by Headley Hauser
Foster was a genius. If I forgot it, he reminded me enough that it didn’t matter. He was also my best friend, though some times I wondered if I was his.
Of was I his best guinea pig?
“Guinea pig?” Foster went into his nerd laugh. I never learned to enjoy Foster’s nerd laugh. It wasn’t the kind of laugh you’d call infectious. It was loud and awkward and always ended with a snort.
I just waited for the snort. I always kept my distance for the snort. I knew it wasn’t like a sneeze where germs flew for twenty feet at eighty miles an hour, but I stood back anyway. Foster snorted at his usual volume, which is to say – something between a jack hammer and a sonic boom.
“Duncan,” said Foster, “you are such a veruul.”
I asked him what a veruul was once and got a Star Trek reference that didn’t sound familiar. Foster made me watch a lot of Star Trek when we were growing up, but the details didn’t stay with me like they did with him.
Foster had a new invention, and though I should have known better, I went to see it. I no longer expected metalic boxes with beeping lights or boiling beakers of green liquid with long twisted tubes. Foster might have been a throw-back in his taste for science fiction, but his inventions never resembled them.
He took me into his living room and pulled down the shades. I looked around trying to guess what object constituted his invention, but I saw the same old stuff I usually did. There was Foster’s TV, his stereo, his couch and table – nothing unusual. On the table was a clutter of magazines – Discover, Science Fiction Digest, Wired and a few others in languages I didn’t know.
There were also a couple of sponges – big ones like we sold at home depot to wash a car. I looked at the sponges, but couldn’t see anything unusual about them. I didn’t touch them. It was never safe to touch anything in Foster’s house, unless you were sure what it was you were touching.
I was about to get up and check the couch when Foster started laughing. That meant I’d done something particularly stupid. I was used to that.
I just waited for the snort.
After the snort, Foster pointed to the sponges. “That’s only part of it, Dun-dun.”
“That’s Duncan.” I hated it when he called me Dun-dun. To be fair, he didn’t do it that often, but I’d told him not to call me that at all. In another life, I was known as Stewie. I kind of liked that name, but I couldn’t seem to bring it across to this reality.
“Alright Foster,” I said. “I don’t get it. Tell me what incredible thing you’ve made out of two sponges.”
“Partly from two sponges,” Foster corrected me.
Foster looked at me and made hand motions like he wanted me to guess. How the hell was I supposed to guess? Of course, if there was a chance that I would guess correctly, Foster would just tell me, so I decided to discard any logical guesses like, a car-washing machine and just go with crazy guesses that made no sense at all.
“A time machine?” I asked.
I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Foster as angry as he was then. He actually left the room and slammed the door behind him. I considered leaving the house then. If I’d been smarter, I would have left. It wouldn’t matter where I went – bowling, the bar, hell, the damn fabric store would probably be a better place for me than Foster’s living room at that moment.
Of course, as Foster constantly reminds me, I’m not that bright, so I just stayed there on Foster’s couch.
At least I didn’t apologize.
He come back eventually and turned on the television.
As long as I’ve known Foster, I’ve maintained these unrealistic hopes, maybe the word is delusions, that Foster would become a normal person, a normal friend that could be a real pal. This was one of those moments, when I briefly considered that Foster might just turn on the ballgame, grab a couple of beers and maybe a bag of chips and we could just sit around and do normal stuff. Even watching Mystery Science Fiction 3000 or whatever that stupid show was called would be alright. After all, Foster was Foster.
There wasn’t a ballgame on the tube. It wasn’t a couple of robot puppets either. It was a strange writhing blob of mixed color and sounds. It was impossible to ignore and really annoying.
“I bet you don’t know how my time machine works, now do you?”
“Wha?” It was hard to hear what Foster was saying. The sound and colors of the TV were taking pieces of my brain and turning them into jellied cranberry.
I don’t like jellied cranberry. Even at Thanksgiving when my father tried to explain that the tartness of the cranberry was a perfect counterpoise to the bland heartiness of the turkey white meat (though not so much with the dark) to give the palate a full spectrum of taste in a single bite.
Sometimes my Dad talked like Foster, or a combination of Foster and Julia Child.
Foster had turned the TV off and I was surprised to find myself back in Foster’s house. For a moment there, I felt like I really was an eight-year-old listening to my Dad tell me about jellied cranberry and turkey.
