Kal, a middle aged man, sat at the counter of his favorite New Jersey diner, sipping coffee, chewing on a bagel with cream cheese, and reading the New York Times. It was mid-afternoon, on a weekday, after the lunch rush, and the diner was fairly empty.
Another man, about the same age, entered, carrying an ultra-thin laptop computer, which he rested on the counter. He sat next to Kal and nodded. Kal nodded back.
The waitress, a young woman, approached and gave the man a menu. Without looking at it, he said: "I'll have the same as him ... poppyseed bagel, cream cheese, decaf."
As the waitress left, the man asked: "So, how's it going, Kal?"
Kal, chewing his bagel, still reading his paper, replied: "Fine."
"How's your little grandson?" the man asked. "Aaron, right?"
"Do we know each other?"
"I know everybody," the man replied. "I'm God."
"Ha!" Kal replied.
The waitress returned, served the bagel and coffee. The man took a bite of the bagel. "Mmmmmmm. Yummy!" After a pause, he asked: "You don't believe me?"
"If it makes you happy, I'll believe you," Kal said, eyes still glued to the newspaper.
"How's your sister June? You haven't seen her in a few weeks, have you?"
Looking up from his paper, Kal asked: "You know her?"
"I should. I helped you find her 35 years ago!"
"Who the hell are you? Is this some gag?"
"I just dropped by to check on you..."
"This has gotta be a gag!"
"How about a little thunder and lightning?" the man asked. He waved his right hand, and suddenly there was a brilliant flash of light and a loud clap of thunder.
Kal flinched, looked around. Noone else in the dinner seemed to have noticed. "Is this one of those stupid TV reality shows? Where's the camera?"
"There are no cameras, Kal."
"You really are God?"
The man shrugged, smiled.
"I've heard that God does speak to people ..."
"There's this minister who says you speak to him. Pat...Pat Robertson!"
The man's eyes flashed with anger. "Pat Robertson? I have never uttered a word to that shmuck!"
"A shmuck! Wait...are you Jewish?"
"People see me in their own image," the man said and, after a brief pause: "In China, I'm short, chubby, inscrutable. Africa? Tall, muscular, voice like James Earl Jones. In Minnesota, I'm a blonde blue-eyed goy."
"This has gotta be a gag! Wait! Did Marvin put you up to this?"
"You mean Marvin Schwartz? Who lives at 223 West Tenth Street in the Village? Third floor?"
"You like tango, right?"
"How'd you know that?"
"I know everything! Enjoy!"
The man gestured. Suddenly, Kal heard a lively tango. After a few seconds, God moved his hand, as though turning off a radio, and the music stopped.
Shaken, Kal asked: "What...do you want from me?"
"Nothing! I'm just looking in on you."
"You missed the shabbos service on the radio from Temple Israel last Friday."
"I was busy!"
"It's okay!" God said. "I just thought...since you've been listening to it almost every Friday afternoon for so many years..."
"I can't miss one service?"
"Sure! Sure!" God said. "I just thought maybe you were losing your faith a little."
"Who said I had faith?"
"Every Friday at five-thirty for fifteen years, and you tell me...
"It's a habit!"
"Ah, a habit! Is it also a habit every time you drive around Manhattan looking for a parking space — I see you! — you rub the steering wheel, rub, rub, rub ... suddenly a space opens up! And you pull in. And — I hear you! — you say Thanks, God!"
Amazed, Kal asked: "You hear me?"
"Why the hell do you think you get all those parking spaces?"
"Of course, in the immediate area of the theatre district, that's another story. Free parking is impossible. Even God can't help there..."
Kal and God chewed on their bagels for a moment.
"I was just exclaiming 'God!' I'd always hoped you existed, but I wasn't sure. There is a God? My God!"
"Everywhere on this earth," God said, "in their own way, people believe in God. In the most remote parts of the world... Bali... Sweden ... China... Tierra del Fuego ... Even...Hoboken!" After a brief pause. "Just kidding."
"Boy, wait'll I tell my friends!"
"They'll think you're nuts."
"Olga--my wife--she'll believe me."
"Yes," God said. "She's a believer." He reached over for his laptop, opened it, and began typing.
"What are you doing?"
"Googling me? God uses Google?"
"Well...I just say that," God said. "I have my own private account."
Kal leaned over to look at the computer screen. "There's stuff there about me?"
"What does it say?"
"If you're God, why do you need Google? Aren't you supposed to know everything?" Kal pointed to God's head. "Right in there?"
