Gotham, Nee Gomorrah
God One, Creator and putative ruler of our universe, creation of God Two, looked down upon the land of Gotham. Casting a godly eye on this small town in His reputed Holy Land, He said unto Himself, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness.”
He heard Himself speak unto Himself thusly and He was mightily pleased. He thought those words would make an awesome opening for one of His Books of the Bible.
He also thought that talking to Himself probably wasn’t the most positive of indicators of divine mental health. He dismissed that notion after a brief period of angst. At least, that was His story. And he was sticking to it. But, in truth, it was not that He had consciously given up on the notion. It was simply that His mind wandered.
As soon as he said onto Himself, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times …”, He made a mental note to inscribe those words in a new Book right away. He feared that one of His creations might steal the words and claim them as his or her own. Unfortunately, He was astronomically absentminded and easily distracted. Due to His brief interlude of mental health angst, He forgot to write the words down. Thus, they were never attributed to Him. Except, of course, here.
The Hell of Gotham: Deli Deficit
It was the worst of times because Gotham was one of the most odious, tedious, tattered, tasteless towns in all of the alleged Holy Lands. Its streets were rutted. It lacked anything that anyone with the slightest of cultural sensitivity or sense of amusement would call entertainment. Its buildings were shabby and rundown. Violent crime was rampant. It was impossible to get a good corned beef sandwich anywhere in town. All of the bars sold watered down booze. And the hookers were no damned good at their jobs. No damned good at all.
God One did not blame the people of Gotham for the lack of good corned beef sandwiches. After all, His creations had not yet invented corned beef. And He was damned if He was going to pass along the secret of the blessed corned beef for free. Who could blame Him? As God One often says, there is no free lunch.
Everything else was, in the conscience-challenged mind of God One, the Ruler of Our Universe and the Creator of many of the creatures living in it, the fault of the people of Gotham. He was convinced they should be punished. But He was hoping that one group of zealots or another would come along and do the punishing for Him. He didn’t like to get His metaphorical hands dirty.
Gotham, Nee Gomorrah
God One recalled that Gotham was not always called Gotham. It used to be called Gomorrah. The city councillors changed the name at the request of the tourist bureau. According to the bureau, some former residents had given Gomorrah a bad name.
In addition, Gomorrah was always lumped in with a nearby city, Sodom. There, people were wicked and engaged in types of sex acts of which, it was believed, God One did not approve. No one could explain why He didn’t approve of those specific types of sex acts. According to the local evangelists, not to mention the local village idiots, He just didn’t. So don’t ask.
As it happens, God One did not disapprove of those types of sex acts. He decreed that, as long as it was between consenting adults, “My Domain has no place in the bedrooms of the nation.” But nobody listened to him and that line was soon forgotten.
The tourist bureau convinced the city councillors that they must change the city’s name for civic rebranding and repositioning purposes. They claimed that new name would allow the city to create an image of an upstanding locale that could attract family-based tourism. Hence, the city changed its name to Gotham.
Best of Times. Worst of Times.
It was the best of times because a girl had just been born in Gotham. In itself, that was not special. Girls were born there frequently. But God One had foreseen that this particular girl, Sarah Batjoseph, would be a great light unto His people. Either that or she would be very light. Homonyms frequently threw off His prophesies.
And it wasn’t just identically spelled homonyms. Differently spelled homophones also caused Him trouble. Whole civilizations were thrown into disarray because He often mixed up their, there and they’re.
Sarah’s birth was heralded by a star. Well, not quite so much a star as a bit player in a piece of unheralded street theater. It was, in fact, a jester who performed on street corners hoping to earn a shekel or two, or maybe a scrap of pre-chewed food, by doing little more than jingling his bells. On occasion, “jingling bells” was a euphemism for something that would get him arrested if he did it in public. Which he often did do.
In his own mind, the jester who heralded Sarah’s birth was, indeed, a star. But, in truth, he never achieved higher than second billing. And even that was rare. In fact, he rarely received so much as a mention in the program, let alone on the marquee.
Upon spying Sarah’s birth through a window, the jester cried, “a baby hath been born; a baby hath been born.” The jester thought that repeatedly stating facts about events that were obvious to anyone who viewed those events was somehow funny. Needless to say, he was not given many shekels for his version of street theater, although some people did spit the remnants of their meals at him.
God One didn’t quite catch the jester’s name. Thinking it to be inconsequential, he didn’t investigate further. Thus, He did not inscribe it here. That’s a pity. Due to the jester’s tediousness, everyone did their best to avoid him. Thus, if God One had inscribed the name of the frighteningly bad harlequin, future generations would have steered well clear of anyone named Adolph Hitler out of respect for the bible story.
According to her birth certificate, Sarah was born to Joseph and Mary Bennebish*, but there was some doubt as to Joseph’s paternity. Joseph was certain that he had been out of town for a month or two starting nine and a half months before Sarah’s birth.
As was the custom, Sarah took not her mother and father’s last name, but rather one that indicated that she was daughter (bat) of Joseph (joseph). Hence, the name Sarah Batjoseph. That was considered to be a ridiculous last name, but no one cared. What was the point of worrying about her last name, they thought? She would, of course, exchange it for the last name of her husband when she inevitably got married. That was the way things were done because she was only a girl.
Age of Wisdom (Times Only One)
It was an age of wisdom because God One foresaw that, whether she was light or a light, Sarah would be brilliant. That is to say, exceptionally smart, not exceptionally luminous in a photon activity sort of way.
It was an age of foolishness because everyone in Gotham other than Sarah was tied for the crown of village idiot. Garden sloths were entered into that competition to keep it interesting. The garden sloths never received higher than a Miss Congeniality title.
It was an epoch of belief because most of the people of God One’s Holy Land believed in the one true religion, Infinitiaty. They followed Infinitiaty’s precepts, dictates and asinine customs.
It was an epoch of incredulity because many of those same people were, while still believing in Infinitiaty, beginning to think that God One was not as great as He made Himself out to be. They began to think that maybe they should start worshipping some of the other of the infinite number of Gods in addition to or, possibly, instead of God One; just to hedge their bets, you understand.
God One was not pleased. But those other Gods were His Creator or His Creator’s Creator or His Creator’s Creator’s Creator or … ad infinitum. How could He fault the people of Gotham for worshiping Those who were, directly or indirectly, responsible for His creation?
It was a season of Light and a season of Darkness because that’s the way He had set up his seasons. Some had longer days. Others had longer nights. Some were largely sunny. Others were largely overcast. That was the natural way of the seasons in His Holy Land. He wanted to give more depth of meaning to Light and Darkness, but he was never any good at metaphors.
Sarah grew up in Gotham. And God One kept His eye on her for he had Great Plans for her. That and, in God One’s estimation, she was not too hard on the eyes, particularly as she approached womanhood. And, because He had created most of his people with a paucity of grey matter, God One felt the need to explain that when He said “approached womanhood,” He meant “approached” in a temporal, rather than a geographical sense.
But, lo, verily God One is getting way, way, way ahead of Himself in this story. The story God One wishes to tell began nine or so months before Sarah was born. And all of the rest will be repeated in much more detail in the following pages. Thus, verily, by writing this redundant first chapter and convincing people to read it, God One has proved that a fool and his or her time are soon parted.
* Joseph and Mary were not the same Joseph and Mary of “The First Infinitians” fame. There have been a number of Joseph and Mary couples throughout Infinitian history. God One assures us that this is just coincidence. No one believes Him. It’s widely known that He is celestially lazy when it comes to coming up with names for His bible characters.
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