A Chat with Noah
Charles Martin Hall
Last week I dreamt I had died and surprisingly gone to Heaven.
St. Peter's computer system had developed a glitch and although our Boarding Passes on the Shuttle that took us there had a very different destination printed on them, we tore them all up as we passed the moon and partied the rest of the way.
My fellow passengers and I had tags round our necks stating the reason for our consignment to hell, which in order of significance were:
- Babies and children whose parents had failed to baptize them before their death.
- Those having the sins of their third and fourth generation forbears visited on them.
- Those who had used the Lord's name in vain.
- Those who could not accept the concept of the Trinity.
- Those who had coveted their neighbors wives, husbands or goods.
- Those who had gone so far as to commit adultery.
- Those who had failed to keep the sabbath.
- Those who denied their priests actually converted wine and bread into the blood and body of Jesus at their services.
- Plus a few thieves, rapists and murderers.
On arrival at the pearly gates we were all issued with the standard sandals, seamless white full-length smocks, clip-on halos, strap-on wings and harp, and told to select our personal cloud on which to relax.
This not being my idea of fun, I asked for directions and eventually found the unacknowledged Patron Saint of all animals—NOAH.
On expressing my admiration to him for the stupendous job he had done in building the Ark and saving all those animals, I was rather taken aback when he commented that the best thing about Heaven was that there were no smelly animals there.
On asking him for his version of the building of the Ark he answered:
"What's to tell, with the tools we had back then it was 99.8% elbow grease, unlike the building of the QE I, which I watched a few years ago. It took over 2000 workers more than 4 years to build the QE I despite all the technical advantages they had, but my sons and I had been given precisely seven days to build the Ark and get all the animals on board with enough food to last them for over a year."
"But that would have been impossible," I said.
"Well I initially thought so too—but you don't argue with the Lord, and if you read your Bible you'll see that we actually did it."
"Where did you get all the wood?"
"We just cut down a nearby forest—we didn't have any Greens bothering us back then, and fortunately Al Gore hadn't been born yet."
"But how did you get all the wood on site?"
"The boys and I weren't married for nothing—in addition to being carriers of water, wives were natural hewers of wood."
"The arrival of all those animals must have caused quite a stir on the roads leading to your village."
"And how—not to mention all the dust and noise. The Barnum and Bailey Circus parades in your American towns had nothing on this. And imagine all the 'oohs' and 'aahs' when the people first saw the kangaroos and koala bears (don't ask me how they got there—I know neither can swim too well) plus the Polar Bears and other animals they had never even heard about. In fact, I'm surprised there weren't a few early extinctions resulting from impromptu barbecues by locals watching the arrival of all these animals."
"How did you control them—were you a circus trainer once?"
"No, and it's too long ago for me to remember all the details, but as Genesis Chapter 6, Verse 22, says 'And Noah proceeded to do according to all that God had commanded him.
He did just so.' You can't have better proof than that."
"But how could you possibly fit two of each of at least 4000 species of mammals, 8000 species of birds, 900 species of reptiles and 750,000 species of insects, plus food for them all, into a vessel half the size of the QE I ?"
"Quit these nitpicking questions, just read verse 22 again. Granted telling the difference between the centipedes and millipedes, let alone their sexes, was difficult enough without magnifying glasses. As for the 3,500 species of cockroaches, I loaded them at the same time as the elephants, and not even one got squashed. Of course getting the bees to stop buzzing around long enough to sort out the workers from the drones was a real problem."
"What did you do about food?"
"The Lord said to me 'take for yourself every sort of food that is eaten; and you must gather it to yourself, and it must serve as food for you'—but then I nearly dropped dead when he added, 'and for them.' This must be the greatest throw-away line in history!
How was I to store food for Lions, Tigers, Leopards, Cheetahs, etc., for more than a year without any form of refrigeration? Where was I to find the space for the huge quantities of food for Hippos, Elephants, Rhinos and Gorillas?;for example just one pair of African elephants and one pair of Indian elephants would need about 400 tons of food."
"And you did all this when you were 600 years old?"
"Actually I was in the prime of my life, I lived for another 349 years; (Methuselah who gets all the credit for longevity only outlived me by 19 years)."
"Although it rained for only 40 days and 40 nights, it wasn't until the 1st day of the 10th month that the tops of the trees could be seen, and we were able to disembark on the 27th day of the second month of my 601st year so we were on the Ark for about 1 year and 20 days."
"What is your single most outstanding memory of the voyage?"
"The stench—have you any idea how much over 4000 mammals can excrete per day, let alone all the other animals, and remember that for the first 40 days and 40 nights we could not open a single window—we were shoveling shit overboard day and night."
"Which of your passengers gave you the biggest headache?"
"The wood borers. They just loved gopher wood, and so it became a race as to whether the water would subside before they ate up the whole damn Ark."
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Fantasy, Bible: Old Testament