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This selection, hopefully a momentary diversion of frivolity, is from a full-length play entitled: By Any Other Name. It describes an alternative version of creation on earth in which God delegates the last little bit — designing the brain of humankind — to an angel named Peter. Here, we see Peter finally admitting to God (in heaven) that he messed up the design because he didn’t fully understand the requirements.


God: [On a heavenly golf course, speaking to Lucifer]. So, there I was on the fifth hole, you know, that dog-leg to the right (gestures) that kind of slopes down? So, anyway, I’m right on the fairway, but on the damnedest clump of grass you ever want to see. What do I do? Well, to be fair, I lift it [gestures bending over and picking up a golf ball] and put it on the normal part of the fairway a few yards away. And, who do you suppose comes by just then but Thor of all people. You know him and his holier than thou attitude! And, of course, he misinterprets the whole thing and thinks I’m just trying to get a better lie or something. [God, as though suddenly aware of Peter’s presence, turns to him]. And, by the way, that reminds me, Peter. Zeus said that he stopped by earth and that those creatures are dressing in clothes. Do you know anything about that? You didn’t screw up the implementation did you?


Peter: [looking around as though for support; bows his head]. Um, er, no God, I mean Lord no. I mean no, Lord. [ticks off on his fingers]. We were on schedule and under budget. Significantly under budget. And, as for the creatures…well…they are just fine. It’s just, [looks up briefly, then back down] you know, with that big a brain, some weird things happened, that’s all. [looks up] If I may be so bold as to offer a suggestion, I don’t think we ought to endow worldly creatures with such large brains any more. I believe that the Bachman equations clearly show…

God: Peter, you are tiresome. Don’t tell me about Bachman equations, NOW! I’m in the middle of a golf story here. Just bottom-line it. Did you and your buddies screw up or not?

Peter: [bows head again and folds hands together as though in prayer]. Thy will be done, Lord.

God: Uh-huh. Damned right! Well, I’m going to check back in a few thousand years, Petie, and you’d better not be lying to me. Or, you’ll have a tough time getting a martini to stay cold, if you catch my drift.

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Peter: Sure, God. No, we did fine. Really. I mean, the creatures themselves are a bit messed up, but…you know…nothing major.

God: Uh-huh. [turns back to Lucifer] So, anyway, Thor says, to me, he says: “put the ball back, God.” I’m like: “I’m supposed to play the ball where it lies. Right? But what is the underlying essence of ‘where it lies’? Isn’t it that I should play the ball from the essential underlying reality which in this case is that I have hit a great shot that is on the fairway that is supposed to be essentially of the very essence of fairness?” [looks questioningly at Lucifer; then slowly turns back to Peter]. What do you mean by ‘a bit messed up’?

Peter: Well, nothing really. It’s just that….I mean they did take that command, you know, [shakes body from side to side] to go forth and multiply rather seriously.

God: Uh-huh. Well, nothing wrong with that. That’s part of the plan. All animals enjoy sex. So?

Peter: Well Sir, it’s just that….I mean they have just about covered the planet, you see. Many of your other creations, um, no longer exist, to put it bluntly. (shrugs shoulders and puts hands out, palm up).

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God: [Makes fists]. What!? These creatures that you made are destroying my creations? What?! [Walks closer to Peter]. What do you mean? ]Talking directly into Peter’s face now]. You mean to eat, a few, or as in whole species are gone?

Peter: [head deeply bowed] Well, I’m afraid, I rather mean, as in whole species are gone.


Lucifer: [Remains silent during this interchange but his face and body language show that he is enjoying it immensely until finally his smile is a caricature of frozen delight].

Peter: [drops to knees and holds hands up to God imploringly]. Well, Lord, really somewhat…er…more than that.

God: How many Peter? How many?

Peter: Actually, um, at last count, that is, er, thousands, at least.


Peter: I’m sure. Lord knows, you’re right. But, the truth is, they have pretty much gone off on the idea that the earth was, um, given to them by you for their own purpose and they um, pretty much cover it with themselves and their own food supply and…

God: WHAT ARE THESE THINGS YOU’VE MADE?! THIS WAS NOT ACCORDING TO SPEC! [begins pacing]. You botched it. I swear, you are going to pay for this, Peter, and pay dearly. [Goes back over to Peter and pulls him up straight; then looks deeply in his eyes with his face very close, still holding Peter by the lapels]. What kind of creature would go around killing other whole species? Where is their reverence for other life forms?

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Peter: [Peter shrugs]. Well, to be fair. They also kill each other at quite a rate.

God: You mean for food? Kind of gross.

Peter: Oh, no. Not for food. Because. Well, I’m not really sure why. You know, we just have the report summaries and I…

God: [Lets go of Peter and paces]. Don’t these creatures appreciate the beauty of the natural world that I made for them? Or what?

Peter: Oh, they do. [shakes head vigorously up and down]. Yes, indeed, God. Well…except, there isn’t that much left, actually.

God: [turns on heel back toward Peter again and approaches him, grabs him]. What do you mean, not much left? There’s a whole beautiful planet!

Peter: [bows head]. Yes, God, I know. At least, there is where they haven’t sort of… replaced it.

God: Replaced natural beauty? My creation!? With what, pray tell?

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Peter: Various things. Parking lots, highways, shopping malls, factories, land fills….

God: Enough! [Drops hold of Peter. Walks away shaking head. Stops. Turns back toward Peter]. You did remember to put in sufficient hypercortex, right?

Peter: Oh. Um. Well, God, I distinctly heard you say, hydrocortext.

God: Hydrocortex? What on earth is that?

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Peter: We…we.. didn’t know, Lord.

God: Hypercortex; [points to his head]. you know, the projective bundle of fibers from the cortex back to the hypothalamus so humans can apply their intelligence to their appetites! You did put that in, right?

Peter: Well. Um. God, I distinctly heard you said ‘hydrocortex.’

God: [sighs and puts head down in hands rocking back and forth slowly]. This is just totally unacceptable work, Peter. And what about the serotonin levels? You did get that right, yes?


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