by Gallagher & Schleicher
And so it came to pass yond people were sorely annoyed with Pharaoh. This people had for what seemed liketh 40 years and a day endured a never-ending onslaught of juvenile insults, coarse proclamations and various statements of questionable verisimilitude. Their patience waned.
To be sure, many feared the worst from the moment of his ascension. This ruler didst have a long and dark history of greed, lust and gluttony. They feared he lacked the judgment and integrity his high office demands. Others didst see in this gent and his various courtiers deep streaks of cruelty and incompetence. Various among the people didst implore their Maker to intervene.
“Tis not my place to interfere in the democratic process,” spake the Lord. “Instead I shall sendeth Pharoah a series of tests by which ye can either confirm his worthiness or justifyeth his dismissal.” The people were not entirely convinced but did relent and giveth it a chance. After all, what choice did they haveth?
First, God sent forth a despot in the east, a murderous and unstable tyrant, equipped with horrific weapons of mass destruction which said king hath used to threaten his neighbors and taunt the Pharaoh. Pharaoh chose rather to fete the tyrant with banquets and letters of affection, and the tyrant’s neighbors anon thereby questioned Pharaoh’s stability instead.
Next God sent horrible storms to the east and raging fires to the west of the kingdom, bethinking surely Pharaoh would riseth to such challenges that endanger his own people. Pharaoh shrugged. “These may be mine own people, but those folk art not the right kind of people, if thee knoweth what I mean,” Pharoah said with a hair-toss-check-my-nails wave of his hand.
Perchance, thought the Lord, Pharaoh only understandeth the language of gold and coinage. So He sent forth modest economic growth, trailing in key indices that of Pharaoh’s predecessor (whom Pharaoh loathed hugely). Pharaoh scoffed. He didst cut taxes massively for the richest barons and princes while commencing against a faraway kingdom a war of trade tariffs, and thereby did greatly distract the people with such conniving and memes. The kingdom became massively indebted and farmers, whose fields lay barren on account of such schemes, did howl. Nonetheless, Pharaoh persisted.
Such a ruler, so immune to accountability and indifferent to his enormous responsibility, baffled the Lord. So He sent an investigatory angel, famous for military valor and general fairmindedness, in the form of a special counsel, to investigate Pharaoh and his collusion with foreign adversaries, for which Pharaoh wast infamous. Pharaoh didst obstruct. At a later hour, other such angels were sent and yea verily he didst obstruct them as well. And so it came to pass that his followers didst greatly revel in exultation at the folly of all who sought to holdeth their Pharaoh to account.
Alas, bethought God, “This Pharaoh hast madeth himself unpopular amongst the people, but truly 40% of the kingdom yet adores him no matter what may come to pass.” Thus did God repent of milder methods and establish that, “I shall sendeth three tests at the same instance, that the people may cease to bow before him and shall dispatch him from his palace that he shall no longer ruleth over them.”
The first of these synchronized tests was an illness, which did easily spread and imperiled many of the eldest, from which Pharaoh hadst drawn his most faithful disciples. Pharaoh didst dawdle. With the most callous of indifference and dishonesty of the most grievous and blatant sort he didst even stoop to naming this plague a hoax, greatly angering the Lord.
The second test wast a collapse in the market where the merchants didst speculate, following a spat between two rulers whom Pharaoh had greatly admired, as they possessed much liquid gold. (Also, each had in his own kingdom heretofore promised him land upon which to build a palace where Pharaoh’s name might be displayed in prominence.) Pharaoh didst fume and rage, impotent against the swirl, so much that he was forced to cut short his daily game of golf.
The third test was the cleverest of all, for the Lord simply allowed Pharaoh to be Pharaoh. His gluttony, greed and incompetence allowed to run amuck, Pharaoh didst further fail the first two tests and worsen them as he even did banish the learn’ed from his podium. Each day as Pharaoh did seek to calm the citizens, it only increaseth their panic and despair. The disease did so spread and the markets so collapse that the Vice-Pharaoh was seen to consult the scrolls for text of the 25th Amendment.
So the prophets did note, tis true that character is fate, and no insult upon America ever greater did issue than when the Lord did question the people of the kingdom, asking, “Have you at last the government you deserve?” Alas did even some followers of Pharaoh repent of their ways and yoke themselves with those whom Pharaoh hath oppressed: young persons of liberal leanings, never-Pharaohers, citizens of color and female inhabitants.
And so in that day they all didst rise up and free themselves from bondage under Pharaoh, who was banished to foreign lands.
David Gallagher (London) and David Schleicher (Waco) are strong believers that sometimes storytelling and humor are essential to break through the noise to make a point in the most dire of situations. This piece originally appeared in the March 14, 2020 Waco Tribune-Herald, where the Davids are on the Board of Contributors.