THE TEN COMMANDMENTS 

Copyright Dr Alan Solomon (1986-1995)

See, it all happens a long time ago, and people are starting to forget how 
it all happened, so I reckon I'd better put down the real story before some 
cowboy starts making out like a hero. There's this bunch of my pals stuck 
out East, no gelt, no passports, a real pain in the tuchus. But they're real 
good yiddishe boys, so when this burning bush pops up in my back yard and 
tells me go help, I go. So who argues with burning bushes? Anyhow, this 
particular bush tells me "stay in touch" and gives me a minor Miracle and a 
Gold account. So I girded up whatever needed girding, put the Portable on 
the donkey and its Eastwards Ho! 

When I get to Egypt, I find a right mess. They've got this big construction 
project going, see, and the boys are schlepping great hunks of stone in 
place, by hauling them on rollers made of tree trunks. Well. That was a 
meshuginne idea for a start; you don't haul big stuff if small stuff will 
do. 

So I ask why they aren't making bricks out of mud, and they explain that for 
such a large construction, the bricks would just crumble under the weight. 
So I show them how to make proper bricks - you use the same principle like 
in glass-fibre reinforced plastic. You put some straw in the mud, and when 
it's baked, the straw reinforces the brick nicely. 

So the boys are happily finishing off the thing in brick, when up pops this 
Pharoah type, and he turns round and says "no more straw". Well, you could 
see he was just being a schmock, but he's Jack the Lad, so it's no straw. 

Now that's a shame, cos we're going so nice with the bricks, and while the 
boys went back to the big hole where they get the stone, I has a bit of 
think. In my opinion, a couple of hours using your noddle beats breaking 
your back. But the place is all kinds of hot, and I'm sweating like a pig, 
so it's down to the old river to cool off. While I'm getting wet all over, 
I'm bashing my brains out, and sure enough, I get a flash. Bullrushes. 

So I run down to where the boys are making like donkeys, and tell them my 
great new idea. And off we go and make the bricks with bullrushes instead. 

Now Pharoah hears about this, and doesn't like it one bit. I think he has it 
in for the boys, cos he turns round and says none of that, and would I come 
and pay him a visit, or else. 

This is not good, I think to myself; I better watch myself here. First thing 
I does is dial up the old burning bush, and try to wriggle out of the whole 
deal, saying I'm not too good with the old patter on account of a nasty 
stammer, but the next thing I know is I'm blessed with the old gift of the 
gab, and its off to Pharoah. 

So when I get down to the Palace, I'm got a trick or two up my sleeve. 
"What's all this about, then?", says Pharoah. So I explained how I was 
helping out, and how it would be good for everyone, and how the pyramids 
would get done faster my way, and Pharoah's lapping it up on account of I'm 
so persuasive, and I'm beginning to think I might start up a little double 
glazing business. 

But there's this geezer in a beezer, and he's frowning all over. And he 
turns round and says "I'm the magician round here - get lost", and he chucks 
his staff at me, and I dodge, and when the staff hits the ground, blow me, 
it turns into a snake. So I moves a bit nimble, grabs the tail, cracks it 
like a whip and bingo - dead snake. 

They was really impressed. The clown in the gown stomps off, and Pharoah 
asks me where I picked up that little trick, so I tells him about my sojourn 
in the desert, and we're getting on like a house on fire. Then he asks me if 
there's anything I want, and I come back, quick as a flash "Let my people 
go." I can see he isn't keen, though, and I guess I'll have to do a bit more 
persuading. 

The next few months was pretty miserable. Guerilla warfare is never pretty, 
and what I got up to was downright naughty. Of course, having direct modem 
contact with the bush helped, but I starts off nice and easy with me and the 
boys scooping up lots and lots of frogs, and dumping them at the dead of 
night in the middle of town. By the time we're done, frogs is everywhere - 
you can't move for frogs. And the racket they make - brkk-kk-kk-kx, co-ax, 
co-ax all night. But eventually the frogs make their way back to the Nile, 
so it's time for the next stunt. 

Did you know why locusts cluster together? It's because the sounds they make 
attract more locusts. Now in those days, sound synthesis was pretty 
primitive, of course - no Moog synthesisers around. But I had me old Beeb, 
and they can do pretty nifty sounds, so I did a pretty good imitation of a 
locust on it, hacked into the local radio channel, and got it out over all 
the local radio sets. A couple of hours later, the locusts start arriving. 
The sky is black with them, and they set to eating all the crops. 

All the time this is going on, I'm a regular down at Pharoah's place, 
bending his ear with "Let my people go". But he's a pretty hard cookie and 
it's no dice. So I starts getting a bit dirty. Biological warfare might be 
illegal, but to a toerag like me, anything goes. Blood, boils, rats  - we 
had nothing to lose but our chains. 

None of it did any good though, so it's out with the old modem, and a quick 
dial up. I explain the problem, and I get back a pretty weird set of 
instructions. Still, you have to do what you're told in this game, and I 
passed it all over to the boys. What we had to do was we had to slaughter a 
lamb, and smear the blood all over our doors. If you think that's gruesome, 
you wait till you hear what comes next. When everyone wakes up the next day, 
there's quite a lot that don't. The Angel of Death has been in and out, and 
each house has had a little visit, except, of course, me and the boys, cos 
we had lamb's blood on our doors. This time, when I pops down to Pharoah, 
he's singing a very different tune, and it's get lost double quick. 

