Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Lily Fourshanks, Searching for God

Now just where was that rascal? Lily had searched under the bed, behind the refrigerator, on top of the armoire, and inside the closet behind the winter coats. No God. Not even an angel or an Old Testament patriarch. She found only gum wrappers, a picture of Elvis, and several empty pill bottles. She knew the lithium prescription was important, but she was so busy this morning, what with looking for God and all.

And then it hit her. Why hadn’t she thought of it before?

Lily ran to the storage closet under the stairs where the board games were stored. God knew everything and would be a natural at Trivial Pursuit. She pulled the box from the stack of Parker Brothers pleasure and proceeded to carefully lift the cardboard top from the game, expecting a billowy cloud of white wisdom to rise up like a genie.

“Rats,” she said when no deity appeared. “He certainly is elusive.”

Lily believed that an almighty being should be more accessible. If she needed her washing machine fixed, all she had to do was pick up the phone and call Sears, which had radio-dispatched trucks. If one wanted to communicate with God, therefore, one used a communications device. She had been so stupid!

“Hello?” she said into the black cordless receiver. “Are you there, God? This is Lily Fourshanks of 317 Henway Drive, Minetonka, Idaho.”

Lily heard the dial tone, not the voice of I Am Who Am.

“That just takes the cake,” Lily said, slamming down the phone. “Whatever God is, he’s no Sears repairman.”

Lily was on the verge of existential despair and lay down on the rug in her dining room. God was lying right next to her.

Lily picked up the shiny copper penny, on which was inscribed, “In God We Trust.”

“He looks a lot like Abe Lincoln,” she mumbled, “but at least he has a beard.”

Lily dropped God into the pocket of her apron before happily washing dishes and mopping the floors.

Lily ardently believed she had found the Almighty. For the rest of the day, nothing indicated otherwise. The neurotransmitters in her brain had ceased a feverish mambo in favor of a peaceful waltz.

It is said that not a single sparrow falls to the ground without the Father’s leave. The same apparently goes for pennies.

Picture: public domain


Julie at Virtual Voyage said...


Janice Thomson said...

I enjoyed this bit of humor with its underlying unspoken moral.

Charles Gramlich said...

I got a good chuckle from this. I was thinking, maybe God thinks he's the Maytag repairman and we humans never break down.

Billy said...

Julie, Janice, Charles--this is condensed from a short story I never revised or submitted. It was a balancing act. I thought I could make a point with humor that sanity is relative without making fun of the disease. Novelist Walker Percy once said that those in mental hospitals could tell the "sane" (whatever that is) a thing or two. Perhaps they see more clearly. I think he had a case.

Julie at Virtual Voyage said...

Billy, that's the best laugh I've had today. I misread the sanity is relative bit as though sanity WERE the disease....

Billy said...

Julie, I think that the interpretation you mention is a legitimate alternative. Not sure they're even mutually exclusive, especially in the case of the Percy quote. (I "ain't" no absolutist! -:)

SandyCarlson said...

I enjoyed this. And I wondered at Lily's age. I feel some days like I could be her! Wonderful yet again, Billy.

Thanks for leaving the book recommendation on my blog.

Bernita said...

Sweet and deep.

writtenwyrdd said...

I posted yesterday but blogger apparently ate it again!

Anyhow, this is sweet and amusing.

Billy said...

Sandy, I think the kingdom is within ... and expressed in so many different ways and at such odd moments. Thanks -:)

Bernita, thanks yet again--it was hard to rein this in so Lily would have depth.

Written, thanks--blogger seems to be eating my replies too lately.

Lane said...

I'm glad Lily Fourshanks (great name) found peace of mind:-)

Quirky, funny and I love that god would be good at Trivial Pursuits:-)

Interesting to read 'That just takes the cake'. The version here is 'takes the biscuit'. US/Uk variations are fascinating.

Billy said...

Lane, I don't know where I come up with these names. I wish there was an occupation where I could do that all day for other writers. And I thought crazy Lily deserved some peace of mind. Who's to say what's crazy? (That's a rhetorical question since I know people who qualify quite nicely.)

What's the British idiom for "nuts"? I think there are several that we don't use stateside.

Lane said...

Nuts? Hhmm
Bonkers (stark raving)
Fruitcake (nutty as a)
Off his/her trolley

We've all known a few. They'd probably say the same about us:-)

Billy said...

Lane, thanks for the list. I had heard of balmy before, not barmy. Interesting. Balmy is used here to mean "a little off in the brain dept.," though most Americans aren't familiar with the expression.

Off the trolley--that's one I hadn't seen before. Gotta find someone to try it out on! Thanks.

Miladysa said...

LOL - I feel as though I know Lily!

Billy said...

Miladysa, this one was very fun to write. Thank you so much :)

Anders Branderud said...

Billy, Thanks for the story! I enjoyed reading it!

Lily was looking in the wrong places....
A proof for an intelligent Creator is found here: (left menu)

Anders Branderud