Sunday, May 02, 2010

The Wikipedia Bible

Since Beth and I spent the weekend designing, cutting, glueing, addressing, and enveloping Bat Mitzvah invitations for our daughter's upcoming Bat Mitzvah, I thought that this story which I wrote for a teen flash fiction anthology might be an appropriate post for tonight.


I put my Bar Mitzvah suit on. It’s been a couple years. It almost fits. I’m going door-to-door, down the street, one house behind them. How do they do it, going to our front doors, telling us what God wants us to know? I think, if God exists, God wouldn’t need them to knock. God would shoot in through the keyhole while turning the threshold to fire, or use the door as a tenth-dimension portal in a corny joke at a party with Spacetime, and then transform the house into a skeleton of pure light, or an iPod with inconceivable new features. I’d have to kill you if I told you what they were, but you can sync with elephants, oceans, and most of the constellations.

I knock on the door and say, “I’m creating a Wikipedia Bible. I want you to write what you believe and post it on the Internet. What? You already have. Great. Thanks for your time.” But of course, I don’t really do that. Instead, I sit in my suit in the backyard and remember when my grandmother told me that she stopped believing in God. It happened during the war when most of her family was killed. So before my Bar Mitzvah, I told the Rabbi that I didn’t believe in God. He said, “Do you want to help people?”
“I guess,” I said.
“Then you believe in God,” he smiled.

I think wondering if you believe in God is like asking the Internet if it believes in computers, or a computer if it believes in electricity. God is the ultimate screenname for everything. Everything is everything no matter what you call it. What you do about it is something else.

My parents are upstairs, getting ready. The limo will arrive soon and then we’ll all go to the chapel for my grandmother’s funeral. She’d been in the hospital for days and we were all there when it happened. My parents, uncles and aunts, cousins, my sister, back from university. It didn’t seem like she knew we were there, but I think she did. My mother held one of her hands, one of my aunts held the other. We were all quiet except for the little kids, and we watched the numbers on the monitors get smaller and smaller, the green waves on the monitors become just ripples, as if the wind in there was getting softer and softer, just like my grandmother’s breathing.

The screen door at the back of the house squawks open. My mother tells me its time. As I walk into the kitchen, she wraps her arms around me tight. “Hug me back,” she says.

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