Hannukah; The Birth of Tradition
The art of storytelling is so ingrained in the fabric of our society that it is, like most of the commonplace, widely taken for granted. In late December every year, children big and small, fat and illiterate, descend upon the homes of elder relatives. These holiday gatherings no matter your creed, race, or religion, are the means to which families pass down historical accounts of actual events that they may have thought could have occurred under certain circumstances. Much like day old meat, story-time should never be discounted. Progressing a lineage holds more complexity than birth and death. A name is a series of letters translated into a label, but in our modern day, holds little application otherwise. Mr. Blackencocker will travel the world, eat at Taco Bell, captain a shrimp boat, and drink soy milk; all of the mundane activities to occupy a Blackencocker’s life, but never ponder the meaning of his family name. A story is the thin ‘panel’ Lego that connects the two wings of your Lego spaceship. It is the familial linkage. You have no choice in adopting a surname, but the story is your responsibility and your imprint upon the youth. Children may embrace your tale the first or second time it’s told over the holidays. But, like most things, you can expect to be thrown under the bus for more stimulating entertainment. Children are petty and they steal souls. A traditional family story may end up shelved for decades as a result of youthful selfishness. In this time; the words of the story may skew, the facts misalign, and the concept drain of pertinence. Each year that passes without a recital, a fragment of the previous generation’s rendition is lost and replaced by an embellishment or completely contrived recollection. The next batch of flesh dumplings are born, and teller can polish his masterpiece only to find something completely different beneath the soil and dust. It’s their very own version; spawned from their patriarchs tale with a splash of neglection. This chain of events holds a special romance. Not an implication that you should romance your children; the tradition is the romantic part. Once I learn to birth guppy-sized babies from the tip of my urethra, I will have children. Like guppies, I will make enough workers, I mean babies, to work my plantation. The few children unaffected by asexual reproduction will be trained to beat the masses of retarded and conjoined twins that I create, with chains. The intelligentsia will need a story after long days of laborious tasks. It will be the same prose that Ca-ca-smurf Redman told his assumed son, Arabian Chocolate Redman on the eve of the greatest battle for male supremacy, nearly 50 generations ago. My father has been relaying the aforementioned message to me since he hit puberty and began speaking to his testicles. As a mere protein; I listened intently. The story that I will unravel before your eyes will immediately strike your lips like fruit pesticides. I will encourage you, figuratively, to eat your fill. This is a story to sit in front of the fire and recite aloud between puffs of a fist-sized meerschaum. You will say, “Come hither, children. Children; hither, I say.”, and the children will relocate hither as instructed; sheepishly intimidated by the loose giblets in your gray beard. One stray and melancholy tyke will most likely not move hither and I think it would be best to spit in his face. The others will mock him out of fear and potentially loathe him, secretly. In kind summary, it is your responsibility to tell this particular tale if you are not already brooding your own. Whether you’re of my tribe or not, it is your duty to strengthen your family’s bond and allow this ages old tradition to run its course. The finest art of story recital must be revived at the dawn of every day. When you awake, one person must be randomly selected to hear your words. You must take upon your shoulders the architecture of your genealogical legacy. The Greek Antiochus III conquered and ruled Jerusalem abrasively. He clenched his fist to a podium, standing before submissive crowds of forcefully loyal Jews. His hair billowed over his scalp and his blond curls appeared to grow even as he stood speaking. His eyes were shifty and looked abused by his over-thoughtful mind. The year was 160 B.C.E. “I am the most POWERFUL Swede to ever walk this desolate land…” The crowd cheered, slightly confused. “If you do not eat lingonberries, you are a traitor and a pirate’s wench.” The Jews would clap and glance at one another in bemused astonishment. His speeches preached similar policy every time, without fail, of weird nutritional guidelines and ignorant xenophobic rants that had nothing to do with his actual roots in Greece. Behind the podium, to each of his sides, his sons could be seen. Most notably, Antiochus IV, who many assumed to be the heir to the Seleucid crown. Despondently listening he was joined from a suspicious distance by his younger siblings, Itticus and Artimus. As the heir, Antiochus was clearly the favorite. Polite and quiet, the Jewish people embraced his vulnerability. the king endeared his eating habits. Though he fiddled with his meatballs with an odd smirk, at times, he ate his balls and lingonberries to the kings delight. Itticus and Artimus didn’t much care to impress the king. They knew they would never come to power, and they acted as appropriate as you might imagine. They would spend their afternoons hunting for a meal. Maybe to return with a goat or several rodents to eat rather than the berries’n’balls household staple. The king was made furious by these actions, but to no actual defeat of them. Artimus and Itticus were never going to be the ‘favorite’.
