David and Goliath, A Modern Retelling

I wrote this piece for the fine folks at the Burnside Writers Collective a few years ago. Thought it would be fun to share it with you guys so I spent a couple hours yesterday updating some pop culture references and making it a better read.

It’s what a modern day sports telecast of David v Goliath would sound like. Hope you enjoy.

A few weeks ago I was up late watching college football while reading the Bible (like you haven’t done that before?). Somewhere in the middle of 1 Samuel, with the football game still blaring in the background, I fell asleep and this happened.

Elijah Musburger: Ladies and Gentlemen you are looking live at the Bank of Jerusalem Battlefield in South Israel where today history will be made. I’m Elijah Musburger alongside Isaac Herbstreit, happy to have you along for this historic matchup between Goliath of Gath and David of Bethlehem.

Isaac: Yeah, you’d have to be a simple Canaanite to be unaware of the storyline here. For over a month now, Phillistines Head Coach Isiah Thomas has been sending out his 6-time All-Star Goliath to battle an Israelite. The 9-foot, 6-inch giant’s continued taunting of the Israelites have earned him a record 114 personal foul penalties and a 12-battle suspension that is currently under appeal by the Phillistine Warriors Union. For more let’s send it down to our sideline reporters Jezebel Tafoya and Rahab Andrews.

Jezebel: Thanks Elijah. It was not until today that Goliath’s invitation to rumble was accepted by the unlikeliest of challengers from King Saul’s army. And if you haven’t seen David yet, well, picture a malnourished ewok shaved head to toe. For more on that story, let’s send it over to the Israelites sidelines and Rahab Andrews.

Rahab: The Babylon Sportsbooks have the over/under on this donnybrook at 10 seconds, but I don’t see it lasting that long. The youngest of 8 brothers, David the shepherd boy went undrafted coming out of Bethlehem University last Spring. Despite a slow forty time and a below-average Wonderlic score, his impressive defeats of a lion and a bear were enough to earn him a spot to fight for the Israelite army. King Saul took a chance on the young waterboy, who now finds himself facing the greatest challenge of his life. Back to you, Elijah and Isaac.

Elijah: Thanks Rahab. Before we start let’s remind everyone that today’s action is sponsored by Over Armor Sports Apparel, Promised Land Iced Tea with new ‘Milk and Honey’ flavor, and Delilah’s Supercuts, “a great haircut guaranteed or you can chain us to a temple pillar and poke our eyes out”.

Isaac: As Goliath steps onto the field of play, let’s go over the rules with our viewers. Rule Number 1 is that there are no rules. First person to kill the other person wins.

Elijah: Let’s also remind everyone what is at stake today, Isaac.

Isaac: Well Elijah, besides being able to hoist the coveted Golden Calf Trophy over their heads in victory, the winning side will also get to make slaves out of the losing team. I mean, can you imagine this in the NFL? Hard to picture Carson Palmer cleaning Tom Brady’s toilet.

Elijah: Actually I CAN picture that.

Isaac: Yeah, you know what? So can I. In any event, the stakes have never been bigger than they are today.

Elijah: Speaking of never been bigger, let’s not forget David’s initial response to hearing Goliath’s taunts of his countrymen. In a tirade that has gone viral on ThouTube this week, David referred to Goliath as an “uncircumsized Philistine”, choosing to mock the loins of the Warrior from Gath.

Isaac: Considering the size of Goliath’s sandals, that might have been a mistake.

Elijah: Indeed. But back to the action, Goliath has approached the 50-yard line and he doesn’t look particularly pleased with the diminutive size of his competition. I haven’t seen anyone this angry since the time I painted my wife’s kitchen with sheep’s blood.

Isaac: And you really have to wonder if rust will be a factor with the long layoff Goliath has had between gruesome murders. It’s been almost two years since he ripped off that remarkable streak of 61 consecutive dismemberments. He was untouchable until he lost a toe in a freak winepress accident, but he swears he’ll be competing at 100% today.

Elijah: Thanks for that history lesson, no doubt brought to us by Goliath’s Wikipedia Scroll.

Isaac: Don’t thank me, thank Alvah Gore for inventing the intercave system.

