Adam peered up through the waving leaves at the bright thing peeking out from behind the clouds. He squinted, as it hurt his eyes, and presently looked away. When he blinked, the afterimage of the light-point remained imprinted on his retina.
“What is the bright thing called again?”
A rumbling voice which he felt in his bowels answered, “It's a star. Or you can call it 'the sun'. Now don't bother me, I'm very busy creating the emu.”
“Didn't you create that yesterday?”
“No,” boomed the voice, “that was the gnu. I'm working on things which end with the letter 'u'. Which reminds me, what's your waist size?”
“I have no idea. Shouldn't you know?” Adam stared down at his paunch, and then back up at nothing in particular, because the booming voice was disembodied. “And anyway, that's knowledge, and I'm supposed to avoid that stuff, right?” After all, this might be another test.
“It's not a test. I just don't have my notes handy. Now quit bothering me. Don't you have frolicking to do or something?”
Adam looked around at the rolling hills, the bubbling streams, and the various and sundry flora and fauna. “Frolicking gets boring after a while. Anyway, I feel like an idiot running and dancing willy-nilly through the landscape. It's not like there's music or anything.”
“How do you know about music?” the booming voice seemed annoyed.
“You were talking about creating it the other day. I asked what it was for, and you said, and I quote, 'dancing, mostly', you said. So if music is for dancing, then it follows that—”
“Never mind. I haven't perfected music yet, so you can't have any. Find something else to do.”
The booming voice sighed, and then muttered, “I knew I shouldn't have made the brain so big. Not so easy to keep entertained. All right, fine. I'll cook up something to keep you occupied. Should have gotten around to it days ago. Just give me a little while.”
“That would be very much appreciated,” Adam said, very grateful to the booming voice that he felt in his bowels, and he went off to frolic with the fauna amidst the flora. After that, he took a while to lie warmly under the bright thing, finally falling asleep on the moss under a huge gnarled tree. Moss was cool and soft, and definitely one of the booming voice's better inventions.
When he awoke a faun was staring at him.
“Go away.” Adam stretched and yawned. “I think I'll take a dip in the stream. Clear my head.” The faun nodded, as if to indicate that she thought that would be a capital idea, and when Adam got up to saunter in the direction of the stream, she followed.
Adam had just about reached the bank of the stream when he heard the booming voice in his bowels again. “Adam.”
“Present,” Adam responded as the faun bolted away, suddenly fearful.
“Don't be smart. I think I have an idea on that whole boredom solution project, but I need something from you.” The booming voice sounded pensive, which was unusual.
“From me?” Adam looked down at his paunch again. “I don't have anything, nothing at all, I'm naked as a jaybird here. No pockets.”
“It's... somewhat more complicated than that. I need a body part. Also, why single out the jaybird? Everything in the Garden is naked. It's kind of an experiment.”
Adam felt a twinge of fear, which he'd only ever felt once before, at the very beginning of his existence. “Never mind that. What body part were you thinking of appropriating? I'm pretty attached to some of them.”
The great booming voice laughed. “You're attached to all of them. Though you're fonder of some of them than others, apparently.”
“You were watching?”
“Oh, don't sound so surprised. In any case, that's not the part I need, so stop worrying. I was thinking something more structural. A bone, and one you can easily do without. Let's see...”
Adam felt a warm comforting glow in his chest, which faded presently. He didn't feel any different, so he prodded and groped himself until he discovered a discrepancy. “Hey, one of the curvy hard things in my chest is gone!”
“It's a rib. Now, I have a lot of work to do, so go back to whatever it was you were doing.”
“But now I'll be lopsided! Asymmetrical!” Adam protested mightily.
“You weren't symmetrical before: one of your ears is bigger than the other, and your nose is crooked. It's part of the whole design philosophy. Makes it easier to differentiate,” the great booking voice explained, exasperated.
“Differentiate between what and what??” Adam shook his fist at the sky, though he didn't really understand why, as the deep booming voice was disembodied and came from no direction in particular. “I'm the only one here!”
“ADAM!” The great deep booming voice was as thunder, shaking the leaves from the trees and lifting Adam off his feet. “LEAVE ME TO MY WORK!”
Hours later, Adam was lying in the grass by the bubbling stream, still recovering from the great booming voice's rebuke, when the faun once again came over to pensively investigate him. He stared at her for a moment while she sniffed at his toes. “Got a temper, doesn't he?”
