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The Inn Keeper had a Visitation, too
by Julie Michaelson
12/19/12
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And,
the angel
said........
fear not.
[Luke 2:10]
*******************
Place: Bethlehem
Time: Several days before
the Birth of Christ Jesus.
Characters: Kvetch'im the
Innkeeper, and two Messenger Angels:
Sylvestor, and
Meshu'gah.
________________
"What's that.....
SMELL....?"
Kvetch'im looked
up for a moment
from his sweeping.
His cold nose sniffed at the dark, chilly morning air. The
moon was still visible, and a sprinkle of stars
still dotted the
sky like faraway
sheep on a grassy
knoll.

Kvetch'im looked
about; nobody was
up yet, at his inn.
Most of the folk
would be snoring
away, for the another hour or so; they had been
traveling for miles, most of them, to come into town for the
ordered census of
the Roman emporer. The census was taking place to
increase taxes in the land. As a result, everyone
who walked into
their little town
of Bethlehem was hungry, thirsty, tired, cranky, ornery,
grumpy, and above
all: complain'y.

None of this happenstance was
putting a happy face on Kvetch'im, which
wasn't his normal
countenance to start with.

And,
the fact that his
young wife was still staying at his
parents' house,
while she was recovering from
having their twin
baby girls a month ago, wasn't helping his mood,
at all. Every time
Kvetch'im found
a spare hour to walk
the mile to his mother's house,
he didn't have a
moment to spend
with Rebecca alone: Aunt Berth'ah had put
herself in charge of the twins, who
were quite plump
and rambunctious
and never stopped
screaming; it was
a blessing for
Rebecca, who needed her rest, but Berth'ah was
quite rambunctious, plump, and screechy, also.
Berth'ah's husband, Ramb'oll, who ran
the little sandal-
making shed down
the road, would
always find a reason to show up
at Kvetch'im's mother's house for every meal.
He and Berth'ah
didn't get along too well (though they had eight children.....all boys: ages five to sixteen), and would argue and shout at each other throughout the whole meal. As a result, everybody at Kvetch'im's mother's house had severe indigestion, including their dog, Mitz'rah.

Kvetch'im put a
plump hand to
his gurgling stomach; as soon
as he got the inn
woken up, and breakfast going,
he would run down
to his mother's
house for a couple
of her special biscuits and herbal tea. Kvetch'im put his
head down for a
moment to pray
that Aunt Berth'ah was worn
out from a night of the twins' pooping, and crying, and would
perhaps decide to
sleep in late.

That would have
taken a miracle.

Kvetch'im said
"Amen.", and put
his head up, and
sighed loudly. Then he sniffed
again.

What was that
SMELL?

Kvetch'im peered
into the misty morning air; what
was that by the
BARN? Kvetch'im
dropped his broom, and began
trotting over toward the big,
lopsided shed where his motely
flock of animals
were kept: two
fat, lazy, ornery
donkeys, a dirty, dusty pregnant sheep and her mate,
an old goat that
mostly slept, and
never produced any milk, and a small flock of quail that spent
most of their time
pooping.

In the chilly mist,
Kvetch'im could
make out two figures standing by the barn: one
was shorter, and
plumper than the
other.

They both seemed
to be wearing something strange
on their heads,
and carring something huge
on their backs.

And, they were
both eating something.

"HA'...LOOO!"
Kvetch'im slowed
down his trot to
a cautious side step: that was
difficult since he
had big, clumsy
feet, and the sandals that Ram'boll had made
were for him were still
too big, and slipped alot.
"HA......LOOO,
THERE!"

Neither of the
figures were startled at all;
in fact, they waved friendly-like to Kvetch'im as if
they had been waiting there for
him for a while,
and had decided to have some early breakfast,
so as not to waste
any time. The shorter, plumper one never stopped
eating; he just nodded to Kvetch'im, and
comfortably sat
himself down on a
little milking stool
that stood outside
the barn shed.

But it was the
taller, bigger figure that spoke
first.
"Ha'loooo!"
He had the reddest hair that
Kvetch'im had ever seen; it seemed to spring
out, wildly, in all directions, and was topped by something that
lit up the whole
barnyard. Whatever the huge things were, that he was
carrying on his
broad back, didn't
seem to weigh him
down, at all. He
paused for a moment, and then
spoke up.
"I mean.......HARK!"

