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    Owen Sheers: IMG Powell's Q&A: Owen Sheers



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The Last Testament

by

The Last Testament Cover

 

 

Excerpt

PROLOGUE

1In the beginning, I took a lunch with Daniel Greenberg of the Levine Greenberg Literary Agency.

2 For the future of print was without hope, and void; and darkness had fallen upon the face of the entire publishing industry.

3 So one day Daniel, my agent, whom I have been with forever; by which I do not mean literally “forever,” as I started out unrepresented, but a good 25 years or so;

4 Anyway, Daniel got us a table at Balthazar; for he knows someone there.

5 So we met, and exchanged pleasantries, and sat down, and caught up; and in time I coyly came around to asking him why he wanted to see me, although I knew, and he knew that I knew, and I knew that he knew that I knew; but lo, this is how the game is played.

6 And then, over a frisée aux lardons that they were not serving in heaven then, but they are now, he spoke unto me:

7 “O LORD our God, King of the Universe, here’s what I’m thinking.

8 Thy previous books have sold an impressive six billion copies;

9 They form the basis of three great religions, and five crappy ones;

10 They have been translated into 2,453 languages, including that of a fictional race of TV aliens wearing shoe polish;

11 They can be found in every synagogue, church, mosque, and Comfort Inn in the world;

12 And most importantly, they have done for faith, and ethics, and morality, what The Bartender’s Bible hath done for bartending.

13 But lo, it has been nigh on 14 centuries since thy last book—”

14 “Forget not The Book of Mormon,” I interrupted.

15 “Thy last serious book,” he continued; “and now a pestilence has befallen our tribe; books go unread; bookstores go unpatronized; libraries remain Dork Central;

16 And while digitalization presents an opportunity, it is also a challenge; the paradigm is shifting; I don’t know if thou dost follow the trades, but content-wise—”

17“I follow everything!” I bellowed, using the reverb voice and thunder-rumbling sound that I am wont to employ on such occasions.

18 “Forgive me, LORD,” said Daniel; “I shall rend my garment and grovel in thy sight later.

19 I mean only to say, that if I were to approach major publishing houses with a proposal for God’s last testament, it would make a pretty strong pitch.”

20 “But of what shall it be composed?” I asked, pressing my fork into the poached egg, then idly watching its liberated amber yolk ooze seductively over the farm-fresh chicory.

21 “For I have already imparted all my wisdom, and bestowed all my law, and revealed all my truth;

22 And also I confess to being sore afraid, that I may not have another book in me”;

23 And at this I sighed, and turned away, and did earnestly wonder if I still “had it.”

24 And Daniel said, “Surely this is not the same confident, All-Powerful God who parted the Red Sea, and bore his son through a virgin mother, and . . . and . . . well, I’ve never read the Koran, but I’m sure thou didst some amazing things in there also.

25 Besides, the book I envision is not like unto those.

26 For in the book I envision, thou wouldst revisit thy greatest hits—the Old and New Testaments, and the Koran if thou insistest—but in a manner more in keeping with the modern custom;

27 Meaning, that thou shalt ‘open up’ about their events; and ‘share’ thy feelings; and ‘dish’ about the various public figures therein, thus creating a ‘telleth-all.’

28 (That’s not a bad title, by the way.)

29 Then thou shalt continue the tale by describing thy activities and where abouts over the past one thousand four hundred years; a period I suspect many of thy devotees have a few questions about.

30 And then thou shalt finish with a sneak peek into the future, with perhaps a brief glimpse of what lies in store for the end of the world; which, again, I think may be of some interest to thy hardcore fans.

31 But checketh it out, for here is the best part: Interspersed throughout shall be a series of short essays on matters of contemporary interest; such as natural disasters, and America, and celebrities, and regional athletic contests, and whatever other bits of frivolity thou conceivest;

32 The better to cater to the sensibilities of the modern reader, whose capacity for following unbroken written narrative hath dwindled to the size of a piece of Jonathan Franzen’s neck-stubble.

33 My point, G-Man”—and here Daniel reached across the table and grabbed the hem of my garment in a way few ten-percenters have ever done without an insta-smiting—

34 “Is that I love thee as a deity, and worship thee as an author; so I would have thee find new favor among men, by coming down off thy pedestal and humanizing thyself,

35 That thou might once again top the best-seller list, only this time in the modern era:

36 An era in which, I would remind thee, royalties can be properly accounted for.”

37 Then he fell silent; and long I pondered.

38 Yea, long I pondered; until slowly the ancient desire to spread my word among man that he may glorify me, began to stir in my spirit once more.

