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Gripper Products
787 N 24th Street
Philadelphia PA 19130-2540

copyright 2003 by Gripper Products

Permission to perform where no  actors or director are paid and no admission is charged is hereby granted. For all other arrangements, contact cormo@juno.com

Billie Holiday Night in Heavenís Lounge

by Grippy and Cormo


Cast:
Jezebel
Miriam
Rebecca
Angel Gabriel / Bartender
Goat-Man
Shep
Elijah

Scene: The Lounge in God's Mansion. (Big sign on wall: Billie Holiday Night in Heaven's Lounge) Jezebel, dressed in jewel-studded full length gown with slit up leg, is chatting with Angel Gabriel in back stage right. Jez is holding a microphone Ė she has just finished singing. Musical instruments (drum, saxophone, cymbals) are on the floor beside her. Rebecca, dressed in the simple costume of her original era, is seated at a table center stage, beside a foosball game. Rebecca is drinking milk, Jez something bright green. At stage back, near center is a dart board. At stage right are a pair of Love Meters. One reads "How Much Do YOU Love God?" and the other says "How much does God love YOU?" At the top of each meter is a red heart, which will glow and beat if the Love is strong. Shep and Goat-Man are joking around and trying out the love-meters with little success. Elijah is drinking something dark in the back left corner. In the background, after Jezí song ends, we hear Holstís "Planets."


Jezebel: (singing at microphone)

I get no kick from champagne.
Mere alcohol doesn't thrill me at all,
So tell me why should it be true
That I get a kick out of you?


Some get a kick from cocaine.
I'm sure that if I took even one sniff
That would bore me terrific'ly too,
Yet I get a kick out of you.

I get no kick in a plane.
Flying too high with some guy in the sky
Is my idea of nothing to do,
Yet I get a kick out of you.


(Applause, during which Jez bows, arms out like wings. Then she steps away from microphone to talk with Angel Gabriel. By the end of the song, Rebecca, still close to the entrance, is swaying in time to the music, eyes closed, face showing internal pain. Her nose ring glitters as a dot of light from the ceiling mirror ball travels over her face.

Angel Gabriel pours Rebecca a drink from his clear pitcher which turns white in her glass, while Jezebel takes her bows.)

Rebecca (to Gabriel): Did she write that song? It's very -- impressive.


Gabriel (handing their drinks to Jez and Rebecca as he speaks, then putting Miriam's down at the table): No, we're doing a tribute to the musical genius of Billie Holiday. That's one of her songs.


Rebecca: Why isn't Miss Holiday singing her own songs?


Angel Gabriel: She chose to go back to Earth.

Rebecca: Why would anyone do that?

Angel Gabriel: Iím sure she had her reaons.


(Angel Gabriel leaves the table, and goes back to Jezebel who is finishing her bows.)

Jezebel: (softly) Whoís that sad-looking woman over there? (Pause) She looks like she hasnít been back down in millenia.

Angel Gabriel: Oh, you must mean our Reverend Mother Rebecca. Iím glad you noticed her. Your sense of adventure always cheers me up.

Jezebel: You? I thought angels were happy all the time. (She empties her glass.)

Angel Gabriel: Surely you donít believe that stereotype! (Pause) Iíll refill your glass and then you go put some sparkle back in Rebeccaís eyes.

(Angel Gabriel pours from the clear liquid in his pitcher into Jezebelís glass where it becomes more of her green liquid.)

Jezebel: Iíll need some background music.

(Jez nods to the band. Background music switches to Havanagila as Jez approaches Rebecca.)

Jezebel: Mind if I sit with you?

Rebecca: You were just singing. Donít you have to go back stage?

Jezebel: This is Heaven. Nobody has to go anywhere or do anything. Weíre just here to have fun.

Rebecca: Fun?

Jezebel: What do you like to do for fun?

Rebecca: Fun?


Jezebel: Do you ever think about reincarnating? Going back to Earth?

Rebecca: Earth wasnít much fun. My true love died young. I had a horrible marriage...

(Jez hugs Becky)

Jezebel: There, there, darliní. You had a rough time.

Becky: I wanted to make a difference, be important...

Jezebel: And you were. Have you seen your write-up in the Bible? You are honored among women.

Becky: It wasnít worth it!

(Miriam joins them at the table. Miriam is dressed in a loose dress like Rebeccaís but wears gaudy Egyptian jewelry and carries a tambourine. Angel Gabriel joins them with his magic pitcher. He refills Beckyís milk, and Jezís green stuff.)

Angel Gabriel: Your usual water today, Miriam?

Miriam: Thank you, Gabe. Make it a double.

(Gabriel pours two glasses of water and places them in front of Miriam)

Miriam: Why, Revered Mother Rebecca, so good to see you out and about.

Rebecca: Please call me Becky. I may be your many-times great grandmother, but youíre no baby to dandle on my knee.

Miriam: But, Revered Mother, I want to give you the honors you deserve.

Rebecca: I donít want anything but my name. Honorifics seem so false. My name is Becky. Itís a simple one. Iím sure you can remember.

Jezebel: Becky and I were just talking about having fun.

Miriam: (to Becky) Oh, no, RevĖ I mean Becky Ė Is she trying to talk you into reincarnating? You donít need to, you know.

Rebecca: I never want to go back! I had such a miserable time.

Miriam: But Ė You canít mean it -- You were Abrahamís daughter-in-law. You were rich! You inherited the promises. You had two healthy children. Sons! What more could you possibly want?

Rebecca: Is that what it says in the Bible? I really should read it some time...

Miriam: You are honored among women.

Rebecca: For what? For marrying Isaac in that horrid goat-manís body?

Miriam: The Bible doesnít say anything about a horrid goat-man. It says you married Isaac, Abrahamís son by Sarah, the gift of God in his old age...

Rebecca: Then the Bible is full of lies! Lies! And half-truths!

Miriam: Becky, you canít mean that! You really shouldnít hang around folks like Jez. I donít know why God lets wicked women like her in here. If anybody needs to reincarnate Ė she does!

Jezebel: God told you that I, Jezebel, Queen of Israel, was a wicked woman?


Miriam: It's in the Bible.


Jezebel: Do you believe everything you read?


(Jezebel takes a sip from her glass, shrugs, and turns as if to leave.)


Miriam: (flabbergasted, rises, walks over to Jezebel, puts hand on her
shoulder, spins her around.) Didn't you commit adultery, start wars, and
have innocent people executed so you could steal their land?

Jezebel: Oh, that.


(Puts her drink down on the table, opens her large purse, pulls out her mirror.)


Miriam: Yes, that.


Jezebel: That bothers you?


Miriam: Not just me. Sins distress God!


Jezebel: If that's all that's worrying you, then relax. God is not upset about that.


Rebecca: Donít fight, ladies. I came here to have a good time.


Miriam: (shakes her tambourine.)

God is not upset? You actually think God doesn't care about that? Haven't you read the ten commandments that my brother brought down from Mount Sinai? Not once, but twice?


Jezebel: (calmly applying blush) Those are great rules for a happy life. I recommended them to my husband many times.


Miriam: I'm not concerned with your husband. I'm concerned about you. You didn't follow them.


Jezebel: They didn't apply to me.


Miriam: Listen to yourself. Do you really think you are above God's laws?


Jezebel: Above, parallel to, who cares about the geometry, darling? Somebody's got to do it, and I volunteered. (Pause) Relax, you're in heaven now. You can forget about distinguishing good and evil. Everything here is good.


Miriam: You are the most evil woman in the Bible. Why would I take your advice about anything?


Jezebel: Elijah said the same thing. But he took my advice and benefitted from it.


Miriam: (nervously shakes tambourine again)

Becky, do you believe her audacity? Brazen falsehoods right in God's heaven!


Rebecca (shrugging): Itís all past history. Itís over and done with and thereís nothing you can do about it. Youíre in heaven now. Enjoy. Relax. Thatís what I want to do.

 

Miriam: I'm outraged! She thinks the ten commandments are for other people.


(Rebecca shrugs, turns, spins the Foosball knobs again. Miriam pulls her hand away, as if disciplining a child.)


Rebecca: Do you know how to play this game?


