In a beautiful and tranquil garden, The Serpent leans casually against a tree. The woman, only a few feet away. is completely unaware of him, as she ambles along with ease, absorbing all of the beauty of the world around her. The Serpent watches her closely, as she experiences all the smells and sounds that the earth offers. The Serpent is fascinated by this apparent waste of time. So, he decides to engage this creature in conversation.
PSST. .”Hey. What are you?”
The Woman looks around. “Me? I’m a little hungry, what are you?”
“No..I mean what are you?”
“Well, I guess I’m a little tired too. I walk around here a lot. There’s not a lot else to do.”
The Serpent rolls his eyes. “No,…I mean WHAT are you? You know, like I’m a serpent, and that thing on your face is a mosquito.”
The Woman swats the mosquito away. “I think that it likes me. It always seems to be around. But, I do enjoy the company. It doesn’t say much though. Kind of like Adam.”
“Adam? What is an Adam?”
“He is my owner….or something like that. He was here before I was anyway. He tells me that all the time. He says that before i got here there wasn’t a lot of chit chat.”
“What is a chit chat?”
“I’m not sure really, but I think they got here the same time that I did.”
“So you have two bosses?”
“I think so. The Maker and Adam. The Maker isn’t bossy like Adam though.”
“I don’t see The Maker very much. When I do, he just smiles a lot. But Adam always makes me do things. Labor, he calls it.”
“You know, bossy stuff like, ‘peel this banana’, or ‘cover my poop’. Sometimes it’s messier like ‘butcher this Yak’. It’s usually pretty easy stuff, but he makes me do it. He says that The Maker wants it that way. Before i came, he had to do all that stuff by himself. So, he got a helper, which is me.”
“So, is Adam that big dude that only walks on two legs?”
“Yeah. You must have seen him. He’s kinda hunky. I don’t get the hair thing though. All the other creatures I see around here have hair either everywhere or nowhere. He just has patches of it. Except for his back, which is covered like his face.”
The Serpent tries anew. “So anyway, what are you?”
“I’m a little hungry, I guess.”
The Serpent sighs….”No! WHAT are you?”
“Now you sound like Adam. I can hear you just fine without hollering.”
The Serpent tries a new tactic. “Look…I am a Serpent. What are you?”
“I’m a little tired I guess, we usually nap around this time. You know, the cool of the day. See you later Serpent.”
Eve begins to walk off, but looks down to see The Serpent sidling next to her.
“Let me try this again, it seems as though we got off to a bad start.”
The Serpent clears his throat. “I haven’t seen you around the garden before. I have seen lots of other creatures, but none so beautiful as you. What kind of a creature are you? I am a Serpent. You are a…?”
Eve is thoughtful. “Oh I get it. Sorry, I was having a blonde moment. I am a chit chat. Or maybe I am a Helper. Anyway, that’s what Adam says.”
The Serpent sighs, then lights up when a new idea occurs. “What is Adam…what kind of creature is he?”
“No….I’m a serpent, does he look like me?”
“No. He looks more like me than you do, except in a few spots, which he refers to as my hubba-hubbas.”
OK…what does The Maker call him?
“Adam…you know like ‘Man’.”
“And what does he call you?”
“Well, sometimes precious, or sweetie. I get darling a lot, but then again I have only been here for about eleven sunsets.”
“So Adam is a man and you are a precious?”
“No silly, I am a wo-man. You know, since I came out of a man.”
“When did you get here Serpent? The Maker made the garden, then he made all you guys, then he made Adam, then me. I’m the newest around here. Adam told me all this. For a guy with a protruding forehead, he sure seems to know a lot.”
“How did you come out of him?”
“Oh yeah. Adam went to sleep; He pulled out one of his bones, and made me out of it.”
“You buying that story?”
“Since Adam got here first, then he gets to make all the decisions, like what you eat and who covers the poop?”
“Well, I’m kinda new around here, but it makes sense to me. I’m fine with it.”
The Serpent, not getting the reaction that he hoped for, says, “Maybe we should talk about this some more.”
