Exodus Redux


David Comfort

Originally published in The Evergreen Review Issue 121 in December, 2009.

chapter one

It came to pass one day that the Lord’s righteous servant, Joseph, son of Lieberman, witnessed a Bush which burned brightly outside the palace of his brother, Mayor Michael, son of Bloomberg, in the fair land of the Hamptons, East of Eden. 
      And Joseph, who was called “Holy Joe” by his kinsmen, said to Michael, who was called “Magical Mike” because of his three terms, his gold, his flocks, and his many concubines: “Hark, this bush does not burn. I must behold this wonderful sight.”
      So Joseph went out to the Bush, leaving behind the son of Bloomberg and the other esteemed guests at his Passover feast: Ed, son of Koch, his noble predecessor, and Mortimer Benjamin, princely son of Zuckerman. Sore afraid of the Bush that did not burn, the three princes hid themselves behind the burnt offering of Mike’s firstlings, which in those days was called a fundraiser. 
      When Joe drew near, a voice called out from the Bush, “Draw no further. Take off your sandals. This is a holy place!” 
      Though he knew not that the Hamptons were consecrated, the obedient son of Lieberman bowed deeply and caste off his sandals. Then the Shrub did say to him: “Hath thy not chided your father Moses, saying that he did make mistakes ?”
      Joe pressed his face to the earth and did entreat, “Forgive me, oh Lord. Verily, at the Goys United for Israel I spoke only of my brother, Reverend John, son of Hagee, who did rashly call the Church of Peter “the Great Whore of Babylon!” 
      In tongues of leaping flame, the Bush did retort: “But did you and the son of Hagee not support John the McCainanite against your brother Obama the Righteous?”
      At this, Joe did rend his tie of many colors and heap ashes on his head. “I was blinded by the Cainanite’s dire prophesies and the sorcery of his Jezebel who is called Sarah.” 
      Now, Joe’s brother Morti, overhearing these words, stole out from behind the pyre and called to the Bush, “I did counsel your servant against the Cainanite, Oh Lord, but his heart was hardened.” And, hastening behind Morti, astride his ass, Ed did agree, “I too, O Lord, did beseech Joe to rally behind the good One. But his heart groweth harder even as the Lamb has spared his National Committee chair.” 
      “Let he who is sinless cast the first stone!” commanded the Bush.
      The three princes fell from their asses and down beside their chastened brother, Joe. Shoeless, prostrate, and sore afraid, Mike muttered under his breath “Gevalt geshreeveh!”, Morti, “A Klog is mir!”, and the son Koch, “Oy!” As they trembled, the Bush did loudly crackle and spark beneath the darkening sky over the fair land east of the Hamptons. 
      “The loathsomeness of all mankind has become plain to me,” it finally declared. “The world is full of wickedness, violence and oppression.” 
      “Drought, famine, pestilence, global warming,” cried Morti. 
      “Repression, recession, depression,” wept Mike. 
      “The PLO, PLA, and the Persians!” wailed Joe. 
      “O Lord, restore to us peace and plenty,” the four beseeched in unison, “and we shall be your obedient servants forever and never trespass again.”
      “Dost thou give thy solemn oath on thy sons and thy sons’ sons?” demanded the Shrub. 
      Each prince did put his right hand between his Armani girded loins, testifying.
      Now the flame flickered above the mighty mayor of the city of New York and said unto him, “Mike, what did thy just preach to the elders at the Palm Beach Israelite Convention after Katrina?”
      “That the story of Noah and his Ark is a wondrous tale about faith, and strength, and seizing every opportunity to survive the storm,” quoth the blameless son of Bloomberg.
      “And do you have the faith and fortitude of my servant Noah?”
      “Verily, O Lord!” proclaimed Mike, and Morti, Joe, and Ed. 
      “Thou shalt need it,” declared the Bush, “for this will be my covenant with you. Here is my command…” 
      Now the celestial Shrub did reveal to the Israelite chieftains how they were to carry out his commandment for renewed peace and plenty on earth. As he spoke, Morti began to gnash his teeth, Mike to nibble his nails, until at last the son of Lieberman wept, “Art thou kidding?” 
      “Is anything impossible for the Lord thy God?” demanded the Bush. “Did thou, Joe, not preach to the senators, saying, ‘If the sound of the trumpet is uncertain, who will follow unto battle?’” 
      “Truly!” said Joe. “But may I presume to speak to the Lord, dust and ashes that I am: your plan will take shekels as many as the stars, beyond even the One’s stimulus package. I would sacrifice all but, alas, my campaign treasury is barren.” 
      “What is mine is Yours,” cried Magic Mike. “But my city goes begging, my firemen are on furlough, and my gold is locked in municipals, commodities, and 401Ks.”
      Finally Morti, whose riches had almost been as great as the son of Bloomberg, wept, “Curse be on the thief Bernie, son of Madoff!”
      “Foreswear not Bernie,” admonished the Bush, “for I shall deliver him with you, along with Jack, son of Abramoff.” Now his servants were struck dumb by this, so he demanded, “Am I not a merciful Lord? Have I taken Bernie’s penthouse, his baseball cap, or the winsome smile from his countenance? Did I not let Jack take his golf clubs to his captivity in Babylon?” 
      “Verily, you are a most merciful Lord,” his servants allowed.
      “Go then and do as I have commanded,” the burning Bush did order. “Gather Bernie, Jack, and all the elders and they shall hearken to your voice. Gird your loins, muster your golden chariots, and assemble your Arks of gopherwood for I shall guide you to the new Promised Land of milk and honey.”
      With that, the Bush did vanish. When it was gone, the four chieftains lifted their eyes to the firmament above the fair beaches of the Hamptons and beheld a winged chariot with a trail of smoke behind which did read: MOSES INVESTS, JESUS SAVES. 
      Leaving their Birkenstocks and Florsheims behind, Joe, Mike, Morti, and Ed hastened shoeless back to the son of Bloomberg’s palace. And here, preparing for their holy mission, they did sing glorious hosannas while draining the wet bar.