The shorter, plumper one spoke
up, too, only his
mouth was still
full of his breakfast, or whatever it was.
"That's RIGHT!
HARK!"

Kvetch'im felt a
sudden stab of
fear. As he stepped closer to
the visitors, he
began to notice
how big they were......almost HUGE......the shorter, plumper
one was still at least a head or so
taller than Aunt
Berth'ah's oldest
son. He swallowed the sudden lump in his
dry throat, and
said, cautiously,
"Who ARE.. YOU?"

The wild-haired,
taller one answered.
"I am......
Meshu'gah!"
He pointed a rather freckled
finger to his buddy.
"And......this is
SYLVESTOR!"

The shorter, plumper one, who
was still munching,
waved again.
"HI! I mean.....
HARK!"

They spoke quite
comfortably in
Kvetch'im's native
tongue, though with a pronounced
heavy accent, as
though they had
been born in one
of the far-off
Persian lands of
the East.

The rich scent wafted again to Kvetch'im's nose.
It smelled delicious, and very
alien to his nostrils. He sniffed again.
"What IS that?"

Sylvestor answered: his
small, plump mouth was very full.
"PEANUT BUTTER CUPS!"
He tossed another
bright-colorered,
little piece of papyrus on the
ground. The barn
yard was sprinkled with the
little orange-colored
papers.

Kvetch'im edged
a big nearer to
the huge figures,
who were both
wearing long, white robes, and
were bare foot.
Both of the creatures were big, though seemed friendly enough, and weren't carrying
any weapons.
"Peee.....bu'ps?
PEE....BUPS?
What kind of food
is THAT?"

Sylvestor, who had light brown fuzzy hair, and a
bulbous nose, suddenly stared
wide-eyed at his
friend.
"Uh, oh.......Meshu'gah!
We're not supposed to be
eatin' this STUFF!
Uh, oh!
It's from the
wrong CENTURY!"

Kvetch'im, hunkering down a bit, decided to edge ever closer.
He squinted: the
things that Sylvestor and Meshu'gah were
carrying on their
backs weren't bundles of supplies at all,
but huge, high
wings like that
of a white dove.
Kvetch'im ran behind one of the
scraggly bushes
that grew haphazardly around
the lopsided shed.
He squatted down; his heart
was beating rapidly, and sweat
was beginning to
bead on his low
brow: chilling his
face in the cold
dawn air; Rebecca and his mother
would never believe this.
"Who ARE.....
you TWO? And...
from what LAND...are you
FROM?"

The short, much
plumper one
peered up at his
tall friend, and
wrinkled his bulbous nose.
"What ARE we
here FOR,
Meshu'gah? I
FORGET! Can
WE fly back to the twenty-first
CENTURY? I'm
THIRSTY! I wanna' get a
strawberry SODA! Ya know:
that Strawberry
CRUSH!"

The taller creature popped
another piece of
the delicious-
smelling food in
his wide, freckled mouth.
"Not YET,
SYLVESTOR!
We got an ASSIGNMENT to
DO! Don't ya
REMEMBER?"

Sylvestor squinted up his
bulbous nose, as if he were being
asked a really hard question in a math test.
He continued
munching.
"Uh, uh! Last
thing I REMEMBER........
Archangel Michael
was yellin' at us
for bein' late to
FENCING class...
and the two of us
kept backing outta the Fencing
Practice Room till
you grabbed my
sleeve, and all of
a sudden we were
at WALMART...
in the twenty-first
CENTURY.....buyin' a big bag of miniature Reeses
Peanut Butter Cups! You should'a told me
to run over to the
grocery department to grab a couple a'
Strawberry Crush
six PACKS!"

Meshu'gah nodded; when he
did so, Kvetch'im
noticed that the
big thing on his
head wasn't a
helmet at all, but
a huge circle of
Light that bounced
up and down whenever Meshu'gah's big
head moved.
"Didn't have TIME, Sylvestor!
We got CALLED
back to the Throne Room for
an ASSIGNMENT!
Don't ya.....REMEMBER?"

