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Life Arts    H4'ed 5/12/14

WWJD, a fable

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Wandering Jew
Wandering Jew
(Image by Annunciations in Tarot Studies)
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From his perch in the dusty, thorny wilderness came a shrill but throaty voice, "Behave, Behave! You knuckleheads are gonna make me have to move again!" Jesus' distant cousin, Ben-Tzion of Nazareth (or just Ben of Nazareth), had been run out of the land of Naphtali years ago by the constant bickering, he then surreptitiously settled in Lebanon next to a magnificent towering cedar tree, woke up one morning to the harsh sound of laboring chainsaws, wrote a postcard to his uncle in the Bensonhurst section of New York, "The bastards cut the last one down, I'll be there next week."

He then slept in his relative's basement and tended his uncle's wonderful produce in the shop next door until he went to work one morning and found the word "Jew" very artfully written on a beautiful watermelon with hickory smoked bacon and party toothpicks with green and pink excelsior tops, cried with his Aunt, embraced his uncle and got on a bus for Los Angeles, answered an ad for a key grip, worked for about an hour until he realized he was on the set of a porn production, thanked the director and went on to his second choice, wilderness firefighter, he enjoyed the work very much and really got on with his fellow firefighters but didn't see any end in sight, the existential dread that afflicts those with a need for happy endings became too much, he made love to his co-worker, Sally, one last time and got on a bus for Baja Mexico to help out his brother's ex-wife's new husband on his charter fishing boat.

It was great fun, his brother's ex-wife's new husband was funny and a real good fisherman, but most of the customers where drunk and either disinterested in his conversations about the wonders of the sea or adulterers, so he hitched a ride and crewed on a sloop headed back north to Catalina, the Owner was a philosopher and an investment banker, the Owner's philosophy turned out to be very bizarre, especially to Jesus' distant cousin, he graciously thanked the Owner and got off the boat in San Diego.

The years went by and he had many adventures and lived and worked in about twenty-six of the fifty states, finally settling in South Texas, the brush and the goats and the rocks reminded him of home, he never married but found much love and passion in the arms of various local Hispanic widows and spinsters, he became an artist, decorating bits of horn, bone and armadillo shell with passages from the Song of Songs using cochineal from the prickly pear and boiled mesquite root as pigment, a gallery in Santa Fe represented him, he lived quite comfortably.

Then the frackers moved in, the road in front of his home became pockmarked, congested and strewn with litter and spilled fracker's goop, he tried to keep a positive attitude, even befriending a young fracker that wore a great rhinestone encrusted WWJD medallion around his neck, being Jesus' distant cousin he was pretty sure he knew what Jesus would do, but he never said anything to the young man, he would have the young man over for cold Pearl beer, chipotle humus and white corn tortillas, the young man brought him bleached bone and road-killed armadillos that he put on a voracious red ant bed behind the house, the young man was bitten by a rattlesnake at a rumbling wellhead and left South Texas, he decided not to befriend any more frackers, he commented to Romelia Zepeda, his occasional lover, that he missed the young man but that the fracking was getting out of hand, she said that Don Benecio, the local Curandero, was telling the locals to either tape down their valuables or take them off the walls and shelves, he was also selling water brought over from a spring outside of Zaragosa, Ben ordered some water from Don Benecio, when Romelia delivered it he very artfully lettered the phrase "mip'nei tikkun ha-olam" in olive green house paint on each recycled plastic milk jug and soft drink liter bottle, a Hebrew phrase that basically means "for the sake of repairing the world," he then stood outside his front gate, in the swirling dust and puddles of fracking goop, and attempted to give the water to the passing oilfield truck drivers, no one ever stopped.

Which gets us back to where we started -- he bought an old battery powered beige bullhorn at a local thrift store, climbed up into an elevated deer blind, out in the brush behind his house, that he had redecorated as a shrine to the skeletons of the animals that these weird little houses were manufactured to help facilitate the deaths of, opened a cold Pearl beer and shouted through the bullhorn, "Behave, Behave! You knuckleheads are gonna make me have to move again!"

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Kevin is an Artist, Writer, Carpenter and Gallerist in Texas.

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