39 And the waiter came and separated Daniel’s check from mine; and Daniel picked up both checks; for he saw that that would be good.

© 2011 Bizzu LLC

CHAPTER 1

1In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

2 Yea; that takes me back.

3 Back to the first day of creation; the day when, in a sense, it all began for me;

4 The day I tossed aside the idleness of my early eons, to take on the honor, responsibility, and privilege of being the LORD thy God, King of the Universe.

5 I remember that day like it was yesterday, though to be sure it was not yesterday; rather it was ages ago, across an unfathomable sea of time whose meagerest inlet exceeds the ken of human understanding.

6 It was October 23, 4004 B.C.

7 But before I speak of that day, and that week, and all the laughter and tears and tragedy and triumph that followed; let me pause at the beginning of this, my last testament, to tell thee a little about myself.

8 I am Omnipotent, Omniscient, All-Merciful, All-Powerful, All-Informed, All-Possessing, All-Compelling, All-Subduing, Most Holy, Most High, and Most Powerful.

9 My hobbies include being Sovereign LORD, Heavenly Ordainer, Day-star of Eternal Guidance, Tabernacle of Majesty, Quintessence of Glory, Hand of Divine Power, Tongue of Grandeur, and Eye of Splendor.

10 And in the interest of full disclosure, I must also confess that I have on occasion been known to dabble in being the Desire of the World, the Source of Everlasting Life, the Sovereign Protector, and the Wellspring of Infinite Grace.

11 With all these qualities, and many more—for another of my qualities is being infinitely qualitied—people have often wondered why it was I created the universe, when I could have remained content simply to hover alone as pure spirit contemplating my own divinity.

12 Because that’s not godding, that’s why.

13 In my humble opinion, thou canst hardly call thyself the LORD, if thou hast created no other beings to LORD it over.

14 (Besides, I did try hovering alone as pure spirit once; but one can only contemplate oneself contemplating oneself contemplating oneself contemplating oneself for so long before it getteth old.)

15 I had a burning ambition to rule the world, but I knew such a world was not going to create itself; no fully formed planet was going to suddenly appear and say, “Here, LORD, take these 20 burnt offerings,” or “Here, LORD, take these 50 infidel heads,” or “Here, LORD, take these 200 years of religious warfare.”

16 No; there was nothing for it but to strike out on my own; to follow my own dreams, and pursue my own vision, and make my own fortune; relying on nothing but my own grit, and pluck, and infinite power over the space-time continuum.

17 And so I began my story; and so I begin it now.

18 Yet there is one more truth I would have thee bear in mind before I commence; for it is the prism through which all revelation herein contained must pass to be seen clearly.

19 I am not perfect.

20 Yea, I am omnipotent; but there are mortals tramping thy corridors of power who are nearly so, at least within the earthly dominion; and does their great might foster in them perfect righteousness? Or are they not mostly bastards?

21 Yea, I am omniscient; but there are mortals waddling the casinos of Las Vegas possessing nearly all information on the handicapping arts; yet does their great knowledge foster in them perfect judgment? Or did they not just lose their shirts on the Seahawks +2½?

22 And so, Reader, as thou flippest through these awe-inspiring pages, be not surprised to discover that over the millennia I have erred on matters great and small, and even at times shown slight defects of character.

23 For despite all the sobriquets listed above, and all the wondrous attributes contained within me, I am not perfect, and have never claimed to be.

24 I have claimed only, that my imperfections are thy fault.

© 2011 Bizzu LLC

CHAPTER 2

1The most important thing about undertaking a large-scale building project such as a universe, is to divide it into small, manageable action items.

2 For if thou seest it as a single large operation, thou art bound to become discouraged, and say to thyself, “Oh, I shall never manage to build a whole universe in six days; it is just too darn hard.”

3 So knowing the pitfalls of this approach, I banished it from my thinking from day one (Day One), and laid the week out as a series of attainable goals: the first being the relatively simple task, of creating the heavens and the earth.

