Monday, March 12, 2012

Enjoy a Steele short story -- "Things They Never Taught You in Sunday School"

This is a fun little piece I wrote in college for Eureka College's Literary Magazine

Things They Never Taught You in Sunday School
The Real Eve and the Apple Story!

   "My fault!" Eve screeched. She pulled her hair. She threw her fig leaf to the ground, ripped another from a nearby tree and hastily covered herself with it. She glared at Adam. He blushed politely and gave her a little wave. She thought he was an apathetic twit, but he was, after all, the first and only man on earth.
  Eve looked into the perfect heavens and screamed, "God!"
   Silence floated over the garden. Birds stopped mid-chirp. Fruit trees and vines cringed. Brooks stopped bubbling and streams stopped streaming. Even the grass seemed to hold its breath.
  Eve, slightly taken aback by the silence--which was almost as thick as Adam's body odor--looked to Adam for support. He just stood there with his knobby knees together, adjusted his fig leaf and gave her another little wave. This only made her angrier and strengthened her resolve to give God a piece of her mind.
   "God!" she roared, "I want to talk to you!"
   A face appeared in the sky. It was the face of a gentle old man with a hooked nose and flowing white beard. There was the smallest hint of anger in His eyes but Eve missed it. She never had been very good at interpreting warnings. God sighed and looked down at her. "What do you want? I thought I told you both to leave."
   Eve shook her fist at Him. "You did. But we're not leaving until I explain this to you! Isn't that right, Adam?"
   Adam waved at Eve.
   Adam waved at God.
    God waved back. Eve didn't.
   "So go ahead," He commanded. "Explain."
   She looked at the beautiful garden around her. She didn't want to leave. She had no idea what could possibly exist outside the garden, but figured if God wanted them out...she wanted them to stay. "Well God," she began, "I know you blame me for this...ah...misunderstanding...about the fruit. But this isn't really my fault."
   He arched an eyebrow. "Did I not forbid you the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge?"
   "," Eve stammered. She tapped her foot until her anger pumped itself up her leg. "But I didn't exactly eat the fruit of my own will, you know."
   "Oh, I can't wait to hear this," God mumbled.
   Eve continued unabashed. "The serpent made me do it."
   "Five points for originality--although I've a feeling I'm going to hear that line a lot--three for enthusiasm," God mumbled under his breath, "...Zero for accuracy."
   "So.." Eve concluded dramatically, full of her own righteousness, "You can't kick us out of the garden. You have to kick the serpent out!" She crossed her arms in triumph, spun on her heel, and glared at Adam. "Don't stand there picking your ear! Unpack our bags. We're staying!"
   Adam nodded. "Yes dear." He began frantically looking between the trees for their bags.
   "Just hold on a minute!" God bellowed. The ground shook; lightning flashed. Eve fell to the ground. Adam waved and winked at God. The birds giggled into the tips of their wings.
   Eve tried to look dignified as she stared up at the laughing face of God from her asinine position on the ground. She failed rather miserably. "What's your problem?"
   God sighed. These humans are so dense sometimes, He thought. I really should have given the world to the mice.
   He spoke slowly. "Eve, you allowed the serpent to tempt you. I gave you the run of the place. Said you could eat whatever you wanted as long as you stayed away from my two favorite trees. Could you do that? No. The next thing I know you'll eat from the Tree of Life and live forever. Can't have that now, can we?"
   "Besides, I really have to punish you. Think of the example it would set for future generations if I let you get away with this. What would I say to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah? Should I say, 'Oh, it's okay for Eve and Adam to disobey a direct order, but you people can't make a little whoopie?'"
   "It might work," Eve added hopefully.
   "No, I really don't think it will."
   "Couldn't you just banish us for part of the time?" She smiled. "Say every other Sunday?"
   God pulled His beard. "No, I don't think that will work either, but I will tell you this much: I'll punish the serpent. It's only fair."
   "How?" Eve asked. She didn't like the idea that her punishment might be worse than the serpent's.
   God shouted, "Serpent!"
   The ground rumbled and a deep voice could be heard from the bowels of the earth. "I'm not coming out until you speak nicely We're not exactly on the best of terms, Number One, but that doesn't give you license to be rude."
   The heavens rumbled as a frown creased the Brow of God. "You want me to kiss you? Forget it."
   Eve jumped back almost into Adam's arms, pushing him back into the trees as a tall man popped out of the ground. He was handsome in a devilish way with bright red skin, a long tail, and horns that stuck cutely out of his curly black hair. Adam waved at him.
   The newcomer looked up at God's frowning face. "Sorry to disappoint the kids, Number One, but the snake suit was beginning to bind in uncomfortable places."
   At this point Eve noticed the red man was naked. She blushed but continued staring at his forked tail with a smile on her face that would someday be called a Mona Lisa smile. Adam cleared his throat and tried to hand the Stranger the latest in fig leaf fashion. The Stranger refused.
