The following rare documents were only recently rediscovered. These are journal entries from the actual diaries of Queen Esther. They have only recently been made available by biblical scholars so if you haven't heard about them that's possibly why. These documents were unearthed about two and a half years ago in a storage locker in Babylon (Long Island), which seems a little odd, I know, but once you hear them I think you will see their authenticity is pretty undeniable. And, of course, the scholars agree on this point. The entries I'm about to read cover roughly the same time period covered in the biblical Book of Esther.
This first entry seems to have been written in the Royal Harem. Well, anyway, it's written on Royal Harem stationery. It's dated September, 478 BCE (which is kind of interesting that they used BCE at that time but, whatever). Tuesday.
I don't even know where to begin. I've never kept a diary before now but so much is happening so quickly I thought I should write it all down. Okay, I guess I'll just start at the beginning. Well, last Tuesday, Uncle Morty was reading the bulletin board in front of the granary while he waited for our millet to be pulverized and he saw a flyer about a beauty contest and, boom! Here I am. Preparing to begin my training to compete against the most gorgeous and talented girls in all of the kingdom for the title of queen! I can't believe it. Just one week ago I was just another sophomore at Shushan High with nothing more important to think about than whether to take an elective in sandal making and now here I am. It's so trippy! I'm still trying to get my bearings. When Uncle Morty dropped me off he told me not to tell anyone here I'm a Jew, which seems a little weird but I totally trust him. I mean, Uncle Morty's been just like a father to me ever since that horrible night when I lost Mommy and Daddy in the accident. I've prayed every day since that someday there will be laws against driving oxen while intoxicated! Maybe that's something I can work on if I become queen! Okay, stop. Don't even go there. It will never happen so just put it out of your mind. I mean, could you imagine? "Queen Esther." Yeah, right. That sounds normal.
The next entry was apparently made on around Esther's fourth day in the harem:
Time is really flying! I had no idea there'd be so much to do! I need to have gowns made for Parade of Provinces and Royal Banquet plus a modest but pleasing swimsuit for "Fitness at the Roman Baths". Most important, I need to prepare for the interview portion. I still can't decide on my platform. Should I go for Plague Education or just stay more traditional and stick with Leprosy Awareness? One good thing is that I do feel good about my talent. After all, it's not every girl who can weave and tap dance at the same time. Oh! I shouldn't even dream that I might actually be win the title of Queen but if I could just get one of the scholarships to U. of Persia it would be incredible. In any case, the allotment of an ephah and half of grain given to all the contestants' families is reason enough for me to be here. I need to keep that in mind, not get my hopes up, and just do my best. But, gosh, it's hard not to feel overwhelmed!
Apparently from sometime in the second week:
The training program here in the harem is rigorous. It calls for six months of work with oil and myrrh followed by another six months with perfumes and cosmetics. Before I got here I would have told you perfumes or cosmetics couldn't be interesting for 6 hours! But I guess that's why I'm not a eunuch. Those guys are incredible! There is this one eunuch, named Kevin, who is a wizard with makeup and he can make himself look just like Cleopatra and Nefertiti. Oh my god! And there's this other guy, well, you know, eunuch, named Matt, who dresses and acts just like Delilah. They are fantastic. Every Friday night do a late show in the harem. It's a scream. There's something about eunuchs. I don't know how to describe it. They're just so creative!
From sometime in the second month:
I am so freaked out right now! Ron, the eunuch in charge of talent told me today he thinks my act is all wrong! He said, "Listen, Missy, if you don't play the lyre you don't have a chance in hell." Just like that! I went right to Matt and I was like, "Matt, I'm so totally freaked out right now. Ron wants me to switch to a whole new talent" and Matt just laughed that high-pitched laugh of his and patted me on the ass and said, "Honey, you got all the talent you need for this contest." I'm so confused. I really want that scholarship.
Dating from the second or third month:
I think I'm starting not to have such a good time here. Everyone seemed so nice at first but now I see they're totally great to your face and then they just talk behind your back. And the one they rag on the most is Vashti. I don't think anyone here has ever laid eyes on her but they love to talk about her. Like, they say, "I heard Vashti is a total bitch." Or, "Everyone knows Vashti had a boob job." Or "Did you know before Vashti was queen she was a waitress at that greasy kebab house on North Jericho?" It could all be true, I don't know. I mean, there must be some reason the king wants to replace her. Right?
Somewhere around the sixth month:
Ugh! I am so bored in this f-ing harem! (Pardon my Babylonian). But seriously! There is nothing to do here! And I'm so sick of hearing about beauty products! It's all we talk about. I mean, come on. Either you're wearing cosmetics or you're not. You know? Either you smell like myrrh or you don't. And let's face it. I'm the prettiest one here anyway. All the eunuchs say so. When I first got here I was like, there is no way I'm winning this contest because all these women are so beautiful like I had never seen women so gorgeous. Around the camel park where Uncle Morty and I were living before I came here and he started hanging out at the town gate, the women were, you know, all dragged out from having babies and hauling water and trying to keep the mud hut from turning into a Sukkah. I think sometimes about somebody like Loretta, the goat tenderess. If someone would have offered her a six months supply of myrrh and she would have been like, "What in the name of Joseph's coat dost thou think I'm going to do with this crap?"
When I first got here six months ago I was blown away. I was, like, these women are a whole different species, so beautiful with their smooth hands and rouged lips and eyes all outlined with khol. But, you know, it's just different once you get to know people. Like, for instance, take Rhonda the Geshurite. Okay, when I got here I thought she was the most gorgeous woman I had ever met. Now I see that she's actually kind of homely but she totally knows how to accessorize with, you know, splendid ornaments of gold and silver and like that. And that Jackie from East Dabbesheth. What a body. Wow. She really fills out her robes of finest brocade, if you know what I mean, but personality-wise she's about as interesting as a sack of chaff.
