She had to be the most gorgeous woman he'd ever seen. Standing in the doorway, one hand hugging the wall, the other hugging a curvaceous hip. Beckoning to him with flirtatious eyes.
She twirled a curl of auburn hair on her right index finger. "Come here, handsome."
Sorry, babe, not tonight.
With a sigh he lay back on the bed, took a deep breath, and exhaled - steadily, deliberately, and very, very slowly. He must keep a lid on his gurgling stomach, lest the secret hidden within his bowels suddenly explode.
With a burp his diaphragm betrayed him, prompting her to pounce like a wolf upon the bed.
"Out with it. Confession clears the soul."
His lips were trembling. "If I speak what's on my heart, promise you won't run hiccuping from the room?"
"Who, me?" she purred. "As a priest's daughter, I can handle anything."
"Okay, then. But don't say I didn't warn you." Her beauty moved him to tears, and his stomach was growling up a storm. Did she know how badly this was killing him?
Against his better judgment he unleashed the bitter scroll, one roll of sour dough at a time. She took it until she could take no more, then ran from the room hiccuping.
"Come back!" he cried. "Come back!" he sobbed. "I asked you to stick with me. Why did you hiccup? Can't you hold it in for an hour?"
His pleading pricked her heart. With a bound she was back on the bed. "Sorry for my lack of self control. It's just that your story is so gastric. The treachery, the broken dreams, an innocent man's life ruined. And all for a handful of silver. The hypocrites! They're all traitors. Each and every one!"
"Sickening, isn't it?"
"Nauseous. Plus, you made the story sound so real. 'My God, why have you forsaken me?!' I felt like I was right inside that dungeon with you, experiencing that churn-or-burn myself."
He was quiet for a moment. When he spoke again, it was without the acid reflux. "Asenath, have you ever been attacked by a crazy lady? Or been thrown in jail for a crime you didn't commit?"
"No, can't say that I have."
"Well, it's no picnic."
"Sounds downright gag-a-maggot. But there's something about all this I just don't understand."
"And what's that?"
"Well, as the main grain "sustain" around here, you're always saying what you sow, you'll reap. In other words, deeds have... what rhymes with deeds?"
"Heck if I know."
"And what were your brothers thinking?"
He rubbed his chin. "Don't ask me who was meddling with the minds of those muttonheads."
"And the multi-colored coat?"
"I suppose they dumped it in that pit. You know, it's funny, but sometimes lying in bed at night I can almost hear its silent scream, calling from within the earthen womb, 'He's alive! Joseph is alive!"
"Makes me wonder what they told your dad."
"I can only speculate, but more than likely they lied about it. I mean, put yourself in their shoes. Isn't that what you'd do? Be honest. Yet once the truth comes out, which it eventually will, it's sure to work for good. Think about it. If they hadn't so cheaply sold out to evil by selling me to those Ishmaelites..."
She finished the thought for him. "We never would have met."
Joseph drew her into his arms. "Do you know how much I love you, my graciously genteel Gentile bride?"
"Then let me show you."
They shared a kiss.
A thunderous cheer erupted in the stadium. The play, though not quite over, had just received a standing ovation from the sellout crowd.
After the applause ended, Joseph added one final thought. "Perhaps someday our posterity will find a fishier meaning behind these events of which we speak. For now we're rolling in the wheat. But in two short years the famine will hit. And who knows what challenges that will bring? Let all believers take care to count the cost of discipleship so as not to sell themselves short of God's high calling on their lives. Thank you and good night."
He ended with a hiccup, and the crowd went wild.
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