chapter two

The next morning, Bernie, son of Madoff, was feasting in his dungeon when the son of Zuckerman did descent through the chimney from the heliport above. Seeing his fierce-eyed brother wielding a gleaming izmal, Bernie threw himself down and cried:
      “Morti, my brother, I am twice circumcised. And, after the redoubtable son of Sorkin delivers me from Caesar, I shall repay your shekels tenfold– you, and my brethren, the Salomons, Spielberg, Katzenberg, and even the harlot, Zsa Zsa Gabor!”
      Now, it was all the son of Zucker could do not to smite the moneychanger hip from thigh. But, swallowing his wrath, he commanded, “Collect your sons, your daughters, your beasts and all that is yours, and face thy final judgment!” 
      “What – now?” Bernie did ask, for on the magic box in his dungeon he was watching both The Greatest Story Ever Told, and the coliseum play-offs between the Saints and the Steelers. At this, Morti seized the banker, dragged him for the rooftop, and the hostage did call back to his visiting wife, “Coming, dear?” 
      “Whither thou goest, there I shall go,” swore Ruth for she had just withdrawn another sixty-three million shekels and had not yet done her Hannukah shopping.
      That afternoon, Jack, son of Abramoff, was in a sand trap in the land of Mary, shackled to a centurion who was also his caddy. Swept off his feet by a whirlwind above, he looked up from the bunker to see a winged chariot land on the thirteenth green. Seeing his brother, Morti, dismounting the fearsome whirly bird, Jack fled for the rough, beseeching, “Spare thy Baal teshuva, Morti. I only screweth Indians!” 
      The son of Bloomberg outstripped Jack in a golf cart, dispatched his guard with a putter, and schlepped the lobbyist back to his winged chariot. 
      Greeting the son of Madoff shackled within, Jack did exclaim, “Shalom, brother Bernie! What possesseth Morti? Where doth he take us -- Saipan, Scotland, the Super Bowl?” But the moneychanger, a great traveler and sportsman like Jack, answered not for, clinging like a babe to the bosom of Ruth, he was singing Odan Alam.


chapter three

Soon Morti landed his chariot on the Lazy Z, his great ship of three-hundred cubits, anchored in the land of the Phoenicians which in those days was called the French Riviera. Here he rejoined his brother, Magic Mike, who had flown the son of Zuckerman’s mighty Gulfstream G550 chariot over from the Hamptons. The Z man had already stocked the Lazy Z for sea, and had lashed it to Bernie’s own princely craft, Bull, which he had commandeered outside the casinos of Monte Carlo.
      Mike did now set sail south to the Kingdom of Judah, towing the Bull behind where Bernie, Jack, and Ruth were shackled in the galley. 
      Hardly had the Lazy Z gotten underway, than Morti pierced the clouds above the Holy Land and did witness the wars raging there -- rockets and great fireballs lighting up the night from Gaza to Golan and Tel Aviv to Tiberias. So he opened the ports of his Gulfstream and did scatter coast to coast a magical potion of sweet poppy called Ambien. And soon silence fell over the land, for all the Israelites and Palestinians had fallen fast asleep.
      Now Joe and his staff emerged from hiding in the caves below and gathered up all their dreaming kinsmen– soldiers, herdsmen, farmers, fishermen, and shopkeepers. In ox carts the son of Liebermann’s servants did deliver the Hebrews to the sea, loading them into the giant gentile arks and chariot-carriers which were leaving Babylon at that time. As they did, Joe entered Jerusalem, bearing out the sleeping elders of the Knesset, as well as the son of Netanyahu himself, Benjamin, who was called Bibi. In a caravan of Humvees Joe did deliver Bibi and Ehut, son of Olmert, and their brethren to the shores of Tel Aviv where the reborn Ark Royal Carrier awaited his blessed cargo.
      The ships set out to sea and soon did join Morti’s Lazy Z, with Bernie’s Bull in tow. As the Hebrew flotilla took formation, Ark Royal in the lead, Morti plunged from the heavens, landing his roaring silver chariot on its broad decks. 
      The son of Lieberman did now set a course westward across the great ocean, escorted by a mighty squadron of F-15 Blue Angels. The holds and the decks of the arks groaned with the weight of the sleeping multitude, of their flocks and all and the other beasts, two of a kind. Lest they awaken before the voyage’s end, Joe and his brethren refreshed their magical sleeping potion, Ambien. 
      Back on dry land, the Palestinians now began to stir. But, as they opened their eyes, they thought they were still dreaming. Not a single Hebrew did they spy anywhere from the mountains to the valleys. Their tents, their temples, kibitzes, their barracks, their fortifications were all empty. 
      When the warriors of Palestine found that their eyes did not deceive, crying Allahu Akbar! they fired their slings in the sky. But, in the midst of their joyous celebration, their fireballs fell back upon them and many were slain.


chapter four

While the Nation of Israel slept and sailed west, a game began below decks on the Lazy Z. The son of Abramoff had removed a deck of tarot cards from his phylactery, while the son of Madoff had removed a gold brick hidden in Ruth’s girdle, and they had challenged their captors to play for their freedom. 
      The son of Zuckerman did agree for he longed to reclaim his losses to the treacherous Bernie. And Magic Mike did agree for he was a sporting man and the Almighty did smile on him in politics, softball, and all other matters of chance. 
      So the four did seat themselves in the galley, they cut Jack’s tarot deck, cast lots, and commenced a game which in those days was called Five Card Stud. 
      Though he did deal, Morti lost the first hand and so was obliged to remove Bernie and Jack’s irons. 
      When the moneychangers were victorious in the second and third rounds, their righteous brethren did cry out in loud lamentations, charging that Bernie had again deceived them with a Ponzi scheme. 
      Proclaiming their innocence, the moneychangers said unto them, “Doubleth or nothing.” Meaning that, should they prevail yet again, not only would their debts be erased, but that they would lay claim to Morti and Mike’s palaces in the Hamptons, their tents on the Upper East Side, as well as what was left of their flocks and stocks. 
      Again Morti and Mike took the wager for, by this time, they had been quaffing many kidskins of Manishevitz. 
      The son of Zuckerman dealt again and, at last, did call. The son of Abramoff flipped Kings and Queens in a Full house, and the son of Madoff showed a Royal Flush with one Joker (which was wild). At that, Morti, with a pair of deuces, and in a fit of rage, did charge Bernie with marking the deck. But before he could smote him, there was as thunderous crash against the hull of the Lazy Z. 
      The four Hebrews clamored up to deck to find that they had been overtaken not by Persians or pirates, but by a great whale. 
      Gevalt geshreeyeh! Morti cried, for he feared that the sea monster would capsize them. Then, still smarting from their poker defeat, he and Mike did toss Jack and Morti, and Ruth too, into the heaving sea and the yawning jaws of the fearful creature. 
      Jack, Bernie, and Ruth remained in the belly of the beast for three days and for three nights. The son of Abramoff did heap scorn on his brother, blaming him for his lot. But Bernie held his piece inside the whale, playing solitaire, until at last he prayed: 
      “Out of the belly of Sheol I cry for help, O Lord. All thy waves, all thy billows, passeth over me banished from thy sight.”
      Just then a horn did sound and Bernie scaled the rib of the great whale. Peering out its blowhole, looking east to west over the heaving waters, he did spy a ship fast approaching, fishermen at the bow, harpoons drawn. When they drew near, Bernie cried from the monster’s blowhole, “Praise God! Art thou orthodox?” 
      The men, whose eyes were narrow, looked one to the other confounded, for they were from the Orient. “Iiya, Bukkyouto!“ cried one which in his tongue did mean, “No, Buddhists!”
      Bernie beat his breast for now he thought the Lord had abandoned him. But, just then, the whale did blow and he, Ruth and Jack flew out of its cavernous belly like birds, and landed on the Orientals’ gory deck. As the great fish plunged for the depths, the Buddhists surrounded their kosher catch with their spears, preparing for sushi. 
      But suddenly another great ship sailed out of the fog, crashing into the bow of the whaler. Bernie scrambled aboard with Jack and Ruth, crying tears of joy, for the ship was called Greenpeace. And Bernie, like his forefather Noah, was an environmentalist.


