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Coffee time – Part 2



The compound of Kaldi’s parents, Jamal and Rebekah. Jamal is sitting on a pile of rushes, before him a low table. Enter Rebekah, bearing a platter of food, which she sets on the table before sitting on her own pile of rushes. They say grace. Jamal: Mmmm, fish. My favourite. (Stretches forth his hand and begins to eat. After a moment, grimaces violently) But it’s full of stones! Rebekah: It’s a new way of cooking fish, my dear. Jamal: I might have broken a tooth! What have you put in it? Rebekah: Well it seems there are strange beans growing on the hillside where Kaldi grazes the goats. The good Lord must have put them there for a purpose. Jamal: Pity he didn’t leave you a recipe book while he was at it. Rebekah: Jamal! (Jamal looks abashed) Anyway, I don’t want to risk them on the livestock, so I thought it’s up to us to make use of them as the good Lord surely intended. Jamal: Well, this can’t be the way. Rebekah: So, do you have any bright ideas? Jamal: (After a few moments thought) Try stewing them in asses’ milk? No? Well, maybe no. Add a little chili? Rebekah: (clapping her hands) Tomorrow! The following night. As before. When Rebekah brings in the food, both she and Jamal say grace, a little more fervently than the night before. Jamal tastes the food. Jamal: Bad idea. Very bad idea indeed. Rebekah: Just as well I made plenty of njera. (Pause) Any more bright ideas? Jamal: It is a question of divining the good Lord’s intentions. Rebekah: So? Jamal: Let us do as my mother used to do in a time of confusion. Take the Holy Book, open it with your eyes closed and pick out a verse with your forefinger. Surely that verse will give us guidance. (Rebekah does so) Jamal: What does the verse say? Rebekah: (Pause) It says: (Long pause) “The Lord forbade Saul from smiting King Agag before the altar of Bilal.” Jamal: (mystified, but not wanting to show it) Hmmm. Rebekah: What do you make of that? Jamal: (in the tone of a wise man faced with a conundrum) A number of questions arise. Rebekah: Fire away. Jamal: First, who on earth was King Agag? Rebekah: I don’t rightly know, my dear. Jamal: Second, why was Saul so keen on smiting him? Rebekah: Well, there was a lot of smiting going on in those days. Jamal: And….would it have been kosher with the Lord if Saul had smitten King AGAG any place other than before the altar of Bilal? (Rebekah shrugs) Jamal: I think I’d better give it some more thought. To be concluded Chris Dunton

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