He looked around, pausing in his labor, hammer poised above the plank he was nailing to the frame of the ark.
"Noah, it's me. I thought we might talk a bit."
"Mmmmph Brmmmph Frgmmph." Noah spit out the nails he'd been holding in his mouth. "Sorry, Lord." He cleared his throat and tried to assume a respectful posture. He was never quite sure how to act when speaking to God. Not for the first time, he wished someone else had been chosen for this task.
"Well, they weren't. I picked you. Get used to it. Now, let's talk a moment."
"Yes Lord," Noah said with a slight bow. "And of course I would love nothing more, but I really do need to get this done before--"
"Don't worry about that. I've stopped time so we can talk."
"Okay." Noah sat down. Now that he thought about it, a bit of a rest might do him some good. "What would you like to talk about, Lord?" A thought struck him and he stood back up, looking nervous. "Is there some problem with my work? I am trying my hardest. I can--"
"No, no. Nothing like that. You're doing fine. I just thought we might... chat a little. That's all."
"Oh." Noah sat back down. "Okay."
There was a long silence. Noah fidgeted a bit. Just as the silence was becoming uncomfortable, God spoke.
"So, things are going well?"
There was another long silence.
Noah cleared his throat. "Um, Lord?"
"Um, well, was there anything else?" Noah shifted his feet. "It's just that, I know you stopped time and all, but I really want to get the ark finished, and I still have the animals to gather, and I'm a little concerned that I'm not going to have nearly enough room for all of them, what with the spatial restrictions and--"
"Oh, don't worry about that. This ark is blessed by me. You'll have exactly as much room as you need. I wrote the laws of physics, after all. I can break them if I want to."
"Right," Noah said. "Of course. Well, if there's nothing else, I've been wanting to test the dragon traps. They're going to be the hardest to get onto the ark and--"
"Lord?" Noah was taken aback by this. "I thought you said--"
"No dragons. No unicorns, chimera, griffins or any other magical creatures."
"But why, Lord?" Noah was a bit confused. God had clearly said two of every animal, so naturally he'd thought...
"Let's just call them a failed experiment and leave it at that."
"As you say, Lord." Noah turned to get back to work, then stopped. "Was that all, Lord? You seem to want to talk about something." He hoped he wasn't overstepping his bounds. It was hard to tell with God sometimes.
There was another silence, though not as long as the others.
"No, I just... well, yes. There is one thing..."
Noah waited a moment before prompting, "Yes?"
A great sigh echoed across the heavens. "Well, Noah, I was just thinking... do you... do you think I'm being a little harsh?"
"You know, wiping out the entire human race except for you and your family. Thinking on it further, I wonder if maybe I could just give everyone a stern talking-to instead."
Noah cleared his throat and shuffled his feet again. He felt very uncomfortable. When God had first come to him and told him to build the ark, he'd been very honored, particularly since it meant he'd also been chosen to restart the human race. But, sometimes, talking with God was... confusing, to say the least.
"Well Lord," he said hesitantly, "I look at it this way: You are the Lord God. If you say it is so, it is so. If you believe humanity needs to be wiped clean and begun again, then there must be a good reason." Noah shrugged. "Who am I, who are ANY of us, to pass judgment on your wisdom?"
Noah heard a chuckle, and it sounded like distant thunder.
"I suppose you are right, Noah. Thank you. For everything."
"Of course, Lord." Noah picked up his hammer and got back to work. He could tell God was finished. He resumed hammering.
Not for the first time, he found himself really needing a drink.