“On the Eighth Day, God Created Golf”

The foursome stands on a desert mesa, an elevated tee in southeast Utah. God the Father, Moses, Jesus, Elijah. Angels descend as caddies, but carts are not permitted, not even flaming chariots. Their target? A pin location on the far side of the continent: Manhattan, Boston, possibly Montreal. A green protected by water.

Moses hits last, after his bogey in the Sierra Madre. “Don’t swing in anger,” the Father warns. “Lest you forget that lost ball in the Panama Canal.”

The patriarch winces at the condescending tip. He tightens his grip and addresses the tee.

A sidewinder rattles. A jackrabbit surges from the underbrush. A swarm of locusts emerges from Lake Mead.

Gabriel stifles a laugh.

“Sorry,” God says. “Couldn’t resist.”

Moses ignores the comment and resumes his stance. The instant before he makes contact, a volcano explodes in Yellowstone. “Dammit,” he shouts, slamming his club to the earth. But the shot clears the San Juans, rising over Kansas.

“That’ll carry,” Jesus notes. “You’re across the Mississippi.”

“Probably lost in Appalachia.”

“No,” Gabriel says, “the fairway. Indiana, maybe even Ohio.”

“Who cares? I’m taking a mulligan.” Moses tees a second ball, then glares at his creator. “No earthquakes.”

“Wasn’t an earthquake,” the Father responds. “Who is this that darkens my foursome with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a pro. I will question you, and you shall answer me.”

“Dragging leviathan with a sand wedge?” Moses rolls his eyes. “Save it for Job.”

“I will,” God answers. “We’re playing next Tuesday.”

Moses readies another shot. A few yards away, the cacti burst into flames. Near Phoenix, amphibians rain from the sky.

Moses hits, a well-placed strike to the lower peninsular of Michigan. It skips over Kalamazoo and settles near Ann Arbor. He should make the green in regulation.

The old gang moves ahead, discussing the upcoming holes: a dogleg though Canada, a par three across the Bering Strait.

As they near the Great Lakes, Gabriel scans the cornfields for the lost ball, but he doesn’t linger. Wherever it landed, that sphere will rest until the end of days. He races ahead to catch the others.

Elijah laughs. Christ is telling a story about Peter, something you wouldn’t want to miss.

About Matthew Forsythe

Matt Forsythe teaches creative writing and American literature at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. His work has recently appeared in Mid-American Review, The Pinch, and War + Ink: New Perspectives on Ernest Hemingway’s Early Life and Writings.

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