This guest column is by Peter Scowen, an editor in The Globe and Mail's Arts Section.
News item: Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann raised eyebrows with a weekend remark to supporters in Florida that Hurricane Irene, which killed at least 40 people in the United States and left millions without power, and an East Coast earthquake, were God's way of telling U.S. politicians to cut spending and fix the budget deficit.
Place: Plagues and Judgments Committee Boardroom, Heaven.
God: Okay, thanks for coming everyone. I'll cut to the chase – I want to tell U.S. politicians to cut spending and fix the budget deficit. Suggestions?
St. Peter: How about an earthquake near Washington, D.C., followed by a hurricane that tears up the East Coast. That ought to do it.
God: Sounds right to me. How big an earthquake and what category the hurricane?
Moses: How about a good 9.1 on the Richter scale? Haven't had one of those in a while.
God: That's a bit Old Testament, don't you think? I'm thinking something more along the lines of 5 to 6, and just a Category 1 hurricane.
Noah (eagerly): Can we have flooding?
God (to Noah): You'd like that, wouldn't you. Okay, throw in some flooding, but nothing too drastic. Limit it to basement apartments in New York City. They're filled with divorced men, anyway.
Jesus: Who should we get to spread the word that it was Your will and not a natural disaster?
God: Send Michele Bachmann a text. She'll pass it on.
St. Peter: Wait a minute – that's a bit weird. Didn't you send Michele Bachmann to Earth as punishment for Sarah Palin?
God: Yes. And she's there now and we just have to live with it. Get over it.
Moses: Wasn't Sarah Palin punishment for something?
God: No, that just happened.
St. Thomas: I thought Sarah Palin was sent to show your displeasure with George W. Bush winning a second term.
God: No. I was mad about him winning a first term. The second term was the punishment.
Jesus: I thought that was the BP oil spill in the gulf.
Moses: Really? I thought the oil spill was punishment for Hurricane Katrina.
Jesus: That makes no sense. Why would we punish them for a hurricane?
Moses: So what was the oil spill punishment for?
Noah: Wasn't that for the launching of Fox News? Or was that the 2008 depression?
Jesus: It wasn't a depression, it was a recession, and it was because Dad got pissed about how bad the movie version of Where the Wild Things Are turned out.
St. Thomas: Is that why we spared Canada? (No one is listening to him.)
Moses: So the oil spill, that was for what? Interracial marriage? Abortion? Homosexuality? Hipster chic?
Jesus: None of the above. You've been watching too much Fox News. We don't have a problem with any of these things. Except hipster chic, which we've already sent a message about.
Noah: What form did the message take?
Noah: Right. Yuck!
Moses: No kidding, right? That stuff tastes like ass – the Bible kind.
Noah (laughing): Donkey-meat grits!
St. Thomas (confused): I thought quinoa was punishment for the iPhone.
God (exasperated): People! For crying out loud, you need to start writing these things down. Or look them up. They're all on Google.
Jesus (giggling): Google. That was one of our good ones.
Moses: For Windows 98, right?
Jesus: Right on! (High-fives Moses.)
God: Enough! This meeting is getting out of hand. Let's come to order, all right? We still have one more issue. The MTV Music Video Awards are coming up. Justin Bieber is going to win an award, and I want to send a message about that.
Noah: Good or bad?
God: What do you think?
Noah (sheepishly): Right.
Moses: I've got it! How about this – we send them Lady Gaga as a stereotypical Italian-American man smoking a cigarette?
God: What?! That doesn't even make sense. Forget it. This meeting is over. I'm going for lunch with Mary. Jesus, you want to come?
Jesus: Will my stepdad be there?
God: Obviously ...
Jesus: No thanks.