Miriam: Games are for children.


Jezebel: Everybody plays games all the time. The ten commandments are great rules. But what good are rules if there's no temptation to break them? When you play a team sport, you agree to try to keep the other team from their goal, and they agree to do the same for you. That's how you hone your skills.


Rebecca: Life isn't a sport, played to win.


Jezebel: It isn't?

Rebecca: Of course life isnít a sport Ė And thereís nothing to win. You go down to Earth, youíre miserable for a while. Then you die and you come back here, and you still donít have any fun.

Jezebel: Come on, Becky. Let me show you how to play this game. It's called Foosball.


Miriam: Stay here at the table, and drink your milk. She's trying to confuse you. And probably tempt you at the same time.


Jezebel: Ignore her. Weíre here to have fun.

 

Miriam: You wonít have fun playing with her. Iím sure she cheats.

(Miriam takes a big swig of her water.)

Jezebel: Do you remember Solomon's Proverb: "the first step towards wisdom is the fear of God." He never tells you the next step. That, you have to discover for yourself.


Miriam: I'm sure the next step isn't Foosball.


Rebecca: So? What's the first step in Foosball?


Jezebel: First, I drop in this puck. Then I spin these little men on the stick and they kick the puck toward the goal. As soon as you see the puck move, you spin your little men and kick it back at me, towards your goal.


Rebecca (nodding): Kick. Kick.


(Jez and Becky play for a while, Becky saying "kick" now and then.)


Miriam: You two are acting like children.


Jezebel: We are children of God.


Miriam: You are a child of the devil.


Rebecca: These men are all stuck together like chunks on a kebab.


Miriam: Men at war tend to act like that.

Jezebel: Their leaders wish they would act like that. This game is simplified.


Miriam: So are the ten commandments, but you couldn't follow ten simple rules.


Jezebel: The Bible leaves out many important things.

(Angel Gabriel approaches the table, smiling, fans the women with his wings.)

Angel Gabriel: Refills, ladies?


(Gabriel refills Jezebel and Rebeccaís glasses that they have left on the table.)


Rebecca: Thank you. This goatís milk is delicious.


Miriam: The Bible says everything we need to know.


Rebecca: Kick -- kickety.

(She scores. She throws her hands above her head, fisted.) YES!


Jezebel: You enjoyed our game.


Rebecca (almost surprised): Yes. Yes, I did. It's been a while since -- since I enjoyed something. (She chews her lip.) So much, I mean. Thank you.


Jezebel: But would you have enjoyed it near as much, if you just dropped in the puck and kicked it with your little men and nobody kicked it back at you.


Miriam: You let her win. You were tempting her.


Jezebel: I went easy on her. We teach our children by giving them easy problems before we expect them to solve the harder ones.


Miriam: You cheated. A master doesn't let a child win a match to let the child feel good. A master beats the child as quickly as possible to show that he is a master. The master gives the child something to aspire to.


Jezebel: I didn't claim to be a master. And this was just a game.

Miriam: Itís all the same to you. You manipulate things to suit your purposes Ė games, lives...


Rebecca: I know that you were a temptress. Maybe thatís okay with God. But Miriam is right in one sense. Did you have to break the rules yourself, while you were tempting others?


Jezebel: The rules don't apply to me. I was starting to tell you about how Elijah took my advice.


Rebecca: He didn't! Iíve met Elijah. Heís a gentleman.

(Goat-Man approaches the table.)


Goat-Man: Rebecca, I didn't expect to see you up here after that lie you told me on my death bed. (Rebecca stiffens, standing tall, glares down her nose at him.)


Jezebel: (to Goat-Man) I don't believe we've met.


(She offers him a hand to kiss. He shakes it.)


Jezebel: I'm Jezebel, Queen of Israel. What's your name?


Goat-Man: I'm Esau, Esau Senior.


(He seats himself at the table. Gabriel pours him something yellow and foamy from the clear pitcher.)


Jezebel: And how do you know our Becky?


Goat-Man: I was married to her. But she never let me call her Becky. It was always the formal Rebecca.


Miriam: Rebecca was married to Isaac.


Goat-Man: She was married to me. Your filthy Bible refers to me by the name of that evil spirit who possessed me for half my life.

Rebecca: Isaac was no evil spirit. And you haven't improved a bit.

Elijah: Time for another song.

Jezebel:

There's something that rules our destiny

Right from the first day of our birth

Altough you may not care for me

You have your mission on this earth

You were born to love

Sure as you live

Born with everything heaven could give

You have eyes and they express

Love at a glance

You have lips who's tenderness

Speak of romance

Like a dream of love, lovely to see

You're the angel of my destiny

And to think that you have found

Your place on earth only to be

Born to love and be loved by me


Miriam: You married Isaac. It says so in the Bible.


Rebecca: (sighs) I married Isaac -- what was left of him -- in this horrid man's body.


Jezebel: Are you saying this man ate Isaac? That he's a cannibal?


Rebecca: Oh. (She shrugs again.) It wasn't his fault, really. He was just there at the time.


Miriam: Somebody is always responsible. Surely this man was responsible for what he did!


Jezebel: What is he supposed to be responsible for?


Rebecca: No, I may not like him, but in this, he's not responsible. He was just there, in Moriah, on a mountain. Abraham killed Isaac. Esau, Senior, here, is the witness.


Goat-Man: But Isaac, curse him, didn't have the sense to stay dead.


Rebecca: Don't you curse Isaac! He was worth a thousand of you. I loved him.

Esau (bitter): You think I didn't know? (to Miriam and Jez) His father Abraham didn't stop swinging his knife when the angel shouted, "Halt!" like it implies in your filthy Bible. Isaacís blood spilled on that woodpile, but his spirit went into my body. Next thing I knew, my mouth was shouting, "Here I am. I am your son, Isaac."


Miriam: Abraham didn't kill Isaac. It says so in the Bible. It says Abraham tied Isaac to the sacrificial altar, and Abraham raised his knife. But before Abraham could strike, the angel cried out to him and told him to stop.


Jezebel: But the Bible doesn't say Abraham obeyed.


Rebecca: The Bible must leave out a lot of my story. Abraham and Isaac had been arguing about God, and by the time the angel cried "Halt!" Abraham's arm was already in motion. Abraham was too angry to stop. His knife beheaded Isaac.


Miriam: That's not what it says.


Rebecca: I don't care what the Bible says. I know what happened. Great Uncle Abraham killed my Isaac's body. But he didn't kill Isaac's soul. He couldn't! (She covers her eyes, remembering.) Isaac's body died, but Isaac's soul entered this goat-man here, who was standing in the thicket near the altar. Possessed him, you might say.


Jezebel: Are you telling me that Isaac -- in this man's body -- was still the same tender lad you loved ?


Rebecca: I didn't realize it at first. The Isaac I loved sang to the sheep as they grazed, his fingers as skilled on the lute as any city lad trained in musicianship for years. When he spoke, his voice was tender music, too. He saw dreams in the stars. He showed me the world in wonder -- mushrooms springing from a dead tree like shelves, tiny flowers opening after rain. He fascinated me with his thoughts about life and love and his father's god.


Goat-Man: He was a weakling, a wimp. Totally unsuited to the hunt. And after his father brought me home, he tried to make a pet of me, force me into living a soft life! Mutilating me in a sacrificial ritual. Tending sheep instead of hunting. He made me marry this skinny girl who would rather dream than work.


(Miriam holds up her glass. Gabriel comes and refills it with more water. Miriam takes several deep swigs.)


Rebecca: I never saw any cuts on you.


Jezebel: And how did you ever find your beloved tender Isaac in this man's rough hairy body?


Miriam: Silence, harlot. This isn't about Rebecca. You have no business prying. You started a war that could have killed your husband. You committed adultery. You arranged the deaths of innocent men.

Goat-Man: You must know what that uncle of yours did to all the males he could. You were married to me, after all.


Rebecca: I married my true love, even in a repulsive animal-body.


Goat-man (almost snarling): You think your body was attractive to me? I wanted a rough sturdy woman!


Jezebel: So, you had two husbands. Isn't that a kind of adultery? Not that I'm saying there's anything wrong with that. This fellow is sexy in an animalistic way.