Elijah: Check this out, David is sprinting towards the 50-yard line to meet Goliath, and he’s waving around a small piece of leather that looks like, umm, an iPhone case?

Isaac: I think that’s a slingshot.

Elijah: Whatever it is, Goliath is bracing himself for what should be a quick kill and WOAH!!! David just hurled a smooth rock at Goliath that found it’s mark right between Goliath’s mangy, unkempt eyebrows! The stone appears to be lodged deep into the skull of the giant, who just collapsed to the ground like a sack of fossilized donkey excrement.

Isaac: I can’t believe what I’m seeing here! It is total bedlam in the Valley of Elah as David has toppled the mighty Phillistine. I hope you’ve got the DVR going folks, because you are witnessing history right now.

Elijah: David just mounted the Philistine giant and he’s standing triumphantly on Goliath’s chest. It looks like he just pulled a Sharpie out of his sandal and is signing his name on Goliath’s forehead. Wow, this could draw a flag for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Isaac: Yeah, he’ll be hearing from the league office this week to the tune of a 50,000 shekel fine for that display. Kids these days could learn from the old schoolers and act like they’ve felled a giant before.

Elijah: OH GREAT JEHOVAH, did you see that? David just took Goliath’s sword and cut the head off the dead giant! Now he’s holding it up and waving it around to the delight of the fans who made the trek all the way from Jerusalem to take in the action live!

Isaac: Blood is shooting from Goliath’s severed neck and showering the battlefield. This is a gruesome scene.

Elijah: David is making it rain! Pacman Jones would be proud.

Isaac: Call me Josiah Buck if you like, but like the Randy Moss fake-moon incident that will happen in a few thousand years, I find this to be completely unnecessary and a disgusting act.

Elijah: Necessary or not, it looks like David’s barbaric display has made an impression on the Philistine army. Faced with the prospect of doing David’s laundry for the rest of their lives, they’ve decided to make a run for it.

Isaac: And that is already turning out to be a bad decision with all that heavy armor they’re wearing. The Israelites – wearing their ultra-light and breathable Over Armor clothing – are chasing them down and savagely killing each and every one of them. And what’s worse, some of the fans have stormed out of their seats and have taken down the goalposts at the north end of the battlefield. This is why they should stop selling wine at halftime.

Elijah: Let’s throw it down to Rahab Andrews, who’s with a beaming David.

Rahab: David, what a win, how did you do it?

David: First I want to thank Yahweh, I couldn’t have done it without Him. You know, and all week long people were saying that we didn’t have a chance, that I was too small, and that I was a sissypants for writing poetry. I just wanted to come out here and prove everyone wrong.

Rahab: David, my gag reflex tells me that you’re holding Goliath’s bloody stump of a head only a few feet away from me. Can you tell us why you decided to chop his head off after you had already claimed the victory?

David: I don’t know, you know? I’m sure I’ll get fined for it, but I got no regrets. It was just a heat of the moment kind of thing, and sometimes I do that kind of stuff without thinking. Hi mom, hi dad, hi sheep, I love you.

Rahab: David, what happens next for you? Talk is already circulating about you starting a political career.

David: I don’t know. I just want to soak this one in. I’ve got nothing but love for Saul, and I don’t have any political aspirations right now. I just want to get this dude’s head mounted on my wall, go chill on the roof of my building and enjoy the view, restring my lyre, and maybe write some canonized poems.

Rahab: Well, there you have it: fearless warrior by day, sissypants poetry writer by night. Back to you, Elijah.

Elijah: Thanks Rahab. That’s all the time we have for today. We’ll be back next week live from Babylon as Daniel tries to defend his title at the National Lion Taming Championships. Stay tuned for your late local news, except on the West Bank where you’ll be watching an all new episode of CSI: Judea.

Isaac: Oh and one more thing. Wake up Bryan. Wake Up. Hey, Wake Up.

At that moment I realized it wasn’t Isaac Herbstreit trying to wake me up, it was my wife who had come downstairs wondering why I hadn’t come to bed yet.

I told her all about the trippy dream I had just had and tried to convince her that I was not drunk on Listerine again. She suggested I try reading the Bible with the TV off, like a normal person.

But I don’t know, that was kind of fun.