Hi. My name is Marty. Phil has created me out of nothing. He puts me in situations and I just get involved. I get around a lot. Phil has had me in his own kitchen eating outdated food; in a cabin in the Southwest, finishing off a meal before I get hustled off to college by my uncles; and roaming Palestine with Jesus.
The Palestine adventure turned sour for me when he took me away from a great night with a woman I met there named Magdalene. (I can't really remember that night.) Phil just put me on an ass and I was traveling to a rendezvous with Jesus in Jerusalem. I wasn't happy. He'll probably send me back there; soon, I hope; Magdalene is waiting.
Las Vegas, the city of light. I'm standing with a few other people holding this sign,
There is lots of room!
Donald Trump is ranting at the crowd.
"There are winners and losers. I'm a winner, way ahead in the polls. Winners win. Losers lose. You don't wanna be a loser. Look at those losers back there with that sign. They aren't even American… they want to turn our country over to the radical Islamists. I want our country to be great again… there's no room for those refugees who want to take over our country. Get them out of here. Rough 'em up a bit…they've lost. Losers lose. You don't wanna be a loser."
About fifty people rush at us. They smash our sign. I'm never this brave, unless you call eating all that stale food in Phil's refrigerator being brave. I ate well. Now, I'm getting trampled. I don't like being roughed up. No free speech with Trump, …unless you're Trump.
I escape that crowd, into a different crowd. The streets are alleys, jammed full of people, animals and carts. The sun is setting as I travel with Joseph and his wife Mary. She's been riding a donkey all day.
"I never should have come here," Joseph says. "It's crowded and dirty. I hope we can find a place for the night."
"There's gotta be something," I assure him, not sure myself if there is. "There are so many people."
"I thought maybe there would be extra shelters for people who travelled long distances. The government wanted us to enroll for the census. Bethlehem doesn't have many hotels," Joseph says.
"Yes, it's a little sleepy town, not the place you want to be. Maybe we can find something." Marty says with little optimism. "Mary looks pretty tired after that long ride… Is she due soon?"
"Probably. it's been about eight months since she realized that a baby was coming, so it can happen any time."
I knock on a door. "I'll check this inn." There's a swarm of people inside, huddled together. I could see there wasn't much room.
The innkeeper confirmed my suspicions. "There's no room here. Maybe across the street."
"Thanks," I say as we try to cross the street.
Mary lets out a faint cry , " Oh, oh!...I think the baby is coming."
Joseph storms across the crowded street. "There's gotta be room in an inn somewhere" he says.
He knocks at another Inn, where it seems very quiet. "There's no room here. Try across the street," the innkeeper says pointing in the direction from which we came.
"Hey, we need a place," I shout. "This lady's going to have a baby any minute. We need your help, now." Again, I'm being brave and I don't know why. I don't know what I expect; there are so many people. The Romans have a way of screwing up people, especially the ones they call foreigners, … whose land this happens to be. The "foreigners' is skin is slightly darker than their own. It's odd how some even with similar skin tones manage to side with the powerful Romans against their own.
"We just came from there," I say to the innkeeper. "He's full; there's no room over there."
"Well, I'm full too then…you can go into the alley there with the rest of 'em. Maybe borrow a few blankets. Babies have been born in worse conditions."
"I think she deserves privacy and warmth away from the crowds." I say.
Joseph is comforting Mary. "We'll find something…can you hold on a little longer?"
Mary nods, "Please hurry…Help Us!" she yells at the innkeeper.
"I don't like to be yelled at," he says angrily. "Figure it out yourselves."
I stick my foot in the door as he tries to ignore us. "Wait a minute! You know our problem and you are going to ignore us? Well you can't…we're here….look at her."
Joseph is stunned that I'm so aggressive toward the man. "Slow down, Marty," he cautions. We don't need the guards coming after us."
"Maybe we do," I tell him. "This lout doesn't care about us… maybe he will care more if the guards are here." I glare at the startled innkeeper.
"Look, I don't want to make a big deal about this," he says, "but there is no room in the inn tonight. I can squeeze you in tomorrow night if you're around… wait a minute. Some of the animals in the stable were slaughtered for celebrations this morning. Come through that gate, Sleep in the barn. You can light a fire and be warm there. It's nippy, but the place is safe and quiet… half price for a whole suite."
'A barn," I say. "That's the best you can do!"
Joseph pipes up, "The barn is fine. We need a place now, Marty. Show us the way, sir."
We squeeze though the little gate followed by the donkey. The path is uncluttered. There's no sound coming from the inn. It's like a morgue. I don't see anyone through the windows.
"Why are you snooping around like that?" the innkeeper says.
"Are you sure there's no room inside?" I ask the man.
"Are you calling me a liar?"
"I have to ask… there doesn't seem to be any people inside…what's going on?"
"Bottom line, I don't like you guys. The lady needs help. She should be home instead of traipsing all over the hillside. Now you're making it my problem."
"It's all of us who have the problem," I say.
"Quiet, Marty… the barn is fine," Joseph says.
"Ohhh! unnng! ohhh!" Mary groans.
"Jesus! get into the inn." the innkeeper finally says. "I can't have this lady giving birth in a barn."
He ushers Joseph and Mary into a back door and slams the door in my face. I try the door, but it's bolted. I hear the man yell "Martha, Martha, get some hot water and rags… the water's burst…" He turns to Joseph. "Can you deal with this?"
Joseph says. "Bring the water. She's had other kids, so we know what to do?"
I go out to the barn and wait. When I wake up, it's summer. I'm travelling with a huge crowd through a desert, Syria. There are thousands of us. Bombs, guns blazing. People getting hurt. Starving people, sick kids, mothers giving birth all around. "Where will we go?" a woman shrieks. "I'm tired!" a little boy murmurs. "When will we get there?" a teen aged girl cries. "Allah is great, he'll take care of us," an old man says. "There's lots of room. It's a big world."