Rebecca: I didn't even like him.


Goat-Man: Same here.


Rebecca (Not angry, matter of fact): It didn't stop you. Things are different for a man. And while it's true that Isaac's spirit was in another man's body-- I loved only Isaac, and had only one man in my bed.


Jezebel: Things are different for a man? Since when? I didn't see two sets of commandments, one for men and one for women. Men: Thou shalt commit adultery. Women: Thou shalt not! Or, is that what the first one, the one Moses broke? (pause) Miriam, you can tell us the truth.


Miriam: Your teasing may turn men on, but I find it false. Moses was a good man, a true servant of God. And he did marry both his wives. He did right by them.

 

Jezebel: That's not what you said at the time. You must have said something that caused Moses to give you leprosy and send you out alone into the desert.


Miriam: It's true. I criticized Moses. I told him to spend more time governing the unruly Hebrews and less time in bed with his tush-wiggling young wife. I was angry, and I felt betrayed. So, I took things into my own hands. I was wrong. I can admit that. Why can't you?


Jezebel: I did nothing wrong. I fulfilled my assignment. Just like Esau Senior here.


Rebecca: Esau? Humph! I don't believe that.


Miriam: I wish that was a truth meter over there, instead of a Love Meter! Then we'd get the real stories!


Jezebel: Why do you think truth and love are different things? Both are attributes of God, and God is One.

Miriam: Who are you to talk about God?

Goat-Man: You're one to talk! Ask Shep, over there.

(Goat-Man motions to Shep, who joins them at the table. Gabriel pours Shep an orange drink.)


Miriam: (tambourine) God needs us to obey His commandments. Those of us who know them have to obey to set a good example for the uneducated.


Goat-Man: (indicating Rebecca) Then she doesn't belong here.


(Rebecca shrugs, turns, twiddles Foosball game.)


Jezebel: Hello, Shep. How do you know our Miriam?


Shep: It all started when she helped her cruel murdering brother Moses bury me. Moses saw me disciplining a Hebrew slave. He attacked me, murdered me! Miriam helped hide my body. But I only really got to know her when she brought me back to life as Manna Man in the desert.


Miriam: Shep, surely there's something you'd rather do than sit around chatting with us.


Shep: Esau and I have become good friends, and I did enjoy my time with you, even though you didn't give me genitals.


Goat-Man: Abraham only cut off the tip of mine. But she took off your whole...


Rebecca: What are you talking about?


Miriam: We were talking about why it is necessary for good people to enforce God's laws.


Jezebel: Why? Since when do uneducated people follow what you intend for a good example? They usually look at the self-consciously good citizens and regard them as stupid marks.


Miriam: Not just showing them how to live a good life, but enforcing the laws. (She nods, firmly.) Punishing the law-breakers.


Jezebel: God needs you to enforce His laws? He can't do it by himself? Seems to me he makes gravity work without anybody's help. If a law is important, He sets it up to be self-enforcing. If He didn't want me to do what I did, I couldn't have done it.


(Gabriel pours glasses of colored liquids (red for Esau, orange for Shep) and refills Becky, Miriam and Jezís glasses. Rebecca takes hers gratefully and sips.)

Miriam: You donít belong here. None of you! Only Reverend Mother Rebecca here is worthy to sit at Godís table with me.

Jezebel: Seems to me that Heaven is the joyous place God wants it to be Ė with all of us here. Perhaps you do not know Godís laws as well as you think you do...


Rebecca (sighing): I can't have you thinking I'm so totally good that I never disobeyed. I just didn't have many opportunities. But even when I was a child, there were the wolves. (A reminiscent smile) That started because my parents were always sending me to stay with Great-

Aunt Sarah and Great-Uncle Abraham because they wanted me to marry Isaac when I grew up. Great-Aunt Sarah wanted it, too, she was forever sending me to take Isaac his lunch, fresh and warm. We'd sit and eat, watching the animals and talking...

Goat-Man: See what I mean? This is no wife for me! But Abraham offered me his inheritance if I'd marry her, and in a moment of weakness, I took it.


Jezebel: So, Abraham practiced temptation...


Miriam: This is a story of you being disobedient? You sound like the perfect daughter.


Rebecca: I was. As far as anyone knew. Until one day . . . I heard the screams and howls before I saw anything. I knew that was a wolf yowling. How could Isaac, tender, soft bodied child that he was, hold off a wolf with only a shepherd's simple stick?


Jezebel: Sounds scary.


Goat-Man: I lived for moments like that.


Rebecca: I ran. Isaac was still standing, covered with blood, face contorted with pain. The animals were rushing about, bleating and baaing in terror. A large hairy body lay still at his feet. Isaac pointed at the dead wolf with its crushed, bloody skull. then he said ...


Angel Gabriel: "Look! She's female, Becky."


Rebecca: His finger touched a swollen nipple. A thin trickle of milk dribbled out. He went on ...


Angel Gabriel: "There are cubs somewhere. I haven't just killed her. I killed her cubs, too. No wonder she was so desperate for food."


Rebecca: We decided then and there to find the cubs and give them milk from our ewes.


(Rebecca looks from Miriam to Jezebel)

Jezebel: Sweet Becky! (Pats Rebecca's shoulder.)


Goat-Man: That was before he was in my body. What a fool he was! How did Abraham put up with such stupidity! Saving wolf-cubs! Unbelievable!

Rebecca: Our special favorite was a sleek male with a streak of light colored fur down his forehead. Even after the others drifted away, he still came, rubbing against me or Isaac, curling up at our feet while we talked. Saving the cubs drew us together. I loved Isaac. I knew he loved me. We pledged ourselves to marry when we were old enough.

Miriam: I wouldn't stay up nights with guilt over an adventure like that. It only makes you sound more innocent than ever.


Jezebel: You sound jealous. You could always reincarnate and have a true love like that, you know.

Miriam: Your temptations will never ensnare me. I was prophetess of Israel. I know all the tricks.


Jezebel: (takes a jar of oil from her bag and begins oiling her breasts.

She smells the oil luxuriously.)
Let me see if I have this straight. Rebecca is the good little girl who grew up to marry her childhood sweetheart. It doesn't even bother her that his father killed him and his spirit was living in the most repulsive body she had ever seen. And Miriam. The only time you criticize your brother is when you think he's ignoring his job. You don't even harbor the tiniest resentment that he gave you leprosy and sent you into the desert.


Rebecca: I'm not so pure.


Goat-Man: You can say that again! I can't imagine how you got into heaven!


Miriam: (tambourine) (to Becky) Why would you brag about that in front of her? We don't need to see the minuscule errors of your ways, when her trespasses loom so large.


Jezebel: I want to hear them. Perhaps she was tempted. Perhaps she broke the laws, and learned from her mistakes. Perhaps I can learn from her example. I'm not claiming I'm perfect.

Angel Gabriel: It's time for your next set.


(Lights dim and come up.)


Jezebel:
I've heard it said
That the thrill of romanceCan be like a heavenly dream
I go to bed with a prayer
That you'll make love to me
Strange as it seems
Someday we'll meet
And you'll dry all my tears
Then whisper sweet
Little things in my ear
Hugging and a-kissing
Oh, what I've been missing
Lover man, oh, where can you be?

Miriam: Let's leave before she comes back here.


Angel Gabriel: Is everybody comfortable?


Rebecca: Iím not really comfortable seeing Esau again.


Goat-Man: (to Gabriel) This is heaven. I know the rules here.

(To Rebecca) Don't worry. If you like the Foosball, I'll even play you a game.

Angel Gabriel: Go on, Becky. Itís really alright. Everything in Heaven is good.


(Rebecca and Goat-Man go to the Foosball table.)


Miriam: I am good at darts. Now there's a sport that teaches you to aim true for your goal.

Shep: I'll join you.


(Miriam and Shep get up and throw darts at the board.)


(Jezebel returns to the empty table. As she sits, sipping her drink, Elijah joins her.)


Elijah: You are the last person I expected to see here. I thought you were one of Satan's pet underlings.


Jezebel: Hello, Elijah, how's my favorite prophet? Sure, I worked for Satan, just as Satan serves God.


