Sam’s Sinus WMD
Scenes from my book: Beam Me Back to Bible Days
Available from the fiction section of www.i-proclaim.com
* * * * * *
Ben Buck and Sam Malone are on the mother of all time trips. They try to stay on good terms with a patrol of Roman soldiers they encountered in an alleyway.
* * * * * *
Sam didn’t want to show the officers their cell phones, lest they get confiscated. He took one of his bags of cherry bombs and a cigarette lighter out of the briefcase. He flicked the lighter several times, but it was out of fluid.
“I know!” Sam said. “My magnifying glass…”
Cautiously Sam pulled it out of a side pouch, then found a ministry leaflet. He walked over to a sunny spot, then held the magnifying glass over the brochure. A bright white dot appeared on the paper. To the Romans’ amazement, the leaflet smoked, then caught fire. Sam took one of the cherry bombs, lit the fuse with the flaming paper, then hurled the bomb at the jar he’d used to clobber the robber.
Blam! It blew to smithereens.
“That is remarkable!” the officer exclaimed. “Imagine how many lands we could conquer if we had access to your WMD! We could blow billions of barbarians to bits! What caused that terrible noise and smoke?”
“Gunpowder,” Sam said. “All I did was buy these little bombs for my son to play with, but I’m not smart enough to figure out how they’re made. Gunpowder won’t be discovered by western man for many centuries. If you want to learn the secret of these little bombs, you’ll have to cross the Himalayas over to China, a land to the far east of here.”
“They smell like they’ve got sulfur in them,” Ben remarked. “And I think my chemistry teacher said there’s also charcoal and potassium nitrate in gunpowder.”
“Or was that sodium nitrite, the same junk they enrich hot dogs with?” Sam wondered.
“Give us all you’ve got and we’ll set you free!” the officer barked. “Even if you are too stupid to tell us how they’re made, at least we can turn them over to our alchemists and they’ll figure that out for themselves. We stand in your debt. You captured our deserters and provided a secret weapon for us too. You’ve served your emperor well.”
“Wait,” Ben begged, realizing Romans had a ferocious reputation. “For our own protection, sir, please let us keep just one bag of these bombs, and we’ll give you the rest.”
Swords clanked. “And why should we let you keep anything!” the centurion barked.
Ben played on their heart strings: “Well, we did find your deserters for you, and we deserve some reward. If you’re nice to us we’ll do even more to prove our loyalty to Rome. I know your troops must be homesick for Rome and they must miss their household shrines. If you’ll let us keep some of our cherry bombs, Sam and I can run a religion factory to churn out custom-made idols for the comfort of your men. With Sam’s business smarts and my artistic skills, we can cater to all your religious needs. But we would need venture capital and a few spare slaves to get operations running.”
The centurion shook his head. “You aren’t cut out to be a Christian, Ben Buck, with your one-size-fits-all ecumenism.”
“Oh, But we are, sir, we just don’t offend anybody else’s faith by claiming to be the be all and end all of religious organizations. But we do run healing meetings. If your self esteem is down in the dunghill, or your nerves are going haywire, our upbeat services are good for what ails you. And if sinus sufferers send in a love gift of five dollars or more, we send ‘em our Sinus Miracle Cure Kit which contains a pouch of Miracle Seed Sinus Salt, which you immerse in our Well of Wealth Water and sniff up your schnozz to dry up your snot.”
“But our Sinus Miracle Cure Kit needs a bit more work done on it,” Sam sniffed. “Too bad Kleenex hasn’t been invented yet. I go around dripping like a perforated aqueduct.”
“Quit wiping your nose on your robe!” Cardicus barked. “How barbaric!” Cardicus ordered his squadron doctor to bring a roll of bandages for Sam.
Sam wiped his nose and said, “Thanks, officer, the local pollen’s about to kill me. Oh, yes, I’ve still got my sinus pills in here. He fished around his briefcase and found a packet of cold capsules.
The Roman was so excited to see them, he forgot Sam’s WMD. “What are these?” he breathed. “I’ve never seen such a little box with shiny little pebbles in it.”
“This here is cardboard,” Sam said, “sort of a form of papyrus. And this is egghead English which describes what my medication contains. Some form of hydrochloride that dries up your asthma atriums. I carry it with me wherever I go.”
Sam popped one of the pills out of the silvery blister pack. “You swallow this tiny egg-shaped thing which contains these colorful little grains, and you feel like a billion bucks within half an hour.”
“Only the Egyptians are so clever!” many of them mumbled. But Cardicus shook his head and said, “You two claim to be divine healers, but you still have to dope yourselves up to keep from falling apart. Why, I bet your preaching couldn’t even cure King Agrippa of the grippe he gets in the winter time.