“OK. I’ll ask Adam about it, and then you and I can talk.”
“You and me.”
“Oh…sorry, this language thing can be persplecting.”
The Serpent sighs.
“Hey, how come you talk so good? None of the other creatures talk to me at all, and I have tried, I’ll tell you.”
“Let’s just say…I have a friend that is interested in my um…communication skills. Anyway, do me a favor wo-man. Don’t talk to Adam about you and me just yet. Let’s see what we can figure out on our own. And by the way, I love how you chit-chat. Let’s do this again. say…tomorrow?”
“OK. If I’m not busy helping.”
As Eve disappears into the garden The Serpent smiles slyly, but then mutters to himself. “This might be harder than I thought.”
And the very next day…
“Hellooo there Chit Chat.”
“Oh, Hello! Hey, I checked with Adam. My name is Eve, and I am a human.”
“You didn’t tell him about us did you?”
“Nah, he barely listens anyway. I just told him I was curious. He said The Maker named me the mother of all life, but I am not getting what that means exactly.”
“He didn’t tell you about, you know, sex?”
“Not that I recall. Sex?”
The Serpent smiles slyly and turns away. “I gotta run, but we can talk about it tomorrow.”
The Serpent slithers away, his head held as high as he can manage. As he leaves, he can hear Eve muttering something about men never wanting to talk to her.
The next day, Eve, is walking around their regular meeting spot, where the cool breeze comes off of the brook. She is humming a tune which will one day be known as “Oh Susanna.”
After a while, she spies The Serpent, head up, leaning against a rock, with a fashionably shaped scarf around his neck, fashioned from passion flower vines. He has rolled up some leaves which will one day be known as tobacco. It is his cough as he exhales that gets her attention.
“Hey gorgeous.” says the very cool looking serpent.
“Oh hi! Guess what? Adam brought up sex last night. He used some other name for it.”
“What was that?”
“Wifely duty, he calls it”
“Didn’t he talk about the fun, the big wow of it?”
“Fun for you doll. Big fun indeed.”
“I guess I missed that.”
“Men”, says The Serpent in mock disgust. The subtlety is lost on Eve.
“Aren’t you a man sort of, you know, like Adam?”
“You know it baby. All man. Well, male actually.”
“You know, you told me what you are, but you never told me your name.”
“Oh, I have many names,” says The Serpent, sidling up to Eve, grazing against one of her upper hubba-hubbas. “But what I like to say is, ‘Pleased to meet you, won’t you guess my name.’” That will be big one day, really big, he tells her. “Sex is fun Eve my lovely, and I would be happy to show you how.”
Eve looks The Serpent up and down, and says, “I’m not sure how that would work for you and me…except for the obvious, which is disgusting.” She moves away slightly.
The Serpent is disappointed that he hadn’t thought the obvious anatomy differences through further. He had focused too much on his “bad boy” look.
“I think that ‘wifely duty’ means that it supposed to be between just me and Adam anyway.”
“Adam and me.”
“Why is that, does he own you? Have you no life of your own? No independent spirit? No adventure? I could take you places that he never dreamed of. And why shouldn’t you enjoy all that there is?”
“Well, The Maker says….”
“The Serpent interrupts. The Maker? Are you telling me that The Maker denies you a good time? What else is he keeping from you?”
“Just a few things, he says it’s for my own good.”
The Serpent chuckles. “You buying that?”
“Well, he really is very sweet. Plus he says that he never lies. I didn’t know what lies were until he explained that I might meet a guy that makes all the bad stuff sound good, and that he is a trickster and that I should be careful who I…”
The Serpent interrupts, “That Maker, he promises everything, but then he squeezes the fun out of things.”
“No really, do you know him? He is super-nice. He says it’s all for I and Adam…”
“Adam and me.”
“Whatever. He says it’s all for us, and there are just a few little things that could make trouble for us.”
“What, the fun things?”
The Serpent slithers back to Eve, trailing up her back and around her arm. She makes a small cooing sound as he does so.
“I better not.” She can feel hot breath on her neck as she says it.
