ADULT CONTENT WARNING: Please be advised that this podcast is based on biblical texts, and may therefore contain adult themes not suitable for children.
Episode content warnings: alcohol, mention of violence and death, swearing, friends as fertilizer
ENOCH: Be not afraid! Haha! That wasn’t the end. I, that– I ended the last transmission too soon, is what I’m trying to say. Where were we… Remember when I told you that Noah’s boat ran aground on a particularly stony shore? It was a mountain. The group of humans set up a decent camp a safe distance below the boat, and immediately began planning how to rebuild their community. Life would be significantly harder from now on, but there was hope and excitement in their eyes.
One night, the survivors are sleeping soundly in their tents. Except Noah, who is glaring angrily into the darkness. He looks restless. He shuffles outside, stretching out his back. The makeshift village overlooks a completely different angle of the land they all grew up in. It’s easy to believe they are far away from home. But they’re not. Seeing that sleep won’t be happening any time soon, Noah lights a torch and goes inside the boat to have a look at the cargo. After opening the storeroom of the plants and saplings, he scratches his head and sighs.
NOAH: (grumbling) Replenish the earth, they said. It will be fun, they said. Stupid old man. We should have brought the machines. I don’t even know where to begin.
FX: noah is Sifting through plant saplings while mumbling their names
NOAH: Apples.. Tomatoes… ah, grapevines!
ASMODEUS: Oh sweet, are we planting a vineyard? I’m in! Let’s start with the Zinfandel-
NOAH: (afraid, shaken) Who’s there? Show yourself! I’ve got a shovel. I’m not afraid to use it.
FX: rustling, footsteps
NOAH: That’s close enough, stay back. Wow, you’re a big one. How have you stayed hidden all this time!?
ASMODEUS: Sshshsh. Be not afraid. I’m an angel.
NOAH: Oh yeah? I’ve met angels before, and you’re not one of them.
ASMODEUS: See that’s where you’re wrong, friend! Contrary to those idiots, I took the courtesy of squeezing into a meat suit. Check this out.
FX: Zipper sound, low humming with shimmer
NOAH: (Initial screech, then, nervous, panicked) O-kay, point made, thank you! Please put your head back on, sir!
FX: zipper close, shimmer stops
ASMODEUS: You’re welcome. Name’s Asmodeus. Why are you making that face?
NOAH: Not a word from any of you in months, no help, nothing, and now, once we’ve figured it out on our own, NOW he sends a messenger!?
ASMODEUS: Nobody sent me. I saw you were having a hard time and decided to drop in all on my own.
NOAH: Do you happen to know Enoch?
ASMODEUS: Regrettably. I know of him.
NOAH: Well, I want to talk to him.
ASMODEUS: Nonono, he’s hard to reach. If anything, he talks to you. At you.
NOAH: (sighs, rubs his eyes) Well, how can you be here? Don’t your kind have more important things to do?
ASMODEUS: Well – technically I have a seminar right about now, but it’s just another rerun of “Occult Safety 101,” I’ll catch up. (mockingly on occult safety 101)
NOAH: (quietly) Seminar? (scoffs, gives up) Regardless, this flood business was a grave injustice. I want to speak to someone in charge. Your Lord? The Almighty?
ASMODEUS: Ha! How about we plant some saplings, have some wine and talk about what just happened?
NOAH: No can do, we ran out of wine months ago.
ASMODEUS: I’m an angel. Do keep up. (Grunts as he picks up all the pots)
NOAH: Oh careful, do you need me to take some of those?
ASMODEUS: Nah. You hold onto your shovel.
NOAH: Wait, I… Sure. Whatever.
ENOCH: While Noah reluctantly follows the strange man down the hill, let’s take a moment. Prophets. You’ve heard of Asmodeus, I’m sure. Prince of the underworld, god of lust, incubus, or was it succubus? I never can tell the difference. A menace is what he is. And here he is, all neatly hidden away behind a pretty face, leading my grandson astray.
Look at them go. They walk down the mountain until they reach an open area next to a stream. Here, they make space in the dirt and carefully plant the grapevines. All in silence.
After witnessing a mass extinction it’s nice to do a bit of relaxing gardening. As Noah is pushing the last bit of soil into place, Asmodeus gets up and brushes off his hands.
ASMODEUS: Alright. Cover your ears.
