Hey there, Lord.

It's me, Will Hoobler. I hope this letter finds you well and that Mrs. God and all the kids are doing great.

Now I know it's been a rather long time since you last heard from me, and that could be my fault as I have been busy with a large number of things that have taken a lot of my time and been quite tiring. On the other hand, to be frank, you haven't exactly gone out of your way to drop me a line, either. Keep your lightning bolts in your pocket, I don't intend to press the point any further. Enough said about that.

I figure that since it's been a while I should catch you up on a few things.

Generally, I've been having a good life down here. Did you know I got married? It was about twenty years ago that Charlene and I tied the knot and since then we've had little Mina, Bina, and Dina. They're not such rugrats anymore. Mina is 16 and nearly as tall as me. She brings home these lanky man-children who keep pawing at her nubile young body, and I was hoping with all the pain in my heart that you might turn a blind eye if I violate one or two of your commandments in sending some of these guys directly back to you. They're really hopeless creatures and I doubt mixing their DNA with these flawed Hoobler genes you were kind enough to bestow upon me would yield progeny that would do you proud. But I'll wait until I hear back from you before I take any independent action.

And on the subject of those commandments, let me just say that I think you must have been drunk coming up with some of them. I mean, let me state the obvious. Some of them are just plain fine. "Thou shalt not kill." I'm quite happy to say that I have never run afoul of that one and don't plan to with the exception that I hear from you regarding the issue I mentioned above. But then you've got this "Thou shalt not covet" bullshit, and, God, don't get mad but it's my very lowly opinion that whole notion is fucked, big time. Let me tell you why.

Have you heard of the concept of insanity? That's when one of us creatures down here can't make their brains work quite right. Honestly, I think that's just about everybody down here at one time or another. So when Archie Holloway washes his new fifth-wheel in the driveway three times a week, what am I to think? Are you suggesting I should be happy Archie is enjoying the biggest mother of a camper this side of Mars? Are you suggesting that when little Bina comes up to me with here eyes as big as moon pies and wonders aloud, "Daddy, why can't we go camping at Big Sur like the Holloways?" that I shouldn't have my guts leak out my asshole in shame? Should I just tell her the reason is because we don't have a fucking fifth-wheel to keep the redwood branches from braining us when they fall off the trees at night and that she should be happy that as an adult she can credit me for preserving her intelligence because her skull was never caved in by falling timber while she was sleeping in a goddamned pup tent? It drives me crazy, Lord. Insanity. Being driven crazy by women and goods is my excuse. I can't not covet, so just send me straight to Hell now without putting me through the agony of the rest of my life.

God, "covet" is just natural. If we didn't covet anything we'd never get anywhere in life. If I did not "covet" my neighbor's big screen TV, I might not ever have gotten my degree in engineering. If I did not covet my neighbor's hedge clippers, the neighborhood common-space committee would have had me run out of town because my hedges looked like cover in an Afghani war zone. If I had never coveted Frankie Dickie's wife, Clara, well, okay, that's a whole nother story and I don't want to go into it.

I still have Charlene's boot print on my ass from that one.

Lord, you made her a hellion. You did, pal. Next time I see you we're going to sit down to a few cold ones and talk this issue through. All the things that made me excited about the little woman when we were young have come back to haunt me in my later years as violence to my personal being. Dear God, could she give a great...well oral sex...well shit, God, am I allowed to talk to you about blow jobs or is that strictly the purview of the devil? I mean, did you or did you not conceive that people would invent oral sex when you gave us mouths and genitals at the same time? That's one of those conundrums we have down here. Lots of them.

Speaking of conundrums, let me change the Charlene subject slightly to something more philosophical. One of these days you have to tell me. You're omnipotent. Omniscient. That means you know everything and can do everything, and like time is no object. Am I right?

So why the hell do we have to go through all of this life? If you knew the whole goddamned thing up front, why bother torturing us? It can be downright sadistic at times. I mean, Jesus Christ, God, we have cancer down here. Do you know what that does to people? Did you see how you wrecked my father and my grandma with that shit? Fuck, God. What about my little cousin John who wasn't but thirteen when you decided to corrode his brain with a tumor. And then you whack my grandpa with a stroke and croak the other grandma with diabetes, and that's just my family. What about my friends at work? You make Anne with fair skin and kill her with melanoma at 32 years old for going to Club Med. Did you hang around to watch the pain you caused? Did you? Where the fuck were you when there wasn't enough morphine in the world to keep her from screaming from the pain, motherfucker? Where was your so-called infinite mercy when you give Rick a heart attack at 34 years old on his fucking way to work.