chapter five

Reaching the far ends of the earth, the Israelite navy anchored outside Sodom. In those days the city was called the City of Angels, which was in the state of Canaan, or California, which was in the empire of the Amorites, or America. The fleet bearing the still sleeping Hebrews and their flocks was so great that it blackened the horizon and the Sodomites were sore afraid, saying, “What nation is this? Do they come to judge us, or bring terror to our land?”
      Now, the chiefs of Israel – Joe, Mike, Morti, and Ed – sent the governor of Canaan, who did live in Sodom, a firstling, and he received it gladly. His name was Arnold, which meant eagle power, but the Sodomites called him The Governator because he had smote multitudes in the moving picture show called The Terminator: Judgment Day. Arnold, son of Schwarzenegger, did invite the Israelite delegation to his palace because Mike had contributed ten thousand shekels to his gubernatorial campaign. 
      When the Hebrew chiefs arrived at his residence, Arnold and his comely wife, Maria, did wash their feet, serve them cakes, and entertain them with the magical moving picture Joseph: King of Dreams. So taken with the tale was the son of Lieberman, Holy Joe himself, that he beseeched the Governator to summon its noble creator, Steven, son of Spielberg. The maker of movies had also lavished much gold on the mensch’s campaign and, besides, was a neighbor to Mike and Morti in the heavenly Hamptons.
      So Steven hastened to Arnold’s dwelling, bearing his Raiders of the Lost Ark. After beholding it, Joe did embrace the maker of movies and say unto him: “Lo, the Nazi-rites have been vanquished. The Ark of the Covenant is with us.”
      Rejoicing, Steven replied. “Verily, I do dream for a living. And now my dream hath come true.” 
      “But not ours,” rejoined Joe.
      Which did confound the moviemaker. “How so?” he asked his brethren. “Your wish is my desire. I am your servant, and the righteous Arnold, too. Command us!”
      And Joe replied. “We wish to move in here.”
      “To Kalifawneea?” stammered the Governator, for he was an alien in this land himself.
      “Verily,” said Joe. “The Almighty hath promised it to us.” 
      The Governator did now gaze out his palace window at the Hebrew arks. “How many are you?”
      “Seven million,” said Mike, who was good with Numbers. “Giveth or taketh.”
      The son of Schwarzenegger retired to his chambers with his benefactor, the son of Spielberg, and here they pondered the matter together. Arnold reminded Steven that California already overflowed with Kenizzites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, and Jebusites, and that the golden state did now suffer a budget crisis, a drought, and a famine. But the moviemaker promised the Governator that the Israelites would grow the treasury with their riches and the Lord’s social security and medicare. 
      “If your grace allows my brethren into Canaan,” he urged, “your diversity dream shall come true and you shall become King of the Earth -- without amending the Constitution.” 
      Just then the palace was stricken with a terrific tremor from the bowels of the earth and Arnold did prostrate himself and cry, “So be it, O Lord!” 
      Then he dispatched a messenger to his other campaign contributor, The Donald, son of Christ Trump and Mary. Now Donald – which means ruler of the world -- was also a lover of Israel, calling it “the greatest country on earth” after building his billion-shekel towers there higher than Babel itself. “I just loveth real estate,” he did swear, “It is tangible. It is solid. Verily, it is beautiful.”
      When Arnold’s messenger reached the heavenly Trump Towers, he did tell the real estate sheik to sell his land in Israel before the PLO overran it, and to invest the gold in New Canaan which his master was giving to the Israelites. Now, the Donald, who was both shrewd and sober, had once said to Arnold, “We thinketh anyway, so why not thinketh big?” Which his mensch brother had taken to heart. And he also heeded the Donald’s other wisdom, “Experience hath taught me a few things and one is to listeneth to thy gut.” 
      So after Arnold’s messenger left, the Donald – thinking big and listeningth to his gut – sold his Judean towers and, in his Gulfstream chariot, flew all his gold to California.
      When the messenger returned to Sodom, his mission complete, Arnold emerged from his chambers with Steven and did tell the awaiting Hebrew princes, “Our land is your land, O brothers. Disembark. And God be with you!”
      But just as he did, the ground did quake again, followed by a thunderous pounding on the palace doors. “Who are thy guests?” cried the men of Sodom. “Are they the Lord’s angels come to judge us? Let them out so we might know them!”
      While Joe, Mike, Morti, and Ed hid themselves, Arnold pressed himself against the door with Steven, beseeching, “Do not be so wicked, my fellow Kalifawneeans. Hark, I have two daughters. Take them.”
      And Spielberg cried out, “Betulahs!” for virgins were indeed rare in those days.
      Then, outside, a voice rang out above the crowd, crying, “Steven?”
      And the moviemaker stammered, “…. David ?” Then he turned to Joe, Morti, Mike, and Ed and whispered, “Fear not. It is my righteous partner in the Work of Dreams, son of Geffen, son of Abraham.”
      Now David who was a seer and had spied the Israelites anchored outside his beach palace in Malibu, called: “I know you’re in there Mike, Morti, Joe and Ed.”
      “What doth thy desire, O beloved?” the four called back to David. 
      “We’re taking signatures for Prop 8,” the son of Geffen answered. 
      The Israelite chiefs thought he spoke of the Eighth Commandment, Though shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. So they asked Arnold for a quill, but the Governator rebuffed them, whispering to Steven, “Gay marriage is between a man and a woman. Why didst thou donate one hundred thousand shekels to the Beloved’s Girly-Man Prop?”
      Then David did call out to Mike and Ed, “Come out of the closet!” And the men of Sodom echoed from behind, “We know you are gay!”
      But the times were so unhappy, the statesmen dared not confess to it even now.
      Just then the ground did quake again, the street outside opened wide and did swallow the men of Sodom in smoke and tongues of flame. 
      “Flee!” cried the four angels of Israel to the Governator and the maker of movies. “Do not look back or you will be overtaken by the Lord’s wrath!”


