Preface — Prologue
1In the beginning, I took a lunch with Daniel Greenberg of the Levine Greenberg Literary Agency.
2 For the future of print was without hope, and void; and darkness had fallen upon the face of the entire publishing industry.
3 So one day Daniel, my agent, whom I have been with forever; by which I do not mean literally "forever," as I started out unrepresented, but a good 25 years or so;
4 Anyway, Daniel got us a table at Balthazar; for he knows someone there.
5 So we met, and exchanged pleasantries, and sat down, and caught up; and in time I coyly came around to asking him why he wanted to see me, although I knew, and he knew that I knew, and I knew that he knew that I knew; but lo, this is how the game is played.
6 And then, over a frisee aux lardons that they were not serving in heaven then, but they are now, he spoke unto me:
7 "O LORD our God, King of the Universe, here's what I'm thinking.
8 Thy previous books have sold an impressive six billion copies;
9 They form the basis of three great religions, and five crappy ones;
10 They have been translated into 2,453 languages, including that of a fictional race of TV aliens wearing shoe polish;
11 They can be found in every synagogue, church, mosque, and Comfort Inn in the world;
12 And most importantly, they have done for faith, and ethics, and morality, what The Bartender's Bible hath done for bartending.
13 But lo, it has been nigh on 14 centuries since thy last book — "
14 "Forget not The Book of Mormon," I interrupted.
15 "Thy last serious book," he continued; "and now a pestilence has befallen our tribe; books go unread; bookstores go unpatronized; libraries remain Dork Central;
16 And while digitalization presents an opportunity, it is also a challenge; the paradigm is shifting; I don't know if thou dost follow the trades, but content-wise — "
17"I follow everything!" I bellowed, using the reverb voice and thunder-rumbling sound that I am wont to employ on such occasions.
18 "Forgive me, LORD," said Daniel; "I shall rend my garment and grovel in thy sight later.
19 I mean only to say, that if I were to approach major publishing houses with a proposal for God's last testament, it would make a pretty strong pitch."
20 "But of what shall it be composed?" I asked, pressing my fork into the poached egg, then idly watching its liberated amber yolk ooze seductively over the farm-fresh chicory.
21 "For I have already imparted all my wisdom, and bestowed all my law, and revealed all my truth;
22 And also I confess to being sore afraid, that I may not have another book in me";
23 And at this I sighed, and turned away, and did earnestly wonder if I still "had it."
24 And Daniel said, "Surely this is not the same confident, All-Powerful God who parted the Red Sea, and bore his son through a virgin mother, and . . . and . . . well, I've never read the Koran, but I'm sure thou didst some amazing things in there also.
25 Besides, the book I envision is not like unto those.
26 For in the book I envision, thou wouldst revisit thy greatest hits — the Old and New Testaments, and the Koran if thou insistest — but in a manner more in keeping with the modern custom;
27 Meaning, that thou shalt 'open up' about their events; and 'share' thy feelings; and 'dish' about the various public figures therein, thus creating a 'telleth-all.'
28 (That's not a bad title, by the way.)
29 Then thou shalt continue the tale by describing thy activities and where abouts over the past one thousand four hundred years; a period I suspect many of thy devotees have a few questions about.
30 And then thou shalt finish with a sneak peek into the future, with perhaps a brief glimpse of what lies in store for the end of the world; which, again, I think may be of some interest to thy hardcore fans.
31 But checketh it out, for here is the best part: Interspersed throughout shall be a series of short essays on matters of contemporary interest; such as natural disasters, and America, and celebrities, and regional athletic contests, and whatever other bits of frivolity thou conceivest;
32 The better to cater to the sensibilities of the modern reader, whose capacity for following unbroken written narrative hath dwindled to the size of a piece of Jonathan Franzen's neck-stubble.
33 My point, G-Man" — and here Daniel reached across the table and grabbed the hem of my garment in a way few ten-percenters have ever done without an insta-smiting —
34 "Is that I love thee as a deity, and worship thee as an author; so I would have thee find new favor among men, by coming down off thy pedestal and humanizing thyself,
35 That thou might once again top the best-seller list, only this time in the modern era:
36 An era in which, I would remind thee, royalties can be properly accounted for."
37 Then he fell silent; and long I pondered.
38 Yea, long I pondered; until slowly the ancient desire to spread my word among man that he may glorify me, began to stir in my spirit once more.
39 And the waiter came and separated Daniel's check from mine; and Daniel picked up both checks; for he saw that that would be good.
From The Last Testament: A Memoir by God, with contributor David Javerbaum. Copyright 2011 by Bizzu LLC. Excerpted by permission of Simon & Schuster.