4 That took about five hours.

5 It would have taken far less, had I been able to see what I was doing; but there being darkness over the surface of everything, I had to work mainly by feel.

6 Reflecting upon this later, I had an epiphany; so I said, “Let there be light!” and there was light; which was encouraging, that the utilities were already working.

7 And I saw the darkness, and called it “night”; and I saw the light, and called it “day”; and then I called it a day.

8 Day Two was the riskiest decision point of the entire week; for as thou mayest read, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.”

9 (I will note here that all Bible references in this book will quote the King James Version; it being not merely the most majestic translation, but the only one endorsed by basketball great LeBron James.)

10 Now, waters-division would have been a bold creative risk no matter how I attempted it; but what made what I did truly dicey—take that, Einstein!—was that I did it with a firmament.

11 For if thou art at all familiar with firmaments, thou knowest they have a tendency to leak like unto a Cajun levee.

12 And this foreboded a disaster I could ill afford, as I planned to one day— the next one—transform the waters above the firmament into the sky; which I intended to make of a completely different substance from the waters; though I thought I’d keep the blue motif.

13 But if the firmament were not of the strictest structural integrity, the sky would have seeped into the sea, and the sea into the sky; and then I would have been looking at millennia of renovation.

14 Still, I made the firmament; and all these millennia later it still holds; for back then thought was still given to craftsmanship and detail; unlike now, when everything is done by machine, or, even worse, by exploited Asian children whose hearts are just not in it.

15 Day Three was fairly routine: dry land in the morning, plant life in the afternoon.

16 Forming the dry land gave me the most pleasure I had all week, for I took great delight in shaping the landmasses; in carving the Grand Canyon, and sculpting the Himalayas, and shaping Florida so as to resemble what I, even at that early date, was fairly certain was going to be a penis.

17 As for the plants, that was tedious going, for plants are dull; ecologically necessary, but dull; especially trees, which bore me to no end.

18 Hear me: I am the LORD thy God, King of the Universe; and trees are stupid.

19 Day Four was “Astronomy Day”: I created the sun, the moon, and the stars; the planets, too, although that part is not mentioned in Genesis.

20 (Yea, there are countless things I omitted from the Old Testament when I dictated it to Moses; it does not mean they did not occur, or that I forgot about them; it means I was merciful enough to want thee to leave church at a reasonable hour.)

21 The Day Four achievement of which I am proudest, was sizing the sun and moon so perfectly as to allow for eclipses upon the surface of the earth; creating thereby spectacular occasions for awe and panic;

22 Which are without question, my two all-time favorite human emotions.

23 Day Five was a stressful day, a near-disaster; for it was when I “let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.”

24 Fill the sea with fish, fill the sky with birds; in hindsight this seems obvious; yet up until the last minute I had been planning on putting the fish in the sky and the birds in the sea.

25 I kid thee not!

26 For I had conceived feathers as a means of aquatic propulsion; whereas scales were designed to provide maximum aerodynamic lift;

27 Yet when it came time to let the waters teem, for some reason I went the other way, and threw the fish in instead of the birds.

28 And lo: The fish took to the waters so perfectly, that today to even imagine a fish out of water, is to envision a comical juxtaposition.

29 As for the birds, having no other place to put them I threw them all into the sky; where their quill-flippers proved unexpectedly adept aviation aids; so it worked out for everyone, except the penguins and ostriches.

30 And then came Day Six, a whirlwind of activity; for I spent it creating the land animals.

31 I created them in groups: mammals, amphibians, reptiles, insects; over 400,000 different species of beetles alone did I create.

32 It is not that I am fond of beetles; to the contrary, I did not like any of them; over 400,000 times I strove to make the perfect one, and over 400,000 times I failed;

33 Until finally I created the Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata; and I thought, “Now there is a beetle!” and I moved on.

34 Late that afternoon, I paused to take in my work.

35 In just under six days I had built an entire universe in literally the middle of nowhere; and I had done so under budget.

36 Life thrived everywhere; the stars shone, the oceans roared, the flowers bloomed; all around me flourished the myriad signs of my glorious abundance . . .

37 And then, thou walked in.

© 2011 Bizzu LLC

CHAPTER 3

1But before I speak of humanity’s earliest ancestors, I must here address a subject of great importance to all seekers of truth; but particularly those seekers of truth, who are tenth-graders in Kansas.

