I'm now offering for sale a collection of bizarre writings that I found sealed in a clay pot. It's scrawled in the hand of an unknown writer, and judging from the incoherent content, the person must have been completely detached from reality. I'm not sure what it's worth... make me an offer.

Ed the village rat killer

...

The Nerds of the Magi

It was time for the annual Christmas pageant at the Plainsboro Methodist Church. A nine-year-old Tee was dressed as the Virgin Mary with a swaddled baby doll in her lap. Arthur was a thirteen-year-old wise man in a robe and long white beard. Their mom and dad sat in the front row, looking so proud.

Arthur had been determined to make 1995 the last year that his mother forced him to act in a church play. That year, he decided to add a little intrigue to the birth of the Savior, changing the plot to make it into a sort of a who done it mystery.

The wise man backed up against the wall where he could reach the light switch. The stage went dark and the Virgin Mary screamed dramatically. The lights came on again, the audience murmured and poor Joseph sat with his mouth open as a series of surprising developments occurred around the manger.

"What's going on here?" The wise man pointed dramatically at the empty cradle. "The baby Jesus is gone!"

"Oh no!" Mary jumped up, shaking her little fist at the audience. "Somebody stole my baby!"

The wise man stepped out to center stage. "Don't worry, Virgin Mary, I'll find your baby." Then the wise man noticed something on the floor. "What's this? Could it be a clue?"

Most of the audience sat in awkward silence as their mother scrambled up on stage to put a stop to it. Arthur's uncle slumped down in the second row, nearly asphyxiating from inappropriate laughter.

"Theresa Anne Liggett!" their mother whispered loud enough to make an echo. "You go find the baby Jesus right this minute!"

Meanwhile, the wise man was slowly backing off stage. He badly wanted to go tend to the camels, guard the frankincense or... something.

"Arthur!" His mother trapped the wise man in the corner, wagging a finger in his face. The lecture was too frantic to make out the words. At one point she glanced at the audience. Then, not wanting to make a scene, she grabbed hold of the Virgin Mary's arm and the wise man's ear and dragged them both back stage.

After a very tense two-minute absence, the wise man shuffled back on stage again. His face was bright red and he kept his eyes on the floor. The Virgin Mary followed him, sniffling, with tears running down her face. She carried the baby Jesus upside down by a leg.

Virtually everyone in the church heard their mother whisper from offstage: "You're dragging Jesus! You hold him right!" The Virgin Mary sat in her chair, put the doll in her lap and cried.

Then the play restarted. The first wise man gave gold, the second gave myrrh, and then it was time for Arthur to do his line. He started to step forward and present his gift to the Savior but there was a problem. His gift was gone.

He didn't see his jar of frankincense anywhere but he did see his mother glaring at him from just off stage. Arthur felt everyone in the audience looking at him, expecting him to give a gift to Jesus. He slipped a hand inside his robe to see if there was something in his pants pocket.

Arthur walked out to center stage and knelt down in front of Joseph and Mary. "From the Far East I brought this... um," Arthur put out his hands and cringed. "This gift of... um… grape-flavored Nerds... for the Savior to enjoy."

There was more inappropriate laughter from the audience. Tee was still mad at her brother for getting her in trouble. She grabbed the box of Nerds and threw it at him but it flew over the wise man's head and into the audience. Tee sat there pouting with her arms crossed. At that point, the minister's wife decided to cut their losses and close the curtains.

It was raining and cold that night so his father went out to warm up the car. Arthur and Tee wanted to get away from their mom so they went with him. They climbed in the backseat and waited.

Their dad wasn't easy to read. It was really hard to tell when he was angry. He started the car, turned on the defrost, and adjusted the rear view mirror. "So Arthur," his father said. "I don't recall reading anything in the New Testament about grape-flavored Nerds."

"Yeah," Arthur admitted, "it was kind of a surprise for me too."

Arthur's dad pretended to re-adjust the mirror as his wife reached the car. She was already in mid-sentence: "...been so humiliated in ALL MY LIFE!"