Post Road Magazine #26

Omniplanet

Robert Uren

God makes sandwiches with too much meat. Then He makes a second sandwich. Every time. Like God can't figure out how much sandwich a god needs to eat in one sitting. Surely not two enormous sandwiches, even if that sitting will last the length of a Gilligan's Island marathon, which God watches blankly for the entire first weekend that Eve lives with Him on Omniplanet.

*

The first room Eve saw in God's house was full of torture devices. It had all the medieval equipment Eve learned about on TV before Armageddon: crocodile shears, a Judas chair, pins to shove up fingernails.

And it has some weapons from Eve's own time, God said, like episodes of The New Leave it to Beaver. Just kidding, He said, but it is for real messed up what can happen to a human soul.

Since that first day, Eve has waited for God to apologize for torturing and destroying every other human being that ever existed.

*

God has kept His toothbrush too long. Since forever, maybe. It's basically bristleless. And He has at least a hundred teeth, Eve's guessing after eyeballing them when God conked out on the couch watching The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island.

*

She's asked about Earth again.

He would smite her right there if He didn't think she would throw it in His face later. That's how she is, she may not realize. Kind of a nag.

He let her entire species perish, she reminds Him. So maybe He can forgive her for needing to understand.

*

It's pastrami, mostly, and some bologna. And sometimes He adds jelly. Eve points out to God what He's put on his sandwich.

She doesn't know what things taste like to a god, Eve. Why doesn't she let up? He made her. She knows that, right? Just let Him eat His sandwiches. Jeez.

*

If she's being honest, Eve loves God. She couldn't say why.

*

God plays in a regular pick-up basketball game at a rec center. It's the one thing God does outside of the house that isn't shopping or complaining during Eve's walks. Eve's tagged along to watch a game and asks how basketball works with gods.

She needs to stop asking about everything on Omniplanet and just let Him loosen up so He doesn't pull a hammy.

The other gods roll their eyes when He calls next.

If she has to know everything, that hurt His feelings that they did that. They're such a-holes, but He keeps coming back because He just really loves the game.

Eve watches. God isn't very good. He misses most of His shots and falls down a lot when other gods take Him off the dribble.

He just needs new shoes. She can come with Him to shop for shoes if she wants. He doesn't care what she does.

*

It's a human, alright? Did Eve think she was the only human being in the whole omniverse?

Does He mean after He told her every human soul perished during that hissy fit He threw at the end of the world? Yes. Yes, after that, Eve thought she was the only human.

It's a big omniverse, Eve.

But Eve's been here on Omniplanet for a month and God never said anything about other humans.

Eve didn't ask. He's supposed to read her mind? Who does she think He is, God? Ha ha. Alright, alright, so it's a human—sue Him. There's another human on Omniplanet. That dude God is a complete dick, though, so Eve shouldn't think for a second that anybody's setting up a play date or something any time soon.

Eve asks, That other human's god is named God, too?

*

Because God will be damned if He's getting up to make a second sandwich if He wants a second sandwich, commercial break or no. So two sandwiches up front. That's just smart.

Eve says she loves Him.

Knock it off, He says.

She wishes she could.

*

This other God seems like maybe he's better than God in every way, Eve is thinking. A little taller. A stronger chin. Better at rolling off screens to set up for open shots, which he tends to make.

How's Earth Jr.? Eve hears another god ask, taunting her God.

*

This is the one where a guy like gets stranded on the island and the castaways think he's gonna save them, but then he ditches them in the middle of the night. Ha ha. That's all of the episodes, if she doesn't get why that's funny.

*

He calls it that because there was another Earth first. That's what "junior" means, Eve. It doesn't mean her Earth was like less than that dude's Earth. They were the same. Almost exactly the same. Except He made some kind of mistake, alright Eve? If He had to do over again, He'd be more careful.

Careful enough not to destroy everyone's eternal souls?

She should really watch it, or else He'll make a new planet and stick her on it.

She wishes He would.

He knows she wishes that, because He's omniscient, in case she's forgotten, Eve.

Like He can even spell "omniscient."

O. Alright? First O. Then M. Ugh. N-I-S-H. Shut up. He was distracted with something else.

Like with Earth?

Yeah, like with her beloved Earth, Eve.

*

God loses the remote a lot.

*

Well, Eve, He guesses He wasn't paying attention when Eve watched her daughter die from starvation. Or to anything else that happened on Earth in the last two or three millennia or so, He finally admits to Eve when she's pressed Him long enough.

But what was He doing, Eve wants to know.

He was probably eating a sandwich, Eve. Christ. He doesn't know. Maybe He blinked. She has no idea what godtime is like, human.

*

He wouldn't say perfect. Man. Just because he looks more like—it's hard, alright, to make a person out of nothing and make it look just like you.

That other God did a pretty good job, doesn't God think?

