"My Lord!" I said.
"That's Me. Don't be all full of yourself for guessing right the first time, though. I generally don't need to carry ID," the Supreme Being replied.
Most people would love to receive a vision, but I was filled with apprehension because I know that, historically speaking, people who get the Word from on high have a lower-than-average life span. Whether it's crucifixion, being burnt at the stake or simply being beaten to death by an angry throng, those who receive new Gospels generally come to an unhappy end. I made a mental note to cash in my IRA as I fell to my knees.
"Stop that," the vision said.
"Right. I forgot to get a pen." Like everybody else, I usually write on a computer, but that didn't seem right for holy writ. I just hoped I wasn't going to have to chisel anything into stone.
"You don't need a pen."
"But what about Your Revelation? Shouldn't I at least take notes?"
"Have you looked at your own stuff? If I wanted somebody to write for me, would I pick you?"
"Good point," I admitted.
"No, what I have to say is short and simple."
I nearly remarked that brevity wasn't characteristic of most of His holy ramblings as written down by previous prophets, but being in the presence of the most powerful Being in the universe can curb anybody's natural tendency to make abrasive comments. I clammed up.
"What I want is not to be worshiped anymore."
"Right." Oh, wow. He had obviously come to the wrong house. I didn't think He was capable of making mistakes. Then I realized I was mixing Him up with the Pope. "Umm...I actually haven't been overzealous in the worship department," I said cautiously.
"Don't you think I know that?" His eyebrows curled in impatience. I noticed they looked just like furry lightening bolts. He made a distinct effort to calm himself. "And that's fine. I just wish everyone else would knock it off. At first I enjoyed it. I admit that. The old days of fatted calves and virgins in volcanoes—people worshiped hearty back then. The Catholics were okay until they invented altar boys. Then they began to make Me a little queasy. The Muslims had that matchless sincerity going for them at first, but after a while I started thinking you've seen one jihad, you've seen them all.
"I never liked the Protestants. Bunch of stick-in-the-muds. Nowadays they either wave snakes at me and speak in tongues, or else they just sing a few hymns off-key and then eat donuts. And the Jews—well, I don't think there's anybody who's ever been in a long-term relationship who's never wondered How did I get mixed up with them in the first place?
"The main thing is the prayers. People think they wave some incense around, spin a wheel, chant something in a dead language and then they can ask Me for anything. The answer is No! I haven't actually granted a prayer since the walls of Jericho came tumbling down, and I have my sincere regrets about that. Humankind just doesn't get the hint, though. Shake them with earthquakes, wap them with hurricanes, swamp them with tsunamis…they just keep praying harder. Get a clue! I even created astronomers, so they could peer into the depths of the universe, see how vast it was, just to give all those beggars a chance to grasp the enormity of My duties, but it didn't work. People still think I care if their pooch has a tumor."
He paused. A million questions swirled through my mind, ranging from inquiries about winning lottery numbers to questioning the purpose of all existence. And the Mayan apocalypse scheduled for later on this year—big worry or back burner? Was Jesus really Your Son? Was Mary really a virgin? Was Obama really a Kenyan?
But it was obvious He was leaving. A winged chariot suddenly appeared, double-parked outside my window. "One question!" I called out.
"All right, one. But you know the deal now. No favors."
"Can I write about this?"
"Why not? Everybody will think you made it all up anyway."