chapter six

Joseph, Michael, Morti, and Ed retreated to their arks, awakened their seven million brethren, disembarked, and led them and their flocks east through the plain which smoked with the hail of heavenly fire and brimstone. And the Hebrews, entranced from their sleep and dazed by the upheavel, did believe they were still in Palestine but in the end of times. 
      Following the Lord’s pillar of fire, the son of Lieberman did lead his people out of Sodom, which the Canaanites called L.A., past Gomorrah known as Glendale, into the Mohave Desert, over the Providence Mountains, into the Devil’s Playground, and to the edge of the shimmering oasis of Jericho which in those days was called Las Vegas, Nevada. 
      When the Israelites reached Vegas, the quaking earth did tear asunder, opening a yawning canyon to Sheol. Then the land of California broke away into an island shaped like a great dragon, and the oceans rushed in against the towering walls of Vegas.
      The next morning, peering out beyond the newborn beaches of Nevada to the island of California, Joe and the Israelites did dance and sing and praise the Almighty for their deliverance. And when the Hebrews beheld Las Vegas with its many great towers, they thought it was Tel Aviv. Beyond it, north and south, the deserts, the mountains, and valleys looked just like Palestine. But, seeing no Hamas or Hezbollah, the kings of Judea – Bibi son of Netanyahu, Yvette son of Lieberman, and Ellie son of Olmert –flashed Joe the sign of the Pentateuch, which in those days was called The High Five.
      Though he rejoiced with his brethren, the son of Bloomberg did fret for he could find his ally, the Governator, nowhere among his multitude and feared that he had perished in Sodom. 
      Now, when the earthquake had first stricken his palace, Arnold had told Mike, “Verily, this is the Big One which hath been prophesied by my soothsayers. I shall flee north to my city of the Sacrament which shall surely be spared. Here I will gather my staffers and herds, then I shall meet you in the land of milk and honey.”
      So the Governator fled for the capital of Kalifawneea, calling behind him to the burning City of Angels and all those who had mocked him, “Hasta la vista, baby!” 
      But the flames licked at his heels all the way to Sacramento. So he packed up all his bullion in the capital and fled eastward in his four-hundred horse Humvee, while his wife brought up the rear in the stationwagon. But, against the commandment of the angels, Maria glanced in the rearview mirror to check her mascara and was turned into a pillar of salt on I-80. 
      Weeping bitter tears, the son of Schwarzenegger rescued his two daughters, pressed on, and did not look back until he had found refuge in the mountain caves above his chalet in the Valley of Sun. Here, while the virgins did ski, he rent his robes for he thought he had lost his royal wife, his kingdom, and all his hard-won riches. Nor could he even twitter Michael, The Donald, or any of his other allies. But, tossing his BlackBerry down the mountain, he did pledge: 
      “I’ll be back!”


chapter seven

Back on the ocean beaches of Las Vegas, Holy Joe sacrificed many firstlings to the Lord. Then he journeyed north, following the Mount Carmel Highway through Mount Zion Park and along the Virgin River until he reached the holy mountain itself. He ascended its slopes and bivouacked forty days and forty nights above, receiving anew the Lord’s Commandments. 
      Holding the tablets high, Joe beseeched the Almighty, “Show your servant Thy Glory!”
      “Not My face, only My back!” answered the Lord who now did reveal the moon and stars to his prophet. 
      Then Joe said, “Lighten my load!” for the commandments were heavy, his committees called, Connecticut called, and New Canaan rested heavy on his mind.
      Departing, he took the Extraterrestrial Highway through the Nevada desert which was a hallowed place and known to the local herdsmen as Area 51. As he journeyed, he was escorted by thunderous sky chariots and shooting saucers such as he had never beheld. 
      The guardians of the magic place let the son of Lieberman pass unmolested since he was the chief of Homeland Security. But they were confounded since the senator had a long beard by now, carried stones, and spoke in tongues. As Joe traversed the cratered, desolate land by moonlight, a brilliant disk descended on him from the heavens and swallowed him up. 
      Inside the craft, aliens with great bald heads and crystal eyes laid him down on a steel bed beside the open bodies of their dead which they had rescued from the magician doctors of Area 51. Then they did fly him through the stars and back in time where he met his forefathers who conferred their powers upon him.
      When Joe returned to the Israelite camp, his wife, Hadassah, and his brother, Yvette, greeted him with glorious hosannas for, after forty-four days, they had given him up for dead. Yet they did not embrace him for he was the color of rainbows from the aliens and the nuclear wastes of Area 51. 
      After returning the Ten tablets to the Ark, Joe retired to the Tent of Presence with his princes. Here Morti and Ed did tell him, “In your absence, we have arranged for you an audience with the One, to plead our case for the land of milk and honey.” 
      Joseph and the One, the righteous son of Ham, met on the Dead Sea which in those days was called Lake Mead. Joe walked over the water from the west bank, the One from the east bank, and they sat down together in the middle. 
      Lobbying the One for a rescue package in Nevada, Joe reminded the monarch that two of the Twelve Tribes of Israel were its original settlers: the Tribe of Ephraim, which was now called the Indians, and the Tribe of Manassah, the Mormons. “Which maketh Americans illegal aliens, and the Hebrews natives,” the wily son of Lieberman concluded. “We are returning home.”
      The One, whose name was Obama and who was a diplomat in all things, said, “You thinketh outside the box, my fellow American. But this looketh like an out-of-the-fire-into-the- frying-pan proposal.”
      Joe knew the King of America spoke of the infidel squatters in Las Vegas – the Saudi sons of Ishmael, and the Mafia sons of Sicily – who did love real estate even more than the Palestinians. 
      Pledging that the Lord would persuade them with a gentle hand, Joe declared, “You yourself hath said, Noble Sir, Change You Can Believe In. Surrender the new Canaan to God’s chosen and the war on terror is won, the economy saved, and righteousness restored in Sin City.”
      At this, the One did cross himself and sign over Nevada to the Zionists for he had already declared California a disaster area and had grown blind from Joe’s heavenly light.


