The fish stuffed with prophecy

Swam shoreward

Smelling of ambergris

The Prophet floated to the beach


It must have been a holiday

Everyone was there

They hoisted him to the lifeguard’s seat

Put a bullhorn to his lips

And he began:



Oh Ninevehnians


I’m sent

By Eternal

To prophesy

An imminent


Your total destruction

Unless you




They cried

What did we do?


Eternal only said

Your wickedness

Is come up before me

So what did you do?

I just got here

A few minutes ago


We didn’t do anything

They wept and wailed

Only what is ordinarily done

By everyone


That’s what they all say

Said the Prophet

No use arguing with me

I’m just delivering

A message

Suppose we don’t repent

Supposed the King

What then?


For Eternal

To uncreate

Is as easy

As the opposite

You want to be

A black hole in space

An acceptable receptacle

For constellationary waste?


That gave them pause


So the King said

All right

We’ll repent

And they did

And were not destroyed


You’re too merciful

Said the Prophet

Washing off the ambergris

I knew all along

You wouldn’t destroy them

But repentance comes easily

Why didn’t you at least

Make them post surety?


Did you post surety

Sitting in the fish’s belly

Crying for forgiveness?

Asked Eternal


I just didn’t want

To go to Nineveh

Said the Prophet

Simple disobedience

And active wickedness

Can’t be compared

I compared

And then I spared

You among others

Without posting surety

Is a big city filled with ignoramuses

Who don’t know their right hand

From their left and much cattle

Less sparable than you?

Asked Eternal


And Jonah

Sat in the shade

Of the vine

He had not planted

And was smart enough

Not to answer.