No. Eve. God doesn't think. God doesn't think God is such a big deal just because his human is perfect or whatever she wants to think he is.

Can she meet him, finally?

Adam? If she'll help Him find the remote, she can do whatever she wants.

*

His shoes are high tops because He's had weak ankles since He was a kid.

Because He doesn't let them get stronger by wearing low tops, Eve suggests.

It's none of her business what shoes He—god, she should just watch quietly or go be little and nearly extinct somewhere.

God does play better in the new shoes. But the play of the day is when another god turns God around with a pass fake and dunks right on God's head.

*

And M&Ms, it turns out. Pastrami and bologna and jelly and M&Ms He puts on these massive sandwiches.

*

They're talking about which of the religions Eve remembers hearing about were true.

None of them. All of them. He doesn't give a shit, man. Sometimes He liked playing up the vengeance thing and freaking people out. Sometimes He did go ahead and exist in all things living and not. Because what the hell else do you do with a planet? Sometimes He liked the sound of loving everyone. Give some people more than one life. Didn't matter. Talk about sacrifices with this guy. Encourage a little polygamy with that guy. Whatever.

Wasn't it interesting that He always seemed to talk to men?

Eve should get over it, toots. Ha ha. No, really, though, He's about done with this little living arrangement.

*

Eve has learned where the other God lives. Eve visits, but Adam is back on Earth.

It's a time thing, the other God explains. Adam has to go be Adam periodically, when this God decides to reconfigure the history of his planet.

This God is great. Warm and funny. He fills her in on subjects God gets pissy about.

Well, this God explains, Eve's God is just a little juvenile, is all. He saw his Earth project and saw how so many of his humans worshipped him. He wanted that. So over the course of a months-long friendship—he'd thought it was a friendship, anyway—He got him to talk about how he'd done it. And then He stopped calling and he heard that God had made this other Earth. Had called it Earth and even adopted his name, God.

What was His name before, Eve asks.

God doesn't know. They all called Him Lionel, but then one day He lashed out and said that wasn't His name. They'd been playing with him every week for months, so it was pretty awkward.

*

God admits He learned to tie His shoes late in life, and He admits it in a really sweet way.

He and Eve are at the shoe store—2 for 9 with 8 turnovers in just one game—and God sees this girl god who's maybe ten who can't tie her shoes. So God ambles over with His new basketball shoes untied and, without acknowledging the girl, struggles exaggeratedly to tie them until she notices. Eve worries that the girl might think God is mocking her, but the girl laughs and God leans over.

He was at least thirteen before He could tie His shoes, He whispers.

Eve wonders if the girl would feel worse about herself if she knew just what company this shoe tying issue puts her in.

*

No, God won't disassemble the torture chamber. That took a long time to put together—human time, anyway. He smears grape jam onto pastrami and says she had one thing to remember at the store and she gets jam. Jelly, Eve. Not jam, Eve. Jelly.

*

It has literally a single bristle, the toothbrush. Eve searches God's bathroom, thinking He must have a different toothbrush hidden somewhere. And then, disgusted, she thinks: does He use her toothbrush?

*

It turns out God got in trouble for stealing the other God's Earth idea. Now God pays a monthly installment on a settlement to which each party agreed out of court. Eve asks where God gets His money.

He just creates it, Eve, He's God.

But then what's the penalty for stealing each other's ideas if everyone can make money out of thin air?

Not everyone, Eve. She can't make money out of thin air.

But that's not her point.

She's not her point.

And that is the infuriating end of that.

*

It's not even good pastrami. He gets it from this shady butcher in this dumpy part of town where, Eve's heard, only gods who make perpetually warring planets live and shop. The butcher is some other god's creation, a five-armed sluggy thing that oozes on the meat. And God haggles, too, because of the ooze, which might be why He comes here. He knows he can get pastrami cheap because this poor slug thing can't slice it without oozing something vile all over the place. Eve stays on the sidewalk. God doesn't rope her to a lamppost like some gods do their creations.

*

Eve finally asks if it was just a coincidence that she, the last woman on Earth, had the same name as Eve, the first woman on Earth.

There was no first woman on Earth, dummy.

Right. Because she's the dummy in this relationship.

There is no this relationship.

Maybe it's about time they make that official?

Be His guest.

Just where exactly does He think she'd go?

Go live with God, if he's so wonderful.

Maybe she will. It would be nice to get away from the pile of shoes spilling from His sloppy bedroom and nicer still to get away from all of these wasted pastrami, bologna, jelly, M&M, and ooze sandwiches He keeps making like His life depends on it.

His life doesn't depend on anything, Eve. Not like hers.

*

At the rec center, as God counts gods to see if they need him to make ten players, Eve watches a little boy god who's learning to create worlds, life and all. Eve is horrified when the little god claps his hands together and snuffs out his creations, giggling.

That's how God probably was as a kid, annihilating life joyously.

