A long famine dragged across the land. The fields had not felt a drop of moisture in years. There were children who were starting to speak that had never seen rain in their lifetime.

A widow approaches the prophet dragging a gaunt child at her side. The boy can barely stand, he clutches at his mother with frail arms. His lips are cracked, his eyes sunken into his head.
“Man of God, help us.”

The prophet asks her, “What do you have left to eat at home?”
“Nothing, my lord,” she says.

“Not even some oil?”
She says, “No, not even that.”

“What about a last spoon of rice, or some grains of garri left at the bottom of the sack?”
The widow shakes her head. The movement knocks the boy loose. He slumps to the ground. His mother is too weak to pick him up.

“What about salt?”
“I don’t know how many different ways can I say this, sir, we have nothing, nada.”

“A forgotten cube of Maggi?”
She says, “I tell you, my lord, yesterday I watched my son lick toothpaste.”
“Wow,” The prophet says.
He strokes his beard deep in thought.

“A can of sardine?”
The widow, clapping as she speaks, shouts at him: “If I had sardines, will I not have eaten it? Will I be here listening to stupid questions that I already answered?”

The prophet raises his hand. “Calm down, there’s no need to insult me.”
She glares at him. “Man of God, I thought you would be someone who would be able to help. Clearly I overestimated you.”

“Okay,” he says, “here is what you should do.”He leans in close to her. “Go to your neighbours. To the ones on your left and the ones on the right. Borrow all the jars that they have.”
The widow says, “Yes?”

“Carry the jars to your house and shut the door.”
The widow nods.

“Take that tube of toothpaste. Press it from the bottom, rolling it as you go up. Squeeze it into all the jars and sell it.”
The prophet kicks off his sandals and starts running, “You can thank me later!”


From Saul’s Private Email Server


Hope u dnt mind. I got ur emal addy from Jonathan.
Sry abt d last time. I had a lot on ma mind. With the war an everything els.e
Sumtims when im lying down, I can feel darkness closing in from the edges, the darts my my enemies are throwin r hitting me right here in my soul, the weight of the kingdom is completely on my chest and my heart is pounding. U dnt knw what itis like. On those days, I av few ppl I can rely on.

And u say ur tryin but. Then you go an play a song I dont like. You prolly dont mean anytin by it, buti warned u severl times before in the past.
I accept your apology though. Nd I shoulnt av thrown the spear at you. That one is My bad.
Pls let m no when u r bak in town. Headaches are gettin worse, only ur harp suuthes them. It is like I wud die without yr help

Forgive my typings




I see, its new achivement, new email address. No probblem.
If you tink dis is the type of thing you should be bragging about. Thatis up to you.
Continue to carry ur shoulders up. Act asif I did not bring you into my house. As if I did not raise u nd treat u as one of my own. And Even give u this opportunity to shine.

I offered u my daughter and u throw it back in my face as if I am begging u. You tink I care about taxes from your peasant family? Honestly, I perfer if you never mention this philistine thing 2 any1 again. If you cannt see fit to tell the truth, to be honest with people, justtell them u dunt want to talk about it.

And I knw its you talking about me behind mt bak telling people I’m crazy.
NO , u David u r d crazy one.




I ddon’tknow who u bin talking to. Spreading all sorts of rumors. That Me, of all people, sending assassins to come and kill you. Why wld I du sometin like that?
If I wantd to kill u, cann I not face u man 2 man and do it? Did I nut throw a spear at you that one time face to face? (and apologize)
And now that we are family. I resent that you wuld accuse me of something like that. After all the foreskins weve shared between us. If you tink I will send asassins to ur house wherrr my own daughter leaves. You tink I will put my child at risk????

My curse on you, my curse on your family, my curse on those two bastard children of mine that are feeding you these rumurs. I swear If I meet you or anyone related to you, anyone who knows you has heard of you or speaks positive of you, I swear on my life I will kill them. I will remove their eyes.
I wish you a slow death.




Sorry for that last email. Am going thru a lot of stress right now.

I Think its very disrespekt ful what u r doing to me nd my family.
U invade my privacy, tear my cloths, steal my spear, my water bottle.
After all I’ve done for u. Shame on u.
Delete your account.

The giant killer

To tell you this story, I have to start at the beginning.

My brother weighed over 10 kilogrammes at birth. My father said watching my mother give birth to him was the hardest thing he had ever done. My mother, the gods bless her soul, would probably have agreed if she had survived it.
I was five then, and my earliest memories are of her swollen with child and unable to move on her own. My father and the midwife would support her as she waddled back and forth. Some nights now when I sleep I still hear her screaming in labour but I know that is just my imagination playing tricks on me.

Even though he cost her her life, my brother and I became inseparable. This was back in the days of turmoil, the dark days of war, the world was changing rapidly and our father was gone all of the time. War drums would sound out, and the men of the city would arm themselves and leave. When they returned, regardless of if they won or lost, many families would be irreversibly changed, mourning the losses of their fathers, of their brothers. That was the uncertainty we lived in, never knowing if our father would come back to us.

