009: The Ephod



{The main body of an email, which had two photos attached: the photos have since been stitched into one single image. — Ed.}

from      Eilidh Kinnaird eilidh.kinnaird200@gmail.com
to            me
date       Wed, Aug 31, 2011 at 8:59 PM
subject Lead about the Guides
mailed-by            gmail.com
signed-by            gmail.com
Important mainly because of the people in the conversation.

I’m sorry to hear about Dominic Shaw – I understand you were very close: I know it’s frustrating and difficult having to fabricate events just so that the police don’t end up deciding that you’re a suspect. You said you think the Guides are involved somehow, and while I had told you everything I knew about them when we last met, one of my contacts recently clued me in to something interesting in Glasgow’s history; I offer it to you now as a gesture of goodwill and as a new lead to explore. When my mum passed away, my dad buried himself in his work, and it seemed to help him: I hope it helps you, too.

There are two pictures attached which gives the full text of the story, but, to sum it up – in the early 1900s, a man known as an “Onion Johnny” (people who made a living out of selling onions on a door-to-door basis) delivered onions to a restaurant in the east end of Glasgow; one day, when the restaurant’s cook cut into one of the onions, she found a ring inside, engraved with the word “ZEBA”. When the Onion Johnny returned the next week, she showed him it – he screamed, grabbed the ring, threw it down a drain and hurriedly left the city, weeping. The man was never seen again.

This story is obscure and rather dull – until you look at it in the wider context of the city and its associated cabals. “ZEBA” – which supposedly means “Manslayer” – is the name of a Midianite King, the Midianites being a tribe of people from Biblical times who worshipped “false gods”, such as Baal-Beirith and Asherah. Zeba was slain by a man sent by God on a holy mission to avenge his people and bring an end to the worship of idols. Now, I know who it is you think I mean, and I’m afraid it’s not Moses – the answer is far more interesting.

His name was Gideon.

According to Judges 8:24, after completing his mission, Gideon took a number of relics and jewelry from the Israelites and their foes, melted them down, and had an “Ephod” made out of them. The Ephod (sometimes associated with a “Teraphim”) was an object that, alongside the “Urim and Thummim”, was commonly used in some kind of divination practise that modern scholars still haven’t managed to identify – I’m guessing they’re rings, like the ZEBA ring in the story. In an amusing twist, it turns out that the Ephod Gideon created led his tribe back into idol worship after he died. God forever sends prophets to abolish idolatry, only to have them facilitate idolatry all over again.

My purpose in telling you this is that if anyone knew where the ZEBA ring is now – or the Ephod, Urim and Thummim associated with it -it would be one of those unhinged Key collectors that show up at Relics on the solstice/equinox. Strike up a conversation with one of them and maybe you’ll find it – or maybe they’ll throw you in the White Room. It’s dangerous, but danger surrounds the Keys like an aura to keep people away from them – even people who don’t know the danger for what it is, like Dominic Shaw.

And please, for the love of the dear green place, stop framing the Keys as mere stories. You’ve dug yourself into a hole by telling people the shadows at the Borstal and Duke Street were fictional, and now Dominic is dead, the police are investigating your “unusual microfiction”, and people think you forged Dominic’s note. It took blood, sweat, tears – and a good bit more blood – to find out what little we know of the Keys, and a lot of people are angry that you’re belittling the danger they’ve put themselves in by documenting them with half-truths. You need to start either writing fiction or reporting fact – not half of one and the other – or else the hole you’ve dug yourself into will be your grave. Consider that a threat if it will spur you to action sooner.

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