chapter eight

After receiving the message from the Governator, his goy brother, Donald, did land his gold-filled Gulfstream in Las Vegas. He hastened to his hotel, evicted its lodgers, and made beds for the Israelites and for his friends, Mike and Morti. Now Donald was a mensch for he often swore, “I love God!” and tithed to the Prosperity Gospel because he was determined to drive out his Arab and Mafia casino rivals.
      So the son of Christ and Mary sent his liveried slaves out to the city gates and, in golden carriages, they delivered the princes of Israel to his Trump Hotel Las Vegas. He had also summoned to the meeting their kosher brother, Oscar, son of Goodman, who was the mayor. But when Joe and his staff handed over the deed to his city and all the land of Nevada, signed by the One himself, Oscar did laugh and set it afire for he was a lawyer and had championed Jimmy, Leftie, Fat Herbie and many other sons of Sicily. 
      Determined to make a deal, the Donald tried to keep the Isrealites at the table. But in unison they did curse the wicked mayor, dust off their sandals at the door, and return to their encampment. 
      For the next six days, Joe marched the Hebrews around the Vegas ramparts. On the seventh day, after completing seven circuits, the priests blew the horns of their Dodge Rams, the multitude of seven million let out a great shout, and the walls of the city came tumbling down. Then the Levites rushed in, driving out the infidels to the last man, including Kenny Rogers, Siegfried & Roy, and Engelbert son of Humperdink.
      Joe, Bibi and Yvette rechristened the city Las Tel Aviva, and turned over its casinos to Wayne Newton, Cher, the Shosone, the Washoe, the Paiute, and all the other families of the Tribe of Ephraim. Then, after the city was settled, the Israelites took both left and right banks of Lake Mead and spread in every direction, claiming Tahoe, Reno, Sparks, and beyond.
      The Hebrews allowed the Donald to keep his own casino, but the mensch could not now win at his own tables. When he lost much of his gold, he did beseech the Almighty like the luckless Job. Then he did don a sackcloth and ashes over his Armani and hastened to his friend Mike, imploring, “Why hast thy Lord forsaken me? I cannot even win Blackjack!”
      “Thou art a worshipper of Baal and Mammon,” said the son of Bloomberg, who did never mince his words. 
      “You kiddeth me,” said the Donald. “I am a Reformed Dutch Protestant!” 
      “Verily,” said Mike, “a rich man who goeth Dutch.” Then he tossed a gold shekel in the air and said, “Call it.” 
      When the goy called heads and Mike flipped tails, with both fists the Donald took hold of his magical golden wind-resistant hair and cried to heaven, “Jesus H!”
      “He hath nothing to do with it,” said Mike. 
      “Shall I convert?” the Protestant whispered to the Jew, for his own daughter, Ivanka, had recently sworn on the Torah as had her friend, Madonna, the Material Girl herself.
      “Hark, it is worth a shot,” allowed the mayor. “I shall speaketh to Joe of the matter.” 
      The Donald’s heart did now sink for the son of Lieberman had denounced him as a mogul idolater, and he in turn had denounced Joe as a McCainanite and a false prophet. 
      But, with reassuring words, Mike took leave of his ally and betook himself to the Tent of Presence to discuss the conversion with Joe. But, entering the holy tabernacle of porpoise skins, the mayor could scarce believe his eyes: there, kneeling, washing the son of Lieberman’s feet, were Bernie son of Madoff and Jack son of Abramoff themselves. 
      “Our prodigal sons hath returned to the fold penitent and redeemed,” Joe told Mike.
      Now Mike’s hopes were dashed on the Donald’s account since the loose-lipped mensch had called Bernie “a scum bucket.” 
      Then Bernie told them the story of the whale, the harpooner from the Orient, and the Greenpeace ark which had just dropped them off on the shores of Nevada to bring salvation to Ninevah. Saying that after three days and nights in the belly of the beast, they had become environmentalists, he concluded: “We are the Lord’s servants reborn and shall care for his gardens in paradise, for we are green.” Indeed, they had traded their Egyptian cottons for hemp, and they wore Birkenstocks and emerald yarmulkes.
      Morti, who had been burned by Bernie and who had been listening outside, now burst into the tabernacle, rubbed his fingers under the moneychanger’s magnificent nose and sneered, “Thou hast always been about the Green, brother Bernie!”
      “The pot calling the kettle black!” protested Joe. “Enough, already. We shall put them to the test. They shall be the treasurers of our new kingdom – on probation.”
      Jack and Bernie kissed Joe’s feet.
      “Gevalt geshreeyeh!” wailed Morti. 
      “Oy!” cried Mike. 
      Then they hurried out of the tent, for Joe’s brightness was blinding them, and he did crackle with the radiowaves of the magic uranium mountains of Area 51.


