Once upon a time, there lived in Australia, a man—a doctor—called Malcolm Scott. He was rich, respectable, happy. But one day he threw his life away on a whim, on a dark impulse. And worse: he discovered that he had done the unimaginable, the worst a man can ever do…
This is his story.
It is one of those nights you can only get in the Southern Hemisphere winter—the open sky showing off its glittering jewellery from horizon to horizon; the Milky Way sweeping its train across light years of time; the universe performing its gleaming dance of green and blue and gold. It is one of those nights that puts you in your place in this insignificant corner of the universe. If you are really quiet, you can hear the hiss of the big bang; if you are even quieter, you can hear the spatter of history’s struggles and passions, the ache of humankind’s tragic futility lying bare across the galaxy.
Dr Malcolm Scott’s two-storey house is propped up on a hill in north New South Wales, nestled on the rim of a caldera of an extinct volcano. Mount Warning rises to the north, Mount Chincogan to the West. Byron Bay lies prostrate below him in the mangroves and eucalyptus forests. And from the top of Cape Byron, the most Easterly point of Australia, the lighthouse beacon twinkles at him every fourteen seconds (he has timed it). It is a magnificent setting, and the stars at night are an astronomer’s dream. But on that night, Dr Malcolm Scott is not tuned outward to the universe: he is hunched over his computer, scouring his own sky for signs from the universe that he is not alone.
God created man and woman at the same time. Adam and Lilith. But Adam was such a wanker, always saying he was better than me. Making love was the worst. He said it was natural that he should be on top, and pressed me down into the earth so my bum would get dirty. He loved that dominant role. Well, I refused. I get to be on top, I said, because then your hands are free to caress my breasts and touch my clitoris, and that’s how God intended it. But he absolutely refused. ‘I’m the one with the penis,’ he said. ‘So I get to do what I want.’
At first I let him have his way, but then he became insufferable. Started ordering me around. ‘Im the one with the penis. I’m made in God’s image. He’s a male.’ And so he drove me to say the unsayable.
God. Yahweh. The name of God. We were not allowed to say it or we’d be banished from Eden and turned into a demon. But I had had enough of Eden. Yahweh, I screamed, and lo and behold, I grew wings and flew up into their air and out of the garden of Eden, little claustrophobic greenhouse of a place, all perfect, too perfect.
It was a good thing. For one, there was no Adam to boss me around and tell me how inferior I was. And two, little did he know that in the middle of the garden was the forbidden fruit. No, not sex. But a tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It was only a matter of time before the poor fool would eat it and die. Whereas me, I am immortal.
Boy, did he complain when I left. ‘I want a help meet,’ he said, ‘a slave to do my bidding, a submissive.’
So God sent out a recce team to bring me back. But no way was I going back there to him. He sent three goons, angels of some sort, goodie-goodies, Senoy, Sansenoy and Semangelof, and they had a message from God. And if you think God is a nice guy, listen to this. He said if I don’t come back, a hundred of my children will die every day. Oh, I didn’t tell you this part: in those days you gave birth quite easily (it was before the curse), and we had to populate the earth quickly, you see, and I just kept popping them out.
They found me basking in the Red Sea, floating naked, using my wings to float me along.
‘Come back! Your husband and God commands it.’
I refused, so they said that they had instructions from God to drown me. But angels are weak. I did them a deal. They were so dazzled by my beauty, I… well, ‘nuff said about that.
Anyway God decided to make Adam another woman, this time a submissive who would do as she was told. Fat lot of good that did him. Anyway God cheated: made her out of Adam’s own rib so it was like mating with part of himself, a mirror of his own desires. Of course they would get along. Flesh of my flesh, Adam said. I’ll call her woman, because she was taken out of man.
Not me! I am not woman. I am pre-woman. I have my own gender. Sex. Identity. Not even female.
And then the rumours began. They maligned me anyway they could. First they said I seduced one of their archangels. Samael. Not true. Not true at all. You can’t seduce someone who doesn’t want to be seduced. Then they tried to pin the whole eating of the bloody apple on me. Said I was disguised as the serpent. Hell, I wasn’t disguised. Adam tried to blame Eve, and when that wouldn’t wash, blamed me.