God: Hail Elizabeth full of glamour, the Lord is with ye.

Betty: And, as usual, ten minutes early. Sit down over there, dear. Maria, get the Lord some coffee while I finish this call! Chop! Chop! (INTO PHONE) Look, all I know is that the flowers you delivered last Easter were appalling. Just because I say "all white" is not a license for you to throw in carnations. A celebration of the Lord's resurrection is no time to rub His nose in His least inspired creations, dear. I don't want to hear that. The most important thing about Easter is the flowers and if you slip in domestic weeds again next year, I can assure you, no one is going to be around to roll back the rock from your tomb by the time I get through with you! (SLAMS DOWN PHONE) Damned heterosexual florist! Hello, dear.

God: Verily, thine coffee is delightful, Elizabeth. Is it not Café Vienna?

Betty: Oh, honestly, it is no wonder you seldom create anything you don't wind up hating or killing when you can't discern the marked difference between a lovely cup of privately-roasted Kona and something that dreadful Carol Lawrence used to peddle on television.

God: Howbeit? Verily, verily, I say onto thee, behold, is not this some cinnamon?

Betty: I've told you before – putting flavorings in quality coffee is like putting the French in Paris – it ruins everything. Besides, I don't know why you always have to make things more complicated than they have to be.

God: What doth ye refer to?

Betty: Well, baking, for example. The recipe should be the same regardless of altitude. But, no, you have to make the laws of nature so obtuse! I can never get a decent soufflé out of my staff in Aspen. Oh, Lord! Don't do that! Maria, kindly get the Almighty a saucer. The La Dame au Parasol will be adequate. Quick, you shiftless creature, before He lays waste to this lovely Sheraton table!

God: Elizabeth, by the way, thou art without sin in thine Helmut Lang skirt --

Betty: It's Adrienne Landau.

God: Well, in either case, it would pleaseth me if you could sit on the other side of thy Lord.

Betty: I realize it is tradition that I sit on the left hand of the Father, but I like to be near the phone, dear. If Jesus shows up, we can all fit comfortably on the settee in the morning room -- providing you two appear as One and don't do that disconcerting Duality thing you did at Nan's party last week. In that case, we'll have to go into the library.

God: Verily, I say onto you, Jesus shan't be here.

Betty: Just as well. I adore Him almost without qualification, but you know what He is like once he gets rolling on those threadbare parables of His. And He never gets them right – last time the prodigal son wound up winning $200,000 in Las Vegas! Besides, I have a preview at Sotheby's at noon.

God: More French furniture, Elizabeth?

Betty: Goodness no! Chinese porcelain. As a general rule, I don't support communists, but some of these pieces are simply too lovely to allow my righteous indignation to get in the way of owning. Honestly, I wish you would do something with those people. They're forgetting their place. First, they steal our plane that was spying on them. Now, they finagle their way into hosting the Olympics. Honestly, they were so much easier to get along with when the British had them all hooked on opium.

God: Elizabeth, verily, what more doth thou wisheth? Think not that any are to join ye in Heaven.

Betty: It never occurred to me that they might. All the cheap plastic and shoddy workmanship coming out of that infernal land. Honestly, all that money they are wasting on the Olympics would have been better spent teaching their prison-labors how to sew a sublime button hole in silk without leaving those errant threads. Truly, the only thing good that comes out of those prisoners are livers! Dora is on her third Chinese convict liver and she says they are fabulous – and wonderfully compact. She told me she feels much slimmer with it. She's thinking of going all-Chinese in a couple of years – they do have lovely skin. (TO MAID) Maria! Please leave out a plate of crackers and a tiny bowl of water.

God: Nay, nay. The Holy Spirit shan't be joining ye, Elizabeth.

Betty: Well, that's a relief. Maria, forget what I just said! Lord, you know I adore that little Dove, but I just wish He would give me some warning before He shows up. So I can have Maria lay out newspaper everywhere. Honestly, to have a bird flitting around my lovely Christian home plays havoc with the upholstery. And He's always flying smack into mirrors. It makes a dreadful crunching sound, which is rather disconcerting.

God: Thou hast been too hard on Him, Elizabeth. Sometimes He forgets if He chose to appear to ye as a ghost or as a bird and He trieth to fly through thine human walls.

