A Fable for Our Troubled Times : Rebirth: After fire and rain, riots and quakes, a New Age dawneth for Malibites, Bevites.

Sheldon Teitelbaum is a Los Angeles-based senior writer for the Jerusalem Report.

And in the days before the Bobbitt and the Harding, whilst mad King Rodney careened with his chariots down the 210 past the towers of Megiddo to the Valley; before King Bradley banged his head against the city's Gates whilst gangbangers banged elsewhere; before Michael and the Men of Endez and Heidi were brought low, and Riordan, Feinstein and Boxer raised on high; lo, even then, the Lord hardened his heart against the City of Angels, against the Malibites and Bevites, the Westsiders and the Valleyites; yea, even unto the chariot makers of Orange County and Van Nuys, and there was a scourge upon the land.

And the Lord said unto the denizens of the South, behold, though ye have waged my battles faithfully, I shall rust thy swords and diffuse thy lasers; neither shall thy patriots fly true nor thy spysats see straight. For thou hast become too proud in thy victory--and this Bush that burns brightly without being consumed, neither by Irangate nor by the vision thing, is the worst offender. For this, thy weapons shall become as a glut upon the market. Neither shall thee make batteries for thy cars nor shall thee cobble chips for Nippon. And a smoggy pall fell upon the land, and the hammers became still, and home equity became as for naught.

And the Lord then said unto Daryl, stretch out thy Rod and smite this man of Cush in the kidneys, that he might feel the billy club of G-d. But an Evil Eye beheld this travesty, and the people rose up in anger, and the city burned and gave up its treasures. And Daryl's corporals stood silent and sullen, for their E-mail system worked not, and they knew not of any beating or mayhem and heard not of this Denny. And, as the judges pondered, there was a wailing from Sou' Central and Simi to Seoul.

And the Lord said unto a schizoid shepherd in the hills of Moab, rise up early in the morning and light thy campfire and cast its sparks upon the brush, and I will send swarms of Santa Anas to give them succor. And the land was ruined by fire whilst the Malibites gnashed their teeth. But when the smoke cleared, the Lord hardened their hearts. And though their sages said rebuild not, for neither man nor beast may dwell safely in these places, they flocked back through the Valley of Topanga unto the waters of the Dead Sea. And though their wells of Perrier were tainted with benzene, and tasted as of blood, they set up their tents and renewed their cable service.

And the Lord spake unto the mountains and said, take to ye handfuls of mud and throw these upon the proud and stubborn Malibites, that muck might bury their tents and clog up their Porsches. And a great rain came, and it fell 40 days and 40 nights, and many a screenplay and treatment was blotted out. And the Malibites wailed, for lo, this was worse than the Writers Guild strike.

And the word of the Lord went out from the bowels of the Earth saying, "Son of man, try this on for size." And while babes and their mothers slept; lo, even before the joggers became as a pestilence in the streets, there came a roar from the Earth, and a great quaking, and though it wasn't the Big One, it was a real pisser. And the Malibites delivered up their firstborn for their Evian, and they said, "thus plagueth the Lord our land, verily as he smote Pharoah only 200 years ago," for they knew not history, though they quoteth box office unto the 10th decimal.

But when the pall upon the land seemed at its darkest, and all equity was lost, there came out of the East a host of legions. From the empire of the Beltway came the princes Fema and S'Ba and Irs. And they bore gifts of grants and loans and deductions, and said lo, though thy sins may not be forgiven, fear not the cracks in thy firmaments, for verily shall be thy debts.

And from the wasted reaches of Miami and St. Louis came the hosts of Aetna and Prudential and Farmers, each bearing a piece of the rock. And they brought glad tidings and big bundles too, for the PR opportunities were enormous. Unto the stricken they said, despair not of thy deductibles, for those who have paid tribute shall be rewarded. And as by magic, scratched kitchen tiles became as gaping maws, tiny dents in the garden furniture as great detonations.

And though most of the people had not paid tribute to these princes, and received not such heaps, these riches multiplied as the stars in the sky. And across the land, pundits spake of a New Age. Crystals and Powerbooks and surfboards and rollerblades and other goodies not seen since the days of the Garden appeared as though manna from Heaven. Some even beseeched the Home Shopping Network for bee bonnets and snowmobiles and inflatable life rafts. Because in California, thou never knowest.

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