Dad reaches out his hand to part the Red Sea. He cries out the name of God but nothing happens, and we can only watch as Pharoah and his men come upon us. Pharoah and his men are Brother and Sister Woodruff riding a donkey and their four fat redhead sons in sandals and fake beards. Counselor Elbert shouts across the pond to a couple of technicians crouched over a large metal box.
"Heya. Let's move this water for Moses here."
One of the technicians reaches in to fiddle with the box, then stands up and shrugs.
"Dang," Counselor Elbert says, turning to us. "You'll just have to use your imaginations." He orders me and Dad out into the reekwater. Halfway across I hear the Woodruffs complaining. "No way in heck am I following them out into that," Pharoah says. It's not the first time. Yesterday Sister Woodruff was supposed to be Potiphar's wife tempting Dad into sin, but her husband called it off after she took off Dad's shirt. The counselors are big on having us follow the Bible stories, which I think is why Dad brought us here in the first place, to soak up the wisdom of our Hebrew forefathers and whatnot. We come up on the far side of the pond and Brother Woodruff's standing there munching on a corndog from his fanny pack.
"That kind of learning will get you nowhere," Dad says, and slaps the corndog to the ground. Brother Woodruff tackles him and they try to drown each other until Dad clops a huge mudball on Brother Woodruff's head.
The next day we're the Jews lost in the wilderness. Counselor Elbert crawls into our tent at dawn and blows on his bugle, then blindfolds us and marches us deep into the hills. He hands Dad a bow and a quiver of arrows and gives what looks like a tennis ball wrapped in tinfoil to Sister Woodruff. "Food and direction," he says, and he walks off, farting.
There's a whole script we're supposed to follow. They've got microphones on us and everything. "Oh Lord our God," Dad says, raising up his arms, "whither shalt thou lead us?"
The fat Woodruff brothers pick up rocks and toss them at Dad
"Nay, nay," they say, "dost thou not sense our unbelief, oh Moses?"
"Goddammit," Dad says, blood running from his forehead. "Not so hard."
Sister Woodruff is supposed to lead us with her faith by looking into the tennis ball, but after a couple of hours Dad hucks it off a cliff.
"And you wonder why your wife left you," Sister Woodruff says.
"For your information," Dad says, "my wife is a queer." He notches an arrow. Sister Woodruff shrieks and runs off. "Easy target," Dad says, aiming at her jiggling bottom, and he lets loose. They're fake arrows but Brother Woodruff gets pissed off nonetheless. "It's the principle of the thing," he says, trying to put Dad in a headlock. Dad sweeps his leg and gives him the Boston Crab. The fat brothers start crying and Counselor Elbert runs out from a stand of trees with a couple of assistants. They give Dad a shot in the arm and he's out cold. We decide to call it a day.
All night long he won't stop moaning. He's got good reason. He's the one that found Mom in bed with Mrs. Kelzer. Mrs. Kelzer was wearing Dad's work clothes and a strap-on dildo. Mom cleaned out the family savings and left that day for good, and the next morning Grandpa died choking on his breakfast, and after that Dad started in on weights and supplements. I shaved my whole body bald. I started at my head and just couldn't stop until the whole thing was clean as a baby. "So this is what being an orphan feels like," I said to Dad. "An orphan means you've lost both parents," he said. "It doesn't mean you go shaving your genitals." Then again, he never had a lezbo for a mother.
Counselor Elbert comes into our tent again at dawn and announces that we're going to try something different. He leads us into the gym where they've got the climbing wall decorated to look like Mount Sinai.
"Now what I want you two to do," he says, "is to go up there and talk to God. Bring His word down to the Woodruffs here."
They've greased the climbing handles to make it more difficult. Dad slips and falls hard to the mat. "I coulda used a rope," he says.
"Ah," Counselor Elbert says, "but life doesn't just hand you a rope."
Dad takes off his socks and pulls one up over each hand. "Eat me," he says, scampering up the wall, and I follow his lead. At the top there's a robot wearing a judge's cloak and a powder wig. Counselor Elbert's down below with a microphone, and his voice comes through the robot's mouthbox
"Dennis," the robot says. "I have borne you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself."
"Okay," Dad says.
"Dennis. It's too bad that you found your wife in bed with another woman. And that she left you for good. And that she took all of your money. And that your father suffered his violent and untimely demise the very next morning. But now you need to forgive and forget. I the Lord God command it."
Dad rips off the robot's robe and kicks it in the groin. "How about you forgive and forget," he says
"Dennis," the robot says. "Love and be loved."
"Good God almighty," Dad says, and dropkicks the robot's head. It goes rolling off the wall and clatters to the ground. We climb down to see the Woodruffs dancing beneath a giant inflatable cow. Fresh chocolate pours from the teats, running down their naked bodies.
"Forgive us, Moses," Brother Woodruff says. "We kind of lost track of time while you were up there talking to God."
"You dumb son of a bitch," Dad says, tears running down his face. "You don't even know how good you've got it." He takes off his clothes and steps under the chocolate spray, and I follow his lead. I feel safe and strong inside the warm chocolate, like a big wet womb. Now I'm crying too. The tears run down my face and mix with the chocolate. I run my tongue along my open palm.
"Hmm," I say. "Delicious."
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