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Authors: Michael Boatman

Tags: #comedy, #fantasy, #God of stand-up, #Yahweh on stage, #Lucifer on the loose, #gods behaving badly, #no joke

Last God Standing

BOOK: Last God Standing
11.19Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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MICHAEL BOATMAN
Last God Standing

I would like to dedicate this book to my nephew, Skylar A. Forney, who started this whole journey by asking a simple question.  To, Myrna, who inspires me to finish what I start. And to Jacob, Aidan, MacKenzie and Jordan... my Reasons.
 

DIVINE DRAMATIS PERSONAE

 

Yahweh
Abrahamic God of the Hebrews, Christians, Muslims and Mormons

Zeus
King of the Greek gods

Loki
Scandinavian God of Mischief

Ares
Greek God of War

Agni
Hindu God of Fire

Baron Samedi
Haitian God of Death and Black Magic

The Morrigan
Celtic Goddess of Sex and War

Changing Woman
Navajo Earthmother

Dionysus
Greek God of Wine and Epiphany

Poseidon
Greek God of the Oceans

Thor
Norse God of Thunder

Kali
Hindu Goddess of Time and Destruction

The Buddha
Embodiment of Enlightenment

The Archangel
Gabriel

The Seraphimic Angel
Seraphiel

The
Angel Moroni

Lucifer
The Prince of Darkness (Retired)

Table of Contents

 

 

PROLOGUE

Chicago, 1986 AD

Christmas on the Cooper Plantation. My parents are fighting again because Daddy burned the turkey and Mother’s working on her fourth vodka tonic. I’ve been counting her drinks while I play with the octopus from my new GI Joe Underwater Action set. Barbara always says smartass five year-olds should worry about other stuff than how many cocktails she’s had. She hates when I count, so of course I do it a lot. My brothers are fighting over their presents. Nobody’s paying attention when the stranger steps out of our Christmas tree.

“Look at you,” the stranger says. “Odin told me you’d done it, but I didn’t believe him.”

The stranger squats down and winks at me.

“You sneaky little bastard.”

The smiling stranger is skinny. He’s dressed funny, and he’s kind of wavy. He makes my eyes hurt. I should tell, but my brothers are screaming at each other and my parents are yelling for everyone to shut up.

“Get that thing away from Lando before he chokes to death.”

“For Christ’s sake, Barbara Jean, he’s perfectly safe.”

The stranger laughs. No one pays him any attention.

“Daddy’s wrong, you know. You’re not safe at all.”

His eyes do something weird. Then my rubber octopus comes to life and wraps seven of its tentacles around my neck. The other one slides into my mouth and slips down my throat. I can’t breathe. I can feel my father pounding on my back and yelling, “Let it go! Let it go, dammit!”

Then everything gets dark.

I wake up in a gray place, like a room made of smoke. I still can’t breathe but I can hear my parents fighting, a million miles away.

“Goddammit, Herbert. You’ve killed him. On Christmas! I hope you’re happy.”

Then a Golden Lady walks out of the dark. She’s shiny. She jingles when she walks and she looks like the ladies in the live Indian show we saw in Wisconsin last summer, only taller, a lot taller. And she’s shiny bright like the sun. Looking at her makes me want to laugh and cry all at the same time.

“Not yet, buddy. Can’t have you upsetting the Plan.”

Then she punches me in the stomach.

I cough…

“See you soon, old boy.”

…and I’m staring up at my dad. He’s wearing wet chunks of rubber octopus tentacle all down his shirtfront. The smiling stranger is gone. Mother is over by the Christmas tree with the phone up to her ear. When she sees that I’m still alive, she slams the phone down.

“Son of a bitch.”

 

Summer, 1990

On a summer camp boat ride across Lake Michigan I decided to ask Angela Rhymer to be my girlfriend. We were nine years old that year, and I’d spent most of it staring at her. One day she told her big brother that I was stalking her. He beat me up. My mother met with the head camp counselor and said she’d castrate the next little sonofabitch who put his hands on me. I asked Angela, anyway. She said, “Maybe.” That was worse.

We were alone on the deck of the ferryboat. All the other campers and counselors had run inside because it was starting to rain. I grabbed Angela’s hand. I had to yell over the wind.

“If I were Odysseus you’d be my Penelope!”

“You’re weird,” she shouted. “And a little creepy.”

Then the ferry lurched and a wave rolled over the side of the boat and washed me over the safety rail. I hit the water hard. I knew how to swim, but no matter how hard I tried to keep my head above the water it felt like something was dragging me down. I kicked and splashed and screamed. Then the something yanked me under and the lake closed over my head.

