Exodus 5-7: Moe White And The Seven Dwarves (Season 2, Episode 5)

What happens when Moe demands that her people be freed? A Magic Mirror gives Pharaoh some bad news, a Scottish Huntsman is sent after Moses, and Yahweh realises she’s been betrayed...

This is the latest episode in a serialised narrative. If jumping into things mid-way doesn’t bother you, ignore this and keep reading. If you like to start from the beginning, check out the archive here.


WARNING

If you are a creationist, evangelist, fundamentalist, or biblical literalist, this will probably offend you.

If you have any sense of propriety, this will probably offend you.

If you have the capacity to be offended, this will probably do the trick.

If you're okay with that, then read on.

If you want to read on just so you can tell me how terrible I am and that I should never write another word ever again, feel free.

Who knows? It might actually work.


After the elders have had time to clean themselves up and deliberate, they re-enter the stable like jurors filing back into the courtroom, ready to deliver their verdict.

Moe’s sitting there, looking guilty as hell (though much less pale and sickly – throwing up on a bunch of old women really does the trick for a hangover, I’m telling you).

Erin leads the elders back in, apologising profusely. “Again, I’m very, very sorry. I can’t even begin to...”

The one with the bandage around her punctured neck (who Moe has given the badass, and very apt, nickname, ‘Snakebite’) dismisses her with a wave as she sits down.

Erin shoots Moe a glare as she walks past her to go take a seat with Merry in the corner.

The elders are all glaring at her too. None more harshly than Snakebite.

Moe swallows.

She waits.

For a moment, no one speaks.

Then, clearing her bandage-wrapped throat, Snakebite addresses the hungover prophet.

“The conduct you have displayed here today, in our hallowed presence, was nothing short of abhorrent. Disrespectful, vulgar, downright sickening.”

Moe closes her eyes, hangs her head.

She blew it.

“That being said...”

Moe looks up, hopeful. Buoyed by the sudden change in tone.

“...the things you can do, while dangerous and obscene, leave no doubt in our mind that you are, in fact, a messenger from God.”

Moe feels a wave of relief crash over her. She looks back at her siblings. Erin is shaking her head in disbelief. Merry just has his head rested against the wall, closing his eyes. Thank Christ...

“Now, if you don’t mind me asking...” Snakebite goes on. “How does God plan to free us from slavery?”

Moe’s gaze intensifies.

A smile curls the corner of her lip.

“Oh, you just leave that to me...”

Cue the cool action music.

A few seconds pass.

Cut the action music as Snakebite looks around at her fellow elders. “No, seriously, we need to know.”

*

Cue the cool action music a second time.

Now, it’s for realsies.

Zippy and her six sisters are standing around, filthy and exhausted after a long night. They’re looking up at whatever it is they’ve spent the night doing, admiring their handiwork.

I should mention at this point that Zippy and her sisters are little people. As in, they all have dwarfism.

Why didn’t I mention this before?

I don’t know.

Maybe I don’t judge people based on their height or body shape... unlike certain assholes around here.

Or... maybe it just didn’t seem pertinent to the story.

Is it pertinent to the story now?

Not particularly.

But the episode title will make a lot more sense.

Am I going to continue getting information across by posing questions and then answering them?

I think there is a very real danger of that happening.

To clarify, once and for all...

Zippy and her sisters are elderly little people who have spent their entire lives mastering the art of war.

Picture the most fearsome-looking warriors you can.

Now make them older.

And shorter.

There you go.

And before you go throwing statistics at me about the chances of multiple siblings in a family having dwarfism, I should remind you that these aren’t biological sisters. They’re adopted.

If you’re going to ask why Jethro decided to only rescue Israelite babies born with dwarfism – or if you want to argue about the likely prevalence of dwarfism in the ancient population of the Near East – I don’t have a lot in the way of solid answers for you.

Should I maybe have gone back and edited the episode in which they first appeared to include a physical description of them?

Probably.

But I’m doing it now instead.

Good enough?

No?

Well... we’re moving on anyway.

And if you’ve got a problem with little people, you can just go straight to hell.

Jerk.

Alright...

Where were we?

Oh, yeah...

Moe, Erin and Merry approach the sisters from an alleyway.

“Hey, guys,” Moe says.

When she sees what her wife and sisters-in-law are looking at, she slows, then stops entirely. “So, uh... You been busy?”

Zippy turns around, a big ol’ smile on her face. “You tell me.”

