Issue #83

Summer 2022

The Commandments

by Paul Blaney

Somehow or other they all got lost—it makes you wonder what'll be next! No one seemed to have a copy or to recall any of the phrasing, or even how many of them there were exactly. Well, minus the 'bedrock of Judeo-Christian morality,' a sizeable chunk of the world went off the rails. And so, of course, they turned to yours truly.

I was given a week and a superior suite at a Ramada Inn. There, for six days, I farted around, napping and watching trash TV, hoping that, if I tried not to think, those pesky Commandments would pop back into mind. No dice!

Day seven I called room service. Fetch me up a pair of 'Beefy Burritos.' No sooner had I tasted the second than I found myself scribbling on paper towels.

  1. Be nice to Mom and Dad [Our own kids, I'll say, were in those difficult years]
  2. A smile costs nothing
  3. Honesty is often the best policy

There were, as you're well aware, another four. And, somewhat to my surprise, 'The Seven Commandments' met with universal acclaim. They were divinely inspired, said the church, and hastily confirmed them as the self-same seven brought down from Sinai.

Now I'm no Moses, but who's to say they were wrong? Those old/new rules, restored, sure did the trick. The world is back on track, moving forward, forging ahead. And if at times I'm subject to misgivings [as for example No. 6, about the dogs], still, faced with global harmony and personal recognition—knighthoods, Nobel prizes, annuities—I tend to keep them safely under my Panama.

Author Bio


Paul Blaney teaches writing at Rutgers University. His latest novel, Jardin des Animaux, is forthcoming from Signal 8 Press. This is the ninth time his work has appeared in The Cafe Irreal, most recently in Issue 74. His work also appeared in our print anthology, The Irreal Reader: Fiction & Essays from The Cafe Irreal (Guide Dog Books 2013).