Lost Letters of the Old Testament

Noah’s Arc, Day 20

Dear Log,

I had an interesting conversation with Joe today.

We were mucking out the Deck Eight elephant stalls like usual when out of nowhere he asks me this really odd question: what if, he says, we were all supposed to die in that flood? What if water is the earth’s form of popula- tion control and we’re all just holes in the condom?
I told him he’s crazy; I told him what Noah says, that we were spared from the Great Holy Flood of Divine Retribution and afforded the great privilege of repopulating the earth. I thought that would satisfy him, but Joe just shook his head. He said: what if Noah was wrong? What if he made the whole God thing up? What if, somewhere between the jug whiskey bend- ers and the tea parties he has with the albino donkey in his room, Noah has lost his grip on reality?

I reminded him that the albino donkey helps Noah to pray. Everyone knows that.

Yet still, Joe persisted. What kind of a God, he asked, would leave the fate of every living creature on earth in fallible human hands? For it is we, and not God (says Joe) who force-feed partially masticated caterpillars to the bald eagle hatchlings so they don’t starve to death; we who train the border collies to keep the sheep flock from stampeding, thus ensuring the future fate of the wool production industry; we who teach the gorillas sign language so they can request pet kittens.

Before I could comment, Noah’s reedy voice rang out through the fetid semi-darkness, ordering us back to work. Joe picked up his broom and resumed his sweeping, and he hasn’t asked a question since.

Poor Joe. He’ll feel better once we’re back on dry land. I think we all will.


MK Laughlin earned a BA from the College of the Holy Cross and an MFA in creative writing from Minnesota State University Moorhead. Her work has appeared in publications such as Red Weather Literary Magazine, Poor Mojo’s Almanac, and A Flash of Red: A Collection of Short Stories.