10,000 Comedians


Dim illumination from night lights that are plugged into electrical outlets low on the wall shows someone WALKING along a darkened hallway. The person approaches a set of stairs and DESCENDS. The ground floor is also darkened except for more night lights at low wall outlets. The person turns a corner and enters the kitchen, the only illumination coming from the over-the-stove hood light. In the semi-darkness is exposed a sloppy kitchen in this apparently upscale home. Seen in the sink is a pile of dirty dishes and open food packaging is scattered on the countertop. The person goes to the refrigerator and opens the door. The light comes on and the person leans forward, reaching into the refrigerator. Fully exposed in the light from the refrigerator is seen a FIRST MAN who appears to be Hispanic, his unshaven face showing dark whiskers. At the end of a tattooed arm is an expensive gold wristwatch. With his fingers he grabs the necks of three bottles of beer. The first man closes the door, turns and walks back the way he came, up the staircase to the second floor.


The first man approaches and opens a door, light spills out into the hallway. He enters the room, closing the door behind him.


Inside the brightly lit room are TWO MEN and TWO WOMEN. These two men and two women are wearing latex surgical gloves on their hands. Like the first man, the other two men and two women are also Hispanic and of the same age which appears to be twenty to forty. The WINDOW in the room is HEAVILY CURTAINED, blocking all light and view from inside and outside. The first man hands a beer to each of the two men.



Contar dinero es un trabajo sediento.
(Counting money is thirsty work.)

The others laugh. The first man reaches out to a ceramic dish on the table, he uses the manicured long fingernail on his pinky finger to scoop up some WHITE POWDER which he raises to his nose and SNORTS.

This room in the home is a bedroom but the normal furniture has been replaced by tables along two adjoining walls. The two men are sitting in chairs at the tables. One table is stacked with LOOSE CURRENCY, that one man and one woman are sorting by denomination and turning face up. They place the organized stacks onto the neighboring table where the other man feeds the bills into a HI-SPEED CASH COUNTING MACHINE. The second woman takes the neatly stacked and counted bills and puts a BANKERS BAND on them. She sets the banded stack at the end of the table. The first man makes a slash mark on a pad of paper, tabulating the count of stacks, then puts the banded cash into a CARDBOARD OFFICE STYLE STORAGE BOX. Leaning against the wall and on the tables are multiple firearms, PISTOLS, REVOLVERS, and ASSAULT RIFLES. The other wall is stacked with more banker boxes, sealed with packing tape and stacked in an orderly arrangement from the floor to the ceiling. Pan to CLOSE ON the hi-speed counting machine. A hand places a stack of one-hundred dollar bills into the machine feeder. A finger pushes a button on the machine. The image blurs as the bills are rapidly shuffled and professionally counted.



Through the windshield of a MOVING VEHICLE is seen a multi-lane roadway with commercial establishments each side of the street. There is some light city traffic. On top of the dashboard is a pile of folded maps, sunglasses, and a few cassette tapes. Ahead, a traffic light is approached that turns to RED. The vehicle stops. Still from the view inside the vehicle are seen STREET SIGNS showing this is the intersection of HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD and VINE STREET. The light turns GREEN, the vehicle rolls forward.


The front of the restaurant faces Hollywood Boulevard with plate glass windows allowing a view of the sidewalk and street of this world famous district in the city of Los Angeles. The manager, BOB, is middle-aged, dressed in dark slacks, white shirt and dark tie. A waitress, SHIRLEY, not old but not young, a veteran of the Hollywood scene, is dressed in a waitress uniform with an apron tied around her waist. They are standing by the cash register talking.

The jerk didn't leave me a tip. Can you believe it? I don't ever want to wait on him again. I see him come in, I'm going on break.

Maybe he just overlooked it. I hear he's working on a difficult shoot. You know, got a lot on his mind.

I don't care if he is a big shot director. That's no reason to be rude.

The manager is looking out the window and sees a pickup truck pull up and park on the street right in front. The truck passenger door is painted with a cowboy riding a rearing bull, a set of long bull horns are bolted on the engine hood and the truck has a large slide-in camper on the back. The whole apparatus is well used, dusty as if its traveled many miles.

You don't see a setup like that every day.

Shirley turns and sees a man get out of the truck driver's door and walk around the front of the truck to the sidewalk. He has a slight but noticeable limp. He's a slim, late-20's man dressed casually in jeans, cowboy boots, a pearl-button style cowboy shirt and cowboy hat.

Oh, great. The cowboys are always big tippers.

Maybe he's a rich oil man, like J.R. Maybe he'll sweep you off your feet, Shirley, and take you out of here.

Yeah, right. Only in the movies.

The door opens and the cowboy enters the restaurant. This is MONTANA. He has in his hand a rolled up magazine.

(a country accent)
Well, I be dawg! Here I am on Hollywood Boulevard. Can you believe it? Hello folks. My name's Jimmy but everybody calls me Montana. I just got in town. This is going to be my first meal in Hollywood.

Montana steps to the counter, swings his right leg over the stool like he's mounting a horse and sits.

Welcome to Hollywood, Montana. Would you care for breakfast?

That sounds mighty fine. I hope you got a steer on the spit because I'm plumb starved.

Northstar The Screenplay

A screenplay cover with money and a magnifying glass.

Howlin’ Wolf Studio™


© 2023 Harry Lee. All rights reserved.

WGAW Registry and U.S. Copyright Office Registered

NOTICE: This original screenplay, NORTHSTAR, is fully protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America and all countries covered by the International Copyright Act. Without the written permission of the copyright holder, except for brief passages in reviews, all rights are strictly reserved, including, but not limited to: motion picture, television, video and audio production; graphic interpretation and imaging; radio broadcasting; public reading; stage performing; the translation of the text into foreign languages; and all forms of mechanical and/or electronic reproduction including but not limited to information storage and retrieval systems, photocopying, and transmission by any means including the scanning, uploading and distribution via the Internet, are all expressly forbidden and is illegal and punishable by law.

This story, while inspired by actual events, is a work of fiction. The names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events, is purely coincidental.

ISBN: 979-8-9878457-0-7 (sc)

ISBN: 979-8-9878457-1-4 (e)

Library of Congress Control Number: 2023903813

Image credits: Acquired from istockphoto and/or generated with the assistance of DALL·E 2, then edited and arranged by the author.

The views of the author expressed in this book are solely those of the author, and the publisher disclaims any responsibility for the author’s interpretation of events.

A poster of an american military aircraft and the face of a soldier.




Inside a dimly lit club, customers murmur and wait for the next act.  SOFT JAZZ PIANO MUSIC begins. A curtain at the back of the stage opens.  A beautiful young Black woman, JESSE HAMPTON, comes on stage.  She is dressed in a long silky gown. Jesse begins a slow dreamy dance to the music.

Standing behind the bar is an older man, CARL, looking out over the crowd at Jesse, and smiling.