ASMODEUS: Well. Your exploded brains would be good nutrients for the plants, I suppose…
NOAH: Stop! Disgusting! There! I can’t hear you anymore! Nanananana…
FX: creaking, rumbling
NOAH: (panicked scream, held back crying quietly, struggling to breathe, panting)
ENOCH: Noah’s face grows pale as the ground below him begins to vibrate. He falls to his knees, feeling tears stream relentlessly down his face. Memories of exploding geysers and rumbling in the deep. Roots writhe and spread out under his feet. He gasps for air, but his lungs won’t accept it. The ground forms into peculiar shapes as the earth is filled with the green veins of nature.
A feather-light touch from a secure hand on his shoulder, and he can breathe again. And just like that, all his anxiety is taken away.
ASMODEUS: Hey, my singing wasn’t that bad, now, was it?
NOAH: (Coming down from his panic attack) The ground was shaking, the world was ending… these memories…
ASMODEUS: Hey. Don’t worry. You just need to talk about this.
NOAH: There’s nothing to talk about, it still happened. Just take away all my sadness again.
ASMODEUS: That was a temporary fix. It will come back, sorry. But it will go away eventually. Just as long as you focus on rebuilding and taking care of your family.
NOAH: I’m not sure we were supposed to survive. Maybe we should have just given up. This life is so–
(Looking around) Wait, what’s this? Where did you take me?
ASMODEUS: We haven’t moved. These are your saplings, all grown up! We’ve got some grapes to pick and wine to make!
FX: rustling leaves
NOAH: Now, listen, mister. Picking fruit, making wine? That’s women’s work!
ASMODEUS: Sure, woman up then. No funny juice for you unless you help.
NOAH: (RESIGNED SIGH) Fine. Wow, they practically fall into your hands.
ASMODEUS: So how did all this begin? Like, how did you know the flood was coming?
NOAH: I didn’t. I prayed to the Lord for something unrelated, but only a living darkness answered.
ASMODEUS: What do you mean? There are many who can answer the call, and not all of them are very nice.
NOAH: I don’t know, I can’t describe it. It was dark. It was death. I knew in my heart that it was death.
ASMODEUS: Yeah, that’s totally death! Small world. Go on then, what did they say?
NOAH: (Thoughtfully) It sort of warned me, in a very tactless way, about a lot of people dying…
ENOCH: And Noah tells his whole story, while both of them are stomping the grapes with their feet. He talks about Samael, meeting me, about the rain, his family, the boat, the doubts from the villagers.
NOAH: If they would have just listened to me! They could have all been here with us right now (picks up the pace and intensity of the stomping) But no, Noah, he’s- he’s crazy, his entire family’s crazy, can’t listen to a word he says, oh it MAKES! ME! SO! MAD! (stomping to the beat of the angry shouting)
ASMODEUS: (angry stomping in solidarity) Yeah, fuck them! Use your anger! Tell me more!
NOAH: (SHOUTING INCOHERENT SYLLABLES AND STOMPING LIKE AN ENRAGED TODDLER)
ASMODEUS: There, there, hey, it’s okay, that’s enough. The grapes are definitely dead.
NOAH: (PANTING, CALMING DOWN)
ASMODEUS: Here, take my hand. Sit down over there by the tree and I’ll do a little trick, okay?
ENOCH: Noah waves him away, trying to catch his breath. His robe is completely covered in grape juice, a fetching shade of purple.
The angel returns, triumphantly holding a generous clay pot and swishing around the liquid inside. How he fermented and decanted the wine within such a short moment, is not something Noah is going to question right now.
Asmodeus pulls out the cork with his teeth, fills up two cups and sits down next to Noah. The absurdity of the situation is starting to sink in. Here he is, a survivor of mankind, abandoned by God, having a drink with… this angel. Definitely a non-human. Maybe it’s not an angel. Maybe it’s some other, yet undiscovered creature.
(Both are audibly drunk)
NOAH: So. Asmo-dayus… doesn’t sound angelic.
ASMODEUS: (AFFRONTED) YOU don’t sound angelic. Met many angels, have you?
NOAH: Oh, fill me up as well. Why is my head spinning? This doesn’t taste that strong. I can’t feel my fingers.
ASMODEUS: Hey, hey. You’ll die if you try to keep up with me.
NOAH: (sad/pensive) Die like every living thing did, in that flood– be swept away by waves and erased like they were never here. I suppose that would be fair. This was all my fault.
ASMODEUS: The flood wasn’t your fault. If God sets her mind to something, he will do it. Besides, you can still procreate! Replenish the valley, as you said, it will be fun.
NOAH: The valley. What valley? What about the rest of the world? It’s going to take thousands of years. And what about the species I couldn’t bring? They’re all gone forever.
ASMODEUS: Oh boy, you overestimate your importance! No wonder you’re- Wow. Um. See that mountain range? It goes all the way around. So this was all a very large pool, basically. 4 billion tetra liters, rounding up. A tub fit for a titan.
