Ahasuerus

He’s in Smalltown, New York drinking with some farmers when the bartender mentions that he’s been found living in a cave outside of town. “Coupla them Mormon boys found him,” says the bartender, and spits. “Holding one o’their Bibles, you know? Book of Mormon. Buncha other papers, too. Old feller. Guess some of ’em are gonna go out and talk to him? One o’them things.”

Well, of course he has to go. For the size of the town it’s a pretty sizable mob, thirty or so men and women all full of missionary zeal. The old guy comes out and glares at everybody, and he certainly looks the part, all bushy beard and spindly legs. “Ahasuerus!” they shout. “O Eternal Jew!”

“The hell you want?” the old guy growls.

“We’ve come,” announces the head of the group, a man by the name of O’Grady, “to save your immortal soul.” It’s every bit as priggish as it sounds.

The old man laughs horribly. “Your souls are in more danger than mine.” His voice drops an octave and his eyes roll back in his head. “Stay with me,” he booms, “and your Savior will leave you!”

Everyone scatters at that, all the proselytizing gone clean out of their heads, but he hangs back so they can talk. They have a really nice conversation. Well. Nice by his standards, anyway. The old man lits out afterward like the Devil himself was after him, which he thinks is fairly complimentary, in its way.