Suddenly the music changes to a RAPID TEMPO. Jesse whips off the gown, revealing a long lean body in sexy lingerie.  This is a gentlemen's club and Jesse is a star entertainer.  Jesse dances FASTER to whoops and cheers from the patrons.


A flashing neon marquee sign proclaims this to be the GCLZ.  Cars driving down the street in the rainy dark night.  Cars parked bumper to bumper at the curb.  A line of men waiting to be admitted.  A taxi pulls up and two men get out of the back, DAN and MARK.  The men are in their late twenties to early thirties.  They have military short haircuts but are in civilian clothes out for a night on the town.


Man, look at that line!  We'll never get in there.


Don't worry.  The owner is my uncle Carl.

They walk to the head of the line.  A burly bouncer, JAKE, is checking ID and keeping order.


Hey, Jake.  How's it going, bro?  This is Dan.  I thought I'd show him where the action is.


Hey, Mark.  Hey, Dan.  You guys come on in.

Jake stands aside and Mark and Dan go through the entry door.

The NEXT MAN who was standing in line demands of Jake.


I was next.  I've been waiting for twenty minutes.

Jake just gives him a grim silent stare.


Carl sees Mark and Dan.  He reaches across the bar to shake Mark's hand.


Mark, long time no see.  Where have you been?


Same place, Carl.  Over in sand land.  Keeping the world safe for democracy.  Carl, this is a friend of mine from officer training school.  Carl, meet Dan.


Hey, Carl.  Wow, great place you have here.


Hello, Dan.  Are you guys stationed together?


No, different divisions. We just bumped into each other at the airport.


(handing over a couple of beers)

Welcome to the GCLZ.


What do those initials stand for?


This is the Gentlemen's Club Landing Zone.

(looking at the stage)

I see Jesse is still here.


Yeah, she finishes up her degree this year then she'll get a real job.  Man, I hate to lose her.


Business been good?


Are you kidding?  Look at this place.  It's a gold mine.  But your drinks are on the house.

Jesse has finished her dance. She picks up the cash that's been thrown on the stage, the crowd is wildly enthusiastic.


I think I'm in love.  Who is she?


That's Jesse.  She's finishing up her master's degree in political science.  She's smart as a whip.


You ever dated her?


I wish.  She won't go out with the customers.


Why is she working in a strip joint?


You kidding?  She works a few nights a week and takes home at least a grand in cash, maybe more than that. She's raking in the dough. And, hey, don't call this a strip joint or my uncle will kick your ass.  It's a Gentlemen's Club.


What's the story on your uncle?  How did he get in this business, and why is it called the Landing Zone?


Carl is a Vietnam vet.  Army.  He was a pilot.  Flew Huey attack helicopters.  He saw a lot of action.  Two Purple Hearts.

Jesse walks through the crowd of very appreciative men. Carl waves her over.  At the bar she greets Mark.


Hi, Mark.  How have you been?


I'm good Jesse.  How are you?


I can't complain.


Jesse, you get more beautiful every day.  You must take a pretty pill when you get up every morning.

Dan elbows Mark in the side.




Introduce me to your beautiful friend, Mark.


Jesse, this is Dan.


Hello, Dan.


Jesse, wow, it's really good to meet you.  We came in at the end of your dance.  Are you going to dance again?

At that moment another beautiful young woman dancer, SUSIE LEE, walks up and joins them.  Susie is exotic, perhaps of Asian descent. Jesse introduces her to Dan and Mark.


Mark, you know Oochie.  Dan this is Oochie.


Hi, Oochie.


Hello, Mark.


Well, hello!  What a pleasure to meet you.  Say, that's an unusual name, Oochie, I've never met anyone named Oochie before.


That's my first name.  My full name is Oochie mi' Coochie.

Dan is flabbergasted.  Now he is drooling.


Yes, you are!  Can I buy you a drink?


It's my turn to dance.  Maybe when I'm finished?


Sure.  Sure.

Susie walks to the stage.  The crowd is wildly cheering her.


I'll see you guys in a while. I have to go change.

The music starts and Dan and Mark turn their attention to the stage.  Susie is dancing, provocatively. She is also a star at the GCLZ.


Jesse is changing into her next outfit.  She sits at a table and while she adjusts her makeup she is looking at a TEXTBOOK.


Susie finishes her dance.  Scrapes up the piles of bills lying on the stage and accompanied by applause and cheers goes back to the bar.  She walks up to Mark and Dan.


Wow, that was fantastic!  How about that drink now?


It's noisy in here.  How about we go to a private room.  Would you like a lap dance?




Dan is seated on a cushioned chair and Susie is giving him a private dance.  It's hot.


(reaching out)

Oochie mi' Coochie, I love you!


(smiles, shakes a finger)

No touchee!


Say, where are you from?


I was born in Hawaii.


Where are your parents from?


They were born in Hawaii too.


I mean, what's your nationality?


Oh, you mean what country are we originally from?





While Susie dances Dan is gyrating in his seat. As he moves around, something, a SMALL OBJECT, falls out of his right front pants pocket and goes down in the crevice between the seat cushion and chair side.  Neither he nor Susie notice. Susie finishes. Dan places a bill in her top.


That was great.  Here's an extra fifty.  A tip.  Oochie, will you marry me?


Not tonight, Dan.

And he goes toward the bar.  Susie turns the other direction, toward the dressing room.


Closing time. Jake is hustling the patrons out of the club.  The lights are on, and waitresses are cleaning up glasses.  Mark and Dan are standing at the bar talking to Carl.


It was great to meet you, Carl.


Come back anytime, Dan.  Any friend of Mark's is welcome here at the GCLZ.


Are Oochie and Jesse coming out?  Do they need a ride?


No, they won't need a ride.  Look, you guys take it easy. Come back to see us.


See ya, Carl.  Come on, Dan, let's get back to base.  We have duty at eight -

(looks at his watch)

Holy smokes.  It's two AM.  So much for a good night’s rest.


Hey, you're not driving, are you?


No.  We'll grab a cab.  See ya, Carl.

Dan and Mark leave the club through the front door. Mark has to hold the drunk laughing Dan up to keep him on his feet.



I'm in love, man!  Jesse is beautiful but that Oochie is a dream come true.  Hey, Mark, set me up on a date with her, will ya?


Not a shot, man.  They won't date the customers.


That's what Oochie told me in the lap dance room when I asked her out.


Bummer, dude.


Oh, man!  That Oochie makes my tongue harder than Chinese arithmetic!



You better watch out. She's tough. She'll kick your ass.


Jesse and Susie and a couple other women are changing clothes to go home.  The other women leave, Jesse and Susie are alone in the dressing room.

The Lost Gospels of Mariam and Judas The Screenplay

A screenplay for the lost gospels of mariah and judas.



