Miranda Lukenglasse opened her eyes. Thud! A sound of heavy foot fall echoed from her closet. Thud! There it was again. The dawn crept up outside her window. The red glow of her alarm clock flashed away each ticking second. It was six in the morning. What could possibly be going on? Miranda threw her blankets to the ground and cautiously sat up in bed. She heard a kick and a wham and the sound of a box falling to the ground.
Was there someone or something hiding in her closet? Miranda didn’t believe in your normal specters or monsters to be stowed away in dark spaces, but she couldn’t ignore this noise either. Another thud echoed against the closet floor. Miranda glanced at the wall across from her and wondered if the foreign exchange student, Ron, heard the noise as well, but no one seemed to be stirring.
Miranda flopped back onto her pillow resigning herself to the fact that she must still be dreaming when the light in her closet clicked on and a beam shed itself from underneath the rim of the door. Well that was most curious, she thought. As far as she knew, her light wasn’t keen to turning on by itself, but there was a first time for everything. Miranda rolled from the bed in her Mickey Mouse sweater and purple pajama bottoms and tiptoed towards the door. Without a thought for her own safety, she swung the door open.
Hunched over her wicker laundry basket was a tall man head deep in her dirty clothes. His black dress shoes clunked along the hard wood floor as he flung himself side to side searching for something confined in the depths of her clothes. Miranda tilted her head to the side and gazed within, wondering how she might approach these strange legs dangling out of her hamper.
“Who are you?” she asked politely.
The man peeped his head from out of the bin and blinked his eyes in the bright light. He had a kind face but with an edge like that of a baby-faced poker shark. His curly, brown hair poofed out at odd angles after his venture into the laundry basket. His arms were still shoulder deep in her clothes and his knees rested on the floor. A sock fell from his face. “I’ll be done in a minute,” he gruffly replied and dove back in to continue his rummaging.
“Can I help you with anything? My clothes are a bit gross to be diving through them.”
“You can say that again,” he muffled between t-shirts. “Do you think I enjoy this? Do you think I want to be diving through your dirty socks? For Christ sake this is horrendous! Despicable! Who would have thought I would sink so low? If only neckties were a bit larger this would be a whole lot easier. Where is that thing?”
Miranda wasn’t really sure what a necktie was nor did she know what it would be doing in her closet. She reached over and grabbed a beaded necklace hanging from the doorknob and held it out for the strange man. “Will this help?”
The man shot from the basket and took a look at the pink and purple plastic beads dangling from the young girl’s plump finger. “Just what I was looking for kid. Gaudy jewelry. Thanks so much.” He picked himself up off the floor and dusted himself off. He had to be a good six feet tall at least. He was dressed in a disheveled black and white tuxedo that was open at the collar and untucked at the waist. He exited the closet and began to search across the rest of Miranda’s room when he noticed that she was still holding out the necklace to him.
“You’re not much for sarcasm are you little lady.”
She naively looked back at him and cocked her head to the side as if it were a question.
He held up his arm and flapped his hand at her, “I won’t be needing that. It’s not what I’m looking for.”
Miranda hung the necklace on the door and followed the man on his search through her room.
“Who are you anyway?” she asked as she twirled her finger through her dark red curls.
“I’m always forgetting my manners, I apologize,” the man swiveled around and stuck out his hand, “I’m God.”
Let me assure you, with all authority, that when the man stated he was God this was not a nickname for some Everyday Joe. Nor was this some sort of Peeping Tom’s idea of a joke. This was, matter-of-factly, the very God we all refer to in our prayers when we use the title God. As God is my witness, as a writer of things that are true and that did occur at 134 Berry Tree Lane, this was that God.
“Well, nice to meet you Mr. God,” she reached out her hand, but God did not take it in his. Instead, his mouth fell open and he dropped his arm to his side.
“No, no. Not Mr. God. Just God. I’m sorry, but are you not familiar with me?”
Miranda knew her social circle was small but she still flipped through her mental Rolodex for a sign of familiarity, but the name “God” did not ring a bell. “Nope don’t know you.”
God couldn’t help but see this as a fortuitous turn of events. One minute you’ve lost your necktie after a long night of playing championship poker and the next minute you’ve stumbled upon a great new possibility.
“So you don’t know about God, The God. The one and only, awe-inspiring, universal, omnipotent God, as some would say.”
“Well is God your first or last name? Are you a friend of my mother’s? No, I’ve got it, you’ve come to take Ron back home to Korea.”
Quite interesting, God thought to himself while scratching his chin, but he thought he better investigate further before jumping to any conclusions. After all, most people he ran into these days were quite wily and he didn’t want to pass up such a good opportunity before getting all the facts first. “Okay, Mr. God it is,” and this time he stuck out his hand for a shake.
Miranda stuck out hers in return and gave it a firm grasp, “Miranda Lukenglasse, but most of my friends call me Mira. And that’s Mira like a mirror, not Myra. There’s nothing I hate more than being called Myra. When people say that name it looks like they’re taking a giant bite out of an invisible hamburger. It sounds like a dog whining—“ Miranda would have kept going but God held up his hand to stop her. Miranda shuddered and quietly added on, “I just hate it.”
“That’s lovely and all kid, but you don’t seem to be very impressed by the fact that you just shook God’s hand,” he tested her.
Miranda looked down at her palm and shook it in the air as if flinging off microscopic diseases. “Why, should I be nervous about touching you? Is there something you’re not telling me? You’re not one of the lepers from up on the hill are you?”
God couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Not only did she not know who he was but he was pretty sure he knew where all the last leper colonies were in the world and he made certain he stayed as far away as he could. “What lepers?” God asked.
“The ones on the hill,” Miranda pointed out her window and God followed her finger to a tall Church peeking through the fog.
God stepped closer to the window, “You mean that building right there. The one with the cross on top? That’s where the lepers are kept?”
“If by cross, you mean the International Sign of Leper Communities, then yes, that’s the building.”
God was taken aback, “You mean to tell me that you think each and every building with a cross on it means there are lepers in it?”
“Well, yeah. And people who wear crosses around their necks either have leprosy or care for someone who does, therefore as Gus says, we have to be very cautious either way, because its only a matter of time before we’ve all caught the disease.”
“You mean to tell me that this Gus person believes that every church holds massive amounts of lepers in it?” God asked.
“Gus has told me that I should never go near one of those buildings because I could catch leprosy and die. And I should stay away from people with the leprosy sign around their neck.”
God scratched his chin, “Hmmmmm… And who might this Gus be?”
“Damascus Lukenglasse. Or Gus. My father.”