Genesis 20-21: Fat Abe The Philistine (Season 1, Episode 8)

What happens when Abraham uses his wife as a bargaining chip...again? Devious plans are hatched, an old rival shows up to settle a score, and a certain fetus gets handsy.

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.


Last time we saw Sarah, she was in a bad way.

Her city had just been destroyed. Her husband had abandoned her. Her lover had been turned into a pillar of salt.

Things weren’t going too good.

Heartbroken, Sarah was heading west, but not knowing where, how, why, what, or even when.

Not even when, you guys.

Not even when.

The only thing that stopped her from giving up right there was the child growing inside her.

Abe’s child.

The miracle child.

The child that God intended to be the beginning of a great nation.

And he would be.

Abe might be dead and gone, but he’d done his part, as far as Sarah was concerned. She was the vessel through which this great nation would be born, so really, she had been the more important part of the equation all along.

One night, she’s camped by the side of the road when she sees this shadowy figure moving toward her on the other side of the fire. Staggering, hunched over, groaning...

Thinking it’s some drunk, homeless guy looking to rob her, she takes out a dagger and gets to her feet, ready to drop this fool.

The guy’s cloak is flapping behind him in the wind. He’s got a bow in his hand.

Jesus, she thinks. It’s that Legolas guy who shot the eagles down.

But as he comes into the light of the fire, ‘Legolas’ is revealed to be none other than her good-for-nothing, gay-orgy-having, manipulative, egotistical piece-of-shit she used to call a husband.

That’s right.

It’s motherfucking Abraham, y’all! Back from the dead.

And he looks like shit.

Dirty, ragged, like he’s been on the road a while. Before either of them can get a word out, he collapses in the sand.

When he comes to, the fire’s dead and Sarah’s nowhere to be seen.

She left him there.

“Goddamn it,” Abe says, and takes off after her.

He catches up to Sarah a little down the road. “What the fuck was that?”

“What?” she says, not looking at him.

“Uh...How you left me there to die?”

“Oh, you mean like how you left me in Sodom when you knew God was about to nuke the place? Like that?”

Abe goes to say something, then realises he’s got no comeback.

They walk on in silence for a while.

Finally, Abe’s like, “Where are you going?”

“I don’t know,” she says. “Doesn’t matter. First place I come to, I’m gonna find a rich guy and marry him. My belly’s not showing yet – whoever it is will just think the kid is theirs.”

Take a second to remember that this is the Old Testament – she’s only got so many options. An unwed mother walking around in these times is about as safe as a ball of yarn in a kitten factory.

Naturally, Abe’s like, “What?”

“You got a problem with that?”

“Uh, yeah, I got a big fucking problem with it.”

“Well, too bad,” Sarah says. “You’ve done your part. I’ll take it from here.”

Abe can’t believe what he’s hearing.

You’ll take it from here?”he says. “I’m the father of a great nation. Remember?”

“Then that makes me the mother of a great nation, doesn’t it? I’m the one carrying the miracle child, pal. Not you.”

“Uh...did you loan God a pack of cigarettes? No, didn’t think so. He chose me.”

“Because of a pack of cigarettes?”

“Among other things, yeah.”

Sarah laughs. “Oh, you poor, sweet fool. You have literally zero redeeming qualities. The only reason I can think he chose you is because you’re my husband. He decided I was the one he wanted to kick off this great nation with, and he needed you to put a baby in me.”

Abe thinks about it for a second. “No chance.”

She stops, stares at him.

“Who do you think’s more expendable now that I’m pregnant, huh?”

Before he can answer, she keeps moving.

He chases after her, saying, “That’s still my kid in there.”

She ignores him like you’d do with a six-year-old throwing a temper tantrum.

“Hey! I’m talking to you. I demand that you answer me. As the father of a great nation, I demand that you answer me! Sarah!”

He’s screaming like a lunatic now, but still nothing.

Without someone arguing back, Abe runs out of steam pretty quick. I also mean that literally – by the time he catches up with Sarah, he’s panting.