"After so many billions of years, my memory's not as sharp as it used to be. I think I have a tiny touch of...of...whatchamacallit..."
Kal leaned closer, and stared into the screen. "It's got everything about me?"
"Like what, for example?"
God pointed at the screen. "Here's your grades from Bergen Street Elementary School. Almost all A's! Your Great-Grandma Ida was so proud of you!"
"I loved to make her happy! I would run home with my report card and show it to her. She never said an unkind word. If I got a B once in a while, she would smile, look at me over her glasses and say 'B is goot. But A is bettah!'"
God looked at the screen and frowned. "Uh-oh..."
God pointed at the screen. "Here's the time you refused to be Bar Mitzvahed."
Astonished, Kal said: "You even have that?"
"I have everything."
"It wasn't for religious reasons!"
"I took all the lessons in the neighborhood shul. But a few days before the big day, I panicked! I was too scared to stand up in front of all those old men with beards, and recite stuff in Hebrew."
"I know ... your Great Grandma was so sad."
"But otherwise I was a good boy!"
God pointed at the screen again. "And then, in the Army, why did you become a Catholic?"
"What's wrong with being a Catholic? Do you just favor the Jews?"
"No! No!" God replied. "All the religions are fine. I was just curious...why?"
"This is a little embarrassing..."
"You can tell me," God said.
"You mean you don't know why people do things?"
"I see what they do," God said. "I can't always see inside their heads. Get it out. It'll make you feel better."
"Oh, so now you're a shrink? Where's the couch? Do you charge by the hour?"
"No charge," God said. "C'mon."
"At Fort Benning, down in Georgia, there was this young Catholic chaplain. I fell in love with him."
God looked at him, wondering.
"No! Not in that way. I mean I really loved the guy! He was so...so holy! I mean he was pure, and innocent, and good, and, and so bright! I admired him so much. I was just 19, and I'd never felt inspired by religion. Somehow, the way he was...I wanted to be part of that! I told him I wanted to become a Catholic!"
God chuckled. "I remember."
Kal, surprised, asked: "You saw that?"
"I'd sort of forgotten the details. Go on..."
"He resisted. He said this was a very serious decision. But I kept bugging him. I'm a Taurus. Stubborn. Finally he gave me catechism lessons. Not long after that he baptized me! I got a silver crucifix with black rosary beads that I put around my neck. And for a few months I went to confession, and he would listen to me...it was wonderful!"
"You probably know the rest."
"C'mon. I like hearing you tell it."
"When I got out of the Army," Kal continued, "I started attending this church in Elizabeth, New Jersey. There was this grouchy old priest. He would mumble the prayers. And during his Sunday sermon, what I remember most was him kvetching about how little money people were donating to the church! So I stopped going."
"What happened to the crucifix?"
"I took it off, but I couldn't throw it away. I couldn't! I carried it in my pocket for a couple of years. And —I don't know — it must have been the friction in my pocket, after a while, little by little, the rosary beads fell off, and all that was left was the tiny crucifix with maybe three or four beads on each side..."
"That's when your Great-Grandma became ill, wasn't it?"
"She was ninety-two," Kal said. "Slipped and fell in the kitchen. She lay in bed in a nursing home up in Irvington...It was a Labor Day weekend. My buddies had gone down the Jersey shore. I told them I was gonna visit Grandma, and would see them later. I went to see her in the nursing home. She was fading, but sweet as ever. I kissed her on the forehead, went out, and got into my car. It was late. Driving south on the highway, it was misty. When I got to Bradley Beach and parked, it must've been nearly midnight. I didn't know where my buddies were. The boardwalk was dark. I walked onto the beach, spread a big beach towel on the sand, lay down and fell asleep."
"I remember..." God said.
"Early the next morning, the sun woke me. I sat up, real groggy. My wallet had fallen out of my pocket, into the sand. And my car keys. I groped around and found them. Then I noticed, my crucifix was gone! I started poking around in the sand, searching, searching...and I felt something! But it wasn't the crucifix! It was a round shiny piece of metal. I picked it up and it was..."
"A Star of David medal."
"I was amazed!" Kal continued. "I stared at it, then I looked up at the heavens. I was all alone. The sun was shining down on me through the clouds. It was as though something really incredible had happened."
"It had," God said.
"I kept poking around in the sand, trying to find the crucifix. But it was gone."
"I left it there for someone else," God said. "He found it a few weeks later. A good Christian."
