THE REVEREND AND THE RABBI

[To pass the time en route, the Duck suggests they all get up and tell who they are, and their personal reasons for making the trip.]

The hours sped
as on through space they flew.
To be well-entertained and fed
is what most voyagers aspire to,
so these were quite content.

The morning of day four,
Evangelist Tom Beal
and Rabbi Becky Schwister took the floor.
They had been asked to get up side by side,
were given strict time limits,
and told to speak in alternating minutes.
Why all these rules?
The Delegation members were no fools.
All said they'd rather be lobotomized or dead
instead of what they most abhorred:
captive, proselytized and bored.

And too, since everybody knew
that Jew and Christian
(following a long tradition)
viewed each other with suspicion,
more as rivals than as sister or as brother,
all felt it would be much more fun
to watch one going at the other.

Beal, of whom they all had heard,
arose, and quickly gave his word
that he'd not try to stretch his time.
Indeed, all knew the last 'time'
that he'd opted not to 'stretch'
was not in minutes, but in years -
a stretch he'd served
with other racketeers
inside a jail. For Beal,
despite his virtuous convictions
and divine connections,
had been convicted
of the spending of donations
from his vast, adoring, TV congregation,
not on good works, charity and such,
but on a mansion down in Texas,
and a mistress and a Lexus.

Even Lash and Coca knew
that Beal's TV career was through.
That he, an object of derision,
had been banned from raising funds
or praising God on television.

But, said Beal,
the Savior has forgiven me.
Last month He gave a sign
that I should be an inter-global missionary,
told me I should fly to Kroh
and let those heathens know
that if they truly will believe
that He did come from high above
with truth and love,
and died atoning for their sins,
and if they will obey God's laws
to honor father, mother, sister, wife,
and give donations to our Cause,
they will receive eternal life.

So saying, Reverend Beal did send
a smile of triumph toward
the Rabbi, Becky Schwister,
as if to say, Top that one, sister.

But Sam McDonalduck could not resist
to jump right in as journalist
and ask Tom Beal,
Did He upon the cross atone
for Krohtian sins as well?

Of course, Beal easily replied.
I'm sure that if you dig into the history of Kroh,
you'll find a kind of parallel.
You'll find an apple and a tree,
a woman, man and serpent too,
you'll find a sin, a fall from grace,
a need to save the Krohtian race.
And since Christ can't be everywhere at once,
or die in agony a thousand times
upon a thousand crosses,
clearly He preferred to cut His losses,
die just once for half Jerusalem to see,
then leave it up to Matt and Luke
and guys like me, to spread the word
throughout the universe and history.

I see, responded Sam, and made a note.
And now it's Rabbi Schwister's turn.

Said she, I recently did learn
that there may be on Kroh
a group called Mensch
or, in the plural, Menschen.
As some of you may know,
in German and in Yiddish
this word means human being.
It is my theory that these Menschen
are diasporatic Jews,
perhaps descendants of Hebrews
who in a kind of mass ascension
went to Kroh as many as
three thousand years ago,
though how or why I do not know.
It could have been to flee
some feudal intervention,
like a pogrom or an inquisition.

Anyway, it's my intention
and my mission,
wheresoe'er my people roam,
on land or sea or Kroh or foam,
to find them all and bring them home.

So saying, Rabbi Schwister raised her chin
and flung a glance at Reverend Beal
as if to say, Your turn, schlemiel.

McDonalduck was so impressed
by these displays of piety and erudition,
he blurted out the sad admission
that the Bible was a book he'd never read.
It seems that as a duckling,
Sam had found it easier
to spread upon the ground and read
a quarterly called Plough & Seed.
This fascinating tract inspired Sam,
a duck who only swam and quacked,
to seek another form of self-expression,
and led him to the news profession.

But who can tell?
Perhaps, had he back then
the opportunity to read God's word,
he might well have preferred
to lead a congregation,
and become the richest pulpiteer
on any network TV station.

I've heard, said Sam,
that God created man.
But did he also create ducks?
For that is what I am.

Of course, replied the Rabbi.
Let me see. If ducks are birds,
I think he made them on day five.
But if they are domesticates,
like cows and dogs and chicks,
he probably created them,
along with men and crocodiles,
the next day, which was six.

Sam turned to Reverend Beal.
Do ducks have souls? he asked.
And if so, are there men like you
or ducks somewhere, who
spread the word
that true-believing waterfowl
can go to heaven too?

These were questions neither Beal
nor Schwister'd ever heard.
It being lunch time, he demurred
to answer them without
a great deal more reflection.
Meanwhile, he concurred
with her suggestion
that after lunch the floor should go
to the Psychiatrist, the Poet
or the Navajo. 



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