Bibilical first human beings Adam and Eve were queueing at the Immigration counter before checking out of the Garden of Eden. Adam held their brand new passport – just one – in his hand which said: “Human, male, sinner”. Eve had been entered in Adam’s passport since she was made out of his rib. She’d be applying for a separate passport when they arrived in the other world, that was the plan.
God knows how long it would take for Eve to get a new passport, the snake had said and they hadn’t dared ask God. But the snake had heard that it might take anything from a few million to a couple of hundred thousand years before Eve got her own passport. After that even Eve hadn’t had the heart to talk about voting rights or equal pay – Adam was laughing already, so she had simply kept the thing about gender equality to herself. Would be occasion enough to ask the question and give Adam something to laugh about in the millennia to come.
And then we might think of Mary and Joseph, those ultimate refugees whose travels took them from Nazareth to Bethlehem (80 miles), from Bethlehem to Jerusalem (6 miles); from there to Egypt (40 miles); and from Egypt over Judea and Bethlehem back to Nazareth (106 miles). That’s a total of 232 miles, a distance a commercial jet would be able to cover in 25 minutes and the rocket-powered X-15 of the NASA and the U.S. Air Force in just three, yes, just three minutes, for instance during its record Mach 6.7 flight sometime during the ’sixties.
Imagine Mary and Joseph aboard the X-15, the fastest military airplane of all time. Jesus would have had exactly three minutes to be born, Christ! No wonder they retired the X-15 in 1970.
Mika’s ancestors had been around during all such biblical wanderings, Mika claims. Eve had hidden her Mika – still very young, a cuddly little thing with paws almost larger than its head – she’d hidden Mika carefully among her spare fig leaves but they discovered the stowaway anyway. Adam had to explain that Mika was not a pet but provisions for the journey in the sense that they intended to eat Mika if they felt hungry during the trip, a perfectly valid explanation in those days. The Immigration Officer was asking whether Mika – everybody in Mika’s family has always been called Mika since Adam – and since Eve, come down to think of it (about time somebody did). Well, the I.O. was at least clever enough not to ask for Mika’s vaccination papers, there being no vaccination nor diseases of any kind in the Garden of Eden.
How did people – and animals – die in the GOE? I was asking Mika.
People? There was only Adam ’n’ Eve, Mika said, as if he was talking about Rock ’n’ Roll. As for the animals, they died of boredom, if we are to believe Mika. Apparently they just curled up and went to sleep, telling the others not to wake them till Eternity – or until Eve had given Adam the apple and they’d put on their fig leaves and things had generally got interesting.
For example, soon after their arrival in the sinful world, ‘Adam knew his wife Eve intimately, and she conceived and bore Cain’. Abel came along by and by. Cain became a farmer while Abel became a shepherd. And then Cain killed Abel – so not just sex but violence and Hollywood was born.
“My ancestor had naturally attached himself to Abel – he was actually the first sheep dog in the world, we turned into hunting dogs later,” Mika recalled with some pride. “My ancestor was regularly getting all those succulent scraps from the ‘fat portions’ Abel was offering to the Lord. And then that grain-eating monster Cain not only killed Abel but chased away my ancestor,” Mika would have shed a silent tear if he could, but had to be content with drooling instead, whether for his ancestor or for the succulent scraps, I am not in a position to tell.
“And what about Mary and Joseph? Did they have a Mika with them too?” I asked.
“No, but you know the place where their child was born?”
“You mean the manger?”
“The child wasn’t born in the manger. Mary laid him there after the birth,” Mika corrected.
“And your ancestor?”
“The manger was the feeding trough for the cows. My ancestor used to lie on top of the fodder and have fun snarling and growling and scaring away the dumb critters. But when Mary came, with the child…” Mika broke off, which is unusual for him.
“The cows were avoiding the manger because my ancestor was in it, but Mary thought the manger was empty.”
“Which it wasn’t?”
“Mary saw Mika at the last moment and got a scare because Mika bared his teeth, like this,” Mika bared his gums. He looks like a baboon when he does that. It is not a pretty sight.
“Mary called Joseph who said something to Mika so that Mika got up and sprang out of the manger. Went out of the stable altogether and sulked outside, which is why he missed the photo op at the Christmas crib.”
“What did Joseph say to Mika?”
“‘D’you want me to tell the world that you were the first dog in the manger?'”