"You did that?"
"Why?" Kal asked.
"How do I know?"
"You figure it out!"
"I can't! It's a mystery!"
Smiling, God began to sing: "Ah! sweet mystery of life, at last I've found thee...Ah! I know at last the secret of it all..."
"It's about love?"
"One of my favorite ladies, Rida Johnson Young, wrote those lyrics. Wasn't it divine when Nelson Eddy and Jeanette McDonald sang it?"
"C'mon, tell me!"
"You loved your Great-Grandma, didn't you?"
"I adored her."
God looked at him expectantly.
"She was dying," Kal said. "I had let her down when I didn't get bar-mitzvahed. When I reached into the sand and found the Star of David...I was ...returning to who I was? To please her?"
God patted him on the shoulder to comfort him.
"If that's what you think," God said, "that's what it is!"
"God, you are mysterious!"
God broke into song again. "Ah, sweet mystery of life at last I've found thee..."
"Why do you let such terrible things happen?"
"You think it's easy being God? There are billions of people on Earth to keep track of! You know what bugs me? When there are terrible disasters ... natural disasters, I mean...Earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tsunamis...and so many people die. They call them 'Acts of God.' Can you imagine that? 'Acts of God!' As if I wanted them to happen! Me!"
"I thought you were all powerful!"
"People are constantly calling out to me. In the desert of the Sudan, dying of thirst or hunger ... In Africa, India, Greenwich Village, young men and women dying of AIDS... In Iraq, wounded soldiers writhing in pain ... In the casinos of Atlantic City, desperate gamblers losing their shirts. They all want something. 'Help me, God!' I try! I'm pretty good at multi-tasking, but sometimes it's...overwhelming!
"I guess it keeps you very busy..."
"It was so simple when I created the universe...the sun...the stars...the planets. The earth, rotating around the sun at exactly 67,000 miles per hour. I cooked up just the right temperature and the right mix of gases, allowing for life. The plants...and the animals. Everything was fine. . .Then, when I decided to create humans, I got this fercockta idea ... start them off ignorant — tabula rasa! — but with creative minds, and give them free will!"
"Why are you telling me this?"
"I'm trying to help you understand! At first humans lived like animals. Bare asses in the wind! Hunters and gatherers! Millions died of exposure and disease. Famine! But with creative minds and free will, humans developed clothing! Farming! Medicines! Electricity! Radio! The movies! Now the Internet! Blogging! Sometimes it doesn't seem so, but life is changing...mostly for the better..."
"But why do you allow so many different religions?"
"You're full of questions today!"
"It's not everyday I have a chance to ask God!"
"You go to see a movie. There's a hundred people in there, all seeing the same picture. People walk out. One guy says "I loved it!" Someone else says: "I was bored stiff!" Another person says, "Well, it was okay." Free will! Everybody has a different take on things!"
"You think that's good?" Kal asked.
"It's out of my hands!"
"No...I just wanted to say how amazing this all is. But there is so much injustice in the world..."
"Talk about injustice!" God said, waving the remnant of his bagel. "They erect statues to great warriors. But do they put up a statue to the man who invented Immodium? No!"
"Just a century ago, you know how many people died of diarrhea? Or pooped in their pants! I can't count the times nowadays that people cry out: 'Thank God for Immodium!' It wasn't me! It was some scientist who had free will!"
"But there's been such evil in the world," Kal said. "African Slavery! The Holocaust! Monsters like ...Hitler!"
God shook his head sadly. "When Hitler was a young man, his mother was dying of cancer, in excruciating pain. I sent a Jewish doctor to his house. He made more than forty visits, never charged a penny. At the time, Hitler said he was grateful But later...free will! A mass murderer, who was a vegetarian yet! I till don't understand the guy!"
"Did you actually talk to Hitler?"
"He had a closed mind. I don't really talk to people. I kind of whisper in their ear, usually when they're asleep."
"Who do you whisper to?"
"Millions of people! Most of them you never heard of...You like Mozart, right?"
"He died so young...He composed so many divine pieces. Do you know Leporello's aria from Don Giovanni? The one about the thousands of women he's loved?" God broke into song:
Madamina, il catalogo e questo
delle belle cha amo il padron mio
un catalogo egli e che ho fattio
osservate, leggete con me...
Kal was incredulous. "You suggested that? About a man who's had sex with thousands of women?"
God laughed. "I thought it would be fun! Talking about fun, did you ever read Don Marquis?"