Sylvestor munched, and nodded: munched
and nodded: squinting again.
His own circle of
Light was smaller,
and kept tipping
over, as if it were
unbalanced and needed to be fixed with one of
Uncle Ram'boll's
shoe-making tools.
"Oh, YEAH!
That's RIGHT!
And the Father
said that when we
got back from
our Assignment,
we had to go APOLOGIZE to
Michael for our
RUDENESS, and
spend an extra
TEN HOURS....
in the Sword-Fencing
Practice ROOM!"

"EXACTLY!"
Meshu'gah looked
back at his little
friend, and nodded furiously;
his own circle of
Light bouncing up
and down merrily.
Then he turned back around: trying to
make his red-freckled face
really serious. A
brown splotch of
the strange food
could be seen in
the corner of his
big face.
"We HAVE A SPECIAL
MESSAGE FOR
YOU, KVETCH'IM!"

Sylvestor nodded:
putting his small
plump hand into the big orange
and brown pouch,
again. He set the
pouch on a nearby rock, pulled off the
small papyrus,
tossed it onto the
wintery gray ground, and popped the
tiny big of food in
his mouth. He munched.
"YEAH!
It's......REALLY
IMPORTANT!"

Mesghu'gah's
firey red hair
waved behind his
wing'ed back. His hair was long,
and frizzy, and
always looked as
if he were in the
middle of a windstorm. Meshu'gah reached down and
withdrew a big
scroll out of a
pocket, that seemed invisible
within the deep
folds of his long
white gown. His
gown wasn't sparkling white,
but a speckled,
off-white, that
matched his the
big splotchy freckles across
his nose and cheeks. He pulled
on a dark blue velvet ribbon
that encircled the
scroll, and gave it
to his angelic friend.
Sylvestor didn't seem to
know what to do with it, so he stuck it in the
Reeses Peanut Butter Cups bag.
Meshu'gah squinted at the scroll, as if trying
to make sense of
it. He brought the scroll up to his freckled
nose, and squinted some more.
"Sylvestor! This
is in Ancient Shakespearean Angelic Speak! I
can't read THIS!
Can.......YOU?"

Sylvestor stood
up, and standing
tip-toe, squinted over the taller angel's bewing'ed
back. He scratched the back of his lopsided circle
of Light.
"Uh, UH! Don't
ya REMEMBER? We took a COURSE in that!"

Mesghu'gah looked up from the scroll, and
stared at the air.
"We......DID?
I must'a been
in the back of the
class........SLEEPIN'!"

Kvetch'im sighed
with exasperation.
He had chores to
do, and the sun
would soon be
coming up; a passel of ornery
travelers would
be demanding their breakfast,
and complaining
about the bill.
Who WERE these
foolish-looking strangers................anyway?
He always pictured angelic
beings of the
Most High to be
perfectly serene,
stern, not a feather out of place (Sylvestor's wings looked as if
he had been sleeping on them
in a pile of hay), extremely intelligent, and certainly not munching on little
bits of delicious,
sweet-smelling desserts from someplace called
'Waa'llmarm'? He also thought that angels would have
beautifully deep, and musical voices; Meshu'gah and
Sylvestor sounded like they couldn't carry a tune.
Kvetch'im shouted, irritably.
"GIVE me that
SCROLL! Let ME
see it!"

The two angels
looked at one another
cluelessly,
shrugged their
bewing'ed shoulders (Sylvestor's were
much plumper, and
his dirty, dusty
white gown kept
slipping off as if
it were four sizes
too big for him),
and then Mesghu'gah handed it, open-scrolled, to Kvetch'im.

"GOODNESS!"
Kvetch'im squinted at the
foreign-looking
letters, too.
".....Looks like
GREEK....to me!"

"YEAH!"
Sylvestor wiped
his sticky hand
on his already-dirty used-to-be-a-long-
time-ago white gown.
"SEE?
NOBODY can read it!"

Meshu'gah frowned, worriedly. He was
already anxious
about facing
the never-smiling
Archangel Michael, when they had to leave
Earth and go back
Home. The sight of the Archangel
always gave Meshu'gah a stomach ache.
"Well.....then,
we gotta try and
remember....Sylvestor.....what the
Father TOLD us...
back in the THRONE ROOM!"

"Eh........."
Sylvestor looked
around for a soda
can, and then remembered he
was in the wrong
century. What
did these folk
DRINK, back now?
"Eh........hey,
Kvetch'im? You
got any....WATER?
I'm THIRSTY!"