Foster went over to his desktop and tapped in some notes on a word file. I saw him write, “higher susceptibility with subjects of lower intelligence.” He didn’t even try to hide what he writing from me. Foster could be such an ass sometimes.
“So did I really just travel through time?” I asked.
“Not fully,” said Foster. “You probably just went to an earlier memory.”
“Yeah,” I said, “but it was so real!”
“Exactly!” said Foster, and he was all excited now. There was no trace of anger left. That was one of Foster’s best traits, he never stayed angry long. “Previous attempts at time travel have ignored the mind body problem. Humankind was always meant to time travel, but our bodies aren’t built for it. It was like trying to do higher math and still do all your counting on your fingers.”
That made Foster laugh again which sounded like… you already know about that, so I’ll cut to the snort.
“It was actually a great safety protocol that we can’t do physical time travel.”
I didn’t care much about safety protocols, but I asked the question that was expected of me anyway. “Why’s that?”
“Mutation!” Foster shouted.
There was some obviously profound truth there that was beyond me. I just shrugged which earned me one of Foster’s ‘my, aren’t you a pathetic little moron,’ look.
“Our bodies,” Foster explained, “have antibodies to millions of diseases that ravaged humanity over the last twenty thousand years since we evolved.”
“Evolved from what?”
“No time for that,” said Foster. “Read a book sometime.”
I should have known better. It wasn’t a question I was scheduled to ask in Foster’s prepared exposition.
“I’ll try to explain it so even you can understand it,” said Foster. “Do you know what killed most North American aborigines?”
“You mean Indians?”
Foster sighed. “If you must.”
“The six shooter?”
“No!” shouted Foster. “Most North American aborigines died of common European diseases, measles, whooping cough, even the common cold.”
“People died from measles and colds?”
“Yes,” said Foster, “and they still do. Each strain of flu is only a variation of the basic rhinovirus that we call the common cold. Once a population has been exposed to that variation, the disease becomes largely benign or even beneficial.”
Foster smiled and I knew I was supposed to ask that question. I felt like an obedient dog that just got a pat on the head. “What doesn’t kill us,” Foster quoted, “makes us stronger.
“Now the North American aborigines,” said Foster, “had not been exposed to a myriad of viruses and even bacteria that had scourged the more urbanized European landscape for millennia. Suddenly, they are exposed to a population with hundreds of immunities that they lack. Our saliva, our feces, even our breath became death to entire tribes. There were aboriginal tribal leaders who would put to death anyone who sneezed.”
“I wonder if the FDC ever thought of that,” I said.
Foster just stared at me for a moment. I guess he figured I was too dumb to have ever heard of the FDC.
“Imagine now,” Foster said, “what would happen if one of us suddenly appeared bodily in ancient Rome?”
I considered saying that it would be worse than the Vandal invasion, but I didn’t want to shock Foster twice like that so I said, “pretty bad, huh?”
“Devastation!” shouted Foster, “and while I’m not a big fan of the paradox of the time/space continuum that Roddenberry was so hooked on, I do wonder what might happen if a couple of my ancestors died in the process.”
There must have been something I should have said, because Foster stood there looking at me. I didn’t know what it was, so I said, “oh.”
Foster shrugged, but didn’t complain. “Now imagine if we traveled ahead in time. We wouldn’t kill people because they would carry all the immunities we carry today, but we’d be assaulted by the same problem the Indians had.”
Foster paused. He had used the word Indians instead of aborigine. I knew that pissed him off, so I pretended not to notice.
“And when we came back,” said Foster, “assuming we had the time to get back, we would kill thousands, maybe millions in our own time!”
“So time machines are bad?” I asked.
“Corporal time machines are bad,” said Foster. “I think they might be impossible. If there is a god, He might have made them impossible for just that reason.”
Foster wasn’t usually religious. I ignored it though. In spite of myself, I was interested in what he was saying. “So this isn’t a corporal time machine?” I asked.
“No,” said Foster. “It’s a machine to transport the mind and essence of a person in time and leaves the body behind.”
“What, so we’re just like airy fairies or something? I don’t like mean gay…”
“I know what you mean,” said Foster, “and the answer to your question is no. If I created a machine that just sent out a non-physical presence of a person, it would be non-verifiable. How could I distinguish it from an hallucination?”
