Authors: Anthony C. Winkler
Tags: #General Fiction
And then, as strange as this sounds, I felt my indoor parson depart just as much as if he’d packed up a suitcase and walked through my earhole and out my brain.
One of my guards suddenly twitched and bawled, “Woe unto fornicators!”
The other chuckled softly. “Feeling patriotic, are we?”
Where was God? Why had he left me looking like Egbert Adolphus Hackington?
I tried to remember what had happened. Most likely God was off gourmandizing stars while abandoning me on the prairie to be gunned down by the American ramgoat army. Probably He hadn’t even noticed that while He was gobbling down stars, I was getting my backside blasted with rays meant for Him. But I notice that’s how the world goes: While the head man is out enjoying life, carousing and gallivanting with the conniving secretary, the little, hardworking clerk is busy absorbing corporate gunshot wound.
I was trying to decide what to do next when I heard feet tramping down the corridor and a detachment of guards carrying loaded ray guns came and marched me down to a laboratory.
They escorted me, side by side, into a room that looked like it belonged in a Frankenstein movie. Scientific equipment was humming all over the place, with lights flashing and screens blipping, and they put me through tests galore ranging from poking me with finger to touching me with electronic probe to aiming instruments at my eyeball and shooting rays at my person.
I put up with it all. I gave no argument and backtalked no technician, except when they took me into a small cubicle.
“You have to take off your pants for this probe,” a technician said gruffly.
“Which part you goin’ probe?”
“Not a rass. No probe. No trousers coming off.”
The guard levelled his ray gun at me.
“Take off your pants,” snapped the technician, “or he’ll shoot!”
“In heaven or on earth, only woman is authorized to pull down my trousers.”
“Shoot him until he obeys,” the technician ordered the guard.
The guard blasted me at point-blank range with the ray gun. I jumped off the table, pushed aside the curtain of the cubicle, ripped the gun from his hands, and flung it across the room.
“Hey!” he yelled, blowing a whistle.
Guards swarmed into the room and tried to drape me up and hold me down, but I thumped right and left, floored three with one right hand and two with one left, and made my way down the corridor with about six of them hanging onto me and trying to prevent my escape.
Of course, it was no use. In heaven you can’t force anyone to do what he doesn’t want to do, and no matter if you bring the might of hosts against him, free will always prevails.
So I walked brazenly down the hallway to the front door even though the whole American ramgoat army tried to block my way.
All the shot they fired at me only tickled, and when one of them blasted me with a bazooka as I walked out the front door and into the bright sunlight, it felt like a puff of Christmas breeze.
Meanwhile, alarms were howling all over the base, and tanks and trucks rumbled out from underground garages to block my escape, while soldiers came pouring out of barracks, blasting me from every side with every manner and kind of gun and cannon.
But I paid them no mind and just fl ew up over the barbwire-fence of the compound with shot and ray-blast whizzing all around while bombs were bursting in air to the rockets’ red-glare.
The soldiers took to wing, too, and several of them fl ew by my side and tried to grab me and weigh me down to make me fall, but I kicked this one, and thumped that one, and kungfued another one, and with all the yelling and screaming and confusion I broke free and fl ew into a cloud with the militia in hot pursuit.
I was breezing through the heavens and wafting my way to Jamaica while the ramgoat American Air Force dive-bombed me and blasted me with all manner of weaponry, when God flew out of a cloud and hovered at my side.
“You see what You get me into?” I bawled, ducking as a shell spun past my head and exploded nearby with a tremendous concussion. “Why You fly ’way and leave me?”
God said He felt like a bedtime snack on a nova and he knew I was safe.
“You make de soldiers think I, Taddeus Baps, is a ole negar,”
I grumbled. “Even me parson migrate. You really ask a lot from a friend, You know.”
Meanwhile, the heavens around us were exploding with munitions. A jet screeched out of a cloud and blasted us with another ray-shot that just bounced off and fluttered like a misty fishnet toward the earth.