Betty: Well, He's not the only one who gets confused by all of that. Last month, I had forgotten that He had appears to me as a little Sterno flame over my head and I bent down to smell some lovely flowers and set fire to the Chinese silk wall covering in the Prayer Room!

God: Well, while verily I say on to you that I find the Trinity idea confusing, too, it certainly comes in handy when relegating blame for personal peccadilloes.

Betty: Well, none is without social sin. It's like I tell all my acolytes: In befriending the Trinity, it pays to use the skills of social discernment that you would apply to any relationship. Find out who is so insecure they can't countenance even the slightest criticism.

God: The Bird!

Betty: Bingo! And, more importantly, who holds grudges.

God: Would that be Jesus or me?

Betty: Well, that damning to the tenth generation business didn't start on Jesus' watch, dear.

God: Verily! So what art Jesus' flaw?

Betty: Personally, I think people who martyr themselves in public are succumbing to a rather unbalanced and wildly dramatic gesture merely to gain other people's fleeting attention. It is sad really. Flora Jerkins self-immolated on the steps of Landover Baptist Church two years ago. Are people still talking about her?

God: No.

Betty: Exactly! But I bet they are still talking about the time I arrived late for service and walked down the aisle wearing killer Saint-Laurent Rive Gauche. And don't talk about the suffering of crucifixion until you've spent six hours walking on anything non-aqueous in 4-inch crocodile Gucci pumps!

God: Verily, heads did turn, but in fairness to Jesus, people are still talking about Him, too, Elizabeth.

Betty: Yes, but between us, you and I know that His little attention getting ploy was a rather hollow gesture.

God: Nay. Other humans would differ with ye on that Elizabeth. They claim He died for the sins of the world.

Betty: Yes, but you and I are too smart to fall for that bromide! If He died for the sins of the world, why are we still surrounded by sins -- especially in Manhattan?

God: He died so that people would be forgiven for thine sins and enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Betty: Well, people were forgiven for their sins and got into Heaven before He died. You know that. I know that. Look at Moses and those other loud, pushy prophets you so inexplicably pandered to!

God: Tis true. And babies who are too young to accept and know Jesus get into Heaven, too.

Betty: You see? Even after His death, people get in to Heaven without Him – and don't believe for a minute once humans are in Heaven they care one bit about how they got there! So, like I said, His whole watch-me-die thing was really somewhat of a waste of time – outside of inspiring rather morbid renaissance art and jewelry not worn by anyone other they Catholics.

God: As always, ye have a point, Elizabeth. But let's not share all this with Jesus. He's already feeling a bit obsolete after what the Catholics have done to Mary over the past one thousand years. Besides, there are so few people who actually get into Heaven, His effect would have been negligible anyway.

Betty: Many are called, but few are chosen.

God: It is just like Publisher's Clearinghouse!

Betty: Oh, dear! How droll. It amuses me how most of my fellow True Christians fail to understand that it is your plan that most of them shall wind up in Hell. They all pretend that it is your will that they all join us in Heaven! (BOTH LAUGH)

God: Verily, my creations treat me as if I am some impotent diety – watching helplessly as they send themselves to Hell. Like I haveth nothing to do with it! As if I want to save them from the fires, but I suffer from debilitating panic attacks that render me unable to help these people I supposedly love so much.

Betty: Well, they just can't reconcile themselves with the fact that an all-loving god would create someplace as sadistic as Hell, much less dispatch them to an eternity of torture.

God: It doth irk me to not get proper credit.

Betty: Well, Hell is a rather important marketing tool. And, for that, I thank you. As you know, Christians generally can't get along with one another –

God: I've noticed. Many Christians dislike other Christian denominations more than other religions!

Betty: Well, in fairness to us, Southern Baptists have a lot less in common with Unitarians than we do with the Taliban, dear. They have fabulous ideas on dealing with everything from hangnails to harlots.

God: How like you, Elizabeth, to look for an opportunity in even misery.

Betty: Well, it's like I always say: When the Lord gives you pestilence and disease, make Botox!

God: For verily I say onto you, your forehead is as a sheet of glass.

Betty: Thank you, dear, for finally noticing. Even your best handiwork is not above slight improvement.


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