Iz and Pal (Bedouin Buddies)


Iz and Pal

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3987)

Sitting Eleven

A gentle moment of tenderness swept over the heart of Karin Koulyea.

At first she didn’t recognize the emotion, having not encountered it for some time. She found it best to protect her soul just short of the border of bitterness. She never felt comfortable, she was never assured, and she always found herself defending her life because she was born a woman.

But standing there in the desert, she realized that these two young boys had captured her imagination, as immature and foolish as they obviously were. There was a devotion that linked the two of them which was unmistakable, and nearly brought the hard-bitten reporter to tears.

Confused by her feelings and realizing that she was flirting with becoming part of the story instead of reporting it, she asked, “So, what is my story? What do you know about me? Are you just setting me aside because you’re rejecting everyone who isn’t one of you two?”

“You don’t have a story,” Iz explained, leaning forward. “We didn’t ask you to come here. We didn’t ask to be bothered. We don’t want to solve any problem. We just don’t want anyone to take away our friendship.”

Karin shook her head and scoffed. “How about that soldier down there? How about the grenade?”

You brought him,” countered Iz.

Karin took a deep breath for dramatic effect. “Actually, he brought me. My jeep gave up on the way here and I hitched a ride.” She gazed steadily at the pair. “And I will tell you right now—he wants his grenade back and he will not leave until he gets it.”

Pal carefully considered her words. “Tell him he can have his hand grenade if we can have his gun.”

Iz loved the idea and clapped his hands. Karin, on the other hand, chuckled before realizing that Pal was serious. “No, I don’t think he’ll do that,” she said. “Matter of fact, I can pretty well guarantee you that he’ll nix that suggestion. But calm down—let’s drop this for now. Just listen. For my story…” She held up her hand. “And listen, boys, I am going to walk away from here with a story. So for my story, I need your names.”

“We have new names,” said Iz proudly. Pal nodded in agreement.

Karin, grateful for the conversation, asked, “All right. What are your new names?”

“I am Iz and this is Pal,” he replied.

Karin nodded her head. “I see,” she said. “For Israeli and Palestinian.”

Pal was very aggravated at how quickly Karin figured out their cleverness. “Is it that obvious?” he asked, disappointed.

“Well, it sure ain’t Gordian’s knot,” she replied.

Iz and Pal looked at each other, confused. Karin reconsidered her comparison and replaced, “Well, it sure ain’t algebra.”

The two boys bobbed their heads, understanding. Karin continued. “Well, Iz and Pal, you’ve got a problem. You really can’t stay here—especially with a hand grenade, which is going to gather great interest. Let’s be honest. What’s to keep that big, burly soldier down there from running up the hill and whipping your butts, and carrying you off to jail?”

“The hand grenade,” said Iz simply.

Karin pointed at him. “You mean the hand grenade you don’t know how to use?”

“The soldier doesn’t know that,” responded Pal.

Karin looked around the desert as if seeking divine wisdom, and then continued. “Listen, kid—there is no threat you will ever make that you won’t eventually have to back up. That’s why countries go to war. Because somebody somewhere was stupid enough to threaten somebody else. Then they end up needing to back it up by killing a bunch of innocent people.”

Iz and Pal listened very carefully. Karin was once again moved by their sincerity, but completely unnerved by their foolish innocence. They did not realize how dangerous it was to live in this land, where threats always became violence. They were ignorant of how a weapon in the hand eventually became a casualty on the ground. Whether they knew how to use a hand grenade or not, they were still in great peril.

She had no idea what to do. Perhaps they were small enough that she could take them on herself—at least one of them. Maybe if she overpowered Iz and pulled him down the hill, then Pal would dutifully follow. As always, the problem was, there wasn’t much time to think it over. And she didn’t trust Minioz. Was he concerned about the boys, or just intent on retrieving his hand grenade and making sure no ranking officer was aware he had lost it?