What they’re looking at are three Egyptian soldiers hung by their own entrails from a rooftop. Their disembowelled stomachs are dripping blood onto the ground beneath their feet. An organ falls out of one guy and lands with a splat.

Moe glances at Erin and Merry, who are examining them like a painting in a museum, nodding with pretentious approval.

“Beautiful,” Erin says.

“Simply exquisite,” says Merry. He points to the dangling men. “I love how you’ve anchored the intestines, so the weight is on the neck rather than on the stomach, otherwise...

“...it’d rip right out,” Zippy says, like a proud artist whose work is finally being recognised. “Exactly!”

The only one who isn’t massively impressed with the massacre is Moe. I mean, sure, they’re slavers. But did they really deserve to be hung from a rooftop by their own entrails?

Probably.

Is it just a symptom of her own privilege growing up in a palace that she doesn’t want to see the oppressors executed so publicly and gruesomely?

Who’s to say?

Ooh, answering a question with another question.

Bet you didn’t see that one coming.

Makes the whole ‘interrogation-style narration’ thing I’ve got going on here way more palatable, right?

Wrong?

Goddamn it...

Side-note: just letting you know that I’ve trademarked Interrogation Narration™. Trust me, it’s gonna be big.

“Listen, guys,” Moe says, after introducing her siblings to her wife and sisters-in-law. “I need your help. I’m going to see Pharaoh to demand that he free the slaves.”

The sisters exchange doubtful glances.

Zippy’s like, “And if he says no?”

Moe’s gaze intensifies.

A smile curls the corner of her lip.

“Oh, you just leave that to me...”

A few seconds pass.

Zippy looks around at her sisters. “What are you talking about? What’s the plan?”

Erin and Merry shake their heads, embarrassed.

*

The pharaoh has just finished up his breakfast and is doing what he does every morning.

Staring into his Magic Mirror.

Well... it’s not really a Magic Mirror.

Mirrors don’t exist yet, so he’s using a really shiny piece of bronze.

It is magic, though.

Has a face and everything.

So when he goes, “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the pharoah-est of them all?”

...Magic goes, in his deep, very formal voice, “You, O Pharaoh, are the pharaoh-est of all.”

The pharaoh then gives a smug grin, like, “Yeah, that’s what I thought.”

“However...” Magic says, clearing its figurative throat. “You should probably know...”

At that moment, a servant barges in and goes, “Your Highness, there’s a woman outside claiming to be the princess and rightful heir to the throne.”

The pharaoh freezes.

He doesn’t react with surprise, but panic.

He knew this day would come.

“Moe...” he says to himself.

The servant, not hearing this, says, “What?”

Pharaoh rolls his eyes.

*

The king of Egypt comes out to meet Moe and her entourage on the front steps of the palace, accompanied by a veritable gaggle of advisers and bodyguards.

That’s right.

A gaggle.

And you thought Pharaoh was just messing around...

“Ah, Moses, I see you have returned.”

Moe frowns, caught off-guard by the dude’s familiarity. “Do we know each other?”

“You don’t remember me?”

“Nope.”

Pharaoh folds his arms. “Ramesses? Ramrod? R-dog? Ra’s Chosen One? Ringing any bells?”

Moe shakes her head. “Sorry.”

“Not even the time when you and me stole some of your mum’s wine, got drunk and frenched behind the statue of Anubis?”

Now the guards are kind of looking at each other, like, “The fuck...?”

Moe recoils a little from the use of the word ‘frenched’.

Finally, Ramrod gives up and pouts. “I’m your cousin.”

“Oh...” Moe says. “But, wait... if you’re my cousin, then you’re not next in line for the throne. I am.”

“Yeah, but I got a dick.”

“That’s bullshit.”

Then Moe looks around at the guards and advisers, who are all like, “Yeah, no, that checks out.”

She sighs. “Look, I’m not here to... usurp the throne, or whatever...”

“I should think not,” Ramrod cuts in. “The last thing we need is an Israelite pharaoh.”

Moe swallows, looking around at the pharaoh’s council. It doesn’t appear to be a shock to any of them. “How did you know that?”

“Know what?” Ramrod says, examining his own painted fingernails with approval. “That you were a common slave girl before being adopted by the princess? Simple. My father told me. You see, your mother let it slip the same night you and I were frenching behind the statue of Anubis!”

Moe recoils in disgust a second time. “God, stop saying that!”

“What? Anubis?”

“Frenched!”

“But that’s what we did.”

“I don’t care. Just stop saying it. I came here to ask a favour...”

Ramrod raises an inquisitive eyebrow. “Of course. That sounds like the least I could do for the cousin who sexually awakened me.”

“Ugh... where to even begin with that sentence.” She shakes it off. “I want you to let my people go.”

Ramrod frowns. “Let them go?”

“Just for a little while, so we can celebrate an upcoming festival in the wilderness.”

“Nice try. If I let you all go, you’ll never come back. Not to mention there’s more Israelites in Egypt than there are Egyptians. Our economy will shit the bed overnight. And for what? So you guys can go do fucking Burning Man in the desert?”

“Look, the god of my people appeared to me. He told me to take the Israelites and travel three days into the wilderness, so that we can sacrifice to him. Otherwise, he’s going to kill a bunch of us with the plague, and your precious economy will take a hit no matter what.”

For a moment, this seems to trouble the pharaoh. He confers in hushed whispers with his council, then readdresses Moe with a superior air about him.

“Nuh-uh,” he says.

Nice diplomacy, guy.

“Yuh-huh,” Moe shoots back, equally mature.

“Listen, I don’t know this god of whom you speak...”

“Yahweh.”

“Whatever his name is...”

Her name.”

Ramrod sighs. “Whatever her name is. Why didn’t she appear to me and ask for your freedom herself? Oh, that’s right. Because she’s the god of a bunch of slaves, and I’m the motherfucking pharaoh, baby! I got homies like Horus and Sobek and...” With a real slimy enunciation... “Anubis.”

The name now sends a chill up Moe’s spine – some kind of fast-acting Pavlovian response.

He continues, “What makes you think I’m afraid of Yahweh?”

Moe looks around at the bodyguards, the advisers. At Erin, Merry and Jethro’s daughters behind her.

She lets out a sigh.

“I didn’t wanna have to do this,” Moe says, holding out her staff.

She drops it on the ground, and it instantly turns into a snake, rearing up and hissing at them.

“Ah, a snake!” yells one of the soldiers, creating a panic. They all back up, but Pharaoh starts whacking them on the heads with his little ceremonial crook.

“Stop it! Stop it, you cowards! It’s a fucking snake!”

They hold their ground, looking ashamed.

“Goddamn... Egypt’s finest you all are. That’s right – you should be ashamed of yourselves. Especially you, Keith.”

The guy who started the panic hangs his head.

Ramrod turns back to Moe, but is obviously still talking to his men. “I’m sorry about that embarrassing display. You get the best soldiers in all Egypt, you assume they’ll be able to handle, I don’t know... a snake. Really making me feel safe here, guys. Really doing a good job. I sure hope someone doesn’t try to... I don’t know... assassinate me! Or, y’know, that a foreign army doesn’t invade any time soon. Jesus Christ...” A pause. “But hey, unless they come in waving a bunch of snakes around, maybe you’ll be alright. Maybe you’ll do fine against actual people with actual weapons. But what if it’s an army of people with snake-swords, huh? What happens then? Or... like... snake-people? Like half-snake, half-people? Or, fuck it, what about a full army of snakes... that have somehow organised themselves into battalions and laid siege to the city? How’d you do then, huh? Huh?

No one speaks up. All eyes are glued to the floor.

Ramrod continues to glare. “You fucking cowards.”

Finally, seeming to run out of energy, he lets out a breath and looks behind him. “Benny, Lenny. Will you deal with this shit already?”

At that moment, two shady-looking magicians emerge from behind the pharaoh’s entourage. They both have thick mustaches – hence their name, the Mustachioed Magicians – and are basically the Mario and Luigi of the ancient world.

Benny and Lenny each have a staff, which they spin around like a couple of acrobatic fire-dancers, trying to look cool and intimidate the princess.

Moe has to admit – it does look pretty damn cool.

They come to a stop in front of her and drop their staffs on the ground. The wooden poles morph into even bigger, more frightening snakes.

“Oh, shit...” Moe says.

Her snake seems to have the same realisation, and shrinks in fear.

Benny’s snake lunges at it, swallowing its entire head in a single bite. Lenny’s snakes starts at the other end, and they quickly gobble up Moe’s snake until they meet in the middle like Lady and the Tramp and begin full-on making out.

Pretty soon, everyone gathered on the steps of the palace is just watching what amounts to a reptilian sex show, with expressions ranging from repulsed curiosity to tongue-out arousal.

The snakes are all coiled up and intertwined, flailing and writhing around, and everyone’s just standing there watching.

The session ends with Benny’s snake (a female) eating Lenny’s (a male) in much the same way it did Moe’s – biting its head and then slurping up the rest of its body like a long, thick strand of spaghetti.

