Chaim: Hello there! How are you down there?

Mutty: [oh great- instant condescension] What does it look like!I'm stuck in the mud! My name's Mutty, by the way.

Chaim: I'm Chaim. How long have you been in that mudhole?

Mutty: [Here it comes- he only knows me for a minute and he's labelling my life. Mudhole indeed!] Well, hey, as far back as I can remember! My family put me in here, see. That was, well, forty years ago.

Chaim: Can't you just get out?

Mutty: If it were so easy, don't you think I would have left ages ago? This is very sticky mud. You have to appreciate that!

Chaim: Hasn't anyone tried to rescue you?

Mutty: Sure, all the time! See these bruises on my arms and head? These are from the ropes that people throw to me. This scar on my shoulder is from the metal ladder my family hit me with just a short while ago. People can be very abusive with their "help"!

Chaim: But do you get any help from the ropes?

Mutty: No! Well, I used to pull on them a couple of times, but the mud just sucked me back. I don't have the strength. Now I just dodge when I see them coming.

Chaim: There has to be a way out for you!

Mutty: Nope. I just spend my days learning coping techniques. I learn to look at the mud more positively- to make the best of it... there's really nothing else for me, you see.

Chaim: Listen. I wasn't always walking free- in charge of my own destiny. Once I used to be in a mudhole too. When I realised that it was really a pretty cruddy place to be- I made a massive effort and I left!

Mutty: [Oh great, I just hate hearing other people's success stories. They make me feel such a failure.] Well, maybe this mud is much stickier than the mud in your little hole! A lot deeper too! Now you're making me feel really lousy. If you're not going to be sympathetic, why don't you just leave?

Chaim: I want to give you more than just sympathy!

Mutty: You are invalidating my pain.

Chaim: Say what!! I want to get you out!

Mutty: You want a medal? I feel terrible enough with all this stinking mud, and then you come along making as if it's not such a big deal to drag myself out of here, making feel dumb. You sound like a lot of other people I know. Kindly get lost. Go on, push off.

Chaim, with an expression of tremendous pain and sorrow, leans over the edge of the pool and starts to daven. As he davens, his tears fall into the mud, and start to fill the pool.

Mutty: Hey! Are you trying to drown me! What can I do with all this saltwater!

Wait a minute! Now I can see my face reflected in the mud! It's so dirty! Oy! Why didn't I see it before? Why should I dirty myself so!

Mutty then weeps himself, broken hearted, for a good long time.

Mutty: Hey! I see the blue sky reflected in my pool now. It's beautiful! I never really knew there was such beautiful blue light above me!

Now I see the trees reflected in my pool! How wonderful they are! How I would like to stroll under those trees!

I've been looking down at the mud all my life! Now I'll lift my eyes and see that sky and those trees that I only see reflected now.

Hey! All this saltwater has loosened the mud! I can move! That's it! I'm getting out of here right now!

Mordechai emerges from his pool, now smelling sweetly. He and his friend walk under the trees, dappled with sunlight.

Copyright © 1999 Gila Atwood

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