Genesis 42-50: Bro-Down At High Noon III – El Camino (Season 1, Episode 22)

What happens when Joey’s family comes down into Egypt in search of food? A family reunion goes awry, a brother gets forgotten, and God starts to have second thoughts about this whole ‘mankind’ thing.

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.


Sure enough, after seven years of plenty, Egypt gets hit with a famine.

Hit hard.

It isn’t just Egypt, though. The whole region gets thrown into chaos.

That includes – you guessed it – Canaan.

Motherfucking Canaan.

And there, in Canaan, is – you guessed it – Izzy. And he’s just about fed up with having no food.

So God comes down and he’s like, “Hey, man – I hear there’s food down in Egypt. They’ve stored up a shitload of grain and now they’re rationing it out to all the starving people. Why don’t you head on down there and get some of that pure, uncut barley?”

Doing his best Danny Glover impression, Izzy’s like, “Na, man – I’m getting too old for this shit. I’ll send my sons instead.”

God’s like, “Good enough,” and as Izzy turns around to pour himself another cup of wine, he does that villainy thing that villains do when they rub their hands together and get a really sinister look on their face like everything’s going to plan.

When Izzy turns back around, God quickly stops what he’s doing and tries to act natural. Izzy narrows his eyes, suspicious, and God avoids eye contact, looking around and pretending to notice new features. “You guys been redecorating? Place looks good.”

Izzy moves on. “Where are they selling the grain?”

“Zihuatanejo.”

“What?”

“That’s the city in Egypt where they stored all the grain. The new pharaoh renamed it after his inauguration. Don’t ask me why – it makes zero philological sense. Historians are gonna have a fun time figuring that one out.”

So that night, Izzy gathers all his sons and tells them they’re going south of the border to get some of that pure, uncut barley. All except Benji, who he wants to stay put in case anything happens to the others.

It’s called diversifying your assets.

“Egypt’s watching its borders pretty closely,” he tells them, as he paces in front of a crude map he’s painted on the wall of the tent. “A lot of people want that grain, and not everyone’s gonna get it. I’ve organised a coyote to smuggle you across...” He traces a line on the map from Canaan to Egypt. “...but after that, you’re on your own.”

No one is particularly excited about the mission, but they’re all starving to death and they figure, “Fuck it – what have we got to lose?”

Among them is Jude, who’s since moved back home after his wife and three sons were gored to death by the same goat. His boyfriend left him and he’s currently living (albeit reluctantly) with his pregnant wife/former daughter-in-law, Tammy (who he’s pretty sure is also a witch), and so, unlike his brothers, Jude can’t wait to get the hell out of there.

They leave first thing next morning, and at the place where they’re supposed to meet the coyote, they see an actual coyote. Not a human smuggler like they were expecting, but a literal coyote.

A six-foot tall, bipedal canine.

Picture Wile E. Coyote, but with some mileage on him. Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Wile E. Coyote, not Raiders of the Lost Ark Wile E. Coyote.

Not only is he standing upright, but he’s leaned against a boulder, scanning the southern horizon, smoking a cigarette. When he sees the brothers approaching, he goes, “Oh, shit...” and flicks the cigarette.

He gets down into a crouching position, trying to imitate an actual coyote – even going so far as to attempt a howl, before coughing up half a lung and going, “Ah, fuck it...”

He stands up, extending his hand to Jude, going, “I’m Justin. I’ll be your coyote today.”

Jude looks back at his other brothers, who are just as confused as he is, and goes, “Uh... hi, Justin, I’m...”

“No names,” he says, as he looks around for his cigarette. “The less I know, the better.”

“But... why’d you tell us your name, then?”

“Not my real name, bro.”

Finding the smoke, ‘Justin’ brushes it off and puffs it several times to get it going again.

“Thank Christ,” he says, relieved. Turning back to the group, he clarifies, “Lost my lighter a couple hours ago. Now I gotta keep using the one I’m smoking to light the next one...” A pause while he has a coughing fit. “I wouldn’t recommend it.”

“Why don’t you just stop smoking?” one of the brothers says.

Suddenly irritated, Justin goes, “Why don’t you stop breathing? Asshole.”

They all just stare at him. He glares back.

“That’s what I thought. Any other questions? Anyone else feel like being a smart guy? No? Look, I got hired to do a job. Now, unless you’d rather get into Egypt on your own...”