The onlookers continue to watch as Benny’s snake then bites onto its own tail and begins eating itself.

Naturally, it can only get so far before it’s just slithering around in a circle, locked in a never-ending, self-cannibalising fight to the death.

This is what’s known in Greek mythology as an Ouroboros, and is meant to represent the cyclical nature of things.

But since that term hasn’t been invented yet...

Here, on the steps of the palace, it’s just about the weirdest thing any of them have ever seen.

After an initial outburst of anger at her miracle being immediately bested by a couple of magicians, Moe’s now settled into the same grotesque fascination as the rest of them.

It’s Ramrod who breaks the silence.

“Jesus...” he says, shaking his head. Then, all-business, he goes, “Look, I’m not gonna free the slaves, alright? That’s just straight-up not happening. I’ll tell you what I will do, though... because you took the time to come here and insult me with your insane request... I’ll take away the daily provision of straw for brick-building. Now, your people will have to get their own fucking straw, and they’ll have to make the same amount of bricks as before.”

Moe’s face falls. Shit...

“If they don’t...” Ramrod says. “It’s whip city, baby. If they make even one brick less, or if those bricks aren’t up to code... whip city. If anyone even thinks about complaining, guess what?”

“Whip city?” Moe guesses, miserably.

“Whip city!” Ramrod shouts. “Now get the fuck outta my sight!”

The soldiers advance with spears pointed outwards, and Moe’s group flees down the stairs.

*

Minutes later, Ramrod’s staring into the Magic Mirror, eyes wide, panicking.

“Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the pharaoh-est of them all?”

Magic replies, in his deep, very formal voice, “You are pharaoh-er than all who are here, my king. But even pharaoh-er still is Moses, your cousin, the rightful heir... who you frenched so sloppily behind the statue of Anubis.”

Ramrod grinds his teeth. “It wasn’t sloppy. I’m a good kisser. I’m great at sex... stuff.”

“You were sloppy and you know it,” Magic says, still as monotone as ever. “In fact, it was such a shitty kiss that Moe has repressed all memory of it. Try and make an excuse for that one. Go on, I dare you. I double dare you, motherfucker.”

Channelling Jules from Pulp Fiction now – but, like, if he’d had a lobotomy or something.

Interesting choice, Magic. Not sure why you’re so belligerent all of a sudden.

Ramrod isn’t having any of it.

He turns to a man standing creepily in the shadows, waiting for him. The dude is wearing one of those blue-and-gold-painted Egyptian pharaoh death masks.

“You know what to do, Huntsman,” Ramrod says. “Bring me the heart of Moses.”

Huntsman seems to hesitate. “Uh... I was thinking...”

He’s speaking with a Scottish accent, like Chris Hemsworth as his own (very different) Huntsman. However, unlike that movie (in which Hemsworth’s accent was completely flawless), it’s pretty clear that this Huntsman is not from Scotland.

Nor has he spent much time on his accent.

“... I was thinking that maybe Huntsman’s a little derivative.”

Not like that accent, though. That accent is spot-on.

“Very well,” Ramrod says, growing frustrated. “What nickname would you prefer?”

Huntsman looks down at his feet, kicking the ground all bashful-like. “I don’t know... I was thinking maybe ‘Death Mask’... y’know, ‘cause I’m wearing this sweet death mask?”

Ramrod sighs. “Fine. You can be Death Mask.”

*

Shortly thereafter, Pharaoh’s taskmasters and supervisors begin ordering that no straw is to be given to the Israelites. The slaves are to make the same amount of bricks each day, only now, they have to do it while also finding their own motherfucking straw.

And Ramrod makes damn sure they know they’ve got Moe to thank for it.

The Israelites, in turn, are like, “Hey, fella, how the Philip Seymour Hoffman are we supposed to do that?”

You know what his response is?

That’s right. You guessed it.

Whip city.

Now, straw is an essential part of brick-building in the ancient world. It strengthens and binds the mud together.

You don’t have straw, you don’t have a brick.

Well, you have something resembling a brick, but with the structural integrity of a sand castle.

So the Israelites can’t even get away with pretending they included straw in the mix. When those puppies get put to use, whatever building they’re a part of will eventually crumble like the aforementioned sand castle and then guess what?

It’s whip city for whoever made those bricks.

It might not be today. It might not be tomorrow.

But, eventually, if you decide to skimp on the straw, you’re buying yourself a one-way ticket to... say it with me:

Whip city.

Naturally, the Israelites are pissed.