Dark water swirls all around me, pushing me around, flipping me over. The water is changing, churning, until it becomes the face of a bearded old man with eyes like burning emeralds. There’s light in the water… lights shining in my eyes, as the glowing face pulls me in closer. It shifts and rolls like waves captured by strange gravity. I can see dozens of fish swimming inside the face.

“You’ve made fools of us all. More and more of your believers abandon you every day… and you asked for it.”

I’m drowning. My heart is pounding and my lungs are screaming and I have to breathe and I’m afraid to die.

“Hey, fishface!”

The face in the water turns toward the sound.

That’s when I see her. The Golden Lady. She’s walking on the bottom of the Lake. She’s holding something in her hands, something silver that shines even brighter than the old manface. She’s smaller this time, darker, with different hair and she’s wearing a nurse’s uniform. But she’s still the Golden Lady. And she’s come for me.

“Poseidon. You’re pathetic.”

The light in her hands goes nuclear bright, and suddenly I can breathe. I’m lying on the rocky bottom with all that water rolling above me but, somehow, the Golden Lady’s silver light protects me. Through the ceiling of black water, I can see the face looking down at us. It looks totally pissed.

“Foul! Foul! Traitorous squaw!”

“Begone, thou racist remnant! Go haunt an oil rig!”

The face in the water, Poseidon, screams, and burns in the silver light from the object in the Golden Lady’s hands. Then it’s gone.

“Are you alright?”

When I wake up, I’m lying on the deck with rain hitting my face. The Golden Lady nods. Then she puts the shining thing in the small purse on her hip and the silver light goes out. I can hear people yelling on the other side of the ferry. I can hear Angela crying. But all I can see is the Golden Lady’s face. Her eyes.

“Do I… do I know you?”

“Not yet,”
she laughs.
“You will know me. But not yet.”

“What is that silver thing? Can I see it?”

“That would be very bad.”

“Why?”

“Never mind. You won’t remember any of this when I’m gone.”

“I won’t?”

“Nope.”

“OK.”

Someone, my camp counselor, screams my name. People are running toward us.

“Lando! I found him! He’s over here!”

But the strange nurse and her silver purse are gone.

 

The Knock Knock Club. Peoria Illinois. 2003

3am and my set killed. It was a full house; a great crowd full of happy drunks. Afterward, feeling victorious and lonely, I bought all the other comics a round. By midnight I was way too drunk to drive.

Screw it. It’s your birthday.

I’m trying to shove my inhaler into the ignition slot when she appears. No special effects this time. She is simply… there, sitting next to me in the passenger seat. This time, she wears the face of a Cherokee matriarch; regal bearing, long gray hair loose and flowing over strong, straight shoulders. She’s wearing a velvety black cloak made from… made from…

“Thunderbird feathers,”
she says, as if she’d read my mind.

“I
did
read your mind. Why do you keep flinching?”

“Cause every time you show up something tries to kill me.”

The Golden Lady laughs.
“I know the feeling.”

“Who are you, lady? Why do I know you?”

“That’s a long story, Lando Cooper. But I’m afraid you’re in no condition to hear it.”

“Are you my guardian angel?”

“Eewww. Gross.”

“What’s your name, Golden Lady? Pretty Indian Lady with the long pretty hair.”

“I’ve had many names. The gods of the Navajo nation called me Changing Woman. For now, you can call me… Constant.”

“Constance?”

“Constant.”

“Well, Constance, today is my birthday.”

“Of course. A very special birthday.”

“Thass right, Connie. For today I am a man.”

“And just
look
at you. Your parents must be so proud.”

The unexpected gravity of that statement stalls my tongue and I have to look away before I embarrass myself.

“They never understood me.”

“Oh boy. Look, we’ve got so much work to do I don’t even want to think about it. It’s time to go.”

“Where exactly are we going, my Connie?”

“To school, my bumbling mortal idiot.”

“Hey, lady… I happen to be the possessor of a Bachelors degree from one of our nation’s finest educational institutions. I done made the grade.”

I try to start the car with my inhaler again and throw up all over the steering wheel instead.

“Oh boy.”

Then Constant is holding the thing I’ve turned over in my memory since that day on the ferry. She holds it so that I can see it plainly: it’s a seashell. A shining seashell. She raises it, bathing my face with silver radiance. And I am suddenly stonecold sober.

“I know this. This is… this is…”

“Yes. It
is.”

I was twenty-two years old and completely unprepared for what came next. It was the first day of the rest of my mortal life. Like most people, I thought I was special enough to handle whatever destiny the Golden Lady represented.

I was wrong.

 

BOOK: Last God Standing
11.19Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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