"A newspaper columnist back in the 1920s. He wrote this series of funny sketches about Archy and Mehitabel. Mehitabel is an alleycat, and Archy is a cockroach..."
"Yes, a cockroach! But with the soul of a poet. And this cockroach jumps on the keys of a typewriter, and describes a cockroach's view of the world."
"One thing the cockroach types is: 'I once overheard the survivors of a colony of ants which had been decimated by a falling hunk of cow manure. They were seriously debating the intent of the Gods towards their civilization.'"
"OK. That's funny!"
"The one who really tickled me was this French fellow, Voltaire. He once said: 'God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.'"
"You think that's funny? It's not funny!"
God laughed. "I know, but I can't help it! I loved Voltaire. He spent his life questioning...questioning...and finally, in his 84th year, about to die...he writes a brief declaration which he gives to a friend: 'I die adoring God, loving my friends, not hating my enemies, and detesting persecution.' Isn't that eloquent?" God pulled out a handkerchief and wiped his eyes.
"Voltaire made you cry?"
"Yes. And Walt Whitman. Did you ever read his The Sleepers?
"A masterpiece!" God said. "He's speaking in my voice...to me...to everyone!"
"I wander all night in my vision,
Stepping with light feet,
swiftly and noislessly stepping and stopping,
bending with open eyes over the shut eyes of the sleepers"
"Why...why did you...let my Mom die so young?"
"I'm sorry about that..."
"She was just twenty-two! I was only two years old! Except for a picture, I don't even have a memory of her!"
"Years ago, my Uncle Eddie and his wife Elizabeth, from down in North Carolina, sent me letters my mother had written to them. The first one was written in early 1936, not long after I was born. My mom was separated from my dad, and living with her grandparents in Newark. Eddie and Elizabeth's first child, Barbara, had just been born. Those letters are among my greatest treasures.
"Hello Pappy! How glorious, perfectly wonderful that Elizabeth has come through fine and with a precious bit of heaven. We up north are happy for you. I wish I could hop, skip and jump down to her and the baby. Give them a big kiss for all of us, and a wet one for Kalman. Grandma wishes she were able to make a trip down South, but it seems there is a nasty villain called money that always eludes us. Kalman walks all by himself at last. He is so proud of himself. He walks about, saying 'alone, alone, alone'...telling us he doesn't need our help anymore. Very soon you will be writing us and boasting of your daughter's accomplishments. Isn't it a wonderful feeling to have a baby? Something all your own...a beautiful soft little body to love and cherish...it is something to live for...to cry for, fight and laugh for..."
"A few months later," Kal said, "my mother wrote again to North Carolina."
"Dear Mommie & Daddie and Barbara...Please, please forgive me for being so late answering, but I have been very busy. I am at last working as a sales girl in a very nice dress shop. When I get home I am so tired I just can't do anything but kiss Kalman goodnight and go to bed. How is my darling new cousin? I feel lik e an aunt to her. What does she look like? Does she eat like a little piggy, so that she will get fat and adorable? Aren't they gorgeous precious things to have? They are expensive, and troublesome, but one tiny smile and all is forgiven. When I get home at night I feel so utterly alone and morbid, so nasty after waiting on picky women all day. But Kalman runs up to me, throws his chubby arms about me and says 'mommie-kiss'. Well, it's my seventh heaven!"
"The third letter to North Carolina is postmarked May 19, 1937, a month after my second birthday," Kal continued. "My mother was eight months pregnant with my sister."
"My dear Aunt, Uncle and Barbara...your lovely box of candy was received amid exclamations of ohs and ahs! Grandma thanks you from the bottom of her heart. It was the most delightful surprise. Kalman refused all candy but that which came from Grandma's box. He says it is 'beee--yoo--tee-ful'. That is the way he talks. He draws his words out and uses much expression. One day I will get around to taking pictures of my son. He is the roughest, toughest kid on the street. Plays ball with all the big boys. And shouts 'make a double!' He plays marbles like a veteran and sings all the latest songs. All that at the age of two! The weather has been very nice here. All here are well. So close with love to you all from all...Rozlon."
"Twelve days later, my mother gave birth and lay bleeding in the City Hospital," Kal said. "In one movie theatre in downtown Newark the lights were turned on. They made pleas for blood donors. She died a few hours later."
"I know..." God said.
"Sure, you know!" Kal replied angrily. "Why did she have to die?"
"It was ignorance..."