“No, no,” Jude says, holding his hands up in a surrendering, placating gesture. “Lead the way.”

Justin breathes in a lungful. Holds it. “El Camino?”

Jude frowns.

Justin exhales, clarifies. “It means ‘the way’, you uncultured fuck. We’re crossing the border. You might wanna brush up on your Spanish.”

“Spanish? We’re going into Egypt.”

“Yeah – to a city called Zihuatanejo.”

The coyote shakes his head and looks away, then holds out his palm. Jude hesitates for a moment, confused. But when it becomes clear that Justin is not going to readdress him until he’s paid, Jude hands him a bag of silver pieces. He jiggles it up and down, weighing it like Indy with the bag of sand in Raiders.

Evidently satisfied, he turns around and starts walking. He bites another cigarette out of the pack and uses his already lit one to light the next, taking alternate puffs on each until he feels confident enough to toss the old one.

“Stay close,” he says. “Those Mexicans... I mean, those Egyptians... aren’t fuckin’ around.”

*

Sure enough, the Mexicans (I mean, Egyptians) are not fucking around.

They’ve built a wall along their border, manned with patrolling archers. Hundreds, if not thousands, of arrow-riddled bodies lie scattered across the desert on the Canaan side.

From their vantage point on top of a hill, Justin points out a stretch of wilderness to the west where the wall doesn’t extend. They wait for cover of night, then sneak across undetected.

The journey into Egypt doesn’t agree with Justin’s chain-smoking lifestyle, and after trudging all night through the desert, he looks like his heart is about to give out. He’s wheezing, his fur matted with sweat.

“Christ, I’m getting too old for this shit...” he says, sitting down against a boulder. He bites a cigarette out of the pack and uses his current one to light the next.

In the east, the sun is rising over the pyramids, and as Justin takes a long, deep drag, the first rays of daylight hit his face. He smiles, content. “I’m coming, Maria...”

Then his eyes flicker closed and his head slumps forward. The cigarette drops from his lips onto the sand, and the smoke slowly drifts up out of his mouth.

The brothers watch this, not knowing what to do. They stare at the dead, man-sized, bipedal, chain-smoking coyote, and no one says anything for a long moment.

Finally, Sim steps forward and approaches the body. He crouches down and feels around until he finds what he’s looking for.

The bag of silver.

Some of the brothers groan, disgusted with his looting of the corpse. Defensively, Sim goes, “What? He doesn’t need it.”

Of course, after that line’s been crossed, the brothers see no reason to cross another. The coyote is dead, after all. And just like he won’t be needing his money, he also won’t be needing his fur, or his muscles.

Following that logic, they skin the bastard and roast him over an open fire.

Waste not, want not.

Not long afterward, they approach the Egyptian city of Zihuatanejo – all of them with full bellies and Jude now wearing a lovely coyote-skin cloak. He even kept the hollowed-out head so he could use it for a hood.

Classy guy, that Jude.

As they crest a small hill, they see a line of starving immigrants leading to the granary – a few miles long at least. The brothers groan and curse and complain, though ultimately see no choice but to join it.

“It’s alright,” Reuben says, trying to be optimistic. “I’m sure they’ve got loads of people up there, trying to get everyone served as quickly as possible.”

Cut to the front of the line, where an old man is working a single stall. He’s telling people about his day, asking about theirs, going about his business like he doesn’t have a care in the world.

He takes his time weighing their silver, preparing their grain, while the people in the line grow more and more impatient, to the point where people are calling out variations of, “Jesus Christ, will you hurry the fuck up?!”

Fortunately for him (and unfortunately for the people in line), the old guy’s hard of hearing, so these insults fall on literally deaf ears.

The grain is being served in neatly-packaged bricks, like cocaine or heroin. After being forced to hand over what amounts to most people’s life savings, they leave with their bricks, furious, complaining to each other about how expensive it was and how long it took.

In an ideal market, there’d be many different vendors to choose from, and competition between them would drive the prices down and the quality of service up.

But not in Pharaonic Egypt, baby.

They want grain, Pharaoh’s the guy they gotta go to.

They don’t like the prices, they can go somewhere else.

Oh, wait – no they can’t, because Joey’s got a monopoly on that shit.

If he wants to hire an old man who’ll work for peanuts and do a shitty job, that’s his prerogative. And if he wants to charge a criminal (some might say genocidal) markup, he can do that too.

