Je' Va Gave Up by Howard Bernbaum

The sweeping view from the veranda located high up on the hill was magnificent. Starting at the foot of the sweeping lawn the savannah stretched out as far as the eye could see bounded by rain forests whose flora stretched to the azure skiesabove. The blazing sun penetrated the verdant growth casting slanting shafts of light amidst the shadows. The faint murmur of falling leaves wafting gently down overcame the stillness and formed a carpet home for the many small creatures living therein. Larger animals gracefully made their way between the trees and maze of lianas adorning the towering growth while other species made their home in the trees feasting on the fruit so plentiful and at hand.

The Savannah was just as splendid, with natural grasses sweeping to the edges and populations of assorted grazing animals. They were not alone for the lions, hyenas, and other predatory species were part of the scene. Above flew the gentle and the not so gentle avians. An eagle soared over land and lakes casting a sweeping shadow below paralleling the gentle large circles while its eyes stared into the distance in search of this day’s sustenance. The balance in nature was perfection with all species thriving.

However, something was missing and that was the heart of the conversation between Je’va and Pete seated comfortably on the veranda.

After a pause of eons, Pete softly moaned, in a spasm of ecstasy, “I love it. This is as close to perfection as I’ ve ever seen. Almost like the beginning a million years ago or so. Why did you wait so long?"

Je’va pondered the question as he too continued gazing with delight at the vista stretching out before them. The sun was warm and a gentle zephyr made it bearable. Life on the veranda was exquisite and he hated the times in the past when he had been called away. The cacophony of demands had been endless. Mostly of a sort not even defined as selfless. The din had ended and he himself sometimes pondered what took so long. After another eon passed he answered with a wry smile “I guess I just gave up."

Although Pete had been a faithful partner to Je’va, a friend of long standing, he had never heard such words before. “You. You gave up? I find that hard to believe. Maybe a better question is what led you to make that awful change in the first place?"

Je’va’s answer was almost immediate. “Why did I do it? Well, oh I don’t know. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I guess that is the simple answer and, of course, it is the truth. I don’t do the other, you know."

Pete brooded over the response for an eternity. He spoke softly and slowly. “As your gatekeeper, I saw a vast number of people. Even the good ones had so many blemishes they should have been rejected. The preachers and the lawyers were the worst except maybe for
the politicians. Happily, not many of them got as far as the gate. Still, the ones who arrived couldn’t tell the truth even though their eternal fate depended on it." He walked to the edge of the veranda and breathed in the view. Thus fortified he returned to his chair and continued. “I had a feeling, right from the start the experiment wasn’t going to work. By the second generation there was already a murder and a fratricide, at that. I really had bad vibes at the time. Adam and Eve couldn’t even obey one simple request. How long was it before their descendants decided to challenge your domain and began to build a tower to reach this place? I liked your solution to that one at the time. On the other hand it sure screwed up communication between people. They didn’t understand each other and trust went out the window. Now I’ m not too sure.

Je’va smiled at that. “Patience my friend. I kept hoping they they’ d get better but that crew was the pits. If you remember, I dumped them and started over. Noah was an obedient soul and his children were decent. But even that crew didn’t do as well as I’ d have liked. As they learned and their intelligence grew, I hoped they’ d figure it out and learn to live in harmony. Somehow a bad gene entered the mixture and they only got worse. Seems they took each advance and turned it against their neighbors. Amazing.

Pete shrugged. “I had a gut feeling it wasn’t going to work. I could see it at the gate. Each generation was worse than the one before. Yet you allowed it. Why?"

“If you remember, I created them with free will. I wanted them to be responsible and gave them the tools to achieve it. I’ ve got to admit towards the end I was getting frustrated. I decided to send my son down and teach them the Golden Rule. It is such a simple concept. However it was apparently beyond mankind’s power to grasp. They killed him in a most cruel manner. I’ m here to tell you, there was no way he would ever go back."

Pete again got up and walked to the edge of the platform. He stretched and returned to his comfortable lounge. “So why didn’t you end it then? You waited two more millennia.

Je’va leaned back and watched the eagle soaring overhead. Its flight was such grace and perfection. He sighed. “Nobody likes to admit they were wrong, particularly me. I have sort of a reputation to uphold and it goes against the grain to have your creation rubbed in your face. I practiced that same patience I expect of you. All kinds of nutty things took place over those 2000 years. But it all added up to one thing. The world’s populations were easily led into the most obscene warfare. Human life was becoming meaningless, worse yet, worthless. One small class of people wanted everything, money and power. The vast majority of humanity with all their opportunities to learn and prosper willingly gave up their freedom for the promise that big brother would take care of them. As a group they gave up their independence for the promise the state would provide. They did this despite repeated lessons from history that state control invariable ends up in poverty for all." He sighed a long sigh. “I finally just gave up. People are too stupid to exist."

Pete listened to the end, nodding his head in agreement. “So how did you do it. Armageddon? An apocalypse? That doesn’t seem to be. The world didn’t end. So how did you accomplish this paradise?"

Je’va leaned back even further in his recliner and studied the heavens. You know I don’t believe in cruelty or meanness, although sometimes that was the only way. No, I thought it out and the solution was obvious."

Pete leaned towards him, his attitude plainly expressing, so how did you do it.

Je’va smiled, got up and walked towards the railing. Over his shoulder he replied, “I simply went back and undid the sixth day."


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