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Chapter 1

Hoser Hos-EH-a, Eh? (The book of Hosea the Prophet in Trailer Park Canadian)

So I was sitting in my double-wide, had the dish tuned to the fight, minding my own beeswax, having a cold one eh? And then the signal went! Damned bootleg card, eh? They give out when you least expect 'em to! Like, I should tell you who I am, right? Beer's my dad, yeah, we've heard all the jokes, you can save 'em, eh? Anyways, the old man, he's like laid up in the back bedroom, between his slipped disc and his bum hip, eh? It's just the two of us, Beer & Hoser, but he's my dad, what can I do, right? Mum never did make much of an appearance, in the family.

Anyway, so I was watching the fight, eh? And the signal gave out. But it wasn't like "Non-subscriber signal" like I usually get, it was this old-fashioned static, like when we used to have a rotary antenna up on the roof, right? You remember those? I swear, we could get more stations with that thing, than with any of these new electrono-digital-doodad-dish thingies. And better signal, too! Anyway. My buddies, Uzi, Jo', Haz-Mat, and Zekie, they were like, going to come over and watch the fight, boys' night in, eh? So I went to call them up on the phone, tell them the fight was cancelled on account of the satellite company changing the carrier signal again.

But then the static cleared! I was on the phone with Uzi when it happened, and he didn't believe me. I told him the whole thing, play-by-play with colour commentary, and he still didn't believe me! "You Hoser," he says, "Always making like you're having visions or fortune-telling, like you've got those fits your Aunt Ezzie was prone to." I do get them fits, sometimes, eh? Aunt Ezzie used to say it's on account of us both having the second sight, eh?

But on the TV screen, eh, the static clears, and then this title comes across it, like some cheap infomercial for the Sham-Whazzit or the Miracle Gadget, what-have-you. (Dad always orders those things; what am I going to do? It's not like he has anyone else to talk to, but I think those operators have his number on a Do Not Answer list now, on account of lately he's never able to get through to nobody.) But this infomercial, it says WORD OF THE LORD.

Just like that, eh? Capital letters, cheesy trumpet music, and everything, eh? And then the static got worse, but the screen was so bright, I could hardly look at it. Uzi didn't believe me when I was telling him, he just thought it was another one of my fits. But there was this voice, like it was in my head, eh? Only not. In my head and out of my head and all around me and everything!

GO GET LAID, HOSER. The voice says to me. Uzi hung up on me when I told him it said that. I called Jo' up next, and he just laughed and said my pot must have been dusted, eh? I told him I was stone-cold sober as a judge, but he wouldn't believe me! I called Haz-Mat next, and HE believed me, but said he was too busy with his band, or something. Zekie listened to me, all the way through, though. Zekie, he's a good guy, dad says he'll go far in life, eh?

Anyway, this voice, it says to me GET LAID BY A HARLOT, HOSER. FOR THE LAND HAS COMMITTED HARLOTRY BY DEPARTING FROM THE LORD. I asked Zekie what a harlot and harlotry was. Then I asked him if he kissed his mum with that mouth! Zekie said don't shoot the messenger, man, I know just the girl for you. Gomorrah, old man Dibbley's kid, she fits the bill! With a name like that, I figured. I told the WORD OF THE LORD on the TV to wait right there, I'd be back as soon as I can. It just kept repeating the same thing over and over again. Like a videogame, eh, it just keeps looping round and round until you complete the quest.

So I went to Zekie's house, and he introduced me to Gomorrah Dibbley. I told her about the WORD OF THE LORD, and she didn't believe me, then Zekie told her something, I think she went with me at first just out of pity. But I brought her back to the double-wide, and for sure, there it was, still on the dish! The WORD OF THE LORD. Gomorrah got nervous then, she started making jokes about pillars of salt, but I didn't get it. Not then, anyways.

Dad is a notary, did I mention that? Anyway, in the back bedroom of the double-wide, piled high with unopened boxes of infomercial gadgets and gewgaws, Gomorrah Dibbley and I got hitched. Fast-forward past the boring parts, and nine months later, out pops a kid! The WORD OF THE LORD had been on the TV the whole time, we couldn't get no other signal, eh? Anyway, it had sat there in the corner, quietly shining all that time, and nothing was doing.

