The Solicitor

Joe —

Sorry so long in getting back to you. I’ve been absolutely swamped these days. I’ve got an ox-cart driver who’s all wound up in this no-fault insurance business, I got a guy who says he got typhus from that crazy bastard out in Jordan who dunks people underwater, I got an ugly custody battle going all the way back to one of Solomon’s more heinous precedents — it’s just been crazy.

Anyway, I’m glad you wrote to me. You did a great job on my den, and your old man went to Judea People’s College with mine, so I’m always happy to help out, especially when you’re being so obviously railroaded like this. Can I help you? Sure. Will I help you? I don’t even consider it helping you, it’s so easy. It’s cake. It’s nothing. I’m not even doing anything. Writing you this letter is the hardest work of it, Joe, I can assure you, so easy is this job. Not that I’m not going to charge you! Just kidding.  But seriously.

Okay, I know that you’re worried about pursuing this in the Roman courts. Can I be honest here? I want to be honest. Let me be brutally G-ddamn honest at this point. You want the Roman courts. You need the Roman courts. The Roman courts are your friends. What, you want to take this to a Jewish court? You want to try this in front of one of our people, in front of Herod’s people? Then you don’t need me. A noose around your neck is what you need, because I guarantee you dead you’d rather be than end up with the money you’ll end up paying that little gal of yours after it’s all over. Sure, you hate the Romans. I hate the Romans. We all hate the Romans. But do you know what I’m going to tell you? Our courts, our society, the whole schmeer, it’s matrilineal. Whereas the Romans, they invented paternity. I mean they literally invented the actual word. It’s a Latin word. They understand about father’s rights, believe me.

Which is good, because let’s be honest here, Joe, yours are getting trampled all over. So, all right, the marriage didn’t work out. It happens. Marriages don’t work out. It happened to me. Six times it happened to me, but do you hear me complaining? Sure you do, everybody hears me complaining, but okay, it gives work to other guys like me. You don’t hear me complaining if your marriage doesn’t work out. But, you say, it’s different, because my kid. I gotta support my kid. The hell you have to support your kid, if it was even your kid, which I can assure you it isn’t, or at least not in any way that’s going to convince a Roman judge.

What am I talking about? This whole story is what I’m talking about. Look, Joe, there’s nothing shameful in shooting blanks. Or at least not when you compare it to having to support some Yeshua ben-Jesus-come-lately kid who obviously belongs to the milkman or something. Okay, our people have gone thought a lot of poverty and slavery and oppression and yaddah yaddah yaddah, but we aren’t stupid. You’re just married, you’re maybe not delivering in the sack which believe me is no judgement on you, it happens to the best of us even though it’s never actually happened to me, and you’re on the road a lot doing business to keep house and home together, such as it is, and oh what a coincidence! All of the sudden Mary, who let’s be frank here was always a popular girl back in high school, is suddenly knocked up even though your army hasn’t exactly been on the march lately if you know what I mean. And you weren’t even in town the weekend of conception if your figures are right, and let’s face it, it’s my job to convince a judge that they are.

So what’s her story? That an angel appeared and told her that G-d himself has picked her to bring forth the Messiah, which by a funny happenstance involved her suddenly being knocked up without any action from her hubby, that is to say you! That G-d came down from Heaven, and, what, moved the Holy Ghost across the surface of her womb, and all of the sudden, lo and behold, stop the presses and alert my rebbe, she gives birth to the Savior, who just happens to look like the guy who sells figs at the market on weekdays when you’re out earning a living.

No jury in Judea’s gonna buy that one. We’re good as gold.

Schmoichel ben-Bernstein, Esq.

P.S. If you’re interested, I think we’ve got a pretty good invidious discrimination case against that innkeeper as well.


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