Unpublished Memoir, by Bigtha
Title: The Persian Version
(Rethink title. Rhyme is unfashionable. Consider “Persian Revision.” – ??)
(Reconsider. “Persian Revision” too analogous to Holocaust revisionists. Agagites not wackos.)
Narrator: Bigtha. Teller of this tale. Served as eunuch to Xerxes I, one of the seven ordered to summon Vashti. He was Haman’s favorite grandson. (Haman’s grandson was unlikely to be a eunuch. Change to… → ) Referred affectionately to Haman as “Grandpa,” served under his tutelage. (Would Haman fraternize with eunuchs? Research eunuchs in ancient Persia. Research harems while at it.)
Best friend to Vaizatha, Haman’s “muzhinikel.” (Will readers understand “muzhinikel”? Check origin: Yiddish/Hungarian?) Three years younger. He watched as Haman was hung, then each of the ten sons.
(Fill in details about Bigtha’s relation to and thoughts about each. Parshandatha an egotistical maniac; Adalphon dim-witted, etc. Arisei and Aridei twins but not identical. Arisei hot-headed, aggressive; Aridei quiet and thoughtful, contemplative, philosophical. No need to mention all ten.)
When Vaizatha was hung, Bigtha broke down. Was nearly captured and killed before Seresh II (son of Seresh I, who was accused – falsely – by Mordechai in plot to kill Xerxes) grabbed him and dragged him to nearby idling carriage.
Went into hiding after Xerxes I allowed the Jews (Judeans?) Jehudim to kill their enemies and plunder their property. Hid in wine cellar of Vaizatha’s wife, who, with him, narrowly escaped the hands of the Jehudim. (Avoid parallels to Eichman, etc. More like marannos or partisans…) Helped raise Vaizatha’s three orphaned children. (Explore possibility – or impossibilily – of affair with V.’s wife. Can a eunuch have an affair?)
The Jehudim claimed the world’s most moral army. (Avoid obvious parallels to ME conflict…)
Vaizatha’s wife (find appropriate Persian name) was granted clemency after de-Agagification trials she underwent forced Jehudification. (‘rabim me’amei ha’aretz misyahadim…’) Bigtha, however, refused to do the same and pretended to have been slain by the Jehudim, while living in secret. Eventually he moved to Ethiopia, at the edges of the kingdom, but was captured and imprisoned (age 64) where he died three months later of natural causes – during which time he wrote this tale for posterity. Manuscript only recently discovered – add in meta-story.
Haddasah (tentative; avoid Esther.). Niece to Mordechai, consort (is consort the right word?) to King Xerxes I, mother of Darius II. (Rethink using Midrashic reference. Stick to bible + modern speculation.) The woman behind the man. Evil as evil can be. The Agagites used her name for evil beguiling manipulative woman (i.e. Jezebel). Slept with three kings and one prime minister. (Which countries?) Held Xerxes by the balls.
Mordechai, self-righteous, pompous. Claimed he spoke for all Jehudim (a la Foxman, et al– better yet, Goebbels). Uncle to Hadassah.
Bigtha claims Haman was misunderstood. There is no evidence for Haman having ordered the extermination of the Jehudim. He disliked their politics. But it was radical Jehudim who claimed Haman plotted against them.
Central storyline to tell of B.’s experiences in hiding. Interweave with B.’s version of Purim events.
Consider: Avoid similarities with J. Heller’s “God Knows,” and Auslander’s Egypt story. Make Agagites sympathetic and morally upright. Must be complex though. Agagites must be capable of evil. Jehudim must be capable of occasional good.
Also, avoid too straightforward, not morality tale, must be cynical and humorous. Avoid similarities to film “One Night with the King.” Use anachronistic colloquialisms. (i.e. “held by the balls,” etc.) Make obviously inauthentic. Problem: too close to Heller and Auslander.
Problem: story requirements too complicated. Solution: construct in entirety as notes.
(Problem: too obviously ironic, a la David Foster Wallace. Solution: Add note about it being ironic, mentioning D.F.W.)
Add P.S. in notes to check proper usage of word ‘ironic.’
P.S. Check proper usage of word ‘ironic.’Printable Version