ByErica Branch, writer at

In a desert, in a far off land, there was a man who was very dirty, very smelly and very old. This man had four lovely wives, all quite unhappy to be wed to him. On a strange night, in the middle of a sandstorm, his eldest and first wife gave birth to a son and this son was named Jawza, after Gemini, the constellation he was born under.

Jawza took after his father's habits at a very young age and was fond of picking his nose, farting, burping and eagerly taking peaks at the ankles of any woman he could sneak up on. Although it might be looked over as comical when he was about five, he was more than a nuisance at the age of fourteen. And so at the behest of all four wives (hell hath no fury like that of a woman's wrath...imagine four!), he set his Jawza on his way with camels and wagons to the silk road to sell and trade wares.

For several years Jawza traveled back and forth on the silk road swindling and stealing whenever and wherever he could and delighting in the misfortune he brought to others (Schadenfreude). Each time he outwitted someone or schemed his way out of a forced marriage (and possible paternity concerns) he found himself more and more enthralled with his own wit.

However, while travelling on the Silk road outside of the boundaries of what is now China, he came upon a kindly stranger who agreed to trade over a comfortable fire in his small camp.

As they chatted, the stranger revealed his name to be many, and said they'd met before but Jawza couldn't recognize him which was a bit unsettling. As they continued to speak Jawza's name and relation to the constellations and the stranger pointed that he must be named after a red star because a red star "shines in a dark heart". Jawza kinda laughs this off thinking the guy is crazy and decides to see what he can get from him by sharing his "best" silk and most delicious "teas".

Jawza shakes out the "silk" behind one of his camels and out of sight of the stranger. Seeing tiny fleas he curses and smacks at them to hide them. The fabric looks moth eaten and the pattern is bold black and white stripes. Jawza then takes a packet of tea out of his pack, catches a glimpse of a tiny scorpion but quickly wraps it up along with the tea before bringing it back to the camp.

Jawza haggles for a bit but the stranger is more than happy to hand him what he's asking (which is ridiculous) by means of a leather pouch with brilliant rubies. The stranger peaks in the packed tea and half smiles up while Jawza is frozen in fear and struggling to think of way to get going asap but the stranger only smiles darkly and and then shakes Jawza's hand while saying, "I think we'll meet again friend."

Jawza hurriedly gets on the road and heads out to make camp further down the road and put some distance between himself and the stranger. He finds a small brothel not far out of the way and spends the night and a bunch of rubies there before packing up in the morning and heading on his way.

Not long after he feels a strange itching sensation and then what feels like a bite. When he stops he lifts up his robes only to find he's been bitten by something. He feels another and another both on his hip. Looking, he sees that the pouch of rubies is spilling, but something other than rubies is falling...

Millions of tiny red dots are swarming on him and he begins to scream. They're fleas!

Tearing off all of his clothing, he runs around screaming and rolling in the sand until he's sure all the fleas he can see are gone. Still, the damage is done. He passes out.

When he wakes, he's alone in the desert and completely sunburned and his camels and wares are all gone. A lone cart appears and the stranger beckons him over.

Once in the cart, Jawza passes out again. When he wakes, he's wearing the ratty black and white stripped silk on a street corner. He decides to go searching for the stranger but notices a feverish feel and a throbbing headache. As he walks through the town, he becomes progressively worse and begins to sneeze and cough yucky phlegm. Not long after, people get sick, and they die... A LOT of people got sick and died and this sickness spread far and wide....

However, Jawza seemed to be making a miraculous recovery and this caught the suspicion of some of the towns people and they decided he should be put away somewhere that he couldn't hurt people or make them sick (he must be a warlock or a devil's consort if he can get the plague and live, right?!).

Jawza was locked up in a cheap coffin and thrown in a tomb where after several days of screaming, thirsting and being hungry he felt himself fade into a deep sleep.

He awoke to desert sands, but not like the desert sands he'd grown up with. These were terrifying and the sky was not the right color. A huge black and white striped worm burst forth and attacked him! He screamed and imagined a knife he'd used to have, wishing he'd had it when he looked at his hand and saw that it was a black and white striped knife growing right from his arm. He stabbed the worm and after it fled he felt a firm hand on his shoulder and when he turned around he saw that he was at the strangers camp.

The stranger laughed at Jawza's bewildered face and spoke.

"So! Tried to cheat The Cheat?! Trick THE Trickster?! I think not my friend! I have great plans for you but first, I think a penance is due! Therefore! I submit you to the Unfinished Afterlife! Your name is no longer Jawza, but Betelgeuse in honor of this disgusting bug juice you passed off to me as tea as well as your little black heart!

And when you are summoned, you'll bring chaos and disaster at your heels! Try as you may though, you'll never again enter the world of the living lest you take a wife, for only a woman can bring life into the world, you see?!"

"What the f#$^?!"

"Oh there's more! So much more, you'll see, you'll see!"

With a long dark laugh the stranger vanished in smoke and left Betelgeuse to fend for himself.

And of course, the opportunist took advantage of all the newly dead from the disease he'd spread and continued to have a grand old time all throughout the rest of 1400's and taking advantage of his ability to posses people, he enjoyed much more after that, especially the witch trials! This led to him coming over with the Puritans, then the Salem witch trials and more...

He really did attend Juilliard too, back in the late 70's and early 80's he had a few possessions going on before he later attended Harvard for his business degree where he met a wonderful woman whom he tried to scheme into marriage but only managed to make off with her finger still wearing the ring, but that's another story...

That sickness referred to during the early 1400's was the Bubonic Plague or Black Death, whichever you like most :)


Latest from our Creators