ISSUE 78

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 It started with a note on the front door: Hey Noah. Feeling angry. Going to destroy everything. Maybe build a boat. Don’t take the unicorns. Just thought you should know. XOXO. God.  
 It wasn’t the first note. It wasn’t even the craziest note. But it was legible, and for a creator who rushed through receipt signatures like he had to save someone on a cross, that was something.
 Not that Noah paid attention. He trudged his way to the living room, popped open a Budweiser, and thought, He really needs to do something about his split personality disorder. Slinging back in his recliner, he checked what was on TV, an eight-hundred-pound block of granite Noah couldn’t be bothered to move when he built his house. His opinion was the rock freshened up the room, and considering the rest of the room was dirt, he had a point.
 After the fifth UPS angel messenger, however, Noah came to the conclusion that yes, he would need to build an ark and that yes, he would need to round up every single animal, except the dinosaurs, and leave his friends to die. So… not the worst birthday present God had ever given him—but close.   
 And how to build it? The “Arks And You: Reliving The Fun Of Large, Unwieldy Transportation” pamphlet had some directions, but it was mostly just ads for erectile dysfunction pills. Keeling Over: A History Of The Barge featured sixty pages of large, floating logs and Hard To Port: How To Abandon Your Job And Live The Dream was really about moving back in with your parents.
 But with a little DIY, duct tape, and the determination of someone who had a catastrophic deadline, somehow Noah slapped together a ramshackle affair named “Ye Olde Sea Hag.” Noah’s wife was not impressed.
 The neighbors thought a boat in the middle of July in a desert was strange. Like, it’s fine, do what you want to do, but don’t tell us how corrupt we are when you cut down all of the shade within fifty miles. Also, Noah, you can’t be five hundred years old. It’s impossible. So, stop complimenting yourself on how good you look for being that old. You look average for fifty-seven, which is what you are.   
 But then the rain came—gallons, liters, cubits, fathoms, buckets, water-balloons-worth, piss loads… however one measured it, it was a lot. Everyone had their say about the weather. “Climate change,” Side A said. “Completely normal weather conditions,” Side B said. “Record-shattering rain fall. Floods imminent,” Side A said. “Well within average Earth fluctuations,” Side B said. “Move to high ground or grow gills,” Side A said. “Okay…” Side B said while they furiously treaded water. “Maybe we were wrong.”
 When no more people could fit on the twelve-person rubber safety raft, courtesy of the local Presbyterians, the public outcry became more serious. Up to that point, the rain could be safely ignored—well, as much as one can safely ignore sixteen feet of standing water.
 With a leisure that suggested sharks enjoyed their new supremacy, Noah’s neighbors were picked off like rubber ducks in a bathtub. They pleaded for Noah to sacrifice the pair of rats and let them on board, but Noah was steadfast. The rats stay. At some point in the future, a city will need its sewers to be infested by something, and he’d be damned if it were butterflies.  
 Soon enough, before Noah could say, “My wife is about to be mauled by a cougar,” the duck had mated with an otter and created a platypus. This became a good metaphor of how well the trip was going. Every animal was close to lunacy, especially on day thirty-five when they hadn’t eaten anything except their complimentary pack of peanuts and Noah’s least favorite son.
 By the time dry land was visible, everyone wondered what they were going to eat, where they were, and whether God had gotten the “smashy-smashy” out of his system. Sure, the rainbow was a nice “sorry I destroyed everything” make-up gift, though a sack of flour, some fresh fruit, and new clothes may have been more appreciated.
 And Noah—as anyone would do after spending months in an enclosed space with family, cleaning up after every animal in existence, and dealing with three persons in one omnipotent being—got plastered. God bless him.
   
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