The Book of Joe


by Levi Andrew Noe

"Hey, you know what we haven't done in a while?" the Devil asked.

"What's that?" Yahweh looked up from his model.

"Oh, nah, never mind. It's dumb. You wouldn't be interested. You've got bigger fish to fry."

"Yea, you're probably right," Yahweh went back to his work.

"Aw c'mon," the Devil whined, "you're no fun anymore."

Yahweh sighed, took off his magnification glasses and put down his tweezers.

"All right, what is it?"

The Devil looked away, feigning bruised feelings.

"Lou," Yahweh said, "I know what you're doing. Stop. Just tell me already."

Lucifer rolled his red eyes and let out an oh-twist-my-arm-why-don't-ya sigh.

"Well, it just came to me because I was thinking of the old days. Sooo, the thing we haven't done in a while. Is," he held the moment in his palm, "make a bet."

Yahweh guffawed and picked up his tools again.

"I knew you'd do that. You always do that whenever I have an idea. I shouldn't have said anything."

"No," Yahweh responded, "I only do that to bad ideas you have. It just so happens that you tend to have mostly bad ideas."

"C'mon," the Devil pleaded, "It'll be fun. It won't be like last time. We can set some rules up. No pussing boils, no killing families, or livestock. C'mon."

The Devil put on his best kid-begging-for-a-puppy eyes.

"Pleeeease…"

Yahweh grumbled under his breath.

"Fine, if it'll shut you up so I can keep working. Sure, let's make a bet. I'm assuming you've already given it plenty of thought."

"Just a little," said the Devil. "So how about instead of betting on whether a man will side with me or you, how about we make it interesting and see if he will pick his passion, his life's calling, over anything else."

"Sounds interesting. So what kind of person did you have in mind? An actor, an activist, an artist?"

"A writer," the Devil answered.

"A writer?" Yahweh looked doubtful, "couldn't you pick someone more interesting?"

"Oh, I've worked it all out—"

"I'm sure you have," Yahweh cut him off.

The Devil ignored him.

"So, should we shake on it?"

"What are the stakes?"

"Mmm, oh, I don't know," The Devil dragged it out, "I haven't really thought about it. Maybe, oh, this is just off the top of my head, buuuuttttt… How about the earth?"

Yahweh looked at the Devil, measuring him, weighing the scales.

"And if I win?"

"What could you want? You have everything."

Yahweh eyed the Devil and smiled.

"If I win, I get you."

"What do you mean?" asked the Devil.

"I get you. All of you. As you were in the beginning. My right hand archangel. My firstborn. My archetype for truth, power, and beauty. No more of this bad boy shit."

The Devil gulped, and shifted uncomfortably. He was clearly not expecting the tables to turn like this.

"Well, uh, so you mean. I'd be—"

"Mine again."

"Totally?"

"Completely."

"So, like—"

"Lucifer, Star of the Morning, First of the host of Heaven, greatest in God's Creation. That, and that only. You would never again be able to diverge from the path I create for you."

"But, like, forever?"

"We can talk in a few millennia and see how things are going."

The Devil had not expected Yahweh to raise the stakes so high. Should he call the bluff? The cards were highly stacked in favor of sin and wickedness, but on the other hand, back to being Yahweh's bitch, the thought made the Devil shiver. But still, he stuck out his hand and spit.

Yahweh wiped his hands on his robes made of pure existence and their hands clasped. All of creation shifted slightly, ever so slightly on its axis. They both smiled slyly at each other. Before Yahweh let go, he said.

"Oh yea, and by the way, in order to make sure you're playing fair, I'm going to send Michael in to referee."

The Devil continued smiling, only now with gritted teeth.

"Certainly, sure, sure. I welcome Michael, he is always so observant and judicious. Well, I better be off. No rest for the wicked, as they say."

Yahweh put on a pair of well-worn leather gloves and safety goggles, waving goodbye.

"What are you working on, by the way?" The Devil was curious.

"The next universe."




BIO: Levi Andrew Noe was born and raised in Denver, CO. He is a writer, wanderer, yogi, entrepreneur, and amateur oneironaut. His flash fiction collection Rain Check was published in August 2016 from Truth Serum Press. Levi is the editor-in-chief and founder of the podcast Rocky Mountain Revival Audio Art Journal.