by Dave Housley
"Who the hell died and made you God?" Jimbo said. He dropped the pizza on the table, next to the legal documents and Dershowitz's briefcase.
"Technically," Dershowitz said, "Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Although," he pointed to where it said Undersigned and wiggled his fingers at me, "some might argue that on the third day he rose again, sits at the right hand of the father, yadda yadda yadda."
I signed the contract.
"Well, Dershowitz said, "that should do it."
"What do I do now?" I said.
"Whatever you want," Dershowitz said.
"What the fuck?" Jimbo said.
"So I'm, like, God now," I said. "Or a God. Or something like that."
"Fuck off," Jimbo said.
That was the first time I had the feeling, like little spikes poking into the back of my neck. Poke poke poke.
"Dude, I'm feeling kind of wrathful," I said.
"Bite me," he said.
I smited him down.
* * *
I was hungry so I made nachos from our junk mail, turned water into beer.
That was fun for maybe a week or two.
Eventually I missed Jimbo so I brought him back to life, but the version that came back wasn't quite right -- kind of robotic and simple, with this Frankenstein stiffness, like he'd been assembled poorly in some soviet plant.
It was better than being alone, and I guess it was better than before. We had all the nachos and beer we could handle. But after awhile, even that got boring.
"What do you think I should do?" I said.
"Do?" Jimbo said. "Do do do!"
"Seems like I should actually do something," I said. "All this power or whatever, you know, and people suffering and stuff.
"Pizza!" Jimbo said.
I made a pizza and he clapped his hands.
* * *
I called up Dershowitz. "I don't know what to do," I said. "There's no For Dummies manual for this thing."
"Why don't you just givith, taketh away," he said, "do whatever the hell you please."
"There's all this responsibility," I said. “It's a pretty heavy gig.”
"Delegate," he said. "The last guy had a bunch of disciples."
"Disciples?" I said.
"Hire good people," he said, "let them do their jobs."
* * *
I made Larry Bird second-in-command, but all he wanted to do was go back and play in the NBA. "Another championship for the Celtics," he said. "That's what the People of God need."
I gave him eternal youth and he went right back to hitting three-pointers, diving after loose balls. He kept on shooting with his left hand, just to prove he could do it. A wide open layup and he'd swoop around the backboard, swing the ball from his right to his left, spin it off the glass and, pop, into the hoop. There was a certain élan to it, but to be honest it didn't help much with my new responsibilities, which pretty much consisted of trying to figure out what my new responsibilities were.
"I need to hire good people," I said, "let them do their jobs."
Larry was shooting thirty-footers, launching shot after shot with that elegant motion.
“You have a whole league,” he said. “There's your disciples right there.”
“Shaq is my disciple?” I said.
"Sure," he said. "Why not?"
“Kobe? Yao Ming?”
He launched a behind-the-back left-hander. "Yes!" he shouted, as it swished through the net. "The People of God love it when you shoot the left-hander."
* * *
The junkmail started to bother me. It was the same old crap, but it read differently all of the sudden. Dear friend, a letter might start, With your help, we can save the Sumatran tiger.
"What are we doing for Sumatran tigers?" I asked Larry Bird.
"They're not in our division," he said.
"Recognized throughout the world for its ferocity and unmistakable beauty," I said, "the tiger faces an uncertain future."
He started running suicides, sprinting to the foul line then back to the baseline, to halfcourt and back.
"How's it coming with those disciples?" I said.
"Playoffs in two weeks," he grunted.
* * *
"Can't I just make everything perfect?" I asked Dershowitz.
"What are you talking about?" he said. I could hear typing in the background.
"Like, back to the garden or whatever."
"You didn't read the fine print, did you?"
"You're my lawyer," I said. "And you said sign."
There was a long pause. The typing stopped. "You thought I was your lawyer?" he said.
"Yes. And I'm thinking about firing you," I said. "Or even better, smiting you down."
"I work for the other guy," he said.
"The other guy?"
The typing started up again. "Think about it," he said. "Good, evil, ying, yang, yadda yadda yadda."
* * *
"This looks better on Joan of Arcadia," I said to Jimbo. "Those people, the ones that are God, have a confidence I'm not feeling."
Jimbo clapped his hands and shouted "Pizza!"
I went out onto the street and found a teenage girl with long brown hair and an earnest look. "Keep up the good work, Joan," I said.
"Bite me you freak," she said. She backed up, then started running.
"Keep up the good work, Joan!" I shouted.
* * *
"I'm thinking a lot about the Sumatran tigers," I said.
Larry Bird spun the ball on his finger. He slapped at it and it went faster and faster, around and around. "The People of God want the running game back," he said, "125 to 120 point games."
"The Sumatran tiger is majestic and endangered, an essential part of its ecosystem," I said. "And I'm thinking about making a whole shitload of them."
* * *
Dershowitz stalked right through the pack of Sumatran tigers hanging out by the garbage cans along the side of the house. He stood at the door with a binder and a pen. "Sign here," he said.
"What if I won't?" I said.
"You know who I work for," he said. "And don't give me any smiting anybody down shit, either."
I opened the door and he followed me to the kitchen table.
"This tiger thing was the last straw," he said. "And Joan of Arcadia? That's a TV show, you moron."
"That's it," I said. "Prepare for a smiting."
Everything went black and I had the feeling in the back of my neck again. Poke poke poke. I don't know how long I was asleep, but when I came to I felt an overwhelming sense of relief. I felt safe and secure. Things were simple. I was hungry. "Pizza!" I shouted.
Jimbo finished signing the contract. "Shut the hell up," he said, "before I smite your ass and smite it good."