He’s the motherfucking pharaoh, after all.

Speaking of...

Nearby, Joey (aka the aforementioned motherfucking pharaoh) is surveying the scene with his good buddy, God. They’re walking along, shooting the shit. God’s just finished telling Joey about his dad being behind the plot to kill him.

“I can’t say I’m surprised,” Joey says. “I mean, he was always threatened by me. They all were.”

God nods along. “They were indeed. And look at you now. I guess everything you ever dreamed is coming true. If only they were here, they’d have to bow down to you, and everything would come full circle.” He pauses deliberately, then pretends to notice something. “Hang on, is that them over there?”

He points to the line of people, and Joey looks in that direction. When he sees his brothers standing there, filthy and exhausted from weeks of travel (and Jude for some reason in a coyote-skin cloak?), he can’t believe his eyes.

When he turns back to relay his surprise to God, he isn’t there.

He’s vanished.

Quickly forgetting about the big guy, Joey marches over to his brothers – followed closely by a gaggle (a murder?) of bodyguards.

“Hey!” he calls out.

Everyone in the line turns and bows as he approaches. The brothers, terrified, do the same.

“Yes, my-my Lord?” stammers Jude.

Joey stops, realising they don’t recognise him in his make-up and finery. He considers how to best take advantage of the situation.

“Where are you from?” Joey says.

“Canaan, Your Highness.”

“Canaan, you say?” Joey paces in front of them. “That border is very well guarded. I assume you have the proper documentation?”

Jude swallows, glancing at Reuben and Sim on either side of him.

Joey waits. “Or perhaps you came across...with a coyote!”

As he says the word, he grabs Jude by the coyote-skin cloak and hauls him to his feet. Jude cowers, closing his eyes and turning his face away as the Pharoah continues to hold him.

“What are you? Spies?”

“No, no, I swear. We’re brothers...”

“Brothers can be spies.”

Jude panics. “Well... I suppose they can be, but we’re not.”

Joey scans the rest of the brothers. The ones who have dared to glance up quickly avert their eyes. He only counts ten, including Coyote Ugly. Where’s Benji?

“Are these all your brothers?” Joey says.

Jude hesitates. “Well... all except one.”

“Where is he?”

“He’s home with our dad, waiting for us to bring back the grain so we don’t starve.”

This gives Joey an idea. He releases his grip on the coyote’s head (for some reason, it smells like cigarette smoke) and says, “I want you to go back and return with your entire family. Everyone. Then I’ll know that you’re telling the truth.”

“But how will that prove...?”

“It just will. Now go! I’ll keep one of you here as collateral. If you choose not to return out of fear, that brother will be sold into slavery.”

A collective gulp can almost be heard.

“Which one?” Jude says.

Joey steps back, examining his brothers in turn, trying to decide which of them he hates most. He cycles through years of memories – getting beat up, called names, being subjected to various pranks which usually involved grievous bodily harm or a failed attempt at grievous bodily harm.

Finally, he lands on Sim, who goes pale when he realises he’s been chosen.

A Django Unchained-style flashback plays out in Joey’s mind, wherein a younger Sim pins him down in the animal pen, packing handfuls of manure into his mouth.

As little Joey tries to buck him off, Sim rides the poor kid like a bull at a rodeo, complete with a hand in the air, yelling, “Yee-haw! This boy’s got a taste for his own shit. Yee-haw!”

Joey has an almost visceral reaction to the memory, as if he can still taste the manure on his tongue, as if he can still feel it wedged between his teeth.

“Him,” he says, pointing out Sim to his guards.

“No!” Sim says. “Please... Take Reuben! Take Levi!”

“Hey!” says Reuben.

“Thanks a lot, man!” says Levi.

He tries to hide behind his brothers, but they push him away, disgusted.

The guards ignore Sim’s pathetic cries and take hold of him, dragging him away, screaming. What would have been a traumatic event is made somewhat less traumatic by Sim’s desperate and gutless attempt to use his brothers as human shields.

The nine remaining brothers are then given enough grain for the return journey and told to get their asses back ASAP. Joey watches them go – a devious smile spreading across his face.

Think you can betray me, you fucks?

I’ll show you.

I’ll show all of you.

He doesn’t seem to be aware of those in line still watching him, utterly bewildered as to why he’s grinning from ear to ear, lost in his own internal revenge monologue.

