Every Tom, Dick, and Harry

abraham

Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised. (Genesis 17:24)

A PLAY IN ONE (PAINFUL) ACT

[The scene is a low, featureless hill a half day’s walk from a small, nomadic tent village.  The land surrounding the hill is already dark with the gathering nightfall.  Heat from the scorching afternoon still sits heavy in the dusty air.  Silhouetted against the crimson horizon stands the solitary figure of a man.  It is 1900 years before the birth of Christ.  The man is Abram.]

ABRAM:  (muttering)  To Ur is human, he says.  Canaan, he says.  Now that’s some divine real estate, he says.  A lot of trouble so far, if you ask me.

[A jagged bolt of lightning rips across the sky with a CRRRAAACK!  Abram cries out, throwing himself face down on the ground.]

I DIDN’T MEAN IT!  I DIDN’T MEAN IT!  I WAS JOKING, GOD!  IT WAS JUST A JOKE!

[A luminous cloud descends upon the hilltop.  Abram slowly lifts his head, then pulls himself to his knees.]

Uh, sorry Lord. I guess I was feeling a little sorry for myself.  You gotta admit, it hasn’t exactly been a five-star trip.  No indoor plumbing.  Sand in my bed, sand in my underwear, sand in my matzoh.  Lot’s been a pain in the saddlebags.  That Melchizedek thing was a bit spendy too, I might add.  And Sarah’s really been on my case about my night out with Hagar.  Sheesh!  It was her idea!

“ΑΩ®?”

ABRAM:  I do believe you, Lord.  You know I do.  I mean, I’m here aren’t I?  Oh, by the way, thanks for the righteousness.  I’m sure it’ll come in handy some day.  Of course, I’d give just about anything for an air conditioner about now.  Come to think of it, a refrigerator wouldn’t hurt either.  Do you know what it’s like drinking tepid wine from a smelly goat bag day after day?

“ΑΩ®”

ABRAM:  I know.  The land of milk and honey—and don’t think I don’t appreciate it, Lord.  But what I really could use right now is an ice-cold beer.

“ΑΩ®”

ABRAM:  Yeah, I know.  We got a special arrangement here.  And I know you don’t just go around making covenants with every Ham, Put and Pharaoh on the block.

“ΑΩ®”

ABRAHAM:  Abraham?  Hey!  I like it!  A-bra-ham.  What’s it mean again?  The father of many?  It has a nice ring to it.  It’s got class.  It’s aristocratic.  It’s got chutzpah.  I mean, it sounds like the name of a guy who’s got a covenant with God.  Of course it means I’ll have to change all my stationery.  But what the heck.  I like it.  I really like it!  You know, Lord, this covenant thing is pretty neat.  What’s the other thing?

“ΑΩ®”

ABRAHAM:  YOU WANT ME TO WHAT?  You want me to take a knife and cut off WHAT?!  You’ve got to be kidding!

“ΑΩ®”

ABRAHAM:  As a sign of the covenant?  What do you mean, a sign?  What am I gonna do, pull up my robe and say “Look at this!  I’m in the God club.  Wanna join?”  And may I remind you that surgical blades won’t even be invented for a few thousand years yet.  Why don’t we work on a membership card or T-shirt or something?  Maybe a secret handshake.  Hey!  How about goldfish?  You know, swallow a hundred goldfish and you’re in?  Or maybe . . .

“ΑΩ®!”

ABRAHAM:  Okay!  Okay!  You’re the Deity.  But it ain’t gonna be easy.  They’re not exactly going to line up for this, you know.  I don’t know; maybe we could market it as a performance enhancement or something.  I suppose you wouldn’t be interested in at least waiting until they invent Novocaine?  Well, it was just a thought.

[He begins down the hill and toward home mumbling.]

No isopropyl alcohol.  No rubber gloves.  Not even a sitz bath.  Whooee.  This is going to be one great week.  I bet Sarah’s gonna love this one.

[Night has come.  The sky is filled with stars too numerous to count.  From below, among the quiet tents, beside the flickering light of a single campfire, a low muttering can be heard—along with the chip, chip, chip of old hands sharpening flint.]

THE END

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