The rebels lived just outside the town limits of Jerusalem in a patch of dirt known to them as ‘Diaspora Valley’. Erected in this place were makeshift tents and fire pits. The rebels, for many years lived normal lives in this place and in many cases lived better than the Jews that remained under Greek rule. Early 160 B.C.E was particularly fruitful for this group of 100. Judah, the leader of the rebels struck ale. He was digging, woefully on a hot afternoon to pass the time, when his shovel plunged deep into an underground flow of delicious brewed ale. It was magically cold an refreshing, and it tasted so good….so, so good, when it hit Judah’s lips. The spray blasted over a mile into the air and formed a mist over the encampment as it trickled back down to the earth gracefully. The effects forever changed the rebels. When a drop of the magical yeast wine fell upon the head of a woman she was transformed from a rancid desert hag to a sultry vixen. This pleased the sleight of frame and intelligence’d, Judah. No longer would he fear rape from the rebel women. His resentment for the past wrongdoings that the women forced upon every orifice of his body was replaced by a half-chub. The men of the camp all began to get some with willing regularity rather than deliberate reproduction. Life was good. They all forgot, for the time being, that they were exiles from their own birthplace just for not eating fuckin lingonberries. Judah and his confidants partied like it was the eve of 1 B.C.E. Draichel was Judah’s right-hand man. With the camp’s women under the influence of alcohol, he was allowed to go back to simply being Judah’s ‘close’ friend. He discovered a unique talent with the newly discovered geyser. When held headfirst into the flow of the beer, he was able to stay submerged and drinking for as long as a minute. When he tapped out of his geyser-stand and felt the soil beneath his feet once again, his footing became very unsure. Draichel would spin in circles from the instant intoxication. Spinning; he won the cheers from onlookers, and nightly his antics became a foundation for betting. The smart money usually said that he would land flat on his back, but the odds made the bet of him landing on his face also worthwhile. The young flock of Judaeans were having times to remember. Nightly parties underneath the stars, regular orgies, and drunken escapades; yet many of the group still missed the comforts of home. Their close friends and relatives continued to live in Jerusalem, and choked down meatballs with every meal in order to keep their meager plots of land. To Judah, the policies from the Greek ruler, no matter how strange, were unbearable. As long as he remained in power, so to would he live in Diaspora Valley. Artimus and Itticus had been hard at work re-decorating the Temple. It was once a holy facility for prayer and worship and was reduced to a museum of obscurity and the storage of raw meats. Beowulf posters were spackled to the walls, the ark that formerly housed the Torah was converted into a meatball cooler. The Rabbi’s podium was in the process of being carved into a canoe. The Jews were demoralized by this. Eating meatballs and lingonberries drove them crazy, but desecrating the temple was piss in their cereal. The brothers cared not about the Kings wishes or the native people of Jurusalem; they simply followed orders and dreamed of better days. “Artie, where is our brother?” Itticus said, brazenly to Artimus. “At The Velvet Swine Café, of course.” “Man, I’d like to rap his nuts against a chain-link fence.” Exclaimed a tactless Itticus. “I would never touch his nuts, or anyone elses, for that matter. Maybe you should go and join him, Felchicus!” “Shit…You know I don’t need an ox to pull my hoes.” Claimed Artimus. They continued their labor and bantered to pass the time. They didn’t discuss politics or current events or religion, but any serious conversation they had would remind them that they hated their current living situation. The king, their father, treated them like garbage and it was no secret that his Syphilis was gaining momentum. Soon the city would be turned upside down by his nonsensically sick mind, only for him to die an insane old man. Though, the death of the King; crowning the eldest brother, would be no reprieve to them, and they knew it. At the rebel encampment; Draichel, the anointed ‘Ale Specialist’, had been more frequently noticing that the girth of the beer flow hadn’t been filling his mouth with as much fervor as it once had. He wondered if he was still sexy. The rebels took daily measurements and confirmed that the beer flow was dwindling. Judah realized how much of a blessing it had been to strike this underground supply, but he feared camp life without it. Now, the sultry women flaunted their bedroom eyes, but without beer he would be gleaming into the eyes of sexual predators. Rape would be imminent. They would cut switches from dry Myrtlewood and drive them deep into his anus, as they once practiced. The women were vengeful without beer and it was a tortured life that Judah never wanted to return to. Antiochus IV sat at a small table in the corner of The Velvet Swine Cafe. Though many courted him in this place, he paid no interest. His loves included hiking, silk clothing, tanning, and cleaning his porcelain white teeth. Nothing and nobody else seemed to capture his attention. All the while he sat and sipped his Orange Mocha Frappucino and preening in his own reflection; lost in thought.. He thought about a very out of the ordinary place, and dreaming of a life very out of sort, with a very unsuspecting mate curled up in his arms. A tale as old as time itself, Antiochus was in love with the unattainable. He dreamt day in and day out of Judah Maccabee, leader of the rebels. It’s Sooooo typical, he sulked. All of the good ones are inaccessible. His lamentations lasted hours on end, and at times, he was forced to choke back his ladyboy tears. Well, why not take a chance? I am a pretty pretty princess, why wouldn’t he like me? This tickled his fancy and he giggled planning the outfits he would wear in Judah’s presence. As he swallowed the remaining froth of his frap, he realized that his future was in his own hands. Of course, Antiochus wasn’t just anybody, he was the prince that would one day be queen! And, he needed a king to be by his side in rule. He planned to reach the encampment by dawn.
