Walking God’s Dog

A familiar old man sat down next to me on my favorite park bench yesterday.
“Aren’t you George Burns, the comedian”” I said. “I mean, weren’t you George Burns? Your dead, right?”
He lit up a big cigar and smiled. “No,” He said in a voice much like Burns. “I’m very much alive. Have been since the beginning of time. I take on many forms.” He paused. “I’m God.”
“Oh, I get it. You’re still playing the part of God. Like in that movie.”
“What movie?”
“Oh God.”
I looked away and muttered, “God help me.”
“I hear that all the time,” He said. “But today I want your help.”
I grumbled and reached into my pants pocket and took out a handful of change. “I thought so,” I said and handed him a quarter. “Go buy yourself a coffee and leave me alone.”
He pushed back the quarter. “I don’t have any need for money. I just need a few minutes of your time.”
I tried to give him the quarter again. “Listen, at my age, my time is more valuable than money.”
“I know,” He said. “That’s why this little favor will help you get into heaven.” He paused. “Right now, I’d say your chances are about fifty-fifty.”
I put the quarter back in my pocket and said, “Okay, so what’s the favor?”
He smiled and crushed out his cigar beneath his open-toed right sandal. “I just want you to walk with Oscar.” He looked around and gave a shrill whistle that could have cracked the marble altar in St. Peter’s Cathedral.” Then, in a flash, there appeared a big hairy St. Bernard dog with a face that looked much like Joe Pesci.
“What is that?” I said, backing away.
Oscar slobbered all over my Florsheim shoes and then glared at me. “We’re not going to have a problem here, are we, pal?” he said in a Joe Pesci voice.
“Jesus Christ!”
They both turned and asked: “Where?”
“I’m talking about Oscar,” I said to God. “He talks?”
“Of course,” God said, matter-of-factly. “Seven languages.”
“Eight, when you count sign language” added Oscar, puffing out his chest. Then a squirrel got his attention. He studied it for a while and then flapped his big ears from side to side. “Nothin’ but a big rat with a long tail and people think they’re cute. Go figure.”
God patted Oscar’s head. “You should learn to love all my creatures, Oscar.”
“Yeah, yeah. I heard that sermon a million times.”
“He’s a little grumpy today,” God said to me. “Something he ate, I think. But you two should get along fine.”
Oscar sneered and I shouted, “Like hell!”
God’s eyes turned black and as serious as a deadly shark’s eyes. His words erupted from deep in his chest. “We don’t use that “H” word where I come from!”
But I wasn’t going to let him intimidate me. “Oh, yeah,” I said. “Well I have another four-letter word for you and it begins with “F” and it sounds like–”
“Enough!” God bellowed and the ground beneath the bench shook and the sky darkened just above my head.
Oscar ambled behind the bench and whispered to me: “I wouldn’t tick him off if I was you.”
God stood and looked at his Rolex. “It’s time,” he said. He attached a leash to Oscar”s collar and handed me the grip end. “Twice around the park should do it.”
“And if I refuse?” I said, folding my arms over my chest in a defiant manner.
Again God’s eyes turned black and the dark cloud over my head burst and showered me with a hard, stinging rain.
Oscar shook his head. “I tried to tell you, pal.”
I struggled to my feet and wiped the rain from my face. “Okay, so you want me to walk your dog?”
“That’s right,” God said. ” And … well, you know.”  He handed me a large brown bag. “You may need this.”
I snatched the bag from his hand. “You mean to tell me that you came all the way down from heaven just so I can walk your ugly dog and pick up his crap?”
Oscar gave me a real wiseguy grin. “Bingo!”
Exasperated, I swallowed the words I wanted to say and yanked at Oscar’s leash. “Okay, come on,” I said, “Let’s get this over with.”
“Take it easy, pal” Oscar said, jerking me to a stop. “I had a big prune Danish for breakfast and six tacos for lunch.”
I looked at the grocery store-size brown bag in my hand and sighed. “So I guess that’s why God picked me to take you for a walk today?”
Oscar sniffed the ground, found a scent he liked, and squatted over a patch of green grass. He showed me every one of his teeth and grunted loudly.
“Bingo again, Pal,” he said.


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