Abe realises whatever he’s doing isn’t working, so he tries a different approach.

“Listen,” he says. “I came all this way to make sure you’re alright. The least you could do is be grateful.”

“Oh, right,” she says. “How rude of me. I am grateful. Grateful how you knocked up another woman...”

“That was your idea.”

“Grateful how you had fifty-man orgies with me right next door...”

“We were in Sodom,” Abe says. “It’s what you do.”

“Grateful how you shot me out of the fucking sky...”

“I didn’t know you were up there. I was trying to get Lot.”

“You still abandoned me.”

“And I’m sorry about that. I was scared, alright. I was confused. I think I let the power of being king go to my head. Can we please just put it behind us?”

She slows, looks at him.

Abe senses he’s making progress and goes in for the kill.

“We’re gonna be a family,” he says. “And now there’s no one else around to fuck it up. No Hagar, no Ishmael, no Lot. I even killed all my concubines. That proves I’m not gay anymore.”

Sarah feels herself slipping. “I guess...”

“So we’re good?”

She studies him a long moment, trying to decide whether or not she can trust this guy. Trying to calculate the odds of finding another, better, richer husband before her belly starts to show.

“If I even think you’re about to fuck me over...I’ll cut your fucking nuts off.” Sarah holds up the dagger to let him know she’s serious. “Deal?”

Abe swallows. “Deal. But I should probably run something by you, just in case it gets misconstrued as me fucking you over.”

Her eyes narrow. “What?”

“Well...” Abe says. “Look, here’s the deal. Where we’re headed, the people are fucking savages.” He gauges her reaction as he speaks. “We might need a...y’know, like a cover story for what we’re doing.”

Sarah immediately realises what he’s up to. “Oh, no. No, no, no, no, no...”

“Look, before you say no – again - just think about it.”

“I’m not doing that again.”

“It’ll only be for a little while. Not to mention we’ll probably get killed if you don’t.”

“We’ll probably get killed if I do. Remember last time?”

“Alright,” Abe says, putting his hands up. “Fine. I’ll drop it.”

*

So the happy couple continue west, into Gerar. Land of the Philistines.

They go before the king, this massively-obese dude named Abimelech (but we’ll just call him Fat Abe). He’s lying on one of those lounge chairs and his concubines are feeding him grapes. He eats with his mouth open, drooling grape juice down his many chins. Very Jabba the Hutt.

“Who are you?” he says. “What do you want?”

His jowls shake when he talks and he spits grape juice everywhere. Actually, maybe instead of Jabba the Hutt, picture the goblin king from the first Hobbit movie, with his pendulous, scrotumy chin.

Abe steps forward. “I’m Abe, king of the Sodomites.”

“Sodom is no more,” says Fat Abe, in a deep bellow. “You are king of nothing.”

He stops talking as one of his concubines lowers a bunch of grapes to his mouth. A regular king might nibble a few off the bottom, but not Fat Abe.

No, sir.

Fat Abe unhinges his jaw and swallows the entire bunch without chewing. It’s inhuman, it’s grotesque, but neither Abe nor Sarah can tear their eyes away.

“Jesus Christ...” Abe whispers to himself, truly horrified.

He clears his throat, and tries a different approach. “We narrowly escaped with our lives, Your Highness. It’s taken us many days and nights to get here.”

“Oh, I see,” Fat Abe says, with his mouth full. “And you want charity, is that it?”

“No, actually. I want to introduce you to someone.”

He turns, and gestures for Sarah to step forward.

Sarah realises exactly what he’s doing and shakes her head. No.

“Come on,” whispers Abe. “You wanted to marry a rich guy, didn’t you?”

She glares.

The second Fat Abe sees her, his big, beady eyes light up.

He lifts his arms. “Up! Up!”

Fat Abe’s servants rush to his side and, with tremendous effort, haul the king to his feet. He almost topples over, but they steady him.

“I’m okay. I’m okay...”

Slowly, the guards step back, but stay close enough that they can rush in if he falls again – like parents with a kid learning to walk.