The weather is hot, the sun intense. Three people are walking up a hill.  SIMON ISCARIOT is fortyish, a stone mason, with dark hair, his skin deeply tanned from outdoors work, he is a very physical man who other men dare not cross. His son, JUDAS ISCARIOT, is fifteen years old, a construction apprentice who is a younger version of his father, except Judas has ruddy skin and carrot-colored hair. Judas leads a donkey. The wife and mother, CYBOREA, is mid-thirties but already aged by the primitive life they lead, her hair is auburn with red highlights. They each carry a bundle of belongings, the donkey also carries a load tied to the crosstree on its back.  At the top of the hill the man stops. In a moment the boy and woman walk up and stand beside him. Simon points at something ahead of them.



In the distance is a village. Cyborea puts her fingers to her forehead and closes her eyes.


Bless us, Adonia, and let us find peace and work and lodging in Nazareth.

The man, boy, woman and donkey begin walking down the hill.


FOUR BOYS are gathered in a group. THREE OF THE BOYS are taunting and provoking the FOURTH BOY.  The man, boy, woman and donkey stop a short distance away, but are not noticed by the four boys, and they can hear what the four boys are saying.  All of the boys are teenagers, and the OLDEST of the three boys is trying to take a hunting sling away from the fourth boy. That fourth boy is YESHUA, who has brown hair and blue eyes in contrast to the dark hair and dark eyes of the other boys.


You cannot hunt.  Give me the sling.  Run home to stada.

The fourth boy punches that boy in the face.


Shut your mouth or I will kill you!

All three of the boys attack the fourth boy.  The fourth boy is knocked to the ground.  Two of the attackers hold him down while the oldest boy kicks the fourth boy.


Father, it is not fair.  There are three of them to his one.


It is not our concern.


But father, you are always telling me we should help those in need.  I want to help him.


We do not know the rights and wrongs of this affair. Perhaps he deserves the beating.


Then let them beat him one at a time, not all at once. Mother, should we let three beat one?


What would you do?


I will fight one so he has only two to fight.


(a wearied voice)

He is the son of his father.



Go then.

Judas selects a slender but stout stick of firewood from a bundle on the donkey's load. Judas runs to the fight, and in a surprise attack...

1) Judas swings the stick and hits the kicking boy across the back of his head and shoulders. That boy falls hard to the ground...

2) the other two attackers look around in shock giving the boy being held down a chance to jerk an arm free...

3) and the boy grabs a fist-sized rock from the ground and smashes it into the face of one of the remaining two attackers, that boy yells and falls away...

4) the fourth boy leaps to his feet and goes for the third attacker, punching him viciously, and quickly defeats him...

5) the fourth boy turns to look at the boy who assisted him.  The fourth boy is breathing hard, spitting out blood from a blow to his face.


Many thanks for your help.  My name is Yeshua.  I am called Yeshua the Nazarene.


I am Judas.  The son of Simon Iscariot.

Simon Iscariot and Cyborea have walked up and are now standing right there.


Yeshua? Is Mary Salome your mother? Is her mother, Anne, your grandmother?




You will not remember me. I last saw you when you were just born, in Bet Lehem, fifteen years ago it was, before Yosef took all your family to the land of the pharaohs. Anne is my sister. So I am your great-uncle. This is your aunt, Cyborea, and Judas is your cousin. You and Judas both fight your adversaries like demons! You two will get along famously.


How is Mary Salome, and Yosef, are they well?


Mother is fine. And Yosef. They will be happy to see you.


When did you return from Egypt?


It was two years ago. We have lived in Nazareth since then.



In a stone-paved open area, right inside the city walls, shoppers bargain with merchants at street stalls. There is a marked difference in the manner of dress between the people in the market square.  Some dress in more colorful and expensive clothing, THE SADDUCEES, who operate the shops and stalls. The majority of the people are shoppers who wear plain, unadorned clothing, THE PHARISEES.

Some Pharisees also have practical items for sale such as vegetables and woven cloth that two women, MARY SALOME, a brown-haired slender woman about forty years old, and Cyborea, are displaying on a spread out cloth.

On the street, passing near to Mary Salome and Cyborea, are FOUR ROMAN SOLDIERS who guard two chained wretched PRISONERS.


Two men in their mid-twenties, Yeshua, and Judas, and two older men, their fathers, YOSEF HELI, about fifty-years old with white hair and beard, and Simon Iscariot, are working with stone and wood. The FOREMAN, an older man, looks at the sundial and sees it is quitting time.


We are finished for the day.


Simon, would you and your family join us for the evening meal?

Each man carries a tool bag. Yeshua has a SMALLER BAG on a belt at his waist. From the small bag Yeshua takes a leather thong with a stone carved AMULET and puts the thong over his head.


The four men approach to where Mary Salome and Cyborea are preparing to leave. Simon and Cyborea have also aged ten years though they are both healthy and of good cheer.


Yeshua, did you have a good day, my son?


Yes, mother. And you?

The four men and two women pass through the gate at the city wall, adjacent to the stone-paved market square, to begin the walk home.


The village has homes made of stacked, plastered stones. They pass through a gate into the courtyard of the home of Yosef and Mary Salome. An older woman ANNE, grey-haired and grandmotherly, and a younger woman MARY JACOB, heavy and plain looking, in her late twenties, are cooking something in an iron pot hanging from a chain over a burning fire. SALOME, another heavy plain looking young woman, is tending a rock-stacked oven cooking bread dough into loaves.



-- burning candles light the room while Yosef says the prayer...


Blessed are You, Adonai, King of the universe, Who brings forth bread from the earth.

-- passing the loaves of bread; pouring wine from stoneware jugs into cups, and passing bowls of food...

-- eating, talking, laughing... 

-- the men sit at the table and point to and discuss the contents of scrolls, while the women clean up from supper...

-- Simon, Cyborea, and Judas are at the door, leaving to go to their own home...


Good night, cousin. See you tomorrow.



At dawn, Yeshua, Judas, Yosef, Simon, Mary Salome, Cyborea, and other TOWNSFOLK, are preparing to walk to Zipporah for the work day. The men are carrying their tool bags, the women have baskets of vegetables and cloth.


As they approach the town they come across an OLD MAN with long white hair and white beard sitting on the ground inside a circle he has drawn in the sand.  He has two wooden wands, one in each hand, and is muttering some sort of incantation.


You see more and more of these fanatics, beseeching one god or another. They are everywhere. The world has gone mad.


He is pulling truth from AmunRa. All those years we lived in the land of the pharaohs, you did not complain about them.


He is a necromancer. Adonia, save us from fanatics.

Yeshua pokes his elbow at Judas. Judas looks at Yeshua. Yeshua smiles and winks, then Yeshua lifts his fists out in front of him and looks up at the sky.


AmunRa, I beseech thee. What is the secret of life?


Hah! Your humor is subtle, like the hammer striking the anvil.


Yeshua and Yosef work with wood, Judas and Simon lay stone walls. They are building a rich man's home.


The women are greeting CUSTOMERS. They sell the last of their goods, taking coins in exchange.


The workday has ended, the men pack their tools and leave the construction site.


The men go through an area of town that has more permanent mercantile establishments, in buildings, compared to the marketplace, where people set up stalls day to day. Yeshua sees a group of ROMAN SOLDIERS gathered in front of a tavern drinking. The bright red triangular guidon of their unit, attached to the top of a wooden staff, catches his eye.


