MOSES: Behind the Beard Moses enjoyed his new life but it left him somehow unsatisfied. The most exciting thing that had happened to him in the year or so he’d been in Midian was the birth of his son. And even that had been somewhat dampened by his new wife Zipporah circumcising the new born with a rock and waving the foreskin around in triumph. Moses wasn’t quite sure why she did this, but it was bound to be something obscurely Jewish and he was sure it wouldn’t catch on. Moses missed the times back when he had real excitement. Gone were the days when he ran around killing Egyptians, hiding in wells and floating down the Nile in flimsy rafts made out of reeds. Managing a farm and rearing children while his wife hacked off their foreskins with a rock was not really that exciting. What Moses needed now was an adventure so one day he sneaked out of the house while Zipporah was busy circumcising one of his farmhands and hid behind a bush in the furthest field from the house. He took a deep breath and whispered into the leaves. ‘I’ll sell my soul for an adventure.’ Moses looked around, expecting to see a hole suddenly open up in the ground behind him with fierce yellow flames licking at the edges but no such hole appeared. He sighed and lent against the bush. ‘Funny,’ thought Moses, ‘the bush wasn’t this warm before.’ He looked over his shoulder and found to his astonishment that the bush was on fire but more to the point, so was his arm. Moses screamed and threw himself to the ground and rolled around screaming, trying to put out the flames. It was at that point that he heard a deep booming laughter coming from behind him. He beat the last of the fire out with his hat and turned to see where the laughter was coming from. Expecting some gruesome beast, Moses’ frightened appearance soon turned to one of confusion. Inside the bush was the image of a laughing head but it wasn’t this that was so confusing. It was more that it wasn’t a thin evil looking face with horns and a goatee. In fact, it was the complete opposite, more of an old man with a long flowing beard than a son of Lucifer. In fact, if he didn’t know better, Moses would think it was the face of. . . ‘Hello, Moses. I am God. I believe that you wish to barter your soul for an adventure, of sorts?’ Moses gasped. This was definitely not what he had expected to happen. ‘Um,’ whispered Moses, ‘I kinda thought Satan would be the one coming to trade an adventure for an eternity of servitude.’ ‘What?’ bellowed God. ‘I said that I thought it would be the Devil that-‘ whispered Moses, louder this time. ‘What?’ screeched a seemingly irate Lord. ‘I said,’ yelled Moses, ‘That I-‘ ‘I heard what you said,’ snapped the Lord of All Things Holy, ‘I may be cursed with being all knowing but I’m not deaf. I was just making a comment on the stupidity of your statement.’ ‘Oh,’ said Moses. ‘Sorry.’ There didn’t seem to be much else he could say for this was completely out of his league. ‘You’re all the same, you bloody humans. Always complaining about this and worrying about that and completely ignoring the fact that I can’t be everywhere at once and then when I come to buy a simple soul what do they do? Complain because I’m not the bloody Prince of bloody Darkness! Well I’ve had it. Miserable bloody planet, I should have destroyed it the moment those two trouble makers ate that damn apple.’ ‘What? There are other planets with people on them?’ queried Moses. He was a bit startled to find that God wasn’t what he had thought, let alone that there was life on other planets. ‘Oh please, I have a life outside of you, you know. Now do you want to sell me your soul or not? ‘Well, yeah, I guess. But why are do want to buy my soul?’ ‘Well,’ pouted God, ‘If Satan can do it, why can’t I?’ ‘It’s just that selling a soul is meant to be a bad thing and being sentenced to eternity in heaven doesn’t sound like much of a punishment for someone willing to undergo a soul-ectomy.’ The fiery apparition thought about this for a moment. ‘What about masochists?’ ‘Oh, yeah, masochists sure but not for the common man you know?’ God stopped to think again. Then all of a sudden the flames on the bush roared higher and God declared, ‘An adventure it is then! As it happens, I need a quest performed at the moment and I need you to do it. The children of Israel are being held captive by the Egyptians as slaves and, being their god, they want me to do something about it. So, if you could run up to the pharaoh and do some magic tricks in my name to see if he lets them go I’d be much obliged. In return I will grant you say, forty years of excitement leading the Children of Israel to freedom. What do you think?’ Moses shrugged. The deal seemed good to him. ‘Good then,’ said God, reaching a flaming hand out of the bush, ‘Now all we have to do is shake on the deal and we can get started.’ Moses reached tentatively out to the hand and grabbed hold of it. It didn’t hurt and he sighed in relief. Then suddenly pain shot up his arm and it burst into flames again amongst bursts of laughter. When Moses finally put the flames out and turned back to the bush the flaming apparition was no more. The bush was merely a blacked stick. Moses sighed and picked up a sharp rock. He would have to tell Zipporah what had happened before he could plan his trip and she would almost certainly try to remove an inch of his penis for luck.