In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And the Lord said: ‘let there be light’.
And the electrician said: ‘I can fit you in on Thursday, at around 3.’
And the Lord said: ‘Thursday? That’s no bloody good to me – I’ve got to bring the land forth from out the sea, cause the firmament to shine with the lights of a million stars and create all the creatures that swim in the water and fly in the air by Thursday.”
And the electrician said: ‘Sorry, guv’nor – it’s not up to me. What you’ve got ‘ere is a decontracted spindle, y’ see. That could take – what, a week, a week and ‘alf to replace? Ain’t that right, Eric?’
And Eric said ‘yerr.’
‘Bu-ut, because I likes you, y’see, we might be able to fix it all up by Thursday. But that’s the fastest I can do’, said the electrician. ‘Nasty business, decontracted spindles.’
‘Yerr,’ said Eric. ‘Very.’
‘Well, couldn’t I have some sort of replacement?’ Quoth the Lord. ‘I mean, it’s all very well you talking about decontracted spindles, but it’s bloody hell trying to create a Universe if you can’t even see what you’re doing. Believe me, I should know. Made a right mess last week when the fuse blew. Isn’t there some sort of lighting I could borrow in the meantime?’
‘I see’ said the electrician. ‘Well, it just so ‘appens we do have a variety of replacement illyoominashun apparatus in stock, guv’nor. Ain’t that right, Eric?’
‘Narrr’ said Eric. ‘We ain’t got none any more.’
‘Oh Jesus Christ, Eric! No offence meant, guv’nor.’
‘None taken’ assured the Lord.
‘Why ain’t we got no lights?’ asked the electrician.
‘I went and gave them all to that Mr. Vishnu, didn’ I?’ Croaked Eric. ‘He said he needed them for his Dee-wall-ee or somethin’. Heathen, if you ask me.’
‘Oh bollocks.’ Said the electrician. ‘Well, I’m h’awfully sorry, guv’nor, but I don’t think we’ll be h’able to furnish you with your replacement h’illyoominashun service at the present time.’
‘Is there nothing you can do for me?’ Cried the Lord.
‘What d’you think I am, guv’nor – a bloomin’ miracle worker?’
And the Lord knew that there was a witty comment that would be appropriate at a moment like this, but could not for the life of him remember what it was. Oh yes.
‘Piss off,’ said the Lord.
And Eric and the electrician did piss off.
And the evening and the morning of the Thursday did the Lord wait impatiently by his telephone. And the edges of the fingernails which he did bite dropped onto the land beneath and became they the mountains and the valleys. And the little bits of snot which he picked out of his nose while nobody could see him because the lights were still out became the marshes and the swamps.
And lo, the doorbell rang, and the heavens and earth resounded to a colossal ‘Ding’, shortly followed by an equally colossal ‘dong’.
‘Hello?’ said the Lord
‘Err, yes. Hello. Is this Mr. J. Hova?’ said a nasal voice.
‘Yes, it is I’ said the Lord. And on reflection added ‘or should that be ‘me’?’
‘You see, Mr. Hova, I’m from the local branch of the RSPCA. Err – where are you, exactly?’
‘I’m over here,’ rumbled the Lord.
‘Ah yes – thank you, sir. I’m from the RSPCA, following up on a number of complaints that have made about your property.’ There was quiet. A deep, profound stillness broken only by the sounds of an ostrich tripping over a pelican in the darkness.
‘What sort of complaints?’ asked the Lord, groping around for a cuttlefish he’d only put down a few minutes ago.
‘Well, Mr. Hova, is it true that you are keeping one of the world’s largest menageries of exotic birds confined in utter darkness, lasting from moment-when-darkness-is-supposed-to-start to moment-when-darkness-is-supposed-to-finish?’ asked the inspector as he sat down on a penguin.
‘Ah, well -‘ started the Lord
‘And is it also true, Mr. Hova, that a number of particularly fine species of maritime life are forced to endure existence in a body of water where they are not receiving enough light to survive?’ the voice continued.
‘Yes, but that’s all temporary. You see, I’ve only just moved in to the neighbourhood and my lighting isn’t sorted out yet – the electrician should be around later today, as a matter of fact.’
‘Is that so, Mr. Hova. Is that so.” said the inspector. The penguin squawked, loudly. The inspector tripped, heavily.
‘No no, I’m afraid these conditions are quite appalling, Mr. Hova. I’ll be back at the same time tomorrow, and if things haven’t sorted themselves out then I’ll make damned sure the planning permit for this little Universe of yours is revoked. Good undefined-timespan, Mr. Hova.’ And the inspector did turn sharply on his heel and fall flat on his face in the Aegean Sea.
And the Lord sighed and said: ‘If you want to get anything done in this country, you’re better off doing it yourself.’