"She was ignorant?"
"The whole world was!" God said. "Doctors today know how to avoid hemorrhage in pregnant women. Not then...And your Dad, with his Depression. Poor guy. It broke up their marriage."
"You know about him too?"
"Of course. A little Prozac or Zoloft might have helped."
"The first time I met my Dad, I was already married and he was in his 60s. I flew out to LA and looked him up. He lived alone, in a cheap furnished room. We met at a coffee shop and had lunch..."
Harold squashed his half-smoked cigarette into the ashtray. "Do you get into New York much?" Harold asked him.
"Every so often. Last week I had lunch with a friend down in The Village."
Harold smiled, and gazed off into the distance. "Ah, the Village! It brings back memories, more than forty years ago, of the two summers I worked on my degree at NYU. I remember the true Village! Harry Kemp and Maxwell Bodenheim are no longer with us! The cafeterias where we sat hours on end, talking about our hopes and aspirations! O'Neill, the sick, lean, hungry O'Neill, with his one-acters tucked under his arms, seeking solace in the theater!"
"Then you became a teacher in Newark, didn't you?"
Harold's expression darkend. "Yes. But then...It all fell apart. The years have slipped away...Many things bother me ...I still can't get around to talk about them. It's not just the teeth, or the diabetes ...but a host of things, past and present which still plague me. I've tried to get help..."
"Dad, we all have things that torment us. Maybe if you could talk to me, or someone..."
"You mustn't worry about me. When I've gotten over these hurdles, you'll know about it..."
"But, can you tell me..."
Harold stared down at the table. "I would like to have certain areas in my life become more tolerant...and this will take time. I'm struggling with my own personal adjustment. I see you, the way you live, so confidently! You have such a wonderful family... Wealth is ephemeral. What you have can't be bought..."
"You see how I talk! The outside world looms large and hostile...I know I sound like a tired old man..."
Kal reached out his hand, and placed it on Harold's forearm. "Years ago, I sent you a short story of mine. You wrote back and gave me a wonderful critique. Reading your letter was like...drinking an elixir of Inspiration. It gave me a greater sense of closeness to you than I think any son could ever muster in a lifetime of living in the same house with his father. I brought it with me..."
Kal reached into his pocket, and pulled out a folded piece of paper. He handed it to Harold, who slowly opened it and regarded it with surprise.
Harold began to read it slowly. "The exercise of a particular craft is one of mission, and is closely allied with God. One perfects a craft only through exercise, and practice, and more practice. I tell you, get it down on paper. Wear out the seat of your pants. Write...write anything...write everything... but write! I must warn you, there are no half-measures in art."
"Dad...I know this may be hard — painful — for you. I was so young when my Mom died. Can you tell me anything at all? Can you fill in any of the blanks for me? How did you and Mom meet?"
"I was directing a play at the old Jewish Y on High Street in Newark. She came to audition! She was so beautiful...just eighteen years old..."
"And then you married, and had me..."
"I loved her...very much...but...she was very young...she wasn't patient with me...I..."
Harold began to weep. Kal reached out and patted his father's arm. "All right, Dad. Let's leave it for another time..."
Kal, tears in his eyes, said to God: "I saw my father just once more, before he died..."
They sat in silence for a moment, sipping their coffee.
"And why did you come today?" he asked God.
"I sensed you were thinking about your mother."
"I keep a picture of her by my desk...I'm usually a happy guy, but every so often...I stare at that picture. She's so beautiful. She was younger than my children when she died! I feel...like a double loss... as though I've lost both a mother...and a child! It's not fair!"
"Life is not fair. It's...life."
"Whenever I read about a young soldier dying in battle, or some child dying of neglect, I mourn for them, and I can't help thinking of my mother...Not a day goes by that..."
"I know. I feel bad..."
"Sure! So you give me parking spaces in Manhattan?"
"You expect me to be so perfect? What about you?" God pointed at the computer screen. "There were plenty of times when you screwed up. What about that time when..."
"How many jobs have you had these past many years?"
"Lots. Maybe twenty."
"How many did you actually apply for?"
Kal thought for a moment. "Maybe two..."
"All the rest just...happened?"
"Phone calls, out of the blue. Or bumping into people..."
"You remember that time in Puerto Rico when Henry Giniger from the New York Times called you? Offered you a job as their correspondent? Just like that?"
God smiled at him. "And a few years later you and your family were up in Buffalo, freezing your asses off in the snow, and wanting to relocate?"
