Columns - 2005

    A Purrim Tail

    By Doug Brook
    Deep South Jewish Voice Columnist

    This is what happened during the ninth life of Achashverosh, who ruled over all of the Persians, including the Himalayans and Chinchillas. He reigned like cats, not dogs.

    In the third year of his rule, he gave a banquet lasting seven days in the enclosed garden of the palace, the one with the adjoining sandbox. The garden was decorated with drapes of white and blue linen, though they only lasted the first day or so.

    About the mosaic and marble floors there were couches of gold and silver, which barely outlived the drapes. All the revelers would lie in the sun on these couches, luxuriating and shedding their inhibitions and fur. (This shedding of fur onto couches in the great outdoors eventually led to a new word, "furnature".)

    Throughout the marble floors, extravagant rugs were spread, for better traction.

    By the King's command each guest was allowed to drink, each in his own way, from his own silver bowl. The servants attended to every whim, the King having had wealth in spades. And all who were hungry dined on the most tender victuals.

    Meanwhile, Queen Vashti was giving a banquet for the women. Being more domesticated, their reception was inside the palace.

    On the seventh day of the banquet, the King ordered his servants to find the Queen, and whisk her away to his party. She refused, and was banished from Persia.

    The King then decided to bring in candidates to be the new Queen, the heir to Vashti's relinquished throne.

    Mordecai, a member of the pride of Benjamin, heard news of this competition. He was a Persian mix, because his great-grandfather was exiled from Jerusalem by Nebucatnezzar, king of Babylion.

    Mordecai was raising his cousin Hadassah who, when not establishing social action groups, was also known as Esther. He sent Esther to the palace to contend for the throne.

    At the palace Esther hid her ethnicity, which was easy considering she hadn't yet had her cat mitzvah.

    The King was not easy to please. He thought many of the contenders looked too mousy, and they were chased away.

    When the King finally saw Esther, she won. The King gave a great banquet in honor of his new Queen, the Heir Ball.

    Meanwhile, Mordecai was at the palace gate, and overheard two guards plotting to assassinate the King. He reported it, and they were strung up by their tails.

    Later, the King promoted Hacat to a seat higher than all the other nobles, and all were commanded to bow at Hacat's feet. But Mordecai would not kneel.

    Hacat was ticked. His fury led to paranoia, which in turn made him fear all. Not just Mordecai, but all of his people. Hacat decided to kill them all.

    Hacat purred a lot, and as a result decided to put to sleep all the Persian Jews on the twelfth of Adar. Not just the men, not just the adults, but even the kitten kaboodle.

    Hacat then asked the King, without naming names, for permission. The King twitched his nose, but said okay.

    The King dismissed him from the royal presence, unaware that he had just committed to help Hacat nip his problem in the bud.

    When Mordecai heard of Hacat's decree, it gave him pause. He knew that his people would have to flee, to turn tail and run.

    Mordecai put on sackcloth, and went to the palace gate, howling bitterly along the way. Esther heard he was there, and Mordecai passed on the whole story.

    Mordecai and Esther did not know what to do. Mordecai had sent word to other lands seeking help. He even tried to find a European experienced in war to help their ills, but there was not a veteran Aryan to be found.

    Mordecai urged Esther to beg the King for mercy. Considering only a dog would beg, this was no small request.

    Esther told Mordecai to have all the Jews do what they do best when faced with such a decree of biblical proportions: to fast.

    After three days, Esther approached the King on his royal throne (for his unroyal throne was being brushed).

    Esther realized they were just chasing their tails, that she needed a clever plan to win this cat and mouse game. So she invited the King and Hacat to a banquet she prepared.

    The King sent for Hacat. The three of them dined and wined, and as the King was lapping up the last of his meal, he asked Esther what she wanted.

    Hacat's presence dogged her. She was too rattled, so she invited them back for another banquet the next day.

    Hacat went home, told his wife of his honors, but complained about Mordecai. She told him to build a gallows, and ask the King for permission to hang Mordecai so he can enjoy dinner.

    Meanwhile, the King couldn't sleep. He had his chronicles read to him, which even put the reader to sleep, then was shocked to learn Mordecai was never honored for saving his life.

    Instead of stringing up Mordecai, Hacat had to honor Mordecai in public, leading him on his own horse, in his own robe. Hacat gutted through it.

    At dinner, Esther revealed Hacat's plot against her people, recounting everything Mordecai had told her.

    Hacat denied the accusations. He claimed that Mordecai was a liar, making up stories. That he was a cat of nine tales.

    Hacat was hung from the gallows he built for Mordecai. The King ordered that Hacat's decree be overturned, through a special clause in the law: the veto.

    The King decreed that Jews in all provinces could assemble and protect themselves, annihilating those who would follow Hacat's decree. The day designated for this was the thirteenth of Adar.

    They struck down their enemies. In a single breath they took all nine lives from Hacat's house: his nine sons. Actually, he had ten. They killed him too, for good measure.

    The Jews held a celebration, because they triumphed over Hacat, who had purred a lot for their ruin and destruction.

    The moral of the story: Cheetahs never prosper.

    Doug Brook is a senior technical writer in Silicon Valley, whose Himalayan mix Simone dictated this story to him. For more information, past columns, and other writings, theatre, and current events, visit his website at

    Copyright Doug Brook. All rights reserved.