Yosef, go ahead.  I will catch up with you.

As the others continue walking Yeshua approaches the Roman soldiers. Yeshua speaks to a CENTURION, their commander, an older man of higher rank.


Greetings centurion.  Do you by chance know a centurion named Abdes Tiberius Panthera?


Yes.  I know Panthera. He is a good fighter. Why do you ask of him?


My family owes Panthera a debt. I wish to repay him.  Can you tell me where he can be found?


His legion was sent to Colonia Narbo Martius, seventeen years ago it was.


How can you remember the year so clearly?


It was the year after Caesar Augustus made Judea a Roman province, and we put the rebel's revolt down.


Where is Colonia Narbo Martius?


In Gaul, to the north and west, across the Great Sea.


How do you get to Gaul from here?

The centurion laughs at the young man's ignorance. Full of wine and wanting to impress the YOUNG LADY who stands beside his chair, the centurion shows off a little.


I will show you where Gaul is.

Using his dagger, he scratches a crude map on the wooden table. It is an oval shape with an opening at the far left side.


This is the Great Sea. We are here, Israel and Judea.

(scratches an X)

And this, all the way across the sea, is Gaul.

(scratches another X)


How many days riding a horse is it to Gaul?


Are you a farmer?  You cannot get to Gaul on a horse.  You must sail the Great Sea in a boat.


I am a carpenter. I can build a boat and sail to Gaul.

Have a good day, centurion.  Perhaps we may meet again someday.


Tell Panthera his old comrade in arms, Galerius, sends greetings. And be sure to build a boat that does not leak!  Hah!

Yeshua walks away from the tavern. Yeshua has a grim smile on his face.


Gaul? Hmm!


A DISTRESSED MAN runs up to A DIFFERENT MAN, both wearing the more simple clothing of the Pharisees, and speaks urgently to him. The distressed man's words cannot be heard over the noise of the marketplace. The different man is shocked at what he hears. A distressed man and a different man turn to other Pharisees nearby and share the upsetting news.  All those people are shocked and relay the news to others around them.  In just seconds the news has spread to the entire crowd. The news makes all of the Pharisees angry...

1) causing the Pharisees to riot, and the focus of their anger is the more expensively dressed Sadducees and their stalls and shops...

2) the angry Pharisee men, take up clubs and knives and torches for weapons, the women panic and take cover where they can...

3) a Pharisee UPSET MAN becomes violent, and shoves over a table at a market stall. A more expensively dressed man, a Sadducee, the MARKET STALL OWNER, attacks the upset man with a club...

4) ANOTHER PHARISEE MAN knocks over a burning brazier, the burning coals ignite cloth in the stall...

5) a mule panics and bolts, the cart it pulls loaded with crocks of water is overturned, the crocks break, the water making the paved stones of the roadway slippery...

6) a group of HORSEMEN, Roman cavalrymen, armed with spears, ride into the market square...

7) behind them trot Roman SOLDIERS with swords and shields...

8) the Romans violently engage with the rioting simply dressed Pharisee men...

9) the entire marketplace is the scene of rioting and fighting between the Pharisees, the Sadducees merchants, and the Roman soldiers who attack the Pharisees.


Yeshua hears the yelling before he turns a corner and enters the marketplace. He sees the riot. He rushes through the fighting to where Mary Salome, and Cyborea have their area.


Judas, Yosef Heli and Simon Iscariot are standing over and protecting the women.


What is happening?


Herod Antipas has executed our cousin, Yokhanan the baptizer. Yokhanan was beheaded at Herod's fortress of Machaerus.


The daughter of Herodias, Salome, bewitched Herod with a dance.  He promised to give her anything she asked.  Her mother told Salome to ask for the head of Yokhanan. 




We must leave before the Romans close the gate.


Cyborea, Mary Salome, get between us.

The men form a protective barrier with the women in the middle. The group moves across the marketplace, trying to avoid the fighting...

1) Yeshua and Judas are at the back protecting the rear. They pass the booth that is on fire, the fire spreading to neighboring booths...

2) suddenly they are caught in the middle of a pitched battle between a group of Pharisees and Roman soldiers...

3) a Roman cavalryman charges his horse toward Judas. The paved stones are wet from the broken water-seller's pots and Judas, dodging the attack, slips and falls, banging his head against the paved stones...

4) the Roman cavalryman jerks his horse around and charges Judas again...

5) Judas is on his knees, with a hand to his head, he looks at his hand, sees blood. Judas is trying to rise. He looks up and sees the Roman's spear is coming right at him...

6) suddenly Yeshua is there. He thrusts a burning torch in the horse's face. The horse screams and rears. The cavalryman is unseated and falls hard, stunning him...

7) Yeshua grabs up the fallen spear and sticks it in the Roman's throat, killing him.  Yeshua grabs the Roman's sword and draws it from the scabbard. A woman screams. Yeshua jerks around to see...

8) two Roman soldiers who are ripping the clothing off of a YOUNG GIRL. The Romans have killed the MOTHER and FATHER who lie on the bloody ground beside her...

9) Yeshua charges the Romans, and thrusts the sword into the back of one Roman who falls forward knocking down the other Roman...

10) Yeshua raises the sword and brings it down onto the neck of the second Roman, the sword hitting the paved stone roadway so hard the shaft of the sword breaks in two, while the young girl gathers her ripped clothing around her and runs...                                                       

11) Judas is now standing, with both hands to his head...


(runs up to Judas)

Judas, we must go!

12) Judas blinks his eyes, looks around, sees Yeshua, who is hacking like a berserker at the fallen Romans with the broken sword...

13) Judas runs to Yeshua, grabs Yeshua's arm and shakes him roughly, yelling at him...


We must go!

14) Yeshua drops the sword and they run...

15) Simon, Yeshua, and Judas rush through the gate, past the fighting Pharisees and Roman soldiers...


They catch up with Yosef and the women.  They talk as they walk swiftly away.


What happened?  Where have you been?


Yeshua had to kill three Roman soldiers.


Yeshua, there were witnesses. The Romans will come for you. You must stay away from Nazareth.  You must go and hide.


Where shall I go?


Go east, cross the River Jordan, and go into the wilderness of the Golan. Beware of strangers. Speak to no one. Take care to not be seen.


How long must I stay in the Golan?


A moon.  Stay away a moon, then return at night, in secret. We will know by then if the Romans hunt you.

Yeshua has lost his bag of tools.  He has only the smaller bag on his belt we have seen earlier.  Judas puts his tools in Simon's bag, gives Yeshua his bag, then everyone puts some survival necessities into the bag for Yeshua.


Here is some water and food.  Go.  Go quickly.

Yeshua's mother, Mary Salome, is crying, holding tightly to Yeshua.


My son! My son!