I just see things so much more clearly now. Kevin and Matt have really helped me to refine my sense of beauty. Like, I was always taught it's virtuousness that makes you beautiful.. you know like it's all about like chastity
honoring thy father and mother
blah, blah, blah. But now I see: It's all about perfect skin. And no amount of cosmetics is going to give you that. And you know what? I've got it. I also have totally silky hair. The silkiest of anyone here except for Tiffany, daughter of Kish, but she's got a walleye which cancels it out. Best legs, me. Best tits, me. Best ass, so totally me it's not even funny.
I think I might actually win this thing.
Probably a few weeks later:
I saw Uncle Morty today. He yelled at me for "haughtiness". I was like, "Oh, right, I'm so sure. You made me come here and you're not even my real dad." I'm just so angry at him. I really am. He told me today he's gotten himself into big trouble with Haman, that guy from, oh, I don't know, he's an Amelekite or something. Anyway, Uncle Morty wouldn't bow down to him on religious principles. And I was like, you have got to be kidding. Why is it okay for you to have religious principles but I've got to hang out here in the harem acting like a shiksa. Do you think it's easy to keep kosher in a harem? The lactose intolerance line works for some things but eventually you're just going to have to smile and eat a pork chop.
I'm being unfair to my uncle, I know that I am. It's just that the contest is in three weeks and everyone's a little bit on edge. The pressure is starting to take its toll. Becky of Gedar has been compulsively pulling at her hair and now she's got a funky little bald spot right above her left hear. And that girl Britney throws up after every meal which I think is totally abnormal but she said that's what all the girls do back in her hometown in Northern Bulimia.
The last day of the second six month preparation period:
Tomorrow's the big day. Can't sleep a wink. Oh Diary, wish me luck!
The next morning:
Hel-lo! There's no beauty contest. No talent portion, no panel of judges. Just me, the King and a bottle of Mateus. What a shocker. I should have suspected something was up. God, could I have been any stupider? I mean, we haven't rehearsed in three weeks! I should be so furious at those eunuchs. But, you know, ultimately I guess I'm just grateful I had that much time hanging out with those bitches and watching their fancy shows because what I really learned was acting and boy, did that come in handy last night. As far as the King knows there is nothing that gets me going like a hairy back.
Anyway, I won.
Two weeks later.
Sorry I haven't written in so long. I've fallen into total lethargy here. I thought it was boring in the harem but here there's nothing to do but feast and sleep, feast and sleep.
One really neat thing happened yesterday, though. I met Vashti. I thought she'd be in exile or something but, no, she's still here. And, you know what? She is so great! I couldn't believe it and I felt so bad for all the terrible things we said about her when we didn't know her at all! What were we thinking? I mean all that stuff about how she screwed her way to the top. Well, duh. I mean, how else are you gonna get to be queen around here. She and I had a really good laugh about it.
A few weeks later
Okay, I have just gone from zero to sixty in about two seconds. Uncle Morty was just here and he told me that that guy, Haman, the one he wouldn't bow down to, is so pissed at him for not bowing that he's gotten the King to issue an edict to kill all the Jews. Unbelievable. Steve warned me about him, actually. He said, "Tell your Uncle to watch his back around that Haman because he's a bitter little man with a tiny little you know what." Odd as it may seem, this is a total insult coming from a eunuch. When Uncle Morty told me I was like, "What are we going to do?" And he was like, "The question is what are you going to do?" And I was like, "What do you mean me?" And he was like, "You're the Queen." And I was like, "Yeah, and
That'll buy me a roasted squab and a bus ticket to Samaria. So what?" And he was like, "You have to go before the King and ask for mercy for our people." And I was like, "If I go to the King without being summoned he could have my friggin' head cut off." And Uncle Morty was like, "Hello, wake up, you're a Jew. You're friggin' head's going to be cut off anyway." And I was like, "Dammit, you're right." So, long story short, I'm on my way to see the king.
Two weeks later.
So much has happened since I last wrote. SO MUCH. Even if I tried to write down all the details I don't know if I could remember them all so here are the high points: Let's see, where to begin
Haman is dead. He got hung on a gallows he had built for Uncle Morty, which is particularly gratifying. I'm not dead. That's the other good news. Believe me, when I went to see the king I was shaking like a leaf. Luckily I found favor in his eyes. I put on an extra splash of Myrrh and Vashti's advice to enter his chamber right as he finished watching Wheel of Fortune didn't hurt either. I begged for the lives of my people and the King said that while he couldn't reverse the edict he would send out another edict allowing us Jews to defend ourselves. Now, of course, I'm like, "That's the best you can do? You're the king." But in the moment I was so glad not to be decapitated I was like, "Yeah, great, that'll be fine." Anyway, it all worked out really well and our people prevailed here in Shushan and in all the Provinces. And, finally, Uncle Morty has been elevated to a high position at court which is fantastic for so many reasons, not the least of which is he finally has decent health insurance.
What a crazy year this has been. Kevin, Matt and Ron have really been pressing me to do a show about it. Needless to say, Ron wants to direct and Kevin, of course, is dying to play Vashti. But, I don't know. Sometimes I think they're right and it is a great story: you know, where I came from, what I've become. But other times I think, why get into it? I mean, at the end of the day who really cares? It's just a big, long megillah.