Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois
I hid behind a tree, not the Tree of Knowledge or the Tree of Life, just a sapodilla with a gnarly trunk whose bark had widely spaced furrows and whose fruit softened, fell, splattered and attracted fruit rats, who ran gleefully among the branches, drunk on fermenting nectar, giddy at their luck at being born in the greatest country in the world, a supreme dictatorship, Eden.
The Snake was behind the tree with me. We made our acquaintance. He shook my hand with his tail, dry and cool. Each of us had our own agenda and a name tag. His read: Snake. Mine: Adulterer. I was waiting for a chance to seduce Eve. Adam was more muscular than me, but I had wiles and had gotten a preview of the Kama Sutra.
My wife and I were the first people created by another God, a non-Hebraic deity. It took Her nearly a year to finish us, being slow and careful, unlike the Hebraic God, who dashed off shitty first drafts with impunity, then never went back to revise. I don't know how long my wife and I had been married. We hadn't invented the calendar yet, or clocks. I measured Time by my growing boredom. The world was lovely, but my wife was repetitive. Boring, boring, boring.
Eve was a different type, red-haired, spunky, big fat freckles on her face, surely the sexiest feature a woman can have, eyelids pink and raw looking. My wife tended toward slovenliness and drank adult beverages to excess, which made her even more redundant, a fact that never made it into our Bible.
Several generations later, my descendent Phuong suffered an equally unlikely coupling. He married a woman who had climbed out of an oil painting, a pastoral Vietnamese scene, which hung on the north wall of his living room. They were happy for some years, decades really, but then trouble began.
As a figure in a painting, his wife did not age, but Phuong did. He became wrinkled, his hair turned gray, he farted a lot. His wife grew to dislike him. She became an aficionado of western art, and wondered what sort of man might have picked her for a bride had she been the famous Mona Lisa or one of Picasso's cubist women. She felt contempt for the way Phuong's body was deteriorating, how he had lost so much of his strength and vibrancy, while she had kept her own. She was repulsed by his old man smell.
On his side, Phuong disliked waking in the morning to find tiny flecks of paint in his bed. They made him itch. He broke out in rashes. He didn't like finding paint flecks on the toilet seat as he prepared to move his bowels. His wife was fading. She needed an expert's retouching, but they couldn't afford it.
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