Then God appeared to Karl in a dream and said: “Arise and take thy family and flee this wicked place. For thou art the only righteous man in this wretched den of perversion. And I shall this very day bring down a heavenly fire to scour it from the earth.”

And Karl cried out: “Wait. What? Are you talking about Minneapolis?”

“And St. Paul as well,” answered the Lord. “For the outcry has been great against its people. It is said they have forsaken Me and engage in all manner of idolatry and sexual debauchery of the most abominable nature.”

“Seriously? The Twin Cities?” asked a dumbfounded Karl. “Surely Thou art mistaken.”

“I have it on the most reliable authority,” replied God haughtily. Although this was not precisely true. Rather it was based on some false intel provided Him by Elijah and Joan of Arc, his two most hawkish advisors. For lo these many years the Lord had absented Himself from the affairs of Men, wearied by their ceaseless conflict and stupidity. But now, through the duplicitous cunning of his inner circle, He was about to reclaim his Heavenly authority by unleashing some Old Testament type shit.

But Karl pleaded with the Lord. “Suppose Thou could find fifty righteous men amongst the wicked? Would Thou then spare the Twin Cities for their sake?” And after some grumbling the Lord agreed, exiting then from the dream before Karl might negotiate a lower figure.

So it was that snowy morning that God, for the first time in many a long age, came down to Earth in the guise of man. And Karl loaned Him a North Face jacket, Sorel boots, and a Vikings stocking cap. For the Lord, in his robe and sandals, was ill-equipped for the minus twenty wind chill. Then they set out amongst the people.

They had traveled but a short distance when the Lord, who insisted on driving, over-braked on an icy turn and plunged Karl’s pickup into a snowbank. And immediately the locals emerged from their vehicles to push them from the drift. And God was grudgingly forced to admit that these folk, though but a small sample size, did not seem altogether degenerate.

At the Mall of America, they strode through the well-mannered throngs, the Lord observing carefully for any indication of the vice or depravity that Joan had spoken so damningly of. But to no avail. “Are these people always so cursed pleasant?” He muttered. And Karl was obliged to answer that yes, it was generally thus.

“Perhaps this so-called Minnesota nice is but a psychological cloaking device,” surmised the Lord. “A facade that masks a festering core of filth and perversion.”

And Karl did avert his eyes. “Umm, so, have you ever been ice fishing?” he finally replied.

So they made their way to the frozen shores of Lake Harriet. There the Lord, in a variation on the old Sea of Galilee bit, landed an impressive string of walleye. And these were politely gee-whizzed over by the locals in their low-key manner. Then to the Winter Festival of St. Paul, where they observed the ice sculpting and sampled several of the entries in the Fancy Hotdish competition.

As it had been in Minneapolis, so it proved to be in St. Paul. A preponderance of politeness and good cheer despite the accumulating snow and plummeting temperature the Lord had dialed up. “Thou art deliberately steering Me to these spectacles of wholesomeness,” the Lord accused Karl. “Take Me now to the dens of depravity that I may witness the true nature of this place.” And Karl, after much racking of the brain, directed him towards the University.

It was here they observed a thumping, neon-lit club. “Aha!” God exclaimed, slamming on the brake and double parking before its doors. And indeed, within the club there gyrated a sweaty mass of young people. They contorted before the stage upon which a cover band was banging out “Bastards of Young.” The Lord stood transfixed by the scene, and Karl feared that some sort of reckoning was at hand.

“Is it not true,” shouted the Lord above the din, “that the Replacements hailed from the Twin Cities?”

“Uh, yeah,” replied Karl.

And the Lord said with much wistfulness: “I loved that band.” Then He went to the bar and ordered a Grain Belt.

“Also Hüsker Dü and Soul Asylum!” shouted Karl. And Prince, he nearly added. But then, recalling the lyrics to “Jack U Off,” he thought it best to keep this to himself. After several beers, the Lord Himself did venture forth upon the dance floor, where his antediluvian moves and impressive beard were a source of much astonishment.

It was some hours later that the Lord sat silent and contemplative at the now-empty bar. And Karl could sense the conflict within Him. “What is Thy problem?” he dared to ask.

“I find much to recommend these fair cities and their people,” replied the Lord. “To smite them to ashes will be distressing indeed. But something I shall learn to live with. Like the Great Flood. The slaughter of the first-born of Egypt. The desecration of—"

“Thou art a cruel and unmerciful God!” cried out Karl. “After all You have seen today, how can You contemplate such a thing?”

“You know little of the ways of power. Before I descended I boasted to the hosts of Heaven of the violence I would unleash. To return without the blood of multitudes upon my hands would be seen as a sign of weakness and vulnerability. This I cannot abide. I am only sorry that the destruction must occur here in this place.”

At this, a cunning gleam came into Karl’s eyes. “What if I were to tell you of a place so foul, so wicked, that it would make the ancient people of Sodom and Gomorrah seem but innocent choirboys?

And God raised an eyebrow and said, “I’m listening.”

“Look to the east,” bellowed Karl, flinging out an arm in what he hoped to be an easterly direction. “To the shores of the great lake. There You will find the most debased, godless people upon the earth. A seething cesspool of debauchery, depravity, and sexual perversion of the most unnatural sort. Their mere existence an affront to Thine authority.”

“Tell me the name of this place!” thundered the Lord, leaping from his barstool in righteous fury, his eyes glowing red. “So that I might journey there instead to exact my terrible vengeance!”

And Karl said: “The place is called Green Bay.”