The brothers set out on foot to meet the rebels. If anybody shared their hatred of the prince and king it would be them. Whether Judah would help them or not was irrelevant. They were primarily curious about the parties. Rumors spoke of beer-bongs the size of camels on their hind legs and a tide of women as thick as the monsoon dust storms. The brothers felt connected, from a distance, with the rebels. Exiles within or outside the city limits were two of the same. Itticus and Artimus arrived at Diaspora Valley in mid-morning and perched behind bushes before making an approach into the camp. The times were still very sensitive, and charging into the camp could mean their lives if they didn’t seek Judah out carefully. They scoped the surroundings. In this desert, the brush was erratically traversing the terrain and typically very thin in mass. Even from a distance, they could see as much as they needed inside the camp without impediment. There were at least 30 tents to their count, all very rudimentary, made with various pelts and skins. A large cauldron brimmed over an open fire pit. Tending to it was the most beautiful woman the brothers had ever beset. Scrolling further, their eyes caught another delicious desert fox, this one topless, digging a hole behind the whip of a lazy fat man. And then there was Judah, baking in the hot sun, but he looked refreshed as he slowly sipped from a goblet the size of his forearm. He was speaking to someone directly in front of him, two paces separated. The figure was robed and clearly male, but making distinguishably feminine hand gestures as he spoke. The figure then pulled back the hood of his robe and pointed to himself, as if to say ‘this is my serious face.’ “What in the Moses-fucking-Covenant is he doing here?!?!?” “Of course!” Exclaimed, Artimus. “He is hiring the rebels to take us out. That way his hands stay clean, as far as the Jurusalites are concerned, and he’ll have no challengers for the throne.” Antiochus made a final plea for Judah’s attention. Judah; calm, cool, collected, and wasted; snapped his fingers, summoning two scantily clad women from the tent behind him. They approached each of his shoulders respectively, and placed their humongous jugs on them, resting. Sobbing, Antiochus slapped Judah across the cheek and stormed out of the camp, hiding his teary face. Meanwhile, the younger brothers left the scene hastily with vengeful minds. If it was an assassination that Antiochus was planning, then they would be ready with a plan of their own. The kreplach were beginning to surface in a bubbling 3-stone cauldron. The wench-chef shuffled several hot coals out from beneath it to bring the ale broth to a simmer. It was nearing sundown in the camp. Many of it’s constituents were waking from post-coital naps and those who weren’t would probably end up skipping the meal. Judah and Draichel were tending to important and classified camp business. “Judah, we’re fuckin fucked.” Proclaimed a swarthy Draichel. His eyes were rolling around loosely in their sockets and he struggled against the earths gravitational pull to stay upright. “Well, how much do we have left?” Judah filled his cup alongside his inquiry. “By my calcamations, we’ve got two full days of beer, or 3 hours if we play spin the Draichel again.” Judah’s posterior quivered. He swore that he would do everything in his power to avoid being raped by his peers. It would be imminent failure with the loss of beer to subside his ass-hungry people of the sand. Though, he knew of a liquor store in town that was friendly to the cause. Breaking his code to never set foot in Swede-envying King’s rule would be a detriment, but he realized that a beer run might just save his ass.
The King entered the dining chamber of the royal palace enamored with the delicious smells that filled the air. Balled portions of choice meats browned and danced about in a pan. Lingonberry cider sat still in gourd goblets. His meal to be was simply missing guests. Neither Junior, or the younger brothers were seated awaiting their meal. In place of Antiochus was a note: ‘Father, I’ve decided after years of hiding my true feelings and identity that I need to be liberated from mental anguish. I’m leaving a world of scorn and hostility behind, and placing happiness first. You will truly feel let down and disappointed in the man I always thought that I should be. You must find the strength to love me as a vegetarian, unconditionally. I can be found in my quarters, with vegetables, if you wish to discuss this issue. Sincerely, Antiochus’ The king snatched one of the goblets, juice swirling the brim, as he intended to nurse it while belittling his son. ———— In progress was the one last ditch effort that could make or break his relationship with Judah. The King had to be moved aside, allowing Judah and his people to return and take back the throne. Antiochus knew the crazy loon would come running as soon as he read the note. He was beneath his bed sheets, laying with dreams of grandeur, with a taut bow and loaded arrow. ————— The younger brothers had the assassinations of the king and Antiochus planned the modern way; by poison. They visited an old Syrian politician that lived due south of Jerusalem. He concocted a mucousy fluid from a snakes testicles that was so potent that it singed Artimus’ eyebrows when he smelled it. Four or five drops were emptied into the gourd goblets that were placed on the dining table that evening. The brothers took special interest in doing the job right. ————— The king opened the door and stood, from the hall peering into Antiochus’ quarters. There he saw his eldest son lying on his back with a blank stare at the moldings of his four post bed. “You come down this instant and eat your fuckin meatballs!” “Why don’t you come a bit closer so that I can tell you why I hate your fucking meatballs so fucking much?” Responded a coy Antiochus to his fathers barked orders. The King approached the bed in a huff…