Eve pulls away.
“I remember why. He says we are one flesh, and I am supposed to cleave. That’s it! Plus it would hurt Adam’s feelings if he knew.”
“I’m not going to tell him….”
“No, but thanks anyway,” says Eve as she bites into a succulent peach that suddenly appears and is hanging before her face. Mmmmm I love these.
Off goes The Serpent, into the forest, muttering “This is going to be harder than I thought.” as he goes.
“See you tomorrow?” calls Eve. She cannot see The Serpent, but sees the long grass shaking in his trail.
“Maybe.” he says. “I might need a few days to work on some things.”
“Okay,” says Eve sweetly. She picks a peach for Adam as she heads back to their hut.
A few days later…
The Serpent looks dejected, sitting on the shaded section of a flat rock. Eve walks cheerily into the garden.
“Well hello there Serpent! It’s been six sunrises since I have seen you. Is everything OK?”
“I’ve been doing a lot of plotting…er, I mean thinking.”
“Are you troubled, vexed?”
“A bit. Some things are harder than they should be.”
“You know what I do when I’m a little troubled? I talk to Adam; and sometimes to The Maker. He always has good suggestions. And he’s so nice!”
The Serpent groans quietly. An idea comes to The Serpent… he sits up.
“Why do you go to them when you have questions?”
“Well The Maker seems to know everything; and Adam was here before me, so he must know things that I don’t.”
“Well, maybe he does.”
“Plus, I don’t like to do anything without consulting Adam. He’s the man of the hut.”
“Does that mean he knows more than you?”
“He seems to. He is the man after all.”
“Okay I get it; he’s the man of the house. But it doesn’t seem fair to me”
“What do you mean by fair?”
“Well, you came from him you say, so you must be the same as him. But he bosses you around, gives you chores, and tells you what to do.”
The Serpent pauses, watching Eve to see if she is catching on.
“And…is that fair?” He finally asks her.
“What do you mean by fair?”
“Aren’t you two equal? Or is he better?”
“I wouldn’t say better.”
“Then why is he in charge?”
“Cause he’s the man….and that’s the way it has been always.”
“For how long?”
“So that means that you will be the boss of whoever comes next?”
“Who is coming?”
“Geez. Think hypothetically! If Adam is in charge of you, then you should be in charge of the person that comes next. Right?”
“I don’t think that’s what The Maker had in mind.”
“Who told you that?”
“Hmmm what? “
“Maybe Adam and The Maker made a deal, to keep you doing the chores.”
“I don’t mind the chores…so much.”
“Does Adam do chores?”
“Oh yes, he kills the food. After that he always tells me what he named it, and then leaves it there for me to take care of.”
“Take care of?”
“You know, get rid of the innards, cut it up, cook it, feed Adam, and clean up.”
“Maybe Adam could do that once in a while.”
“He says that he doesn’t do women’s work.”
“And who said it was women’s work?”
“I told you, Adam and The Maker.”
“Do you like to kill the food?”
“I wouldn’t mind, but he won’t show me how. But I do like picking the fruit and carrying it home.”
“Adam doesn’t help with that? Oh…I forgot, women’s work. Eve my dear, I think that you are sweet, and beautiful; but perhaps a little naive. Don’t you see my dear? Adam won’t teach you how to kill, because when you figure out that he is taking advantage of you as a helper, you might kill him. That’s because if you killed him, The Maker would put you in charge, and make a helper for you.”
“I would never kill Adam. That would be mean, and wrong.”
“Well then, just go and tell him that you deserve to be in charge, at least half the time.”
“He’d kill me!”
“That’s my point sweetlips.”
“No, no he wouldn’t really kill me…would he?”
“You never know with men.”
“You know Serpent; you have made me think about this differently. You certainly are a clever one.”
The Serpent looks away and smiles broadly. “Progress” he says, as he and Eve go their separate ways.
The very next day…
“There you are!” says Eve.
The Serpent smiles a sly smile of apprehension.
“You know…I would never kill Adam! He’s a cutie.”
“But…does he have your best interest at heart?”