(Jezebel motions to Gabriel, who pours Elijah a pink drink.)


Rebecca: Kickety, kickety.


Goat-Man: Stop talking like a baby.


(They continue playing)


Angel Gabriel: Yo, Elijah! Where did you park that chariot? Can I take her for a spin later?


Elijah: You've got wings. What do you need with my wheels?


Angel Gabriel: I just thought it would be fun. Never mind, prophet. Enjoy your drink.


Goat-Man: Ker-plunk. I win!


Rebecca: That was a short game. Do you do everything in a hurry?


Goat-Man: So what? I won. Winning is the goal. I got there. You didn't.


(Rebecca and Goat-Man join Jezebel and Elijah at the table)


Jezebel: You were talking about how you decided to marry Esau, here.


Rebecca: When I saw what Great-Uncle Abraham brought home from Moriah, the boy he called "My gift from God in my old age," I was disgusted. Great-Aunt Sarah took me straight home to my parents and she kept on going. But my parents were intent on having me marry Isaac. They didn't believe me about the murder and I didn't know then about Isaac's spirit in the goat-boy. Great-Uncle Abraham was wealthy and they wanted me and my children to inherit that wealth. I wanted nothing to do with it.


Jezebel: Poor Becky!

Miriam: Stop saying that.


Jezebel: Things don't make us happy. Becky knew that. She couldn't be tempted.


Goat-Man: I wish I'd known that. I'd never have married Rebecca if it weren't for that promised inheritance. And I didn't even get to pass it along to my own child.


Rebecca: My parents made me go back to Great-Uncle Abraham's. And Great-Uncle Abraham made me take lunch to the boy he called Isaac. I tried not to look at him, or smell him.


Miriam: So you were still a good obedient God-fearing girl.


(She throws another dart.)


Jezebel: I taught my husband, the king, to bathe. Sex is so much nicer when a man is clean, don't you think?


Miriam (to Rebecca): Don't answer that.


Rebecca: One day when I was bringing him lunch, I heard anguished bleating. The goat-boy, Isaac's replacement, raced toward the sound. A wolf was loping up to the camp, toward me. The animals were scurrying about, baaing and screeping. The goat-boy had often belittled animal
herding. Yet now he ran, waving his staff.


Angel Gabriel:(shouting) Hai! Hai!


Rebecca: Just like Isaac.


Goat-Man: The wolf growled loudly, tried to dodge around me. Suddenly, I hurled myself on the wolf and bit his neck. Blood spurted and the wolf collapsed. YAIIYOWLLL! Then I put my mouth to the wound and sucked.


Jezebel: Sounds gruesome.


Miriam: But effective.


Goat-Man: Are you all really that squeamish?


Shep: Miriam's not.

Miriam: That's it. Last dart. I win.


Shep: Do you always have to win?


(Miriam and Shep return to the table.)


Rebecca: I ran to the animals, tried to calm them. I soothed the sheep, the goats, petted them, crooning as Isaac used to. As I petted a lamb, I felt a gentle, familiar hand on my shoulder.


(Angel Gabriel is behind her. His hand is on her shoulder as she speaks.)


Rebecca: I felt goosebumps. The hand was warm. "Isaac?" I asked without looking up.


Angel Gabriel: Yes. I'm sorry, Becky. I couldn't stop him. He's all fierce inside. I just wanted to scare the wolf off. But the wild boy wanted blood. The wolf ... it's one of ours, Becky.


Rebecca: I knew that. I had seen the forehead streak, too. "It's okay," I told him. I knew then with utter certainly, that this was Isaac. No one else knew about "our wolves." I knew they were both in there: Isaac and the goat-boy, in the same body. This was strange, and scary. But Isaac and I were born to be together, and nothing could stop us. Not even his death.


Jezebel: Now you're sounding guilty. Were you attracted to the goat-body after all?


Goat-Man: You bet she was!


Rebecca: I didnít care. I wanted Isaac.


Miriam: Don't pick on her. She had to marry Isaac.


Rebecca: Who knows if I could have held out against my family. But if this was the only way I could have Isaac ... Did it matter that it was the only way Abraham could have a grandchild to pass on God's promises...?


Jezebel: There you go again, thinking God needs us to accomplish his will. You think God's laws are so weak they cannot enforce themselves, so fragile we dare not break them, even to prove a point. (She shrugs.) Or so vague that we must enforce them for the ignorant.


Miriam: (tambourine) She did what was best for our people. Not like you, Jezebel, who did whatever you pleased!


Jezebel: Why do you think tempting all those men wasn't good for them? Do you think I wanted to bed all those kings and sign their sheets? Do you think I got pleasure from starting wars and arranging deaths? Is that what has you upset? That I might have enjoyed it?


Miriam: Didn't you?

Jezebel: I take pride in a job well done. That's why I learned to hold a stylus in my vagina and write as neat a script as any man. But enjoy the sex? Kings are no good at sex! They just want to think they have possessed a woman. They don't care about giving her pleasure.


Rebecca: Neither did Esau here.


Elijah: Sex just distracts us from seeking and following God.

 

Goat-Man: Pleasure should be your natural response. Sex is the closest I ever got to God when I was on Earth.


Jezebel: Just so. God created sex when He created us male and female.


Elijah: Be very careful when you listen to her. She's a trickster. They cleaned it up when they wrote the Bible, but she played me for a fool.

Jezebel: You did that to yourself. I only made the offer.


Elijah: See what I mean? It sounded so simple at the time. I was out running one morning, and God spoke to me. He said, "Go ask Jezebel if it's time to bring rain to Israel." I thought it would be simple. Go. Ask. Bring rain, (pause) or not. Leave. But noooooo.


Miriam: We've all read about your great roast bull contest. Wasn't it a success?


Jezebel: You are so naive. Elijah used to be that innocent, too. (Pause) Tell it, darling.


Elijah: Don't you darling me. You don't belong in heaven.


Miriam: That's what I said! And would you believe? Sheís been trying to get Becky here to reincarnate. The one woman who truly belongs here...

Goat-man: Earthís not such a bad place. Whatís wrong with that?

Elijah: I agree. The cool rivers, the warm sun, walking in shady groves...

Miriam: The disobedient masses. The burden of...

Jezebel: You didnít have to be a prophetess. You could have had any job you wanted.

Miriam: (to Elijah) You were a great prophet. How did she manipulate you?


Elijah: She said, "Yes, bring rain." So I said, "All right. I'll go to the marketplace and pray for rain."


Jezebel: We hadn't had rain for three years. The market place was full of people praying for rain to every god they'd ever heard of. He'd only have been one more voice. Nobody would have given him or God credit.

(Jezebel brushes hair luxuriously. Angel Gabriel refills glasses.)

Miriam: Do you have to do your toilet in public?


Elijah: So she suggested the roast bull contest. It sounded like great theater, complete with me pouring water on my offering while the Ba'al priests had the best of the kindling. And afterwards, when God consumed my offering, bull, wet wood, stones and all, and Ba'al ignored his, I felt successful. The people prostrated themselves and shouted.

Angel Gabriel: (prostrating himself) God is God.

Miriam: Sounds good to me. What went wrong?

Elijah: The power went to my head. As if I had actually done something, as if I had brought the fire that consumed the bull, altar and all. I ordered the people to kill the Ba'al priests and then I prayed for rain.


Rebecca: That sounds okay to me. What went wrong?


Elijah: People started thinking of God as a trick donkey, or maybe like your Foosball machine. Pull the right lever and the money or the rain or whatever you want pours out.


Miriam: That's a start. Better than ignoring God completely, like she does.


Elijah: The thing is that she got me to help people misunderstand God. She got me to forget that God is the doer. She got me to think I was more powerful than I really am.


Jezebel: Still blaming me.

Goat-man: I fell for that one, too. Be somebody important Ė just do what other people tell you!

Shep: If weíre calling anybody a temptress, Iíd say Miriam is a good one. She got me to think Moses was responsible for my problems as well as hers.


Miriam: (to Jezebel) At least we can blame you for cheating on your husband.


Goat-Man: I'd have broken Rebecca's neck if she cheated on me.