Fat Abe looks Sarah up and down, licking his lips. “And who is this lovely young lady?”

Sarah almost throws up in her mouth at the thought of going to bed with this guy, but she stays cool. She looks around at all the guards with spears and swords...and one guy with a wooden plank and a nail through it.

Dude must have been taking a shit when they handed out the weapons.

She looks at Abe, who tilts his head like a confused puppy. Totally innocent. “It’s alright, Sarah – you can tell him.”

She sighs. “I’m his sister.”

Fat Abe smiles a big, greasy smile. “Well, in that case, king of the Sodomites, come on in and make yourself at home. Mi casa es su casa.”

He goes over and offers Sarah his enormous elbow.

To Abe, he says. “I hope you don’t mind if I give your sister a private tour of my palace.”

“Not at all,” says Abe. “It’s your casa.”

Sarah glares at her husband as she takes Fat Abe’s elbow, knowing she can’t say anything, otherwise they’re both dead. Fat Abe leads her away.

Once his back is turned, Abe smiles a devious smile.

“Yes...” he mutters to himself, rubbing his hands together. “All the pieces are falling into place.”

See, he hadn’t gone looking for Sarah at all. He’d been heading west to negotiate some kind of alliance with Fat Abe – finding Sarah on the way had just been a spot of good luck. Now, he had a bargaining chip. Something to trade.

Maybe God was on his side, after all.

*

Abe is put up in a luxury penthouse, overlooking the city. It’s like drinking Dom Perignon and having someone else pay the bill.

Namely, his wife and the mother of his unborn child.

At one point, he calls for wine to be brought up, and is shocked to see Hagar the one serving it.

“Hagar?” he says. “What are you doing here? I thought you were dead.”

“No,” she says, unable to keep the bitterness from her voice. “I’m alive. No thanks to you.”

“I’m sorry, alright. I only had time to get Sarah out. I didn’t know where you were.”

Hagar looks bewildered. “I was literally pouring you wine when the fire started. You pushed me over and ran for the door.”

“I panicked. I’m sorry, I’m only human. What about Ishmael?”

“He’s fine. They let me stay here and take care of him in exchange for work and...other things.”

“Fat Abe?” he asks.

She nods, looking suddenly ill.

“Sarah’s in there now with him.”

Hagar slaps him. “Jesus, Abe, you let that fat sack of shit have sex with your wife?”

“It’s alright, she’s already pregnant. She can’t get pregnant again, can she?” A horrible thought suddenly occurred to him. “Can she?

“No, she can’t get pregnant again. That’s not what I’m talking about.”

“Look, don’t worry about it. She’s taking one for the team.”

“Oh, yeah? And what are you doing for the team?”

“At the moment, nothing. I’ll act when the time is right. But for now...”

He shakes his empty cup and she sighs. Refills it.

*

Meanwhile, Sarah’s having just about the worst night of her life.

Fat Abe’s behind her, pounding away, his immense gut dragging up and down her back.

Suddenly, he pulls out and grabs his crotch, screaming, “Ah! What the fuck?!”

“What?” Sarah says, rolling over.

“Something grabbed my dick!”

She looks down at her stomach, thinking, “No way...”

“Was that a kid in there?” Fat Abe says. “Are you pregnant?”

Sarah looks up, terrified. She gulps.

*

Up in the penthouse, Abe’s looking out the window when Fat Abe comes bursting in, naked, throwing an equally-naked Sarah on the floor.

“She’s your wife!” Fat Abe says.

Abe looks at him calmly.

“Well, well, well,” he says. “I see the jig is up.”

Fat Abe frowns, wondering why he’s so calm. Sarah wondering the same thing.

Abe stands, pacing the room like a Bond villain. “You see, I knew my wife would betray me.”

Sarah’s like, “I didn’t...”

“Please, Sarah. It’s alright,” He turns back to Fat Abe. “She’s weak-willed and disloyal. I knew she would buy me only so much time.”

He pauses for dramatic effect.

“You see...while you two were engaged in coitus, I was going around slitting throats. Feel free to search the entire palace – you won’t find a single living soul.”

