God and Noah Have a Tiff Over Beetles - a play in one act
The scene: interior room under construction in the Ark. The floor is littered with wood shavings, tools, lumber scraps. Noah is busy hammering and having a bad day. There’s a lot of work still to be done and storm clouds are gathering. We hear thunder rolling from the back of the theater. Mrs. Noah wanted a state room as far from the howler monkeys as possible. Now she is complaining that it is too near the hippopotamus quarters.
Mrs. Noah: They’re nocturnal. They’ll hump all night and keep us awake. Look how thin these walls are!
Noah: (hitting his thumb with the mallet) Shite! (Ham, one of his sons, enters)
Ham: God’s here. I just piped him on board. (another peal of thunder rolls from the back of the stage, over the audience, and there are flashes of lightning seen through the windows of the Ark)
Noah: Now what? Tell him I’m busy.
Mrs. Noah: Those hippos also twirl their tails when they shit. We’ll hear it spattering on the walls. Have you ever smelled hippos?
God: (enters briskly, unrolling a scroll) Gentlemen! Ladies! Nice to see work progressing! I’ve brought an updated passenger list.
Noah: (groaning, holds his tail bone and straightens up) Forget it. We’re sold out. Full house. Comprende amigo?
Ne pas deranger! Ce train n’est pas amenage pour les handicapes!
God: (dexterously unrolls the scroll, getting to the bottom) It’s the beetles. Just a few more species. They’re small. I forgot about Madagascar.
Noah: You’ve already made reservations for 350,000 separate species of beetles!. That’s 350,000 couples! Including some foggers that eat ships’ timbers for cripes sake!
God: (cheerfully) Watch your language old-timer. You can be replaced. The Chinese make excellent ships - not tubs like this. (waves his scroll around like a pointer) Do you want to be replaced? Glub glub glub! (laughs) Anyway, kidding aside, these Madagascar fellows are goreous! Have you ever seen a lutinus beetle? Stunning camouflage! And wait ‘til you see the others. The colors! The iridescence!
Noah: Read my lips. No. Nous vous prions de nous excuser pour tout desagrement.
Ham: Awww. Come on dad! It’s his hobby! Best collection in the universe! Three hundred and fifty thousand separate species for cripes sake!
Noah: Fogging no. I’ve had it up to here with this expanding passenger list. Bring up the rest of those cedar planks and bring me a Bandaid. Tell Sham to get off his ass and take the manger out of the Cape Buffalo stall to make room for the hippos.
Ham: Where are you putting the Cape Buffalo? Have you seen those suckers? (another sullen roll of thunder)
Noah: (sighs deeply) I’m not worried about those foggers right now. God, get your ass out of the way. I told you not to come aboard without a hard hat. (swings a plank around, narrowly missing God’s head)
God: (still cheerful, looks out window) Sure looks like rain! (rolls up scroll) Then it’s settled about the beetles. Remember, the Madagascar fellows needs lots of baobab leaves and Didiereaceae plants to chew on. (Noah doesn’t respond and starts hammering again)
Mrs. Noah: Honey, He might be right about the Chinese shipwrights. What’s a few more beetles? We know that God in His wisdom has a reason for everything. It’ll just be three or four more species. It’s His hobby, dear. It’s nice to see Him keeping busy in these trying times.
God: Thanks sweety. Actually it’s another 1,780 species. Madagascar is a big island you know. The thing is just to watch out for the ones that squirt poison into your eyes, and the ones that crawl into your ears at night. I’ve heard that those fellows keep going right into your brain. (chuckles)
Noah: (stops hammering) What did you just say?
Mrs. Noah: He said to watch out for . . .
Noah: I heard what he fogging said!
Mrs. Noah: Boys, we went through all this with the Cape Buffalo. Let’s discuss it later. Time for a beer. Daddy’s working too hard. Tomorrow, let’s take out this cedar flooring and put in pine. I think the smell of cedar is going to get to me after a while. (God ties string around his scroll and exits - offstage we hear him calling, “You’re going to love that lutinus fellow!”) (Japeth enters)
Japeth: It’s starting to rain. Say, there’s a warthog couple waiting down at the gangplank. Want to know if their quarters are ready. They have a boarding pass signed by You-Know-Who. Disreputable looking SOB. His wife isn’t much better. Don’t know what they see in each other. Are we boarding yet? Funny about those Madagascar beetles isn’t it? Ham told me. Dad? (thunder - lights fade as more lightning flashes)