2 Over the last several hundred years, scientists have uncovered an obscene amount of evidence in support of the theory of evolution expounded by Charles Darwin.

3 And each such piece of evidence has seemingly revealed a new and more profound inconsistency between reality, and the account of Creation offered in Genesis.

4 Now, I know many of my faithful servants have labored earnestly to reconcile the two; even going so far as to form a new discipline, “creation science”; a phrase carrying roughly the same intellectual heft, as “dragon anatomy.”

5 But by now, the absurdity of this endeavor has surely become apparent to even my most steadfast defenders.

6 And so I must tell thee here, in the spirit of candor, that the evidence for evolution is now indeed so overwhelming, so incontrovertible, so beyond the level of mere “theory,” that it can no longer possibly be denied,

7 How impressive it is, that I planted it all.

8 Because I did.

9 I planted it all.

10 Every . . . last . . . bit of it.

11 Zing!

12 Canst thou grasp the scope of my hoax, humanity?

13 Can thy mortal minds absorb even a drop of the immense ocean constituting the thoroughness of thy punking?

14 If all of thee, working together since the dawn of time, were charged with devoting thy lives to the single task of fabricating all the evidence that exists to support evolution, thou wouldst fail utterly.

15 But I am God; in me all things are fakeable.

16 I molded the fossils; I deposited the dinosaurs; I modified the DNA; I mutated the vestigial tails; I arranged the migratory distributions; I specialized the finch beaks; I booked Darwin’s cruise.

17 And I did more than this: I meticulously layered geological strata; I altered the level of carbon 14 in every rock on earth; I even redshifted every particle of light in the universe so that it would appear to thy observers that the cosmos was created through some kind of large-scale explosion 13.7 billion years ago.

18 Yea; over the eons I have invested more time and energy into falsifying an empirically unassailable case for evolution than any other venture since Creation itself.

19 Wouldst thou like to know why?

20 Because every time a scientist dies and ascends to heaven, and I spend an hour lavishing him with praise about his use of reason and facts to overcome the primitive superstition of his fellows;

21 Then does the entire colossal undertaking become worth it, at that glorious moment, when the thunder claps, and the skies darken, and I bellow, “So long, sucker!”, and the trapdoor opens, and I send him to hell.

© 2011 Bizzu LLC

Product Details

ISBN:
9781451640182
Subtitle:
A Memoir
Author:
Javerbaum, David
Author:
God
Publisher:
Simon and Schuster
Subject:
General Humor
Subject:
Humor-Religious
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
20111101
Binding:
Hardback
Language:
English
Illustrations:
1-16 pp 4-C insert
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.12 in