Of course, the weapons couldn’t harm God, but I was blown to smithereens several times over Wyoming and Nebraska as we travelled southward, and each time after the direct hit from a missile that splattered me all over creation, I reassembled and God fl ew to my side chuckling to ask if I liked that or if I wanted a shield, but I said if He didn’t mind I’d rather enjoy the festive blasting since I was still on holiday.
When it was obvious that neither shells nor rays could hurt us, the gunners below began lobbing live sheep at us, hoping to knock us out of the sky with sheep-shot.
Rams and ewes shot out of cannon screamed past our heads, baaing like mad, but as fast as they went up, they tumbled back down to earth wailing and shrieking in tongues, for pampered American sheep is not used to being live ammunition. I watched some of the sheep fall and splatter on the ground, reassemble, and try to scamper away, but soldiers chased and-grabbed them for ramrodding back into the muzzles of the-guns.
We flew over Alabama and Georgia, with sheep-shot spinning and ripping through the air all around us, baaing hideously. But, of course, all the sheep-shot in the world was useless, and not a one of them hit God.
Over Georgia I took a couple direct hits from sheep-shot but they only knocked me in a loop for a second and made me feel sweet.
So we made our way out to the Caribbean sea. The soldiers eventually gave up their pursuit and we fl ew in peace toward Jamaica, where God changed me back into Baps and I resumed my position as shopkeeper in the heavenly village, having experienced the broadening of knowledge that comes with foreign travel.
Later, God remarked casually that His experiment proved that I was wrong and that there was good, too, in the heart of ole negar.
He didn’t rub my nose in it, for He is God, and God does not rub nose.
However, I didn’t answer Him out of friendship and respect. I just let it drop. Sometimes we Jamaicans just can’t explain to foreigners what we know and how we feel, and we’re better off just shutting up than even trying. Let the foreigner buy property and plant some cocoa and he’ll soon find out for himself about ole negar heart. In fact, I was going to suggest to God that He buy three acres of land that I own in Portland, but I bit my tongue and said sharply to meself, “Hi, Baps! Dis is you friend! You want ole negar thief out Him one crop? Dat is how you treat a friend?”
So I just shut up my mouth and said nothing.
Personally, if it was me reading this book, I’d demand my money back.
I have a lot of criticisms against this world. I don’t say I hate it, but I can’t truthfully say that I love it, either. The world does not have to be a place of such woe and tribulation, and it does not have to be the stamping ground of rampant hypocrisy and wholesale shenanigans. I think better is possible. Mankind can be better. Manners and morals can be put on a higher plane. All creatures and things in this world can benefit from improvement.
One day after we’d returned from America, me and God went swimming in a river. As we were drying out on the bank in the sun, the subject of the creation came up and I mentioned my opinions about the world.
I didn’t put my point harshly, I just told Him in a kindly way what I have already said—that better was possible.
Baps, God said, would you like to try your hand at creation?
I lay on the bank for a few moments and thought before I finally said, “Listen, God, dis is like two of us playing cricket, with You at bat hitting one run here and one run dere. Now, if I come to bat and on my first stroke I hit a six, how You going feel ’bout it?”
I’ll feel good for you, Baps.
“Dat’s what You say now. But when my six fly over de boundary, You bound to feel downhearted.”
So you think you could do better?
“God! Look! Who is You friend? Who walk and run wid You up here every day? Who take God-shot from de American ramgoat army meant for You? Who lick down Harvard anthropology students when dem stone You in de tree?”
Love pulsed out from God as He caressed my headback with His light. I squirmed and patted His light.
“All right, God. Remember, we is two man. People will talk.”
God chuckled and said He didn’t care what people said, He loved me.
“Lawd God, God! Man no supposed to say dat to man, You know!”
After a few moments, I squirmed and gruffly whispered, “And I love you, too, God. Now, make us drop it. You never know which blackmailing ear listening from behind a bush.”
All right, Baps, God said in a disappointed voice. But I want to give you a hug.
I sighed and lay quietly on the bank for a minute or two and wondered to myself what I was going to do with a God who didn’t realize that man and man not supposed to hug up in private much less in public.
But after a minute’s thought, I jumped up and said, “Back foot and crosses, God! Gimme de blasted hug. I don’t business who de rass see it!”
And me and God hugged up on the riverbank, His light settling over me like a shimmering web. Then laughing with joy, we scampered back into the water for a refreshing swim. God would not get off the creation business. He kept nagging me to try my hand at it, to show what I could do that was better, and although I kept putting Him off with a joke, I began staying up at night in the back room of my shop, writing down my ideas for a better world in an exercise book.
This was hard work. The world is not as easy to create as it looks. But I had in mind certain improvements I would immediately make in my creation.
First and foremost, I would create a fart-free woman. I don’t care what anybody say, a farting woman is a hardship on creation.
On the other hand, I didn’t want to deprive woman of a luscious-looking part she needs for wriggling up on the street and in a dancehall. So my improved woman that I drew up in an exercise book had a fat batty for wiggling, but one that discharged no fart.
I had other improvements in mind as well.
Knowing that in Jamaica predial larceny is a serious problem which is discouraging farmers from planting crops, I designed a mango with a hidden mouth under its peel that, if a thiefing hand touched it, would bawl, “Lemme go, bwoy! I belong to farmer John!” or whatever the name of the said owner of the tree, and if the wretch persisted, the mango would bite the brute on the lip and hold onto him like a bad dog until a district constable could make the arrest.
Banana would likewise bite all predial larceny thief as would pawpaw and orange. (I also designed a sweetsop that was armed with a hidden machete to chop the tongue of all thief as-he opened his mouth to take illegal and unauthorized bite, but I knew that God would object to the violence.)
Some of my other ideas were likewise better than the present stale state of affairs.
For example, because God’s design conceals pum-pum and hood in the hideout of crotch, the slack situation has developed where parson can rant and rave about unrighteous woman while his own hood is stiff in the pulpit.
This is, to my mind, unsatisfactory.
I rectified matters by mounting hood and pum-pum on man and woman’s forehead so that when parson lusted for a sister in the choir, the whole world saw and knew just by glancing at his headfront. When a sister sat in a pew pretending to be biblical while she secretly craved to grind parson, worshippers would see illegal juice dripping down her cheek. Everyone would know exactly who was out to grind who, making hypocrisy impossible.
One evening Hector, who was now helping me out in the shop, stopped by and I showed him my notes and plans after supper.
“Missah Baps,” he objected, rubbing his chin, “is worries you know, sah, to mount hood on a man’s forehead in full and public view. Dere is wisdom behind crotch and zipper.”
“To hide hood from woman, so she don’t know what she getting until it unwrap. If it wasn’t for dat, whole heap o’ man would never get a grind. Woman would grind only de one with de big hood on him headfront.”
“So I’ll make all hood one size.”
“Missah Baps! You don’t understand woman, sah! Woman don’t want socialistic hood. She prefer capitalistic surprise, where she don’t know whether she getting a plantain or a Vienna sausage until she peel a crotch. You can’t change up de whole world just because parson love to grind church sister on de quiet!”
And God had objections, too, when I showed Him my design.
He asked how I expected people to weewee if I put their privates on their forehead.
“Duck down dem head inna de toilet bowl. Teach dem humility.”
He said I didn’t understand. Where would He put kidney and bladder?
“Dat is a detail. Put dem where dey belong.”
He said He couldn’t, because weewee didn’t flow uphill, and if we put hood on a man’s head, we’d have to put his bladder in his brain. And if we did that, where would we put his-brain?
“Where de bladder is?”
Baps, God said patiently, brain is bigger than bladder.
“God, some bladder bigger than some brain. For instance,” I started to add, “I know plenty ole ne—” but I caught myself in time and hushed up my mouth.
God said he couldn’t put a brain inside a belly. He’d have to make a spine that twisted like a hook to connect to the brain. Furthermore, He added, if He put hood on head and bladder inside the brain, where would He park the kidneys?
“Why You must trouble me with technicality, eh?”
Baps, there’s physical law, God said. Physical law must be obeyed.
“All right, den! So put hood back in de crotch. Foster hypocrisy! Encourage holier-than-thou behavior and indiscipline! I give You a drawing dat is a definite improvement and You turn it down. Don’t blame me when You whole world mash up!”