Containers by Chris Wu


In the beginning (and I say beginning in so far as we both understand that the beginning comes after the end) there was Yahweh, who had reached enlightenment a long long time ago. And Yahweh had just witnessed Yahweh’s second implosion of the universe. And Yahweh was exhausted.

The universe was in a natural state of chaos, and Yahweh had spent an enormous reserve of energy creating order. So this time around, Yahweh thought it might behoove Yahweh to simply let Yahweh’s creations independently decide how to best contain themselves.

And so it was done. Yahweh created a single unit out of Yahweh’s own being, which was called DNA. And like Yahweh, the DNA had a natural inclination to create order. After Yahweh let the DNA loose into the universe, Yahweh took a nice long much-needed nap.

During the time Yahweh was resting, the DNA explored the edges of the universe. But finding itself naked and exposed to the elements, it ultimately found a container to house itself. In this protected cell, the DNA found a way to unzip itself and extract another like itself from itself. But the DNA had not reached enlightenment, for it was merely a small piece of Yahweh, so it made many mistakes along the way.

It wasn’t long until there were enough cells of DNA, that some of the bigger faster stronger lucky mistakes took advantage of the smaller slower weaker unlucky mistakes and forcibly unzipped them. They replicated, amassed more cells, and congregated into tribes of their own kind. And these organisms floated through the oceans and searched for weaker organisms to place within themselves so that they may grow into bigger organisms. Some found themselves naked and vulnerable and some found shells and holes in the earth to protect themselves. Some focused on growing as fast as possible by learning to contain the light from the sun. And as all of them grew bigger and their numbers grew bigger, the oceans grew smaller and its capacity to contain all of them grew smaller. But these animals and plants were still just nation-states of so many cells, each with DNA, that original piece of Yahweh. And they had not reached enlightenment yet, and so many mistakes were made.

And pretty soon, some animals grew containers that could hold the toxic air. They used their legs and arms to climb mountains and sky. And some plants followed soon, planting their own legs into the ground and spreading their arms higher above others to steal the precious rays. Some mammals found ways to contain their young inside, and some plants found ways to contain their young outside. But all of them found that by staying with organisms of like kind, they could act as an even larger organism, to better protect and better attack. And all the while, they made many mistakes, for they were only but a piece of Yahweh.

But at some point, a mammal found a way to grasp tools and communicate and understand itself as alive, but only alive for a set amount of time. And this mammal even found ways to give names to things, including itself, labeling the first of its kind Adam and the second of its kind Eve. And this mammal called its tribe Homo sapiens, or humans for short, or man for even shorter.

Like the deer, man found ways to eat leaves and roots, and like the bears and lions, man found ways to hunt and eat the unluckier mistakes. But most importantly, man found knowledge, which was the realization that it wasn’t necessary to wait on lucky mistakes to happen but that it was possible to create lucky accidents and contain them within containers of one’s own creation. And man found ways to enslave plants and animals and their unborn children for the express purpose of consuming them. And man contained big animals with fences and cages and ropes and buildings made from big plants. It was extraordinary how quick man was at learning how to contain.

But man was also able to instill fear among its own tribe. And man argued and fought and forcibly unzipped others, and man splintered into smaller tribes.

And it was about this time that Yahweh woke up from Yahweh’s short nap and saw what the little piece of Yahweh’s self had done in the universe. And Yahweh was pleased and sad and angry and afraid at the many mistakes that were made, but Yahweh knew that the different tribes had not reached enlightenment yet, for man was just a piece of Yahweh. And Yahweh continued to watch on in interest.

And as different tribes of man lived among themselves, man was still scared of other tribes and looked for ways to contain things that would help it attack and destroy. Some found ways to contain explosive dust in metal shells, which themselves were placed in convenient containers called guns. And some placed ancient DNA that had rebelled against becoming organisms in flimsy containers called smallpox blankets. Yet others trapped the energy of the sun in unstable containers called atomic bombs. And after a tense moment when Yahweh thought that man would completely destroy itself and everything else with DNA, man found a way to agree to work and live together. And man worked on containing things that would make life easier. Some created containers for consumables called Tupperware. Others created containers for fuel to run entire cities called energy companies. And yet others created the Internet, which was a container for the information of everything. And containers for objects created by a privileged few that some other privileged few agreed was worth preserving, which were called art museums. And there were so many containers that man didn’t even bother keeping all of them, using them once, and then dumping them into the oceans, burying them beneath the ground, or flinging them out into the trajectory of the sun. And some tribes still attacked others. But most tribes simply wanted to collect and keep as many containers as they could and hope that their layers of containers could inoculate them from fear. And Yahweh shifted in Yahweh’s seat, watching all of this, knowing that the tribes of man were not enlightened and even though they were a small piece of Yahweh, they would make more mistakes than perhaps they could fix.

And as the other organisms of animals and plants suffered and grew and lived and died, man continued to use and hoard and forcibly unzip the earth to create more and more containers, to a point where there were more containers than organisms. And pretty soon, man ran out of fossil fuels and the supply of metal and electricity and plastics grew smaller and it was more expensive and harder to make more containers. Until finally the earth was so hollow that only a few organisms could still survive. And running out of containers, man made one final container to carry them to a new earth. And as Yahweh squirmed, Yahweh continued to watch, knowing that without enlightenment being reached, some mistakes necessitated abandonment.

And as the last tribe of man found a new earth that would contain them, they found ways to build new containers to help them contain necessary conditions for life. And soon, they were able to adapt to the new earth as the new earth adapted to the new man. And man was able to create containers again. Until this new earth was so hollow that they had to find another new earth. And so on and so forth, Yahweh continued to watch, even as Yahweh bounced up and down, knowing that the new man on the new earths had still not reached enlightenment yet and that seismic mistakes would be made that would reverberate across the fabric of time-space in the cosmos. And all because they all contained a piece of the original DNA, which was a piece of Yahweh.

Over millennia and eons, new man became newer man, until finally, one newest man shed all of her containers and became enlightened. Of course, without containers, she could not survive on the new earth her new tribe of new man was forcibly unzipping. But since she was enlightened, she transcended existence and found herself submerged in darkness. But she was not afraid of this, because she was enlightened.

Eventually, after no time and all the time, she arrived at a door.

She knocked.

And Yahweh answered.

Hello, Yahweh said with Yahweh’s mind.

Hello, she said with her mind. You must already know my name.

I do. But why don’t you tell me what you call yourself?

When I was in my container of flesh, I went by the name of Guanyin 0^5!2 DNA.

How about just G.O.D.? Yahweh said. Or God. For short.

Sure, said God.

Please, God, come in and make yourself at home.

So God entered Yahweh’s container and made herself at home. Yahweh looked so relieved and rushed to another room. And Yahweh let out everything that was contained in Yahweh’s bladder. Then Yahweh flushed, and the universe imploded.

Yahweh washed Yahweh’s hands and walked back out to find God wrapped in a blanket.

This is really comfortable, said God.

I know, said Yahweh. Forgot who made it, but it feels like you’re back in the womb.

What a perfect container, said God.

Then she took it off and threw it away, for she was enlightened and understood how to embrace the chaos of the universe.

Yahweh clapped Yahweh’s hands and rubbed them together.

Okay, God. You want to take a crack at this next one? Don’t worry, I’ll be here to walk you through it.

Chris Wu grew up in Northern Texas. After studying economics at Yale and USC, he decided to become a writer. He currently resides with his husband in Pasadena, CA.