Jacob pre-Israel

One very human
old testament story: can
a maturing man,

a filial con
artist, find a ladder yawn
to wrestle God on?


The waiting

I sweated up the three flights of stairs in the old medical clinic and slipped into the waiting room. I immediately leaned back against the door. I wasn’t tired but the sheer number of people sitting there made me want to back up. My GP must be close to retiring but the demand, well the demand is pressing on a man who takes his profession seriously.
No seats left: I was the third man standing.
I didn’t want to push through the knees of the lucky sitters to get at the magazines so I kept my claim on the door. Not much in the way of a barricade but I would do my best. I looked at the others and those who didn’t have their own ancient issues looked back. There was disdain in more than one pair of eyes. They were the queued. It was the traditional welcome for the late comer.
“Terry!” My GP’s wife had been his receptionist for years.
“Hi! You’ve got a full house here!”
She rolls her eyes. “Oh yes. And some of these people are actually in NEED of care, too!” Her stressed words seemed to make some of the disdainful and even a few of the reading eyes look down. “It’s good to see you, though!”
“You too!”
“We’re running a little late but I’m sure you will be able to see him soon.”
“No trouble.”
But I was lying. I wanted out of the waiting room. I fought down a sudden feeling of claustrophobia although I had just arrived. I had no right really. Back to staring I saw some eyes were a little more curious now. One pair belonged to a small boy with a bandaged arm. He stared at me like he had never seen anyone like me before. He probably hadn’t.
I reached into my backpack but maintained eye contact with him and my face gave nothing away. My big hands easily hid what I had pulled out and that was part of my act. I moved my hands out in the boy’s general direction, hiding their contents. The boy’s stare was now rapidly moving back and forth from my eyes to my hands. He couldn’t help himself. I took a small step forward and went down on my haunches very slowly. Many eyes were on me now. The boy’s mother’s hand circled a little more around the boy’s chest. But it was only a light touch as if she didn’t want to deny the boy in his discomfort. But she was too late. I had him now.
I slowly parted the last fingers on my left hand to reveal some colour. The boy’s eyes were riveted. With a quick flick I turned it up revealing a bright red, yellow and blue ball. I turned over the right showing two more.
The boy’s mouth parted and a small pent up breath escaped. The mother had a smile on her face now.
I tossed a ball from my right to the left and caught it. Then I tossed one back to the right. I said nothing. I was the essential deadpan but the boy was beaming. I began to juggle lazily. Tossing each ball high and waiting until the released ball was almost in my hand before I sent the other up. He laughed.
My arc slowly descended and I was juggling faster and faster. Then I changed the pattern so that one ball was always on the outside and the other two in.
The boy liked that and so I gave to expand that arc upwards. His hand and his other bandaged hand moved up and down trying to copy my hands.
Suddenly the door to the hallway opened and I barely caught the balls as I quickly hopped forward.
We all stared all the new comer. The interloper. She was trespassing into OUR waiting room.

Chapter 2

Diona awoke with the droning of her tiny clock radio. She showered and dressed quickly. Grabbing her book bag she left her room in Howe Hall at a run. With her hair still damp she crept into her biology class in the Life Sciences building from one of the rear doors and after letting the door shut silently. She was quickly into one of the last row seats.
The class had started but only just.
“…this important organelle is the site in which food matter is transformed into energy forms useable by the cell. The theory of mitochondria having an evolutionary history as bacterial symbionts has some interesting corollaries. In fact that will be part of your assignment this week. I want you to give two original ideas about what the theory may imply. Hopefully some of you… that is those who actually enjoy achieving good grades…” Professor Brown paused here and looked around the auditorium of close to 350 students.
“… will know what ‘original’ means. For those who don’t, write this down: original ideas come from my head and not from a book”
The class burst out laughing at this.
“You can use ‘Life’ to learn more about the theory but I’d like you to apply your 3 months of learning and come up with something you find interesting. It can be in the form of question or in the form of a proposal which you think could be investigated. I do not want more than 100 words. Quality is what I’m looking for, not quantity.”
“I’ll give you an example. As we learned last month in embryology, a life form often goes through the evolutionary steps which lead to the species during its early growth. An Example: you all had tails before you were born but I’d bet most of you don’t any more. So if our cells, which nearly all contain mitochondria, divide from a single cell where does the genetic instruction come from in making the new mitochondrion? Does it split too or it is manufactured in place? In fact, ‘Life’ goes into the answer to these questions.”
“Now let’s examine some of the other eukaryotic cell organelles…”
To Diona Professor Brown’s voice faded into the background as she considered the words of the disembodied voice of Nera Demali she’d heard the night previous. She thought about meeting him that night and felt the excitement rise.
‘Who was the man?’ She could not come up with anyone before the words of the prof worked their way into her head again. She put off her speculation and began concentrating on biology.