"Oh, for goodness
SAKE!"
Kvetch'im slammed the big
scroll on the ground, and marched into the
barn where he had
left a jug of fresh
water for himself,
last night.

Sylvestor looked
up at Meshu'gah:
a shocked look
on his plump, rosy
face.
"Well, HE'S in
a bad MOOD!"

Meshu'gah walked
over in his dirty
bare feet, and
picked up the
now-dirty scroll:
a smidge of goat manure
clung to one of the round things.
"Yeah.......these
humans are always kind of a pain in the tush'kah!"

Kvetch'im marched back,
with emphasized
exasperation,
and held out the
cold jug to Sylvestor.

Sylvestor frowned, and wrinkled his bulbous nose at the gray-brownish jug, as he gingerly took it. He stuck
his nose right above the opening of the jug, and sniffed
it warily.

"Just DRINK IT!"
Kvetch'im shouted. He was
getting more impatient, and
grumpy, by the
minute. He pictured the guests waking up,
by now, and asking one another where,
in Sheol, was that
worthless Inn Keeper.

Sylvestor looked
up at his friend,
as if asking him
if he thought the
water was okay
to drink. His pal
just shrugged,
and nodded. If
Sylvestor got sick
from bad-Bethlehem water, then maybe they might get
excused from Sword-Fencing-Practice
in the morning.
Maybe he should
drink some, too.

"NOW!"
Kvetch'im rolled
his eyes with
exasperation.
"WHAT was this
MESSAGE.....you
angels had to
GIVE ME? I've got.......
WORK to do!"

Sylvestor finished
gulping, and wiping
the back of his
plump hand across
his small, plump
mouth, he handed
the jug to his
friend. He looked down, and saw that he had splashed the water all over his already-stained gown. He poked at the gauzy white material, and frowned. Then he spoke
slowly, and questioningly.
"Eh.......I think....?
....It had SOMETHIN' to
do with.....POINTING?"

Kvetch'im sighed
and shook his head, in consternation.
"POINTING?
.....At....WHAT?"

".....Not....SURE!"
Meshu'gah was
now wiping his big
broad, freckled
mouth with the
edge of his spotted white gauzy gown.
"But Sylvestor's
RIGHT! There
was definitely
something about
'POINTING' in the command!"

"COMMAND....!"
Kvetch'im grabbed the water jug away
from the two
insipid, ridiculous
creatures.
"A........
COMMAND?"

Sylvestor and
Meshu'gah glanced over at
one another, warily. Then they both turned
and nodded at
their human charge, with very furious nods.

"Oh.....YEAH!"
Meshu'gah grimaced, and continued to nod.
His circle of Light, that bobbed also, even had speckles on it.
"DEFINITELY!"

Sylvestor was
peering up at his
much taller friend, and nodding furiously,
too.
"Oh, yeah!
You BET!"

"Yeah.......and,
there was somethin' about
havin' to shake
your HEAD!"

Kvetch'im burst
out laughing. He
was ALWAYS
shaking his head!
"What does THAT mean?"

Meshu'gah peered into the candy bag, again. He
was really getting
hungry; it always
happened when he
traveled down to
Earth. He figured
it had something
to do with the gravitational pull
of all the sin.
"Don't KNOW!
But.......you definitely gotta
shake your head..."

"And, POINT!"
Sylvestor squinted up at his
buddy again, and
nodded, as if he
were a cow ringing
the bell around
her neck.

"YEAH!
.....We think that
was the GIST
of the COMMAND!"
Meshu'gah munched on the
delicious smelling
food, while he
nodded. He was
thinking of potato
chips and wondered if they
had time to scoot
back to the twenty-first century, and fly
down to Walmart
to pick up some,
before they had to hightail it back
to Archangel Michael's office.

"What in Sheol
is a GIST?"
Kvetch'im felt
like pulling his
curly hair out; these two visitors
were making him
feel like it was
a full moon out.

"It's.....eh.....
YA know......"
Sylvestor scratched behind
his left wing. Being down on Earth too long always gave him
the itchies. He
couldn't wait to
be back Home,
and dozing on his
soft white cloud,
with his two chihuahuas,
Darth Veda, and Princess Lila.
Oh.....yeah. He
already forgot that they first had to make a beeline for Archangel Michael's office.
Sylvestor picked
at his wing, nervously, and frowned disconsonately.
"It's......ya know....
what ya gotta
REMEMBER..."

