us another round. "These virgin births are a one-shot deal. I met another god back in the old days who tried more than once and..." God snickered. "Well, let's not talk about that. You guys are mostly under the impression that I’m the only Alpha and Omega in town, and I’d like to keep it that way.”

Sneaking out of work before five on a Friday no longer seemed like the best move I could have made. More ludicrous was that I actually believed this guy was God. I had been ready to throw a perfectly good beer in his face when he scooted his stool closer and offered to buy me a drink. But the moment he said those words--I'm God--I believed him.

"You're a quiet one," he said as the bartender brought us two more beers. "Here I am, ready to answer your prayers, and you're keeping mum on me."

I snorted. "My prayers? I wanted to meet a successful guy and start a family, not undergo divine impregnation."

"Divine impregnation," God said, his voice rising in pitch to mock my own. "Man, don't say it like that. You make it sound so...clinical."

"You make it sound so casual."

God shook his head and pulled out another cigarette. "How I ever created a people so uptight about the oldest pastime in the Good Book is beyond me."

"I just don't see how this answers my prayers."

"You've been hiding your head in that cubicle of yours too long." God paused to light his cigarette. "I'm God. God the Father, in fact. Doesn't that make me your family?"

I shoved my beer aside, stomach churning. "That makes what you're proposing sound even worse."

"Okay, so paternity's maybe not the best angle to take. But that's still what this comes down to in the end. You want a kid; I need another Messiah.” 

I looked at him quizzically. “What about Jesus?”

God rolled his eyes and mimed stabbing himself in the heart. “Don’t even get me started on that ungrateful bastard, what with his, 'But I don't wanna go back to that world, Dad. They crucified me!' I mean, come on. You pound a few nails into the kid and he's whining about it for centuries. Total drama queen.”

I said nothing.

“The point is,” God said, “I need a fresh start.”

I sighed. "So why me? It's not like I'm the only single girl in the world who wants a family."

"Girls like you are hard to find. You're hot, but you've also got, like, this modern-day Mary thing going on--purity and devotion and all that. You really believe in me." God blew out a puff of smoke, a wistful look on his face. I expected him to say something profound. Something divine. Instead he crushed my expectations as easily as he ground his cigarette in the ashtray. "It's amazing what a little ego stroking like that will do to put a guy in the mood."

“Your ego’s the only thing I’ll be stroking.” I said.

A smile tugged at the corners of his mouth. His teeth were yellowed and misshapen. The creator of the universe put a hand on my shoulder. “You’re a feisty one.” He said. “I like that.”

"You know..." I glanced around the bar. A few other women were in the same predicament--men in loosened ties and rumpled suits offering them drinks and promises of a phone call the next day. Those men weren't God, but I couldn't tell the difference. I grabbed my purse and stood. "I'm suddenly not feeling so prayerful."

"Woah, wait a minute, where are you going?"
"I just don't see you being the stay-at-home dad type, or the kind to pay child support. You're not omnipotent, after all."


Just for good measure, I threw the rest of my beer in God's face. The amber liquid evaporated instantly, but it still felt oddly gratifying. "And if you were really omniscient," I said, "you would have seen that coming."

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