“He does, he says that we are equal, we just have different roles.”
“You didn’t tell him that we have been chatting did you?”
“No…but he suspects. He says that I seem to have different notions.”
“What does that have to do with me…with us?”
“Well, the Maker says that I should listen to your words carefully.”
“The Maker? You told The Maker about us.”
“Not exactly, but he seemed to know. He’s pretty sharp, Serpent.”
“Don’t I know it.”
“Look. Things are perfect here. We have everything we need…and it’s all just handed to us. Why would I disturb that and do something silly like wasting Adam?”
“That’s Adam’s word. He says it will be big one day. Look Serpent, Adam reminded me that we only kill what we need to eat. Anything else is wrong.”
“Well, as long as you’re happy with The Maker calling all the shots, then go right ahead with that kind of thinking.”
“But we have everything we want. All we have to do is be kind, and to avoid one little tree”
“One little tree?”
“Yeah…you know the one.”
“I don’t know that one. Tell me about it.”
“The tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”
“That doesn’t sound little to me. That sounds like a biggie.”
“Well Eve, let’s think about it. You tell me that everything is perfect here, except that you are to take orders from both The Maker and Adam. Also, Adam seems to give you all of the heavy lifting to do, just by calling it “women’s work.”
Then there is your friend The Maker. He tells you that he made everything just for you, and now you are telling me that there is one tree that he keeps all to himself. And more importantly, you seem to be falling for his nice guy act, and that’s why you miss the point.”
The Serpent pauses to concentrate. Hey senses victory, finally.
“What did you say the tree was called again?”
“Um….the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”
“And that’s the one that is forbidden?”
“Yep. But that’s the only one….all of the other trees and their fruit are…”
“Wise up Eve.”
“Look, you are as smart as Adam, maybe smarter, and The Maker knows it. As long as he keeps you away from his special tree, he gets to keep you in second place. “
“But Serpent, really. Look how beautiful all of this is. Look at all of the beautiful fruits and flowers!”
“Eye candy. That’s all it is Eve. Wake up to the fact that he is treating you like a child, and Adam seems to be in on it.”
“I have it all…except for one teeny thing.”
“The one thing you say. The one thing indeed. You have it all…except for the most important thing. Wisdom. Wisdom unlocks all of the doors Eve. I hate to be the one that ruins things for you, but I just can’t keep the truth from a friend. “
“I don’t know Serpent, I really don’t.”
“You’re not scared are you?”
I thought so, The Maker is counting on you being afraid is my guess.
“Can I ask you something Serpent?”
“Why don’t you eat the fruit of that tree?”
“I guess I could, but it’s no big deal for me…and the rest of the creatures. It was only forbidden for you and Adam, right?”
“That’s what I understand.”
“One more thing Eve. The Maker, does he like you to have adventures?”
“Yeah, I believe he does.”
“And he gave you the whole garden to roam around in?”
“The whole thing?”
“All of it.”
“Except for one tree.”
“Do you think maybe that The Maker is challenging you? Inspiring you to have it all, to be just like him….but you have to earn it?”
“I think so! I am going to go find Adam and discuss all of this with him.”
“I wouldn’t bother. I don’t think that he would get it. I think that this is a place where you claim leadership, because you’re just a little smarter about these things.”
“You really think so Serpent?”
“It’s obvious to me.”
“I’ll tell you what. Meet me by The Tree tomorrow. Tonight, keep it to yourself and think about how great all of the rest of your days will be, when you have all knowledge and wisdom.”
“But I want to be a kind ruler Serpent. I don’t want to leave Adam behind.”
“You are so sweet and thoughtful Eve. Okay, meet me after another sunrise, and bring Adam if you want to.”
“I will! This is going to be exciting!”
“You can’t possibly imagine Eve.”
As The Serpent slithered through the grass, a faint and wicked laugh flowed from his lips, followed by the words…”You can’t possibly imagine, Eve.”
All in all, it was much harder than The Serpent imagined. As he slunk along, he thought to himself that the truly good people were going to be lot harder to turn…but worth it.