“But even if you are horrible healers, you two are Roman citizens, with E. Pluribus Unum as your provincial motto, and you did pledge your services to Rome. As your just reward for capturing our two army deserters, I hereby appoint you, Ben Buck and Sam Malone, as official chaplains to the Samaritan outpost of the Roman Army. Report to me, Centurion Romanus Cardicus, at my headquarters on Hector Hill tomorrow morning at the third hour of the day and we’ll discuss your assignments in further detail. Go and find yourselves lodgings for the night, and report to my office at nine a.m. sharp! Dismissed…uh, wasn’t there something I forgot to mention?”
Before the centurion could concentrate on Sam’s cherry bombs, the squadron heard a loud uproar in the vicinity. A couple of sentries entered the alleyway, shouting that there was a riot in the marketplace and reinforcements were needed at once.
The centurion stiffened, then banged the end of his spear into the ground. He pointed the spear point at the two deserters and shouted, “Sentries, march those maggots off to the wharf, and sell ‘em as galley slaves to churn out chow for our Coast Guard! Company! Attention! Right face, Forward, March!”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Ben and Sam fly past their exit on the Time Travel Highway and end up in Farmer Micah’s horse pasture. Knowing the Millennium is an era of the supernatural, the two men confide in Micah about their origin, confident he’ll believe their story.
* * * * *
“That area is called ‘El Shaddai’ now,” Micah said. “And I heard about the televangelists they had back in the twenty-first century, just before the Tribulation. From what I gather, televangelists could be a shifty bunch, the way they shook the shekels out of poor widows.”
“That’s dollars, Micah, but as I said before, I do have my faults,” Ben said, hoping to skirt the issue. “I guess my most fatal flaw was Sam and I should have left the happy pills alone. That’s why we’re here now. Those are great kids you’ve got here, Micah.”
“They’re the children of Phanuel, my brother. He and his wife flew out here to visit me and my family for a few days. Gloriana wants to stay with me and her Aunt Eunice throughout the harvest season so she can experience farm life and enjoy a nice long visit with her cousins.”
“I’d like to show my appreciation for those kids sharing their blackberries with us,” Sam said, unthinking. “Here, I’ve still got my briefcase. Just before we left our own time, I’d bought this stuff for my son and his buddies who were going camping up in the mountains.”
Sam felt around the bottom of his satchel and fished out two packets of the cherry bombs the Romans forgot to confiscate. He also found two battery-operated toys. “I would have given them Kazuki music players, Micah, but Simon Magus pinched the last ones we had left.”
Sam showed Micah the cherry bombs. “Just look at these little babies,” he winked. I grew up scaring birds out of trees with these things. All your kids have to do is light the fuses and they can blast bull frogs clear off their lily pads. And just look at this nifty little game board.” Sam activated its “Won Ton Terror” program. On the tiny screen martial arts combatants kicked and swung at each other, making war cries.
Micah was speechless. Sam turned his back to Micah for a moment. He found a cigarette lighter and lit one of the little bombs, then threw it halfway across the pasture before Micah could stop him.
A couple of horses whinnied and bolted away.
Micah looked mad. “One of those horses is about to foal! If she miscarries, I’ll hold you personally responsible! It’s a good thing I got here before you gave this stupid stuff to our children! You’ve got ten seconds to clear off my land before I call the law on you!”
Ben thought fast. He and Ben couldn’t afford any more enemies, and both of them were hungry with nowhere to stay. “Oh, no, Micah, we didn’t mean to foul up your foaling. Please forgive our fox pass!”
“That’s faux pas, Ben,” Sam said with an educated air.
“Right, Sam,” Ben huffed. “Truth is, Micah, Kids play with that stuff all the time where we come from. We forget we aren’t in the same world. As a gesture of surrender, you can get rid of all our WMD. We won’t need it here.”
It was like déjà vu for Micah. “Then dump all that junk out of your bag right now! If you’re gonna come home with me for cookies and lemonade, you can’t bring any Belial baggage with you! What kind of kids do you think we raise around here! The very idea, bombing God’s sweetly singing meadow larks out of their nests and frightening friendly frogs! You fellows oughta hang your heads in shame!”
Reluctantly Sam obeyed. He couldn’t barter with such things as he carried in his briefcase anyway, so he opened it wide and dumped its contents out on the green grass. Along with the scary toys, ministry paraphernalia and flyers flew out. Sam picked one up. “Check this out, Micah. These are ads for our next crusade, which would have been held if Sam and I hadn’t gotten ill. And some of this other stuff is samples of love gifts we sent out to our faith partners.” Sam picked up a paperback cookbook and opened it to the flyleaf. “See? It gives the name of our organization: Green Manna Ministries, and its address, e-mail and phone numbers.”