She looked toward the jeep. Suddenly, it was even more problematic. The sergeant was heading up the hill, weary of waiting. He was definitely not to be trusted. How desperate was he to cover up his error? Would he harm the boys?

Karin made a quick decision. “Listen,” she said. “Here he comes. I am probably the most stupid woman on Earth—but watch carefully. Here’s how the hand grenade works. I had to learn about them when I was a correspondent in Lebanon. First, look at the pin.” She pointed to the pin dangling from the grenade. “When you remove that pin, it opens a fuse. You have no more than five seconds to toss it and get away from the grenade before it explodes. Be careful. Some people know how to put the pin back into the grenade, but I don’t.”

Iz and Pal focused intently. Fidgeting, Iz fingered the pin.

“No!” screamed Karin, pulling his hand away. “It’s not a toy and this is no game. I did not tell you this so you would kill yourselves, or me, for that matter. I just don’t want the soldier to hurt you.”

Minioz was very near. It was all heading toward a very precarious conclusion.

Karin had been right.

Could any good thing come out of this story?


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Catchy (Sitting 13) Can Bad Come Out of Good? … September 3rd, 2017

Jonathots Daily Blog

(3419)

In a fit of weary and dreary delusion, Soos stumbled her way through the parking lot en route to her Hertz Rent-a-car, fumbling with her keys. Opening the door, plopping her exhausted backside into the bucket seat and slamming her bag beside her, she gently hammered her head on the steering wheel and unleashed a poetic proclamation of prayer.

“Dammit!”

Having just sat through four-and-a-half hours of meeting–no, not just meeting, mindless meeting. No, more than that–mindless, menacing meeting–with seven or eight folks which could have been nine, her brain had turned inside out, dumping both its knowledge and its will to live, exposing the insanity that had always lurked within.

She ran the words through her mind.

“Soos, I was wondering if you could type up some notes to summarize today’s meeting with the attorney, Marcus Tomlinson.”

She had stared at Matthew, who made the request, as if he had possibly had a stroke. How was anyone supposed to sum up four-and-a-half hours of lethargy in motion? For after all, it was a meeting to prove that a meeting had occurred, to discuss why a meeting was necessary, to conclude that a future meeting would be required. It was like paint drying while staying wet.

It began painfully slow, but Soos knew she was in real trouble when Tomlinson arrived with a guest–a tall, elegant man of color in his late forties, garishly dressed in expensive clothing which shouted its value. His name was Bishop Merrill Handerling. He was the director of the Believers International Fellowship (B.I.F.)

She remembered thinking to herself that Bif was the villain in “Back to the Future.” Quickly regaining her maturity, she attempted to listen as Matthew, Randall, Jo-Jay, Marcus Tomlinson and Bishop Merrill discussed the potential, but mostly the dangers, of the project of making Jesus popular again.

Although Attorney Tomlinson was careful to be respectful of Arthur Harts, who had been dead for less than three months, he also made it completely clear, in his litigious way, that the old fart was crazy.

The Bishop objected to any criticism toward the billionaire–but also wanted to establish that he felt there was a sinister element in commercializing Jesus and turning him into the new “flavor of the day.” (At this point, the dignified black gentleman actually held for laughter. Jo-Jay was generous and giggled a little.)

How was Soos supposed to immortalize the collision of imaginary trains of thought? No one actually knew what they were talking about. To some degree, no one actually cared.

But things really stalled when Prophet Morgan stepped into the room, arriving late, and the Bishop and the Prophet came face-to-face. Soos remembered thinking to herself that it sounded like great stage direction for a Shakespearean play. It became quickly obvious that everything Bishop disliked Prophet approved of, and likewise, everything that profited the Prophet baffled the Bishop.

They just didn’t like each other.

Meanwhile, Matthew sat over in the corner trying to shrink and disappear, looking like he wished he was a cube of ice that could simply melt.

