Arts & Culture
At My Power Seder, 2011/5771
Funny, Jay-Z doesn’t look Jewish. Read More
GUY: Wow, I can’t believe it’s Nissan again.
JAY-Z: L’chaim, bitches!
GUY: This takes me back to my first seder with Madge. Things change I guess, but the important thing is we still get together for our seder every year, and celebrate the story of Moses.
GUY: Yes, everyone, please welcome young Moses Paltrow-Martin. And can someone watch the door for Eli—Eli Roth, you know, from down the block.
ELI: Okay if I bring my friend?
GUY: Of course. You know us: Anyone who’s hungry, let him come to our villa and eat. Wow, look at we have here!
QUENTIN: Whaddaya want? I got your midwestern cornfed whole wheat matzo, your Russian brutalist rye matzo, your good ol’ American chocolate matzo, 3mm cherry matzo, caramel pecan chip matzo, and…
QUENTIN: Yeah—one great fuckin BALL of matzo, for gebroks day.
GWYNETH: Oh, I can’t wait. It’s been so long since I’ve had grains.
DARREN: That’s good, it reminds you of how Moses starved himself to skin and bone in his obsession to become the leader of the Hebrews and follow the eerie voices in his head to the Promised Land.
GUY: The great David Mamet is also here to help us explore the deeper meaning of the story.
DAVID: Yes, Exodus. They go out. That’s why it’s called “Exodus.”
MOSES: Uncle Guy, tell us the story.
GUY: I should start at the beginning: A bloke is running like crazy through the hot desert, pallets of supplies flopping about on his shoulders. Bang! He runs right into the waters of the Red Sea. Half a league behind him—chariots! The Army of Egypt. Big mofo on the head chariot going “Faster! Get ‘im!” and the next bloke being like, “Get who?” and the big mofo being like, “Moses the Hebrew, you stupid Aramean,” before whacking him across the nose with an onyx ceremonial phallus. “And I want my fucking staff back.”
Smash cut back to the shore. Moses’s brother Aaron is like, “Watch out for the water! You’re getting the coke wet.”
He unwraps the stuff on his shoulders to check and—its not coke. It’s dough! They raided the wrong sarcophagus.
“You really bollocksed it up this time, Aaron.”
“How was I supposed to know which one of Fat Tut’s sarcophagi had the cocaine and which one had the flour? Seeing as there was a Plague of Darkness going on—your bright idea, if I’m not mistaken.”
“Well we can’t exactly go back and get it now, can we? You realize who that mofo on the chariot is? That mofo happens to be one Ramses Imhotep Sun Ra Aladdin the Second, or as he’s more popularly known—”
“Pharaoh,” says a minion in his court in a flashback to two moons ago, “says to let the games begin.” Flash! Abdul the Magnificent turns his staff into a snake. Applause. Moses is like, “I could beat that.” Aaron is like “You don’t know what you’re getting into.” Flash forward: Moses comes out of the palace. “Where’s Pharaoh’s favorite staff? He’s going bonkers.” Moses points to his own staff. Aaron explodes. “Your staff ate the Pharaoh’s magic staff? You know how expensive that staff was?”
Back to Moses in the desert: “How are we supposed to get along in the middle of the Sinai, with no cocaine, six hundred thousand Hebrews starting to question my leadership skills, and this accent of frankly dubious authenticity?”
“We can eat this flatbread.”
“Flatbread! Well there’s a paradox in terms for you, innit?”
“It’s just a bread of convenience,” says Aaron.
“A bread of fucking affliction is what it is!”
“So we’ll apologize to Pharaoh.”
“I’m afraid it’s a little late for that. You know that firstborn son Angel Freddie killed when we left Egypt…? That was sort of the Pharaoh’s firstborn son.”
MOSES: Wait—how’d they kill the Pharaoh’s son?
QUENTIN: I got this, okay? We’re at Pharaoh’s palace. He’s wondering if there’s still time to let Moses’ people go, when there’s a knock. He opens the door and—holy shit, it’s the Angel of Death. Pharaoh, staying cool, asks if there’s anything he can do for the Angel.