They didn’t do shit, and now, because of some entitled, redemption-seeking princess who spent all of one minute as a slave, they’re being punished with extra work.

They complain to the elders, and the elders complain to Moe.

“Christ...” Moe says, rubbing a hand over her face as she sits drinking in the tavern. “What the fuck do you want from me? I did what Yahweh told me and it didn’t work.”

“Well, you better figure something out,” says Snakebite. “Because those Israelites are out for blood. If you don’t fix this mess, we’re gonna have to give you over to them, and Christ knows what they’ll do to you then.”

Cut to Moe out in the back alley, retching violently.

Nothing but beer and bile.

She straightens, wiping her mouth, and turns to see Yahweh leaning against the wall, smoking a cigarette.

“Tough break, huh?” she says.

“You mean about how I got an entire nation saddled with unpaid overtime?” Moe spits to clear her mouth. “Yeah, no shit.”

Yah frowns. “I mean about the snake. Poor thing.”

Moe gives her a look.

“That was a joke, honey.”

“Do I look like I’m in a joking mood? Give me one of those.”

Yah offers her the pack, and lights the cigarette that Moe takes out of it. She inhales, holds the smoke in her lungs for a moment, then lets it out again slowly.

“Ooh, mumma, that’s good. Now... what are we gonna do about this?”

“About what?”

Moe just stares. “About the whole ‘exodus’ thing.”

Yah shrugs. “I don’t know.”

“Are you messing with me?”

“I don’t know.” More sarcastic this time. “Am I?”

Moe studies her, trying to read her expression. “You’re the one who brought me here to free these fucking people. I did the snake thing and guess what? It didn’t work. We gotta ramp things up, baby. You were talking about sandstorms and floods and whatever. Do that.”

“Oh, so... like, I’m gonna create a flood just because you say so?”

Moe continues to stare, not understanding why Yah’s giving her so much ‘tude all of a sudden. “Did I do something to you?”

Yah snaps, tossing down her cigarette and stomping it out.

“You know what? This is what you get, Moe. This is what you fucking get.”

“For what?!”

“No, no, no. You made your bed. Now you gotta sit down and lie in it.” She catches herself. “Or just... lie in it. Lie down and...” A sigh. “Just... fucking... lie in it. Alright? Lie in your shitty bed of lies and betrayal. That you made. Of... lies.” Yah shakes her head, thinking it’s best to probably give up while she’s ahead. “Can’t believe I trusted you...”

She turns to leave.

By this point Moe is beyond confused.

She’s beyond perplexed.

She’s barrelling past baffled, and well on her way to being totally and utterly bewildered.

That’s right, guys.

Bewildered.

That’s, like, the final boss of not knowing what’s up.

At the risk of pushing this metaphor past the breaking point, if ‘confused’ is that English magistrate in Braveheart’s village who (spoiler alert) kills his wife, inciting the rebellion that carries the rest of the movie, then ‘bewildered’ is Edward the Longshanks.

Whew...

Glad we cleared that up.

“What are you talking about?” Moe says. “I didn’t do anything except what you told me.”

“Oh, yeah?” says Yah, spinning around dramatically. “Then how come I saw you meeting with Seki in that tavern.”

Moe thinks. “The lion-face lady?”

“Yeah. Her.”

“Is that what this is all about?”

“Don’t play dumb. She’s an Egyptian god and you’re in cahoots with her. Cahoots!”

“I’m not in cahoots...”

“Don’t lie to me!” Yah marches back toward her, pointing a finger in Moe’s face. “You’re conspiring with Seki to bring me down and keep the Israelites enslaved. That’s why you fumbled the snake thing. You did it on purpose.”

Exhausted, Moe goes, “I didn’t fumble it on purpose and I’m not in cahoots with Seki. If you saw what happened with those snakes, you’d know there’s know way I could’ve planned that. That was... goddamn, that was fucked up.”

“What’s fucked up is you stabbing me in the back. I plucked you from obscurity and gave you a purpose, offered you redemption. And how did you respond? You shat all over my face and smeared it in. And it wasn’t a clean shit, either. It was a real messy one. Diarrhea the colour of...”

“Please stop,” Moe says, the bile rising in her throat again.

She closes her eyes, waits a moment for her stomach to settle.

“Look,” she says. “Seki came in there disguised as you. I have no freaking clue how she did it, but she was wearing a mask of your face. She was trying to get me to call the whole thing off and go home.”

Yah raises an eyebrow, thinking. Slowly, the pieces fall into place. “Y’know... she did come over and get me super-wasted right before that happened. And she did ask to see my face mask-making machine...”

