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Sunburn or Shekinah Glory?
by Julie Michaelson
02/22/09
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And he was there
with the Lord
forty days
and forty nights;
he neither ate
bread nor
drank water....
When Moses came down
from Mount Sinai,
with the two tables....
Moses did not know
that the skin
of his face
shone...
[Exodus 34:28-29]
************************
(Moses is walking slowly,
and ungracefully,
from down the Mountain.
One of his neighbors,
Schlupzy, sees him first.)
_______________
"Hey, MOSES!
Where'ya BEEN?"

(Moses sighs impatiently,
and squints, as he bumps
into a scraggly bush, at
the bottom of the Mountain.)
"What d'ya MEAN,
where'I BEEN?"
(Moses squints, and glares
at his plump, good-
natured neighbor.)
"Where'd ya THINK,
I've BEEN?"

(Schlupzy puts on a hurt,
woe-be-gone face.)
"Sorry, MOSES!
It's just.....we've all
been DOWN here,
WAITIN' for ya!"

(Moses frowns, and
nods.)
"Yeah.....I remember the
LAST TIME, you
guys got tired of
WAITIN' for me!"

(Schlupzy grimmaces;
he looks down at his
big, plump toe.)
"Oh, yeah;
'forgot about THAT.
Hey! That's wasn't ME,
Moses! Everybody was
DANCIN' around that
big, golden CALF! YOU
know I can't DANCE:
with these flat FEET?"

(Moses sighs, and nods.
He puts a leathery hand
on his plump neighbor's
shoulder.)
"I know; I KNOW,
Schlupzy! It wasn't YOU.
YOU were probably in
your TENT: takin' another
NAP!"

(Schlupzy smiles broadly,
and nods vehemently.
Then, he stands back,
and stares at Moses.)
"So.....eh, what's goin'
ON, with YOU?"

(Moses squints at
his next-tent-neighbor,
cluelessly.
He sits down, on a nearby
rock, to take a scraggly
twig out of his sandal.)
"What d'ya MEAN?"

(Schlupzy just stares,
open-mouthed, at his
forever-grumpy leader.)
"HUH?"
(Draws a finger in a
circle, toward Moses.)
"YOU know!
Your FACE!
What's goin' ON?"

(Moses squints up
at Schlupzy, with an
exasperated frown.)
"Schluppy, I'm not in
the MOOD! Come on:
I gotta go get somethin'
to EAT! I haven't eaten
in DAYS!"
(Moses gets up from the
rock, and then stubs a
toe. He squints again,
and curses.)

(Schlupzy reaches out to
help his absent-minded,
and near-sighted, clumsy
leader. Then, he stares
at Moses, again.)
"I ain't KIDDIN',
Moses!"
(Schlupzy peers
closer, with concern.
He squints, too.)
What's wrong
with y'ur FACE?"

(Moses pulls away
from he neighbor's
grip, impatiently.)
"ALRIGHT, SCHLUPPY!
QUIT IT!
I AIN'T in the MOOD!"

"MOSES!
I AIN'T KIDDIN'!"
(Schlupzy continues to stare.
His mouth opens, even
wider.)
"Y'ur, like.....all BURNT!
And.......and,"
(Another squint.)
"..SHINY!"
(Squint.)
"Like.....a.....
..LIKE...
a, big, boiled
POMEGRANATE!"
(Laugh!)

(Moses grabs his
staff, from the side
of the rock, where he
had set it down. It's
taken him a few minutes
to find it, what with his
near-sightedness, and all.)
"SCHLUPPY!
Look; I'm TIRED,
HUNGRY, and.....
TIRED!"
(He mutters to himself,
and stabbing his long staff
in the scruffy desert grass,
starts walking away.)
"I'm goin' back to my
TENT!"

(Schlupzy follows behind,
trying to keep up,
with his two flat feet.)
"MOSES!
I'm not KIDDIN'!"
(Schlupzy pants a little,
with all the unusual exertion.)
"There's somethin'
all over y'ur FACE!
It's like....."
(Pant, pant.)
"It's like....."
(Pant.)
".....like, ya stuck y'ur
HEAD in a jar'a HONEY,
'r SOMETHIN'!"

(Moses rolls his eyes,
and stops in his dusty
tracks.)
"What're you DOIN'
up here, ANYWAY,
Schluppy? YOU
never come up HERE:
only the HARDWORKING
SHEEP herders DO!"

(Schlupzy bends over,
for a minute, to catch
his plump breath.)
"Yeah."
(Pant. Pant.)
"I know, MOSES!
Y'ur RIGHT.
This is the FIRST time,
I've BEEN up here!"

"SO?"

(Pant.)
"My little pet SHEEP,
MAASHTY,
got AWAY!"
(Pant.)
"I got really UPSET!"
(Pant.)
"So, me and the youngest
took off; and FOLLOWED
her....all the way up HERE."

(Moses nods,
comprehendingly.
His neighbor rarely
left his cluttered,
kids-and-pets-filled
tent, unless it was in a
really forced way.)

"Nebby found her,
and went up on, ahead.
I sat down, for a bit,
to rest.....and, then
I saw YOU comin' down."

(Moses nods, again.
He stubs his other toe,
on another rock sticking
out of the desert grass.)
"Ah.
I SEE."

"Yeah!
I'm glad I DID,
Moses!
You better do somethin'
with your FACE!"
(Schlupzy puts both
his plump palms out,
and grimmaces.)
"Y'ur gonna SCARE
EVERYBODY!"

"Schluppy,
I think you been
out in the SUN,
too long!"

"Uh, UH,
Moses!"
(Laugh!)
"I think...
YOU HAVE!"
(Laugh.)
*******************
And when Moses
had finished speaking
with them,
he put a veil
on his face;
but
whenever Moses
went in before
the Lord
to speak to Him,
he took
the veil
off.
[Exodus 34:33-34]




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