Ask Avigail: Ashkelon

Dear Avigail,
Summer is over, and we are cleaning out the old cobwebs for the new tumbleweed connection, not to be missed (quoted in an article from Dust Mite Today).
I feel a bit restless, and have heard rumors that there are many new, exciting vistas for ceramic artisans and scallion farmers, in the port city of Ashkelon. Also, my husband, Mel, and I have experience in the transport business; we design and construct buoys. This could be advantageous with “getting an in” with the renown, Phoenician Fleet Company, the makers of ships and soothing balms for rough Papyrus chafes. If they are not interested in our buoys, we will try Greece; or, the Roman Empire. These civilizations have always had a keen love for buoys, and we hope to do well in these regions.
We respect whatever advice you can give us, Avigail.
Forward drive in Wanderlust

Dear Forward,
Funny you should mention Ashkelon… cousin’s brother in law just moved there. He is a Spin Doctor.* His game is Marketing. They had moved about a lunar cycle ago, right in the midst of rumors that European invaders were about to conquer Ashkelon. Stan’s brother in law, Arnold, and his wife, Sidelle, have two children. Both of them love to dive into the sea and search for ruins, whether it be intact urns or ceramic chariot tires. It seemed to be the right move for the Plotnick family!
Not only is Ashkelon’s port a profitable place to start a business, but it provides family fun. How did this happen (you may ask timidly, with temerity or with tremors, if you have not eaten since breakfast)?
You see, Ashkelon’s first venture into the fish-farming industry proved futile. A: They planted the fish. First mistake. Then, when they cast their nets, all they pulled up were ruins from the previous neighbors. Marble, pearls and other junk were cast back into the sea. Then, the Town Elders reopened a fish park. Kids were allowed to dig for buried “treasure”. So, this place was ideal for Scarf and Snarf, the Spin-doctor’s twins.
But, the locals were nervous about the rumors from the North; what should they do about all this hostile bru ha ha?

