58. Seriously, a whale

The name on the door was “Elvis”. Jeff opened the door for me. “What do you think?”

“Elvis? I don’t get it.”

We sat down on our couches. “Well, it’s not so much a joke as a tribute. The dude definitely rivalled me for popularity and name recognition.”

“Presley or Costello?”

“Dude, seriously. I mean Costello is fantastic, but Presley was king!”

“You know, there’s no doubt he’s cool, but I think he gets too much credit.” The Almighty gasped at this. “No really. He recycled a bunch of really cool old blues and gospel music, and totally white-ified the sound.”

“You mean he didn’t write all that stuff himself?” The Lord asked this hesitantly.

I stopped leafing through my notebook. “Tell me you’re kidding. Tell me you’re fucking kidding so that I don’t have to slap The Supreme Being upside the head!”

God lowered his eyes and his voice. “Okay. I’m kidding.”

“I thought you must be. Now, I thought maybe we could talk about Jonah today.”

The Almighty looked wistful. “Ah yes, Jonah. Now THERE was a prophet!”

“Fuck off. The bible says you told Jonah to go to Nineveh and warn them of your impending wrath, but he didn’t want to. So what with being an angry god and all, you had him eaten by a whale. And you wonder why people worry about saying no to you?”

“Too heavy-handed, eh? That’s not EXACTLY how it happened. I mean, sure, I was pissed off when he refused me, but do you seriously think I’d feed him to a whale?

“For some reason, Jonah was worried about going to Nineveh. He was a shy guy and had a bit of a speech impediment. I thought an important job where people had to listen to him would really give his self esteem a boost. He was a nice kid, he just needed to believe in himself.”

“So making him live inside a whale for three days was a good way to do that?”

Jehovah gave me a frustrated look. “Who’s telling the story?”

“Please continue.”

“So yes, he got on a ship going in the opposite direction. And yes, a horrible storm broke out. That was nothing to do with me. Poseidon had scheduled this storm with the Department of Weather and Closet Lint centuries earlier.”

I put up my hand. “Weather and…”

“Downsizing. So there they were out on the sea in this terrible storm. Jonah starts getting paranoid, telling all the crew that this was because he had angered me. Yeah, that’s it: I’ve chosen to introduce extreme wind and precipitation to the entire area because one little pipsqueak had disobeyed. Of course, the crew did the only logical thing.” He rolled his eyes. “They threw the sorry bastard overboard.”

“And the waters immediately calmed, saving the ship and her crew?”

“Oh no. Unfortunately, they all died. Did I mention that the storm had nothing to do with Jonah?”