Saturday, November 10, 2018

Tales from the Old New Land: Episode 1 - Just War - More of the Beginning

(Sound of reaching for chips in a plastic bag, a match being lit, and a smoker taking puffs. Son opens door, home from a vacation, the Dad doesn't getting up to greet him.)

Son: Hey Dad! (Dad coughs on the weed from startlement) Are you OK?

Dad: (recovered but out of breath) I'm fine, I just didn't think you'd be home so early.

Son: Wait, are you?... You're just eating falafel balls out of a bag!

Dad: Anything wrong with that?

Son: No... But can you open a window at least? The house wreaks of pot!

Dad: This is the fourth century, there are no windows.

Son: Oh...

Dad: I know we talked about my not smoking weed in the house, but I thought you wouldn't be home until prima noctis hora, so I figured there was time to air out the house. Besides, don't you Christians preach all that forgiveness shit?

Son: Father Theodosius says I need to work on forgiving you more.

Dad: That idiot is absolutely right!

Son: Don't you want to hear about my vacation?!

Dad: You'd tell me all about it anyway.

Son: It was so amazing!

Dad: Of course it was!

Son: Our youth group leader took us to the oldest baptistry chapel in the Byzantine Empire! It was, like, fifty years old!

Dad: (bored) Sounds amazing.

Son: It had a painting of Jesus healing the paralytic at Capaernum.

Dad: Healing the what?

Son: I told you about that! Jesus made a crippled man walk!

Dad: Oh! That's right...

Son: And a painting of the Three Marys at the Tomb of Jesus!

Dad: Three what?

Son: Three Mary's!

Dad: Three Mary's?

Son: Yeah?

Dad: Three women? All named Mary?

Son: Yeah.

Dad: (interrupting) You told me about two Mary's, the one who's the mother and the one who's the whore.

Son: She's not a whore!

Dad: Yeah but in a thousand year's they're gonna think so...

Son: What?!?!?!

Dad: Never mind. Anyway, you told me there are two Marys, and now you're telling me there's three?

Son: Well,... actually there's five.

Dad: FIVE?!?

Son: The Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus...

Dad: (quasi-interrupting) Yeah, that's not weird....

Son: Mary Magdalene, who you think is a whore, Mary of Jacob, mother of James the Less...

Dad: That's not a distinction you wanna have....

Son: What is?

Dad: Who wants to be known as the less of something.

Son: Well, the other James was the brother of Jesus.

Dad: Wait, so the virgin had another child?

Son: She had at least four more: James, Joses, Jude, and Simon.

Dad: So she didn't stay a virgin...

Son: DAD!

Dad: I'm just saying, you'd think that mothering the son of God would be a full time job. And he wasn't even the son of God until pretty recently. Your avus (grandfather) remembered when it happened! Three hundred years, he might be the son of God, he might just be the Messiah, isn't it enough to be the Messiah? Then, the Nicean Council happens, two months, boom! Christ the Messiah!

Son: Is it too much to ask to be a little respectful?

Dad: I'm just telling you how good things used to be! Anyway, I want to hear more about these Marys.

Son: OK. There's the Virgin Mary, there's Mary Magdalene who you think is a whore, there's Mary of Jacob, mother of James the Less, there's Mary of Cleopas.

Dad: ...That's a stupid name.

Son: Dad!

Dad: Is Cleopas the town she's from?

Son: No. Cleophas was either her husband or her father.

Dad: Probably both. Those fucking Jews, they're all goddamn hicks.

Son: Dad! Don't swear!

Dad: Whatever. And what's the venerable Mary of Cleopas's claim to fame?

Son: She doesn't really have one. She might just be Mary of Jacob.

Dad: Oh, what a surprise.

Son: What do you mean?

Dad: Go on, I want to know who the fifth Mary is.

Son: Mary of Bethany.

Dad: Was she married to Bethany?

Son: Dad! Stop!

Dad: It can happen! You heard about those two wives who went to Lesbos!

Son: Women shouldn't be marrying other women!

Dad: And I suppose my Christian son doesn't think men should lie with other men either. Typical progressive nonsense. Next thing you know, revolutionaries like you are telling us that monogamy is what human beings are biologically programmed for.

Son: Look, Dad, I just think you should respect my choices.

Dad: I didn't throw you out. So my son only wants to marry one woman and thinks that sexuality and gender is not fluid, it's not the end of the world, it's just that the world is changing and I'm too old to understand it. So back to this Mary of Bethany thing.

Son: I told you about Mary of Bethany!

Dad: You didn't tell me what she did! That is, if this religion of yours lets women do anything at all.

Son: She's the sister of Lazerus.

Dad: That guy who rises from the dead.

Son: The one which Jesus... (annoyed) Yeah that's the one....

Dad: (a little insistently) And what did she do?

Son: She washed Jesus's feet with nard.

Dad: The perfume???

Son: Yeah.

Dad: That's the most expensive perfume there is! She could have lived on that for a year!

Son: (Angry) Alright that's enough Dad, that's exactly what Judas said!

Dad: He must have had a good head for business.

Son: This is what I'm talking about! You always do this!

Dad: Do what?


Dad: You ever get to thinking that there's a slight chance that there was only one Mary, and people got confused because the story got told so many times?

Dad: This whole Jesus thing of yours is really obnoxious.

Son: Well we can't all get satisfaction out of going a million pedes (Latin for footsteps) out of our way to every music festival from us! Didn't you go to one last year where they burned some guy alive?

Dad: Come on. I had to go to Burning Man at least once.

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