Soos was shocked. After all the discussions and back-and-forth agreements, it seemed that Attorney Tomlinson was trying to find a way to euthanize the whole “popular Jesus” idea, hoping he could use this overstated Bishop to be the hit man.

After hours of exhausting listening, Soos spoke up for herself. She remembered the moment well because it was so contrary to her normal personality that it seemed to be coming from a different person who had temporarily taken occupation of her soul.

“I don’t think anything bad can come of doing something good.”

That’s what she said. It was not terribly intellectual, but in this room full of disconnected thoughts, it sounded almost Biblical.

Matthew sat up in his chair as if suddenly aware that life was still going on. The Bishop accidentally spoke a quick “amen” before realizing that Soos was disagreeing with him. And Prophet? Well, Prophet leaned over and kissed Soos on the mouth.

Immediately after that simple statement, the meeting was adjourned to a future time which would be determined in the future if such a future was necessary.

It was also shortly after that statement that Soos received the instruction to “type up a summary” of the meeting–her punishment for profundity.

She now sat in her car and just tried to decompress. She needed a diversion. If she were a drinker, this would require a martini. If she were an exercise freak, she would need to go run. If she were religious, prayer would be demanded.

But Soos was a carboholic.

On her way back to the Holiday Inn Express, she picked up a dozen doughnuts.

 

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Reverend Meningsbee (Part 52) Black Tuesday… April 30th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3292)

Reverend Meningsbee

In the midst of the Garsonville healing, Richard Meningsbee, in his spirit, just decided to participate. For nearly three weeks, he didn’t peruse, view or “oogle”any pornography on the Internet.

He wasn’t sure why. Honestly, he was a little afraid to contemplate it. Was it the arrival of Carl, with his purity towards the work? Maybe it was the movie being such a flop. Or was it just realizing that Jesus was right when he said the physician needed to heal himself first, before he could hang up a shingle and start treating sick folk.

It was perplexing. For he was still tempted–there was a huge vacuum in his life, which lay empty, mocking him and making him feel less than needed and certainly never wanted.

On Tuesday morning, he woke up yearning for a cup of coffee that wasn’t made by his own hands. He had not been back to the Garson-Fill to see Carla since the day she rejected his invitation to dinner and startled him with her revelation about domestic abuse.

Why did men want to hurt women? Was it because women reminded men of how much more they could be? Or was it because men knew that if they struck out at other men, there was the danger of incurring injury. Meningsbee never understood it.

But his mind was burdened with thoughts of Carla. He wanted to see her–but to what end? She had made her position clear. After all, he thought, she might take off running or maybe even leave town, which would be horrible considering that she had established new friends and great possibilities. So up to now he had stayed away out of respect to her feelings.

But today he thought his feelings needed a little attention of their own. He wondered if he could just be friends with Carla. Maybe he could begin to replace her image of Christian men being brutal with a Christian man, yearning to be an equal and merciful.

Whatever the reason, on Tuesday morning Meningsbee was uncontrollably driven to go to the Garson-Fill.

He decided to wear a pair of jeans, a t-shirt and put on a ball cap so Carla wouldn’t think he was trying to impress her with his appearance. It was probably silly, but he thought the effort was important.

He started out the door three times, but turned and sat back down. He didn’t want to blow this. He was in a fragile place, where climbing the mountain was possible, but also possible was falling off the cliff.

On his fourth attempt he made it out the door and headed down the street to the Garson-Fill. It was nine o’clock in the morning and a “Closed” sign was hanging on the door. That in itself was weird. He had never seen that before. Maybe someone was sick. Or maybe they were closed.

But even from a distance he could see inside, and there were people moving about. He was just about ready to turn and walk away when he heard a huge bang coming from the cafe. He turned to look.

He really couldn’t tell that anything was wrong–yet for a brief second he caught a glimpse of Carla. She was talking to a man.

Meningsbee figured she must be busy. Maybe she just hadn’t gotten the chance to open up yet because of her conversation. It seemed like a horrible time to interrupt.