Rebecca: But I cheated on you every time Isaac used your body and we made love.


Goat-Man: I wanted to break his neck then, but I didn't know how.


Jezebel: My husband had 70 other wives. It's not like he'd miss me.


Miriam: You committed adultery.


Jezebel: With a handful of other kings, just as clumsy as my husband.


Rebecca: Then why did you do it?


Jezebel: To start wars and arrange deaths, darlings. It was my job, I thought you knew.


Rebecca: If that was your job, couldn't you have done it without committing adultery?

Jezebel: Adultery is one of the temptations. If I don't do it myself, then I have to tempt a man to commit adultery with someone else. I fail to see where that's an improvement in your scheme of morality.


Miriam: (tambourine) And you don't think starting wars and arranging deaths is wicked?


Jezebel: No I don't. And I don't think you do, either.


Shep: She's right, Miriam. Her murders are nothing compared to your beloved brother Moses.

Miriam: I don't know why Gabriel doesn't toss the two of you out on your rumps!


Jezebel: I did nothing that Moses and Abraham didn't do.


Rebecca: Surely, you're going too far.


Jezebel: Miriam held up Abraham and Moses as examples to follow. By what rules are these men good, while I am wicked? Come now, darlings, I may have killed hundreds. But Moses killed thousands of Egyptians and thousands more Hebrews, the people he was supposed to be rescuing. Abraham endangered and killed the ones he was bound to protect: his children.

Miriam: I protected Moses when Pharaoh ordered all the male Hebrew children killed. I was only an 8-year-old child, but I saved my brother's life. My mother put him in a basket in the stream to float away or drown. But I made sure Pharaoh's own daughter pulled him out of the Nile. I got him the best education in the palace.


Shep: And then when he grew up and killed me, you helped him hide my body, and then helped him escape to Midian.


Miriam: Where he found his wife and met God face to face.


Jezebel: I see. While trying to prove to me that you are a great prophetess of God, a righteous woman, who saves lives-- you also prove to me that you are a law-breaker who first helps to hide crimes and then aids a murderer to escape. And you wish to convince me that I'm wicked? How are you so different from me?


(Jezebel picks up a dart and throws it at the board. She continues through the conversation.)


Miriam: There's no opposition in this game. Just aim true.


Jezebel: The center isn't always the best spot.


Miriam: Sometimes things are simple. Like saving my brother, no matter what.

Shep: Why? He was not a good man.


Rebecca: Are there any good men?


Jezebel: I donít know. Have any of you ever met any?


Miriam: There you go again. Tempting us. (Tambourine)


Jezebel: Yes, of course I am. It's my skill. But do you really mean to tell me that you've never given in to temptation, and been glad for it? Even for a moment?

Elijah: Your dart throwing is like your temptations. You either hit the bullís-eye, or you miss the target entirely.


Jezebel: When did my temptation totally miss target?


Elijah: Have you forgotten about your husband coveting your neighbor's vegetable garden?


Jezebel: No.

Elijah: Even I know he sneaked his vegetables under the table to the dog. What could he have wanted with a vegetable garden?


Jezebel: Who cares what he thought he wanted? Things don't make us happy. That's what I was trying to teach him with temptation.


Elijah: You should have just told him "Thou Shalt Not Covet." It's a commandment.


Jezebel: And you think he'd have cared?


Miriam: Once men have power, there's no ordering them around. It would have been like telling Moses, "Thou Shalt Not Kill."

Jezebel: Exactly. So, I told my husband, "You're the king. Of course you can have a vegetable garden."


Rebecca: I thought you said you were tempting him. Doesn't tempting require telling lies?


Jezebel: That's the amateur's method. I simply tell people they can have what they want. (Pause.) I just don't mention the consequences.


Elijah: In this case, the consequences were killing the landowner. Jezebel committing adultery. Again. And Ahab going on a drunken orgy.

Jezebel: And don't forget that incredible cursing you did. It was a great scene! You should have heard him curse my husband. He cursed the air he breathed, the day he was born, the days each of his children were born. He cursed all my husband's children by all his wives to die childless. He cursed the food he ate and the water he drank. Then he looked up at me and cursed me to be thrown to an early death from the balcony where I stood. To have my flesh devoured and my bones carted away by dogs as my blood sank into the ground. Quite poetic cursing, actually.


Miriam: You deserved every bit of it.


Jezebel: And that appeared to make an impression on my husband. Sometimes two wrongs do make a right. Temporarily. My husband came upstairs and put on sack cloth and ashes.

Rebecca: So Elijah's methods worked where yours failed? Did that teach you anything?


Jezebel: For three days, my husband wore the sack cloth. Then it was time for his daughter's wedding. He refused to wear anything but his best outfit to the wedding, so the sack cloth went back in the chest. And that was the end of his repentance. Elijah and I were tied at nothing to
nothing. But I wasn't done with him yet.

Miriam: Didn't the curse bother you? (Tambourine)


Rebecca: Poor Jez.

Miriam: Donít feel sorry for her.


Jezebel: We servants of God aren't supposed to leave relics around for superstitious folk to collect.


Elijah: God promised me I wouldn't die. Instead God would carry me away in a chariot of fire. That's a relic free death, and much more fun than hers..


Miriam: I arranged a relic-free death for Manna Man. (Jingles tambourine nervously)


Shep: My name is Shep, not Manna Man. Arranged my death. Hah! She destroyed me, as willfully as she made me live.


Rebecca: Miriam isn't God. Surely, only God can make a person live.


Miriam: Don't change the topic. (tambourine)


Shep: You can't boss me around any more. We're in heaven now, where everyone is equal.


Rebecca: Didn't you beat Hebrew slaves? Why would you be in heaven?


Shep: I was doing my job


Rebecca: That's not a good excuse. May I have a dart?


(Jezebel hands Rebecca a dart.)


Jezebel: The topic is temptation. Surely there was a time you gave into temptation. ..


(Miriam fidgets, then gives Rebecca several darts.)


Rebecca: (throwing a dart) I've given in ... to temptation. (Pause) Isaac and I had been married for about twenty years, and he had been pressuring me to have a child. Finally, I said, yes. We were making love. Isaac was sweet to me, even in that goat-man's body. Suddenly our love-making changed to wild grabbing.

Miriam: Changed?


Goat-Man: Finally, she was mine! And I was free!


Angel Gabriel: (standing behind Rebecca, his hand on her shoulder) Good bye, Becky. I love you.


Rebecca: Isaac had gone. As I worked out later, his spirit was only able to remain on Earth until his mission was complete. So once his seed had fertilized my egg ... He was just here, his spirit in that horrid body, to have a child to carry on the line of Abraham and Sarah. Only he didn't know there were two eggs.


Goat-Man: My seed fertilized the other egg!


Rebecca: I had twin boys, one of whom I hated. As I hated my husband now that Isaac's spirit was no longer in him.


Jezebel: So that's why your boys were so different. I knew the Bible had left out some important details.


Miriam: Nothing important is ever left out. It doesn't matter why the one boy was defective. He's not my ancestor.


Shep: Thanks to her, I have no descendants, at all!


Goat-Man: My son was not defective. Jacob was the weakling coward. All of you are descended from him. The stupid boy couldn't even kill a deer. My Junior...


Jezebel: But poor Rebecca, having to raise a wild child, and live with a man she hates. Can you give her no sympathy?


Miriam: I won't let Rebecca play victim. That's the stupidest game on the planet. You weren't a victim, Rebecca. You made your choices as a God-fearing woman.


Rebecca: I know that. And I paid for them. But what pain ...


Jezebel: I told you there's a second step after fearing God.


Elijah: But you have to take that first step. You have to learn to fear God.


Rebecca: Are you sure? Why?


Jezebel: (squeezes Rebecca's shoulder) Good girl!


Rebecca: I'm not so good. For years I was angry with Isaac for leaving me. A seer once told me Isaac's spirit was in my younger child. I sensed this was true. But being Isaac's mother wasn't the same as being his wife. If I'd never said yes to having a baby, I might have had Isaac with me until my dying day. I gave into temptation, thinking a child would make my life complete.


