(Continued from The House of Judah II)
Lamb wakes up earlier than usual. Everyone in the House of Judah is usually awake by 4 am but today Lamb wakes up at 2.30 am. He and his sisters went to bed at 10 pm, so he has slept for barely four and a half hours. But four and a half hours of sleep are more than adequate for him. When he is in the city he often sleeps at midnight and is always awake by 4 am. Waking up at 4 am is a habit that is inculcated in everyone in the House of Judah from the age of thirteen. Children between the ages of six and thirteen are expected to be awake by 6 am. Only children below the age of six are allowed to sleep as they wish.
Generally, when Judarites wake up, they spend the first thirty minutes saying their prayers to Lord Judah and reading texts written by the Lord. But Lamb Judah, being a future Lord, doesn’t have to. He knows all those texts by heart any way, and has even been helping Lord Judah to write them for the last five years. By the time a future Lord Judah turns eighteen, he is usually perfectly trained in the Bible and the Judarite texts, including the deviation of the latter from the former. By the time he turns 30, a future Lord is usually deemed ready to help the reigning Lord with religious duties such as writing religious texts and conducting church services at the family tabernacle.
Lamb is up early for two reasons. First, he wants to get out bed before his sisters get up. Last night he was unable to perform in bed, and blamed it on exhaustion. He agreed with his sisters that they would make love first thing in the morning. He has no intention of doing such a thing though, and as he tiptoes away, he is hoping that they will not wake up before he is gone. The second reason Lamb is awake so early is Audrey. All night long he could not stop thinking about her, and what she might be enduring in his father’s house. The thought of his father making love to her is infuriating him, but there is nothing he can do about it.
Lamb goes down to the bathroom on the ground floor of the house and takes a shower. His clothes-room is adjacent to his bedroom, but it mercifully has an external door, so he can access it without necessarily having to go back to the bedroom. He dresses in a suit and goes to the kitchen, makes a cup of coffee and then heads to his home office.
He switches on his computer and sips his coffee as he waits for it to boot. He has loads of unfinished tasks. Besides being the CEO of a tier two bank, he is also one of the two principal assistants to the Lord Judah, the other one being Lion. The Lord doesn’t have any great-grandson, so there is no Emmanuel Judah. Although the Lord Judah is primarily known as the spiritual head of the family, the truth is that religious work is only a small portion of his work.
The Lord is almost always dressed in robes, and has an office at the family tabernacle. It is in this office that he blesses people, offers counselling, prepares sermons and edicts and generally performs his religious work. But the bigger portion of his work is administrative. Being the head of the family, he is the one who manages the Village. He ensures utility services such as electricity, water and garbage collection are working. He ensures that the roads in the Village remain in a good state of repair. The Lord also oversees the running of the two family schools (primary and secondary) as well as the family hospital. He also ensures that everyone has accommodation. This last point may seem trivial, but it is a constant headache for the Lord. The family is growing rapidly, and so is the hired workforce. Employees live in a “mini-village” on the far corner of the Village, where they cannot pry on the Judah family. Already, the current Lord Judah has had to demolish the single-story bungalows that the Patriarch had built for higher level employees such as doctors, nurses, teachers, accountants, chefs and so forth, and replaced them with high-rise, four bedroom apartments so as to save on space. Lower level employees such as janitors, cooks, guards etc. live in blocks of two bedroom apartments. The Lord Judah is also the one who authorizes salary payments.
In simple terms, the Paradise Village is a small city, and the Lord Judah is its Mayor. The Lion and the Lamb are the Lord’s principal assistants. The Lord is also the administrative head of all the family businesses, but the practice has been for the Lord to hand over that role to Lion when he (the Lord) attains the age of 75. The current Lord handed over that role ten years ago. The other role that the Lord handed over to Lion is disciplinary-ensuring that everyone toes the family line, and punishing those who don’t.
When his computer finally boots, Lamb opens a folder titled “hospital”. The Lord intends to construct a new pediatric wing at the family hospital. He instructed Lion and Lamb to spearhead the project. Lamb has received quotes from several contractors, and he wants to go through each of them so that he can decide on the best three that he will discuss with Lion. Since the hospital does not charge any money for its services, Lion and Lamb will have to sit down with the accountants and see how money can be hived off from other companies to finance the project.
Working this morning has two advantages for Lamb. First, if and when his sisters wake up, he will be able to shoo them away, because every member of the House of Judah knows that business comes before pleasure. Secondly, it will help him take his mind off Audrey.
He is just getting engrossed in his work when his mother calls.
“Come to the house immediately, Lamb. And come with your sisters.”
“Is there a problem?”
“Yes. Your father is dead.”
“What? But he was fine yesterday. What happened to him?”
“We will talk about the details when you and your sisters come.”
Lamb races upstairs and yanks his sisters out of bed.
“Come on Lamb. It is not yet 4 am. Why do we have to wake up so early?” Hannah asks.
“Maybe he can’t wait to make love to us,” Agatha replies, sitting up.
“Our brother is becoming more and more weird by the day. He wants to make love in a suit? Who does that?”
“Quit kidding girls. We are needed at Father’s house immediately.”
“This early?” the girls ask in unison.
“Yes. Father is dead, so dress up and let’s run. Find me downstairs.”
When Lamb, Hannah and Agatha get to their parent’s house, they find the living room already full. Lord Judah and Lion are present with their wives. Lord Judah’s two daughters, Deborah and Cynthia, are also present.
“Mom, what is going on, what happened to Father?”
“You are the one who brought evil to this world, son,” Lion says harshly.
“What are you talking about?”
“Your father died while trying to have sex with the woman you brought here,” the Lord says evenly. “Your father was a very healthy man. He used to exercise every day and he has had sex with twenty year olds before without a problem. Why would he get a heart attack when he tries to have sex with your woman?”
“People get heart attacks even when they are not having sex, Lord. There are many health factors that can trigger a heart attack.”
“Elijah has examined him and ruled out all those other factors you are talking about…except one: blue pills that were found in your woman’s handbag.”
Elijah is the Chief Medical Officer at the Judah Family Hospital. He is a nephew of the Lord, and therefore Benjamin and Lion’s cousin. He is the one who deals with all the medical problems of the Lord’s immediate family-his children and their children, because of the secrecy needed. None of them has ever stepped foot in the hospital-only the extended family goes there.
“Are you suggesting…”
“Yes. Somehow your woman convinced your father to use Viagra, and that is what killed him.”
“That cannot be true. Audrey did not come with a handbag. She did not come with anything except the clothes she was wearing. I told her that everything she would need would be provided.”
“Are you saying that the Lord is lying, Lamb?” his mother asks harshly.
“No. But perhaps the information he was given is erroneous.”
“Or perhaps that woman has blinded you. That cannot happen, Lamb, and you know it. You are going to be the head of this family someday, and you cannot be the head of the house if you are being manipulated by your wife. You cannot marry this woman.”
“Okay, I will return her to the city immediately.”
“No, Lamb.” Lion says coldly. “She cannot leave the Village after what she has done. She will have to die. I have asked the executioners to get the furnace running. She will be roasted alive tonight. We expect you to cooperate.”
Image by Republica from Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/photos/man-ocean-sea-hat-scarf-jacket-792821/
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