In the beginning was the void. Then She came along.

And naturally She could not be expected to abide even one day in such an infinite vacancy, devoid of form, dimension, or décor elements.

So She cast out the Dark.

(By dividing the Dark from the Light. With curtains.)

And so there was Light, and the Light was good.

And then She added Color, and the Colors were good, too: Soft Apricot, Amber Wave, Electric Lime, Mellow Coral with Relaxed Mint accents …

The ground She made green. And the firmament She touched up with hues neutral but complementary. And the air She scented with the perfume of flowers.

But first, of course, She disinfected.

And it was all good. Even if some couldn’t see what was wrong with the old carpet.

And at the end of the first day, She looked upon all She had created and saw that it was good. But then She said, “Actually, I think that would go better over there …”

So it wasn’t until the second day that She set about remaking Man into something more like the image She’d had in mind.

And if ever Man objected, She reminded him how he’d been nothing but a speck of dust before She came along and breathed life into him. And that shut him up, for Man knew that it was so.

Then on the third day She brought forth the teeming multitudes: the vanity mirrors, the watercolors, the framed affirmational sayings, the portraits of Edna who begat Doris who begat Aileen who begat Her Own Dear Mother, and every hanging thing that hangeth. And She bid these things be fruitful and multiply. And did they ever.

Then She set to work populating their Paradise with the settees (Man: “The what?”), and the good dishes, and the fondue set, and the soup tureen (though no one made soup), and the bedspread that was only “for show,” and all the other new and strictly necessary things.

And Man asked, “How are we going to pay for this spree?”

And She wept, and was hurt. And She said, “I suppose you’d rather go back to living in a void?”

So Man was sorry, and begged Her forgiveness, and sought to appease Her with flowers and other rich offerings, until finally it was good again.

And on the fourth day, She shopped.

And on the fifth.

And on the sixth.

Then, on the seventh day, the Animals arrived: Moose, and Bull, and Bear, and all the other Dumb Beasts that Man had known from college.

That was when She decided Man really ought to Evolve.

So the Beasts were cast out of Paradise, and Man began to grow apart from them.

Moons passed, and She made other improvements.

Like She decided that no more would they eat of such fare as the Meat Lover’s “Death by Meat” 2-for-1. Instead, they would eat only of the fowl of the air (skinless), and of the poached and chipless fish of the sea, and of the reduced-fat margarine that melted on Man’s toast like the dew, and tasted like it, also.

And Man knew that this was good, probably, though he would never again feel quite full.

More moons passed, singly and in pairs, and it was all good. Or so Man thought.

But in time She began to grow wroth. And when Man asked why She was wroth, She would say he ought to know, which only made Her more wroth.

But at last She gave Man a hint, in the form of a wise parable about some rural gentleman who would not invest in a cow because he was getting his dairy produce pro bono.

Man listened carefully to Her words, and pondered them.

Then Man said, “Are you saying you’re lactose intolerant?”

Boy, was She wroth.

So Man gathered together all his chattels and all his kine (actually, he was pretty low on kine) and traded them for the one great and lavish offering that he judged would make Her happy again, so that they might go back to knowing each other as they had before, i.e., biblically.

And so, on bended knee, Man presented this offering unto Her.

It had a 42-inch wide-screen high-definition rear-projection liquid-crystal display, triple-stream picture-in-picture zoom, wireless digital surround sound, and three separate remotes just to turn it on. All this Man explained from his knees, as mentioned, for he had put his back out carrying the luxurious thing.

And so went She back to live with Mother.

Moons passed …

Many, many moons …

And when She finally consented to see Man again, he was heavy with rue and sorrow. But She was still pretty wroth.

And Mother stood by, wiping a meat cleaver on her apron with a scowl that made Man shiver.

Nevertheless, Man threw himself upon his knees, and said that without Her, he was as a soulless speck of dust, and Paradise a dull void.

And She folded Her arms across Her chest and said, “Uh-huh.”

So Man was desperate. He made unto Her one last, frantic offering. It was a nothing, a useless trinket, a mere bauble on a tiny band of forged metal. But it was all Man could afford, on terms.

And She wept, but it was good.

And Mother stuck her meat cleaver in a wall out of the way, and hugged Man.

And that was how Eternity started.