Miriam: And if you hadn't done that, Moses and I would never have been born

.
Shep: And the world would be a better place.


Goat-Man: And I'd have spent my life possessed by that weakling. It's worse than slavery.


Angel Gabriel: More refills, ladies and gentlemen?


(All six hand him their glasses.)


Miriam: If Rebecca and I made mistakes, they were because we didn't see the whole picture. Shep beat slaves because he was raised to believe he should. And Esau was just a wild man, not responsible for his wild ways. But Jez, here. You knew the rules and you chose not to follow them. You don't belong in Heaven.


Jezebel: I saw much more of the whole picture than you've ever seen. My goals were as holy as yours and Elijah's.


Miriam: What possible good can you say came from killing your neighbor and stealing his land?


Jezebel: Before we go into that, how do you justify the plagues your brother brought on Egypt, or the jewels you stole as you escaped from slavery?


Angel Gabriel: It's time for another set:


(Lights dim and come up.)


Jezebel:
Somewhere beyond the sea
Somewhere waiting for me
My lover stands on golden sands
And watches the ships that go sailing

Somewhere beyond the sea
He's watching for me
If I could fly like birds on high
Then straight to his arms I'd go sailing


It's far beyond a star, it's near beyond the moon
I know beyond a doubt
My heart will lead me there soon

We'll meet beyond the shore


We'll kiss just as before
Happy we'll be beyond the sea
And never again I'll go sailing
Some sailing


(Jezebel returns to table)


Shep: Now, Miriam, tell us about those plagues.


Miriam: Moses was just obeying God when he brought those plagues.


Jezebel: He had a choice. Those plagues were cruel. He destroyed the crops, poisoned the water, killed the first born boys...


Miriam: God ordered him to do those things! (Tambourine)

Rebecca: He still didnít have to do it.


Goat-Man: Your whole family is crazy. I thought maybe it was only Becky.

Shep: You don't know the half of it.


Elijah: They were actually trying to obey God, unlike you.


Jezebel: Come on, darlings. Think! God created the heavens and the Earth in one day. Do you really think if He wanted to free the Hebrews from slavery that He'd wait 400 years and then use a few magic tricks to pull it off? And that final trick of making a path through the Red Sea with a
wind that blew all night. Really. God could do that in a heartbeat, but it took Moses all night. You think that was God at work, and not a magician? A master magician, I admit -- But once you admit it wasn't God -- just a man doing all these things, then are you sure you can call his
deeds righteous? Or mine evil?


Miriam: Moses' plagues were successful. He freed our people from slavery, according to God's promises. You failed. You killed men, committed adultery and started wars for nothing.

Jezebel: So, Moses and Abraham are good for killing people because their plans succeeded? And I'm wicked for killing people because you think my plans failed? That doesn't sound like the absolute principles you claim to believe in.


Shep: And what about your plans. You made me to hurt Moses. I succeeded. Does that make you evil?


Rebecca: How about another game of Foosball?

(Jezebel rises to join Rebecca.)


Miriam: Donít run away, Rev Ė Becky. God forgave my mistake.


Rebecca: Kickety. Kickety.


Jezebel: I admit that things didn't turn out the way I planned much of the time. But I'm working on a grander scale than a day, or a week, or even one entire lifetime. My neighbor who owned the vineyard was a good man. He was born to die for his land. His death was supposed to help wake up his king and my husband, and even give Elijah a little shove. I don't know about the long-term repercussions, but in the short-run I can see where it looks like I failed on all three counts.


Rebecca: You admit it then? You were wicked? And you regret it?


Jezebel: I admit I may have failed. I don't regret doing my best. And I don't always see God's full plan. Short term failure may result in God's ultimate goal. He is God after all. And temptation is how we grow.


Miriam: Only if we resist temptation.


Jezebel: No. We often grow the most when we learn from accepting temptation. We've all given into temptation. And we all value the lessons learned from our mistakes.


(Angel Gabriel refills glasses.)


Rebecca: I certainly suffered for giving in to temptation. Losing Isaac was bad, watching him grow up as my son was worse, and seeing him fall in love with another woman was pure torture. Did I learn from it? (a shrug) I don't know. When did you give into temptation, Jezebel?


Jezebel: It was lifetimes ago. It's how I became what I am. After a while, temptations aren't tempting any more.

Miriam: If they knew the ten commandments, they'd know the consequences. Temptations, such as yours, would fail every time.


Jezebel: So you admit the ten commandments are self-enforcing and you don't need to do anything to make them so?


Miriam: I do not. (Tambourine) You're twisting things again.

Angel Gabriel: Jez, it's time.


(Lights dim and come up.)

 

Jezebel:
I'll be loving you always

With a love that's true always

When the things you plan

Need a helping hand will understand

always, always

Days may not be fair always

That's when I'll be there, always

Not for just an hour

Not for just a day

Not for just a year, but always

I'll be loving you always

With a love that's true always

When the things you plan

Need a helping hand will understand

always, always

Days may not be fair always

That's when I'll be there, always

Not for just an hour

Not for just a day

Not for just a year, but always


Rebecca: She's singing my life.


Miriam: Let's go.


(Miriam rises, takes Rebecca's hand.)


(Angel Gabriel steps in front of them.)


Angel Gabriel: Have you ladies ever thought about how much God loves you?


(Jezebel joins them at the table. Gabriel refills drinks.)


Elijah: You get people to do things that you know are wrong. And then you sit around patting yourself on the back about how much trouble you've caused. You're evil.


Jezebel: A temptress knows she can't get anybody to do anything. She can only offer choices.

Elijah: Time for another song.

(Jezebel goes to microphone. lights focus on her.)

Jezebel:

The night is cold and I'm so alone

I'd give my soul just to call you my own

Got a moon above me

But no one to love me

Lover man, oh, where can you be?

I've heard it said

That the thrill of romance

Can be like a heavenly dream

I go to bed with a prayer

That you'll make love to me

Strange as it seems

Someday we'll meet

And you'll dry all my tears

Then whisper sweet

Little things in my ear

Hugging and a-kissing

Oh, what I've been missing

Lover man, oh, where can you be?


(Miriam gets up and throws darts again.)

Elijah: How did Shep become Manna Man? He's not in the Bible.

Shep: I am in the Bible. Iím the overseer that Moses killed and hid. After Moses killed me, my spirit couldn't rest. I kept looking for a way to get back at Moses. I tried to incarnate as a baby in a Hebrew family, but none of the women chose me to be her child. Until Miriam.


Miriam: After Moses sent me into the desert, after he gave me leprosy, I was furious. Not just with Moses, but with God. Either Moses didn't deserve to govern the Hebrews ... or God didn't deserve to be God! All these years. Helping Moses out of scrapes, saving his life, advising him
... and this is how he repays me?


Rebecca: He was just feeling guilty because you were right. My husband...


Jezebel: But the point here is that Miriam was tempted.

Miriam: God didn't stop him! I had dedicated my life to our people. I'd never visited plagues on them or allowed them to be slaves. I didn't pick my little brother who thinks with his penis to rule over them. I'd turned down suitors, deprived myself of motherhood, all to serve Israel.


(Miriam hides tears with tambourine.)


Elijah: So, you played martyr. That, too, is a temptation.

Jezebel: Are you admitting you have regrets?


(She offers a kerchief, which Miriam accepts.)


Miriam: So much I'd missed-- the family I could have had, the grandchildren I could be enjoying. I'd given all my love to my brothers and to God. Now I had no one. One brother was punishing me, the other hadn't defended me, and God was ignoring me Ė when I was only doing my
duty.


Rebecca: Now you sound like me.


Miriam: I tried to forgive them. I argued with God in my head. I was right. God was wrong.


Rebecca: Thatís how I felt. Here I was, being obedient, and God took away my ...


Miriam: God has changed His mind before, admitted He was wrong .... God should apologize soon. I listened desperately for one kind word, one hint that He still cared for me -- just one whisper of love. But nothing came.


(Puts down tambourine on table beside drink.)


Rebecca: I didn't want God to talk to me. He always caused trouble. He put Great-Uncle Abraham up to killing my Isaac.


