The entire back wall of Seared Wings brewpub came to life, showing the big event unfolding “above.” The camera swooped over a vast and wild landscape before majestically soaring over a ridge to reveal an expansive valley below.

Char Skull hunched lazily over the flaming wooden bar, scratched his head and asked in lament, “Why don’t we ever get any home field advantage?”

“We have to win one first,” explained Horncheeks to his pudgy demonic friend, flames licking out the base of his namesake appendages.

“True dat! What are we now, oh and how many million?”

“I lost count after eight hundred and fifteen million nine hundred thirty seven thousand, five hundred nineteen. That’s when I lost the fire. Talk about unfair! We weren’t even allowed to interfere with any of creation. There wasn’t a single fault in God’s defensive line. No way through!”

“Yeah, but on the bright side, that’s about when this place opened up. I really think we get a better view this way than trying to peak through the sissy white wings at the edge of Eden.”

“No kidding. Plus no need to put up with that foul stench wafting out the venue. Floral scents sure do linger and no amount of sulfur gets them out.”

“I’m telling you, there’s something to be made yet with that fruit rule. I mean, why is it there, but forbidden?”

“Sure. Maybe. But what? All we can do is talk, and Lucifer is the only one allowed on the field.”

“Woe! What’s this? Lucifer’s a snake. He’s off, completely away from the action by those berry bushes. This is different. Barkeep, turn it up please!”

The barkeep lazily thumbed the remote till it was up at full volume. The announcer blared away, “… unprecedented, wouldn’t you say Boilbumm?”

“It really is, Snodhoof. Direct attack. Frontal. Go at them. That’s always been the game plan. We’ve never seen this before.”

“You’ve gotta think, though, that after several hundred million trillion losses perhaps it’s time to reexamine your game plan, right B.B.?”

“I don’t think so, Snodhoofey. I mean slinking off into the bushes? This can’t be good.”

“Hey! No one’s called me Snodhoofey since the day after we was kicked out, B.B.”

“I feel the same way about B.B., Snodhoofey.”

“Oh, well. I was just trying to fill the air time we have with all this non-action.”

“By hurting my feelings?”

“Well, yeah.”

“Wait, Snoddums! What’s this? Eve. She’s wandered off by herself! She’s heading Lucifer’s way! Unreal! Control room, can we follow them? Do we have sound in the bushes? Lucifer’s wired for sound? Excellent.”

“She doesn’t even see him, B.B.! It’s like she doesn’t realize she’s being televised.”

“He’s popping up in front of her, quite a ways off. Let’s listen!”

Lucifer sidled up to Eve. “Did God really say, ‘You shall not eat from any of the trees in the garden’?”

Eve, who wasn’t miked and had to be picked up through Lucifer’s mic, spoke very softly at first, then much louder as the sound demon raised her levels. “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; it is only about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘You shall not eat it or even touch it, or else you will die.’”

“I don’t get it, Snodhoofer,” Boilbumm broke in while Lucifer swayed back and forth in silent thought. “Lucifer got us to join him directly, clear cut. He said ‘Let’s go do more than God!’ We said, ‘Right on!’ Next we know we’re out heaven, scattered all about the cosmos, unable to interfere with creation, until this Adam fellow, and now Eve here. Direct, in your face. That’s how you give someone a choice.”

“Maybe we’re witnessing a new era here, Boilbummer. You’re right. This is new. Maybe it will lead somewhere new. Let’s listen…”

“You certainly will not die!” Lucifer exclaimed. “God knows well that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, who know — good and evil.”

“This is ANOTHER FIRST, Boil!”

“It is, Snod and I’m here ripping my flames right out the crusticles. There is no way this can work. There’s nowhere to go here. Calling God a liar? A deceiver? She’ll never go for it.”

“I don’t know, B.B. She’s looking toward that tree in the center of the garden. She’s never done that before. She’d never thought of it before. But now, she’s not only thinking about it, LOOK at her face!”

“I don’t believe it. I’m here seeing this with my own eyes and I don’t believe it! Eve is gazing at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Her eyes are widening. Yearning is growing in them. We might be witnessing history. If this goes where I think it’s going, all creation would become our home field. No longer would we be kept out of creation. God would let us onto the field.”

“Are you sure, B.B.?”

