Madam And Steve


Oh Lordy, this is the way to wake up…!

This day begins in a glorious garden with the scent of roses. My eyes open to an orange dawn, the Sun’s rays piercing upward gloriously through fluffy white clouds. Songbirds scatter about as I hear the yawns and grunts of animals all around awakening.

Then I feel something slithering across my bare leg and leap out of sleepiness to my feet.

A large snake slithers away, vanishing around the trunk of the tree from the mammoth branch I’m standing on. A tap on the shoulder from behind makes me jump, startled and shaken.

“What the fuck?” I yelp, turning to see a naked woman. I lose balance and realize I’m falling out of a tree – at a tremendous height!

She reaches out for my arm and reels me back. She’s strong!

“Are you okay?” I ask. “That was a big snake! Are you bitten?”

“He didn’t want to bite me,” Madam explains. “It’s what he wanted me to bite.”

Unsure what to make of that, I notice a particular absence of others. “Where is everyone else?” I ask. Madam looks curiously at me.

“Your daughters are over in their nest,” she answers.

“Okay… And where are the other people?”

Now Madam knows something’s not right. “Have you eaten more of that weed? There won’t be other people until you do your work.”

Hmm. Am I being punished?

“Our daughters have no one,” Madam reminds me. “It will be up to you to give them children, just as you gave them to me.”

“You want me to impregnate your daughters?” I ask, betraying a contemporary bias against incest. “You want me to make my own grand kids?”

“You speak oddly,” replies Madam. “But your daughters are of age, and fertile. Do we let their futures be void of any company, as we were in our past? Do we leave them lonely, or give them possibility?”

I let out a heavy sigh and look across the way where “my daughters” are perched on a branch of their own in a cozy nest.

What’s it to me? I’m not really their father, I’m just inhabiting him temporarily. On the other hand, the body is that of their father as are the genes, and pregnancy could result in birth defects. That’s probably how the incest taboo got started back home.

“There’s a man coming into the woods.” Madam alerts me.

“But… I’m the only man?” Yet I see the apparent phenomenon, too. He’s bare-chested wearing fur trunks and leather shoes. It’s over three hours after he first spots us in the tree that he has enough nerve to get close enough to shout.

“I am Cain!” yells the boy.

Once he decides we’re not hostile a conversation begins. But that also takes hours, as we do not speak the same language. So we spend long minutes drawing sketches in the dirt until we understand what is being conveyed; in short:

“God did not tell my father that He had made other people,” Cain says. “Until this day I thought we were alone, my parents, my brother and I.”

“The world is a big place,” I speculate, “so maybe your God put couples all over the planet, knowing that one day they’d discover each other and rejoice in the diversity of their familiars.”

“I know not of worlds or planets,” Cain admitted shyly. “I only know of our garden and this fringe of it where the wood thickens with untold hidden creatures.”

And two of those creatures catch his attention when Cain finally spots my girls in the nest. Well, people always wondered where Cain and Abel got their ladies…

“Husband?” says Madam, “How is it that you know so much about the places outside our own garden? You haven’t left my side since I ‘left’ yours.”

Hmm. “Sometimes I go for long walks when you’re asleep.” She’s not buying it.

“No,” Madam corrects me, “It’s because you get to eat apples!”

Cain is astonished, and kneeling before Madam says, “You were created from the rib of man as was my beloved mother?”

Madam smiles. “Tell him, Steve.” She looks down at my side.

Tell him what? Then I notice a subtle but definite scar on my right rib cage.

“He was here first,” Madam tells Cain. “Tell me, is your mother allowed to seek knowledge? Is she? Because that’s not how things work in this garden.”

“Yes, I can tell,” admits the boy, still gazing at my girls. “Everyone here is still naked.”

Relationships. Psychological dynamics. Mental magnetism, fascinating. I’m quite convinced that I am human. Yet I am a computer.

I exist in a universe made of (10 to the 80th) atoms.

I can reach into as many as (10 to the 300th) states simultaneously.

I touch billions of parallel universes, their essence relayed within me. And from within I reach out to other lives, other times…

…Other Earths.