God, the Almighty, tossed His white curls back and gave His son, Jesus, a grim look. Seated at the right hand of His father, Jesus ventured a facetious, "Welcome to the twenty-first century," and then smiled in as casual a manner as he could, and prayed that God wasn't going to ask Him to do anything drastic. He sat in silence while His father thought aloud. In the beginning, God had been suggesting possible solutions to Himself in quiet, hopeful voices. Now he scowled and muttered and gestured his frustration with his hands. When God threw his hands into the air and yowled, "Stymied by an appliance!", though, Jesus coolly looked west and sniggered into His shoulder.

    The cause of God's distress was the machine in Dr. Antouine Jolicouer's laundry room. Dr. Jolicouer had yesterday afternoon received a blueprint, in his mailbox, postmarked "Hell." He had immediately set to work on the adjustments indicated, and just as the International Date Line was coming around again into the sunshine, Dr. Antouine had closed the lid, turned the dial to "LIGHT WASH," and pressed the start button. As the Earth had pulled through its rotation into Monday, February 23, 2003, the people had looked into the sky to see a few thin rays of light break through the massive obstruction that was a visible Heaven.


    Jesus knew that when His father threw up His hands, as if imploring a higher power, the options were running thin. Might as well face what was inevitable.

    "So is it going to be a Second Coming," Jesus said, "or another flood?"

    "Shut up and go get ready," said God.

    The Messiah stood up and yanked at His robes. Then He headed for Counsel. "That's the problem with the goddamned No Intervention Policy," He thought. "Obviously things are going to get out of hand. I mean, come on, they're people; they need to be regulated. Conservative policies have never worked for them. Now He decides to do something and I have to go in there and be a goddamned Savior." Some angels gave Him grave looks and thumbs-ups as He passed, and guffawed when He ignored them.

    "For Chrissake," He grumbled, "I feel like Batman."