But he did anyway. Completely unsure of his reasoning, he followed an inkling in his spirit. He just felt something needed to be done. The situation was akilter.

Coming to the door of the cafe, he knocked on the window with a smile on his face, waving at Carla. The gentleman she was talking to turned around, and when he did, Carla frowned at him and waved him away.

He knocked again. Something was certainly awry.

The man said something to Carla. She sighed heavily, walked over with the keys, opened up and spoke through a small crack in the door.

“Richard, we are closed today.”

She spoke slowly, obviously trying to control her emotions. Richard looked into her eyes. She was in some sort of distress.

“Oh, gee,” he said. “Couldn’t I just get a cup of coffee? Aren’t you glad to see me?”

She took a quick glance over to the man, and realizing that he wasn’t observing her, she shook her head. Meningsbee boldly grabbed the door, opened it and entered the cafe.

He stuck his hand out to the stranger, and said, “Hello. My name is Reverend Richard Meningsbee.”

The man snickered, held out his hand and they shook.

“I’m Gus.”

Meningsbee made his way over to a nearby table and sat down. “You know, I’ve always wondered if Gus is short–like for Gustave–or if someone just decides to name someone Gus.”

Gus glanced over at Carla and then back at Meningsbee. “No, I’m just Gus. Is this your boyfriend, Carla?”

“No,” said Carla, as she hurried to get a cup of coffee for Meningsbee.

“Well, Reverend,” said Gus. “Is she right? Or is she your sweetie?”

“Well, she is sweet,” said Meningsbee. “But look at me. I’m a mess. No woman would want me. That’s why I’m a preacher. I came to God. I heard He doesn’t reject anyone.”

Gus chuckled and turned to Carla. “He’s a funny one, Carla. A funny preacher. A funny ugly preacher. Right?”

Gus turned again to Meningsbee, obviously trying to stir some anger.

“Well, you know, Gus,” said Meningsbee, “I think you have to have some kind of characteristic about your face that stands out enough to be ugly. My face just kind of looks like God forgot to fill in the blanks.”

Gus laughed again. It was a big laugh–because Gus was a huge man. He stood about six foot four and weighed nearly 300 pounds.

The sight of him made Meningsbee’s bowels tingle in fear, but the reverend tried to maintain his composure, because he believed that Carla was in danger.

“What brings you to town, Gus?” asked Meningsbee.

“A financial transaction,” said Gus, looking over at Carla. “Isn’t that right, dear?”

She tensely nodded her head.

“I see you called her ‘dear,'” said Meningsbee. “Are you family?”

Gus sat down on a stool near Meningsbee. “Carla didn’t tell ya’? Well, she’s my wife.”

Was your wife,” fired Carla over her shoulder.

She walked over and set the coffee down in front of Meningsbee. “Just the way you like it, Reverend. Four sugars.”

It was a signal–Meningsbee never put sugar in his coffee. He always told Carla that if he wanted cake, he’d take sugar. What he wanted was a good cup of coffee.

“So you say there’s a financial transaction,” continued Meningsbee as he tried to choke down the sweet fluid.

“Yeah,” said Gus. “It seems that Carla here owes me a lot of money.”

“Really?” said Meningsbee. “Carla, do you have a lot of money?”

She shook her head but refused to speak.

“Come on over here, dear,” said Gus. “Don’t be anti-social.”

Turning to Meningsbee, he added, “Don’t you hate it when a woman is anti-social? It makes you think she doesn’t like you. It would be easy to take that personal.”

Meningsbee decided to act. “Gus, I don’t think Carla wants you here. I think it’s time for you to leave.”

“I can’t do that, preacher,” Gus said. “I haven’t had the chance to show you my gun.”

He pulled out a massive pistol. Meningsbee knew nothing about firearms, except that they kill, and this one certainly looked like it was capable.

“A gun?” said Meningsbee. “Now, Gus, why would a big fellow like you need a gun?”

