Friday, January 22, 2016
Everyone’s Time (…or, ‘First Witness’)
A Room. Evening.
Bahrun at his desk. He leans forward and says over his cellphone.
Bahrun Bring him in.
He sits back. The door opens. Tito walks in, slowly. He looks unkempt. Cotton in his nose, it evidently was bleeding. His arms a tinge bruised. The door closes behind him.
Bahrun (cont.) Hello! Good evening. How are you this late evening? Let’s get right down to business. I like to get to the point, no wish-wash talk. Anything but that. Man to man kind of talk, if you know what I mean. Sit down.
Tito slowly sits in a chair in front of Mr. Bahrun’s desk.
Bahrun (cont.) There’s salt in your tears, have you ever tasted them? You can’t cast them away like things on fire, like sins on fire—nor can the cherubim, or Seraphim, although they can help make straight the way. Once he has you he can do anything he likes. Do you think he can’t? That’s a madman for you, did you know, Iblis, is his real name?
Bahrun (cont.) we are all in it together you know. Nobody has been able to explain it, nor had the stamina to outlive it. Not even the House of Baal, perhaps a few prophets of Jehovah, perhaps I say. You can’t push it away like a plate of unwanted stew. You can’t say ‘It should have been better.’ Can you see my point? You’re a man of faith. Do you know only a few people are brought to me here. The ones whose hearts are not closed. Do you think God takes sides? Don’t mind my coal looking face, it’s been a long day.
He pours Tito a shot of whiskey.
Bahrun (cont.) if you are thinking about your wife and children, it’s kind of too late. Matter of fact, it’s not about them, it’s about you, they’ll take care of their own.
He drinks the whiskey.
Bahrun (cont.) after death did you know there is a resuscitation. Yes, that’s right, the spirit begins to rally with the soul, and all the amusing trivia of your life comes to the surface. As much as possible. God has a way of recreating your life events. And I can hear you saying ‘Oh that one’ and God says, ‘Didn’t you know him?’ and you answer, ‘Oh that one ‘and God rejoins: ‘I thought you did.’ Incidentally if you’re still wondering where your wife and children are, they are in the other room, safe and sound, waiting, just simply waiting.
He drinks the bottom of the whiskey.
Bahrun (cont.) a good-looking wife you have, fortune has been favorable in that way for you.
He pours Tito another whiskey.
Bahrun (cont.) I see you can hold your booze quite well, you have a high tolerance for whiskey. I am kind of chatty, and I try to be as friendly as I can, and as lighthearted as allowable, not in a carefree manner, but introspective. You see God is a bit of a hermit, He hardly appears anywhere and when he does hardly says a word. Rumor has it that he has your last days marked out, no pun intended, and I shouldn’t say days, but rather he’s got it pinpointed to the very second, and you are as if standing in front of a roaring train, with no brakes. What else do you think this is all about? That’s about it!
Bahrun (cont.) Stand up!
Bahrun (cont.) Sit down!
Bahrun (cont.) Thanks, well done.
Bahrun (cont.) what I find worrying and I can’t quite believe it yet, is a voice I hear, lowered and lowered, now near whisper: he’s coming for you! Iblis,’ imps.
Bahrun (cont.) Tell me something, anything!
Tito Who’s coming…
Bahrun (cont.) don’t quote me, it’s another rumor, and rumors are just that, rumors, but you should know though, after all I am your friend, aren’t I? Iblis’ imps, I told you who Iblis is.
He drinks down his second glass of whiskey, total.
Tito stands in front of Bahrun, and looks down at him. Bahrun looks up.
Bahrun (cont.) would I be right in assuming that you think you have control here? That you are in control here?
Tito (quietly and dumfounded) I don’t know you, or where I am, who you are, what am I doing here?
He sits back down in his chair.
Bahrun (cont.) I’m afraid I have very bad news for you. The devil has sent his imps for you, why is that so hard to understand? Therefore, would you like to know me better?
Tito (inaudibly in a mumble) WH…ay, oh, I?
Bahrun (cont.) I’ve heard you’ve been very wicked. Absolutely wicked!
Tito sits bolt upright.
Tito Well, to be frank, I’ve seen worse. Does God expect me to be flawless?
Bahrun (cont.) if he did, that would take some doing with you.
