MOSES IS CALLED
Now the children of Israel had fallen on hard times, beset by famine and poor Wi-Fi, and therefore they agreed to serve the Egyptian Pharaoh—who had plentiful food, super fast internet, and a cultural heritage rich enough to warrant a full month of celebration, as long as you didn’t ask too many questions. But servitude in Egypt became outright slavery, and generation after generation of Israelites tasted the bitter lash of subjugation, and many were worked to death, though at no point was their subjugation as bad as the subjugation of sub-Saharan Africans in America. The Israelites beseeched their God to save them, to send a deliverer who would return them to the Promised Land of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
By then, Bias was well acquainted with the cries of the oppressed, and was determined to thwart the Israelites’ efforts to escape their bondage, for he realized that the longer they remained in bondage, the deeper their resentment would grow toward their Hamitic masters. So the moment he noticed a would-be deliverer of the Israelites dwelling in the land of Midian, Bias set out to confound and discourage the man.
That man’s name was Moses.
Bias ventured to the land of Midian, where he found Moses pacing back and forth, muttering to himself. Moses knew he must do something to free his people, but he had no idea what. That provided Bias the opportunity to work on him. Inhabiting the body of a nearby goat, Bias approached Moses from behind and brayed loudly.
Moses spun around and smiled. “You startled me, my friend.”
The goat came up to him and nudged its head into Moses’s leg.
Moses began to laugh. “Perhaps you have an answer for me….”
The goat again nudged its head into Moses’s leg, even harder.
“Have I wronged you, my friend?”
Yet again, the goat nudged Moses. This time, it felt like a shove.
Then, at once, a light came to Moses’s eyes. “Or are you a sign?”
The goat brayed more loudly than before.
Moses stared down the goat. “Tell me! What is the right course?”
No sooner were the words spoken than the goat stepped in front of Moses and nodded for him to follow. The goat led Moses up the steep, barren slope of a mountain. Higher and higher the two of them climbed until darkness fell, and they were forced to camp for the night. Moses built a fire, and he and the goat huddled beside it for many hours.
“Now what shall I call you?” Moses asked the goat.
The goat made no reply.
“I think I’ll call you Billy.”
The goat turned its head in obvious displeasure.
“Too informal? William perhaps? Or maybe Bill?”
The goat stared into the ground.
“No, not for you,” Moses said. “Perhaps Shiloh?”
The goat gave that more serious consideration.
“Shiloh it is,” Moses said. “For the time being.”
The following morning, therefore, Moses and Shiloh set out for the summit. For many hours they climbed, and the afternoon sun bore down on them, and sweat poured across Moses’s forehead, and Shiloh’s tongue hung from his mouth. Moses began to despair.
Why had he followed a goat up a mountain?
He stopped abruptly and cried, “I am a fool!”
But Shiloh came up behind him and nudged him forward.
Moses sighed. “If you insist. But will I ever find the One?”
Shiloh did not answer.
The two of them now hiked the final stretch to the summit. It was the most treacherous leg of their ascent, and it took several more hours, though the distance covered no more than half a mile. Finally, as daylight was beginning to wane, they reached the summit.
There, they found a lone bush. It was glistening with moisture but otherwise unremarkable.
Moses was keenly disappointed at the sight, and Shiloh only scuffled his feet.
That was when the spirit of Bias jumped from the goat to the moist bush, which began to speak. It spoke in a high-pitched woman’s voice.
“Moses!” the moist bush said. “Now you slides off them sandals of yours, on account of you standin’ on holy ground.”
Moses removed his sandals, then said, “Are you the One?”
“But your voice…is not what I expected.”
“That’s just them inscrutable ways of mine!” the moist bush answered.
Shiloh approached the bush and began to lick moisture from its leaves.
“No, Shiloh,” Moses said.
“Shiloh?” the moist bush said. “Now who’s this here Shiloh character?”
“That’s the goat’s name.”
“What you talkin’ ’bout, Moses? Why that there’s Zarathustra!”
“Sure enough! The two of us goes way back, don’t you know!”
“How could I know that?”
“Moses!” the moist bush called.
“Here I am!”
“Is you is or is you ain’t one of them Chosens?”
“I is…er, I am.”
“Well ain’t that just highfalutin!” the moist bush said.
“I don’t follow.”
“Let me break it down for you! If one folks is chosen, can’t nobody else be. What you gots right there is the precondition of socioeconomic exploitation, be it on the basis of race, or on the basis of class, or on the basis whatever you gots. Umm hmm!”
“I don’t understand what you’re saying.”
“I’s talking the ethos of bourgeois capitalism! I’s talking false consciousness! How you spectin’ to do right by them oppressed when they instruments in they own oppression? They gets it in they heads that revolution is violence when it ain’t no ways like that! Revolution, why that’s they best friend! Now the real violence, that’s old Mr. Status Quo! That’s corporations and such!”
“But my people are not free…”
“Your people!” the moist bush cried. “What about them blacks and browns? They ain’t never yet realized the fruits of they labor! They doomed is what they is! They doomed on account of them no-account Rothschilds and they blood sacrifices at the temples of the hegemons. Tell that to them so-called Chosens you so fretted about!”
Moses stared at the moist bush, bewildered. “That’s the message I am to deliver?”
“Ain’t it just a kick in the head?”
“But they will not believe me. Who shall I tell them the message is from?”
“That’s who I is.”
“But you are the One, right? The Most High?”
“I’s the most highest. Can’t get no higherest!”
“But the words you speak…”
“If I’s lying, I’s dying. But yet Most High don’t never die! So how’s I gonna lie? That’s logic right there is what that is.” Zarathustra reared up at that moment, but the moist bush added, “None of your back-sprach!”
Then Moses looked sadly at the moist bush and said, “So that’s it? I’ve come this entire way, and you have no other wisdom to impart?”
“Oh, now it’s wisdom you’s hankering for?”
“Why didn’t you say that from the jump? ’Cause if it’s wisdom you wants, it’s wisdom you gets. Let me cogitate on it for a minute. All right, now I has it. No, wait, that ain’t going to work. Unless…”
“You ain’t got no Shinola handy, does you?”
Moses shook his head.
“Okay, okay, I gots something else. You ready? These right here is the words of the Most High: Free Mumia!”
“You heard me!”
“My people are not free—”
“I don’t know who that is.”
“What difference it makes? Free is free!”
“But how can I—?”
“You gets what I’m driving at Moses?”
“I don’t know,” he said. “Maybe I do.”
Thereafter, Moses took his leave of the moist bush. With a final wave to Zarathustra the goat, who had elected to remain at the summit, he started back down the mountain.