The Arab and the Jew
Felix King couldn’t remember a thing about the accident. He rubbed his eyes. He squinted. He still couldn’t believe what he saw. Through weary, blurred eyes, he thought he saw an Arab and a Jew playing Chinese checkers. The pieces they were using were marvelously crafted glass marbles that seemed to change color when the light hit them. The Jew looked a lot older than the Arab, and had a long, snowy white beard. The Arab’s beard was black like coal. Both were dressed in ancient nomadic fashion wrapped in light desert garments. The Arab and the Jew did not appear to recognize that Felix had awakened. They continued with their game, but it did appear, at least to Felix, that they were waiting for something and the game was just a means to pass the time. A light came on in the hallway, and there was a small Ding, as if someone’s cake was ready.
“Do you think he’ll discover the truth?” the Arab asked the Jew. Felix wondered who they were talking about.
The Arab moved a marble. The marble’s color changed from electric yellow to hellfire red.
“Probably not,” the Jew answered. “Few do.”
“And even if he does, behind every mystery, there is another mystery,” the Jew continued.
“Who’s next?” the Jew asked, as if he was forgetful in his old age.
The Jew moved a marble. The marble’s color changed from sky blue to aqua green.
“I am he, as you are he, as you are me, and we are all together,” the Arab answered.
Felix felt his body perk up. He did not know why.
There was a silence like each man was contemplating his next move, or maybe it was more important than that. Were they talking about the game of Chinese checkers, or something else?
“I should get to go last…I’m the last true prophet,” the Arab said under his breath.
The Arab moved a marble. The marble’s color changed from blood maroon to buttercup yellow.
The Jew smiled.
“I will admit the sequence is most peculiar, but there is a reason for everything,” the Jew said, his smile never faltering.
“Besides, I am the first true prophet. Why shouldn’t I get to go first?” With that statement he moved a marble. The marble’s color changed from evergreen to navy blue.
The Arab looked sour. “You are not the first true prophet.” He moved his marble. The marble’s color changed from chartreuse to ruby red.
“You are not even the first Bodhisattva or messiah or savior or first founder for that matter,” the Arab said with anger in his voice.
“I am the father of modern prophets and the father of modern religion,” the Jew said proudly, as he moved his marble. The marble’s color turned from turquoise to algae green.
The Arab smiled. “You forget of the rest of the world.” He moved a marble smugly. The fire engine red of the marble changed to glittery golden yellow.
“I am the father of the founder of your religion,” the Jew said tenaciously. “I have a whole branch of religions named after me.”
“Perhaps you are chosen last,” said the Arab, “because our friend has little to learn from your arrogance.”
The two continued bickering like an old married couple. Felix had a feeling it would always be that way. Eventually he dozed off. When he awoke they were gone. Chinese checker board and all, just vanished. He wondered if he saw that scene for a reason. Was that Abraham and Mohammed arguing?
Excerpt from Blind Savior, False Prophet
By Joe DeMarco