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The Divine Conference Call
The trinity sat down at the table, and leaned heavy heads on the palms of their hands.
The work was done
And they were sweat soaked
“I’m worried,” says the son, leaning back in his chair and trying to slow his breathing.
“I as well,” says the Holy Spirit, and bites a phantom lip.
The Father says nothing, but stares down
At the mahogany surface
And contemplates the whirls in the wood.
“The world is in trouble,” the son reminds him.
“Deep trouble,” the Holy Spirit echoes, pausing in his
Assault of his Holy
The Father nods and reaches for his phone.
He pushes fingers that are there and not there
Into the holes in a rotary dial
It spins, whirring softly,
And a voice on the other end answers.
“Hello, this is Allah speaking.”
The Father clears his throat.
“Hello, Allah, how are you this January morning?”
“Fine, fine, Father. And yourself?”
“Worried,” the Father says, clicking his tongue on the last letter.
“I know,” says Allah, voice rising slightly, in concern,
“They’re making an utter mess of things. Hang on,
I’ll get Andoni on the other line.”
There is a soft click,
And then three loud rings.
“What is this so early in the morning?” Adoni asks,
“Its Allah and The Father, Adoni,”
Says The Father.
“Oh,” says Adoni,
At the other end of the line,
“It’s early, and this Shabbat.
Has it gotten worse?”
“I’m afraid so,” says Allah,
Sighing softly, “They’re doing it all over again.”
“I think we might as well consult Ahura Mazda
And there is another soft click
And three rings.
“Hello? Quetzalcoatl, this makes the third time…who is this?”
“It’s Adoni, Allah, and The Father,” Adoni says,
Quetzalcoatl was an awful divine chatterbox.
“I think I know why you’re calling,”
Ahura Mazda says,
“We might as well go ahead and get Vishnu
On the phone right now.”
“Hello? I’m a bit busy, can this wait?”
“Hello Vishnu,” Ahura Mazda intones,
“I believe I can guess what you’re busy with.”
“Are you having these problems, too?” Vishnu says
As something crashes loudly
In the background.
“We’ve got to do something,
And we’ve got to do it now!”
“Agreed,” says The Father,
“Let’s get Tim and Buddha.”
“Hello, happy greetings, who is this, please?”
The Father has always admired
The Buddha’s cool voice
Very pleasant and calm.
“This is Vishnu,” Vishnu, says.
Something else breaks
In the background.
“I’m almost positive I know
What this is about,” the Buddha says,
“How nice of you to involve me.
I have plans.”
“Excellent,” says Allah,
“We’ll need them.
He presses his holy hand down on his rotary dial
(The divine prefer older technology)
And there is yet again:
“Hello?” this voice is surly,
And sour, “this is Tim Wadeworth.
Who the hell is calling at this hour?”
“It’s six o’clock,” The Father says,
“You actually get to sleep. Be thankful.”
“What is it?” Tim says,
Without softening his tone,
“I’ve tried telling you this before,
I’m not divine,
I’m just president of Atheist International.”
“Close enough,” says Adoni,
His robe makes a scratching noise
As he shrugs his shoulders.
“Well, I’m sure you understand our
Predicament,” Allah says,
“You most of all of us.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,”
“Don’t take that tone of voice with us,” Ahura Mazda says,
Levelly, “there’s nothing to get worked up about.
That won’t help anything.”
“It’s the wars,” Adoni explains,
“Always with the fighting, and the guns, and the nuclear
Weapons of mass destruction…”
“Well that’s bound to happen,” Tim excuses.
“It’s bound to kill you all,” Vishnu says,
“If we don’t do something about it.”
“We could probably do with another prophet, or something,”
The Father says.
“Can’t you just send your son
Back in there?” asks Allah.
“I don’t think he’s ready yet,” The Father declines.
“I think,” says the Buddha slowly,
“That the world needs more loving compassion.”
“That’s good,” Allah says.
“Very good,” Vishnu agrees,
“Anything to stop my follower and your followers
From duking it out in the streets.”
“And justice,” Adoni says,
“Justice is good for everything. You can’t be
“Good, good,” The Father says, and pulls his mouth away from
The phone, calling to his
To get him a sheet of paper and a pencil,
“I’m just going to write all this down.
I’ll cc it to everyone.”
“You don’t understand,” Tim says,
“You should just step back and excuse yourselves…
None of these wars, or fights, or—,”
“Don’t forget about the high school students who won’t
Talk to each other,”
Interrupts Adoni, rolling his theoretical eyes.
“Yes, and high school students. But the point
That without you
We’d do just fine.”
“That’s what you think,” The Father snorts,
“Please, you don’t know the half of it.”
“Right,” Tim says sardonically, “like you do anything.
You’re just figureheads.
We didn’t want you in the first…”
Tim trails off,
As a flash of lightning
Streaks by the window
And hits the car his brother bought
Him yesterday for his fiftieth birthday.
It is now smoldering in the yard,
Looking like a heap
Of old scrap metal.
“You were saying?” the divine
Collective presence asks.
“Nothing,” Tim grumbles, and falls
“Let’s keep going,” The Father says,
His Son finally giving him the piece of paper,
“Meditation and equality,” says Vishnu.
“Discipline and kindness,” says Allah.
“Lack of weaponry,” says Ahura Mazda.
“Good, good, good!” The Father cries, joyfully,
“This is great.”
He speaks next to Tim.
“Well then,” The Father says,
“It’s up to your kind,”
“Up to us?” Tim croaks,
“But you were just saying…”
“Oh, we’ll help, of course,” Adoni, says, quickly,
“But it’s mainly your responsibility.
The divine can’t do every little thing in the universe at once.
We have to delegate.”
“I see,” says Tim,
Still staring at his incinerated BMW.
“Don’t worry about that,” Allah says,
“The pollutants were killing you anyway.”
“Oh, shoot,” Ahura Mazda, says suddenly, “Quetzalcoatl is back on my line again.
This is the seventh time today,”
“Tell him we wish him well,” Adoni calls, “we’ll send you the notes.
This is going to be grand!”
There is a very loud bang,
Not unlike a canon,
From Vishnu’s line.
“Oh no…” Vishnu says, grimly,
“Listen, fax me what we’ve got, and
I’ll get on it tomorrow.
I’ve just got to go break something up.
“So Tim,” The Father says,
“Are we at an understanding?”
“I think so,” Tim says, moodily,
“I’ll do my best.”
“Happy thoughts to you,” Adoni says,
Voice giving away his smile.
Allah sighs with relief.
“I’m so glad we’re doing something about this.
The last time we had a managerial meeting was
Back in August.”
“It’s been much too long,” Adoni confirms.
“They’re frustrating aren’t they, sometimes?” The Father sighs,
“They can’t be left alone for a second.”
“There have been some great ones,” Allah says, counting them
Off on his fingers,
“Mandela, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Marie Curie–,”
“To be sure,” The Father says, “but on the whole,
They are rather slow.”
“Yes,” Adoni says somberly,
“If only they got along half as well as us.”