chapter nine

Taking over the Israelite treasury, the sons of Madoff and Abramoff urged their brethren to be fruitful and to make Nevada green. So the Hebrews tilled the soil with the rich peet of their asses, they dug waterways, and erected great granaries. 
      Soon, the barren land bloomed like an oasis with orchards of sweet fig and pomegranate, vines of succulent grape, and fields of orange poppy, green millet, and golden barley. 
      The women of Israel too bore fruit, even the old and barren. By spring, both Hadassah and Ruth did suckle twins.
      As their nurseries overflowed and flocks increased tenfold, the Hebrews journeyed into the hills, returning with loads of diamonds, gold, myrrh, and frankincense from the old mines which the Canaanites had abandoned in forty-nine.
      And as the young worked the fields and shafts, the elders busied themselves with pharmaceuticals, software, fireworks, and flying chariots. 
      Disdaining the black gold which had been their curse in the old country, the Hebrews did harness the sun, the wind, and the ocean to fuel their industry and invention. From dawn till dusk they worked every day but the Sabbath, and there was not an idle hand in all their new country.
      Soon the gentiles who had no work and watched only Amorite Idol and gladiator games, began to grumble: “How do these Jews prosper so, when we ourselves do drink only tainted milk and eat bad peanuts and the mad cow?”
      Across the ocean, in Palestine, the outcry among the sons of Ishmael was even louder still. After the exodus of the their enemy, their jubilation had soon turned to bitter complaint. They had seized the Hebrew kitbitzes, but the fruits and grains there withered because the men knew only how to shoot and to stone, not to sew and to reap. And the Hebrew flocks grew fallow and gaunt, for the men did not know how to shepherd and fatten, but only to butcher and to feast. 
      The sons of Ishmael knew only how to harvest one crop: the black gold which flowed in an ocean beneath their feet. But now it was only fool’s gold stacked to the sky in untapped barrels for the war was over and the tanks, the carriers, and the bombers no longer needed to be fed. 
      A famine soon overtook the land of Abraham from Egypt to Assyria, and from Babylon to Persia. Even the princes of Arabia did rend their satin cloaks and cry from Mecca and Medina, “How do these Jews prosper so in the land of the infidel?” 
      Angry and embittered, the sons of Ishmael began to fight amongst themselves, old rivalries of blood, belief, and retribution rekindled. 
      At last, in desperation, the Prince of Persia sent a pigeon to the exiled Prince of Arabia who was hiding deep in the bowels of the northern Kush. And the bird did Tweet: “O esteemed warrior, what shall we do to protect ourselves from the Zionists now that they have joined the Great Satan, mocking and dishonoring us from afar?”
      The holy warrior Twittered back with these words: “Unleash on them their own mass weapon of destruction.”
      So the Persian army did march on Judea and seize the WMD which the Israelites in their haste had left behind. But no sooner did the soldiers lash it to their camels, than it blew up, annihilating the entire army. 
      When messengers returned to the Persian king and he asked them about the campaign, the first did reply: “Our forces are routed utterly and sleep ashen and open-mouthed under a mushroom cloud. We alone did survive.” 
      Seeing that the man was a deserter, a lying journalist and therefore gay, the tyrant promptly lopped off his head. Then he asked the second messenger for his report. 
      “Verily, only our camels and asses were spared,” this one replied, “and they do glow in the dark.”
      The prince gave this messenger the ax, too, for he knew that the dog was a deserter, gay, a journalist and out of his mind -- thus in no need of his head anyway. Then he asked the third messenger for his report. 
      “O Great One,” the last replied, “the WMD is secure and the Zionists flee Ninevah and Nevada even now!”
      Well pleased, the prince gave the third messenger a raincheck for seventy-two virgins since there were now none left in his kingdom, above or below.


chapter ten

After the Persian army annihilated itself, two gentile delegations arrived at the golden city gates of New Canaan. The first delegation hailed from the northern land of Utah and was led by Mitt, son of Romney, master of the Medianites who at that time were called Mormons. The second delegation was from the southern land of Texas and led by the Bush, then called Dubya, who led the Baptists. Bearing gifts, Mitt and Dubya did petition the gatekeepers for audience with Holy Joe. 
      Passing through the portals of pearl, the Mormon and the Baptist marveled at the New Jerusulem with its streets of gold and its walls of jasper. When they were ushered into the son of Lieberman’s tabernacle they bowed deeply and crossed themselves for their Hebrew brother was radioactive and did levitate. Even so, Dubya, who had always loved Joe, did try to kiss him. But the prophet rebuffed him saying, “The last one still burneth my cheek. Pray, what is your business?”
      Dubya praised his former ally for his new kingdom, marveling at its prosperity. But then he said, “Shall you not share your good fortune and plenty with your brothers who are in a great Depression?”
      Then Mitt hastened forward, declaring, “We buy your figs, your pomegranates, and your BlackBerries, but you scorn our Rams, our Cougars , and our Mustangs. Our trade is imbalanced. Though you are green, you giveth no green cards, but only visas for Ephraim’s casinos where our people part with the little gold that is left them.“
      “It is in the hands of the Lord,” replied his prophet. “He did foretell it all, commanding me from the Burning Bush.” 
      “Alas, brother Joe,” cried Dubya, “that was not the Lord, but only your servant -- me!” 
      With that, the righteous John son of Hagee, whom Joe had once called Moses, did step out from the shadows and testify, “Verily, what the good Bush doth swear is true. Wishing to keep you on the path of righteousness and bring peace to Palestine, we did design the ruse with your kinsman, David, son of Copperfield.”
      “Mueshugeneh!” cried the son of Lieberman. 
      His lieutenants, Mike and Morti, whispered to his ear that the son of Copperfield was indeed a great Hebrew magician who had made the Statue of Liberty disappear, flown over the Grand Canyon, and resurrected dead beasts in his Fountain of Youth. On hearing this, Joe, fachadicked and fahklumped, summoned the wizard who had a palace in Vegas and was now playing Caesar’s with Tom Jones. 
      When the son of Copperfield arrived donning a bejeweled cape, he bewitched the assembly, pulling a shekel from Morti’s ear, sawing the Reverend John in half, and setting the Bush on fire. Then he threw down his wand and it did turn into a snake. 
      With that, Joe slowly rose to his feet and threw down his own staff and it turned into a great serpent which consumed the trickster’s viper. Then he raised his right hand heavenward, lightning did flash and great hail did fall. 
      “Judas Priest!” cried the Bush, Mitt, and John turning tail. 
      Retreating to Corpus Christi, the gentiles took council. “If the Hebrews do not share paradise with our people, surely we will all perish,’” said Dubya. And Mitt predicted, “In their prosperity surely they will soon outgrow their borders and shall march on Texas and Utah and beyond. We must stop them before they become too strong and lord it over us.” 
      So the gentiles mustered their flying chariots, dispatching them over New Canaan, straffing, diving, and performing fearsome somersaults above the Israel’s herds which fled in terror. Then, in retaliation, spaceships, flying saucers and rockets roared out of the Jews’ occupied Area 51 and drove the gentile’s fighters back like flocks of clamorous starling. 
      So great was the disturbance that the monarch of all the land, the One, dispatched a peace-keeping force to New Canaan headed by Henry, the son of Kissinger himself. But his diplomacy was to no avail. So he summoned Jimmy, then Hillary, then Jesse himself – but their efforts too proved futile. At last, Henry commanded Barbra to sing Yentyl to the gentiles, and the Osmonds The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat to Israel. But the hearts of both nations were still hardened against one another. 
      As the son of Kissinger was about to abandon hope, the Donald did get him on the horn. Now, by this time, the son of Trump had lost all his towers, his plazas, and his golf courses. He had lost credit at his own casino. And he slept behind Caesar’s in a goatskin tent which was in foreclosure. Worse, Mike hadn’t gotten back to him about converting because Bernie had badmouthed him to Joe who now loved Bernie because he was reborn. 
      So Donald said to Henry on the horn, “Hark, the Jews have a great champion in Joe. But we, too, have a great champion and favorite of the Lord.”
      “Who is this man, pray tell?” demanded the diplomat.
      “Can it be that you don’t know?” marveled the mensch. “The righteous son of Schwarzenegger, Arnold.”
      “I thought he went down with Sodom,” ventured Henry.
      “Verily, no!” protested the Governator’s friend and benefactor. “I have sent out my scouts and they have found him in the Valley of Sun, skiing.”
      “With his daughters.” 
      “… Just skiing?”
      “Shame be on you, honored Secretary,” Donald did scold. “He’s not that kind of goy.”
      “That’s what Abraham said about Lot,” Henry reminded him. “So what do you propose?” 
      “A match, mano e mano,” said Donald. “Our champion, Arnold, against the Hebrew champion, Joe, or whoever else volunteers – winner takes paradise.”