Nera Demali – Chapter 1

Here’s the beginning of a story. Please comment if anyone thinks I should continue. Thanks,



He has trimmed his mans’l
the compass was set
the horizon clear
but Nera Demali stood restless.
Could it be the trials lying in his wake
or those yet to appear?

– an exerpt from Nera Demali Sails by Kag Anjanrum

The lean youth moved quickly but stealthily along the upper catwalk of the building. The iron railwork had been built onto the lower roof of the structure so a caretaker could clear snow off the roof but it provided an excellent path from one wing of the upper stories to another. Turning a corner the girl was nearly knocked off the railwork by an unexpected gust of wind but a quick crouch and a steadying hand to the shingles restored her balance. What could be seen of her face under the jet black hood showed no reaction to her close call.
A few minutes later she reached a spot beneath a gable and carefully climbed up the shingles to reach a window that was slightly ajar. Soundlessly, she slipped into the garrett, closed the window and quickly peeled off her clothing. The sweaty clothes was quickly stashed in a cardboard box by her bed. A slight sound from the hall made her freeze but only for a moment. She took a quick cat-like spring into the solitary bed. She quickly composed herself under the sheets and forced herself to slow her breathing to a slow paced sleeping rhythm.
The door opened quietly and a tall man entered, pausing only a few minutes to let his eyes adjust. He walked over to the girl prone on her bed and bent down to squint at her. Disappointed he turned and walked toward the door. He stopped as if considering something. He turned and quickly strode to the window and checked it thoroughly. He then returned to her bedside and reached under it for something. He examined the soft leather boots found there and shook his head with annoyance. The boots were returned and he slunk out of the room.
The girl fully opened her eyes and took a quick breath to shake her light headedness.
-That was a close call, Diona.
“Demali??? You saw him?” The girl seemed surprised.
-Of course. Do you think I don’t keep a close watch on my investments?
“But how could you see him?”
-Ha! If your ‘acquisitions’ please me I may even tell you. Now sleep and we shall meet after your chores tomorrow night.
The girl settled herself down again and went to sleep in a short while. The room grew quiet and the shadows from the moon outside lengthened only a bit when a strange flat object soundlessly detached itself from the wall. It looked like a round and ragged piece of paper, very thin but coloured the same as the wall. It floated down and seemed to stick to the floor. It did not pause, however; it moved quickly across the room and through the space under the door.
The object’s colour changed to match the carpet as it slid along the hall. A flight of stairs were descended with quick undulations. The sound of a TV could be heard from the common room just down the hall on this level. The thing slid around a small corner into the TV room. It immediately changed colour to match the new carpet and sensing that the lone occupant of the room was intent on the TV and facing away from the door, it moved quickly to take up a position on the rear of the sofa immediately behind the tall man who had sneaked into the girl’s room before.
The program on the TV was a late night talk show and the man did not appear to be paying much attention. In fact it seemed the TV was on to help him fight off sleep.
After nearly half an hour the telephone rang and the man was quick to pick up.
“Petroff here,” said the man on the couch.
“Any evidence?” The inquiry came from a man’s voice made only slightly tinny from the telephone’s small speaker.
“Are you sure she is leaving the room at all?”
“I’m not positive but she is the most likely candidate.”
“We’d best not take any chances.”
“What do you mean?”
The voice over the phone became suddenly loud, “I mean you are going to arrange an accident.”
After a pause: “I see. How much time can I have to arrange this … ‘accident’?”
“It must happen before Friday night.”
The line went dead and the man stared at the handset for a few seconds and then abruptly banged it down onto the set.
“Three days!” he murmered to himself and got up. The TV was quickly silenced and the man left the room swiftly.
The object detached from the sofa and followed the man.