Fat Abe goes pale. “You couldn’t have...”

“Oh, I did, Fat Abe. I did. I only left your concubines alive.”

Sarah frowns. “Wait, why’d you leave the concubines alive?”

Abe looks confused. “Why would I kill them?”

“Why wouldn’t you?”

“They’ve done nothing wrong.”

“No one else had done anything wrong either.” Her eyes narrow. “Are you keeping them alive so you can have sex with them?”

“No,” Abe says, with a forced laugh. “I just thought they might come in handy, as servants or...convincing the army to follow me. Stuff like that.”

Sarah eyes him suspiciously, not trusting his motives for a second.

Abe turns back to Fat Abe, preparing for his super-cool, action-hero moment. He says, “And now it’s time for you to join the rest of your retinue...”

“Not your whores,” Sarah chimes in, not quite under her breath.

Abe glares, his moment ruined. In an almost-bored tone, he says, “Go on, Hagar. Get it over with.”

Suddenly, Hagar appears behind Fat Abe and puts a knife to his throat.

“Die, you pig.”

She slashes his neck open.

Blood spurts everywhere and he falls to the ground, writhing and gurgling for a moment before going still.

It takes all three of them to drag Fat Abe outside and pile him there with the rest of the bodies.

Abe then opens the gate to the courtyard so the army can get in, and they’re like, “Yo, man, what the fuck?”

Abe’s like, “Sorry, boys, you’re with me now. Your king’s dead, his servants are dead. I’ve been chosen by God himself to be the father of a great nation. So you can either join me, or join the pile.”

The soldiers all look at each other, and seem to come to a “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” kind of consensus.

So now Abe’s the new king of the Philistines. He’s got a city, an army, one kid who can already shoot a bow and arrow, and another on the way. Things are looking pretty good for old Abe right about now.

But soon, he begins to fall back into old ways.

He starts fucking the concubines.

He drinks too much.

He kills people for, like, nothing.

Like one guy came up to him on the street, asked him for some food. Abe didn’t just kill him – he killed his whole fucking family.

And their friends.

By hand.

Also, Abe began eating.

Like, a lot.

Like, enough that eventually, he became almost identical to the old king. People even started calling him the new Fat Abe.

But one day, as he prepared for his ‘morning workout’, Fat Abe discovered that all his concubines’ vaginas had closed up.

At first, he was shocked.

Then, he remembered the boils breaking out all over Pharaoh and his guards back in Egypt, and he knew right away who was responsible.

God.

That motherfucker.

He called out to God and the big guy came down, being like, “Dude, I was watching Mindhunter. What do you want?”

Fat Abe’s like, “All my bitches are closed up. What’s the deal?”

“What did you expect, man? You passed your wife off as your sister again, even after what happened the first time in Egypt. Even when she’s pregnant with a goddamn miracle child.”

“You didn’t give me much of a choice, did you? You destroyed my city, you told me you were gonna get Lot to be the new patriarch – what the fuck was I supposed to do? Come here and offer to suck Fat Abe’s fat dick for room and board?”

You’re Fat Abe,” God says. “Look at yourself. Jesus, you’re an embarrassment.”

Fat Abe touches his massive gut, a little sensitive. “I did what I had to do, alright. I’m king again. End of story.”

“Not end of story. I never said you were gonna be a king. I said you were gonna be the father of a great nation.”

“Well, maybe I don’t wanna be the father of a great nation. Maybe I just wanna be a king. Maybe I just wanna eat and drink and fuck beautiful women who aren’t my wife. Maybe I just want to kill whoever I want the moment I get the urge to. At least being a king I can enjoy.”

“It doesn’t matter if you enjoy it,” God says. “We’re laying the foundations for a future paradise. Sometimes you just gotta suck it up and take one for the team – like you’ve made Sarah do on multiple occasions.”

Abe considers it.

“Hey, uh...I been meaning to ask you. When Fat Abe was ploughing my wife and something grabbed his dick...”

“That was me.”

“That was you?”

“Well, it was the kid. But I made him do it.”

