“But what more oft in Nations grown corrupt, And by their vices brought to servitude, Than to love Bondage more than Liberty; Bondage with ease than strenuous liberty…”
Milton, Samson Agonistes
“She’s so cool, wanna see her tonight… She’s so cool, wanna see her tonight…”
The Damned, Damned, Damned, Damned
Mother visited me in my cell not long after the Philistines, having nabbed me, The Warrior, sacked my town.
“Of all the shiksas in Hebron, you have to s shtup a narc with “government agent” scratched all over her painted face?”
“But I knew that ma! I was using her, to, to get to the ‘inside.'”
“Hah! Inside of who?”
“I died the day you married a Goy!” Mothers can be so cruel and unforgiving. Also, right. I had no idea Delilah was working for The Man. Not like my first Philistine bride, who I married for the Wedding Banquet. Big Bash. Wasted the guests and servants, then ambled into town to finish their kin. And finally, my betrothed, after I “consummated” the marriage.
What was The Man gonna do, kill me? Him and whose army? I’d already destroyed so damn many.
“Tell me a secret,” whispered Delilah one night when I could see her (though not through her, an ability which would have helped my cause immensely).
“I don’t wanna.”
“You don’t love me.”
“Lemme sleep on it. I’ll tell you in the morning.”
“Get out! Get out and don’t come back until you’re ready to talk.”
She was hot, sizzling, like oil upon an altar. Sure there were maidens “as fair” from my own people. But you read Genesis: forbidden fruit, etc. So one night I whispered in her ear while we were fucking. She hadn’t even asked me that evening – cause for suspicion. Perhaps that was her plan.
I woke up next morning bald as an egg. Not even strength enough to break the cords they bound me with much less kill the goons who proceeded to hang me upside down and scorch my eyes with molten bronze. No excuses. She didn’t even get me drunk – I don’t drink wine. All brawn and no brains? Stupid? Or just tired and in love? Really in love. Even warrior/saviors, go soft and human and squishy inside, on occasion. That’s when The Man gets you.
Delilah light of my life, before you cut my hair off and your goons put out my eyes, I was your Hercules your dreadful circumcised…
Back in the day I crushed their legions with a bone. Back in the day. Had I a sword upon me I’d have skinned them like the lion I tore apart with my infant fingers – how old was I when I smote that rough beast, five, six? On a level field I was unbeatable. On a level field. I wasn’t born for this, to be led before them by a slave-boy for their thrills; to be worked like a slave and beaten like a slave and laughed at like a clown and then dismissed to sleep on stones like an old blind beggar fool!
I can’t on. I must go on. The Man is not all seeing and all powerful: his henchmen miss the obvious things. The little things such as: the almost imperceptible growth of my hair. In by inch day by day, in every way, I grow stronger.
“Oh Lord, what long-haired Nazarite will next You call to sacrifice himself upon the alter of The Man of Play Doh and his Silly Putty gods “in defense” of the folks back home?”
DON’T BOTHER ME. I’M BUSY.
“Honestly. Who’s next? Your own first born?”
THOU SPEAKEST VAIN WORDS UNTO THE LORD. BUT, IT’S AN IDEA…
She visited me in my cell. Before the festival of Dagon and the games – had I but eyes to see I could have beaten their best youths… Olfactory rush of perfume and her natural scent a burst of pheromones they knocked me for a loop…
“Dare you come to me in my misery, oh whore?”
“Just business, Sammy. You know I always loved you,” her voice was like a hand caressing me. Then indeed, she caressed me with her hand.
“Business. What did they pay you for my ruin?”
“Not money. Blood. These are my people.”
“Your people who make servants of mine.”
“And when you were on top? Who were the servants then?”
She reached under my tunic –
“I…why do you…”
— and ran her fingers through my hair – “It grows…”
“What – the hair…”
She squeezed –
“Why do you come to me?”
“To ‘level the playing field.'”
“Tomorrow they will parade you, a trophy, before the games -”
“Blind, tired under the burning sun…you will beg to rest against the pillars of the Great Statue of Dagon…”
“Yes. I will be there too. No more business. You and I. Together.”
I came in her hand. She rubbed my gray Jewish spunk on her bronze Philistine breast. Nothing more was spoken when she left.
They came for me in the morning. The slave boy whose lot in life it was to lead me, reluctant dog that he was, took my hand, wiped snot on my shoulder. Drums, trumpets, roar of the drunken crowd. Happy to have tamed the Hebrew beast. Fat and drunk with wine and music. Powerful. Safe. What right have the philistines to drink and eat and celebrate their games while Israel starves, the men of Judea bent under fat masters? Our women abused by worshippers of Dagon serpent fish-god or whatever reeking of sex he’s so damned ugly at least Yahweh has the decency to keep himself unseen…
“Boy! Lead me to the pillars of Dagon. I would like to rest…”
He sighed and spat upon my feet. Apparently, I’d waken him, this brat born to serve as I was born to… kill? defend? I pressed a palm against each cold stone pillar and prayed.
“C’mon, Yahweh. After all I’ve done for you and our ‘People.'”
WHAT HAST THOU DONE FOR ME LATELY?
“Well, look at me. I’m all messed up. Blind.”
I GAVEST THOU TWO HEADS. IS IT MY FAULT THOU THINKEST WITH THE ONE BENEATH THY TUNIC?
“Just one more job. For old times’ sake.”
WHOSE ‘OLD TIMES?’ MINE, OR THAT STRUMPET’S IN THE STANDS?
“She’s your creation, Almighty, All-seeing, All-knowing Lord. If You created such a whore, was it not for a reason? To tempt me? To get me here, now, in a stadium packed with idol-worshippers, that I might smite them?”
AND THE WOMAN.
ABOVE THE PILLARS IS THE STATUE OF DAGON.
“So I’m told.”
I AM A JEALOUS GOD. I HATETH DAGON’S FISHY GUTS. TAKEST OUT DAGON AND THE REST WILL FOLLOW…
“Read you, Lord. Roger and out.”
Flaccid Philistines and glitter wives. Roar of faces. Trumpets. Drums. You’re out there Delilah I can smell you though my eyes are black holes my living senses burn like 10,000 Samson-blinding suns…
So, I leaned against the pillars that supported the Great Statue of Dagon (as well as the rest of the stadium) and with a shake of my suddenly very long, very thick and very curly black hair, I huffed and I puffed and I pushed the house down.
ADAM ENGEL lives and works in NYC. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.