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The House Guest
by Julie Michaelson
03/15/10
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Now
whatever city
or town
you enter,
inquire who in it
is worthy,
and
stay there
till
you go
out.
[Matthew 10:11]
*********************
(Peter, along with
the other Disciples,
has been sent out
to the Lost Children
of Isreal,
to preach the Gospel.
Their Master has given
them very stringent rules
about their evangalistic
treks: no extra gold,
or copper, or silver,
in their money belts,
no extra bags or sandals,
no favorite or extra food,
no extra walking sticks,
and ....absolutely:
NO EXTRA TUNICS.
This particular admonishment
has been pronounced to the
woeful-faced, anxious Disciples,
at least several times,
rather sternly.
On this particular trip,
Peter has been staying at the
house of the bar-Michaels.)
________________________________
(Meow!)
(Meow!
(Meow!)

(SNEEZE!)
(SNEEZE!)

"PETER'LAH!
You're not ALLERGIC
to ANY of our CATS,
ARE YOU?"

(Cough. Cough!)
(Sneeze!)
(Scratchy-sounding
voice.)
(Choke.)
(Cough.)
"Oh....no, Ms. bar-Michael!
No! No! Absolutely NOT!"
(SNEEZE!)
(SNEEZE!)
(This last sneeze, fluffs
up a matted bunch of fur,
that has landed on Peter's only
tunic. It sticks onto the
big, flat blob of mustard,
that is smack in the middle
of his traveled-weary tunic,
on this particular morning. It
appears to match the other
motley stains, and other,
more anonymous dirt smudges.)

"Maybe, you should go,
and stay at the bar-SIEDELBERGS?
THEY don't have ANY cats!
Mr. bar-Siedleberg HATES
them! His first WIFE had
twenty-EIGHT of them, in the
HOUSE.....may,
God REST her
SOUL!"

(Inward moan.)
(Rub runny nose, for
the twentieth time.)
(Sniff.)
(Cough.)
"Oh, no, Ms. bar-Michael!
I can't DO that."
(Cough.)
"Our Rabbi....."
(Cough.)
"......told us, that we
can only stay in one house..."
(Cough.)
".....at a TIME."

(Ms. bar-Michael
clucks her tongue,
sympathetically.)
"My! That RABBI of
yours.....is so
very STRICT!
So many RULES!"

(Peter, in the middle
of another watery
sneeze,
merely shrugs.)

(Mr. bar-Michael comes
in the house. He's been
outside: squabbling with
the neighbors down the road,
all morning. Their pet goat,
Jess'kah, keeps wandering
into his vegetable garden,
and chewing on all his
mustard plants.)
"Morning, PETER!"
(Squint down at
Peter's unimpressive
clothing.)
"HEY! What's all over your TUNIC?"
(Long stare, at the
obviously besotten,
and poverty-stricken
Disciple.)
"WHAT WAS IT...
you USED to DO,
before you..
eh,
met this
RABBI?"

(Cough.)
(Rub runny nose
on edge of dirty
tunic.)
"I was a fisherman,
on the Sea of Galilee."
(Sniff.)
"I had my own boats,
and other people
working for me."
(Peter rubs
the rough back
of his hand,
against the tip
of his sore,
runny nose.)

(Mr. bar-Michael
shakes his head,
in great sympathy.)
"Perhaps....you
should RECONSIDER...
your present
OCCUPATION?"

(Peter's sniffing
stops, miraculously
for one moment.)
(His voice is clear,
and free of scratchiness.)
"I have reconsidered,
Mr. bar-Michael.
But, then I think of the
love of sinful man."

(Mr. bar-Michael's
good-natured, plump
face becomes serious,
for one moment.)
"Yours, Peter?"

(New tears fill the
Disciple's swollen
eyes: these are not
from any allergy.)
(Whispered reply,
abashedly unashamed
of the new flow of tears.)
"No.
His.
My Lord."

(Mr. bar-Michaels
reaches over,
and pats his new
young friend,
on the shoulder.
He notices that
one of the seams
of Peter's tunic
has begun to fray.)
(Soft, fatherly voice.)
"It's alright,
son. I understand.
You are welcome here,
anytime....you KNOW
that, hm?"

