The skype phone must have been ringing for a few minutes before Archangel Michael got to it, slightly breathless. He was thrilled to find it was Adam, God's only son at the other end. 'Hi Adam, great to hear from you. It's been a while'. 'Yeah Mike, I've missed the last few New Year's dinners. Been a bit busy with some problems on earth. Anyway, how are you?'
'Oh terrific, thanks. We are getting great use out of that pin you bought us some years ago'. Adam felt guilty. He had left the shopping for presents for the New Years Party until the last minute and all he could find in the shops that were closing quickly was a pin with instructions as to how to place angels on the head of it. 'How many angels are you up to now' asked Adam, to make conversation. 'Well, just before the phone rang we had managed to get a hundred and thirty seven'
'Wow' exhaled Adam, trying hard to show some interest. 'To be honest Mike, I thought it was a fairly mean present, but I am glad you got some use out of it. I don't suppose Dad would be around?' Adam tried to sound matter of fact, but he was terrified that God would not take his call. Adam had missed the last twenty New Years dinners in a row. It was the only thing that God asked of Adam and his younger sister Eve all year long. God took these annual family meals seriously.
The skype phone rang in the Greenhouse where a white bearded, stooped God was busy watering the seedlings. 'Adam, my dear boy, how lovely to hear from you' God positively beamed. 'I hope you don't mind me saying but you look worse the wear than me. I hope you haven't been drinking too much'. Adam was so relieved to be talking to his father that he filled up slightly and his voice broke a little. 'You will glad to hear that I am off the drugs and drink over five years now. Its just I've had a lot of family problems recently - nothing new, the usual famine and war and global warming. It just seems to have got more difficult lately and my off spring have run out of money and ideas to sort it. But we will get over it, we always seem to'
Adam wasn't sure how to broach the subject of the New Year dinner, having missed the last few without even sending an apology. Happily God intervened. 'I hope you can make our family dinner next week. It's never the same without you. Angels are good company but we seem to run out of conversation topics fairly fast. Your sister Eve has missed you. She hasn't told me, but I gather you haven't rung or even texted her in some years. 'Sorry, Dad, I've been a bit of a black sheep for the last few years. I won't make excuses but it has been a rotten last few years on earth. I won't bore you with the details'. 'On the contrary, my son, I cannot wait to get all the news over dinner.
Adam normally came in his best tuxedo but Eve knew he must be down on his luck when she saw him in Paradise Park Reception in faded denim jeans and flip flops. Eve was wearing the same homely dress. She hadn't changed it in fifty years. In her parallel universe things were not as plentiful. Her planet only supported a few thousand humans but at least she was on first name terms with all of them. Adam on the other hand had been given a fantastic start in life with a world that now supported billions of humans. Adam claimed he had lost count recently and of course he knew the names of very few in latter years. It seemed to Eve that Adam had lost much of his good looks. It was only twenty years since she had seen him but he seemed to have aged a thousand. God, who was now bent over with arthritis, seemed almost in better nick. 'Adam you must pop over to my world for a little break, you look as if you could do with one'
Adam was touched by Eve's words and big sisterly hug. For years he had ignored her. He took little interest in her humble world that did not support the diversity of his own. He had often wondered aloud over dinner how she managed to live in a world without animals to eat and where the cereals did not even produce alcohol. Her sober, simply dressed, bicycle riding offspring seemed so dull compared to his own innumerable noisy litter.
The elevator doors opened and God slowly made his way across reception and threw his arms around his prodigal son. 'Lovely to see you Adam, even if you do look knackered'. God turned to Eve and gave her a hug 'Wonderful to see you daughter. Hasn't the year flown?'
Adam put on a bravura performance over dinner, as always. He had Eve and God,not to mention the angels it fits of laughter describing some of habits of his tearaway children. After dinner the tables were cleared, the angels dutifully left the room to allow the three have a private chat.
'Dad, you know how grateful I am for giving me the earth, even though I haven't always shown it.' Adam began. God stroked his beard a little nervously unsure what might follow. 'It's just that in recent years we have some serious problems. Up to now I have tried to solve them myself. But this latest problem of global warming has got out of hand. I am ashamed to admit it, but I can't handle it, I need your help.' Silence filled the room. Eve looked positively pained. She threw her arms around Adam ' Oh dear, I am really sorry for you. I can take a few hundred of your children if that can help. We don't have much but we are willing to share'.
God looked at Adam with those gentle blue eyes. His voice was warm but serious. 'Well son, how many children do you have to cater for?' Adam blushed. Adam rarely blushed. 'Actually, I am ashamed to confess I have lost count. I lost count a few years ago when the number went over the six billion mark. I hate to ask you for a favour but can you change a few laws of nature - just temporarily -until we get over this crisis.'
God, gently slumped down on the sofa, looking every one of his many years. He seemed suddenly exhausted and weary, a little like his profligate son. 'Adam, you know I would do anything to help, but I cannot break my own laws. It's the one thing you cannot do as God. You on theother hand can break them and you frequently do' mused God ruefully 'but I cannot, that is what being God is all about. I can do almost anything, but not everything. Even God cannot cease being God..'His voice trailed off.
'So, all six billion plus of us are screwed, pardon the expression'Adam said angrily.
'Please, son not in your sisters presence' sighed God.
Eve interjected 'What about other universes Dad, didn't you create billions of them. Maybe Adam could borrow a few while he sorts things out back on earth?' 'Lovely thought Eve' God rejoined 'but there is nothing that would suit Adam for another few million years and I am not sure he has the time to wait round'.
Adam looked wretched. 'What will I tell my children?'
In sorrow more than anger God replied ' the truth might be a good place to start'
'So, we're on our own,then' sighed Adam.
'Yes, my son you always have been'