NOAH: (SNIFF) I don’t understand most of the things that come out of your mouth, wine man, but you have to at least TRY to explain that. I’m drunk and dumb, keep it simple.
ASMODEUS: Noah, Noah, listen my man. Look at me. The rest of your world – the earth – is fine.
NOAH: You’re just saying that.
ASMODEUS: And even if it was the whole earth, we always have the amoebas, it’s fine.
NOAH: Sorry what?
ASMODEUS: I mean it! All this? Itty bitty flood. Huge valley. So huge you can’t see it’s a valley from down here. Super local catastrophe. Not the whole earth.
NOAH: You’re really sure.
ASMODEUS: Yes! Your world is, yeah, it’s fine. It’s bigger than you think. Heh heh. That reminds me, I was off partying in um… thataway. They seemed perfectly fine. I don’t think anything has been made, like, extinct. Let me go check.
NOAH: I don’t… Woah!
ASMODEUS: ‘m back. So I took a look in the (redacted). Hm. In the (redacted). Things and books in heaven. Records. Records! Stupid languages. Anyway you’re gonna love this: Not much is extinct at all! Just one strain of (redacted). Nothing compared to how much will become extinct… But don’t worry. Many more species will emerge too.
NOAH: So I… didn’t fail…
ASMODEUS: Sure. Still a lot of deaths, but nothing you won’t recover from.
NOAH: (TO HIMSELF) What… Huh. Ha. Haha (He starts giggling hysterically)
ASMODEUS: More wine?
ASMODEUS: Here’s to the earth, then.
ENOCH: They stay up the rest of the night, drinking, debating and laughing. By early morning, Noah feels the earth spin and his eyes cross.
NOAH: (Very drunk) Don’t your kind sleep? Not to chase you off but I’m really… tired.
ASMODEUS: (drunker) Nooo, come oooon, you were saying something about grass. I have to hear this.
NOAH: Yeah. I like the idea of… you know… how… grass is greener…
ASMODEUS: Onnnn the other side?
NOAH: Let me finish, damn boy!
ASMODEUS: Go on. (Lower) Youngster.
NOAH: Shut up. Where was I? The grass is greener on graves, because of the dead bodies. You know. Nature eats that right up as… as…
NOAH: As nutrrr, as nutrients. And it’s like… you always have to leave something behind, in order to grow. And we have left tons of stuff behind! A huge hole to fill, lots of growing to do.
ASMODEUS: (forgets that he can not in fact drink and laugh and breathe at the same time. This is Victor’s problem :D)
NOAH: Makes me wonder, will YOU grow up?! As I was saying… uh. Lots of growing to do, not just, you know, vineyards and stuff, but all of us. Doing some soul searching, as, as… uh, a person. As people. It’s long overdue. Should have happened before God’s patience ran out.
ASMODEUS: Yeah, see? You’ll be fine. You’re right though. It is very green out here. Heh heh… Noah.
NOAH: What. (Getting very tired of Asmodeus)
ASMODEUS: Your village didn’t die for nothing. This wine turned out great. To buried villagers and passed friends!
NOAH: (slurring) I don’t feel so good.
ASMODEUS: Pffff. I told’ ya’ na’ to try an’ keep up with me.
FX: just a few drops falling in a cup
ASMODEUS: Aw, we drank it all. This was the strong stuff, too. Un- und-undiluted wine. W’ should maybe slow down. Did you hear me?
ASMODEUS: What an idiot. Yep, don’t know what I expected. Let’s get you home, young man.
FX: footsteps over grass, crickets, morning birds
ASMODEUS: Noah, Noah, Noah. Your hangover is going to be ridiculous. Mine too. Here, let me ease that fall for you.
FX: magic cut off by hiccup, glitchy static
ASMODEUS: That’s weird. Damnit, can’t remember the last part. Sorry dude, I forgot THE WORDS for this one. So. Best I can do is get you back in your tent.
FX: shuffling of fabric, snoring
ASMODEUS: There we go. You did good, Noah. You’ll be fine. There will be far worse people than you.
ENOCH: Asmodeus glances back down toward the vineyard. He smiles, and vanishes without a trace. I do believe he was heading for Assyria, thousands of years from now. But that’s no business of mine. I’m just relieved Noah wasn’t on his list of conquests.
It’s interesting how such a small encounter can turn someone’s life around. It’s these little things that have the power to push the wheel of destiny into a whole new direction. The wings of a butterfly, a shared wine bottle, or a personal sigil getting into the wrong hands. But no matter what destiny throws at you, always remember: Be not afraid.