I know. It's tough, really tough at first.
So, just started? How did they call you up?
The burning bush? Voices in tooth fillings?
And have your headaches started yet, prophet?
A fish, I said. And told the man my tale.
A talking fish, he said when I'd finished.
That sounds so typical of the angels.
They pulled a real classic on my last job.
They snagged me with e-mail with code attached,
A viral script that executes itself
And seizes control to glorify God,
Infects and transforms all life it finds,
All contingent events within the void,
All energy and time and space itself,
Into a screensaver praising the Lord.
I thought it was spam, but when I hit delete
The screen went crazy and started to scroll.
I couldn't believe it when I read the text
That crawled across eyesight's rods and cones,
Pixels that fired off and then went inert
After that moving hand had moved on.
And what did this writing say? I asked.
Say, that's quite a nifty coat you have;
I had never realized that sackcloth
Could have such attractive lack of colour.
So, you wore a coat? said Marguerite.
I guess I somehow dozed off a bit
And missed the thrilling and action-packed scene
In which you changed out of your fishing garb.
Yes, I cut quite the fine figure then.
All of us are just statistical blips,
Bits of heat that band together awhile
And then disperse when impulse fades and cools,
But even so I can't help but believe
That my waveform was more handsome than most
When given the jaunt that sackcloth brings.
And this suited not only appearance
But gave function as well a needed lift.
I was Godhead's messenger to Nineveh,
Not all melodious song, preen and prance,
Figure of fun come in splendid attire
To irradiate realms with warmth of charm,
To teach doomed planets my frivolous laugh.
No, I had serious business to conduct.
It was my commonsense duty to become,
Like Mahomet, of a piece with the message.
My self-worth was derived from my product,
Cut from the same cloth, the same sackcloth,
For how convince if not convinced myself?
I was like that butcher you often see,
As big and muscled, red-fleshed and beefy,
As those beefsteaks he cuts, cooks and eats.
I'd sewn together a coat for myself,
Forseeing a need for demonstration.
Moreover coats divide inside from out
And give adepts a place to hide their hands
When doing a fancy card trick for marks.
I see, said Marguerite. You may proceed.
And what was your mission, Elijah? I asked.
As you know, God hates dancing and drinking.
He thinks both are unproductive and unseemly,
Unfitting behaviour in towns he promotes.
Disorderly conduct, as he terms it.
But he knows people must have some release,
So I was sent down to Nineveh to sell
A series of ballroom dancing lessons
That featured God's favourite, the foxtrot.
It's dance sedate enough not to offend
Or send crowds of couples out of control.
Also, I was asked to convince motorists
That drunk driving's not fun but dangerous.
Liber Jonae Contents