“Well, yuh...” Moe says, like it’s super-obvious. “Look, clearly she’s trying to fuck with you. But I’m on your side, Yah. Always have been.”

Yah smiles, relieved.

A nice moment between them. All is forgiven.

“Alright,” Moe says. “Now... what’s the plan?”

“The plan is...”

Yah stands up a little straighter, filling with renewed energy.

Moe’s eyes brighten as she waits to hear what the Israelite god has to say.

“...I’m gonna go tear that lion-faced bitch a new one.”

“What? No...”

Yah stops. Listens.

“You can’t let her know that you know that she knows. You made a deal with her. You’re not supposed to be doing any of this. If you confront her, she’ll know that you know that she knows, then... I don’t know what’ll happen then, but it won’t be good. You can use this to your advantage.”

Yah considers it, rubbing her newly-hairless jawline. “You know... that does sound like it could lead to some sweet dramatic irony, a lot of misunderstandings and crazy adventures. I’m sure it would all be very entertaining.”

Moe’s lost. “Well... yeah, I mean... I guess. If someone were, theoretically, watching all this, or reading about it, or listening to someone telling them about it... I suppose it would be entertaining.”

Yah continues to ponder, then appears to make up her mind. “Nope, I’m just gonna confront her.”

“No, wait!”

But Yah’s already gone.

Moe’s left standing out the back of the tavern by herself, smoking the rest of her cigarette. “Goddamn it...”

Behind her, a figure appears in silhouette at the end of the alley.

A figure wearing a blue-and-gold-painted death mask...

*

“Hey, Seki?” Yah says. “The fuck?”

Seki’s sunbathing by the pool. She lifts her sunglasses to see a familiar and pretty angry neighbour hanging over the fence..

“What do you want, Yah? I’m busy.”

“Clearly. You mind telling me what the shit you’re doing talking to my people?”

Your people?”

“Moe, specifically. I saw you coming out of the same tavern she was in.”

Seki sits up, holding a hand out to shield her eyes from the sun. She’s been waiting for this. “You mind telling me what Moe was doing at that tavern in the first place? Last I heard, she was off in the desert somewhere, living with a blind, zoophilic, mixed martial arts instructor and his midget daughters.”

“Whoa! Hey! Whoa! Easy!”

“What?”

“You’re not supposed to say ‘midget,’” Yah says, lowering her voice. “You’re supposed to say ‘little people.’”

Seki frowns. “That sounds even more pejorative. What about ‘dwarf?’”

“I don’t know,” Yah says, looking around to make sure no one’s listening. “We’re wading into pretty murky waters here. Let’s walk it back to slavery and racial superiority, shall we?”

“Fine.” Seki holds her gaze. “You got something you wanna say to me, big gal?”

“I think I already said it.”

“Did you?”

“I don’t know...” Yah seems genuinely confused now. “Did I?” She remembers. “Yeah, I did. You tried to talk Moe out of...”

“Out of what?”

Yah catches herself, unwilling to outright admit what she’s been doing.

“That’s what I thought,” Seki says, lying down again and putting her sunglasses back on. “You let me know if there’s anything else you wanna say, alright?”

Yah fumes, unable to argue any further. “Stay away from my face mask-making machine!”

Returning to the Experiment, Yah checks the God’s Eye tablet and her eyes bulge. “Oh, shit!”

*

Moe is running for her life down the alleyway, and Death Mask isn’t far behind her.

His titular headwear doesn’t allow for great visibility, so mid-way through his stealthy approach – dagger drawn for a sweet throat-cut – Death Mask had tripped on a passed-out drunk guy in the shadows and gave away his position.

Ever since, the chase had been on.

Moe tips over stalls and barrels to hinder her attacker’s progress, but he leaps over them with almost-superhuman athleticism.

Eventually, she comes to a dead end and turns around, panicking.

This is it...

Death Mask approaches, breathing heavily, dagger glinting in the moonlight...

“It’s alright, princess,” he says, in his fake Scottish accent. “It’ll all be over soon. I just need that pretty little heart of yours...”

Suddenly, out of nowhere, a figure emerges, tackling Moe’s would-be assassin into the wall, knocking his mask loose.

“Yahweh!” Moe says, as if to alert any onlookers or onlisteners as to the identity of her saviour.

The Israelite god staggers back, shaking her head and recovering from the tackle. She sees the unmasked Death Mask crawling away and pounces on him, turning him over and revealing him to be...

...Raph!