"And this fellow Jacobson — a complete stranger — called you and offered you a job with the government in New York City?"
"Bob Jacobson! You arranged that, too?"
"And the time Leon King called you — out of the blue! — and offered you a book contract?" After a pause, God said: "I whispered in quite a few ears..."
God and Kal sat quietly for a moment.
"Has your life been so terrible?"
"A loving family ... Good friends..."
"God has a guilty conscience?"
God shrugged, smiled. "I just thought I'd try to balance things a bit."
"Sometimes, when I take my morning walk, or lie awake in bed, I wonder. How should one live? Is there a right way?"
Laughing, God replied: "I've given you free will!"
"But...I don't know! What about The Ten Commandments?"
"Moses was a good man," God said. "But he tended to ramble."
Laughing, Kal said: "I can't even remember all ten!"
"Who can? You had the best teacher in your Great-Grandma Ida. Better than Moses. She taught by example."
"Everybody loved Grandma. She was the kindest person I know."
"Life would be so good if we followed just one commandment," God said. "Just one!"
"Be kind to one another."
"You said it!"
"My mother...I was so young when she died...I don't remember ever seeing her..." Kal looked at God. "Do you think...is it possible?"
"I'm afraid not..."
"Just for a moment!"
"Well...okay," God said, reluctantly. "Just a quick look!"
"The first time I remember hearing tango, I was in my twenties, and I loved it! My aunt told me that my mother once won a tango dancing contest in Newark."
"She was very talented..."
"I must've heard tango then, when I was a tiny boy. Maybe that's why...every time I hear it, I feel a strange joy and sadness mixed together! I wonder, did my Mom and Dad ever dance the tango together?" After a pause, he added. "Do you think you could...Could I see them together? Just once!"
"You're asking a lot!"
"Be kind to one another." "Alright! Alright!"
Kal looked around at the half empty diner. "Will anyone here see them?"
God gestured with his hand. Now Rozlon could be seen standing a few feet away. A few steps from her Harold appeared. A plaintive tango song could be heard.
My day is gray, your day is gray,
can't get the sun to shine.
I think together we might break through the clouds
if you put your hand in mine.
Rozlon reached out her hand, and Harold, unsure, walked hesitantly towards her. They came together and she led him gently in dance as the song continued.
We walk a road it's long and it's hard
we're frightened, but if we try
we'll keep our minds filled up
with beautiful dreams
and build castles in the sky.
They danced closer. Slowly, Harold was becoming more relaxed. They stared lovingly into each other's eyes.
Just a little yearning can fill the emptiness.
Yearn for gray skies or a bit of sun
makes no difference, doesn't everyone
Need a little yearning,
a dream on which they can build,
Just a yearning which won't be fulfilled!
The music stopped. Rozlon and Harold turned and blew kisses to Kal. Holding hands, they walked away, and disappeared.
"That was so...Thank you...Very much..."
"Don't mention it." God glanced at his wristwatch. He closed his laptop computer. "I better get going soon...Other calls to make."
"You don't know how much this meant to me ... seeing them! Together!"
"I'm glad ..."
"It's like a big dark cloud overhead--following me all these years--has drifted away! I'll never forget this!" Kal began to cry.
God patted him on the shoulder and said: "Good...Good...there was this English writer, nice fellow...Graham...Graham..."
"Yes!" God said. "I overheard him speak at a conference once. He said: 'All writing is therapy. To some extent writers seek their craft to heal a wound in themselves, to make themselves whole.' If you wrote about your mother...it might ease the pain."
Kidding, Kal asked him: "Are you giving me Divine Guidance?" God smiled, shrugged.
"You know?" Kal continued. "You're really a nice guy." God shrugged again.
"Being...who you are," Kal continued, "seeing all that you see...sometimes it must get lonely."
God, uncomfortable, shrugged again, and glanced at his wristwatch.
"Can I give you a hug?" "A hug?"
"You know. Like in Latin America, two good friends, guys, when they get together, or are leaving, they give each other an abrazo. A hug. In Argentina, some guys even kiss each other ... on the cheek."
Kal looked expectantly at God. God, who had never been hugged, shrugged his assent. Kal rose, leaned over, and gave God a big hug...then a gentle peck on the cheek.
Moved, God said: "Thank you..." Then God lifted his coffee cup and waved it at the waitress. "Can I have a refill?"
Both smiling, God and Kal continued chatting, as the tango song could be heard, faintly, from a distance.