Seriously, God barks, He can't go back in time. That isn't how it works, time, not that Eve would know, since she's such a person.

*

God says that that other God had this master plan that involved conducting many systems of worship that ultimately harmonized into the most awesome human faith. Even on that other Earth, when that other God's people thought their religions were dissonant, their god could hear the melody. But He didn't get it right, so Eve's humans never harmonized. It sounded like if you dropped a wrench in a garbage disposal and the wrench was made of a thousand cats in heat and the disposal was made of screams. So he messed up pretty bad, and if Eve really wants to know the truth, God will tell her: He's sorry. Really. And He wishes He had the guts to try again.

*

God's lost the remote and He's toppled furniture searching for it.

Gilligan's Island starts in no fewer than four minutes, Eve, if she thinks she might like to help Him look for it.

*

Here's a surprise He's been working on when she sleeps. All the torture equipment is gone from the old torture room and the floor is covered in sand. In the corner He's built a bamboo hut with a hammock inside that'll rip out of the sheetrock if anyone climbs in it. Believe Him. He's tried. The palm trees are real, He says, but they'll probably die since He doesn't really know how to water them without getting in trouble with His landlord.

Eve asks, So He turned the room into Gilligan's Island for . . . her?

He guesses so. It's not a torture chamber anymore, is what He thought she wanted.

It is what she wanted. It is. Thanks.

*

He's back to the shoe store again after a day at the rec center spent mostly sitting on the sideline waiting for games to end because His teams kept losing and the gods who had next didn't want Him to run with them.

*

No, Adam wasn't really the first man on the other Earth, the other God says. That's not how godtime works, exactly. Well, kind of. It's more like he put some forces and elements into motion and let Adam become more or less the first man on Earth for some people.

And did he have an Eve, Eve wants to know.

Kind of. He means, for some people who live on his Earth, there was an Adam and an Eve—it's a complicated thing. Time, space, perception. Why? Is she interested in something like that? At being on an Earth again?

Maybe, Eve says, because—well, why does she love God even though he sucks so much?

That's to her credit. The other God says that Eve's love for God means both that Eve's soul is beautiful and that God wasn't such a bad god, maybe, if He could make that soul.

*

This is the one where that guy gets shipwrecked on the island and everybody thinks he'll save them but then he sneaks away without them. Ha ha. Because that's all of them, if she doesn't get—

Yeah. He's made that joke before, Eve says, and nudges God so He knows she kind of likes that He's made that joke before.

*

It wouldn't be her, really, except in a soul sense, the other God explains. It's not like she'd have memories of God or Omniplanet if she went to his Earth or if her God made another Earth.

To be honest, she can live without the memory of God spitting out a fingernail, biting into a giant sandwich, and farting while the Professor tests another coconut's radio reception.

Yeah. He gets that. Although, her God does love her, this other God happens to know. Well, anyway, he'll let Him make another one, if that's what they want. No lawsuit or residuals or anything. He'd like to see them both get what they need.

*

Why is it on all the time? Do other gods love it as much as He does? It's truly a stupid show. He knows that, right?

God shrugs and reaches for a sandwich. It is reasonably sized and single. So Eve drops the Gilligan thing.

*

Adam is back and Eve meets him courtside during one of their gods' pick-up games. Afterward, she tells God that Adam is actually pretty underwhelming. Good guy. A little dull.

See? He knew He could make a better Adam.

Maybe He should.

Really?

Sure. Maybe He should. That other God said he wouldn't sue if God wanted to try an Earth again. Plus He's on a roll, after all, what with that three-pointer he nailed to win that game today. So, how open would He be to creating another Earth?

He doesn't know. He's thought about it. The truth is, He gets real sad thinking about how her Earth worked out.

Eve nods. She wants Him to know that she thinks He can be a good god. And she'd like to be a part of something like Earth, again, if God wants to try again, and even again after that, because she's thinking maybe even if He isn't perfect, He's hers and she's—

Alright, alright, Eve, He gets it.

*

Eve gives God a fresh toothbrush. He tears up and shuffles away muttering, Is she saying something about His oral hygiene? And then finally He says, Thanks.

*

Well, so much for God, the three-point specialist. He's back to bricks and rolls His ankle again, or else uses His notoriously feeble ankles as an excuse to get subbed out. To the opposing team's visible chagrin, Eve notices.

*

Eve and God sit on the sand in God's Gilligan room. God runs a finger through the sand, diagramming their new planet. Eve keeps to herself that maybe she smells human suffering, that maybe the stench is in the walls.

He's thinking a dodecahedron.

Well, maybe they should probably stick with a sphere.

Sphere, then, yeah, she's right. He's glad she's here to help Him get it right this time.

God draws a circle around the raised land and recessed oceans He's sculpted. He smears the sand around the edge of the circle, erasing continents and seas that don't fit. He points to the middle of their circle. How about here to begin human life on Earth? He adds, This time.



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