Like Braveheart discovering the helmeted lancer at the Battle of Falkirk is, in fact, (spoiler alert) his former-ally Robert the Bruce, Yahweh falls back into a sitting position, completely and utterly betrayed.

(Not sure why this episode is so Braveheart spoiler-heavy, but anyway...)

Raph looks back at Yah with unbearable guilt and shame.

“I’m sorry...” he says, then gets up and runs away.

Yah doesn’t even move to give chase. She’s too hurt.

Moe comes over to help her up. “Thank you. I was...”

But instead of accepting her hand, Yahweh lies down on her back in a dramatic display of just how effing betrayed she is – she can’t even keep herself propped upright.

“Oh. Okay,” Moe says, not knowing how to proceed with someone in such a vulnerable state. “You sure you wanna lie down? I’m pretty sure I saw a huge puddle of piss around here somewhere.”

“Lying in it,” Yah says, instantly regretting her decision.

*

“Hey, Seki?” Yah says, hanging over the fence for the second time in a matter of minutes. “The fuck?” She catches herself. “The double fuck?!”

The Egyptian goddess sighs, exasperated. “What is it this time, Yah?”

Seki takes off her shades and gets up, walking over to the fence. As she gets closer, she wrinkles her nose and draws back. “Ugh, gross – you smell like alley-piss.”

Yah reacts to the specificity with surprise. “That’s some nose you got there.”

“Best on the savannah, baby. What of it?”

Resuming anger-mode, Yah goes, “You got my best friend to betray me! Why?”

Seki can’t believe it. “How did you...” She reconsiders. “And Moe?”

“Alive and well, no thanks to you.”

“Hey, you’re the one who went back on our deal, pal. Don’t come crying to me if you can’t deal with the repercussions.”

“But Raph...” Yah says. “Why’d it have to be Raph?”

Seki takes a moment to consider her answer, seeing how much this has hurt her friend. “Because he was concerned about you. Just like I was. I didn’t go to him, babe – he came to me.”

Yah winces, as if salt has just been poured into her open wound, and then that same salty wound has been splashed with lemon juice, vinegar, and finally, a healthy dash of vodka just to top it all off. She slinks back down off the fence.

“Yah...” Seki says, feeling guilty.

But she’s already gone.

Back on her side of the fence, Yahweh’s knees buckle and she collapses into a sitting position on the grass. Then, in an almost identical replay of what she did in the alleyway, the betrayed Yah lowers herself down onto her back.

A voice from behind her says, “Yah, there’s dog shit right...”

“Too late,” Yah says, feeling the warm squish of a freshly-laid turd against her shirt.

She continues to lie there, and eventually, Raph walks over into view.

“Why’d you do it, Raph?” Yah says. “Why’d you betray me?”

Her guilt-ridden room-mate doesn’t say anything for a while.

Finally, he goes, “I was worried about you, Yah. You were losing yourself to this thing. It was bringing out the worst in you, and then amplifying it. It was like you were looking into a mirror – a black mirror, if you will – and it was just reflecting back all the shittiness in you, but none of the good shit.”

He catches himself, realising he probably could have worded that better.

“How long?” says Yah.

“How long what?”

“How long has this been going on? You and Seki conspiring against me.”

Raph sighs. “Ever since I saw you starting to go back on the deal. Saving Moe from the river...”

“Jesus Christ...” Yah says, coming to a realisation. “That’s the reason the princess adopted her, isn’t it? Just so you could lure me into a false sense of security and let me think I was ahead. You Machiavellian assholes...”

“That’s funny, coming from you.”

Yah flares up. “What?!”

Raph doesn’t back down. “It’s not healthy, Yah. This whole fucking thing...

“The Experiment.”

“Whatever!” Raph forces himself to keep calm. “It’s not good for you.”

“I made it!”

“So what? Just because you made it doesn’t mean you should stay in control of it. Look at Dr. Frankenstein, or... or Mark Zuckerberg. It’s grown beyond you now, man. It affects other people. Dozens, hundreds of people. Thousands, if you wanna include all the people in the game...”

“The Experiment.”

Raph ignores her. “All I’m saying is... it’s not just your little pet project anymore...”

“Yeah, only because...”

“I know your brother stole it and he’s a bastard and I don’t like him either, but...”

“Hey!”

Raph and Yah look over to see Baal (Billy) hanging over the fence on the other side.

Not the Egyptian side. The Canaanite side.