On the highway on his fucking way to work so he could keep a roof over his babies' heads you croak him behind the steering wheel at 60 miles per hour, you sick bastard. What's with you? Sometimes I just want to grab you by the neck and slap you silly. We love each other down here. We fall in love like you want us to, and then you kill us. So I want to ask you here and now--what the fuck is wrong with you? Are you sick? You're toying with us and I don't like it. That's why I stopped talking to you for so long, to be truthful. You're a maniac some times. Cut it out. Get a grip. Take a few deep breaths and then go back to work the right way. Okay?

Look, sorry about that "Jesus Christ" tossed in there. Didn't mean nothing by it, it's just a manner of speaking. But sometimes you really piss me off. Piss off me, would be the better English, I guess. Okay. So that had to be said. I'm just being honest here. Got a lot of pent up anger from all the crap you toss on me. If I don't let it out every now and then I'll get ulcers. It's not healthy, they say. Whew. I feel a lot better.

We can still be friends, right?

Man-to-man, I want to say this. You don't have to say anything, just nod if I'm correct. I know you've tried to kill me a bunch of times but I outsmarted you.

Look, I know you're not in control of every fucking thing down here, omnipotent as you may be. Hurricanes and earthquakes, natural disasters of every form, I realize those things are just the forces of physics at play. I'm not going to blame you for Hurricane Fran. After all, all's well that end's well right?

But you nearly crashed my plane, twice. It was when we were living in North Carolina and I had to commute back and forth to California. I saw the hurricane on CNN that morning from my hotel in San Jose, and I got on the next plane home. It was the flight from Chicago to Raleigh-Durham --don't think I didn't see it. Do you remember that one? Don't think I wasn't this close to puking from fear, because the G-forces were so strong I couldn't reach for the airsickness bag. We didn't crash. You took your eye off the ball and the pilot pulled us out of the downburst.

Then they landed us in Richmond, and there wasn't no way I was going to leave Charlene and the kids alone in that killer storm back in Raleigh. So me and that guy from EDS lied to National Rent-a-Car and told them we were driving to Washington DC, and instead we drove right into the eye of the hurricane. And I gotta say, that one would have been on me, not you. I was the one who put us into the flash flood. But there was no way on the earth I could have been anywhere else.

When the water came up around the doors of the car it looked like we were out in the middle of the ocean. I couldn't see anything in the dark but white caps and lightning flashes, the rain was going sideways and I figured you were going to have me over for coffee and english muffins the next morning. Kurt, he was smarter than both of us and he navigated us out. I owe my life to that bastard, and all I did was send him a fruit basket.

I did get home. And Charlene and the kids were safe, though there were some untimely deaths in our neighborhood. Again, I don't know who to blame for those. It's not personal when it's something like that. Not like rotting somebody's insides on purpose (please stop doing that, okay)?

I've got the cholesterol under control with drugs. The blood pressure is down so I'm not going to have a heart attack like you rained on Rick's poor head. I'm exercising regularly. It keeps me as slim as any Hoobler has ever been, and gives me a little more stamina, which makes Charlene happy on Saturday night, if you know what I mean. ;)

Oh God, this is a long letter I know. And I know you're very busy with all the sick who need comfort and miracles that need working. But I figured it wouldn't do any harm just to check in, to see if you're around.

See, nothing personal, but I've never been entirely sure you exist. Ive got a weird feeling you might, but that if you do, you're nothing like I think. If you exist then everything I get mad at you about has to be the inherent perfection of the universe and I just don't understand it for some reason. You didn't make me all that smart, God. And my advice would be that next time around bestow a little more brains on the people you make down here. Things would come out a lot nicer.

If you don't exist, well, I'm having a damn good life without you and I wish you could be around to see it. I love the kids. I love Saturday morning cartoons. I love science fiction and rock and roll and telling stupid stories. One part of me wants to say it would be a shame if all of this was an accident. On the other hand, a damn fine accident that makes such a great life is AOK with me.

One last thing. On the off chance you might be real. I had the opportunity recently to go somewhere on the Earth only about 30 people have ever been. It was a valley down in Antarctica. It's a place so dry it hasn't rained or snowed in two-million years. It's a place so remote it took 8 hours of flying in a Hercules-C130, two one-hour helicopter rides, an hour on an ATV across a frozen lake and a 6-hour hike to get there. It was so nowhere I might as well have been in outer space.

I got to stand next to a glacier the size of a city and watch it groan and calve in the warm summer sun. It was brilliant white and blue, speckled in volcanic rock. So mighty it radiated cold into the space around it. The sounds it made vibrated the ground like the earth was a drum, sound so big you feel infinitescimal in the midst of it. When it stopped it was so quiet and I was so alone my heartbeat was louder than the wind.

For a moment. Just a split second, I could swear I heard you call my name.


Will Hoobler