*

Back in Canaan, Izzy sees his sons approaching after the long journey home. He comes out, rubbing his hands, licking his lips, going, “Ooh, baby. Where is it? Where’s that sweet, uncut barley? Papa’s hungry.”

He snatches a sack from Jude and takes out one of the bricks. He cuts it open with a knife and holds it to his nose, sniffing deeply like an addict going through withdrawals. His eyes roll back in his head as he savours it.

“Oh, fuck me, that’s good.”

They proceed to bake up a storm and have a party. At some point during the festivities – as bread is broken and wine is splashed into cups, but mostly on the ground – Izzy looks around and says, “Hey... where the fuck’s Sim at?”

The brothers suddenly remember.

“Oh, shit...” says Jude. “Yeah, about that...”

He fills his dad in on what went down in Egypt, and afterward, Izzy’s like, “So... basically, you’re telling me that if we don’t go back down there, we won’t get any more grain?”

“And Sim will be sold into slavery,” Reuben adds. No one else seems to care.

Jude ignores him, answering his dad’s question. “Yeah, basically.”

Izzy thinks about it. “If we do go down, we might all end up as slaves. He already thinks you guys are CIA...”

Sidebar: in this time period, the CIA had a different meaning. It stood for Canaanite Intelligence Agency. They’d supported various uprisings in Egypt by smuggling in weapons and mercenaries, training local rebel groups – generally trying to destabilise the region and install a puppet pharaoh. Totally different from the CIA we know and love today.

Izzy continues, “Why does he want us all down there again? What does me and Benji making the trip prove?”

“It proves we’re not spies,” Levi says.

Izzy frowns, confused. “Spies can have families.”

“I know they can, but...”

Jude interrupts. “Look, it doesn’t matter. The point is, he wants us all to go down there. Who cares about his logic? Guy’s the fucking pharaoh.”

A pause.

“Maybe the famine will break,” Izzy offers.

The brothers stare at him.

“Are you suggesting we let Sim get sold into slavery?” Reuben says, horrified.

Izzy shrugs. “I’m suggesting... the cons kind of outweigh the pros here. Risking all of us to save Sim? That’s crazy. I say we ration out the rest of this grain and see where we stand when it runs out. Maybe the famine subsides by then, and we’re fine. If not, we roll the dice in Egypt.”

“But he’s your son...”

This doesn’t seem to affect Izzy like Reuben hoped it might. “Look, I know I’m not alone in thinking Sim’s been kind of a bummer lately. Ever since Dinah cut his balls off, he’s just been moping around, feeling sorry for himself.”

Apart from Reuben, the brothers all nod in agreement, saying things like, “That’s true, he has.”

Stunned by their collective cold-bloodedness, Reuben goes, “I can’t believe what I’m hearing here.”

“He tried to throw us under the wagon,” Levi says. “Fuck that guy.”

“Look, we can’t just leave him there. Don’t you realise what’s going on? This is God punishing us for what happened with Joey.”

“Joey’s dead,” Izzy says. “But you said so yourself – he’s not gonna kill Sim. He’s just gonna sell him into slavery. A little slavery, that’s all. Sim’s a big boy, he can handle it.”

Izzy tears open another loaf and stuffs his face.

The brothers all exchange a nervous glance. Occasionally, they forget that their dad is still under the assumption that they murdered Joey.

No one’s about to correct him and admit they just didn’t want to split their seller’s fee another way – just like no one’s going to stand up and demand they march back down across the border.

Even goody two-shoes Reuben is cowed into going with the flow.

For a while, Izzy and his sons go on with their lives, conveniently forgetting the fact that their brother is a hostage in Egypt. But, eventually, their grain does run out, and the famine doesn’t look like breaking any time soon.

Reluctantly, the patriarch decides they need to risk it.

If they go, they might be executed or locked in prison. If they stay, they’ll die for sure.

At least by going, they have a chance.

Before leaving, Izzy decides to consult the big guy, just to make sure he can’t weasel his way out of this.

“Sorry,” God says, toking on a fat blunt. “Can’t help you.”

“But what about the whole ‘father of a great nation’ thing? How’s that gonna work if we leave Canaan?”

God shrugs. “I’ll just make you the father of a great nation in Egypt, instead. Sound good?”

Izzy doesn’t know what to say. “You can’t just change it, just like that.”

“Why not?” He exhales a stream of white smoke. “I’m God.”

Speechless, Izzy realises he’s not going to be able to talk his way out of this one. He’s going down into Egypt, whether he likes it or not.

So, after loading up the wagons with their tents and all their worldly possessions, that’s what Izzy and his sons and their families do. They head south toward the border with hopes of living the Mexican (I mean, Egyptian) Dream – namely, not starving to death.

(And, if they have time, they’ll see what they can do about freeing Sim from bondage.)

*

After a long journey, the family arrives in Zihuatanejo and is escorted to Joey’s palace. Here, Izzy and his sons are told to enter for an audience with the pharaoh, while the women and children will be shown to their accommodations.

The patriarch has no freaking idea what’s going on, but he’s not really in a position to refuse, either. So he does what he’s told and splits up the family.

Inside, they’re greeted by the pharaoh himself, and again, no one recognises him. They all bow before him as he sits in his throne, and Joey smiles.

Finally, his dream has come true.

Well, technically, his mom’s not there, but he contents himself with the fact that if she was, she’d be bowing along with the rest of them.

Sim’s not there either, he realises.

Fuck it – good enough.

“Let’s eat, shall we?” he says, shaking off the anti-climax.

He leads them back into a large dining hall and takes his place at the head of the table. Izzy and his sons aren’t used to sitting up off the ground, so they kind of mill around like curious chickens, studying the table and chairs, while Pharaoh waits impatiently.

“It’s a table, you savages,” he mutters to himself.

Finally, they sit down and dinner is served. Izzy and his sons can’t believe the lavish feast. Realising they’re not going to be killed or imprisoned for being spies, they put their feet up and relax.

And by ‘relax’, I mean they demolish the meal with little to no regard for palace etiquette – chewing loudly, spilling food and wine, yelling and laughing.

The guards are a little like, “What the fuck?” but Joey doesn’t do a thing.

He just watches them, quietly.

Patiently.

At a certain point during the meal, Sim is led in by a pair of guards – filthy, malnourished – and seated at the table. There is a lull in the festivities as they all utter sheepish variations of, “Oh, hey, man,” and he says, in the most sarcastic voice he can muster, “Yeah, thanks for hurrying back, guys.”

He then proceeds to tear into a lamb shank with such ferocity that the brothers are, quite frankly, sickened.

Slowly, the mood reverts back to it’s pre-Sim liveliness, and Izzy, who’s seated beside Pharaoh (and also quite drunk) leans over and goes, “Hey... can I ask you something?”

“You wanna know where your families are being taken?”

Izzy frowns. “Well, no... but now that you bring it up...”

“They’re being taken to settle in the land of Goshen, a little north of here. Don’t worry – they’ll never have to deal with famine or hunger again.”

By this point in the story, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Izzy’s not so much concerned with their well-being as his own. “And we’ll be taken there too, right?”

Joey just smiles at him. “They’ll be waiting for you.”

Too drunk to be unnerved by the answer, but sober enough to be confused by it, Izzy continues. “But... I don’t understand. Why are you being so good to us? I thought... Not that we’re not grateful for the spread, don’t get me wrong, I just... I don’t get how these guys bringing me and Benji down here proves they’re not spies...”

Up until that moment, Jude had been engaged in a heated academic debate with Zeb about the merits of taking a piss after ejaculating to prevent a urinary tract infection – you know, the kind of formal dinner talk you expect when dining with the pharaoh.

But when he hears Izzy mention spies, he feels his blood run cold.

He clears his throat loudly to get Izzy’s attention. It has no effect the first time, so he keeps doing it, to the point where his throat actually starts to hurt.

Finally, the patriarch looks over, annoyed by the throat-clearing and oblivious to what his son’s trying to do. “Jesus Christ, you need a glass of water, buddy?”

He shakes his head, laughing, and turns back to Joey. “But yeah, like I was saying – we could still be spies. You don’t know for a fact that we’re not. Spies have families, y’know? Just because we’re all here doesn’t mean we’re not spies. I could be spying on you right now.” He laughs, apparently joking.

Jude’s eyes go wide with fear. What the fuck is he doing?

The rest of the party continues as before.

Pharaoh smiles, putting a hand on Izzy’s arm. “Relax, my friend. I don’t think you or your sons are spies.”

Jude breathes a sigh of relief.

Izzy furrows his brow. “But why’d you invite us here, then?”

