(Note: All place names have been translated from Adamic to Modern 21st Century English).
Noah stared at Japheth in horror. His voice shook a little, “What do you mean an Opossum escaped at our last stop?” Noah was angry. “YOU KNOW ALL THE MARSUPIALS ARE SUPPOSE TO GET DROPPED OFF IN AUSTRAILIA!.” It was another blunder in a long series of blunders. Sailing around the earth dropping off the animals in their appropriate habitat had been hard, and he only dimly understood why it had to be done, but a marsupial in North America was going to get him in trouble.
Japheth had usually been reliable. He could be counted on to get the animals dispersed into their proper location, but lately he seemed to be slipping up. Ham and his family were carting pikas to the tops of the Rocky Mountains (curse those adorable little beasts that can’t cross lower elevations so that every individual population had to be placed on a separate mountain). Shem was stocking the individual species of pup fish into each of the individual springs in the Great Basin Desert, which meant that Noah was left on the Ark making sure that what was left of the 20 million species of animals and plants were being taken care off. The aquariums alone were nearly killing him. With the flood, of course, all salt water aquatic species had to be brought on the Ark because they could not survive the osmotic gradient that the flood induced with its infusion of fresh water, nor could the fresh water species survive because it was too salty, so all the species of fish and aquatic animals (corals had been particularly challenging) had to be taken aboard the ark. The salt-water tanks were now empty (He looked longingly at the massive whale shark tank—he missed those gentle beasts), and having sailed around dumping those marine creatures back into the ocean, and back in their appropriate habitats he was feeling good. But they were still scrambling to disperse the fresh water fish. They were working on Western North America and at the moment carrying the barrels of high-altitude cutthroat trout high into the Rockies. This was being arranged by one of Ham’s sons in conjunction with Ham’s pika work (since both needed networks of high elevation to disperse).
But what to do with Japheth? He just didn’t seem to be grasping the overall vision of the work. He was always complaining, “Why can’t we just open the door and let them all go?” Noah had tried to explain when it came to a head in the Galapagos Islands.
“Look!” Said Noah to his complaining son. “See the beaks on these finches? Each species’ beak is used for something different—some eat insects and some seeds of varying sizes. We can’t just put them all on the same island because they’d compete for food and eventually go extinct, so each island in this chain has to have it’s own unique set of finches, but they have to be sets that are compatible. See?”
“Yeah, Yeah.” Said Japheth, “I know and they all have to look like they come from the species on the closest mainland. They have to be more closely related to the South American finches than the Asian finches.
“Right.” Noah gave a strained smile, “How else can the good Lord try is people in the last days (and who are really going to need trying) if we don’t get these species distributions right and manage to get things looking like they’ve evolved in a geographic context?”
Japheth sighed, “I understand the reasons why things have to look like they evolved, it’s just . . . well I’m tired. You know, getting all the honeycreepers sorted the same way in Hawaii about did me in, but those thousand species of fruit fly? Common Dad. It took years to get those pesky flies into their respective habitats and frankly I’m burned out.”
Noah understood. His wife was even starting to tire. She seemed indefatigable in the beginning. But even little things were starting to wear her out, like sorting the monkeys with prehensile tails (which could be used to hold onto a branch), so that they could be dropped off in South America, from those without such tails to be dropped in Africa. All this was starting to put her over the edge.
Just yesterday she had exploded, “Why do we need 7000 passenger pigeons on the ark! Their racket is driving me crazy.”
Noah had started to explain, “You know they won’t breed unless they are surrounded by thousands of their compatriots . . .”
“I KNOW. I KNOW,” She fumed, “I’m just so tired of them flapping around so . . .”
Noah had tried to calmed her, “Just think how much people in the last days will appreciate these wondrous creatures. I mean they’ll love these classy birds . . . We do it for them.”
Noah shook himself and returned to the problem at hand.
“Look Japheth,” Noah sighed. “Remember when you were a young father dropping off separate species of blind, cave crayfish in the Ural Mountains?”
“Remember how discouraged you were when I told you that nearly every cave system in the world had to have a different species of cave crawfish (and cave crickets, etc.) placed in it?”
“Yeah. And it had to match the species that lived in the streams nearby above ground! And there are so many caves on this planet. I thought I was going to die.”
“What did I tell you?”
“One cave at a time. Don’t think about the caves you haven’t done, just do the caves one at a time and it’ll get done.”
“Did it get done eventually?
“I know, Dad. I’m just tired. I’ll try harder. I really am sorry for letting the opossum out.”
“Don’t worry. We’ll make due. Just don’t let it happen any more. OK?’
That night he called a family council.
“Ok. I know we are all tired. We’ve replanted every habitat from here to there,” he said waving his hands this way and that. (Why the good Lord made most plants such that they drowned so easily, was a bone Noah planned to pick with the Lord in the next life—it would have been so much easier if he and his family had not had to replant every single habitat from the tundra to the rain forest, but then, the seeds had not taken that much room on the Ark). But we are almost done. We’ve got the lemurs, lizards and unique birds to drop off in Madagascar and the dodos and other endemics on the Mauritius Islands, but after that it’s smooth sailing and we’ll head to Mt. Ararat for a nice long rest. OK?”