THE TEN PLAGUES OF EGYPT
But Moses did not heed the moist bush, for he had been trained by his native patriarchal culture to devalue the voice of the subaltern. Even as he climbed down the mountain, he’d begun to shrug off the entire incident, and during his descent, Moses encountered another bush, burning but unconsumed, possessed by the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who spoke to Moses in exactly the sort of grammatical, cis-normative way he had anticipated. This bush, Moses heeded. And Bias fell into a depression, for it seemed that no matter how hard he tried, he could not win back the affection of his mother Diversity, who continued to dote on humankind in general, and the issue of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in particular.
Moses, meanwhile, appeared before Pharaoh in Egypt and demanded that he free the Israelites, but Pharaoh refused, so Moses lifted his wooden staff and stuck it into the Nile—whereupon the water was changed to latte, and the Egyptians were affrighted, for it was exceedingly sticky, and left smudges on their manifestos, so that quail could not be distinguished from owl. But Pharaoh was unmoved, so Moses put out his arms, and there came a plague of cable news hosts, and they reported around the clock on the river that ran dark with deliciousness, and they interviewed every Egyptian they could find, asking leading questions and assigning blame according to the narrative of their particular networks, and even Pharaoh found this intolerable, and seemed about to relent, but at the last moment the cable news hosts learned a Phoenician galley filled with concubines had sailed off the edge of the earth, and they lost interest in the goings on in Egypt.
With the retreat of the cable news hosts, Pharaoh’s heart again hardened to the plight of the Israelites, and their servitude became still more onerous, so Moses again put out his arms, and the God of the Israelites unleashed upon the Egyptians a plague of software updates, many of which did not mesh seamlessly with older apps, and after that a plague of robo-calls and robo-texts, which did not spare their mobile devices, no, not even their tablets. Cries of lamentation rose from the Egyptians, but Pharaoh turned a deaf ear to them, so Moses yet again put out his arms, and wave after wave of spoken-word poets arrived to torment the Egyptians; they turned up at the door of every home, rhythmically stamping their feet and shouting tearfully about their suffering at the hands of the malevolent, million-headed demon “They.”
After three days, however, the spoken-word poets returned to the basements of their moms’ houses, for there were many fingers to be pointed there, and much lentil loaf to be consumed, but they were no sooner gone than the land was beset by a dust storm of litigation, most of it frivolous, and the Egyptians were tied up in court with claims and counter-claims, and the legal fees for both sides always seemed to go to the Israelites, though no one could explain how or why.
Then came hail. Just hail.
As soon as the hail passed, the Egyptians ventured back outside, where they were confronted by token hires who compelled them to undergo sensitivity training, an especially painful process since their wounds from the hail had not yet healed. The HR forms they created!
Pharaoh slyly thwarted the token hires by creating for them administrative positions of greater and greater rank, where they had nothing to do except collect escalating salaries, and thus were never heard from again. This brought his people temporary relief. But soon thereafter darkness descended on the land. The sun set and did not rise the next morning, and three days passed without a sunrise, and the Egyptians gathered in the streets and cried, “Woe unto us! We are cast in eternal night!” But Pharaoh emerged from his palace holding a torch, and he explained that what they were witnessing was not eternal night but days-of-color. These were things to be celebrated! The Egyptians were solaced by his words, and the following morning, the sun rose once again.
So Moses appeared a final time before Pharaoh and demanded that Pharaoh free the Israelites. He demanded it in the name of “I Is,” no, make that “I Am,” which for the sake of clarity he explained was indeed the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Still, Pharaoh refused. Therefore, the Angel of Indifference descended upon Egypt, and it curled along the streets and alleys, and it entered every Egyptian household, and deleted every Facebook account, and Twitter account, and Instagram account, nor did it spare TikTok, Snapchat, and Pinterest, nor even YouTube channels. And the Egyptians howled in agony, and gnashed their teeth, and tore out their hair, but they could not post about the catastrophe that had befallen them, for now they were nobodies, and nobody could hear them, and nobody cared.
This was too much to abide, even for Pharaoh. He declared that the Israelites were free to go, and the following morning Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt.