Adam picked up a mug of hot coffee, he held it just below his chin and let the aromatic steam gently rise to his nose. He took a sip. When he put the ceramic mug back on the counter that was the loudest noise anywhere in the house. Adam savored the silence.
The paper was more engaging than usual. Adam couldn’t remember the last time he was able to read through a full article without any interruptions. Adam was a man keen on making the most of these sporadic times of almost meditative stillness. Career and family made them quite rare.
He was nearing the end of the sports section when the doorbell rang. Adam was reluctant to stand up, but then the bell rang twice more in quick succession, followed by hard knocks on the door.
“Who the hell could that be?” Adam muttered.
He shuffled down the hall as the ringing and knocking became more and more persistent.
“Alright!” Adam shouted.
He looked through the peephole and saw a small old man hobbled over on the front porch.
“Oh, what the fuck is this?” Adam sneered.
He undid the series of locks and opened the door.
“Can I help you?” Adam asked with an unmistakable tone of hostility.
The man was small maybe just over five feet, and his hunched spine made him appear even smaller. What was left of the hair on his head was long and matted with filth? His wind-lashed face was pale and cracked. A thick grey beard covered his mouth, the unkempt facial hair was dirty and stained with god only knows what.
“P-please help me,” The old vagrant pleaded in a garbled voice.
Adam was an ER doctor so the sick and discarded elderly wasn’t a site that caused as much trepidation in him as it might help his neighbors but still he kept up his guard.
“Look, man, if you need help St. Basil’s is just four blocks west of here. You can’t miss it.” Adam said sternly.
“Please,” the old man repeated as blood began to trickle from his mouth and drip into the mass of curly facial hair.
“Alright I’ll call you an ambulance wait here,” said Adam. He closed the door behind him as he turned to away, but the door bumped up against the old bum’s foot.
“Please let me come inside,” the old man repeated.
“Please move your foot, or I’ll also be calling the police,” threatened Adam
The bum withdrew his trembling foot, and Adam shut the door. He made sure to lock it before going back to the kitchen to get his phone.
“Seriously of all the fucking houses he had to pick,” fumed Adam.
Adam made his way through the adjoining hallway back to the kitchen. He nearly jumped back when he saw the elderly invalid sitting at the kitchen Island.
“In my hour of need you closed your door to me,” the old man said grimly.
Adam was bewildered. “How did you...Get the fuck out of my house!”
“I know you, Adam Rothstein. You are one of my children,” said the stranger.
Adam reached for a knife on the counter. “I’m not joking. You better leave now.”
The intruder ignored the threat. “My own chosen people have forsaken my name,” he lamented.
“That’s it,” huffed Adam. As he approached his unwanted guest Adam’s limbs started to seize up all at once until he was utterly paralyzed. His own breath stopped in his throat, and Adam choked. The old man’s eyes glowed like volcanic fire.
“I am Yahweh they one true God!” the old man’s voice rattled the house like an earthquake. Plates fell and shattered on the tile, the light bulbs in the ceiling exploded, raining shards of glass, and fissures erupting in the walls spit out clouds of debris as they spread across the house.
“You are but my creation and my servant,” Yahweh roared. “Now bow before your God.”
Suddenly Adam could move again. He gasped for breath and fell to his knees.
“That’s more like it,” said Yahweh.
At 37 Adam Rothstein was an accomplished ER doctor with a wife and two little girls. By any secular standards he was leading a fruitful and purposeful existence, but as Yahweh explained in terms of the ecclesial Adam’s earthly conduct left much to be desired.
“It has been millennia since I’ve last been to this world,” Yahweh said. “I wanted to be amongst my chosen people to see for myself if you’ve been living the righteous codes I prescribed so many centuries ago.”
“But why me?” Adam asked.
“It is my will!” Snapped Yawheh the fires of hell flashing in his eyes.
Adam lowered his head and apologized to the angry god.
“We are going to spend the day together Adam. You’re going to show me why I should still consider you my chosen people. If by the end of this day you’ve proven yourself unworthy I shall deliver a fitting punishment.”
Adam’s heart started pounding in his chest. “Well, I-I uh think you’ll find we’re still as faithful to your word as ever all mighty God,” Adam said reverently.
“Good,” said Yahweh. “So how were you going to spend this glorious day I made for you?”
Adam panicked and blurted the first thing that came to mind. “Me and some friends were going to go to temple and serve soup to the poor.”
“Lie to me again Adam, and you’ll be treated to the sight of insects devouring your children,” Yahweh replied coldly.
Adam lowered his head in shame. “We’re going to a bar to watch a football game,” he confessed.
Adam tried to tactfully approach the issue of how Yawheh’s disguise might go over in public.
“Do you at least want to take a shower and put on a polo?” Adam suggested.
Yahweh was quick to make clear though he was not open to suggestions. When they arrived at the DouchenPlatz bar and grill, the hostess greeted Adam with warm familiarity.
“Hi! Follow me your friends have been waiting for you,” said the vivacious young woman. She turned to lead the way, and abruptly stopped and turned back to look at Yahweh who was standing a couple steps just behind Adam.
Her smile disappeared. “I’m sorry sir, but the restroom is for customers only,” she said firmly.
Adam immediately interested. “It’s ok he’s with me. This is Schlomo, my uncle from Tel Aviv. He’s very orthodox.”
The hostess’s smile suddenly returned. “Oh, I’m sorry about that! Please follow me.”
Adam Still very conscious God was right behind him tried his best to keep his eyes away from the young lady’s firm swaying backside.
