Monday, November 12, 2018

Tales from the Old New Land - Just War - Act I

(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 cathedral 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, of course I remember the conversation.   you told me there are two Marys. And I wondered how the two most important women in your book can both be named Mary. So I asked if people ever got to thinking that maybe there was only one Mary, and people got confused because the story got told so many times?

Son: If God says that Mary mother of God is not the same person as Mary Magdalene, then they're not the same person.

Dad: 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, then there's Mary of Cleopas.

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

Son: Dad! Respect!

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:  Don't swear Dad!

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: Please stop this Dad.

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 when you told me you practice ethical monogamy. 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 now 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: Judas must have had a good head for business.

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

Dad: Do what?

Son: You always ask me questions just so you can make fun of the answers!

Dad: What's wrong with fun?!?

Son: I don't want to say any more about it because I'm really trying to respect you now.

Dad: What's the point of showing respect?! All I'm trying to do is have a good time with you and all you want to do is ruin it!

Son: I don't want to have a good time!

Dad: Well what do you want then?

Son: I want your respect!

Dad: You have my respect!

Son: Then why can't you show it?

Dad: I wouldn't try to have fun with anybody I don't respect.

Son: Dad, please forgive me for what I'm about to say.

Dad: Of course. A blessing on your house, my son.

Son: What has having fun ever done for you? What did it ever do for avus or pro-avus (great-grandfather) or generations of the Iovivus clan before us? For as long as anyone can remember, all we've done is gone around smoking hash, never farming enough to sell anything to anybody else, always cutting the work day short so you can take me down to the tavern to listen whatever new Bouzouki jam band you love, always picking up a different woman and feeding her your so you can screw her in the middle of your magic mushroom crops. Well we can't all get satisfaction out of going a million pedes (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: Yeah, but wasn't it a lot of fun? What happened?! You were such a fun loving kid!

Son: I'm sorry Dad! I want more! I want to believe that my life has a purpose. Well we can't all get satisfaction out of going a million pedes (Latin for footsteps) out of our way from us to every music festival! 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.

Son: That's hardly the only time you've been at something like that. But think about how that guy felt! He was a living being, and now he's not one, some part of him might have been a godly part too, and you probably killed that god part of him with enormous pain.

Dad: That's why we always give the sacrifices opium before we do them in!

Son: Can't you hear the screaming?

Dad: Sometimes, but that's part of the fun!

Son: Well if you really want to know, it was that public mass execution you took me to when I was eleven. Once I saw that, I never wanted to be part of that again.

Dad: (sigh) Yeah, you were never as into sports as your brothers. And you were probably too young to see that. I'm sorry about that, really I am, but is that enough reason to turn your back on everything your family believes in?

Son: What do you believe in?!?

Dad: ...Y'know, I know you never met your avia (grandmother), but she was a great lady. And she had this great saying that I don't think I ever told you about. It was so poetic. She would say: "And behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen, killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine, let us eat...:

Son: ..."let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die." Isaiah 22:13

Dad: What?

Son: That's from the Christian Bible! And the verse before that is - 'And in that daay did the Lord God of hosts call to weeping, and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth!' You were supposed to do the opposite.

Dad: So your Lord God wants you to be miserable? What kind of miserable God would allow that!

Son: The real one!

Dad: If this God is such an asshole, why don't you just worship a different God?

Son: Well, if you must know, it's because of something Shammai said to me.

Dad: Oh can that fucking Jew keep his nose out of anything at all?!?


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