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Humor Essays

Moses the Ghostwriter

Speaking to Moses in the form of a burning bush atop Mount Horeb, the Lord asked Moses to chisel out a set of stone tablets that would become the second set of Ten Commandments.

Moses asked, “You want stone tablets... again? You're certain of this, stone?”

The Lord said to Moses, “It must be stone tablets."

Weak and weary, Moses bowed down to the ground and wept loudly before the Lord, “Why must it always be tablets?”

The Lord said, “Tablets are made of stone. Stone is strong. They will last long enough for the third and fourth generations of your children to see.”
Moses thought about this and concluded that in the grand scheme of things a handful of generations wasn’t really that long. "But Lord, that's only 100 years, tops. What happens after that?"

The Lord replied, “Okay, you got me. I wasn’t going to say anything, but the cat’s out of the bag. I was thinking of a do-over with this whole Earth/humanity thing, depending upon how the next few generations shake out.”

This news upset Moses greatly, and for the second time in three minutes he began to weep loudly.

“That was supposed to be a joke.” the Lord said. “I love you. You guys are my favorite humanity! I’m not going to wipe you out. Besides, that whole thing with Noah was so much work. Had I known then what I know now, I wouldn’t have done it. That, and I’ve kinda grown tired of the whole smiting thing—pretty big image killer. No pun intended.”

Moses wiped the tears from his eyes with the backs of his hands.

“Anyway,” the Lord continued. “Stone is about as far as I can hit with durable, inscribable materials. Look around you. Do you see anything that could work as a substitute?”

“But you’re the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.” Moses said. “You have the ability to transcend time and space. You can literally do anything Lord, like turn my hands into piranhas if you wanted.

“Maybe there’s something from the future to write upon? People are inventing things left and right these days. It’s a pretty low bar. Perhaps you could peek ahead a few thousand years down the road and bring something cool back to us, and I could write the Ten Commandments upon these futuristic materials instead? I would even tee it up to the people with a rousing speech. Something like like...” Moses loudly cleared his throat for effect before bellowing, “‘Behold! The Lord has bestowed His good graces upon us, giving us lightweight materials we can write upon and transport via small, discreet pockets.”

Moses turned around, producing a smile that solicited approval from the Lord.

While the Lord liked the thought of being adorned with such praises, He decided against it. “I get the impression that you’re trying to get out of chiseling the Ten Commandments again?” the Lord responded. “Remember, you broke the first set. You brought this upon yourself.”

Moses replied, “Look Lord, I need to level with you. I was at a really low point in my life then, and in a moment of weakness I lost control and broke the first set of Ten Commandments. Again, my bad. But I’m an old man. I’m around, what 80, 90? To be honest, I’ve lost count, as it's really hard with the whole calendar system being up in the air—maybe we can workshop that after we get the whole writing materials thing figured out—But lugging the stone tablets up and down the mountain isn’t easy on my joints, not to mention my sciatica. Do you know what it's like to have sciatica, lightening bolts shooting out of your butt cheeks and down your leg? Of course you don't. You're the goddamn Lord..."

Moses stopped abruptly, chastising himself for lacking restraint with his words, but the Lord hadn’t noticed, as He’d dozed off momentarily. The sound of Moses’s self-scolding had jolted the Lord awake, causing Him to ask, “Huh? What happened? Where am I?”

This annoyed Moses, but he was okay with it, because the Lord hadn’t heard him take His name in vain.

"Remember the first set of Ten Commandments?” Moses asked. “Not the final product, but the first rough draft when you were spitballing commandments, and I had to chisel out all of them? Do you know how many commandments we started with? 104, God. 104 commandments! And some of them were real doozies. At a few points, I thought you were drunk, but seeing how you're the Lord, I had to pretend they were great. 'Yes, Lord, smiting anyone for looking at bees after sundown is a great idea.' Then you whittled 104 commandments to 83. 83 to 67. 67 to 66. 66 to 43. 43 to 23. 23 to 11. And from 11 to 10. The only reason we landed on 10 was because you said 10 was such a solid, memorable number. Otherwise rape would have made the cut. Which I still think you’re making a huge mistake for leaving that one out, but who am I to judge the ‘Almighty Creator of our Universe’? What I’m saying is that during each round of whittling, I had to CHISEL OUT EACH SET OF COMMANDMENTS! And then you went out and claimed authorship.”

And then Moses knelt down and bowed at the feet of the Lord. “Lord, forgive me for what I'm about to say, but... I’m tired of chiseling.”

And the Lord said, “So what do you want me to do?”

“I sort of liked the thought of you grabbing some technology from the future and bringing it back for us to use was pretty good.” Moses said, excitedly. “Or maybe you could just write them on the tablets yourself? That whole speaking the world into existence was a pretty incredible move. Maybe you could just speak the commandments into existence in one quick breathe? Then I go back to my family, get a nice massage, eat some lamb. And if you’re not digging any of those, then let’s get a good riff session going on, Lord, and figure this out.”

Moses grew excited at the prospect of collaborating with the Creator of Heaven and Earth on such a history-altering invention.

The Lord contemplated Moses's proposal for a few minutes before concluding that the work of men was for men, not for an all-powerful God such as Himself. And so Moses let out a heavy sigh and began to weep loudly, for the third time in a ten-minute time frame. This made the Creator of the Universe feel awkward. So he avoided making eye contact and pretended not to notice.

Through tears and a heavy, convulsing chest Moses asked the Lord once more, "Why must it always be stone tablets?"

But the Lord thought this was a rhetorical question and did not answer Moses. He decided that if He remained silent, Moses would think he had left and get to the task at hand.

Moses broke the silence, "I can hear you breathing, Lord. That and the giant burning bush form you’ve taken isn’t as inconspicuous as you thhink. I know you're there and are ignoring me. Why must you ignore me so?”

Moses’s comment gave the Lord a stroke of genius. He conjured up a mighty wind gust, which blew through the mountain top, smothering the fire that had consumed the bush. And as the last flame went out, the Lord feigned, “Oh no. The fire has gone out. I have to go. Good luck Moses...”

And for the fourth time within a 15-minute time frame Moses wept loudly.

Michael Williams