The Lost Gospels of Mariam and Judas The Novel

A painting of three people with the words " the lost gospels of mariam and jesus ".
(Translated scrolls compiled by Reverend Billy Williams)

The Galilee

I followed my father’s footsteps in the sandy soil as we climbed the hill, another hill of the many we had crossed in our long journey from Bethany. My father had slung over his back his bag of tools and a bundle of our possessions. I carried another bundle on my back and the donkey I led carried as his burden clay water jugs, a stack of firewood and other supplies. Behind me walked my mother who carried a smaller bundle of clothing balanced with poise on her head, a white cloth spread below it, blocking the hot sun’s rays from her face, neck and shoulders. The donkey was tired from the long journey. The donkey was plodding his hoofs in a shuffle. I laid my hand on the donkey’s head and spoke quiet words of encouragement to the beast. He snuffled at me.

At the top of the hill my father stopped, looked ahead then turned to look at us coming up behind him. I squinted my eyes against the bright sun and watched a hawk soaring high in sky, its keen eyes searching for prey. I wish I had the bird’s freedom of flight to make the traveling easier. A few more steps and I stood next to my father at the top of the hill. My mother walked up and stood beside us. My father pointed. He told us, “Nazareth.”

My eyes followed his pointing hand and I saw in the shimmering distance a village perched on a plateau below the height of the hill where we stood. There were the people’s homes, with patches of green that would be their gardens. We would go down this rocky hill then cross a dry ravine that would run fast with water in the rainy season, then climb one more hill to our destination. The rough terrain was especially difficult for my mother. Looking at this hill to descend and the next to climb, I knew it would be late in the day before we arrived at Nazareth.

My mother said, “Bless us, ADONAI, and let us find peace and work and lodging in Nazareth.” She bowed her head and placed her fingertips to her forehead.

Looking down I saw at the bottom of the hill a group of four boys. These were the first people we had seen since leaving the River Jordan to cross west through the Jezreel Valley at the south base of the Tabor Mount. My father started down the hill and we followed him. At the bottom of the hill I could now see that three of the boys were provoking the other. The fourth boy was younger than the others. He looked to be the same age of myself, which was thirteen years. The fourth boy had a hunting sling in his hand that was being pulled away from him by the oldest and biggest of the other three.

The older boy pushed the younger boy, and said to him, “You can’t hunt. Give me the sling. Run home to stada.” Then the boy being insulted threw a hard punch to the others face, yelling, “Shut your mouth or I will kill you.” The other two boys jumped on the young boy and now all three were attacking him.

No matter how hard the young boy fought, he did not have a chance against three. He was being punched and pulled from three directions and now the young boy was on the ground being kicked by all three of the attackers. We were still a stone’s throw distance from the group of boys. My father had stopped walking and we came beside him. I said, “It is not fair. There are three of them to his one.”

My father replied, “It is not our concern.”

“But father, you are always telling me that we should help those in need. I want to help him.”

“We do not know the rights and wrongs of this affair. Perhaps he deserves the beating.”

“Then let them beat him one at a time, not all at once.” I turned to my mother. “Mother should we let three beat one?”

My mother answered my question with a question, “What would you do?”

“I will fight one so he only has two to fight.”

My mother looked at my father and said in a weary voice, “He is the son of his father.”

My father laughed, nodded his head towards the fight, and said to me, “Go then.”

I stepped to the donkey and selected a hard stick of firewood. The stick was the length of me to my chin, a slender but good stout weapon. Pulling it from the stack I turned and ran to the fight.

Two of the boys were holding the younger boy down while the older of them kicked the younger boy. Running up from behind them, they being unaware of my approach, I swung the stick in a vicious arc, hitting the kicking one across his shoulders and the back of his head. I knocked that boy down, he fell hard to the ground. The other two boys looked up in shock. That gave the boy being held down a chance to jerk an arm free and he grabbed a fist sized rock from the ground next to him. He smashed the rock into the face of one of the attackers, that boy yelling in pain and falling back.

Now there was only one attacker left and the young boy tore into him with a vengeance, pummeling his face with his hard fists. In moments the fight was over. The three attackers were lying on the ground moaning. The young boy who was being attacked stood and turned to look at me. I was leaning on my stick of firewood, the other boy was breathing hard, spitting out blood.

The boy who had been outnumbered and being beaten raised his arm. He showed me his open right hand in the sign of peaceful greeting, and said to me, “Many thanks for your help. My name is Yeshua. I am called Yeshua the Nazarene.”

I raised my hand and replied, “I am Judas. The son of Simon Iscariot.”

My name is Judas Iscariot. I am going to tell you what happened, what really happened, to me, and to my friend, Yeshua.

Will It Play in Peoria The Novel

A book cover with the words " will it play in peoria " written on top of it.
Written by William Williams

When nature formed our species … She said to us, “Go, and do the best you can.”



Friday, August 23, 1968, 9:30 A.M.

Chicago Democratic National Convention

At the Picasso sculpture 

We had left Woodstock the day before at the un-godly hour of four in the morning.  Joe and I had taken turns driving from upstate New York all the way to Chicago, spelling each other every few hours or so, while Serena, Joan, Mallory and Hans and Gretel had made themselves as comfortable as possible back in the crowded conditions in the cab-over camper on the top of the pickup truck that Joe had borrowed from an uncle.

The old pickup and camper was good cover, as Joe’s own VW van that was painted in wild psychedelic colors would have been a moving target.  As Joe’s Uncle George, a cool old dude, had pointed out, “You’ll probably get pulled over by every corn seed country cop in every county you go through.  And besides,” he’d said with a wink, “You’re probably hauling some of that Hippie moonshine or whatever you call that crazy stuff you youngsters are doing.  You’d never make it there in your rig.  Take some fishing poles and tackle.  If you get stopped, tell them you’re going to Lake Michigan for the Perch run.”  It was good advice and generous of him to loan us his rig.

            Needless to say, with seven people, we had made numerous pit stops along the way which accounted for the thirty plus hour journey. At several of those stops, Serena had used a pay phone to call her contact in the Berkeley Red Squad that was using a Chicago hotel room as a temporary headquarters.  After the calls Serena related to us the news that the Youth International Party and the Hippies were gathering like a massive guerrilla army in downtown Chicago. Also she told us the news that Mayor Daley had all the Chicago police forces on duty, and that the Governor, Samuel Shapiro, had called out the National Guard .

            “We’re going to make history,” she said.  “This will be bigger than last year’s March on the Pentagon.”

            To me, it sounded like a lot of hassle for just one pig?  But Serena was our in-house Anarchist and was hip on all the actions that had preceded this event, so follow her I would.

We’d planned to get to Chicago before daybreak to try and beat the city traffic into town.  We were running late and due to the huge mass of people, the normal commuters plus the additional multitudes swarming to and congregating for the demonstration, we’d had to park far from our destination.  It looked like a long, several city blocks hike to get to the Civic Center.

            Serena was a bundle of nerves, saying, “Come on, hurry or we’ll miss the show.” My eyes were fixated on her shapely posterior and legs that moved like pumping pistons in her tight blue jeans as she hurried down the sidewalk.  I was stiff from sitting in the truck, I was groaning to keep up with her as was the rest of the crew. 

