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The Scrolls

D Dipasupil/Getty Images

Scholars will recall that several years ago a shepherd, wandering in the Gulf of Aqaba, stumbled upon a cave containing several large clay jars and also two tickets to the ice show. Inside the jars were discovered six parchment scrolls with ancient incomprehensible writing which the shepherd, in his ignorance, sold to the museum for $750,000 apiece. Two years later the jars turned up in a pawn shop in Philadelphia. One year later the shepherd turned up in a pawn shop in Philadelphia and neither was claimed.

Archeologists originally set the date of the scrolls at 4000 BC, or just after the massacre of the Israelites by their benefactors. The writing is a mixture of Sumerian, Aramaic and Babylonian and seems to have been done by either one man over a long period of time, or several men who shared the same suit. The authenticity of the scrolls is currently in great doubt, particularly since the word Oldsmobile appears several times in the text, and the few fragments that have finally been translated deal with familiar religious themes in a more than dubious way. Still, excavationist A. H. Bauer has noted that even though the fragments seem totally fraudulent, this is probably the greatest archeological find in history with the exception of the recovery of his cufflinks from a tomb in Jerusalem. The following are the translated fragments.

One. . . And the Lord made an bet with Satan to test Job’s loyalty and the Lord, for no apparent reason to Job, smote him on the head and again on the ear and pushed him into an thick sauce so as to make Job sticky and vile and then He slew a 10th part of Job’s kine and Job calleth out: “Why doth thou slay my kine? Kine are hard to come by. Now I am short kine and I’m not even sure what kine are.” And the Lord produced two stone tablets and snapped them closed on Job’s nose. And when Job’s wife saw this she wept and the Lord sent an angel of mercy who anointed her head with a polo mallet and of the 10 plagues, the Lord sent one through six, inclusive, and Job was sore and his wife angry and she rent her garment and then raised the rent but refused to paint.

And soon Job’s pastures dried up and his tongue cleaved to the roof of his mouth so he could not pronounce the word “frankincense” without getting big laughs.

And once the Lord, while wreaking havoc upon his faithful servant, came too close and Job grabbed him around the neck and said, “Aha! Now I got you! Why art thou giving Job a hard time, eh? Eh? Speak up!” And the Lord said, “Er, look—that’s my neck you have…could you let me go?”
 But Job showed no mercy and said, “I was doing very well till you came along, I had myrrh and fig trees in abundance and a coat of many colors with two pairs of pants of many colors. Now look,”

And the Lord spake and his voice thundered: “Must I who created heaven and earth explain my ways to thee? What hath thou created that thou doth dare question me?”

“That’s no answer,” Job said, “And for someone who’s supposed to be omnipotent, let me tell you, ‘tabernacle’ has only one ‘L.’ “ Then Job fell to his knees and cried to the Lord, “Thine is the kingdom and the power and glory. Thou hast a good job. Don’t blow it.”

Two. . . And Abraham awoke in the middle of the night and said to his only son, Isaac, “I have had an dream where the voice of the Lord sayeth that I must sacrifice my only son, so put your pants on,” And Isaac trembled and said, “So what did you say? I mean when He brought this whole thing up?”

“What am I going to say?” Abraham said. “I’m standing there at two am in my underwear with the Creator of the Universe. Should I argue?”

“Well, did he say why he wants me sacrificed?” Isaac asked his father.

But Abraham said, “The faithful do not question, Now let’s go because I have a heavy day tomorrow,”

And Sarah who heard Abraham’s plan grew vexed and said, “How doth thou know it was the Lord and not, say, thy friend who loveth practical jokes, for the Lord hateth practical jokes and whosoever shall pull one shall be delivered into the hands of his enemies whether they can pay the delivery charge or not.” And Abraham answered, “Because I know it was the Lord. It was a deep, resonant voice, well modulated, and nobody in the desert can get a rumble in it like that.”

And Sarah said, “And thou art willing to carry out this senseless act?” But Abraham told her, “Frankly yes, for to question the Lord’s word is one of the worst things a person can do, particularly with the economy in the state it’s in.”

And so he took Isaac to a certain place and prepared to sacrifice him but at the last minute the Lord stayed Abraham’s hand and said, “How could thou doest such a thing?” And Abraham said, “But thou said…”

“Never mind what I said,” the Lord spake. “Doth thou listen to every crazy idea that comes thy way?” And Abraham grew ashamed. “Er—not really…no…”

“I jokingly suggest thou sacrifice Isaac and thou immediately runs out to do it.”

And Abraham fell to his knees, “See, I never know when you’re kidding.”

And the Lord thundered, “No sense of humor, I can’t believe it.”

“But doth this not prove I love thee, that I was willing to donate mine only son on thy whim?”

And the Lord said, “It proves that some men will follow any order no matter how asinine as long as it comes from a resonant, well modulated voice.”

And with that, the Lord bid Abraham get some rest and check with him tomorrow.

Three. . . And it came to pass that a man who sold shirts was smitten by hard times. Neither did any of his merchandise move nor did he prosper. And he prayed and said, “Lord, why hast thou left me to suffer thus? All mine enemies sell their goods except I. And it’s the height of the season. My shirts are good shirts. Take a look at this rayon, I got button-downs, flare collars, nothing sells. Yet, I have kept thy commandments. Why can I not earn a living when mine younger brother cleans up in children’s ready-to-wear?”

And the Lord heard the man and said, “About thy shirts…”

“Yes, Lord,” the man said, falling to his knees.
“Put an alligator over the pocket.”

“Pardon me. Lord?”

“Just do what I’m telling you. You won’t be sorry.”

And the man sewed on to all his shirts a small alligator symbol and lo and behold, suddenly his merchandise moved like gangbusters and there was much rejoicing while amongst his enemies there was wailing and gnashing of teeth and one said, “The Lord is merciful. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. The problem is, I can’t get up.”

Laws and Proverbs:

Doing abominations is against the law, particularly if the abominations are done while wearing a lobster bib.

The lion and the calf shall lie down together but the calf won’t get much sleep.

Whosoever shall not fall by the sword or by famine, shall fall by pestilence, so why bother shaving?

The wicked at heart probably know something.

Whosoever loveth wisdom is righteous but he that keepeth company with fowl is weird.

My Lord, my Lord! What hast thou done, lately?

Mr. Allen has written for television, appeared in nightclubs, written and starred in movies, and done satire for The New Yorker. His current movie is Sleeper and he’s working in Paris on a new flick called Love and Death.

Read more articles by Allen here.