(Peter, trying
to see clearly
though his red,
runny eyes, now
overrun with
the irritable
tears of allergy,
combined with
the hotter, more
fragile tears
of a great love.)

(For a moment,
the room is quiet.
Then, as if for
some comic relief,
two little black
and white kittens
pounce onto the
scene.)

(Mrs. bar-Michael shoos
away one of the new kittens,
who is using Peter's left
sandal, by the front door,
as a scratching pad. There's
already a mysterious-looking
wet spot on the heel of
the Disciple's leather shoe.)
"SHOO, Mitz'rah!
SHOO!"
(Looks down at the sneezing-
Disciple.)
"Oh, MY!
LOOK!
You've got MUSTARD..
all over your TUNIC!
You better CHANGE,
BEFORE YOU GO OUT
TO PREACH!"
(Trots over toward
Sneezing-Peter.)
(Pulls, rather ungracefully,
on the edge of
Peter's fur-covered tunic.)
"HERE!
TAKE IT OFF!
I'll WASH IT, WHILE
YOU'RE OUT, FOR THE
DAY!"

"ELAINE'KAH!
PLEASE!
LET THE MAN TAKE
OFF HIS OWN TUNIC!"

(Wave a hand, away.)
"Oh, for heaven's SAKES!
I've had six SONS!"
(Tug on Peter's tunic,
again.)
"Here! Take it OFF!
I'll have it WASHED-UP,
FOR YOU,
by DINNER TIME!
We're having cream
and stuffed-CABBAGE!
It's my own SPECIAL,
HEAVY, HOMEMADE
CREAM!"

(A second,
inward moan.)
(Sneeze.)
(Choking.)
(Cough.)
"That is most gracious
of you, Ms. bar-Michael,
but......"
(Cough.)
"I have no extra tunic,
to wear. The Rabbi said....."

"WHAT?
You brought no extra
TUNIC....for your TRIP?"

(Mr. bar-Michael,
still muttering about
the neighbor's goat,
interrupts.)
"Who IS this RABBI,
of YOURS, ANYWAY?"

(Peter, in the middle
of a coughing-fit,
replies,
unceremoniously,)
"He is the LORD."

"OH!"
(Mr. and Mrs. bar-Michael
give each other, a squinty
glance. Neither of them
can see, very well. All
of their six sons, and two
daughters are also very
squinty. They have a new
granddaughter, Jul'eah,
just fourteen months old,
a rather plump and whiny
baby, and, she squints, too.)
(Mrs. bar-Michael shrugs.)
"Well.......then,
you better do what,
He SAYS....."
(Shrug, again,
good-naturedly.)

(Peter nods. Then,
he errupts into another
sneezing fit. Mitz'rah,
now scratching contentedly
on Peter's right sandal,
jumps, out of fright. He
bumps into his brother,
Musc'rat, and the two
of them begin fighting
with one another, rolling
around and around,
on the dusty, fur-covered
floor. Their short
growls and hisses, almost
cover up Peter's loud
sneezing.)
"Yes....I know.
Well....."
(Sneeze!)
"I better get going.....
the Rabbi wants us to
start preaching, right
after breakfast....."
(Sneeze.)

(The eldest son of the
bar-Michael clan,
Stuart, opens the front
door. He's carrying
little Jul'eah, and a
bucket of mustard seeds.
[The entire bar-Michael
clan is a mustard-farm-
grower. Their
Original Mustard Sauce
is rather famous,
in the tri-town-area.
The Gentiles particularly like
it, on the long, pork-sausage
snack-foods,
that they make.]
"Hey, MOM? Could
you sit JUL'EAH, for
a couple HOURS? Mitz'zie
has to go into TOWN, to
see her SISTER.......
and....."
(Squint at Peter.)
(Loud chuckle.)
"HEY! What happened
to y'ur TUNIC?"
(Laugh!)

(Peter, trying to stop
another sneezing-fit,
just sighs. Then, he
sneezes.)

(Mrs. bar-Michael moans,
loudly, and joyfully.)
"OH! MEIN BUBE'LAH!
My PRECIOUS!
COME HERE, BUBE'E!"

(Whiny, baby cry.)
(Wave plump little hands
in the air.)
(Louder whine.)