Originally, the advancing army hailed from the North, but the Knights of Malta were very mobile. They didn’t bother to make camp and make fires to cook their meals; they ate take-out. Soon, they were reported to be seen in the Northwest; and, let’s put it this way, you could soon tell which night was the designated shower night for the KofM.
Arnold came up with a brilliant plan, and employed all the Canaanites, far and wide. Under Arnold’s direction, the men, women and others of Ashkelon invented a Moslem holiday, involving plans for a pilgrimage to their city. Recently fabricated coin findings indicated that a once-used gambling casino (turned Pray Stop on the road to Mecca) was celebrated in this Port. Pilgrimages of devout Moslems were encouraged to come and search for Holy shards, and also, if need be, defend this site from savage Infidels* (those that invested in diverse portfolios,)*.
Rumors were sent via Yetta the Yenta, Ltd. *(*without her glasses, she couldn’t spread one worthless piece of gossip. She always had a spare pair tucked into her roomy tunic. But this morning, it was in the wash, and so was her livelihood). She once had training as a professional wailer, by a Sicilian widow. So, she reached way down into her diaphragm*, and bellowed (she had tried with an IUD, but her voice sounded tinny). Welcome Muslim Pilgrams! Free Wine with Dinner at Big Al’s. Save your parking stub and eat with the comfort of your own house. Enjoy home cooking. Muslim customs accommodated at Big Al’s. Eat in the folds of your own Kasbah, while the women and children squat outside on woven rugs. The rugs are colorful, woven Marmaluke hairs, torn right from the heart of conquered warriors. They are also available for take-out and will be delivered, if in the surrounding radius.
Swarms of hungry, thirsty religious zealots swarmed the place, and workshops were held everywhere! The tourist industry boomed! Hymie and Sol’s authentic shwarma and beef testicles rest stop, complimentary toothpick included, expanded, as well as the menu. The tourists demanded stuffed spleen, and so the call was met. The indigenous natives of Ashkelon viewed spleens as useful as appendices, so there was no shortage of supply and demand. People lined up to the LEND AN UNUSED ORGAN tent. There was a shortage on bandages from the local apothecary, but home brew( 99% fermented fig alcohol) was a better pain remedy than taking two Anvils. Reviews and accolades went as far as the cactus groves of Sheikh Abdul; and, even beyond Irving’s Oasis, an outfit of dry goods, which had nothing left on their shelves (because the apprentice forgot to order anything, except a special on cutlery.) The pilgrimage to Mecca went undaunted. Tailors set up shop alongside the road, as bourkas took a beating (along with the wives inside) from the wear and tear of the sojourn.
Words crossed across the great waters, and the infidels had second thoughts about invading, during the fake Moslem holiday season. Who could get a cab? The Europeans were clever and decided to wait for inclement weather, when religious Zealots were more inclined to stay home.
As soon as the weather turned rainy and cold, the Europeans prepared for a slaughter. The Captain’s compass seemed out of order, but that didn’t shake his confidence. As long as he could pull the chariot out of the driveway, without crushing his wife’s gladiolas, he was assured a victory.
They advanced, and without too much warning, raped, pillaged, looted and even slaughtered the people of this port city. When things died down, the Captain pulled out his compass, to see if it had righted itself. Yes, it did. But, a terrible mistake had occurred. They never even had gotten a glimpse of Ashkelon. They entered the port city of Haifive. Once there, they were able to get a table at the poshest of restaurants; they even crashed a Chassidic wedding, without bringing a gift. When asked, “Which side they were on?” they pulled out their swords. The Maitre d’ thought to himself, “ok, definitely the bride’s side. The Moskovitz clan had used their salad forks to spear the fauxpigs-in- a blanket. The European conquerors did think it strange that everyone begged for their life in Szechuan, rather than Aramaic, or Cananitese*.
They really felt embarrassed. What victorious plunder could they go home with? A pair of broken chopsticks? An umbrella from a pupupu* platter? They felt like a bunch of shmerels*; hadn’t they noticed that nobody looked familiar at the wedding? Ok, everyone wore black hats, thick glasses and beards* (the bride had donned a moustache, as well), but still, they speared latkes* with their bronze swords, and dipped twice into the applesauce. The Conquerors had chosen valet parking, and so the wedding became a telethon, as Hermann Smolovitz, a Private, lost his ticket. The fact that nobody tipped the valet parkers still pointed towards the bride’s family, so, nobody was suspicious.
And, what of the Bogus Bourka parade of teeming pilgrims that crammed the streets of Ashkelon? The last industrial-sized shwarma had been skewered, and everyone was set to go home. Everybody had a great time. Shmulie, the humus café owner’s son, had gotten a terrible sunburn. His burnt skin, inflamed and burgundy, was as irritated as Esther Gutbaum, when she heard the price of Shmulie’s father’s humus specials.
So, dear Wander Lust friends….go now to Ashkelon. Don’t wait too long, or you will soon be Wander Rust.
*Infidels: Someone who is privy to a Cuban leader’s foreign investments.
*Portfolio: A neat, cardboard, or plastic, folder to put all your investments in. It expands to accommodate life’s financial ups and downs; which, in the latter case, has a neat attachment for food stamps, coupons and a phone number of someone who drives a truck, which seems to have a lot of stuff fall out of, at the dock.
*Spin-doctor: Either a DJ; or, a speech writer for politicians.
*Shmerel: A Yiddish term for “loser.”
*Latke: Potato Pancake. Comes in many sizes: small, medium, large, emergency room.

About the Author
Shashi Ishai is a former stand-up/cartoonist from Teaneck, N.J. She resides in Netanya with her husband, Yacov; daughter, Zehava; son Zaki and dog, Stanley .Shashi is the author of ASK AVIGAIL: Advice from a Biblical Era Sagette, available on Amazon.