            We’d finally arrived at our destination to find the Civic Center outside in the front around the sculpture full of Hippies.  After the forced march I was leaning back on the sloped edge of this fifty-foot tall steel structure, enjoying  the shade it provided, and looking up at this enormous piece of abstract artwork, trying to figure out what in the world it could possibly be.  The rest of the crew was standing in front of it gathered around Hans a few feet away as he was giving a learned discourse on Picasso’s varied works. 

            “It’s a fantastic example of his Cubist period,” Hans said.

            “It sure looks like something, but I don’t know what.” said Joan.

“It looks like a big bug,” said Joe.

Shaking his head, Hans informed Joe, “You’re obviously untutored in the fine arts.  Didn’t they teach you anything at college?”

“They taught me that a big bug is still a bug,” replied Joe.

“Look.  Is that Jerry?” asked Serena, pointing at a station wagon that was pulling up out on the street.

“It is him,” yelled Serena, jumping up and down excitedly.  “There’s Jerry.  Look, in the back.  He did it.  He brought a pig to the party!” 

“Far out!” yelled Joan.

And thus, our wild week at the Democratic National Convention began.

I sat up from my angled reclining position and saw a fellow with long, curly, dark hair and a beard pulling a chunky tan colored pig from the back of the station wagon that had stopped right on the street in front of the sculpture.  There were another half dozen Hippies who got out of the station wagon and walked with the fellow holding the pig to his chest.

Serena and the others ran down to the car.  Serena and Joan were un-furling a large bed sheet that had painted across it in bold letters: 


            I followed them through the crowd and got there in time to see the Hippie called Jerry hand the pig to one of the other Hippies.  Jerry then began to read from a sheet of paper.  This was apparently the acceptance speech for the pig that was named Pigasus.

 When Serena had gotten the phone call two days before and told me about this, I had initially thought it was some kind of practical joke – wanting her to drive all the way to Chicago to see a pig nominated for President?  But Joan and Joe and Hans and Gretel, who it seemed also knew this Yippie character, Jerry Rubin, and appreciated his zany sense of street theatre, had broken up laughing and they had immediately began preparations for the trip.  

            The fellow, Jerry, now read from the paper in a clear, carrying voice, “I, Pigasus, hereby announce my candidacy for the President of the United States, and …”

            That was as far as he got, before about two dozen uniformed and plain-clothed police officers rushed in and interrupted him.  By now I was standing next to Serena who was yelling at the top of her lungs, “VOTE FOR PIGASUS.  PIGASUS FOR PRESIDENT.”

            Several hundred more Hippies who were gathered around took up the chant until the Civic Center resounded with their voices.


            Then all hell broke loose as the cops wrestled the pig away, slammed Jerry and his friends to the ground and handcuffed them, all with a measure of violence that seemed totally out of proportion.  What had just moments ago seemed like a humorous stunt now had degenerated into an ugly scene. 

            Serena was screaming, “FUCKIN’ PIGS!  FUCKIN’ PIGS!  FUCK YOU PIGS!”

The crowd of other gathered Hippies also began screaming, “FUCKIN’ PIGS!  FUCKIN’ PIGS!  FUCK YOU PIGS!”

The cops who weren’t occupied with Jerry Rubin and his co-conspirators waded into the crowd and began pushing and punching the Hippies, telling them, “GET BACK.”

Serena wouldn’t give ground and one of the uniformed cops, a fat sweaty guy, whirled, and growling, “Hippie bitch,” raised his riot club in the air over Serena’s head.  Serena, not ducking or dodging, stood like a martyr, seeming to welcome the coming hit, while screaming in the cops face, “FUCKIN’ PIG!”

            Acting on pure instinct and getting the luck of the draw, I stepped behind him as he began his backswing and his weight was shifting to his fat-ass rear.  As his equilibrium reached the top of his backswing I delivered a hard roundhouse kick low to the back of his planted leg.  His own momentum and the force of inertia flipped him up and over backwards in the air like a circus acrobat.  His feet were pointed straight up, then gravity took over and he landed hard on the asphalt with a huge THUUMMP, hitting the ground like a three-hundred pound sack of shit.  “HUUUUGH”, he expelled all of the air out of his lungs.

Grabbing Serena’s arm I began to drag her out of the melee and into the crowd to get away before the cop could get up.  She spat and cursed like a wildcat, trying to pull away from me to get back to the forefront of the confrontation.

            It had turned into a full scale riot.  The cops were beating people left and right with their clubs and punching people with their fists and kicking them after they were down, like the cops were possessed by a demonic force or something.  I was shocked by their extreme violence.  ‘Jesus Christ,’ I thought, ‘it’s a fucking nuthouse!’ 

I saw Joe pulling Mallory and Joan away and Hans and Gretel also retreating.  I wrapped my arms around Serena and half carrying her wriggling body, pushed our way out of the crowd, following Joe and the others.  We got to the corner, making good our escape.  The riot carried on behind us.

            Several blocks away, we were sprawled on the grass at a park and Serena harangued me roundly for, “Leaving our comrades to fight the pigs alone.  We should have stayed and kicked those bastards’ asses!”

            Serena was standing over me, her fists clenched, still agitated.  Looking at her, her red hair sweaty and tangled, her blue eyes sparking, her damp t-shirt hugging and emphasizing the swell of her proud braless breasts, I only smiled and told her, “You forget, lady.  According to Joe’s Chinese proverb, I’m responsible for your life, and for your safety.  No matter how crazy you are.”

            “Fuck you and that stupid proverb,” she muttered crossly.

Hans laughed and said, “And she who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day.”

Joe, flicked his lighter and said with a laugh, “Let’s burn this Joint, relax for a while, and then go find some breakfast.  I’m fucking starved.    And while we’re eating, we’ll raise a toast to Jerry and those other dudes who got busted. I bet they’ll eat moldy baloney for dinner in jail tonight, while those pigs eat the pig.  Then we’ll go to the Hilton for the demonstration.  We can’t miss that.  Hah!  What a way to start the convention!  That Jerry’s wild, isn’t he?” 

  Serena swelled up for another outburst, then, always unpredictable, she burst out laughing, dropped to her knees, threw herself into my arms, and exulted, “Pigasus!  Wasn’t that fucking great?”

            “It was a hoot,” exclaimed Joan, laughing.

            “Yes,” shrilled the usually reserved and quiet Mallory, “Let’s go do it again.”

            “Jeeezus Chreesto!  Vat next?” asked Gretel, grinning and shaking her head.

            ( . . . the Chicago Democratic National Convention – to be continued  . . .)

    Woodstock, New York

   Sunday, January 15, 1950, 4 A.M.

Once upon a time in the psychedelic Hippie days of Harmony and Rage … No

It was a dark and stormy night … No, no.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times … No, no, and no.


So, where to start?