“You couldn’t,” I said because that seemed to be what I was supposed to say.
“Exactly!” said Foster and then he peered at me. “Have you been reading? You seem… less ignorant than usual.”
“Strange things happen,” I said.
“So,” said Foster,” what do you suppose is the answer to this conundrum?”
“How,” he asked, “am I supposed to transfer a person through time verifiably without bringing a plague to our past?”
Now, I’ll certainly agree if you were to tell me that Foster’s praise for my intellectual progress was less than glowing – or even polite, but I felt like I was on a bit of a roll, so I really gave some thought to his question. I remembered another one of his inventions that looked like a fish tank and the answer seemed obvious.
“You need another body at the other end,” I said.
“My God, Duncan,” said Foster and reached over to pat me on the head. “You’re completely right! This will require some adjustments in my calculations.”
“Because I was right?”
“You see,” said Foster, “in order to find you a compatible host, I need someone of similar abilities to yours. I had programmed the machine to seek a subject with intelligence two degrees of probability below average. I can see I made a small miscalculation and I will have to reduce that figure to one degree.”
“One degree below?”
“What if I’m one degree above?”
Foster patted my shoulder this time and shook his head. “My dear Duncan,” he said. “It’s very common for people of near average intelligence to feel that they are above average. It’s a common survival instinct that allowed the advantage of self-esteem to better co-ordinate the cave man’s hunting abilities.”
“You didn’t answer my question.”
“What happens if I misjudge your compatibility parameters?”
I wasn’t sure that was what I was asking, but I wasn’t about to admit to that now. “Yeah.”
“You would experience increased disorientation; probably some co-ordination issues – probably some vomiting.”
“Foster,” I said, “I don’t remember volunteering for this trip.”
“Who else could go?”
Foster looked at me like a disappointed teacher with a failing pupil. “You already know the answer to that question, Duncan,” he said. “If I went, who would be capable to bring me home?”
I didn’t say what was on my mind, that Foster had been less than competent himself lately.
“Besides,” said Foster, “how am I going to find someone as intelligent as I am in first century Judea?”
“Judea?” I said. “You mean like bible Judea?”
“That’s the beauty of it!” said Foster. “All you have to do is something noteworthy enough to get included in one of the gospels! Then we don’t have to fear a documentation loss.”
I just stared at my friend. I was supposed to do crash the bible?
“Look,” said Foster, “It doesn’t have to be too drastic. Maybe you can help Jesus overturn the moneychanger’s tables, or accuse Judas at the last supper.”
I just shook my head.
“Of course,” said Foster, “something bigger might be nice. Maybe you can break Jesus’ arm and see if he heals it himself.”
“Break Jesus’ arm?”
“You don’t like that? Well, be creative. I’m sure you can think of something.”
“With my below average brain?” I asked. “And by the way, why do you know so much about the bible. You’ve never gone to church.”
“It’s the foundation book of western thought,” said Foster. “Of course I’ve read it. Now sit down on the couch and put your hands on those sponges. I have some adjustments to make.”
So I sat. Why? I don’t know, and I don’t have any excuse except that Foster has always gotten me to do what he wants.
I guess that’s not much of an excuse.
After a bit of fiddling, Foster turned back on the television with its weird twisting mix of colors. I had the unpleasant feeling of my brain turning into jellied cranberry, but this time, instead of going back to memories of Thanksgivings past, I fell asleep.
I woke up washing my hands. I wasn’t at the sink, but I was hunkered down by a pool. My hands were brown and they were small.
Then I fell in the pool.
I couldn’t get up. I just kept flailing away. It was like this small brown body was fighting me when all I was trying to do was keep it from drowning.
“Help!” I managed to cry in between splashes. My voice was high. I was a child!
Large hands caught me from behind and hauled me out of the pool. I heard laughing and a strange string of sounds that made no sense at all – like yalla ishna bullow. The hands turned me around and I met the eyes of a man in his thirties. The laughter in his eyes faded as he looked at me.
He said something that didn’t make sense, though it sounded like a question. I said, “do you understand me, because I can’t understand you?”
He let go of my shoulders and even though my feet were on the ground, I fell down.
At least this time, it was on dry land.
“Yalla ishna bullow?”