He’s got a preppy, former-frat-guy vibe about him. The kind of bro-ey douche who exclusively wears polos, cargo shorts and boat shoes when he’s not playing lacrosse or investment banking (whatever that is), and when asked why he doesn’t vary his garb from time to time, states, “Hey, if it ain’t broke...”, then trails off as if that constituted a proper response.

“Sup, bruh,” Billy says, sipping from a beer can. “Listen, I have been meaning to apologise about that.”

“Fuck off, Billy.”

“I’m serious...”

“I don’t care.”

“I asked nicely. You wouldn’t share. You never shared with me. Even when we were kids, and I wanted to play with your trucks...”

Yah closes her eyes. “Christ, I can’t fucking deal with this right now.”

“...Mum always said...”

Raph, sensing an opportunity to curry some favour, intercedes on her behalf.

“Hey, get outta here, Billy.” He approaches, grabbing the garden hose and spraying the Canaanite fence just beneath Billy’s drinking arm. “Go on, shoo.”

Indignant, Billy goes, “Alright, bruh. Relax. I’m going. Jeez. No need to dilute a perfectly good beer. I was gonna ask if you wanted to come over for a barbecue, but you know what? Offer retracted, bruh. More burgers for me.”

He hops back down, disappearing behind the fence.

Pretty soon, whatever Creed or Nickleback song he’s playing gets cranked back up and a loud “Woo!” can be heard.

Raph walks back over to Yah, who’s still lying on the ground.

“Look, I’m sorry, alright. I didn’t want to hurt you. I thought that if your plan collapsed, you’d realise this whole thing is bullshit and you could leave it all behind. Try something else. Go back to the old you. Maybe give Ash a call...”

“Get out,” Yah says, coldly.

Raph frowns. “What?”

“I let you stay here on my couch, drink my beer, smoke my weed. I let you walk around naked without a word of complaint...”

“Well...”

“...and now, not only do you stab me in the back, you wanna rub Ash in my face, too?”

Raph’s confused. “Wait, do you mean ash, like, from a fire, or Ash, like, with a capital A...”

“Of course Ash, like, with a capital A – you moron!”

“I just think...”

“Well, don’t ‘just think’. Stop thinking and start packing. I want you out of here by tonight.”

Raph swallows, eyes welling up. “But where am I supposed to go?”

Yah remains stone-faced. “Wherever you want. As long as it’s not here.”

Raph lingers a few moments longer, but when it becomes clear that Yah’s made her mind up, he hangs his head and trudges inside.

“And take your dog with you!” Yah calls after him.

“It’s not my dog,” Raph says. “I’m just looking after him for some friends.”

“Well, take him back to the Greeks, then. Maybe they got a spare room for you too, if you’re such good friends.”

Raph lets out a sigh. He looks around, spotting the three-headed dog, Cerberus, dozing in the sun. “Here, boy. Here, Cerbie.”

He claps a hand against his leg and the dog wakes, runs over to him. He follows Raph inside and instantly takes a piss on the carpet.

Yah just stares up at the sky, jaw clenched, eyes narrow.

Eventually, Seki pops her head over the fence and into Yah’s field of vision.

“Man, that was rough,” Seki says, her concern genuine. “Sorry you had to do that...”

Yah jolts with surprise. “Jesus, what is this?! A petting zoo? Can’t a gal just lie in her own backyard without being accosted by her neighbours.”

“You just did the exact same thing to me! Twice! And if you think the Berbers on the other side aren’t peeping over into my yard, you got another thing coming.”

She glances back to see a Berber deity hanging over the fence on the far side of her yard, doing the seedy eyebrow-raise thing, like, “How you doin’?”

She shudders, turns back to Yah.

But the Israelite god has gotten up and is heading inside, her back drenched with alley-piss and smeared with dog shit.

“Yah?” she calls out. “Yah, come back. Let’s talk about this...”

Yah doesn’t respond.

A pause.

“Am I still coming over later?” Seki says, apparently unaware of how annoying she’s being. “Yah? Are we still having a Friends marathon? Should I bring the microwave popcorn and Nutella? Yah? Yah?

Yah swings open the door and stops. Shoulders high and tight.

She spins around, shouting, “What?!

Seki’s taken aback. “Oh, well... if you’re gonna be like that, you can just forget about it.”

She drops down onto her side and disappears.

Yah’s left standing there, squeezing the door knob with white knuckles, vein bulging in her forehead. One eye doing that twitchy thing like she’s about to blow a gasket.

“Fucking neighbours,” she mutters to herself, then goes inside, slamming the door behind her. Instantly, her foot splashes in the puddle of urine left by Cerberus.

“Fucking dogs!”


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