“Do you or don’t you want to know who did this? (ADAM nods) Thank you! I can’t figure it out without talking it out, do you understand? (Short pause) That tree was like nothing else in the garden. Everything about it was enticing. It had grace and poise. It was exquisitely shaped. Its colors, just the right shades and hues of brown bark, green leaves, golden apples with a blush of red. It reflected sunlight like a twinkling star—and the scent!” —Helen Noakes
By Helen Noakes
SAN FRANCISCO California—(Weekly Hubris)—March 2020—EVE tosses an apple up and down in her hand, contemplating it. After a second of serious consideration, she takes a little bite, chews. Something is happening. Her eyes light up, she looks down at herself in admiration, gives ADAM a long once over. Likes what she sees.
ADAM, in the meantime, is staring blankly into space, contentedly distracted. He finally looks at EVE, and watches her with mild interest, until she takes the bite. Then, he stares at her, too shocked to get any words out, and points an accusatory finger at her.
EVE (Smiles sweetly at ADAM) Adam!
EVE leans against him and presents the apple close to his mouth. Confused and aroused, ADAM opens his mouth to bite into the fruit. Huge clap of thunder. Blackout.
When the lights come up, EVE is sitting. ADAM is pacing nervously.
ADAM You had to do it! Couldn’t leave well enough alone!
EVE (Calmly inspecting her nails) You sure it was God?
ADAM (Shocked. Stops in his tracks.) Are you nuts! Who else could it be?!
ADAM No! No! Come on Miss Smart Ass!
EVE Miss-iss! Big boy! And don’t you forget it!
ADAM Like I could! Don’t change the subject.
EVE Well, I’m just saying. Why would God, who is, all-powerful, all-knowing, the ultimate alpha and omega, care if two little humans ingested a little knowledge?
ADAM Knowledge of good and evil!
EVE Fine! Why would God care? Seems to me He’d have more important things on His mind.
ADAM It’s . . . it’s our disobedience He’s punishing. (Short pause) Probably.
EVE Disobedience! Did you ever actually hear God say we weren’t allowed to know things? (ADAM thinks) Well? (ADAM is still thinking) Oh, for heaven’s sake! The answer is no!
ADAM Maybe it’s the other thing.
EVE What other thing?
ADAM You know.
EVE Really? Adam! You and I are the only one’s here! The first man, the first woman! Hello! Who’ll hear us?!
ADAM I dunno . . . God?
EVE Yeah? Well, if I remember correctly, and I do, He told us—and I quote: “Be fruitful and multiply.” Remember?
EVE So, how are we supposed to do that, by osmosis?!
ADAM What’s osmosis?
EVE Maybe you should stick to naming animals.
ADAM So who kicked us out of Eden, then?
EVE Well, let’s piece it together, shall we? The tree appears out of nowhere. (Short pause) God! The thing was beautiful!
ADAM Don’t take His name in vain!
EVE I didn’t. I used it in praise. (Glares at him) I hope you’re not going to be a pain, Adam! (Continues to glare) As I was saying, there’s this beautiful tree, full of golden apples…
ADAM They weren’t gold, they were apples.
EVE It’s an expression, Adam! A description of their color—Adam! ( Short pause) You are going to be a pain, aren’t you!
ADAM I was just saying! And just so’s we’re clear, you’re not a piece of cake either!
EVE Do you or don’t you want to know who did this? (ADAM nods) Thank you! I can’t figure it out without talking it out, do you understand? (Short pause) That tree was like nothing else in the garden. Everything about it was enticing. It had grace and poise. It was exquisitely shaped. Its colors, just the right shades and hues of brown bark, green leaves, golden apples with a blush of red. It reflected sunlight like a twinkling star—and the scent!
ADAM Are we getting to the good part soon?
EVE And this magnificent tree had a surprise occupant.
ADAM Okay! Stop right there! Time out! If you’re going to say that the serpent did it . . .
EVE TIME OUT?!
ADAM I’m just saying! How can one itty bitty little snake . . . ?
EVE She wasn’t itty bitty!
ADAM How’d you know?!
EVE Don’t be silly, Adam! She was wise, beautiful, sinuous, and seductive. Need I say more?
ADAM Yes, actually!
EVE I suppose I’ll have to be patient. You are a prototype after all.
ADAM Yeah, well, guess what, Sweet Thing, so are you!
EVE Not quite! Lilith? Remember?
ADAM Oh don’t bring up my ex!
EVE Fine! But the serpent, she was definitely not a prototype—not even a second-generation reptile. She was older than time! I could feel it! Hear it in her voice.
ADAM Voice? All I heard was hissing.
EVE She was a little sibilant, I’ll give you that.
ADAM How kind of you! Look! I know she made you do it . . .
EVE Nobody made me do it! I am perfectly capable of making decisions for myself—after considering the facts, of course.
ADAM Fact was that we weren’t supposed to . . .
EVE Only weaklings prohibit! And God is definitely not a weakling.
ADAM Well . . . you gotta point there. Who then?
EVE LUCY! Of course! Adam, don’t you see?
EVE I refuse to give that misanthropic angel the dignity of the name he grabbed for himself! Arrogant, self-serving, pompous, vain . . .
ADAM Oh! You mean Lucifer. I never could figure out why you two couldn’t get along.
EVE Because I saw through that envious little flyboy’s mind games, that’s why.
ADAM You shouldn’t provoke him. If that’s who really kicked us out, it’s ’cause you provoked him.
EVE He was just a tool! This eviction was an idea whose time had come. And that mangey-winged so called being of light did what was expected of him.
ADAM So, it was God!
EVE It was God’s plan, and we are the leads in his story. (Loudly, looking up and around her as she speaks.) Lucy was just a bit player. You hear that, Lucy! Your wings are molting!
ADAM Geez! Eve! Cut it out! He may kick us out of here, too!
EVE Nah. He’s done his itsy bitsy part.
ADAM But what did the serpent have to do with it?
EVE Ah! The serpent! Well, clearly she’s a primeval power, Adam. She was in the tree to assure me that she’ll be our companion down here on earth. As a matter of fact, she’s here with us right now. (Walks away)
ADAM Where you going?
EVE To build her a shrine. I’m thinking she’d appreciate that, being a earth goddess and all. Besides, I need a place where I can go for some wise woman talk, for goddess sake! (EVE exits)
ADAM (Stares after her for a beat. Addresses the heavens.) I don’t mean to be critical, and I’m not! Really! It’s just that this second woman isn’t much different from the first, and I’m wondering, God, if maybe you might consider a third, less . . . how shall I put it . . . (Thunder rolls loudly. Lightning flashes. ADAM drops to his knees.) N . . . no . . . that’s okay! She’s okay! Yeah. Just fine! No offense.
AND SO IT BEGAN!