The faun nodded knowingly.
“Well, I suppose it's to be expected, what with all that responsibility. Maybe I can get him to take a day off.”
The faun nodded approvingly.
Adam decided to get back to what he had been doing in the first place, which was getting ready to take a dip in the bubbling stream. It was a nice little stream, winding its way through the trees and hills of the Garden. He sat on a large stone and washed his feet while the faun drank — quite wisely, Adam thought — a few yards upstream.
He was still in the process of washing his lower half when the faun's head shot up, her ears perked, and her nostrils flared.
“What is it,” Adam inquired, but the faun was wasting no time with explanations: she bounded off into the brush between the trees, moving quicker than anything Adam had ever seen. He was still looking in that direction when he heard a voice. Oddly, it wasn't the great booming voice he felt in his bowels, but an exquisitely different voice.
“Friend of yours?”
Adam looked up at the sky. “Sure. The faun and I frolic together sometimes. But she's kind of jumpy.”
“Why are you looking at the sky,” the new dulcet-toned voice asked.
“Why not? It's where I usually look when I'm being talked to.”
“Well, it's polite to look someone in the eye when you talk to them. Or didn't the big guy get around to that yet,” the new, glorious, musical voice pointed out.
Adam looked down, and around, and his gaze eventually came to rest on what could only be described as a person, sort of. A person, definitely, he decided after a moment, but a person different. “I guess not. What exactly are you?”
The person-different laughed, which caused several areas on its body to jiggle slightly, which both alarmed and intrigued Adam. “I'm a woman. God made me out of your rib.”
“Nice work, that. Who's God?”
“That great booming voice you feel in your bowels? That's him. Prime mover, maker, mover and shaker. God.”
“That's his name? I've been wondering.” Adam was still fascinated by the formerly jiggling areas, and was concentrating on figuring out their purpose while he conversed with the woman.
“It's more of a title. We couldn't pronounce his actual name. And you're still not looking me in the eye.”
Adam blushed. “Oh... sorry.”
“Eh, s'okay. He said I'd better get used to that. Just try to keep a lid on it. Which might take practice.”
“I promise. But... what are they for?”
“You don't want to know yet, trust me. It's very complicated.” The woman sat next to him on the large stone and dangled her own feet in the water. “So what do you do for fun around here?”
“Wouldn't take long: you're naked.”
Adam laughed. “Well, so are you. So's everything around here. The great booming... God said that it was sort of an experiment. Personally I'd just as soon he went ahead and invented clothes. I'm forever skinning my knees on rocks and things. And my feet are killing me.”
“Well, when he does this sort of thing, he likes to tweak it every which way, see what will happen, you know. It's sort of a hobby.” The woman reached down, hands cupped, and captured some water in her palms, splashing it on herself.
“You mean he's done this before?” Adam was incredulous.
The woman laughed. “Sure, creating existence is kind of an art form for his people. Come on, you really thought you were the first Adam? There's been hundreds of Adams, and hundreds of Eves. Eve, that's me. There was even,” she added, conspiratorially, “a Lillith. But don't ask him about her, he gets pissy; I think it ended badly.”
“Wow.” Adam stared out across the hills and between the trees, to where the Garden ended and began again. He squinted, trying to look far enough to see himself again, but his eyes weren't good enough.
“Thanks for the rib, by the way.”
“Don't mention it. I have spares, apparently.”
“Even so.” Eve looked over at him, sizing him up literally and figuratively. “So. You never did say what you do for fun.”
“Well, there's your general frolicking, and warming yourself under the bright thing, and washing in the stream, and worshiping the great booming voice you feel in your bowels, and...”
“Well, you're not exactly built to do the other thing I've figured out.” Adam pointed to his lap, and Eve nodded knowingly.
“I think I can figure something out along those lines. And also something else we can do together. Don't ask me how I know, I have no idea. But I think it's set up so that I have to be in charge.”
“Fine with me,” Adam said, and meant it. “Hungry?”
they rose naked and unashamed from beside the bubbling stream, and went off in search of something to eat. As they were walking, Adam thought about what Eve had said, about the hundreds of Adams, Eves, Gardens, and the odd Lillith.
“So, how will this end?”
“Don't ask me, I only just got here.”