Obviously, this guy didn’t keep saying, ‘yalla ishna bullow.’ He probably never said, ‘yalla ishna bullow,’ but you try hanging around someone who speaks Arabian, Chinese or some other really strange language, and try to remember each sound they make.
“I’m ah… looking for Jesus. You know who that is?”
“Yalla ishna bullow!”
I had seen a Jesus movie once. I knew they didn’t call him Jesus. What was he called?
“Yeshua!” I said. “You know Yeshua?”
“Yeshua?” he said, looking puzzled.
I nodded my head, all the while hoping that nodding your head in this culture didn’t mean something nasty and kept repeating, “Yeshua.”
The motioned for me to follow him and took two steps. I struggled to get up off the dirt. I raised a lot of dust, but didn’t get up. The man came back and helped me to my feet, then pulled me along with him along a path. We came to a stone hut and the man coughed.
A woman came to the door of the hut.
“Yalla ishna bullow?” she asked.
“Yalla ishna bullow, Yeshua,” the man replied.
“Yalla ishna bullow,” the man said.
The woman led us into the hut and pointed to a naked three-year-old boy.
“Is this Yeshua?” I asked.
The woman looked alarmed. I guess by the words, ‘is this.’ Maybe that meant something nasty, but the man pointed at the three-year-old and said, “Yeshua.”
The woman stood behind her son and said, “Yeshua.” At this point the woman and the man started talking and as the man was using his hands, he let go of me and I fell to the ground.
Three-year-old Yeshua laughed when I fell. I was a lot bigger than him – maybe eight or nine. He came over and started poking me. It was all I could do to keep him from poking my eyes.
The whole poking thing convinced me that this wasn’t a miss with Foster’s time machine by 27 years or so. I couldn’t see Jesus Christ – even a three-year-old Jesus Christ, trying to poke some helpless kid in the eye.
Meanwhile, the adults were still Yalla ishna bullowing away and it took a bit of effort for me to get the man’s attention and tell him, “wrong Yeshua.”
Of course, he didn’t understand the word wrong, but through some hand signals, which were never came out exactly as I was trying to make them because my hand was jerking around, I managed to convey the message that I wasn’t looking for a small Yeshua, but a big one.
Turns out, there were a lot of Yeshuas back then. I knew that Christ wasn’t Jesus’ last name, but I sure didn’t know what it was. Most of the Yeshuas I met over the next week were probably related, cause all their names were bar-something.
One of ‘em was a carpenter, but he was bald and had no teeth.
None of them was Jesus Christ. At least, I was pretty sure they weren’t, so now it was just a matter of time until Foster brought me back to his couch two thousand years in the future.
That’s when I realized something. How would Foster know when to bring me back? As far as he knew, I was off gallivanting with the apostles, watching miracles, maybe breaking Jesus’ arm. He didn’t know I was an eight-year-old living with a confused and worried fisherman.
I got to know the fisherman. I called him Abba, even though he didn’t look at all Swedish and his singing voice certainly didn’t set the world on fire. It’s what he seemed to want me to call him. Other people called him something else, which I suspected was his real name, but I couldn’t pronounce it, so Abba worked.
Abba took good care of me. He helped me when my body didn’t work well for me, which was most of the time. It was especially bad when I got tired and I even fell into the cooking fire a couple times. Abba pulled me out and brushed the coals out of my hair. He looked me in the eyes and his Yalla ishna bullow sounded a lot like, ‘are you alright?’ I said I was fine and thanked him. Of course, he didn’t understand me any better than I understood him, but I think he got the idea.
Abba cooked food that looked and smelled pretty awful. I was sure I’d get hepatitis from it. I had some sort of reaction because the first few meals set me thrashing about and foaming at the mouth, but I got used to it after a while. I suppose that was what the body I was in ate all the time. I would have helped him cook, but he was afraid of having me too close to the fire and I don’t think he wanted me handling his rusty knife.
Abba didn’t have a boat. He threw a net out in the water that had stones tied to it, then he pulled the net in with ropes that made it pocket shaped. He had two of those nets, one was smaller than the other, and I was supposed to use the smaller one. After nearly drowning the first time I tried it, Abba kept me away from the sea or bay, or whatever it was at the back of the house. Instead, I spent my days sitting under a tree and gradually got my hands under enough control to do some simple mending with his nets.
Each day, Abba looked sadder. He knew I wasn’t his boy, but I was all he had of him.