Fat Abe smiles. “That was a good one.”

God smiles back. “Thanks.”

*

A few days later, Fat Abe’s lying on the lounge chair thing with his concubines feeding him grapes, and a man gets brought in to see him. The king’s just finished unhinging his jaw and swallowing an entire bunch of grapes without chewing, when he looks over and sees Lot standing there.

“Lot!” he says, jowls shaking, spitting grape juice all over him. “What are you doing here?”

I should mention that Lot looks like shit. Like Jesse Pinkman at the end of Breaking Bad.

Actually, he looks worse than that.

Yes, worse than Jesse Pinkman at the end of Breaking Bad. By the way – at the risk of instantly dating this episode – did you catch that last trailer for El Camino (aka the Breaking Bad movie)? Looks pretty tight.

Anyway, Lot has a long, shaggy beard and his robes are all dirty and torn.

Lot says, “I’m here to beg you to take me back.”

“Take you back?” says Fat Abe, and he laughs. His servants and guards laugh with him, afraid he’ll murder them if they don’t.

When everything dies down, Fat Abe says, “Now, why would I take you back?”

“Because I’ve got nothing left,” Lot says. “My daughters have found husbands, my wife’s dead. I’ve got nothing. Please...” He gets down on his knees, clasping his hands together, looking pathetic as fuck. It’s embarrassing. “Please take me back.”

Fat Abe lifts his arms, saying, “Up! Up!”

His servants rush to his side and haul the king to his feet. He almost falls over, but they keep him steady.

“I’m okay. I’m okay.”

Slowly, the guards step back, but stay close enough that they can rush in if he falls again.

Fat Abe looks Lot up and down, licking his lips. He takes a few steps toward him.

“God told me he was gonna get you to be the next patriarch.”

Lot nods. “He asked me. I said no.”

Fat Abe furrows his brow. “You said no?”

“I told him I didn’t want to betray you.”

Fat Abe stares at the guy, not sure if he can trust him.

“Then why’d he fly you out of Sodom on those giant eagles?”

“That’s when he asked me,” Lot says. “He flew me out so he could ask me.”

“And you told him no?”

“I told him no, I couldn’t do that to you.”

“And what’d he say?”

“He said fine – he’d try to patch things up with you, then.”

Fat Abe nods, apparently satisfied. “Alright,” he says. “You’re back in.”

He puts Lot up in the penthouse and that night, they’re drinking together like old times. Fat Abe does a few too many tequila shots and wakes up the next morning beside a pile of all his servants with their throats cut.

“Jesus...” he says, slithering backwards from the pile.

Fat Abe looks over and sees Lot getting up from his lounge chair – clean-shaven, fresh robes. To paraphrase Kathy Bates in Titanic, dude shines up like a new penny.

“I know you tricked my wife into turning back,” Lot says. “You think I didn’t see you running past, flipping me the bird?”

With great difficulty, Fat Abe gets to his feet.

Lot goes on, “Just because she left me doesn’t mean I wanted her dead. Well, I did, but I wanted to do it. With my own two hands. Since you robbed me of my revenge – and since you tried to rape me, let’s not forget about that – this is what you get.”

He points to the gate, where Sarah, Hagar and Ishmael are standing with their bags packed, ready to go.

“Either get the fuck out,” Lot says. “Or get on the pile.”

Fat Abe’s silent for a long moment, just staring at the pile. Finally, he says, “Dude...You killed the concubines. You never kill the concubines.”

*

A few months of wandering through the desert later, Fat Abe is now Skinny Abe.

Not normal Abe. Skinny Abe.

Going from that decadent palace diet to what can only be described as the ‘Slim Pickings’ diet of the desert has fucked with his body something fierce.

He went through his fat and sugar withdrawals like Leo in The Basketball Diaries. Now, he’s shedding pounds by the day, to the point where he currently looks like Christian Bale in The Machinist. It’s actually pretty terrifying to look at.

And just in case you’re a little overweight and are actually considering the “Slim Pickings” diet, please stop reading.