Sam turned to a picture in the middle. “This is me and my wife Rosie, and we’re sharing our recipe for catfish croquettes.”
Micah shook his head. “How much did folks have to pay to get this collection of fine recipes?” he wondered.
“We sent it free of charge, Micah, for a suggested donation of at least five dollars. But if the viewer couldn’t afford that much, we’d mail it to him anyway.”
“Well, that’s mighty neighborly of you,” Micah said, “and I suppose God can forgive most any sin…even preacher greed, if it’s properly repented of. Uh…where was this book produced?”
“Overseas,” Ben said. “At least the work provided daily rice for poverty-stricken third-world factory workers.”
“I guess nobody could have lived off the wages of that work in your own world,” Micah said, as if he understood perfectly.
“And what’s this thing?” Micah almost laughed. “He picked up a plastic baggy. It contained a long piece of plastic, upon which was inscribed a message.
“A replica of a bone belonging to the prophet Elisha,” Sam muttered.
Micah almost choked on his guffaws. “Lord, forgive me,” he cried. “This really isn’t funny. But what does that writing on that plastic bone say?”
“Well, for starters, Micah, the bone is made of high-grade polygon polymer, made to last a lifetime. It says: ‘Buried faith can be resurrected’. We would send that one to donors of ten dollars or more, to show our appreciation for taking a giant leap of faith.”
“Elisha is alive and well now,” Micah said. He rules on the other side of the planet. I believe he helps run the Samaria district, I’m not too sure. He might be piqued if he finds out you used his bones as a faith gimmick, though. Better get rid of that, too. It’s just plum disgusting, the way you TV evangelists always paired up your precious dollars with faith, as if our God dispenses His favors for a price! For shame!”
Ben and Sam grew quiet, then Sam timidly asked, “Do you happen to know where St. Peter is ruling, Micah?”
“You mean the Apostle Peter from the Bible?”
“He and the other apostles rule over the twelve tribes of Israel. Actually, as a Tabernacle elder I’m ashamed to say I’m a little fuzzy about which tribe each apostle rules over. I might be wrong, but I think Peter governs Issachar. There are descendants of Israelites spread throughout the earth, though a great many are concentrated in the literal Holy Land. And the Land of Israel is several times its original size now. How else could it contain so many of Abraham’s descendants, who are so vast in number?
“Peter does quite a bit of traveling round Europe, I hear, and quite often he or some other great from the past visits the saints in this part of the earth.”
Sam looked worriedly at Ben, but was quiet.
Sam pointed to two packages on the ground. “Oh, Micah, is it okay if I keep those sinus capsules? They’re not the bad junk that got me and Ben high.”
Micah picked up one of the packages and scrutinized it. “Can’t even pronounce those ingredients. Interesting. This stuff just isn’t made anymore. Why would you need it anyway?”
“I get migraine headaches from pollen and air pollution,” Sam said. “My nose runs like a faucet, and I can barely breathe sometimes. I’ve always been like that. It runs in my family. Pre-Trib bodies were glued together with lots of coffee and convoluted chemicals.”
“And don’t forget prayer, Sam,” Ben said unctuously.
** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
As they talk, Micah gets to know Ben and Sam better, but is cautious about the baggage they brought along.
Sam thought fast. “It was part of our high calling, Micah, to encourage folks far and wide not to settle for less than being, and having, the very best the good Lord could give them. Ben and I, we’d tell some poor raggedy folks: ‘You’re special. You’re children of the Great King. Don’t live below your privileges’.”
“But evidently you did, Sam, or you and Ben wouldn’t have been seeking your thrills in pills. Tell you what, if you want your medication back, you’ll have to leave, because I want nothing on my land that could tempt our children. Even the older ones might be fascinated by those funny capsules you take. But if you want to come back to the house with me, hand ‘em over and we’ll give you something much better for what ails you, Sam.”
Ben looked at Sam. “Sam, I’ve always told you it’s high time you got off that hydrolized, chloridized junk. Every sniffle or drip, you knock ‘em down your neck like candy. We’ll be home soon anyway. Just fork ‘em over to Micah.”
“That’s easy for you to say, Ben,” Sam moaned. “Your sinuses aren’t a festering swamp like mine. But okay, since you promise we’ll be home soon…”
“Good for you, boys,” Micah said. “That goes for your ‘love gifts’ too. If you’re really serious about repenting of your wicked ways, just hand your lucrative love gifts and war toys over. How odd, you’re from the Church Age, and I live in the Millennial Kingdom Age. How is it that you’ve stumbled into my dispensation to get spiritual help? Wasn’t it available back in your own time?”