Episode Thirty Three: Dreidel

Greetings Peasants! Lol, actually, I know that if you have made it here to my blog, then you are a highly intelligent human being with superior taste. Or you’re a hyperspace alien with superior intellect hijacking Earth internet signals to conquer to planet. In that case, I recommend you stay out of Illinois. We will throw corn at you until you surrender.

Thanks for reading folks. Nothing makes me happier than to come here week after week and spin a tale for you. Thank you so much for giving me this awesome opportunity. -BW

Quin was reading a faded paperback copy of Paradise Lost when the police released Tannenbaum from custody. Quin looked up and smiled.

How did you possibly afford to pay my fine?” Tannenbaum asked.

Quin put his book away.

I have my ways. Come on, take me to Penny’s. I’m hungry.”

The two of them went to Penny’s Diner, where a tired waitress directed them to a vinyl booth.

Tannenbaum slid himself into the vinyl booth.

It’s okay. We can talk here.” he checked his watch and the view behind him.

Cool.” Tad said. He opened a menu and considered getting the potato pancakes.

Tannenbaum ordered a cup of coffee, checked his view of the street, and turned to Quin, who was stacking the sugar packets into a pyramid.

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Tannenbaum, in a characteristic moment of impatience, swept away the sugar packets as if with the sweeping force of the sands of time. Like the true pyramids, Quin’s bright-eyed cheer remained undiminished by the sweeping sands of time.

So,” Quin asked, “what should we talk about?”

Us.” Tannenbaum answered. “About you. And about me.”

Can we talk about the waitress too? She’s kinda cute.”

Out of Tannenbaum’s suitcoat came a pipe, a tobacco pouch, and a lighter.

Let’s face it, Quin. I would get away from you if I could. I can’t. You are as inescapable as fact. If I can’t be rid of you, I should be acquainted with you. Who are you?”

The length and breadth, passion and fury, the whole and depth of a man’s soul can’t be put into a sentence.” Quin said, taking a pull on a glass of water. “Most people can’t adequately express themselves in a lifetime.”

Tannenbaum face contorted into a government issue smile.

Try.”

Rosebud.”

Don’t play cute with me.” Tannenbaum said. “I’m buying your breakfast. The least I ask of you is the truth. Who, what, or why are you?”

Quin thought for a moment, smiled softly, and opened his satchel. He fished around and pulled out a small object, dusty, old, and faced with odd hieroglyphics. It was a top made of metal, like a toy played with by ancient children. Quin placed it on the pink formica tabletop and set it spinning with a smooth motion.

This is a dreidel.” Quin said.

How very nice. Where did you get it? Was it lying on the side of the road?”

No. A friend gave it to me. This dreidel came from ancient Israel. It was unearthed in an excavation in the city of Jerusalem several years ago. My friend is an archeologist, and he found it in a clay pot, 20 feet beneath the surface of the ground.”

How interesting. What else do you have in your bag?” Tannenbaum asked.

Dreidels are mentioned in Biblical texts, although in that setting they are called ‘the lots’. When an decision is to be made that cannot be made with logic, reasoning, or purpose, they give the decision over to chance. Dreidels such as these were used as dice to determine the will of God, the direction of a country, or the lives of a criminals.”

Tannenbaum looked at the top that spun on the table. The symbols on its sides blurred into a formless mesh.

I know all of that. It is a primitive system for a primitive people.” Tannenbaum said.

You and I are moderns. Of course we think so. What is so doggone interesting is how that the dreidel was rarely wrong. When the life of a man or the fate of a country was entrusted to the chance of the dreidel, the dreidel always chose correctly.” Quin said.

It may seem that way.” Tannenbaum insisted. “In reality, all we can say is that decisions made under the influence of the dreidel resulted in a certain way. It’s impossible to say whether the decisions were right or wrong. All we can say is that they were made.”

Quin shook his head.

It’s foolish to say that a choice left to chance is a choice left to random consequences. A choice left to chance is leaving the end result out of our hands, and placing the choice into a precise domino effect sequence of events first set in motion the moment God said: ‘Let there be light’.”

The dreidel stopped spinning and fell on its side.

Quin smiled.

Chance has chosen you and I. Let’s find out if it has chosen wisely.”

Thanks for reading! Come again soon!

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