This story is by Larry M. Keeton and was part of our 2017 Winter Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Summoned to God’s Creation Chamber, Gabriel saw the massive worktable filled with plates and a large jar. The unfamiliar, but tantalizing aromas, made his stomach growl.
God set down a bone and licked his fingers. “Ribs,” he said, pointing to a plate. “Try one.”
Gabriel bit into the fleshy meat, feeling a warm ooze snake down his chin. The exotic blend of flavors befitted the Heavenly Choir’s inspired “Alleluias.”
“Try the wine.” God nodded to the jar.
Following God’s example, he licked his fingers before pouring red liquid into his goblet. As with new drinks, he took it slow. Sip. Swish to cleanse palette. Swallow. Swirl the liquid in goblet. Smell for fragrance. Second sip. Sit on tongue. Swallow.
“Good, isn’t it?” God asked.
“One of your best.” Gabriel savored the next sip.
“Watch it. The alcohol content needs adjusting.”
“Where’s it from?” Gabriel looked at the universe map on the wall behind the Creator. One thousand one enterprises were displayed, a symbol representing their purpose.
God pointed to a darken region. “We’ve got six days to create our farm.”
“Six days! Ventures take eons.”
“Conditions like this appear once in a blue moon.”
“Just slow down time.” Gabriel said.
“Screw with the master plan? Nope. Six days is adequate for this minor effort.” Returning to his table, God picked up a long yellow stock. “Corn.” He chomped into the cob, bits of yellow kernels sailed across the table.
Looking over at Gabriel he continued, “We deserve some decent cuisine. It is Heaven; for heaven’s sake.” He chuckled. “For heaven’s sake. I like that. Scribble it on the scroll.”
The creation six-step pattern had been well established by project Pisces. The first two events got God’s creative juices flowing. The third established foundation while the fourth and fifth filled in gaps. The sixth and culminating step unveiled the ultimate function of the effort.
Taking his Captain’s chair, Gabriel looked up at the operations center monitoring screen. A thousand green symbols blinked before him. “Bring up the creation screen.”
“Another one?” Michael’s tone matched Gabriel frustration with more workload.
“Target: Milky Way Galaxy, third orb from energy source.”
“What’s it this time?”
“Beef ribs, corn and wine.”
“Creation screen up,” Michael said.
Raw universe waiting. The wonder of it all never ceased to amaze him. Flipping on the intercom switch, Gabriel said, “We’re ready, sir.”
“Let there be light!” boomed over the speakers.
Narrow shards of brilliance streaked across the monitor, cutting deep slivers in to the inky black.
“Strike that technique,” God said. He then consolidated the light strips. Two bands emerged. “Ying and Yang. Crops grow best in a combination of light and dark over a twenty-four-hour period. Light will be day; darkness, night. What say you, Gabe?”
“It’s a beginning.”
“Let’s call it a day.” A hearty laugh echoed inside the operations center. “Get it, call it a day.”
“Funny, sir.” Gabe flipped off the intercom switch. Only five more to go.
The next morning, Gabriel stared at a blurry screen. Objects seemed to flow to and fro. Wine after affects? “Equipment malfunction?”
“Water,” Michael said.
Gabriel flipped the intercom switch. “Ready here, sir.”
“Let there be sky!” God’s resonance commanded.
A fiery, reddish hue emerged crystal clear across the screen’s top while boiling waves sloshed across its bottom edge.
“Doesn’t look very hospitable,” Gabriel said.
Light blue with floating white puffs appeared.
“Much more inviting,” Gabriel said.
“I thought so,” God said. “I’ve a fishing date on Pisces. Care to come along? All work and no play makes for a tiresome operations manager.”
A demanding yellow flash blinked. “Thanks for the offer, but Omega’s brewing.”
“I know. See you tomorrow.”
Gabriel arrived early. “Morning, Jonah,” he said to the angel manning Michael’s desk during the third shift.
“G’day, sir. Eruption on Omega. Twenty-five hundred souls. Peter’s team been alerted.”
Creating souls had been hotly debated. Opposition focused on heavenly imbalances, displacing angels from duties. Gabriel countered, “The more, the merrier.” God compromised. Projects with soul-enhanced beings would not exceed ten percent.
“Milky Way?” Gabriel asked as he took his place.
“Big day,” Michael said, entering the ops center.
“Mind if I watch?” Jonah asked.
“Enjoy the show. Intercom’s live.” He paused. “How was the fishing?”
“Big white whale got away,” God said.