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The Last Testament Used Hardcover
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Product details 400 pages Simon & Schuster - English 9781451640182 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "The Almighty opens up in this blithely blasphemous satire of monotheism. Ex-Daily Show writer Javerbaum (America: The Book) recounts God's Creation of the Garden of Eden (it actually was Adam and Steve before the sex-change procedure); the presentation of the Mosaic Law to safeguard 'the long-term neurosis of the Jewish people;' the ministry of Jesus, which a dubious God considers a masochistic performance piece by an overly sensitive middle Child; the founding of Islam, which Allah Himself is a bit scared of; and a mid-life dalliance with younger universes when He feels taken for granted by irreligious moderns. Along the way, God regales readers with gossip about what celebrities do when they think they're alone, relationship advice — 'Once thou hast Chosen someone, they are thine to tease, torment and disappoint forever' — and 300 signs of the apocalypse, including Sarah Palin's presidential run. God cherishes one-liners — 'my two favorite baseball teams are the Minnesota Twins and whoever is playing the Cubs' — but he's also a complex, troubled Deity: vain, petulant, desperate for praise and burnt offerings, guiltily pensive in the after-wrath of unhinged smitings. Adherents of every Abrahamic faith will find plenty of hilarious, offensive manna for thought in these revelations. Photos." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "Damned comical. Amen."
"Review" by , "A blithely blasphemous satire of monotheism....Adherents of every Abrahamic faith will find plenty of hilarious, offensive manna for thought in these revelations."
"Review" by , "Oh, God... There are enough laughs here, not to mention a dazzling underlying knowledge of theology, to give plenty of props to Javerbaum."
"Review" by , "A 'memoir' by God [The Last Testament] does what The Daily Show does so well — it satirizes religion by both taking it seriously and not taking it seriously at all, using humor to both point out the inconsistencies of the holiest texts and to describe God's codependent relationship with celebrities."
"Review" by , "No doubt the old rogue savors the irony that the most appreciative readers of his Last Testament are likely to be atheists. He might even have written it specially for them."
"Review" by , "I can't be sure, but I think the famously blasphemous Mark Twain (who once said he didn't want to go to heaven because he hated harp music) would have chuckled his way through Javerbaum's book. Maybe even snorted. Because it's very funny. Offensive to some, for sure, but very funny."
"Review" by , "An irreverent look at Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, sparing no religion, or religious leaders, any barbs."
"Review" by , "Presented as 'A Memoir by God,' the book comes divided into chapters and numbered verses like the Bible, if the Bible were narrated by Mel Brooks on crack-laced manna. It's a bawdy circus of theological vaudeville — Shadrach, Meshach and To-bed-we-go! — determined to sacrifice every sacred cow on the altar of farce."
"Review" by , "Spit-take funny."
"Synopsis" by , ***NOW A MAJOR BROADWAY SHOW STARRING JIM PARSONS (andlt;iandgt;THE BIG BANG THEORYandlt;/iandgt;) AND DIRECTED BY JOE MANTELLO (andlt;iandgt;WICKEDandlt;/iandgt;)***andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Over the course of his long and distinguished career, God has literally seen it all. And not just seen. In fact, the multitalented deity has played a pivotal role in many major events, including the Creation of the universe, the entirety of world history, and the successful transitioning of andlt;iandgt;American Idolandlt;/iandgt; into the postand#8211;Simon Cowell era. Sometimes preachy, sometimes holier-than-thou, but always lively, andlt;iandgt;The Last Testament andlt;/iandgt;is the ultimate celebrity autobiography.
"Synopsis" by , Over the course of his long and distinguished career, god has literally seen it all. And not just seen. In fact, the multi-talented deity has played a pivotal role in many major events, including the Creation of the universe, the entirety of world history, the life of every human being who has ever lived, and the successful transitioning of andlt;Iandgt;American Idol andlt;/Iandgt;into the postand#8211;Simon Cowell era. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Now, as the earth he has godded so magnificently draws to a Mayan-induced close, God breaks his 1,400-year literary silence with his final masterpiece, andlt;Iandgt;The Last Testamentandlt;/Iandgt;. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;As dictated to his mortal amanuensis, 11-time Emmy Awardand#8211;winning comedy writer David Javerbaum, God looks back with unprecedented candor on his time in the public sector. He takes us behind the scenes of Genesis, setting the record (un)straight on the real first couple, Adam and Steve, and challenging long-held notions about the viability of containing a phylogenetically complete double bestiary within a 450,000-cubic-cubit watercraft. For the first time, he breaks his silence on Jesus Christ, shedding light on a father-son relationship as heartwarming as Will and Jaden Smithand#8217;s. And he reveals his true feelings about his third great faith, Islam, andlt;Bandgt;WHICH ARE NOTHING BUT POSITIVE AND RESPECTFUL.andlt;/Bandgt; andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;But andlt;Iandgt;The Last Testament andlt;/Iandgt;doesnand#8217;t just look back. It also offers Godand#8217;s perspectives on the perennial quagmires of love, marriage, and smiting. And he takes an 27.99 unfiltered look at contemporary society, addressing such hot-button topics as: andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;Bandgt;and#8226; Why he loves America andlt;/Bandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;Bandgt;and#8226; What he listens for in a good prayer andlt;/Bandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;Bandgt;and#8226; Which sports teams he really roots for andlt;/Bandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;Bandgt;and#8226; Which celebrities are totally gay andlt;/Bandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Sometimes preachy, sometimes holier-than-thou, but always lively, andlt;Iandgt;The Last Testament andlt;/Iandgt;is a tale of courage, adversity, and triumph. Itand#8217;s the ultimate celebrity autobiography, sure to appeal to not only hardcore God fans and and#8220;worshipers,and#8221; but to andlt;Iandgt;anyone andlt;/Iandgt;whoand#8217;s ever had total omnipotence. If you place complete faith in the literal truth of one book written by God, make it andlt;Iandgt;The Last Testamentandlt;/Iandgt;.
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