“Well,” says the Angel of Death, “Now that you mention it, running my errands in this hot Egyptian air has made me mighty thirsty. May I trouble you for a cup of plain Nile water?”
Pharaoh’s manservant draws a cup of Nile water, his hands trembling. The Angel takes a slow draft, then:
“Mmm!” says the Angel of death. “This is some fine Nile water. The Nile God must be honored to be associated with such a smooth and refreshing beverage. My gratitude to you.”
“Oh, it’s no problem,” says Pharaoh, fidgeting with his gold beard.
“You know, I have walked up and down this fine land, but I have never tasted Nile water this good. Which Nile’s it from? The White Nile? The Blue Nile? Don’t tell me you went all the way up to the Blue Nile.”
“There’s a tributary out back. W-we just pump it in.”
“There is something else in this water. I’m picking up a hint of fermented grain?”
“We don’t add any fermented grain.”
“No grain? Nor wine? Malt? Not even salt of lead?”
MOSES: Where is this heading?
ELI: Blood in the Egyptians’ water! Frogs infesting their beds! Lice in their skin, in their hair, eating them alive…
GWYNETH: Or as we traditionally group them, BloFroLi.
ELI: Then boils. Oozing boils!
DARREN: The Pharaoh liked to pick at his boils when he was alone in the palace.
ROLAND: Locusts in swarms, hopping on metal legs, eating with metal jaws. Wild bears and lions breaking out of Pharaoh’s zoo. Hail—hail that’s on fire, falling into and igniting a lamp-oil storage pyramid that explodes and whose top stone goes flying into the Sphinx’s face! And darkness: loud, rumbling darkness!
GUY: Sorry guys—I forgot to mention, the Emmerichs are having their seder next door. I’ve been trying to get better soundproofing here, but there’s only so much you can do… Where were we?
ELI: Killing lambs! Smearing blood. Pharaoh’s haughty nineteen-year-old daughter walks by and sees what’s going on, and she can’t resist taking a little blood and smearing it on her face, then her arms… it feels so good. So while the Angel of Death is slashing his way through Egypt, “passing over” the houses with the blood on the doors, Pharaoh’s daughter and all her slavegirls are bathing in a pool of blood and licking it off each other’s bodies—
GUY: And that’s why we we call it, “Passover.”
MOSES: Wow. The Hebrew God is fascinating.
DAVID: He is that He is.
MOSES: Do they ever get to the Promised Land?
SAM: Aaron and his wife Mabel actually buy a house in Promised Land, a suburban development in upscale West Canaan, but it’s just another tract of land like all the rest, and soon their days are caught up in the middleclass drudgery of reaping, sowing, bickering over property, worrying what the other high priests think, and they’re plagued by boredom, the plague that has no name, the one they’ve been trying to escape all along. So the name “Promised Land” becomes cleverly ironic.
Moses tries to stifle a yawn.
GUY: Some thought-provoking commentary from Mr Sam Mendes, everyone. What do you think, time to eat? Let’s all take the egg from the plate.
MOSES: What’s the egg for?
NATALIE: To remind us of when I was in V for Vendetta.
GUY: Which story is that? Is it in the Tanakh?
NATALIE: Don’t worry about it.
GUY: No, it sounds familiar, I just can’t for the life of me remember… well, I guess that’s why we have these traditions.
MILA: What’s everyone talking about? This kids table is so far away.
NATALIE: It’s nothing. I shaved my head. Can we go back to the story?
MILA: Wait, why would you do that?
MOSES: So they made it through, in the end?
GUY: Everyone except for Moses. He was commanded to speak to a rock to give his people water, but he got angry and hit it.
DAVID: I don’t get the transgression here.
GUY: Could you elaborate on that thought?
DAVID: It’s a rock. You hit it. It’s the nature of rock. Think: What is the sound of rock being hit? Rock.
MOSES: Ow, my head.
DAVID: Hit the rock. Rock. Rock.
GWYNETH: It’s alright, dear. Next year, we’ll go to my villa in Jerusalem.
All sing a song vowing to go to Gwyneth’s place in Jerusalem.