By the time I was eleven, my younger brother at six was as tall as I was. By the time I was a teenager, he was stepping in to protect me from the neighborhood bullies. I was sickly and frail, and he became my protector, the large shadow always at my side.

You would think that someone of his stature would be stupid, a large buffoon, a lumbering oaf. He wasn’t any of those things. He was as smart as he was physically imposing. Quick-witted, sharp-tongued, and sly.
He would take a look at my books and scoff, amused by the work I was struggling with. If he was in a good mood he would help me with it. I accepted that graciously, learning at an early age to get used to him being better at everything. Grinning, he would thump me on the back as he rushed out for swordplay or to perform feats of strength against grown men.

When I was 20, we lost our father in one of the many battles that had raged all our lives. My brother took it harder than I did. He spent days indoors staring at the wall and mumbling to himself. He emerged at the end of this period and approached the Assembly of Elders with a proposal.
I followed him to the meeting tent that day and watched as he stooped through the entrance amidst murmurs of disapproval.

This act was unheard of, a mere child approaching the assembly, but more surprising was his suggestion.
It was such a simple idea when you think about it, the type of silly thing children sitting around come up with. That rather than pitting entire armies against each other, wars should be decided by a one-on-one fight between the best man from each side.

Many of the elders disagreed, but my brother would not be cowed.

Others had misgivings, “Even if we accepted such a preposterous notion, which man would we stake the fate of our entire tribe on?”
But in asking that question, they only had to look at my brother’s face to fully grasp what he was suggesting.

He killed three men that day, our most experienced fighters, to prove his worth. Such was the price of progress.

From then on, my brother the giant became our beacon
He devoted all of his time to training, and now when the war drums rang out, him, one man, would challenge our enemies. And that one man would bring back victory.
For the first time in decades, families stopped living in apprehension and our people knew peace.

As I grew older, my ailments became more grave, my attacks more frequent, and I grew weaker. Too weak to tend a farm, too weak to win a wife. But I was well taken care of because of my brother, the giant of Gath.
He would return from battle nary a scratch on him and head straight to my tent even while the victory celebrations were going on. On cold nights, he would rub my joints with crushed mint leaves as he recounted solemn stories of battle. He would speak until I fell asleep and only then would he join the festivities.

Years rolled on, some days good, others bad, but I got through them because of the care and generosity of my baby brother.
Until the last time I heard the war drums beat.

For forty days, I waited for him to return, I would stand at the city gates when I was strong enough and watch the horizon until the sun set. At nights, the wind would howl through my room and chill me to my bones, it would whisper things that I didn’t want to hear.
But by the time the remains of our army trickled in, I knew without being told.

The reports from the front were fragmented. Philistines routed. Goliath beheaded. A sling. A stone.

I wept for weeks.
Everything I have, everything I am, I have lost.

The end of the world as ewe know it


DAY 21
We have settled into a comfortable routine here.
During the day, I spend most of my time in the lower decks feeding the animals and cleaning out their pens. Misha helps with this.
She whistles as she works, and besides the endless drumming of the rain outside, it is really not so bad.

We had dinner with the rest of the family. After three weeks, there isn’t much to say. I report that the lower deck is fine and the animals are eating well. They do the same for the middle and upper decks. We finish our meals in silence.
I don’t know why I keep this diary, recording the mundane details every night before I fall asleep. Nothing new ever happens here.


DAY 22
Today was the same as yesterday.
Clean the lower decks, feed the animals, dinner with the family.
It continues to rain. I looked out of the porthole and everything is almost completely submerged. No houses, no carts, no people. Only the tips of the tallest trees.


DAY 23
After dinner, we were lying in bed in our cabin and Misha nuzzled into me. Soon after, our bodies danced as one in the candlelight while the rain outside continued its ceaseless tune.
It is good to know that candles and a meal are the only requirements for romance here.

Before she fell asleep, Misha said, “Ham-baby, remind me to check the back of the goats’ pen tomorrow. I think I heard some dripping.”
She does that all the time, relegate something to me for remembering. Sometimes, I feel like I should be trotting after her with a notebook and a pen like a personal assistant. It doesn’t matter that she usually remembers before I do, so I don’t have to actually remember it. That just worsens it. It’s like she’s showing off each time, giving me a test she knows I will fail. “Remind me even though I know you’re an idiot who will never remember.”
But I have written this down, so tomorrow I will remember.
I had been too worked up about her reminder trick that I hadn’t considered what she said.

If there is a leak in the goats’ pen, we have a serious problem.


DAY 24
There is a leak in the goats’ pen.
I was able to convince Misha not to tell my father about it. Not yet at least. I get enough flak from him already, and I am not prepared to hear him rant about one more thing that I screwed up. “Look at your brothers, Shem and Japheth, I never have to tell them anything twice. Flawless work from both of them. But with you, everyday it’s a different problem.”
I was in charge of pitching and tarring the ark to make it waterproof. I will take responsibility and fix the leak, no one else needs to know about this.