“Because sometimes people just don’t listen to my voice,” he replied, pointing the gun at Carla.

“Let’s all calm down,” said Meningsbee. “There’s gotta be a way to work this out, right? After all, you wouldn’t have come to town unless you were trying to get some money to start something. What is it? A new business?”

“Don’t play me, preacher,” Gus said. “I understand your game. I’ve been a born-again Christian all my life. Washed in the blood of the lamb. I was the youngest boy at the Bay City Pentecostal Assembly to ever speak in tongues. I know the Word. You understand what I’m saying? I know the Word. And the Word says, ‘Women, submit to your husbands.'”

“Well, that’s my mistake,” said Meningsbee. “I didn’t know you two were still married. I thought you were divorced.”

“Divorce is a sin,” said Gus. “She may want to indulge in it, but neither I nor the Lord God recognize it.”

“Listen, Gus,” said Meningsbee, leaning forward. “I don’t think you want to use the gun.”

Suddenly Gus stood to his feet, shifted the gun in his hand, pointing it right between Meningsbee’s eyes. “I can tell you’re no prophet, because you’re wrong. I would love to use this gun. You see, I’ve got nothing to lose, which means I might have everything to gain. And if I blow your head off, and then blow my head off, we’re gonna gain our souls, even though we’ll lose the world.”

Carla gave a screech. “Gus, stop it! Leave him alone! He’s not part of this.”

“Sure he is,” said Gus, lowering the gun and pointing it back at Carla. “If he was really a man of God, the Holy Ghost would have told him to stay home for his coffee today. Am I right, preacher?”

“Or the Holy Ghost sent me here to help you both,” said Meningsbee. “There is that, you know, Gus.”

“The only help I need is money,” said Gus.

“Well, I can get you money,” said Meningsbee. “I’m a signer on the church account. I probably shouldn’t be. How much do you need?”

“I don’t want that money. That’s God’s money. It would be filthy lucre. I want hers.

“How do you know she has money?” asked Meningsbee.

“She sent five hundred dollars to my cousin, Reno, who’s dying of cancer.”

“I see,” said Meningsbee, a little surprised.

“If she’s got five hundred, she’s got a thousand,” Gus concluded.

All at once the town constable pulled up in his cruiser and headed for the front door of the Garson-Fill to get his morning espresso and crueller. It was a ritual.

Gus became nervous. “Now, we do need to get rid of that smokie!”

Meningsbee interrupted. “I think maybe I could do that. Could I do that? Gus, would it be all right if I did that?”

Gus tucked the gun away under the zipper of his coat and said, “You damn better well.”

It was actually pretty simple. Meningsbee knew Bill. He told him they were having trouble with the water filtration system and that they were closed for the day.

“Well, what are you doing here?” Bill asked.

“Carla called me,” Meningsbee replied. “I had told her I used to work with this kind of stuff years ago. She thought I might be able to help.”

“Well, Meningsbee, you are a man of many talents,” said the cop. “Now I gotta go find me a cup of coffee and a donut.”

He turned and walked away, and Meningsbee shut the door and stepped back to his place.

“I’ll make you a deal, Gus. Why don’t we go over to the church together, and I’ll give you two thousand dollars out of my personal account. Not God money. Just preacher money.”

Gus took the gun out and pointed it at Meningsbee again. “Do you think I’m stupid? The second I leave here she’s gonna call that cop back.”

“Good thinking,” said Meningsbee. “So let’s tie her up. There’s got to be some rope somewhere.”

Gus squinted doubtfully. “How does a preacher get two thousand dollars of his own money?”

“I’m a little embarrassed to admit it,” said Meningsbee. “But three weeks ago I won it in Las Vegas.”

“A gamblin’ preacher?” Gus shook his head and turned to Carla. “Is that what you settled for, girl? A sinner–just barely dipped in grace?”

Then Gus made his mistake. He turned to look for rope, and Carla took her opportunity. She grabbed a knife she’d found in a drawer just beneath her hands. She ran over quickly and stabbed Gus in the back.