Miriam: I wanted a family. I'd made God my family. Ever since I was a little girl, God had sung to me.


(She picks up tambourine, stands and dances with it during song.)


Miriam: Blessed be Miriam, daughter of Israel. Daughter of Israel, blessed be she.


Rebecca: But...


Miriam: He told me he formed me in my mother's womb for a special purpose: to free His people from Egypt. And now, now that we were free? He had abandoned me.

(Puts down tambourine. Wipes tears from her eyes.)


Shep: I had plotted to hurt Moses many different ways, but I never thought his own sister would help me.


Miriam: I spread my meditation cloth on the sand and walked around it the direction shadows move on a sundial. Unlike Moses, I'd never dealt with magic. But I was going to do powerful magic now. I kept walking, thinking. When a woman wants to make a new man, she lies with a man, like you, Rebecca. (Rebecca looks embarrassed.) I didn't want to do that so late in my life. Finally I lay down and fell asleep pondering. How to make a man?


Rebecca: Why not a woman?


Jezebel: You have to ask?


Miriam: When I woke, it was Friday morning, and the ground was covered with a double portion of God's manna. Or Moses' magic manna (looks at Jezebel) I suppose you'd say? Who cares? We always got a double portion Fridays so we wouldn't have to gather it on Sabbath, Saturday.


Rebecca: Did the manna taste good?


Miriam: It tasted like bread with honey. It's good. But do you want to eat bread with honey at every meal? I decided to use the manna to make my man. It would mean fasting, but that would increase my purity, all the better for making a new man. I gathered up the manna. I started with a
tiny piece, forming an embryo. I added more small bits, forming a fetus, then a baby.

Rebecca: Could you really do that?


Jezebel: What's the difference? Manna. A man. It's all God's stuff.


Rebecca: But she's talking about making a man without God. Setting herself equal to God.


Jezebel: Nobody can do anything without God. No matter what she thinks.

Miriam: I wanted a companion. If I could make a baby, why not a man? God's first man was an adult. God had said that Man should not be alone, so He made a grown companion for him. He didn't give Adam a baby girl to raise.


Rebecca: He (nodding to the Goat-man) didn't help raise his children.


Goat-Man: Not until my son was old enough to go hunting.


Miriam: I didn't want to be alone. I would make myself a companion. I added larger bits of manna to my creation. The child became a man. I kneaded the dough and formed him strong and muscular. Like a 30-year-old healthy male.

Jezebel: That's a good age. (She applies more make-up.)


Miriam: I formed my man with no genitals, not wanting him distracted with sex.

Shep: She didn't mention that little detail when she tempted me into her scheme.


Jezebel: Then why did you make a man? Or better question: Why call him a man?


Rebecca: After Isaac left, I'd just as soon the goat-man had no genitals.


Miriam: I formed him handsome. But he was just dough. God made man from clay and breathed a soul into the man's nostrils. I kneeled beside my man and breathed into his nostrils. (Pause.) Nothing happened. I could not make a soul. I'd have to get one from somewhere else. But how?


(Rebecca leans forward, accidentally toppling her drink. Jez wipes it up with her napkin.)


Miriam: My man needed a soul. While meditating, I wandered among the souls waiting to be born, recently dead, or haunting the living. I found many babies, and newly disconnected, tired souls. But I wanted a man Ė strong enough to rival Moses.
(Pause)


Shep: I spoke to her: "Woman, why are you here? You are not a mother seeking her child unborn, or recently departed."


Miriam: I told him, "I'm lonely, and I have made a man of manna to be my companion. I seek a soul to complete him."


Shep: I answered, "I am the Egyptian, Shep, whom your brother slew in Egypt. You helped bury me. Choose me. Give me life again."


Miriam: He looked strong.


Shep: I said, "Moses is no longer your friend. He was never mine."


Jezebel: So, Shep, you tempted Miriam.


Miriam: I had a vision, I saw my man walking beside Moses. I had no idea what that meant, but it looked like success. I accepted the soul and breathed it into my manna man. He grew hair, fingernails, toenails. He took a breath. But he didn't cry. No wail of the newborn, showing its initial
disappointment with Earth.
(Pause)


Shep: I was just a dough boy. I couldn't speak.


Miriam: I asked him, "Shep, Can you hear me?"

Shep: I nodded.

Miriam: I hugged him. I wanted a companion for my old age. God had rejected me. My brothers had rejected me. I had no family. I promised to be good to him.


Shep: I didn't return the hug. I wanted to kill Moses!


Miriam: I had a link with him, perhaps from the meditation. I told him, "I can't let you do that. Moses is my brother. Shep, I know you are angry. But consider this: when Moses killed you, he did you no permanent harm. You're fine. You're with me now."


Shep: That seemed to make sense. I snuggled against her. Yet part of me knew, together we would kill Moses.


Jezebel: No wonder you think you know more about God than I do. You copied him. You created a murderous man.


Miriam: I'd lost all my dreams. Moses took Shep's dreams away. Why should Moses have his dreams when we couldn't have ours?

 

Rebecca: You could have made new dreams. That's what I had to do.

Shep: I just wanted to marry and have children, and enjoy life. And after Moses killed me, I had only one goal: to kill him!


Miriam: Moses' dream was to bring the children of Israel into the promised land. Why should he be the one to fulfill this dream? It was mine first. God gave it to me before Moses was born. Moses betrayed that dream. He stole my dream from me. I should take it away from him. If God
still wanted to bring His children to Canaan -- fat lot He cared about them, leaving them to Moses' mercies -- let Him figure it out on His own, without my help!


Rebecca: You are sounding more and more like Jezebel.


Goat-Man: Weren't these your goals, too?


Miriam: A week later, Shep and I returned to camp. Moses decided to send scouts to explore Canaan. Was he starting to doubt God? Canaan was the promised land.


Rebecca: It was nice enough when I lived there.


Miriam: It was good enough for Abraham until the drought and famine that brought our ancestors to Egypt, where they became slaves. If the land was still barren, God could make it fertile again. Why send scouts?


Jezebel: Why indeed? (Applies more make-up.)

Shep: Then I put my arm around her, and she knew. I joined the Canaan scouts.

Miriam: Only I knew he existed, so only I missed him. I knew his mission. The scouts would not love the land God has given us.


Shep: Even when I was away from her, we had our mental link. She could see through my eyes. I showed her the giants, beside whom our scouts looked like grasshoppers. Walled cities. Armies in training. I showed her every thistle and nettle, every unpleasant thing. In the background were pomegranate trees heavy with luscious fruit, grape vines sagging with bulging clusters. Canaan was a land of milk and honey, but the scouts would not report the goodness they saw. I managed that, without saying a word.


Rebecca: (to Miriam) But you saw it. You knew the truth.

Miriam: Part of me wanted that fruitful land. Yet a sharper deeper piece wanted Moses to suffer. Even if that meant I would never enter Canaan.

Shep: When the scouts returned, I had affected all but two. The rest of the scouts couldn't stop talking about the giants, the nettles, the walled cities and the armies.


Miriam: Moses was furious. He said God was furious, too. We'd come all this way to the promised land and our people didn't want it. So God commanded that our people, led by Moses, wander longer in the desert. Shep and I were content.


Jezebel: Did it ever occur to you that people might suffer because of what you did? Not that I'm saying there's anything wrong with that.


Rebecca: Don't interrupt her.


Miriam: Then we ran out of water. Moses promised us another miracle. He would bring us water.


Shep: I followed close behind as Moses walked toward a big rock, his staff in his hand.


Miriam: They walked together, like in my original meditation. I knew something important was about to happen.


Rebecca: So everything worked out well.


Miriam: Moses struck the large rock, twice. Water gushed out. The people and livestock drank. I waited for Moses' speech. He always spoke about the greatness and goodness of God and how thankful we should be to God for giving us blessings. But Moses was angry, Shep was feeding his anger. There was no speech.

Shep: I had poisoned Moses' mind.


Rebecca: Oh, no!

Miriam: Then we all heard God curse Moses.


Angel Gabriel: Because you did not thank me and honor me in the sight of the Israelites, you will not lead them into Canaan. You will die in the desert, never setting foot in the promised land.


