15 – Appleseed

“But father, you’ve got to admit it’s a heck of an over-reaction. I mean. Kicking Adam and Eve out of paradise over ONE stupid apple? Come on!” The young man sitting at the diner looked sheepishly away.

“You don’t understand the full implications of the act. They were not expelled for eating the apple. It was the act of disobedience, and the fact that they were so easily tempted into it by Satan’s spawn.” Answered the middle aged man sitting across him.

“It wasn’t the apple.” A third voice calmly interrupted from a nearby table.

They turned to find a man in a black leather jacket and mirror shades taking a swig from a Corona.

“I beg your pardon? The scriptures are quite clear about the reasons humanity lost paradise.”

The stranger put down his beer and faced them.

“That’s not exactly accurate. The reasons actually vary quite a lot depending on who’s version you read.”

“Then why do you think they were thrown out?” Asked the young man.

“I don’t ‘think’… I know.”

The priest was visibly annoyed. The young man was confused enough without some crazy biker’s nonsense.

“They were not expelled, they left by their own choosing.”

Before the priest could protest, the young man asked. “But why? They WERE in paradise, after all. Why would they want to leave?”

“Because they had no choice in the matter. They were in paradise because they didn’t know anything else.”

They were both speechless, one of them shocked, the other intrigued by the man’s words. In some inexplicable way they not only believed him… they knew they could NOT, not believe him, even if they tried.

The stranger emptied his Corona in a single gulp before continuing. “There were no apples or any other kind of fruit involved. All I did was make them a little gift. Everything else they decided on their own.”

Horrified, Father O’Malley crossed himself while the young man’s eyes widened in sudden realization.

Without a word the stranger got up, tipped his black cavalry hat, and headed to the door.

The young man turned to see a silent plea in the priest’s eyes. He hesitated for an instant before running after the man in the black leather jacket.

“Wait!” He cried at the figure already saddled on a Harley. “I have to know. What was your gift?”

The man smiled. “Free will.” He answered over the roar of his bike. He pulled down his mirrored RayBans just enough to wink at him mischievously. “You’ll find it makes life a bit more difficult, but a hell of a lot more interesting.”

The engine revved loudly as he took off into the highway.

Standing alone under the moonlight, the young man suddenly remembered… the stranger HAD been wearing snakeskin boots!

He burst out laughing.

• • •

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