chapter eleven

So the Donald journeyed to the Valley of the Sun and found Arnold skiing. Seeing his old friend approaching in a snow chariot, the Governator wept tears of joy for he thought everyone had perished in Sodom. 
      When the Donald told him all that had come to pass in Nevada, Arnold rejoiced saying, “Surely the Israelites will welcome me in paradise and let me govern for I have always been a great ally and have had many feasts for the son of Lieberman, even when the Democrats did call him Traitor Joe.” 
      And Donald said, “You will not recognize our friend any longer: he is radioactive and calls down lightening from the heavens. Holy Joe has become even holier than thou. He now calls me an idolator, a Babel Builder, and Dutch! He will surely deny you the land of milk and honey, too, since he calls you a Nazi-rite, a Narcissus, a doper and groper, and a Catholic!
      “Scheißegal!” cursed Arnold, “and he is short !” 
      “Very short,” agreed the Donald. 
      Now he did tell his countryman about the match for paradise, saying, “You shall be our champion –the Austrian Oak, Mister Universe, Conan, the Terminator!”
      The Governator reminded his benefactor that it had been many seasons since he had been in these moving pictures, besides he had a bad heart and a trick leg. 
      “Art thou Goliath or a girly-man?” challenged the Donald.
      Thrusting his chest out, Goliath seized the sword from him. Then he proferred his ass and the Donald did prick it with the magical muscle milk of the gladiators and Baal players. 
      When the day of the match arrived, the Tela Vegas coliseum in the vale of Elah clamored with a great multitude. On one side stood the Israelites presided over by Joe and his lieutenants – Mike, Morti, Ed, and Bibi -- in the kosher box; on the other sat the gentiles presided over by Donald and his retinue – Dubya, Mitt, and Reverend John with his televangelists – in the unwashed box. At the sidelines, the son of Spielberg and his moving picture slaves busied themselves with their dollies, their booms, and their lights. The match was pay-per-view and all of creation did anxiously wait for the action to start on their magic boxes. 
      With the thunder of drums, the cry of a thousand electric zithers, and a chorus of metalheads, the arena ground opened up and Arnold, the gentile champion, leapt out from the bowels of the earth. He wore five-thousand shekels of armor, brandished a spear thicker than a weaver’s beam and, in his Rams’ helmet, he stood over nine feet tall. 
      “Choose your man!” he challenged the Hebrews. 
      Now the Hebrews had not yet announced who their champion would be, so speculation was great among the Ninevah bookmakers. “Surely it cannot be Holy Joe,” said one, for he is one-hundred-and-sixty-seven years old and he doth have asthma.” Reasoned another: “Surely it cannot be Mike, son of Bloomberg, for he hath tennis elbow and is a hypochondriac.” Added a third, “Surely it cannot be Ed, son of Koch, for though he boasts that he does not get ulcers but giveth them, he is older than Methuselah, and has had a heart attack, a stroke, and a prostrate that is enlarged.” At last the bookies gave up their handicapping for they could not think of even one fit Israelite who was not short.
      Hectoring before Joe and the Israelites, all nine feet of him, the Governator shook his mighty fist and roared yet again, “Choose your man to met me and I shall feed his flesh to the birds and beasts!”
      Just then the Hebrews’ trumpets sounded, lightning flashed, a flying chariot broke the barrier of sound, and an angel plummeted down from it into the arena. Shedding his silver chute, the angel did salute the Israelites and they let out a deafening cheer for it was none other than David, son of Geffen. He wore harachis, a pink girdle, and a DreamWorks tee. 
      “Am I dog that you come out against me with tricks!” mocked Arnold.
      Turning a deaf ear to his opponent and the jeers of the gentiles, David handed Joe ten cream cheeses, then he marched to the middle of the ring where the scribes waited for one last word from the champions. 
      “You have called yourself the mightiest, Arnold. Is it not said, ‘Pride goeth before the fall?” they asked him. 
      The Governator seized the ABC ram horn and bellowed through it to the crowds as he had many times before. “Modesty is not a word that applies to me in any way -- I hope it never will!”
      “Verily, your opponent seems quite sure of himself,” the reporter told the Israelite champion. “Thoughts on your chances?”
      Taking the horn, David announced as he had many times before: “Arnold is a very serious, very smart, very determined goy. I think he’ll be very formidable. But, at the endeth of the day, I’m Billy the Kid, the fastest draw. It’s not arrogance. It’s the truth.” Indeed, the Beloved never told a lie, and chastened great princes who did so with such ease. Moreover, he gave to charity all his gold from rock and roll, and from the moving picture show.