Joey’s smile slowly vanishes. “Excuse me for a moment.”

With that, he gets up and leaves the room. Confused, Izzy looks over at Jude, who shrugs.

As soon as Joey closes the door behind him, he breaks down crying in the hallway, leaning back against the door and sliding down into a heap on the ground. He sobs quietly for a few seconds, then cuts it out.

“Stop it!” he says to himself. “Pull it together! Who’s the pharaoh? Who’s the pharaoh? Who’s the pharaoh?”

Each time he repeats this, he slaps himself across the face – a little pep talk he likes to give himself from time to time.

He forces himself to remember being a slave, being in prison. Years of his life spent suffering because his brothers couldn’t deal with the fact that he was so clearly superior to them in every way.

He takes a deep breath, composing himself. He wipes the tears from his eyes, reapplies his own charcoal eyeliner with a handy, pocket-sized makeup case, and opens the door to re-enter the dining hall.

As he does, he sees a lone guard watching him. The guard looks incredibly awkward – clearly, he hoped Pharaoh would leave without realising he’d been watching the entire time.

Joey, feeling similarly awkward, decides it’s best not to say anything and heads through the door.

Rejoining his guests, Pharaoh throws on a smile and takes a sip of wine.

“Now... where were we?”

Izzy says, “You were about to tell us why you brought me and all my sons here if you don’t think we’re spies.”

“Ah, yes, of course... But first, I have a question for you.”

“Shoot.”

“Why are you lying to me?”

The entire table goes quiet. It ripples out, from the pharaoh down to the other end of the table. Everyone goes very quiet, and very still.

Izzy panics. “I’m not lying.”

“I asked for everyone to be brought here. All your sons.”

“These are all my sons.”

“What about Joey?”

The brothers all exchange worried glances with each other.

“Joey...” Izzy says, utterly bewildered. “He died a long time ago. How did you know...”

Pharaoh looks around at the sons, reading their expressions and realising what happened. “Very clever, boys. I suppose it was the smarter choice to tell him Joey was dead and pocket the extra money for yourselves.”

Now, the brothers are really panicking. Buzzed as he is, Izzy’s still not putting it together.

“They sold their brother into slavery,” Joey explains. “He was bought from some Ishmaelite traders at the market here. You’ll all be glad to know he rose through the ranks and is now a free man of considerable standing.”

Izzy’s confusion suddenly morphs into rage. He turns on the men. “You sneaky sons of bitches! You lied to me!”

Reuben ignores him, buoyed up by the hope of being reunited with his long-lost brother. “Can we see him?”

Joey smiles. “You are seeing him.”

With that, he uses the hem of his sleeve to wipe away the charcoal eyeliner. Suddenly, with the removal of that tiny bit of makeup, they all recognise him – like he just removed one of those face masks from Mission: Impossible.

There’s a collective gasp of surprise, but before anyone can say anything, the guards who were positioned around the room move in...

In perfect unison, they throw loops of rope over Izzy and his sons, then pull them tight at the back, pinning the guests to their chairs...

The brothers struggle, but they don’t have a chance.

The guards begin stabbing chests and faces and stomachs, cutting throats. Blood spurts and sprays everywhere – all over the table, over the food, into the wine. The brothers scream and shriek and gurgle as their throats fill with blood.

It’s some real Red Wedding shit.

Then, silence.

As quickly as it all started, the massacre is over.

The only family members still alive are Izzy and Jude. They were restrained like the others, but not harmed in any way – those were Joey’s orders.

The blood-splattered father and son look around at the butchered remains of their family, eyes wide, chests heaving against the rope.

The guards untie them and haul them to their feet. They march Izzy and Jude down to the end of the table, to an open area of the room without any furniture.

Father and son are positioned about ten feet apart so they’re facing each other, then a small dagger is placed on the ground between them. The guards back away, standing in a circle around them with their spears pointed inward.

Izzy and Jude look at each other, at the guards, at the equally blood-splattered Joey as he tucks a napkin into his collar, takes a sip of wine and begins eating.

Slowly, it dawns on them...

“Winner goes free,” Joey says, through a mouthful. “Whenever you’re ready.”

He then continues with his meal like he just told the musician what to play.

Jude turns to his brother, deciding to make a plea for mercy. “Joey, please. I’m sorry for...”

But Izzy’s already going for the knife...

“Shit!” Jude says, and dives on the dagger.