Well, we didn't need telling twice, I can tell you. We'd had enough of that 
place, and we rose up and moved out sharpish - we didn't even wait for the 
bread to rise up first. So I finds myself out on the road with a bunch of 
yiddles who don't know their rosh from their tochus, don't know where 
they're going and probably don't know where they've been. And before we've 
gone very far, we can see a cloud of dust on the horizon and we can hear 
hoofbeats. 

Oh blimey, I knew what that meant. Pharoah's changed his mind, hasn't he, 
and he's sent the coppers after us. So we've got the Red Sea in front of us, 
and the boys in blue behind us, and I bet half this bunch can't even swim. 
It's beginning to look like the Red Sea would be even redder soon, cos the 
cavalry won't be too fussy about the condition we come back in. 

So it's out with the modem, and dial the usual number, and luckily I got 
through first time. I put up a message explaining the position, and back 
comes the answer - "onwards". Well, this is no time to argue, and the bush 
has been OK so far, so on we go. 

Now I know you aren't going to believe what happens next, so I'm not even 
going to tell you, or you'll make me out a real pork pie merchant. I mean, I 
still don't believe it myself, and I saw it with me own minces. I mean, 
things like that just don't happen, but I can tell you Pharoah's Phuzz were 
pretty surprised too. 

So the good news is we find ourselves on the other side, with not a cop in 
sight. The bad news is we don't know where to go next. I thought I better 
not let on I'm in the dark too, cos the boys all seem to think I know the 
score, and they're gonna be a bit narked if they find I'm moggidawed also. 
So I strides off confidently to the East, and the Chosen People follow on. 

Now the trouble is, they're used to being told do this, do that and here in 
the wilderness there ain't no-one to boss them around. So they start moaning 
on about how there's no water, and TV reception is terrible, and pretty soon 
I can see I've got to do something drastic. There's not a lot I can do about 
the TV reception, cos we're in a dead area, but the water situation's 
beginning to look a bit tricky, being as how it's well hot, and dry. So it's 
out with the old modem and on-line, and I explains the problem. "No sweat" 
comes back, which is pretty funny considering. And it tells me where to dig, 
I mean like exactly where to dig. 

So that's where I dig - go argue with a bush? And guess what - up pops 
enough water to wash an elephant. So I guess I must have hit a main or 
something - the Bush scores again. Anyhow, it keeps the Children quiet for a 
bit, until they notice there's a bit of a shortage of the old nosh. 

Now water you can handle - you can always put off washing for a bit, but 
nosh is a bit serious. No nosh, and your stomach starts making sarcastic 
remarks about your throat being cut, and eventually you start looking like a 
photo out of Vogue. So I took the complaints pretty seriously, except there 
wasn't nothing I could do. But it just so happens that the Bush is on top of 
things for a change, and down comes a three-course meal like manna from 
heaven. And it comes down every day, so that's what we called it, except we 
get a double ration on Friday, and that's how we can tell when Shabbas is. 

Well, there's no landmarks in the Wilderness, so I'm probably going round in 
circles, except that there's this big mountain you can see a mile off. And 
when we come up to it, any toerag can see it's holy, so it's off with the 
old shoes, and up we go, leaving the Children making camp at the bottom. 
When I get to the top, I set up the old Portable and log on, only this time 
there's a file for download, so I bring it down using Xmodem, and print it 
out, and its a list of rules. Down the mountain we go, only when we get to 
the bottom, a right sight hits me in the eyeballs. Honestly, you can't let 
them out of your sight for a minute. They've only gone and melted down all 
their gelt, and made it into an idol - I ask you, and after all I've done. 
Well, I get over there right sharpish, and give them a piece of my mind, and 
when I get them sorted out, I see I've lost the download. So I have to do it 
all again but to make sure I don't lose it again I hack it into stone, and 
the Children are all impressed, and swear they'll keep the rules. Fat 
chance. But one thing's for sure - these stones are a fair weight to hump 
around, so they'll not forget in a hurry. 

By this time I'm well lost, so the burning Bush steps in again, and this 
time it's a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, except I 
can't help thinking we're going round in circles. Anyhow, to cut a long 
story short, forty years later we get to the Promised Land, only to find 
that it's already been promised to several other people. 

By that time, I'm sick and tired of the whole megillah, so when this 
character Moishe jumps up and says he knows what to do, I'm quite happy to 
hand over to him. What I didn't know, though, was that him and his brother 
plan on taking over the whole thing, and the slaughter that follows makes me 
sick as a dog. Canaanites, Midianites, Pharonites - Moishe don't care, if it 
moves, kill it. Me and my modem, we just quietly take a back seat, and now 
and then I log on to the bush and tell it what's up. 

I'll tell you what was the worst thing though. Moishe and Aaron decide to 
write a history, and guess who gets left out? That really pains me, cos 
without me and the Bush, none of this would of happened. Still, now you know 
how it really came off, and that's the main thing. The truth always comes 
out.