chapter twelve

The judge rang the bell, the scribes fled the arena, and the champions faced off. 
      Arnold hurled his giant spear; David nimbly ducked it. Arnold charged with his sword; David leapt wide of it. Arnold rushed with his dagger; David put out a foot. Arnold crashed face first to the ground, his armor scattering around him. 
      The gentiles breathed an astonished gasp: without his armor, the Governator was as small as a shepherd boy.
      David grappled his leg, but the limb came off in his hand. The gentiles let out another gasp: the Governator was wearing stilts.
      The champions now began to wrestle. First the Hebrew was on top, then the Catholic. Next, the Catholic was on the bottom, then the Hebrew. Back and forth and back and forth until, with a great groan, the Governator heaved the Beloved across the arena to the foot of the gentiles. Scrambling from the bleachers with holy buckets, Mitt and his Mormons, and John and his televangelists, did try to baptize the Israelite. 
      Dodging their rain of holy water, David dashed back to center ring. With a great cry, he heaved his opponent across the arena to the foot of the Hebrews. Scrambling from the bleachers with their bris knives, Joe and his orthodox, and Bibi and his Zionists, did try to circumcise him.
      Escaping intact, the Governator charged his opponent yet again. The champions crashed to the ground together, rolling and heaving, gasping and groaning, locked like lovers in a mortal embrace.
      Suddenly the benches did clear and the Israelites and gentiles flooded onto the field with war cries, reinforcing their champions. Buried under the pile-up, David did seize the Goliath’s schmeckle and crop it, but no sooner than the Governator did baptize the Beloved with a squirt gun. 
      Then the voices of the champions rang out in unison from under the floundering Hebrews and gentiles, crying to the heavens, “Praise God!”
      Jumping off, regaining their feet, the multitude could hardly believe their eyes: The Governator and the beloved did embrace, crying together, “My brother!”
      A great hush now fell over the arena. And David said to Arnold, “Art thou gay?”
      And Arnold, who had been taking anti-depressants since the loss of his beloved Kalifawneea and Maria, said to David, “Not till now.” 
      Then David clasped his hand, saying, “I’ve always loved you, even though you’re short.”
      And Arnold said, “Me, too.”
      Now with great fanfare, the gates of the arena flew wide and four horsemen entered, drawing a drive-up Vegas wedding tabernacle. Throwing bouquets and embracing, the gentiles and the Hebrews gathered around as Arnold and David walked down the aisle. 
      Arnold’s best man, the Donald, did bear the ring. And David’s step-father, Steven, did give him away. Said the Reverend Hagee to the groom, “Do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded wife in sickness and health, till death you do part?”
      And the Governator looked into his pocket mirror and said, “I do.” Whereupon David threw his bouquet to Michael, blushing son of Bloomberg.
      Praising the Lord profusely, the gentiles rained holy water on the Hebrews and the Hebrews did re-circumcise the gentiles, then the two great nations feasted together in the Rapture, celebrating their brotherhood in paradise at last.


chapter thirteen

Now the Prince of Persia, who had been watching the holy match and matrimony on pay-per-view, did stone his glass box with loathing and disgust. Then he did drop a dime on his brother, the Holy Warrior, saying, “With the infidels now united, we are lost. Together the crusaders shall return and take the little that is left to us.” 
      And the fearsome sheik, who had also stoned his palm pilot and was now washing his blood in his wilderness cave, pledged, “We shall call our forces down upon them and vanquish the Great Satan in the mother of all battles!” 
      “But we have no forces left, O Holy One,” the prince reminded him. “The first went down under the volley of their own jubilant fire. The next were consumed by the boobytrapped bomb. And we have decapitated the gays, the journalist eunuchs, and all the rest.” 
      “We shall give our blessed women rockets!” rejoined the sheik. 
      “But even now the cows dance in the streets, burn their burkas and their bras. Alas, even my concubines do mock me and put panties on my head!”
      {V} اذهب إلي الجحيم, إذهب إلي الجحيم ! ! cried the holy warrior. 
      “Lord forgive you,” stammered the prince. Then he whispered, “But what if it is just all just a triffling spelling mistake? What if A-L-L-A-H is truly written Y-A-H-W-E-H?” 
      “Blasphemy!” cried the sheik. 
      Then the prince did lower his voice so that it could hardly be heard. “For my birthday, my blessed mother gave me a yarmulke and said I did look cute.”
      Then, knowing he had lost his mind to the infidel, the prince decapitated himself. Hearing his bother’s last gasp, the holy warrior pulled the dialysis tube from his vein, and drank from it until he drowned in his own blood poisoned by that of all the innocents he had taken. 
      After burying her son and his brother, the queen mother of Persia called Joe in New Canaan. She told him that the sons of Ishmael had perished by their own hands. She beseeched him to return home with his nation to revive the orchards and fields of Palestine which had withered, to rebuild the drainage canals which dried up, and to rescue the waning flocks. 
      Now by this time Bibi, Yvette, Ehud and the Hebrew elders had begun to long for the old country. The mountains, the valleys, the deserts, the seas of Nevada did look much the same, but the spirits of their forefathers did not whisper from them. Tel Avegas was not quite like Tel Aviv, or Jackpot like Jerusalem, Zion like Zion, or even Mount Carmel like Mount Carmel. So when the son of Lieberman told them of the Palestinians’ plea that they return home, they did weep tears of joy and thanksgiving. 
      Bidding farewell to their New Canaan brethren, Bibi, the Knesset, and the elders took their arks from dry dock and sailed back across the sea to the holy land. And when they came ashore, they did kiss the blessed ground and the Palestinian women paved their path to Jerusalem with palm leaves and garlands. Then the women cast off their black robes and veils, revealing themselves not to be women at all but deserters, exiles, and cross-dressing journalists. 
      Together, the Hebrews and the new Hamas collected all the swords and armaments of the land and turned them to plowshares. Soon the fields were again plump with wheat, the orchards bursting with fruit, and the pastures with plentiful flocks. The jihad warriors who had once been burners became firemen; those who had smote effigies became dollmakers; and the stoners became star pitchers for the Astros, the Angels, and the A’s. And so it was that the sons of Abraham were reconciled, their seed became many as the stars, and peace and prosperity were restored to the holy land and to all God’s creation.