Tito You said I had an open heart or mind, something like that.
Bahrun (cont.) Yes, I think you do. Or God does. I try really I try to be so scrupulous about my wording, and I see that part of what I originally said, intrigues you. I’m intrigued you brought it back up. Well, do you want to patch things back up with God? I mean, well, you can’t do it in absentia, you’re already convicted, but you got a moment now.
Tito What then?
Bahrun (cont.) Well, frankly you’re in deep waters… like when you’ve eaten spoiled chicken.
He pours Tito another whiskey.
Tito I should do something, shouldn’t I?
Bahrun (cont.) I agree! I see you understand, you’re not a fool, or perhaps being a fool is better than not being a fool, and not understanding, and lose the goat and the rope, if you know what I mean, being a fool, well now… is just what it might take. What do you say? Are you a fool?
Tito I don’t know?
Bahrun (cont.) Are you prepared to be a fool? You do understand, a fool is often fooled. It is not an unpardonable sin to be fooled, or stupid, it is to be divided, and that is unbridgeable. It’s like apples and oranges. Very strange, but that is how it is. Ambiguous, of course. It could mean many things.
Bahrun (cont.) don’t worry about you wife, she’s in the other room, waiting, just waiting, she has salty tears. To be honest, in a short while, she’ll have no more obligation to you, and those salty tears will have evaporated, once and forevermore. Weigh that. So now you need to be honest. Do you know the man who runs Tartarus, well, he’s a very awful chap, and he’s sending his imps.
Bahrun (cont.) as I was saying, apples and oranges. You like sin, that’s the apple. God hates sin, thus he hates apples—figuratively speaking—and likes oranges. You can’t help loving apples. Now it is futile to quarrel with God over our likes and dislikes do you agree? You’ll lose the goat and the rope. Tell me truly, are you beginning to understand more?
Bahrun (cont.) Thus, you and God will disagree forever. So let’s admit it, God is largely right, honor demands you apologize to God, for your sins. But how do you do that? You can’t. Because you’ve tried, and you can’t stop sinning. Even if you were to make one hell of an effort, what do you do but sin again? So what does God have to do, but exile you? So he doesn’t get contaminated.
Bahrun goes to him, puts his army around him.
Tito What’s the matter? What in heaven’s name is the matter?
Tito (looking confused, tired, and weary) a man who answers every summons by the town-crier will never plant corn, wheat, or potatoes in his field.
Suddenly two imps show up by Toto’s bedside, his heart beats one beat per minute, they listen closely, then enter the room where Bahrun is.
Imp One Leave the young Arab alone to do what he is doing for Allah and for the whole of Islam!
Imp Two The cock that crows in the morning, belongs to one household but his voice is the belongings of the community. He belongs to Islam! Be careful Toto, he has a Christian way about him, and you know what the Qur’an says about them, that they think only they will go to heaven, and Mary gave birth to the Son of God, that is blasphemy.
There was such a compelling power and magic in both their voices that all Bahrun could do was nod his head in disagreement.
Tito (turning about somewhat as if directing his talk to the two imps, as if having to explain :) I never met this old man before this evening when he appeared as if out of nowhere, looking for me and found me, and I somehow ended up walking through his doorway into his office, and was asked to sit down.
Tito notices the door behind the imps, is slightly open and he is in the bed laying nearly stiff as a board, in the other room.
Imp One To every man his own. To each his chosen time.
Bahrun (cont.) that handful of words will not save Tito.
Imp One Shut up! Who told you the time?
Tito confused, looking at Bahrun, then at the imps.
Bahrun (cont.) it is the way God has divided the world. Everyone his own! The devil and his imps, their works, and God’s messenger his. But whatever the case the time has finally come. Soon it will be your time to recount his story.
Bahrun (cont.) you are in the hospital, everyone thinks you’re dead but you’re not, Mmmnnn? But almost. Your soul is leaving your body right this very moment; you were taught by Islam, to believe in Jesus Christ is the unpardonable sin, to believe in him is to be barred from Paradise. Ask yourself: how can the devil get even with God, if not through man? He can’t, so he uses his son, and calls him, ‘The unpardonable sin,’ if you believe in him. Only Christ can cast you sins to the wind, like fire.
By Dennis L. Siluk, Dr. H.c. Copyright © 1/2016