To kill an antichrist

Matches come in a box, tobacco in a pouch, milk in a carton or bottle. Perhaps the scariest part of “The Omen” is that knives were transported in a towel.

“State law requires I ask you a couple of questions,” the guy said.

Recently I went to have knives sharpened. While hacking at a carcass with heavy, dull blades provides a satisfaction of its own, time is tight and my family needs its food cut with efficiency and precision. And we can’t afford lasers.

So there I was, with a cleaver and several other knives wrapped in a dishrag, and the sharpenist was quizzing me.

“Do you now, or have you ever belonged to a religion that demands blood sacrifice?” he said.

“Yes, but only symbolically,” I said.

“Do you believe you or a loved one is harboring the AntiChrist?” he said.

Harboring is a strong word,” I said. “But I’m driving by and he’s waiting for the bus in the rain, I’m gonna pick him up.”

“Do you intend to use these knives for any activity other than meal preparation?” he said.

“No.”

“Not even opening boxes?”

“No.”

“I had to ask,” he said. “The End Times are coming.”

So I was not surprised to see my knives returned with instructions.

As you know, Ambassador Robert Thorne, who had the misfortune of being the earthly caregiver to the AntiChrist, received the Daggers of Megiddo in similar inappropriate packaging. It’s like carrying your golf clubs in an omelette.

“You want me to kill Damien with these?” he asks Bugenhagen. “Preventing the reign of Satan’s son is surely worth a Coach bag.”

“We give you a coupon later,” Bugenhagen says.

Thorne, played by Gregory Peck, also killed Audrey Hepburn by this method in “Roman Holiday.”

For centuries, the blade has been the preferred method of slaughter for sons on either side of the theological fence. Commanded by God, Abraham was to sacrifice his son, Isaac, with an axe.

“Sorry it didn’t work out,” Abraham tells Isaac.


Leonard Cohen uses “The Story of Isaac” as an allegorical war protest. Why “sacrifice these children” when [governments] “never have been tempted by a demon or a god”?

When my son learns to talk, he will doubtless ask me if I would ever run him through with a consecrated kitchen or garden implement on orders from the almighty.

“Jem,” I’ll say, tousling his hair while checking for Beast-related birthmarks, “My father once told me that I could stab all the AntiChrists I wanted, but it was a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

“I love you Dad.”

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