DAY 25
I remember our first week here. Back before the rain covered everything, back when the houses were still visible, and the people still alive. But with every day that passed, the rain did not stop and you could see people outside start to worry. You could see them start to pile on the roofs of their houses with what little belongings they could rescue. I sat on the bed with Misha and we watched through the porthole as the rain erased our world.
We saw a man and a woman in a canoe laden with fruits. He paddled from the back of the canoe and she, her head bent away from the rain, scooped water out of their boat. We watched as a young boy swam towards them, treading water as he waved and called out to them. He looked exhausted but he made it to the canoe, holding on to the edge to pull himself in.
The woman reached into the bottom of the boat and stood up with an oar in her hand. She bashed his head in before he had a chance to climb in and he disappeared beneath the water.
She brained him without emotion like she had been doing it all day. She put the oar down and continued to scoop water out of the bottom of the boat. Business as usual.
I wondered how much longer she would have to continue to do that, I got up and left to feed the animals.

Misha spent all of that day sitting at the porthole looking out.
That night when I returned, she was crying. I held her, soothing her until she fell asleep.
Then I piled boxes in front of the porthole and kept it covered for the next five days. We could still hear people knocking on the outside, their fists thumping on the cypress wood walls. They would scream, long drawn out wails ending in a gurgle as they were swallowed by the water.

Why am I thinking about this today? Because whenever things start to get tough inside, I can compare myself to those stuck outside and say, it is not so bad.


DAY 26
The leak has gotten worse since we found it. I wedged a bucket underneath the spot and the water drips into the bucket. I have to remember to empty it every few hours otherwise the water starts to spill over into the rest of the pens. We have moved the goats into the next pen with the sheep. It was a tight fit, but they will manage just like the rest of us are doing.
It has been almost a month, how much longer can it continue to rain?

At dinner when my father asked how the mammals were doing, I nodded with food in my mouth and told him everything was great. Misha glanced at me, her eyes filled with a dollop of shame and a dash of regret.
Now as I lie next to her and write this, she pretends to be sleeping.


DAY 27
The division of labour on this ship leaves something to be desired. Japheth is in charge of the birds and he lives on the upper deck with his wife and two children. My father’s cabin is on the upper deck as well. Shem is on the middle deck with his family and they watch the reptiles and amphibians. The middle deck has the common rooms and this is where we meet for dinner.
Misha and I in the lower decks watch the mammals. ALL the mammals.
I would rather watch birds any day. Throw some seeds at them and pick some feathers, how hard can it be? Reptiles and amphibians I’m not so crazy about, but we can do birds easily.
Granted, Shem is also in charge of the health of all the animals, while Japheth and Father tend to crops on the upper deck but they can do that and watch the mammals as well. And how often do we really need someone to look at sick animals?

I am going to complain about it and ask if we can set up a sort of rotation. But if anyone comes down here, I’ll have to explain the leak, so first I’ll fix the leak, then suggest a weekly or monthly rotation schedule. I can’t do this anymore.

Misha read the expression on my face as I got into bed. She sat up, rubbed my back and said, “Don’t worry dear, it’s not so bad. Remember the people outside.”

Fuck the people outside.


DAY 28
Today. Was not a good day.

I decided to fix the leak with some tar pitch. I modified one of the metal pots for use as an oven, loaded it with wood, and packed it tight with hay. I made a hole at the bottom of the pot for the tar to drip out and be collected.
Outside, the rain had built up into a thunderstorm. I could see occasional flashes of lightning through the vents and hear the thunder pound against the outside of the ship.
I put the oven on a tripod and lit a fire beneath it, fanning the coals. The smoke was stifling in the enclosed space. The animals started to get antsy.

Misha sighed with a look on her face that said, “I’ve told you this is a bad idea.”

When the pot was hot enough, the tar started to pool out of the hole into the container at the bottom. I pressed a metal patch against the hole and poured some tar on to seal it.
There was a bright flash from outside, lightning struck close to the ship and the boom of thunder came immediately after. I jumped back as the ark rocked and I bumped against the pot. The tripod under it wobbled. I reached for the pot to steady it and jerked my hand back when it burnt my fingers. The pot rolled off the tripod and fell against the far end of the pen. The coals scattered on the floor of the pen and I kicked at them to put them out. One of the lit coals flew through the bars onto the wool of the sheep and set it on fire.

The pot spilled open and leaked hot tar onto the floor and into the next pen where the ram was burning. The smell of burning flesh overwhelmed the smell of tar.
I stomped out the coals and Misha appeared with a bucket of water to douse the ram, but that wasn’t enough. The tar ran along the floor of the adjoining cages setting fire to everything it touched. The fire spread quickly through the panicked animals.

I screamed to Misha to bring more water, she yelled back that it was over and it was time to ask for help. Even though I told her I had it under control, she ran upstairs to get my brothers.

The total damage was 17 dead animals.

I have been banished by my father. I write this now as I float tethered to the ark on a makeshift raft. I have a tarp for cover and the sound of the rain on it is that of a man pissing on my head from a great height.

Misha did not say anything as I packed a few things and was escorted off the ship. I wanted to hold her and tell her she is the only woman in the world for me. Because, you know, she literally is.