   "Cut the nonsense," God barked. "Eve tells me you told her to eat the fruit I forbade. Is that true?"
   The red man smiled. "Yep! Then she did."
   God crossed His arms in front of His chest and stared down at the red man. I will now hand down your punishment..."
   The red man smiled again and leaned against his tail. "I knew you were going to do this. After all, it's ordained. You tossed me out of Heaven because you needed a bad guy, so give it to me with both barrels, Boss. I'm ready."
   God smiled. "Adam, get a pen and write this down. Call it The Bible."
   Adam rushed to find a pen and paper. Not finding a any, he grabbed a rock and a stick and tried his best to scratch down God's words. "Are both The  and Bible supposed to start with capital letters?"
   God smiled. "Completely up to you."
   A flicker of annoyance under the white eyebrows. "Capitalize them both. Ready?"
   "Yes Sir!"
   God nodded at Adam. he cleared His throat. "Because you have done this," He boomed at the red man, "Cursed are you above all cattle, and above all wild animals; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. That ought to do it, Adam. I want you to call that Genesis 3:14."
   "Three fourteen. Is that the time, Sir?"
   God shook His head and wondered what He was thinking when He made this guy the father of men.
   The horned man muttered something about unfair treatment of character actors and disappeared back into the ground.
   Eve giggled. God frowned at her. "You're not exactly in for nuts and honey either."
   Now Adam smiled. God fixed His glare on him. "What are you laughing at, bright boy? You ate the fruit too. What's your excuse?"
   Adam looked at Eve. Swallowed. Looked at God. Swallowed. He feared God. God could punish him. So could Eve. Eve cut off sex when she was mad...and God wasn't that mean. Still, with God on his side Adam felt like he might have half a chance against the Wrath of Eve. "Well Sir, you really don't know what you've stuck me with here." He pointed at Eve. Her cold stare gave him a chill but his speech picked up in pace. God's eyes looked surprised but the Old Man seemed to be on his side. "All I hear all day and all night is nag, nag, nag! Adam, I want some fruit! Adam, i want a house! Adam, touch me there and I'll rip your arms off ! Adam, I want a fur coat! -- A fur coat! Why should she need a fur coat? She's already got hair! And too much of that to hear her complain about it--look at her legs and underarms!"
   God nodded. "Yes, I can see how that could grate on you."
   "You're right it grates on me! So one day she comes in and she's She says to me, Adam, I brought you a nice piece of forbidden fruit. eat it. It'll make you feel good. Well, Sir, I didn't want any forbidden fruit. And there we went again! Nag, nag, and more nag! So I ate the damn fruit."
   He seemed to run out of breath for a moment. Adam folded his arms over his chest and stared at something between his elbows and the ground. "I know this is probably a bad time to ask a favor," he continued sheepishly, but if it's all the same to you and not too much trouble... I'd like to trade Eve in and get my rib back."
   God chuckled. Sorry, old boy. You're stuck with her. Procreation is the reason--can't have you tying yourself in knots; it's just too ugly." His good humor vanished. "Besides, I'll have to punish the both of you."
   Adam shuddered; Eve pouted.
   "Eve, I had planned to make childbirth your right and pleasure, but since you disobeyed me that's going to change..."
   Eve beamed. "You mean you're going to let Adam get knocked up?"
   "Not quite. No Eve, you shall give birth...and it's going to hurt! Additionally, your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you... at least until you figure out that he really isn't in charge of anything. Got it?"
   Eve nodded and looked at the ground. We'll see if Adam is going to be in charge! She smiled and looked at Adam. He missed the significance of the first woman's death-ray.
   "Stop grinning, Adam," God warned. "You're in trouble too. From this moment on, you're going to have to work in order to eat."
   "Work? No, God, please no!"
   "You want to appeal to a higher court?" God laughed at His own joke, which passed over the heads of Adam and Eve in every sense of the phrase. "Sorry. Yes, Adam, you will work. You will toil the land for your food."
   Adam and Eve held hands and looked up at the face of God.
   "Oy! Stop looking so pathetic," God groaned. "It won't be so bad, you'll see. You'll work a bit, figure out new things, learn to fend for yourselves... Just so you don't forget I love you, I want you to have something."
   God snapped His fingers and Adam and Eve suddenly found themselves dressed in fine animal skins. They stopped and admired each other...and decided they both looked better covered up.
   "Thanks!" Adam said brightly.
   "Yeah, yeah, yeah." God sighed. "Now get out of the garden, please. I've got a lot to do." He vanished back  into the heavens.
   Adam and Eve, still standing hand in hand, looked at the world around them. The garden was gone, but they saw the world spread before them. The sun was hotter and there wasn't much fruit on the trees, but they knew. They knew they would make the world a good place for their children.

I took a few liberties with the story from the Bible, but the core of it comes from Genesis.

1 comment:

David J. Steele said...

This story is part of my book "Just for Fun: A Little Sexton and Some Other Stuff" available at