Watch The Machinist.

Vomit in terror.

Come back.

Keep reading.

Don’t do the ‘Slim Pickings’ diet.

Where were we?

Oh, yeah...

So travelling alongside Skinny Abe is his now very-pregnant wife, his servant/mistress and his bastard son.

Back before God came into Abe’s life and totally fucked it up, he didn’t mind travelling. That might have been because he had servants to set up the tents. It might have been because he had a shit-load of livestock for milk and meat and clothes. It might have been because he didn’t know any better, and now that he does, he’s struggling to re-adjust.

Time passes.

Sarah has a son.

They circumcise him, call him Isaac – things are good.

But not for long.

Pretty soon, Isaac and Ishmael are out playing together, having a great time. And while kids having fun is generally a good thing, you can always count on the politics of adults to ruin it.

See, Sarah and Hagar didn’t exactly get on swimmingly before. And, now that they’ve been thrown back together, shit’s starting to fall apart.

It’s not really even Hagar – more Sarah that has the problem. She sees her son playing with Ishmael and thinks, “I gotta do something about this.”

So she goes to Skinny Abe and she’s like, “Dude, we gotta do something about this.”

He’s like, “What do you mean? They’re just playing. That’s what brothers do.”

“I don’t like it,” she says. “Ishmael’s the oldest, and as long as he’s around, there’s always the chance that he’ll inherit everything after you die.”

“What do you want me to do, kill him?”

“You don’t have to kill him, just...ditch him. Ditch them both.”

Both?” says Skinny Abe.

“Well, it’d be cruel to leave the boy out here on his own.”

“But leaving the boy and his mother to die – that’s...fine?”

“At least they wouldn’t die alone.”

“So you do want them dead – you just don’t wanna get any blood on your hands?”

“Hey, if there’s another reason you wanna keep her around, just let me know.”

She lets it hang, testing him.

He knows he’s been backed into a corner. “Fine.”

So the very next day, he gives Hagar and Ishmael some supplies and tells them to kindly fuck off.

Hagar says, “Where are we supposed to go?”

Sarah’s like, “Anywhere but here.”

Ishmael looks up at Skinny Abe, being like, “Don’t you love me, daddy?”

And Skinny Abe’s like, “Of course I love you, kid. But, you know what they say – happy wife, happy life.”

Strangely enough, this doesn’t seem to console the boy.

Ishmael gives his little brother a hug goodbye, but Isaac doesn’t want to let go. Skinny Abe’s like, “Alright, boys, that’s enough.”

He touches Isaac on the shoulder, but the kid still won’t let go.

“Come on, Isaac,” Skinny Abe says, pulling his shirt now.

But the kid still clings to his brother.

“Come on, buddy. Come on...” Pulling a little harder now, a little harder...

Still, the kid doesn’t budge.

“For Christ’s sake, Isaac, come the fuck on!”

He ends up having to yank Isaac back with all his might, almost pulling his own shoulder out in the process.

Isaac goes flying back into the sand and Sarah picks him up, dusts him off.

By the time Skinny Abe looks back, Hagar and Ishmael are walking off into the desert.

Skinny Abe turns to Sarah, like, “Happy now?” and leads the crying Isaac back to their tent.

Up above, God’s like, “That’s cold, man.”

So when Hagar and Ishmael run out of water, he comes down and opens up a well for them. She thanks him, and God says don’t worry about it – those guys are assholes.

She asks why God chose Skinny Abe to be the father of a great nation, then.

God says it’s complicated – Skinny Abe wasn’t an asshole to start with, but the promise of power and glory has corrupted his mind. Currently, he’s trying to find a back door out of the covenant he made with the guy.

Hagar asks why he can’t just kill him, but God says it’s not that simple – Skinny Abe gave him cigarettes. And there’s nothing more binding than a covenant sealed with cigarettes. Not even a pinky swear.

Hagar asks what he plans to do, then.

God says he’s working on it. Part of the plan involves Lot. Part of the plan involves her – or, more importantly, her son.

Hagar says she’s all ears.


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