            I’m not suffering from writer’s block, it’s just that the beginning has to begin just right.  A good beginning makes for a good journey and it is my intention that this be not only a worthwhile journey for you, dear reader, but also a journey of fulfillment for me as I write these words in an attempt at self-examination to try to decipher the meaning of – well, all this.

As far as beginnings go, it’s like when I was planning and writing a new sermon. Once I found where to start the sermon, the rest of it always just fell into place.  Of course there were times when I would not have a beginning, a sermon planned or any well thought out words.  At those times, I would just trust in Providence to put the right words in my mouth, as Huckleberry Finn would say. 

            Sometimes on those occasions I would help Providence along, with maybe an alcoholic beverage, maybe a Toke on a Joint, maybe a snort of a line of Coke, maybe some backstage sex with some lovely, willing woman, or even some combination of those.  In other words, The Good Lord helps those who help themselves.

There, you see, it is my intention to be brutally honest, in this, my autobiography.  

This isn’t the first time I’ve sat down to do some writing.  I have, over the course of the last many years, written and published other works.  Those were mostly of a religious nature wherein I was attempting to expound upon the text of the scriptures, the King James Version of the Holy Bible to be precise, and to exhort the reader to understand the words of Our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

And, as a diligent student of the world’s various religions, I’ve studied the writings of other faiths to try and understand how God could be perceived so differently by the various cultures and peoples who inhabit this planet, sometimes harmoniously and sometimes not so harmoniously, and in the process sometimes embrace those of other faiths but usually readily slaughter one another over their beliefs in their particular God.

            But my other writings were easy to compose as the text of the Bible and other different religious texts, and His (whoever your He, or, She, may be) words are sort of inscrutable and mystic and therefore are open to various interpretations so one can be fairly creative in one’s presentation. 

You can see this creativity in action at numerous places of worship around the world on a regular and continuing basis as it is presented by those various individuals who profess to interpret their God’s Word.  Some of those presenter’s, to be unflinchingly blunt, are charlatans, scam artists, sociopaths and others with their own agendas.  Do I include myself in those categories?  Being honest with you, and with myself? That will be your decision – I leave it to you, at the conclusion of this tale, to make that decision.

Anyway, so, this is the story of my life.  I intend for this to be a true and factual accounting, a no-holds-barred and no-punches-pulled exposition of the events of my life and my reactions to those events. My publisher, who printed and distributed my other works, introduced me to several individuals who are in the business of writing biographies for those unable or unwilling to write their own.  Ghost writers they are called.  Their finished works are promoted as being written by the subject of the biography, but that’s mostly just a con to hype the sales.

After meeting with those ghost writers and reviewing some of their work, I finally decided to perform this task myself. It’s not that I had any specific objection to them or their talents, I just thought that the story of my life should be told straight out without any creative interpretations. I decided that this should be told, as they say in the courtroom, truthfully, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

I should point out that I had begun keeping a journal, after a particular night’s experience that I will soon elaborate upon, with the thought of perhaps one day writing a play for the stage. The stage and theatre was in my blood, having been exposed to it from my earliest memories, but, you’re probably wondering: The Reverend Billy Williams, a playwright?

Actually, stranger things do happen, as fiction has no conceivable comparison to reality, as I’m sure you’ve witnessed. So my written words here are not merely foggy recollections but have a basis in the facts, as they evolved, as I wrote them at the end of the day on a daily basis for many years, and now refer to those pages of notes and remembrances.

Okay then, I suppose the place to start is:  In the Beginning.

At 4 AM it was a dark, windy, snowy and stormy winter night on Sunday, the fifteenth day of January, 1950 in Woodstock, New York when a man-child was born.  That newly arrived infant came kicking and screaming into this world.  That was me, little Billy, as this was many years before I became the Reverend Billy Williams.    That date, January 15, and that place, Woodstock, would both figure prominently in the rest of little Billy’s life.  The one for a good reason, the other for a not so good reason.

The infant that was born on that bitterly cold early morning in the Catskill Mountains had no inkling of what his future was to be at that moment in time, he was simply another resident among those who called the small town of Woodstock their home which included my parents and now little Billy, me.

How did my parents come to be living in Woodstock, New York in 1950, why was that the particular place where I was born?  That is another whole and interesting story in itself but in an effort to be concise I will dwell here on the facts as they relate to my autobiography.

My father and mother were both native born in New York City and were aspiring actors who had met in Manhattan in the spring of 1941 where they both had supporting roles in a Broadway play.  His name was Thomas Williams and her maiden name was Pearl Tracy.  My father supplemented his sporadic acting career by working as a carpenter building the stage sets while my mother, who was a pianist and skilled at painting would apply the finish to the scrims, flats and scenery of my fathers constructed sets.  My parents managed to find work in the theatre before the curtain went up as skilled hands, during the production as actors, and afterwards when the set was struck.  This mingling of their talents was very practical and contributed to the circumstances of their meeting.

In New York City, on the afternoon of December 7, 1941 the temperature was just above freezing.  My father and mother, who were dating but not married at the time, were cuddled together in a corner booth of a saloon that catered to the theatre crowd enjoying a meal, a drink and the convivial atmosphere.  The radio was broadcasting the New York Philharmonic Symphony.  About two thirty PM, the program was interrupted to announce the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  The news of this cold-blooded, surprise attack was dreadful and now the United States of America was at war.

Recruitment centers sprang up around the country including in New York City and my father was one of the first to sign up.  Both of my grandfathers had served as soldiers in the US Army during World War I and on both sides of my family uncles and cousins had also served in various branches of the Armed Forces and in various conflicts going back to the Revolutionary War, it was sort of a family tradition.

My father, like many other red-blooded Americans, enlisted in the Army to defend hearth and home against the Nazi and Axis threat.  Before he left, my parents were married at the courthouse.  After a weekend honeymoon my mother saw him off at the train station.  It would be four long years before they were reunited.  My father served in Europe during the war and when he was de-mobilized at the end of the conflict he and my mother finally were able to live as a married couple.

They took up where they had left off, working at the theatre.  My father had managed to parley some wartime poker winnings into a dandy little nest egg that they planned to use wisely.  In the spring of 1946 they moved lock, stock and barrel to Woodstock.  They had always been aware that Woodstock was a haven for artists of various genres and they knew that many of those residents of Woodstock were kindred spirits in the world of theatre. The history of Woodstock was filled with creative, colorful people going back to 1902 when the arts and theatre crowd in New York City discovered this tranquil farming community just a few hours train ride away and adopted it as their summer home away from home.

The village of Woodstock and the post-World War II crowd that gathered there was intent upon enjoying their hard fought peace and the lively, cultural atmosphere it spawned.

Since both were talented actors and Thomas Williams was proficient at carpentry and Pearl played the piano and was skilled at scenery, the local arts community welcomed them.  They found steady work at the various community theatres as skilled hands and actors.

Using his nest egg as a down payment, my father applied for and received a G.I. Bill mortgage and business loan to buy land and build a rooming house that welcomed the arts and theatre crowd, some of which made Woodstock their year-round home and the others who flocked there in the summertime.