CALL THE KID JEZREEL. The TV says. The baby stopped fussing, then, so we figured it was legit. FOR IN A LITTLE WHILE I WILL AVENGE THE BLOODSHED OF JEZREEL ON THE HOUSE OF JEHU AND BRING AN END TO THE KINGDOM OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL. IT SHALL COME TO PASS IN THAT DAY THAT I WILL BREAK THE BOW OF ISRAEL IN THE VALLEY OF JEZREEL.

Gomorrah said she was, like, three-eighths Jewish, and she never signed on for this Zionist crap, but I told her it was probably just the tornado, messing with the signal. I mentioned this happened in the middle of a tornado, eh? Anyways, we hadn't picked a name for the kid yet anyway, so Jezreel he was. We home-schooled, eh, so no worries about my kids getting bullied for their names they got off the TV!

All my other kids were named by the WORD OF THE LORD too, see. Lo-Ruhamah and Lo-Ammi. When Ruhie was born, the WORD OF THE LORD was still saying all that Zionist crap, about no mercy on the house of Israel, but only mercy on the Jews, which Gomorrah said sounded a little better to her, at least. By the time Ammi was was born, the WORD OF THE LORD was starting to mellow a bit, I guess, because the WORD OF THE LORD only said YOU ARE NOT MY PEOPLE AND I AM NOT YOUR GOD. Which is fair enough, since most of our neighbours are Hindus. The Diwali parade they do through the trailer court every year is impressive, eh!

Anyway, after Ammi was born (the WORD OF THE LORD kept referring to her as "he" so we wondered maybe if she/he was, like, trans or something. Which is fine, by the way, more power to her/him and we will support her/him fully as he/she grows up! Gomorrah told me to put that part in.) anyway after Ammi was born, the WORD OF THE LORD said a whole bunch of stuff, one afternoon. It was a nice, clear, spring day. Not too hot that you couldn't take the humidity, and not so cold you could still see your breath. One of those just-right, in-between days, where the leaves are starting to open up, and the sun is shining, but not wicked hot like it is in the summer. It was a fine, spring, day, and Ammi was playing with her/his wooden blocks in his/her playpen, when the WORD OF THE LORD said a whole bunch of stuff, all at once, and I had to get the WORD OF THE LORD to repeat it, while Gomorrah went running around looking for a pen and paper.

YET THE NUMBER OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL SHALL BE AS THE SAND OF THE SEA WHICH CANNOT BE MEASURED OR NUMBERED.

(Gomorrah said something about it being measured fine enough, when they built that beach down in Simcoe the other year, but I told her to shush, because I had to get the WORD OF THE LORD to repeat the next bit.)

AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS IN THE PLACE WHERE IT WAS SAID TO THEM, 'YOU ARE NOT MY PEOPLE', THERE IT SHALL BE SAID TO THEM,

("Hoser, is it talking about here? I didn't sign on for this!" Gomorrah was starting to get on my nerves. I love her, I really do, but she got on my last nerve with that. I made some nasty crack about a pillar of salt, and she shut up, then.)

'YOU ARE SONS OF THE LIVING GOD.' THEN THE CHILDREN OF JUDAH AND THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL SHALL BE GATHERED TOGETHER AND APPOINT FOR THEMSELVES ONE HEAD. AND THEY SHALL COME UP OUT OF THE LAND, FOR GREAT WILL BE THE DAY OF JEZREEL!

Jezzie was pretty puffed up with himself over that, eh?? I gave him a good talking-to, and told him he'd best not be getting a swelled head, or his Mum and I would stick pins in it, and then his little head would pop just like Ammi's birthday balloon! He started crying then, and we told him we were only joking. I hope that doesn't turn out to be one of those lifelong childhood trauma things, eh?

Anyway, that's the first part of what the WORD OF THE LORD had to say through the dish on my TV, eh?