Perfect Family Tales And Other Trivia

The art of the short-story writer is that of the cartoonist. It is the magical craft of creating entire worlds with a few simple strokes of a pen. Tales told by an idiot? Maybe! But my tales are also a mix of reality and fantasy; truth and lies; some based on my own family; others, not. Readers must guess which characters are real; who are inventions - and who are an amalgam of both. Please draw the boundaries for yourself.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

‘Samson, Delilah – And A Slice Of Treacle Tart’

The phone barely beeped  before it was answered.
“Hello. Phil E Stein. Turf Accountants. How  …”
“Phil, you don’t have to be posh with me,” whispered Hazel Judge. “The beast’s watered and fed and we’re raring to go.”
“Ha-ha! Samson or Delilah?”

“Sam, of course! Delilah’s muzzled and thumping her tail like crazy. I’ll tell you more when you arrive. Please get the boys round, double quick. Sam’ll sleep tight for hours but he’ll be a ton weight to bundle into the back of the van.”

When Phil turned up with his mates, they were shocked by what they saw.

Samson Judge, six foot six inchesMr.Universe tall, once boasted the  physique of a prize body builder. Now his bloated,  flabby  form was straddled supine and naked across the kitchen floor. He was bound by ropes; his head had been shaved and what looked like honey  dripped from every orifice.

“For chrissakes, Hazel. What have you done? I know we want to teach Sam a lesson. But a joke’s a joke ...!”

“Phil,” retorted Hazel, “he owes you a bloody fortune – and me a huge apology. He’s a great geezer. If he wasn’t, I wouldn’t have put up with the gambling and womanising for twenty years.

“But he’s also a religious nutter. I  can’t stand his pious ‘turn the other cheek’ malarkey on Sunday mornings, followed by everything else once he’s down at yours. I’ll give him ‘lay preacher’! Just because he never touches red  meat or  drink through habit, it doesn’t make him an angel.”

“But how did you get him like this?”, asked Phil.

“I made him his favourite dinner, including a huge helping of treacle tart, which he loves almost as much as he adores Delilah. To wash it down, I bought a bottle of that red non-alcoholic wine, Vida Vita and chucked in crushed Temazepam pills. They should do the trick as they are supposed to help you sleep like the dead and    can even make you lose your memory. But here’s the magic:

“The scalping. I did it after Sam fell asleep. You know how he’s always insisted  his long hair was tied to his masculinity and that’s why he wouldn’t have it cut? I’d been nagging him for ages to chop it off as it’d become a coarse, tangled mess. It also made him look like an ancient hippy, so  I took matters in hand and did the job myself.

“But there’s more. When he gets  soppy with me, Sam starts quoting Scripture which makes me very cross. He started up again yesterday and what with the new teenage lady friend and the dosh  he owes you lot, I finally lost patience. Now you’ve seen the results.”

“But I’m still a bit puzzled, Hazel,” said Phil, as the other lads started to drag Sam off the floor to take him to the van. “Why the ropes and honey?”

“It’s not honey, it’s treacle and it’s  part of the same reason why I shaved him. One of his favourite bits of Bible is the story of Samson and Delilah. That’s how our precious bloodhound got her moniker.

Tate.Lyle“Whenever I’ve made the tart, he’s stared intently at the label on the tin illustrated with the lion and the swarming bees, and then read it out solemnly, like he was in church: ‘Abram Lyle & Sons, Sugar Refiners.’ Then the motto, ‘Out Of The Strong Came Forth Sweetness’. The words are part of a riddle that Samson posed to his enemies, the Philistines. The performance really annoys me. So I decided to add treacle to the mix.

“Anyway, if you send Samson and the boys to Martin’s Mill, we won’t be disturbed. The place has been disused for years. I’ve got booze and nosh which we can enjoy on the upper floor while we watch Sam’s antics below. I remember from when I worked there that there’s a loose floorboard we can remove to view the circus when he wakes up.”

When Hazel and Phil arrived at the mill with Delilah, they found Sam manacled to the central pillar of the old shop floor. Despite Hazel’s best efforts, something had roused him. But he could barely move, mainly because the treacle had set hard and stopped him  speaking. He couldn’t ask for help or see much either, as strings of syrup had dripped from his forehead and stuck to his eyes.

As Hazel and her friends moved about upstairs, they heard what may have been the rumble of distant thunder. After all, the noise from the CD playing on the ghetto blaster drowned out everything except the sound of their raucous laughter as Delilah, muzzle off,   howled to the tune of the Tom Jones classic.

“If Sam doesn’t like this,” said Hazel, “it’s his fault. He taught her. Our mutt’s the only one I know which does Karaoke to the sound of her own name! They sing along together and make a great duo.”

As she spoke, the crowd gazed through the hole they’d made to see Samson’s huge frame wracked by frustrated, incredulous sobs caused by his sudden inability to move. Then, as the dog whined on, there was a gluey coughing and spluttering  followed by a familiar voice growling the song’s concluding line, “Forgive me Delilah I just couldn't take any more.”

Moments later, with an almighty heave, Samson Judge,  former  Mr Universe and champion weight lifter, pumped his final iron. He tore down  the decrepit  pillar to which he’d been  chained, bringing with it Hazel, Phil, their friends and his beloved hound in a hail of dust and rubble.

Several weeks later, after the fuss had subsided and the district coroner had recorded multiple deaths by misadventure, there was a memorial service at the church where Samson had preached.

“A horrible affair,” said  Rev Tom Waters, giving the address. “Sam was a strong personality who heaped trouble on his own head, but brought down the house – and everyone else - with him.”


Mark.UlyseasThis piece first appeared in the February 2013 edition of Live Encounters magazine ( edited by Mark Ulyseas, a faithful supporter of Israel and all matters Jewish.


Author’s note: There are hundreds of versions of the original  biblical story. By luck, researching for my own, I found this YouTube clip featuring a new film to be released later in 2013. The brief description below is not mine. – N.I.W.


“Samson and Delilah’s world is small – an isolated community in the Central Australian desert. When tragedy strikes they turn their backs on home and embark on a journey of survival. Lost, unwanted and alone they discover that life isn’t always fair, but love never judges”.

Natalie Wood

(Copyright, Natalie Irene Wood – 21 January 2013)

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