“I know the rules inside and out, Snod. I’ve read them over and over wondering how we might get an edge. I’ve gotta say, I never saw this possibility. I’ve gotta hand it to Lucifer. He’s always been the first to see how to get separation from God and make it work for him. He’s really outdoing himself here today!”

“You’re talking mighty big things, B.B. We’re still a long way off from Eve eating the forbidden fruit.”

“Yes, Snodhoof, but every moment puts us in territory we’ve never seen before. Let’s see if Lucifer can reap the harvest he’s sown here these last few moments.”

“I DON’T BELIEVE IT, B.B.! EVE IS TAKING A STEP TOWARD THE CENTER OF THE GARDEN. NO! NOW SHE’S RUNNING. REACHING. IS THIS IT? COULD THIS BE THE MOMENT WE’VE YEARNED FOR SINCE THE SEPARATION?”

“SHE’S REACHED UP, SNOD! OH! SHE’S PULLING DOWN ON THE FRUIT. I ALMOST CAN’T WATCH! THE BRANCH IS STRAINING. IT’S AS IF THE FRUIT IS ASKING IF SHE REALLY WANTS TO PICK IT.”

“THE TENSION IS UNBELIEVABLE! EVE HAS STOPPED, CONSIDERING. WILL SHE PICK IT OR WILL SHE LET IT GO? THIS IS IT, FOLKS. THERE IS MORE TENSION IN ME THAN IN THAT BRANCH.”

“SHE’S GOING ALL IN, SNOD! SHE’S THROWING HER WHOLE BODY INTO PICKING THIS FRUIT! WOW! SHE’S NOW FALLEN BACK INTO THE GRASS, THE FRUIT IN HER HAND! WHAT A LOOK OF SELF SATISFACTION AND VICTORY IN HER EYE! LUCIFER DID IT!”

“I don’t believe what I’ve just seen, B.B. This is truly unprecedented. Remember though, I know the rules as well as you. She has to eat the fruit. Lucifer hasn’t won yet.”

“True, Snod. But Lucifer hasn’t let us down today. Not once. We are witnessing a change in how this game will be played. But you’re right. We should calm down and watch to see how Lucifer leverages this new advantage.”

“He may not have to. She’s bringing the apple to her mouth. SHE JUST TORE INTO IT, B.B.! WHAT A HUGE BITE!”

“Here comes Adam, looking for his wife. She’s offering him a bite. Oooooh! Will Lucifer get them BOTH with this one maneuver?”

Snodhoof’s voice was a soft whisper of excited anticipation. “Adam’s looking at Eve inquiringly, as if to ask ‘Really?’ She pushes the apple more urgently toward him. A pause. He shrugs. Where is the strength, the resolve we’ve previously seen, B.B.? It’s as if he’s a completely different man. A lesser man. He passively holds his hand out to receive this forbidden fruit from Eve and slowly looks it over, shrugging again. Slowly, agonizingly slowly, as if he doesn’t really care, Adam is lifting the apple and sinking his teeth into the forbidden fruit. His eyes are opening wide. His teeth are all the way through! A small bite. A feckless bite. But that may be just as good for us as Eve’s passionate, greedy bite!”

The camera zoomed out above the center of the garden of Eden.

“Snodhoof, the world will never be the same. I don’t think we yet comprehend how big this moment is.”

“I suspect you are right, BB. Wait. Hold on. I’m being told Fleshyfey is working her way onto the field. Yes … let’s go down to the field of play, where I understand Lucifer is with Fleshyfey…”

The screen in the brewpub cut to an unmistakably curvy female demon standing next to a much larger Lucifer, who was jumping up and down, fist pumping the air and beating his chest, demonically howling in victory. Yelling to be heard over the wild brouhaha, Fleshyfey stepped back to give Lucifer room, “That’s right Snodhoof. I’m here with Lucifer who just won the first victory ever, getting the humans to eat the forbidden fruit.” Here, she placed her hoof on the jouncing Lucifer’s waist, attempting to calm him down. Lucifer slowed his jumping and bent low to talk with her. “What does this victory mean, Lucifer?”

Lucifer grinned widely, his craggy, crusty, molten face splitting open ear to ear in demonic victory.

“Yes! Out of Eden, into Rift Valley!”

©Patrick A. Jones, 2016 all rights reserved

~~~

This is a sample Catholic flash fiction story. Watch this space for a soon to be published collection of Catholic flash fiction.