They both grab hold of it at the same time and try to wrestle it away from each other. What follows is an extended sequence of them writhing and rolling around on the floor, peppered with frequent grunts and curses.

All the while, Joey drinks his wine and eats his food, not seeming to care that what he’s putting into his mouth has been sprayed with his brothers’ blood.

Picture Denethor in Return of the King, biting into that cherry tomato and the juice running down his chin.

Finally, the fight ends with a Saving Private Ryan-esque scenario, in which Jude is lying on the ground, saying, “No, no, no, no...” and Izzy’s bearing down on top of him, pushing the dagger slowly into his heart, going, “Ssh.”

Jude makes a horrible choking sound, then goes limp.

Izzy gets to his feet, distraught – hands shaking, looking down at the son he just killed, tears in his eyes. He lifts his head to see the mutilated remains of his family around the dinner table, and his sole surviving heir, Joey, dabbing at his lips with the napkin.

“My son...” Izzy says, voice breaking. “It’s alright. We don’t need them. We can still...”

At that moment, a spear is thrust into his back and bursts out through his chest. The patriarch’s eyes bulge as he stares at the bloodied iron spearhead, then the spear is yanked back out and he drops to his knees.

Reality begins to set in.

He can’t salvage the situation. He can’t play it to his advantage.

This is it.

This is all God’s promise has led him to.

This is where it ends.

“Don’t bury me in Egypt...” he says, wheezing. “Wrap me in linens... lay me in my family tomb...”

Then he keels over and dies.

Joey drains the rest of his wine, closing his eyes and feeling it all wash over him.

It’s over.

It’s done.

Like Daniel Plainview after bludgeoning that weaselly preacher to death with the bowling pin in There Will Be Blood... “I’m finished!”

Opening his eyes again, he says to the guards, “Mummify his body, then take it out into the desert and bury it. Feed the rest to the dogs.”

The guards begin untying the bodies and dragging them out of the room, leaving huge, bloody smears on the floor.

When at last Joey is alone, God appears at the other end of the table. “Jesus, you really gotta mummify the guy?”

Joey leaps in fright, clutching his chest. “For fuck’s sake, could you stop doing that? You’re gonna give me a heart attack.”

“If anything’s gonna give you a heart attack, it’s all that red meat you’re eating.” God eyes his plate judgementally. “You should try quinoa.”

Joey just stares at him. “Can I help you with something?”

God looks around the blood-splattered room. “Quite a mess you’ve made here.”

“You knew what would happen.”

“Did I?”

Joey chuckles. “Don’t play dumb. You made sure they’d come down here and you made sure I’d see them when they did. You knew what I’d do.”

“I had my suspicions,” God says, still shocked by the extent of the carnage. “But you always find a way to...” He searches for the right words. “...exceed my expectations.”

Joey flashes a cocky grin. “I’ll take that as a compliment.”

“I wouldn’t.” The big guy gives him a cold smile back. “Anyway, I just came to say goodbye.”

Joey frowns. “What do you mean?”

“I mean, I’m done with this. All this ‘father of a great nation’ stuff. This family. I’m done with it.”

Pharaoh takes a moment to process this. “What about their families?”

“Seems pretty clear to me. Either you let them go and they assimilate over time, or you kill them. What were you going to do originally?”

“I was going to let them go.”

God’s surprised by this act of mercy. “Really?”

Joey shrugs. “Yeah – bunch of women and children. Don’t really see the harm.”

The big guy nods, glad to see he’s not a complete monster. He picks a few grapes and tosses them in his hand. He’s about to eat them when he notices a spot of blood on one of them, and drops them back into the dish.

“What about me?” Joey says.

“Well... You never would have had this much power or wealth in Canaan. You’re officially the father of a great nation. I say you do what most people do – enjoy it while it lasts, and then die.”

With that, he turns and walks out of the room, skirting around the pools of blood.

When he gets to the doorway, he looks over his shoulder at the pharaoh eating his dinner calmly in the midst of a massacre. God shakes his head. He’s getting too old for this shit.

“Hell of an experiment,” he says to himself. He sighs. “What the fuck was I thinking?”


That concludes Genesis. If you’d like to get a copy of the full season in ebook or audiobook form (that is, all the episodes/podcast episodes stitched together in a neat little package), you can do so here. Otherwise, the first episode of Exodus will be with you shortly.


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