Labor Pains

Labor Pains

By Sharon K. Trumpy

appleIn retrospect, I got a little out of control with the idea. Okay, a lot out of control. It’s like this. Have you ever bought a label-maker? You thought you’d label those bins of seasonal clothing in the basement. Pants, 2T. But soon you’re labeling everything. Light switches, kitchen cabinets, canisters of flour. Suddenly labeling seems like the answer to everything.

That’s how it was for Me on Day Six. I’d been tinkering with reproduction since Day Three, when I’d created the seed-bearing plant. But by Day Six, I was tired. When I got to the rabbit, I was just looking for a shortcut. Internal sexual reproduction seemed like the answer. “I can spend eternity creating rabbits,” I thought, “or create a self- perpetuating rabbit and take a day off, like, TOMORROW.”

Easy choice. And when I saw how successful the technique was—the rabbits took to it right away—I started using it on every animal. When I got to man, I was drunk with success. “You know what you need?” I said to him, “A woman. Made in My own likeness.”

Oh, you thought Adam was made in My own likeness? Probably because of the “God the Father” thing. It’s my pen name. I’m no fool—male authors sell more books.

So I made Eve, put ’em both in the Garden, and took a day of rest. Which I’d need, since the humans turned out to cause Me many a sleepless night.

I was proud of them. But they were also … challenging. Spirited. Spunky. No. They were self-absorbed, demanding, and unappreciative. I’d spent half of creation making edibles, apparently for nothing. “Ewww, what’s that green thing?” whined Adam.

“It’s a pear,” I answered.

“I don’t like pears.” Same for peaches, strawberries, peppers, mushrooms. Didn’t taste them, just insisted he didn’t like them.

“Fine then,” I replied, “I guess you’ll be hungry.”

Eve, however, tried everything. A bite of banana, a nibble of walnut. She actually licked a lettuce leaf and dropped it, uneaten, to grab a nearby pineapple. I tried being nice. “Sweetie, you need to finish that lettuce before you …”

“Yuck!” She spit out a mouthful of the pineapple’s prickly outer skin and headed for the apple tree.

“Hold up!” I said, “You can’t eat that one.” Eve gave me a smirk and reached for an apple. “If you eat it, you’ll … die.”

“I’ll DIE?” she gasped. “For real?”

“Uh, yeah,” I replied. “You can eat anything except that because … you’ll die.”

Oh, don’t act so shocked. Remember when your three-year-old threw a tantrum in the grocery store and you hissed that he’d never get ice cream again? You thought no one heard you. But I did.

That’s how I felt when Eve reached for the apple. I couldn’t let her mess up that tree because, well, this is embarrassing, but I was thinking of testing a prototype—apple trees that reproduce like animals. Not exactly like animals but I don’t want to get into details. Trade secrets. Plus, tree penis talk is not for the faint of heart.

Point being, Eve knew not to eat the apples. When I found her hiding with Adam, I knew the score immediately. I was fuming, but I acted casual, like you might when you spot your potty-training toddler straining and red-faced behind the living room sofa. You know what she’s up to but you’re like, “Hey kiddo, whatcha doing back there?” That was Me. “Hey, Adam. Hey, Eve. Whatcha doing behind the boxwood shrub?”

Adam cracked on the spot, “We ate the apples!” he sobbed. “We did! I wasn’t going to—they looked gross—but Eve made me!”

Eve was like, “It was the serpent!” Well, Eve may have been born yesterday, but I wasn’t.

I probably should have scrapped the whole human race at that point—it would have saved Me the trouble of that flood—but I was too angry to see straight. I’m ashamed to admit it, but Eve’s punishment was payback. Honest to Me, eye-for-an-eye sort of stuff. Eve had left Me so stressed out that instead of experimenting with sexual reproduction, I started experimenting with narcotics. And I was going to make sure that sexual reproduction left her wishing for some pain relief too.

Brain, Child (Spring 2012)