Jezebel: A natural consequence for disobeying orders.


Rebecca: That sounds cruel.

Miriam: I had wanted Moses punished. But not even to set foot in Canaan? Moses deserved that much. Shep had gone too far! Ever since I had made Manna Man I had felt even more bereft, more alone than before.


Rebecca: Poor Miriam.


Goat-Man: Poor Shep.


Miriam: I finally understood why God destroys people he created. Shep was too dangerous, too willful, too evil for me to let him continue. And I understood Moses, why he'd thought magic was a shortcut to getting what he wanted. It's not. It only makes things worse for the people you love. It was time to stop the magic.


Shep: This wasn't living. I wasn't having any fun. I'd seen the results of my hatred and they had not satisfied me. I wanted a whole new life, to start over again fresh as a baby with no purpose other than to enjoy life.


Miriam (Picks up tambourine again): I spoke to Shep. "I made you live by dancing sunwise around you. Now, I'll dance anti-sunwise."
(Pause)


Miriam: And my song returned. I felt God's love rush through me, filling me, as if I were an empty flask.


Angel Gabriel: Bless-ed be Miriam. Daughter of Israel. Daughter of Israel. Bless-ed be she.
Bless-ed be Miriam. Daughter of Israel. Daughter of Israel. Bless-ed be she.


Miriam: I felt the heat of God in my own breast. Shep's color faded to a pale ember, and went out. Then I knew that God does not hate those he punishes or those he kills. Their job is done. My job was done. God would bring His people to Canaan without Moses, without Aaron ... and without me. His love for us would continue beyond our deaths. Bless-ed be Miriam. Daughter of Israel. Daughter of Israel. Bless-ed be she.


(Places tambourine on table.)

Rebecca: So you made your peace with God?


Miriam: With God, yes. But I'm still furious with Moses for killing all those people, for pretending to be God, for the kind of man he was. And for not appreciating me.


Jezebel: But if you hadn't been so angry with Moses, could you have learned your lesson about loving God? Moses provided you with temptation. He was a great tempter, that's why he is considered a great servant of God.


Miriam: You're twisting things, again. You're trying to make evil look like good. And I'm angry with myself. It was my choice not to marry and have children. I wasted my life, just like Shep wasted his.


Rebecca: Sometimes that's the way it is. Itís a wonder any of us is here in Heaven.
(Pause)
I lied to my husband on his death bed.


Miriam: You? What could have tempted you to do such a thing, Reverend Mother?


(Jezebel smiles.)


Rebecca: God came to me as the goat-man lay dying. The Goat-Man asked for his oldest child, to give his final blessing. Even though Isaac's child was conceived first, the goat-man's child was wild stock and came out of me first. The blessing conveyed God's promises to Isaac. The land of
Canaan.


Goat-Man: I wanted to pass the inheritance I'd bought so dearly from Abraham on to my son.


Angel Gabriel: You tricked your husband into blessing Isaac's son, Jacob, so he would give the land to Abraham's descendants.


Jezebel: Why did you care about that?


Rebecca: Isaac's descendants, not Abraham's. But one is the other. I couldn't have helped Isaac's descendants without making Abraham and God happy. If I hadn't tricked my husband into blessing Isaac, then Miriam and Moses would still be wandering the desert with no land to call their own, and you would not be queen of Israel.

Jezebel: The land might not be called Israel, but I can assure you I would be queen.


Miriam: You obeyed God when you thought He asked you to bear false witness?


Rebecca: Abraham obeyed Him when He asked him to kill his only child. Abraham used to say, "When God asks, you do not say ĎYesí or ĎNoí you just obey."

Jezebel: What? You imagine that temptation sounds evil when you hear it? What good is temptation if it sound worthy, and doesn't feel good when you do it? It may look expedient to others. It may even look illicit. But it has to appeal to the sinner's most powerful desires, or what's the use? Your desire was to preserve the memory of Isaac. Ba'al-Zebub, whom I serve, used that, with God's blessing, to tempt you.


Rebecca: I don't think God works like that! God wouldn't break His own laws, and you shouldn't either.


Jezebel: Then how do you explain why you broke a commandment? Not that I'm saying there's anything wrong with that. But why do you think God approved what you did anyway? You broke his laws, and yet you don't think he minded when it was you.


Rebecca: He didn't mind because I did what He wanted.


Miriam: The Bible says she is honored among women.

Jezebel: So, itís okay to break commandments if future generations honor you?

Miriam: Itís okay to break commandments if God tells you to.


Rebecca: That doesnít sound right.


Jezebel: You "sweet innocent Rebecca," you lied to a man on his deathbed, a lie that could not benefit you in any way. Why?

 

Rebecca: I told you once already. Isaac's soul was in my younger son. Isaac had died for the promises. I did not want his death to be in vain. The goat-man took Isaac's place in Abraham's home and in my bed. I couldn't let his get take my son's future, too.


Jezebel: Oh. So, you played the hero, the woman who saved Israel for generations of Isaac's descendants. You wanted to be famous. So you bore false witness. I see, even you can be tempted. Why is it wicked when I offer temptations, but not wicked when you accept them?


Rebecca: I believed that God wanted me to... (a slow sly smile) And I wanted to. I thought of disobeying the God who ordered Abraham to kill my Isaac. But in the end, I wanted Isaac to have the inheritance that should have been his. Otherwise my life and his would both have been wasted. But fame? No, I didn't want that. I didn't want to be remembered as a hero. I just wanted the man I loved to have what he deserved, what he died for, what I lived in pain for.


Miriam (to Jezebel): You keep trying to twist things. The Bible does not condemn Rebecca or me for what we did. But it does condemn you. We love God, and you scoff at Him with your every deed.


Jezebel: Everything I did was for love of God.


Miriam: Go prove it with that Love Meter.


Jezebel: (putting down her vial and mirror)

My father always told me, "No one will see your pretty face." I didn't understand that. I looked gorgeous. All my husband's other wives, and his daughters came to me for beauty lessons...


Miriam: A pretty face is more than make-up. It's what you are inside from obeying God.


Jezebel: My father didn't say my face wasn't pretty. He said no one would see my pretty face. People fear God. And, like you, they fear me because I don't fear God.


Rebecca: I don't fear you. Go prove what you've been saying.


Angel Gabriel: (refills glasses) All three of you ladies go. It will be ... interesting.


Rebecca (goes to the Love God meter--turns): I never said that I loved God. He told Abraham to kill Isaac. But I will push this one --(moves to God Loves meter)-- to show you. (Rebecca grabs the handle of the God loves YOU meter. The lights go up to Champion of God, near but not to the top.)


Miriam: Champion of God. See, you did live a good life!


Rebecca: Did I? I've been numb for so long. Now . . . I think Jez had a good idea Ė I'd like to go back to Earth, and try again, and fall in love again. (Behind her, Gabriel raises his hands in "triumph" gesture.)


Shep: (to Miriam) Your turn.


Miriam: I know God loves me and I love Him. (Miriam grabs the YOU Love God handle. The lights go up to Prophet of God, near but not to the top.)


Rebecca: Prophet of God. See, Jez. God knows what she is.


Miriam: But I could have done so much better. Maybe I would enjoy another lifetime Ė one in which I'd marry and have children, and live a real life.

Jezebel: It isnít what you do that shows your love for God. Itís what you think.


Angel Gabriel: Now you, Jez.


(Jezebel goes for BOTH handles, they are far enough apart that she can barely touch each of them with the tips of her forefingers, stretching as far as she can. The lights go up past the top to the hearts, which blink and beat.)


(Everyone is silent, looking at Jez, looking at the beating hearts.)


Angel Gabriel: Time for your set?


Jezebel: One last set. I'm going back to Earth, too. I have work to do.

Angel Gabriel: I knew I'd be losing you when those women walked in here.
(Lights dim and come up.)

Jezebel:

There ain't nothing I can do
Or nothing I can say
That folks don't criticize me
But I'm going to do
Just as I want to anyway


And don't care just what people say
If I should take a notion
To jump into the ocean
Ain't nobody's business if I do
If I go to church on Sunday
Then cabaret all day Monday

Ain't nobody's business if I do

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