"Yeah!
....To DO!"
Meschu'gah said
through a full mouth. He wondered if they
sold potato chips
in this century.....
probably not.

"So.....that's IT?
I have to shake
my head, and
POINT?"
Kvetch'im kept
licking his lips,
and staring at the
strange-colored
food bag in Meshu'gah's freckled hand.

"YEAH!"
Meshu'gah reached out the
bag.
"Here.....Ya WANT to
TRY one?"

Sylvestor grabbed the bag
from his pal's hand.
"NO, MESHU'GAH!
YOU CAN'T!
IT'S NOT FROM
HIS CENTURY!
WE'LL GET IN
TROUBLE!"

Meshu'gah grabbed the bag
back, and bopped
it on Sylvestor's
lopsided halo.
"AAAH! Just
ONE CHOCOLATE! It
ain't gonna HURT
nuthin'! Come.....ON!"

Sylvestor frowned
worriedly, as he
watched his angel-
buddy hold out the
candy bag to their
human charge. He
sure hoped the Archangel
wasn't gonna hear about
this. Michael had a really
loud, baratone voice, and
when he yelled the whole
Angels' Dormitories shook.

"Hmmmm......."
Kvetch'im had already grabbed
several of the peanut butter
cups, and had unwrapped one:
tossing the wrapper back in the
bag.
"Hmmmmmm...."
He munched: moving his mouth
up and down, slowly. The food
was sweet, and stuck to the
roof of his mouth. He had
never tasted anything like it.
He talked with a full mouth.
"This is really ......GOOD!
So......SWEET! Is ALL food
like this, up in HEAVEN?"

Both angels nodded: shrugging
their shoulders. They only
had to eat at Home, if they
wanted to. The Archangel
Michael never ate......and
he never smiled, either.
"Sometimes!"
Sylvestor replied.
"But.....we got this from WALMART!
They were havin' an After-Christmas-
Sale!"

Meshu'gah turned to glare at his
friend, and poked him in the wing
with his big freckled elbow.

"An after......WHAT?"
Kvetch'im squinted at his
two visitors. They were looney,
but at least they had brought
some sweet
food.

"NUTHIN'!"
Meshu'gah replied loudly.
He was getting really nervous;
they had stayed on Earth much
too long; this was only supposed
to take about five minutes: swoop
down, deliver the Message from The
Throne Room, and then swoop back up.
Whenever he stayed on Earth too long,
his freckled nose began to itch, and
he would start sneezing; perhaps it
was all the sin in the air.
"Well........we better get GOIN'!"
Meshu'gah held out the orange and
brown crackly-sounding bag.
"HERE!
Ya wanna KEEP it?"

"MESH'!"
Sylvestor grabbed at the bag
with both of his small plump hands.
"NO!
REMEMBER?
WE CAN'T!
It's a....... RULE!"

"Don't WORRY about it!"
Kvetch'im let the bag go,
and put a hand to his stomach.
"I think that food's makin'
my STOMACH hurt....anyway!"
He paused, and stared, open-
mouthed at his two visitors;
nobody, particulary Aunt Berth'ah,
would believe him.
"So......that's all I have to DO:
shake my head, and POINT?"

"YEAH!"
Meshu'gah grimaced down at
his right bare foot; he had just
stepped in some goat manure.
He couldn't wait to get away from
this barn-thing.
"That's about.....IT!
You got any QUESTIONS?"
THAT'S IT!"

"Well........I guess........ONE!"
Kvetch'im had both fists on
his thick, girded waist, and was
staring up at the dawning sky.
Pinks, and yellows were streaking
softly on the horizon, and the moon
was slowly fading into the painted sky.
"How do WE....get to Heaven?"

Sylvestor and Meshu'gah turned
to squint cluelessly at one another,
and then stared at the air. Meshu'gah
spoke first.
"Just....eh.....SHAKE yur' head,
Kvetch'im......
and,
POINT!"
***********************
And,
she brought forth
her
firstborn son,
and wrapped him
in swaddling clothes,
and laid him
in a manger;
because
there was no
room
for them
in
the
inn.
[Luke 2:7]

Copyright 2012.





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