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The First Purina
by Julie Michaelson
01/05/09
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In the evening
quails
came up
and covered
the camp;
And,
In the morning
dew lay round
about
the camp.
[Exodus 16:13]
***********************
"LORD?
Was there
pet MANNA?"

[PATIENT SILENCE.]

"WELL?"

[PATIENT GAZE.]

"I'm SERIOUS!"
(Squint up.)
"Did Ya feed their
PETS, TOO?"

"It is a Mystery,
My child."

"WHY?
HOW COME?"

[PATIENT PAUSE.]
"Because."

(Impatient frown!)
"WHAT kind'a answer's
THAT?"

"Mine."
[FAR OFF RUMBLE.]

"HEY!
I think all of us have a
right to KNOW!"

[ANOTHER RUMBLE,
THIS TIME MUCH CLOSER.]
"Who,
child."

"US!"

[CURIOUS, LOVING GAZE.]
"Who?"

"Well........ME!"

[PATIENT GAZE.]
[SLOW NOD.]
"Ah."

"WELL?
Didn't the children
of Israel take some
CATS with them,
on their way,
outta' EGYPT?"

[PATIENT SIGH.]

"WELL?
I figured they must'a
stuck them in little
BASKETS, and tied
the basket-tops down,
so the cats wouldn't
get out during the TRIP!"

[GAZE.]
[PATIENT VOICE.]
"Don't you have a chore,
to do,
My beloved?"

(Shrug.)
"Yeah; I GUESS."

"Then,
do it."

"Yeah;
yeah."
(Frown.)
"I'll GET to it."
(Mumble.)

[PATIENT LOOK.]

"WHAT?"
(Stare, innocently,
up at ceiling.)
"Aw!
Come ON!
YOU can TELL me!"

[GAZE AT THE COLD
STARS LOOKING DOWN
ON THE SPINNING EARTH.]

"I wanna KNOW!
Did Ya FEED their
PETS?
Or, WHAT?"

[PATIENT SIGH.]
[WATCH A HERD OF
ELEPHANTS SETTLING
DOWN FOR THE NIGHT,
IN KENYA.]

(Impatient whiny voice.)
"There must'a been
SOME ANIMALS
that they LIKED!
And, didn't wanna
KILL!"

[PATIENT SILENCE.]
[LISTEN TO A GROUP
OF PEOPLE ARGUING
ABOUT THE RECENT
MIDDLE EAST CRISIS
IN WASHINGTON, D.C.]

"People aren't THAT
DIFFERENT! I bet
they had PETS!"

[PATIENTLY WAITING.]
[DIP A HAND INTO THE
COLD WATER BENEATH
A FROZEN POND IN
NORTHERN MINNESOTA.]

"Unless, Darwin was
RIGHT! And, there
WAS EVOLUTION!"

[PATIENT SIGH.]
[PUT A HAND UNDER
ONE OF THE FROZEN TILES
UNDERNEATH* THE
INTERNATIONAL
SPACE STATION.]

"So......maybe, back THEN,
there WEREN'T any PETS!
Maybe.....people just thought
of ANIMALS as somethin'
to EAT!"

"Child?"

"Yes, LORD?"

"Don't you have
something to do?"

(Grimmace!)
"Yeah."

[NOD.]
[SMILE!]
***********************
And
when
the dew
had gone up,
there was
on the face
of the wilderness
a fine,
flake-like
thing,
fine
as hoarfrost
on the ground.
[Exodus 16:14]

_______________________
*Author is not really
sure what constitutes
'underneath', out in
outter space. She
only got a 'C+' in her
only science class
in college, at Penn State.


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