They followed her to a table where three of Adam’s friends were sitting with their heads tilted towards a flat screen tv mounted on the wall.
“Hey guys sorry I’m late,” Adam apologized.
“You missed a good first quarter,” said Leonard who sat at the right side of the table sipping on an amber beer. Instantly Adam noticed everyone's eyes were on Yahweh.
“Oh this is my Uncle Schlomo from Tel Aviv,” Adam blurted.
“Schlomo this is Leonard, Micah, and Noah.”
They exchanged mumbled greetings with the disheveled old man.
“Would you like me to put in drink orders for you?” Asked the Hostess.
Adam hesitated, “Yeah Umm do you have Kosher wine?”
“Ummm I know we have some whites let me check for you!”
“You missed a good first quarter,” Leonard said.
“Yeah, I know I’ve been getting score updates on my phone.”
“So how was your trip from Tel Aviv?” Micha asked. “I’ve been there before, and I remember that being a long flight.”
“In eternity time cannot be measured,” Schlomo replied.
“Oh, ok,” Micha said as he took a sip of his drink and glanced over at Noah who was also obscuring his face with a glass.
“Before I forget, check this out,” Noah said. He reached for a plastic bag on the floor and put it on the table.
“This should be exciting,” Leonard said sarcastically.
Noah ignored the remark and took a box out of the bag. The packaging was plastic in front so you could see through. Inside was a highly detailed figurine of a basketball player.
“It’s Lebron James,” Noah said. “Jacob loves him.”
“Kid needs a new hero,” Micha said with some disdain.
“Well, he’s too young to remember Jordan,” Noah said. “But check it out how realistic it is. The fuckin thing was over a 100 bucks, but he’s gonna love it.”
“Wow they really captured the hairline,” Micha quipped.
“Are you worshiping a false Idol?” Schlomo asked.
The whole table went quiet.
“No nothing like that my son just really loves Lebron James,” Noah explained. “Have you heard of him in Isreal?”
“Though shall have no other gods before me,” Schlomo said with rising anger in his voice.
The waitress arrived just in time to diffuse the situation.
“Here are your appetizers fellas. Greek fries for you, Jalapeno poppers for you, and popcorn shrimp for you.” Can I get you anything else?”
“I’ll take another beer,” Leonard said holding up his empty glass.
“Ok, anything else?”
“Did you find out if there’s any kosher wine?” Adam asked.
“Oh yes, we do have a white wine back there. I’ll bring it out to you.”
“Kosher wine that sounds like a good way to watch a game,” Micha mumbled.
Yahweh stared at the plate of popcorn shrimp in front of Leonard. “Shellfish, you’re eating shellfish?”
“Look,, man, I’m not orthodox,” Leonard said sounding slightly annoyed.
“The Jews have been strictly forbidden from eating shellfish!” Yahweh said grimly.
“Um, uncle Schlomo can I can talk to you privately for a moment?” Adam interjected.
“I will hear you,” Schlomo replied. “The rest of you leave us,”
Adam’s friends seemed confused by the sudden command.
“Guys can you please just give us a minute.”
“Fine,” shrugged Noah as he pushed out his chair. The other two followed suit.
When they were out of earshot, Adam pleaded his case to the angry God. “Yahweh I-
“Bow your head when you talk to me,” Yahweh barked.
“Sorry,” Adam apologized and lowered his head.
“I’m sorry about the shrimp, but we always thought kosher laws were just an early form of food safety,” Adam explained.
“Food safety?” Yahweh repeated. “I told you I don’t want you eating shellfish because shrimp and lobsters were my most favored creations on this planet and I hear I find you are deep frying them by the bowl?”
“Forgive us, God,” Adam pleaded. “We had no idea shellfish were so important to you.”
“It doesn't matter that you didn’t know! I told you not to eat them!” Yahweh sneered. “I have been more than generous to the Hebrew race. I saved you from slavery, gave you a promised land, I didn’t even say anything when you started hanging up Mezuzah’s instead of splashing lambs blood on your doors!”
“I’m sorry Almighty God. We are mere sinners, but I promise you we have spent our lives in the pursuit of doing good for others,” Adam said.
“Ok, plead your case, and I will cast my judgment,” Yahweh said folding his arms
Adam realized how strange this probably looked. He turned his head and saw his friends staring at them.
“Ok well as you know I’m an ER doctor. I save lives every day. Noah, he’s a very renowned child psychologist he helps children with autism lead normal lives. Micah, he’s an attorney who does legal advocacy for immigrant families trying to reunite with their children, and Leonard he developed a medical device that can detect breast cancer at the earliest stages yet. He may seem like a bit of a jerk, but he’s saved countless lives.”
Yahweh was silent.
“So you see we may not follow every rule to the letter, but we do our best to make sure we live our lives in your service,” Adam concluded his plea.
“Alright, Yahweh sighed. “Maybe you do deserve another chance,”
“Thank you, almighty God!” Adam cried with joy.
“Just work a little hard to abide by my rules,” Yahweh said.
“We are your servants,” Adam said.
Just then the waitress returned carrying a few plates of food. “Alright, here's the turkey club, the fish tacos, and the double bacon cheeseburger. Does anyone need anything else?”
“Double bacon cheeseburger?!” Yahweh's voice thundered, and the crimson glow flared in his eyes. “That’s it you’re all dead!” Yahweh raised his finger, and an asteroid appeared over the city. It was a hurtling rock of death that blocked out the sun and set the sky on fire. After it smashed into the town, there was nothing left but a smoldering crater filled with charred human remains.