The Magi and the Interpretation of Dreams

A Christmas story written for the concert at the Isis Tavern on 17 December.

There are three wise-guys: Ego, Id and Superego. It’s the 25th of December, except they don’t call it that but something else expressed in a weird Babylonian base-60 number system. Id is peering through his OWL or overwhelmingly large telescope trying to observe Princess Salome taking a shower in Herod’s palace 800 miles away when he spots a strange star on the horizon.

He turns to Ego and says, ‘Aaauughwrr?’ Ego puts his eye to the eyepiece and shouts out, ‘Jesus! We’ve discovered a new star, they’re going to name it after me!’

‘Don’t be ridiculous,’ counters Superego, ‘That’s a Christmas light except they aren’t called that yet because Christmas hasn’t been invented.’

He reduces the magnification on the OWL telescope. This is a tricky feat that involves directing oxen in a treadmill geared up to the main reflector – a polished brass disc 197 cubits in diameter. The trio concludes that an array of yet-to-be-called Christmas lights has been arranged on top of an East End boozer called the Bethlehem Inn.

‘There’s some kind of message,’ announces Superego.

‘Aramaic?’ ventures Ego.

Superego shakes his head, deep in thought.

‘Linear A?’

Agains Superego shakes his head.

‘Linear B?’

More shaking of the head.

At last Superego proclaims authoritatively, ‘That is mirror writing and I have deciphered it.’

‘It’s for our eyes only!’ exclaims Ego.

‘Ueeheurrh!’ says Id.

‘It’s a summons,’ continues Superego, ‘The King of the Jews is born. Our new God awaits.’

Ego looks at Superego quizzically. Superego is a Neo-Platonist Zoroastrian but Ego is a Scientologist. Id is a Primal Scream Pan-Spiritualist.

‘There’s no time to waste,’ urges Superego so they set off straight away on horseback.

Ego is dressed in evening wear, Id sports a gorilla suit and Superego is wearing a Superdry gagoole.

793 miles later Superego intones, ‘With our indomitable will we have made it across the desert.’

‘Are we nearly there yet?’ Ego asks Id, and Ed, who was Id’s horse, says, ‘I wish I was a camel,’ and promptly dies.

The party makes it’s way through the city gates and eventually arrives at the Bethlehem Inn.

The bouncer, a mulleted bruiser with proto-neo-fascist and neo-proto-fascist sympathies, steps forward.

‘Have you got any ID?’ he barks at Id.

Id replies, ‘Eeeeaaaauw.’

‘If you’re gonna be like that you’re barred mate!’

Superego steps in, ‘Our duty is to pay our dues to the King of the Jews.’

The bouncer looks at him contemptuously.

‘Just some more fucking Yids,’ he spits.

Sniffing weakness like an elephant detecting lion faeces he steps forward, adopting an aggressive karate stance that is yet to be invented in medieval Japan.

‘Not the face, not the face,’ pleads Ego.

The bouncer smirks sadistically … but then omits a howl of pain as Id, with the snuffling sound of a wild boar in heat, bites his nose off.

‘Well that was going a bit far,’ sighs Superego.

The three barge through the doors of the Bethlehem Inn and prostrate themselves on the floor.

‘All hail the King of the Jews, our Lord!’ declaims Superego.

The punters stare at them as if they’re mad, which is exactly what they look like.

‘God botherers again …’ mutters a sozzled man at the bar.

A woman with a face addled by years of heavy gin abuse spits out a four-letter word: the tetragrammaton.

‘No his son,’ answers Superego.

‘Oh him, the young-looking one,’ replies the woman, ‘He’s gone to the Pret A Manger down the road for a skinny latte and a crayfish and rocket wrap.’

Ego, Id and Superego find the infant Jesus in the sandwich bar surrounded by his entourage, consisting of:

the Carpenters;

the Shepherd Gang – a tasty little crew from the edge of the city, known for fleecing goat rustlers after getting tip-offs from corrupt legionaries;

the twins Eros and Thanatos, who are never awake at the same time;

Jocasta – Jesus’s mother, though he won’t realise that until after he sleeps with her;

and finally, slightly aloof in the corner, hovering between the coffee machine and the ceiling, the Angel Delight.

Baby Jesus looks up from his skinny latte, wipes the froth from his upper lip and stands up, arms outstretched.

‘We are gathered here today to witness the castration of God. The Godhead will be decapitated and I will undergo psychoanalysis to resolve my neuroses. And mankind will be free of emotional conflict for evermore. Follow me and I will lead the dance.’

‘Christ! He’s a nutter,’ whispers Ego.

‘I fear it is so,’ agrees Superego, stepping forward to the counter. ‘I’ll have a double macchiato and some beetroot and parsnip crisps please.’

Ego orders a capuchino with chocolate sprinkles and Id moans and gestures towards a bottle of syrup by the cash register.

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