Gabriel heard a whispered “Another fish tale.”
“Watch it, Jonah,” God shot back. “Next time you can observe up close … dangling from my hook.”
Apologetic, Jonah said, “I seek thy grace, O Wondrous of Heaven’s Greatest Fishers,” Jonah said.
“Granted.” God then commanded, “Let the waters gather unto one place!”
Like a vacuum, the orb sucked the liquid onto itself.
“Gabe,” came through the speaker. “Dry land is next. It needs to rise like baking bread. When the fifth stratum appears, scatter in dinosaur bones, larger ferns, amber, oil and gas deposits from Pegasus.”
“Intriguing way to enhance the soil mixture.”
“Fuel source. We may have to mechanize in the future.” The intercom clicked off.
Seventeen hours later, God spoke again. “Looks like it’s ready for vegetation. Just think. Next year. Barbecues under a blue sky, chomping down Cajun spiced ribs, butter laden corn on the cob, and watermelon. Woooeeee!”
“Don’t forget the wine,” Gabriel said.
“Haven’t. We’ll test the first vineyards in the northern hemisphere. Once satisfied, we can expand to other regions.
“Let there be grass, flowers, herbs, bushes, trees, and fruits!”
Dazzling colors of reds, yellows, green, browns, purples and others blossomed across the screen as plants took root beneath a clear blue sky.
In awe, Michael and Jonah said “Wow.”
“Looking good. Veeery good.”
Mesmerized, Gabriel leaned back in his chair. Tranquility permeated the operations center at the end of day three.
Seasons being necessary to guide the plants’ growth cycle, God created the sun and moon on day four. He threw in stars as a good measure. “Just imagine,” he said. “Lying on the grass, staring into the heavens. Nice Cabernet. Relaxation at its finest.”
The issue of soil rejuvenation arose. The solution was fish from Pisces and birds from Pegasus. “They’ll help spread the plant seeds,” God said as day five concluded.
Day six had been frenzied. Thousands of land species now inhabited the earth. Some were transplants. Others, like bear, horses, and frogs were new.
As the clocked ticked down to the last half hour, God summoned Gabriel.
Entering the Creator’s chamber, he saw God’s perplexed expression.
“Something wrong, sir?” Gabriel slid into his chair. “Things look magnificent.”
“Management. The farm needs management.”
“I figured we’d be handling it from here.”
“As was I. But, the birds and transplanted land beast brought in weeds. The farm’s going to need constant, on-site supervision.”
“Can’t it be added later?”
God shook his head. “It’s got to be trustworthy, intelligent, love the work, and possess faith.”
“Angels could do it.”
“Considered it. But then I break my own rule about heavenly bodies influencing project development.” God stood and paced for several minutes.
Gabriel checked the countdown clock. Twenty minutes. “Have you given it much thought?”
God glared at him. “Not as much as I needed. Should have cleaned out those animal bellies.”
Silence. Refuting God had consequences.
“I’ve no choice,” He lamented. “We’re going to make a man like us.”
Gabriel sat straight up. “All our knowledge in the wrong hands…”
“Limited intelligence combined with a soul should keep him grounded. Trust is the issue.”
“Free will is the only option,” Gabriel said.
“That doesn’t mean he’ll show up to work.”
True. Even in heaven, angels sometimes shirk the hard tasks. “What about a supervisor for him?”
“You’re the perfect example. Someone who’s smarter, loving, encouraging and demanding when necessary. Plus, you give us what we desire – high quality eternal life. Man needs a boss like that.”
God snapped his fingers. “That’s it.”
Gabriel looked at the clock. Six minutes remaining.
Gabriel sprinted to his screen. Forming an image in the Earth’s dust, God said. “Let us make man; in our own image, after our likeness!”
Then he took a rib from the man’s chest. A second, a curvier figured emerged.
He breathed life into them both, whispered something in each one’s ear, kissed them on both cheeks, and vanished.
The sixth day ended as a smiling Creator appeared in the control center. “Piece of cake. I am well pleased.”
They all cheered, clapped and gave praises as the curvier being grabbed the man’s hand and they wandered through the garden. The Heavenly Chorus belted out “Glory to God in the Highest.”
“You whispered something in each one’s ear,” Gabriel said.
God nodded. “Solved the management crisis. Told Adam he had dominion over all on this earth. Take care of it.” He then smiled, and continued. “‘Eve,’ I said. ‘I’ve bestowed wisdom and wiles upon you for a purpose.’ With a conspiratorial grin, she winked.”