(Peter, rubbing his
swollen and reddened eyes,
begins to walk toward
the bar-Michael's front door.
He's saying a silent
prayer that the Rabbi will
suddenly send for all of
His disciples, to come home.
Mrs. bar-Michael's suppers
are much richer, than he
is accustomed,
and his stomach has
been reeking havoc,
all week.)
"Well....I best be GOING...."

(Stuart hands the
whiny, squinty, plump Jul'eah
to his mother.)
"HEY! PETER!
YA CAN'T GO INTO THE
TOWN-SQUARE, LOOKIN'
LIKE THAT! HERE: LEMME
GIVE YOU ONE A' MY
TUNICS!"

(Mrs. bar-Michael takes
the whining baby into
her plump arms.)
"But, STUART! YOU'RE
MUCH SHORTER AND
BETTER WELL-FED,
THAN OUR POOR PETER!
IT WILL NEVER FIT HIM!
NEITHER WOULD MY
MIKE'EH'LAH'S!"
(Shaking her head,
sympathetically,
at the tall, skinny disciple.)
"WHAT: DOES YOUR
RABBI MAKE YOU FAST,
NIGHT AND DAY?"

(All three of the bar-
Michaels stare for a
moment at Poor-Peter:
squinting, and shaking
their heads. The plump
and whiny Jul'eah just
waves her plump hands:
trying to grab down at
the kitties, and whining
loudly.)

"No, REALLY!"
(Sneeze.)
"I'm FINE!
REALLY!
NOBODY WILL NOTICE
THIS....uh....STAIN!
IT'S OKAY!
REALLY!"
(Sneeze!)
"Now....."
(Sneeze.)
"If you good people..
will excuse me..
I must be getting on to
my....(Sneeze!)....DUTIES.."

(Short, plump Stuart
sets down the bucket
of ripe mustard seeds.)
"HEY! I'LL ASK MY
BROTHER-IN-LAW,
DUMP'KAH! HE'S JUST
ABOUT AS TALL, AND
SKINNY AS YOU, PETER!
HIS WIFE'S COOKING
WOULD STARVE A MOUSE!
I'M SURE ONE'A HIS TUNICS,
WOULD FIT YOU!"

(Mrs. bar-Michael
clucks her tongue,
rebukingly.)
"HUSH, STUART!
HUSH! BERT'HAH
IS A NICE GIRL! HUSH!"

(Peter has made it to the
front door. He's kneeling
down, not in order to pray,
but to pull his right, tattered
sandal away from Mit'zah's
sharp, little teeth.
Suddenly, his right finger
gets a mighty scratch.)
"OW!"

(Mrs. bar-Michael,
holding the squirming
and squinting,
and whining Jul'eah,
suddenly yells.)
"MITZ'RAH! STOP THAT!
BAD KITTY! STOP THAT!"

(Peter, sucking on his
right fore-finger, manages
to get one of his tattered
sandals on; he stumbles
out of the bar-Michael's
fur-covered, dusty doorway:
carrying the left, even
more tattered sandal in
his good hand. He sneezes,
loudly, in the bright,
harsh sunlight. The warm
rays, usually so welcome,
are stinging his red,
swollen, and runny eyes.
He sits down for a minute,
on the bar-Michael's low
stone wall, to pull on the
much-tattered-sandal.
Suddenly, he groans;
Mrs. bar-Michael's rich
supper of last night is
acting up on him. He turns,
and heads quickly,
for their back shed.
His preaching duties
will just have to wait..
another twenty mintues.
The RABBI... will understand.)

(The bar-Michaels,
all standing in the doorway
to watch their beloved
house-guest leave for
his daily-preaching-by
the-town-wall-square,
just shake their heads,
with consternation. Then,
they begin to whisper to
one another.)
"Poor PETER! POOR PETER!
He's been SICK, ever since
he's come to our HOUSE!
What is WRONG....with
HIM? TCH, TCH! WHY
DON'T THESE DISCIPLES
TAKE BETTER CARE..
OF THEMSELVES? TCH!
TCH! You THINK...THE
LORD WOULD FEED HIM,
A LITTLE BETTER.....?"

The End.

***********************
And
when you go
into a
household,
greet it.
If the
household
is worthy,
let your
peace
come
upon
it.
[Matthew 10:12-13]


_______________________
Dedicated to Dan.
Siempre Tu.


If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW

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