PARADISE LOST BY JOHN MILTON

[ring ring]

[P]: [into the phone] Y’ello?

Adam: I’ve done a really bad thing.

[P]: Adam! S’up, bro?

Adam: You gotta help me!

[P]: Cool your boots. Tell me what’s up.

Adam: Eve…

[P]: Ah, man, you didn’t did you? But, listen, maybe she won’t find out? As long as it wasn’t her best friend…

Adam: No, it’s not that. I ate something I shouldn’t’ve.

[P]: What have I told you before? Don’t take anything unless you know what it is and you trust the person giving it to you.

Adam: No, you don’t understand. We’re all fucked!

[P]: Preaching to the choir, Ad; I’ve been telling you this for months.

Adam: Turn on the news.

[P]: ‘K. Hold up.

Voice from the tv; the host of a topical news-based tv programme: …author of the best-selling book Paradise Lost, which some claim predicted today’s tragic events. Mr Milton, what are your thoughts?

Milton: Wrote I did, that mankind father wudst apple eat!

[P]: Hey Ad, why’s he talking like that? Has he had an accident?

Adam: He’s a poet or something.

[P]: Ah, that makes sense. Have you read that Paradise Lost thingy?

Adam: Of course I have, I’m in it!

[P]: Oh yeah. Any good?

Adam: This is not the time!

[P]: No, I know, but, quickly though, what you reckon? I’m struggling with my reading choices at the moment.

Adam: Yeah, it’s very good. Bit confusing sometimes; you’ve heard Milton speak. He writes like that too. His word-order is, I dunno, odd. It takes some getting used to. You have to concentrate. At times it’s like you’re reading the book backwards. 

[P]: Hey, have you heard that if you read a book backwards the devil appears? Or is that playing records?

Adam: Playing records backwards does not make the devil appear, you dunce; and, anyway, it’s bit late for that, he’s already…

[P]: So, what’s it about?

Adam: What?

[P]: The book.

Adam: It’s about me!

[P]: I know, I just mean, like, what about you? Like, I love you, dude, but you’re really not that interesting. All you ever do is potter about that garden with Eve, sexing her occasionally and feeding the animals.

Adam: That’s what I’m trying to tell you!

[P]: In a minute, Ad; the book?

Adam: [sigh] It’s about Satan’s fall from heaven, about the war that preceded it…

[P]: I heard about that. Quite funny really. I mean, God’s God, for fuck’s sake, how’d you reckon you can defeat God? All-powerful, there’s a clue in that.

Adam: Yeah, but after the war Satan…

[P]: Hold up, Ad; he’s on tv right now! What are the chances?

Satan:…so I said to myself ‘it’s better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven!’

[Audience laughter ]

Host: But why Satan? That is the question on everyone’s lips.

[P]: I’m telling you, Ad, I’m not that way inclined but I’d go gay for Satan.

Satan: Payback, Kent. Can I call you Kent? You see, I was pretty miffed at losing the war and getting exiled to Hell. Hell is not a nice place, Kent.

Host: I can imagine.

Satan: Ah, you won’t have to imagine, you’ll see it soon enough. Anyway, and then his Lordship creates Adam, and from Adam Eve. And, yeah, I admit it: I was jealous. They were so perfect and so happy and, ugh, it made me sick.

Host: And that’s when you came up with the apple plan?

Satan: Bingo! And I knew Eve would fall for it, because, y’know, women are weak and credulous.

Host: Now, steady on!

Satan: I’m just joshing, chief! Besides, women love a bad guy, don’t they? You wouldn’t believe how many phone numbers I’ve got on the back of this.

[P]: I’m telling you, I totally would. So what’s this about an apple?

Adam: I’ve been trying to tell you! Satan got into the garden…

[P]: Haven’t you got security?

Adam: Yes, but he tricked the guards.

[P]: Two words, bro: electric fence.

Adam: …he got into the garden and tricked Eve into eating an apple and now we’re all fucked.

[P]: Braeburn or Granny Smith?

Adam: The type of apple is irrelevant! We’re doomed!

[P]: So, she ate an apple, so what?

Adam: It was from the forbidden tree!

[P]: Oh shit. We’re doomed! Why did she do it?

Adam: Satan turned himself into a snake and the snake convinced her that he had been given the power of speech by eating from the tree. I mean, it makes sense, right? She thought it would give her greater knowledge, would make her more like one of the immortals.

[P]: Oh right, so we’re all in the shit because of her inferiority complex?

Satan: you see, Kent, my take on this is why did God create man ignorant and why did he want him to remain so? The tree is a tree of knowledge, and yet God says, ‘do not partake of the fruit of that tree.’ Why must man not have knowledge? That seems kind of screwy to me. You create this being and yet you don’t want him to be the best he can be?

[P]: Y’know he makes a good point, Adam.

Adam: I know, that’s why we did it. But God works in mysterious ways, and all that, and I’d rather be pig ignorant and alive than smart and dead.

Satan: And it also strikes me as odd that you would create man with a curious nature and then ask him not to be curious; and isn’t it kind of fucked up to create temptation, when it wasn’t necessary? The tree didn’t have to exist, he created it! He could not have created temptation. It makes one wonder just how nice his Lordship is, makes one feel as though he was toying with man.

[P]: He does make some bloody good points, you know!

Adam: I know. Look, I gotta go; there’s talk of some kind of bridge between earth and hell, thought I’d better warn you. Oh, and the weather is going be a little freaky from now on, either really hot or really cold.

[P]: But I haven’t got a jacket.

Adam: Buy one. One last thing, from now on there will be bad things happening, murder and rape and misery and destruction and promiscuity.

[P]: Promiscuity? Now, hold on, let’s not be hasty. Why not ride this wave out for a while?

Adam: You’ve been a…uh…great help, [P].

[P]: Any time. And thanks for the heads up, Ad. Keep in touch.  

Adam: It may be a while; me and Eve’ve got to look for new digs.

[P]: You’re leaving the garden?

Adam: [exasperatedly] That’s the whole point!

[P]: How much you been paying pcm? Cos I’ve always liked your place.

Adam: I…I…I…you’re an idiot, [P].

[Adam hangs up]

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