Saturday, December 1, 2012


A lady from church wants me to write a Christmas pageant in time for Christmas. Nick and Mike are watching new 'The Three Stooges' movie. As a veteran stooges watcher from the 1960s, I can tell you that they have totally nailed this one.

So, here's a new and revised Christmas story:

Joseph and Mary were hiking through the desert, having an argument.
"It was a metaphor, Mary," Joseph said. "I didn't really hear voices."
"So you're telling me that these "voices,'" she did the quotes in the air, "told you to marry me even though I'm already pregnant? So you were going to dump me, Joseph? You didn't just marry me because you love me? Is that it?"
"I didn't say that, Mary."
"So what did you say?"
"I said that an angel came and told me ..."
"Was she pretty, Joseph? Was the angel prettier than I am? I'll bet she didn't have this huge bulge for a belly and fat ankles. Did she have fat ankles, Joseph?"
"You're beautiful, Mary. It's just going to be hard for you in this last month. Remember, Sarah told you that the last month would be hell, remember that?"
"But I just feel so fat. Does this toga make my butt look fat?" She turned and her backside looked as if it was three sizes bigger than it was just moments before.
"Uh, well, um ... Hey, what are we going to name this little peanut?" Joseph asked.
"I was thinking about naming him Leslie."
"You're kidding, right?"
"What about Milford? My grandpa was named Milford," Mary said.
"Oh God, I've got a headache," Joseph said and he rubbed his eyes.
"Joseph, I'm really hungry.  Can you get me some ice cream, and maybe some spinach with barbecue sauce."
Joseph shrugged his shoulders and shook his head, rubbed his eyes again and looked confused. 
"That's strange," Joseph said. "My headache's gone. It just vanished."
"I thought I was supposed to be the one who was favored by God, but you know if I were really favored by God, I wouldn't have such a bad case of indigestion right now." Mary rubbed the top of her belly as Joseph took out his iPhone. In the background, you could hear a mechanical voice that said, 'recalculating destination.' He poked at it a couple of times, turned it sideways, then back, and then got a surprised look on his face.
"Hey, Mary, look," Joseph said. "We're here."  Then he looked around and spotted a well and a couple of low buildings in the distance.
"Where? I don't see anything."
"Bethlehem. See, it's right here on my map." He held out the iPhone for her to take a look.
"That thing just drove us into the Dead Sea again. It's the third time this week. Let me look at that." She took the iPhone from him and tried to zoom the map. Joseph walked toward the well.
"No, see the well? See the inn? This is Bethlehem."
"This place? There isn't even a camel crossing. Are you sure."
"I'm sure, Mary," Joseph said. He turned around and pointed. "I was born in that hut, right over there."
The innkeeper came out of the inn, took one look at the dusty duo, and crossed his arms across his ample belly.
"Where you two bozos headed?" he asked with a Brooklyn accent
"Um, here?" Joseph said smiling in a goofy way.
"I don't think so. You can just get right back on that camel of yours and get outta here." He laughed.
"My wife ... she's pregnant."
"Yeah, and that means what to me?"
"Well, we could use a room and maybe a beer and a sandwich."
"Got any money?" the innkeeper said rubbing his fingers together.
Joseph pulled a handkerchief out of one pocket. Sand fell out of it. The innkeeper took out an oversized Mag light and smacked it repeatedly into the palm of his hand. Joseph pulled out a squashed roll of Mentos from the other pocket.
"Mentos?" Joseph said leaning in, Mentos extended. The innkeeper shook his head. Joseph pulled a bouquet of fake flowers from the sleeve of his toga. The innkeeper laughed.
"Eh, what the hell. You kids can shack up in the stable around back, second stall on the left," the innkeeper said, eyes softening. "Now, get outtta here, before I change my mind."
Mary and Joseph opened a creaky barn door.
"Joseph, watch out for that .... oh, that is so disgusting." She held her nose as Joseph scraped his shoe on something. It was one of the feeding troughs for the sheep.
"Joseph, I think it's coming," Mary said, grabbing hold of her sides.
"Yeah, I think I got most of it off." Joseph was still looking at the bottom of his sandal and continued scraping his foot on the manger.
"Joseph, Joseph?" She sank onto a hay bale, holding her belly.

And then there's an intermission.

When the picture faded back in, there was a crowd of onlookers and farm animals around Joseph, Mary, and the new baby.  Three wise men did a three stooges poking and slapping thing and each of them ended up with manure on their togas. The animals shuffled around, farting and dropping loads of manure.  Except for Mary, Joseph, and the baby, there was mayhem in the barn.
"Oh Joseph, look at him. He looks just like your uncle Manuel."
"He's an ugly little bugger, for all that work. I was thinking, before, that we could call him Virgil," Joseph said, as he wiped dirt, blood or manure or both, from his hands onto his toga.
"We'll call him Extra Manuel, E-Manuel for short," Mary said.
"E-Manuel?  Is that what you think, Mary, that we should call him E-Manuel, as if he's some kind of a text message?  What the hell kind of name is that?  You think we should call him E-Manuel?  You gonna send him out like a spam email to the whole world now?  Is that it, Mary, because if that's it, I think you're onto something there."
"Calm down, Joseph."
"You're telling me to calm down?  We've been walking in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights.  We have no food, no money, only a half a calf-skin of wine left before we die of dehydration. And now you're telling me to calm down?  Then we end up in a barn and suddenly you have to have your baby this very instant, surrrounded by all these pigs and their crap?  I've spent the last three hours with my hand in a vice as you screamed into my ear and you're telling me to calm down? I've stepped in manure more times than I can count in the last four hours and you're telling me to calm down?  Then, these three bozos show up, our so-called wise men, with totally useless gifts.  It's not like we can eat myrrh or anything.  They give us gold, but the innkeeper only takes silver because of the gold embargo.  These wise men start burning incense and singing 'Kumbaya' like a bunch of hippies and I'm supposed to calm down?  And the whole time, I'm hearing voices in my head saying that everything is going to be alright, that I should stop and breathe and you're telling me to calm down?"
"Maybe you should listen to the voices, Joseph." 
Joseph took a deep and ragged breath.  Then, he took another, just a little more slowly.  Then he started to laugh. He laughed so hard that tears stream down his face.  Then Mary started to laugh too and she smiled as she looked down at her baby, E-Manuel, and the tiny knowing baby, he smiled too.

 No, I don't think this lady really wants me to write them a Christmas pageant.

Thank you for listening, jules

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