He grimaced in pain and buckled to his knees. In doing so he dropped the gun on the ground. Meningsbee wasted no time. He grabbed the gun, and while Gus was trying to regain his footing, he took Carla by the hand and they ran out the front door into the street, flagging down the constable, who had decided to try the convenience store for his breakfast.

It didn’t take more than two minutes for the constable to comprehend the situation and head over with them to the diner. But in that length of time, Gus was gone. His truck had disappeared and he apparently was on his way to other mischief.

Bill warned Carla that it was very possible that Gus would return to seek revenge for the stabbing, but she wasn’t afraid.

Meningsbee, on the other hand, was terrified. He was so grateful that he had worn a ball cap, hoping that Gus would never recognize him on a normal day.

Carla was strong. Carla was determined. And for the time being, Carla was safe.

 

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … August 31st, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(3050)

PoHymn changing history

Changing History

What do I look like to you?

Take a moment–what’s your view?

Do you merely see my hat?

Or make note that I am fat?

Please share–give me a clue.

What do you think of my song?

Is it pleasant or just seem strong?

Do you enjoy the beat?

Were you tapping your feet?

Or did you find it too long?

Bother you I’m a stranger?

Do you sense hidden danger?

But are you sure you are right?

How about some fresh insight?

Or are you the only voice?

Yet faith demands some hope

And love is how we cope

To inhale a breath of air

Welcoming what is fair

Expanding our limited scope

I am not the Master

That would be a disaster

But you are not the King

Just blessed with what you bring

Sooner, better, faster

For when the day is done

With the setting of the sun

One truth will still remain

A glistening, golden refrain

If I can find you

And you can find me

We can find God

And change history 

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All I Know… August 19, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(1980)

blind with dogAggravated–even though he felt foolish to manifest such a nagging emotion. After all, the improvement in his circumstances certainly had eliminated any need for additional vendettas or sprouting frustration.

He could see. The power of that simple phrase was that just short days before, he couldn’t.

See, that is.

Call it a miracle, a transition, an intervention or just the “course of human events”–no matter what position you took on the issue, he had gained a great gift, which to his delight, was not dimming with the passing of time.

It wasn’t so much that he was angered by those who had passed by him as strangers during his dark time, musing over the question of whether his excesses or some genetic flaw passed on my his parents had caused his condition. That’s just what people do. When they peer at something unpleasant they start looking for dark reasons which caused the affliction, so as to distance themselves from both danger and responsibility.

He was shocked, however, when his friends, who had known him since his birth in blindness, pretended they didn’t know who he was, or weren’t sure he was the same person they had been acquainted with. Or they offered that dastardly opinion: “Since his healing, he’s just not been the same.”

It was terrifying–and enraging–to go through the questioning from the investigating elite, who kept probing with repetitive inquiries about the source of his new-found sight, only to reject his story and rebuke him for believing in some sort of “Godly gift.”

At times, he was tempted to deny the measure of grace that now permitted him to eyeball the world instead of merely considering what the images might be, since those around him felt he was a sinner or a friend they used to know or some riff-raff who was confused by the unfolding of events.

Yes, doubt began to creep into his own soul about his good fortune. But you see, he stopped himself short of turning into a denier of his own blessing … because he could see.

He had never done that before. It was impossible to reject the manifestation.

So after hours and hours of grilling by people with agendas to destroy his miracle, he finally simply stated, “All I know is this: once I was blind but now I see.”

Of course, this simple statement of trust did nothing to deter his critics. He was so grateful he was able to see–because if he had been surrounded by those who refute, rebuff, renounce and reject and was only able to hear their words, it could have turned into a living hell.

But his eyes gave him the ability to look past their short-sightedness into the face of a heavenly intervention.

Why couldn’t people just rejoice? He didn’t know.

But he did realize that faith is not what we believe–faith is when what we see and hear begins to jive … with what we hope

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