Translate

Monday, July 1, 2013

Reader's theater: The Nehushta Serpent

Information and comments on the story:

The Nehushta Serpent

from the book: Life Will Get You in the End:
Short stories by David Satterlee

Find out more, including where to buy books and ebooks

Read or download this story as a PDF file at: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B4eNv8KtePyKakVORXJHdmxvN1k/edit?usp=sharing

Life Will Get You in the End:
Short Stories by David Satterlee

Reader's theater for two female voices. Guys, don't ever assume that it's okay to not be sweet to your wives and girlfriends. 

The Nehushta Serpent

Scene – In the Market

Two women in conservative dress meet in a market. They may be pushing carts or carrying baskets. There are no extras in view. The younger speaks first, addressing the older.

Rachel
Oh, Sister Abigail! I am so glad to see you again. It has been some weeks and so much has come to pass.

Abigail
Yes, my dear Sister Rachel. May the Lord’s blessings, comfort, and love be upon you in your time of distress.

Rachel
The Lord and his Church have been exceedingly kind. Each family, in its turn have come to sit and break bread with me. Pastor Thomas took the lead in putting my husband to rest after his passing, and no trouble has come upon me.

Abigail
Then all is well. How come you here this day up?

Rachel
Truth be told, I have
no lack of sustenance. It is only a few things, a pint of cream to top a sweet indulgence and a spool of green dyed thread that I seek.

Abigail
My dear Sister, give care lest you commit the sin of gluttony. Surely if you share your indulgence with a companion, you may rejoice together in the bounty of our Lord’s graciousness. I could, in fact, be available this forenoon to come as a friend to you.

Rachel
It is our Lord’s true purpose for I have your brass hair pin to return to you. I am afraid that I have delayed too long.

Abigail
Not too long, but of apt sufficiency for I have only recently promised it for a fortnight to Sister Sarah. You may return it to me when I visit this day.

Rachel
Then the thing is done. My dear Sister Abigail, you are such a treasure. I can never thank you in full measure for your generosity, good council, and, I must say, your most excellent recipe.

Abigail
And did your husband find the recipe to his liking?

Rachel
No truer words have been uttered. The wretched man did roughly demand an extra helping and sopped the gravy to the last drop with the head end of a second loaf.

Abigail
Then it was rightly prepared and correctly served up. How is it that you have consented to serve under his cruel hand these many years?

Rachel
Only through prayer, the power of our Lord, and the strength of my marital vows. But he had hardened his heart and would not quit that Jezebel.
(Pauses to draw a breath)
That very night, the stench of his sin with her was upon him.

Abigail
Truly you related to me that you did declare to him that the Nehushtan Serpent had been seen nearby…

Rachel
(interrupting)
…and yet he never consented to a contrite spirit.
(both women pause reflectively.)

Abigail
(looking around)
Tell me, if you will, for we are alone and discreet. How did it go with him?

Rachel
He had retired to the sitting room when the retching took him. It is certain that he has never worked so hard at any task in his life as at the labor he put into evacuating himself. I did pause to entertain regret.

Abigail
There is no need Sister Rachel. No doubt you drew strength from the just and determined act of Jael.

Rachel
Yes, and just as you gave instruction, I did twice pierce him with your hairpin on the leg.

Abigail
It was a needful thing and well done in this instance. Pastor Thomas did certify that it was a true bite of the Nehushtan Serpent.

Rachel
Amen.

Abigail
Will you remarry? There are single men of the Church who turn their eyes toward you.

Rachel
No, Sister. After my Bobby, I have had more than a sufficiency of the company of men.

Note: The “Nehushtan” was a bronze snake, mounted on a pole that Moses used to cure the Israelites from the bites of the snakes that God sent among them for their unfaithfulness. (Numbers 21:4-9) King Hezekiah later destroyed this sacred object when the Israelites began making sacrificial offerings to it. (2 Kings 18:4)