They had been eating a large watermelon, each night slicing another cross-section and dividing it in thirds. They agreed that it was one of the sweetest watermelons they had ever tasted. “The last of the season,” the mother said sadly.
It was only on the third night that the father felt moved to get up from his chair and watch the cutting of the melon. And father and son together were given to see what neither of them might have ever have noticed alone, distracted by the task at hand. The pink flesh bore no mere random pattern of splits, they saw, but a sign – and a well-known one at that.
“It’s a message!” the son cried.
“You take pictures! I’ll email the Vatican and the White House!” said the father.
“Oh, for God’s sake!” said the mother, hungry for her slice. “It’s just a watermelon!” But her objections were brushed aside as the son raced for his digital camera.
They took still pictures from several angles, then got out the video camera and shot footage of the miraculous melon, which by this time, they noticed, had begun to emit a kind of faint bioluminescence. The father hurried to his computer and began to assemble pictures and text into a basic Dreamweaver template while the son interviewed his mother – “the resident skeptic,” he called her. “Look, it’s just a watermelon!” she reiterated for the benefit of the soon-to-be hordes of virtual pilgrims.
“But can you verify for our visitors that we have not tampered with the natural pattern in any way? You saw me each night. What did I do?”
“You sliced it cross-ways with a bread knife, taking off a third at a time. You started using those splits as a guide last night, I guess.”
“So even though you personally don’t think this is anything special, you can assure our visitors that we did nothing to alter or enhance this Sign?”
“Yes, I can attest to that,” she said, sighing.
Less than twenty-four hours later, the site went live – watermelonrevelation.com. Within the first twelve hours of operation, the hit counter logged over five thousand unique visitors. This was going to be big.
The splash page featured simply a photo of the melon against a black background and an audio clip of a church organ playing “Give Peace a Chance.” Inside were more pictures, the videos, and a user-friendly form to allow visitors to record their own reactions to the melon and its message. This quickly took on a life of its own. A man from Connecticut, who described himself as a Quaker, denounced “the primitive, superstitious credulity of anyone who takes this so-called revelation seriously.” If we want authentic revelation, we have to learn to follow our Inner Light, he said. But a “Diana in Phoenix” testified that viewing their website had brought her violent, alcoholic husband to his knees in front of the monitor, weeping and pressing his hands against the glass. And someone with the handle AgnesofBlog sparked a lively debate by wondering whether a watermelon was a vegetable or a fruit.
While the father turned out press releases, the son combed the Internet for suitable Pentecostal, Catholic and New Age blogs and message boards on which to leave provocative comments hinting at a divine message of great import. Creative use of Google and Technorati led him to hundreds of faith-based bloggers who made a habit of reporting similar, albeit lesser, revelations, such as the widely publicized Lady of the Grilled Cheese Sandwich.
That’s when it hit him: a sudden inspiration that flooded his veins with an almost unbearable sensation of melting sweetness.
“E-Bay!” he gasped.
And so it was that, by the grace of God and the invisible hand of the market, peace, in all its pinko glory, finally got a chance.