Each day, I felt worse. Did I kill his boy? What would happen when Foster brought me back? Would Abba’s boy come back into his body or would the body just die?
Most days were the same, though three-year-old Yeshua came by some days and sat with me under the tree. Maybe I was baby-sitting. Yeshua tried to poke me in the eye the first time, but I had more control over the body now and swatted his hand away.
I was beginning to think Foster wasn’t going to bring me back. What would I do then? Would I have to learn how to speak Yalla ishna bullow and grow up like this? I’d been here for weeks and still didn’t even know the words for bread, fish or bathroom. Maybe Foster was right and I was just not that bright.
That night, I woke up talking. I don’t know what I was saying. It was the same, yalla ishna bullow everybody else was speaking and as soon as I was aware I was doing it, I stopped.
Abba looked so happy – happy wasn’t even the word, when I first woke up. I’d never seen anyone glow like that. Then I stopped talking and the glow went away. Abba shook my shoulder, but whatever I was doing was gone. I just shook my head. Tears came to the man’s eyes.
I had trouble sleeping after that. I think it was because I wanted to sleep so much. I’m not sure, but I think when I was asleep, the boy was able to surface and talk with his father. I tried to sleep all the time because if I wanted the man to have his child back. Abba was a good man. He didn’t have much. The boy was all that he really cared about.
I didn’t want to die, but I wanted the man to get his boy back. Even if I was willing to commit suicide, I had no idea how I could do it without killing the boy too.
I got tired from lack of sleep and lost what little control I had gained over the body. I couldn’t mend the nets anymore and even started foaming at the mouth sometimes. I couldn’t walk – not even with assistance. Abba had to carry me everywhere. He laid me at the far wall of the hut so my spasms didn’t throw an arm or a leg into the cook fire.
That’s when he brought the men.
Abba had visitors most days. There were people who came to buy fish, and little Yeshua and his mother, but this was different. Abba left me under the tree with a dish of water, like you would a dog and was gone for a good part of the morning. When he came back, a crowd came with him.
There were maybe thirty or forty people and nobody paid any attention to the fish – they all came over to me. I recognized two Yeshua’s in the crowd, but they both hung back and a group of men came close along with Abba. The group were all in their twenties of thirties. They didn’t look any more prosperous than Abba, but they carried themselves like they were important guys – like the chamber of commerce or something.
They didn’t act like the chamber of commerce. They got in a circle around me and put their hands on me. Then they started shouting.
It’s one thing to hear people say Yalla ishna bullow all the time, it’s something else to have ten or twelve guys shout it at you from close range. I heard an occasional Yeshua among the other indecipherable words but neither of the Yeshuas in the crowd came forward.
It was pretty uncomfortable. There was something else that was pretty strange too. I felt like little fishhooks were digging into me and trying to pull me away. I was flailing around a lot, but I could see alright and I knew that nobody was poking me with fishhooks.
Abba stood nearby and looked at me like he was encouraging me to do something. I had no idea what that was. Maybe he was trying to be assuring and I guess he was, but I was still having a bad time.
I don’t know how long the chamber of commerce screamed at me. It was quite a while. A few of them got hoarse and had to stop. Abba’s expression changed too. Whatever he was hoping for wasn’t happening. I felt bad, but I had no idea what I was supposed to do.
Eventually the chamber of commerce gave up. They broke up into little clusters – some seemed to be arguing, others just looked confused, embarrassed or even depressed. A few of the on-lookers pointed fingers at the chamber guys – others started to drift away. Whatever entertainment I was supposed to provide wasn’t worth hanging around for.
Then there was some commotion. I could hear it, but I couldn’t see what was happening. My last spasm pointed me off toward little Yeshua’s hut and whatever was happening came from the road. Everyone was talking at once. A little cluster of chamber members that were in my field of vision were talking to someone behind me and gesturing towards me.
A hand touched my shoulder and I didn’t feel tired anymore. I was able to turn my body around and saw the man who touched me.
His clothes were dirty – especially his feet and sandals. He must have been doing some serious walking. He had deep pit stains from perspiration. I hadn’t even looked at his face and I knew he was Yeshua – or Jesus, the real one the one who’s arm I was supposed to break.
I jumped up onto my feet without even realizing that I’d never been able to do that before. I laughed because there was no way I was going to break this guy’s arm and not just because I was a little kid.
