52.

In the bit before there were days, God felt that things lacked a certain structure, so He made days. Now that there was light, though, He could see that the day was empty, and the emptiness spilled over the edges. So He made a shape to hold the emptiness, and gave it a coat of water shellac and then a gloss of air to make it shimmer.

It was pretty enough, but it was pretty in perpetuity. It lacked conflict. So He made land for the water to push against, and so the land wouldn’t be too resentful, he made plants to stretch out over and under and through the land, to be diplomats between the water and the land, the land and the air.

But you know how it is when you make something and it turns out exactly right, just the way you pictured it, but there’s something not there? You did everything perfectly, but it doesn’t sing to you? He looked at the diplomatic plants and the regal, perpetual jousting of the land and the water, and He thought, it’s still not right. Maybe the lighting could be better. So He made an entire gallery of light to shine on the shape, and He made the shape feel a little coy, so that sometimes it hid from the light, and sometimes it basked in it.

That was nice enough, especially all the extra lights in the gallery. Still, though. Still. It was ok, but it was dull. Everything was so shiny and functional. So He wondered, what if there was danger? What if there was behavior and eating? This was appealing, so He made fruit flies and axolotls and sting rays and owls and pterodactyls and sunfish and otters and dragonflies and hammerhead sharks and dodos and pelicans and that creepy jellyfish we only just last week found out about and a whole mess of other things that fly and swim. And it was good. It was really, really good. But there was still something missing, and now that He’d invented eating, some of the animals that swam and flew were unhappy. Owls in particular didn’t like the look of anything they’d seen so far.

So He thought, there’s still a lot of room left. I could make creatures that live on the land. That would be a whole extra layer of conflict, and some of the plants might even get into the action. So He made grizzly bears and the dormouse and cheetahs and Capuchin monkeys and camels and those other camels and earthworms and snails and foxes and that fuzzy caterpillar with brown and black stripes that rolls itself up into a ball when you touch it. And skunks. And elephants. And dogs and cats and rabbits and hamsters. And oh my god, thought God, what if there were Komodo dragons? He made all this stuff, and the owls were happy and finally got something to eat, and Venus fly traps evolved and started trimming the mosquito population. And He watched this go on for what seemed like half the day, at least, and it was really, really good.

But there was still something He wanted. He wanted…what was it He wanted? He wanted to be surprised. So on the sixth day, He made people, and He thought, “Now, that’s interesting.”

He sat back to see what would happen.

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