They also built an adjacent structure for their theatre that my parents and the other actors rehearsed and presented plays in.  My father told me once, when I was old enough to stand at the front door and collect admission, “Make sure you give them their money’s worth, son, but make sure they pay for their seat.  No one appreciates anything that’s free.  The more they pay, the more they think its worth.”  That particular piece of advice would serve me well years later, as will be demonstrated to you shortly.

The theater and the rooming house were constantly filled with colorful personalities who were trained thespians, skilled at weaving a fiction.  That early exposure would have a profound influence on my life.

This bit of history is told to convey the point that I was raised in an environment of creativity.  Some of my earliest memories are of the theatre with me and the other children of the cast and crew sort of being the mascots of the troupe.  The theatre, the stage, the workshop, and backstage, those were my playrooms.  And then, when the house lights went down and the players on the stage convincingly portrayed characters engaged in drama, heartbreak, tears, death, and all the attendant foibles of man, balanced by the comedy and hilarity of life, their dramatic actions would serve to make me, young Billy, have an insight into what could jerk a tear or rip a laugh from the audience.

Of course at this point in my life I was much too young to realize the benefit of this exposure, but later it would serve me well.  At the time I was just a blond-haired kid with long legs who soaked up the magic of theatre like a sponge.  I assisted my father in constructing the sets and, probably, my father hoped that I would grow into a fine craftsman.  I lugged buckets of paint for my mother and read lines from plays to her while she was painting the scenery and she, probably, secretly, hoped that I would become a gifted actor.

In a way I suppose, both of their ambitions for me became somewhat of a reality. I would eventually become the builder, artistic director, writer, and actor on a stage of my own devising.  No one, including myself, could have imagined what I would eventually choose for my life’s work.

Or, what might choose me?

Life is certainly full of surprises, isn’t it?  Maybe there is a Grand Plan?  Maybe there is a Superior Being who has our life’s course mapped out?  On the other hand, maybe, as Forrest Gump said in his 1994 movie, “Shit just happens.”

Well, what’s this?  The Reverend Billy Williams is using curse words?  And confessing to drinking booze?  And being a wanton womanizer?  And snorting Cocaine and smoking Pot?

You may be asking yourself, is this truly the Reverend Billy Williams? Could this really be the story of his life?  Yep.  It sure is me, and the fact of the matter is; you ain’t seen nothing yet.

To continue:

As the years passed and little Billy, me, grew from infant to adolescent to teenager, the world revolved around his home, school, the rooming house residents, the theatre and the normal activities of a healthy, maturing young man in a rural yet culturally active small town.  In that atmosphere all things seemed to proceed along at a measured pace.  And then, during my senior year of high school, the year of our Lord, 1968, two things occurred that brought the larger world with all its bizarre connotations right down into the living room and onto the middle of the town square and into Billy’s awareness of Life, or, I guess you could call it, the Stage of the World as Billy perceived it.

The one thing was the Vietnam War being covered and broadcast by Walter Cronkite on the network news every evening on the black and white television: Dark, bloody images, body counts, bombings, death and destruction.

And the other thing was the arrival, like a blast of light from another dimension, of the Hippies into the hereto before relatively conservative hamlet of Woodstock, New York.  Those few Hippies that appeared on the town streets and in the village establishments were the scouts for the army that would arrive a year later.

It was a social phenomenon that these two things, a wildly unpopular war and the emergence of a wildly colorful segment of the population should find themselves birthed, if not simultaneously, somewhat concurrently.  Was the one, the Hippies, created by the titanic pressures of a society seeking a release, a voice, raised in protest against the grossness of War, the corruption of the political process and Man’s inhumanity to Man?  Or, were the Hippies a seed in the garden of evolution that would have eventually sprouted anyway?

Evolution?  What heresy is this?  We will continue with this thought later, meanwhile …

While this thought about the Hippies, the War and this pivotal transformation wasn’t explicitly debated at the time, it is a question that I now ponder as I remember watching those long-haired, bell-bottomed blue jeaned, tie-dyed t-shirted, free-loving, Pot-smoking personages who would one moment advocate the violent over-throw of all government, and the next, blissfully discuss the greater-good-soul of all, well, most all, of humanity.

The residents of Woodstock in the spring of 1968 were amused and somewhat shocked by the colorful minority of Hippies descending upon their town.  And this was before the deluge and hordes of hippies that came through later going to the Woodstock festival – imagine their shock then?

But now, with just the dozens of Hippies, the snowball poised at the top of the mountain so to speak, my parents, just like the other parents of the young, impressionable teenagers in Woodstock, warned me against “Hanging around those wild Hippies.”

Of course, this just made me and the other young, impressionable teenagers that much more interested in what they might discover “Hanging around those wild Hippies.”

For young Billy, me, who had about six months before, celebrated his eighteenth birthday, what I discovered was a whole new way of looking at Life.  It was another form of Theatre, except that the action was live and never ending, the stage was always full of Players, the house lights never dimmed, and instead of being make-believe, it was Real, man.  Really Real.

And like a gift from Heaven, dropped into my life, came a young woman.  Her name was Serena.


Saturday, June 1, 1968

Woodstock, NY


Serena was twenty years old and from Richmond, California.  She had Turned On, burned her bra and dropped out of college at Berkeley.  Serena was into the music, the party, the Pot, politics, and the Psychedelic Harmony and the Rage that was born in the second half of the 1960’s.  Serena was a free spirit whose travels and ramblings had brought her to Woodstock, New York.

This is how we met.

One brilliantly sunny Saturday afternoon in June, 1968 I was at the Millstream Swimming Hole, a lake fed by the Saw Kill River that was the local gathering place.  High school graduation had occurred the day before, that ordeal was finished.  I had been accepted to the State University at Albany; my future seemed to be mapped out, a future full of promise and Billy, me, was sitting and pondering this brilliant future, and I was already bored with the prospect.

Whatever your personal religious beliefs may be, whether you believe that all things are pre-ordained and that things happen for a reason, or, if you think that shit just happens, it’s certainly a mystery how occurrences do occur, isn’t it?

As you know, I’m now out of the business of attempting to interpret those particular religious and philosophical questions and out of the business of sermonizing on those interpretations but I will say this, my meeting Serena, and the circumstances of our meeting, just seem to be too particular and peculiar to be random.

On the other hand, maybe this thing known as Life is all just a random pile of cosmic shit, waiting for the winds of Chance to blow the odors of the effluence hither and yon.

But the day I met Serena, it seems, must have been a day that was written down in some big Good Book somewhere.  I mean, seriously, think about the math?  What if I’d been born and lived in some other spot on the globe, what if she hadn’t come to Woodstock, what if I hadn’t been at the swimming hole that day – what if, what if and what if?  There are too many factors in the equation, any one of which if altered in the slightest way would have changed that day and, therefore, changed the course of both of our lives.

But, I’m getting ahead of the story.