You’re probably wondering what he looks like. I forgot. I know he didn’t look anything like those pictures I see of him. He didn’t have lovely straight light brown hair. I remember he was kind of ugly and dirty – well, I guess I told you that. He was also a lot darker than those Jesus pictures you see. He was even darker than Abba.
“Look,” I said in English because that’s the only language I know. “I know who you are. You’re Jesus Christ! It’s a real thrill to meet you.”
Then I felt kind of stupid. I was treating Jesus like some celebrity.
“My friend Foster,” I told him, “he sent me here cause he wanted to test out his time machine. His idea was that I break your arm – not because he has anything against you, but to – you know, get mentioned in the gospels.
“Look,” I said, “I don’t want to break your arm, but I sure would like to hang out. You know, I could be the one who doesn’t run away when they… Do you know what they’re going to do to you?”
Jesus didn’t say anything – at least out loud, though he did seem to be muttering something under his breath. He just stared at me. He didn’t look pissed or confused. He looked kind of compassionate, but maybe that was his natural look.
Then I realized. Jesus didn’t understand English! Good God, what was I supposed to do now?
“Just let me come with you,” I said, and I tried to use hand motions so he’d know what I was talking about.
Jesus stopped muttering and pointed at Abba. I saw the fisherman. His face was a mixture of hope and despair. I felt like a jerk.
Jesus put his hands on each side of my face and looked me in the eyes.
He said, “You don’t belong here.”
I felt like I was in an amusement ride – a really good one. I was moving backwards. It felt like I was going a million miles an hour – but there wasn’t any wind, just that feeling in the pit of my stomach that told me I was falling fast. It was dark and there were little lights flashing past me – like stars. It was like something out of a sci-fi movie. I just kept moving backwards and I was wondering how long this thing was going to last when I realized –
Jesus spoke to me in English.
Suddenly, I was on Foster’s couch. My hands were still on the sponges and I threw them across the room.
Foster seemed to take the story pretty calmly. He was a little pissed that I hadn’t managed to do anything to get in the gospels, but other than that he didn’t have much to say.
He did say something about going back to Thomas Edison with instructions for making the modern lightbulb. I left before Foster had a chance to talk me into it.
On the way home I stopped at a Christian bookstore. The place gave me a creepy feeling, but I avoided eye contact and went straight to the bible section. They had some witnessing bibles for 2.98. What was a witnessing bible?
“You want to witness to a friend?” said a woman behind me.
I started flipping through the book. The print was tiny. This was a huge book. I read the passage in front of me.
“5 Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel, (for he was the firstborn: but forasmuch as he defiled his father’s bed, his birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph the son of Israel: and the genealogy is not to reckoned after the birthright.”
“What the fuck?” I said.
There was a cough behind me and I realized I probably wasn’t supposed to say, ‘fuck,’ in a Christian bookstore. “Where’s the stuff about Jesus?” I asked.
The woman took the book from my hands and flipped most of the way through it to a page marked ‘The Gospel According To ST MATTHEW. There was still a lot of book left.
“So the whole rest of the book is all about Jesus?”
The lady explained to me that there were four gospels and they were each stories of Jesus’ life. I asked her why there were four and she started talking about Jews and gentiles until she noticed that I wasn’t really listening.
“Which one is the shortest?” I asked.
“Mark,” she told me and turned the pages to where it started.
I put my thumb there and bought the bible.
“Tell me,” said the bible lady, “have you ever heard of the four spiritual laws?”
She looked especially creepy when she said that, like when Ron Spiwalk’s little brother Kevin got into Amway.
I mumbled, “yalla ishna bullow,” and left the store.
I read a chapter of Mark on my first break at Home Depot that night and another couple during my meal break. Everyone looked at me like they expected me to get weird and I probably didn’t help things by putting a paper towel on my head and bowing to the vending machine.
I thought it was funny.
I got through a few more chapters at home before I fell asleep. I don’t remember much except that Jesus always seemed to be in a hurry.
It was the next morning at breakfast when something jumped out at me. It was a story about a father with a son in chapter nine. Jesus’ disciples couldn’t help the guy so he tells Jesus:
“22 And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.”
It was probably my imagination, but all I could see when I read those words was Abba’s sad eyes – and maybe a few guy from the Chamber of Commerce looking on.