- Iscariot: Chapter 1 – In which we meet Pontius Pilate and learn about an obscure Goddess.
- Iscariot: Chapter 2 – In which we meet Jesus of Nazareth, his brother James, Simon the Zealot, and Donny, one of King Herod’s slaves
- Iscariot: Chapter 3 – In which Judas splits a bottle of wine with Mary Magdalene, daughter in law of the almighty.
- Iscariot: Chapter 4 – In which we learn that Jesus is not scared of lightning. Also Kelsey, the formerly barren lady from Chapter 2, has become fertile and now it’s a whole thing.
- Iscariot: Chapter 5 – In which we learn that just because you have love for all things, doesn’t mean you can’t get annoyed by certain peoples antics.
- Iscariot: Chapter 6 – In which Menahem asks, “Are you there, God? It’s me, Menahem.”
- Iscariot: Chapter 7 – In which Pontius Pilate learns who King Herod is and what King Herod do.
- Iscariot: Chapter 8 – In which we meet Martha, wife of Judas, and she’s a delight.
- Iscariot: Chapter 9 – In which we meet the remaining apostles at the Passover feast.
- Iscariot: Chapter 10 – In which Pontius Pilate reminisces about the good ol’ days.
- Iscariot: Chapter 11 – In which there’s a bit of exposition until the angel Lucifer shows up and has a brief chat with Judas.
- Iscariot: Chapter 12 – In which we are made aware of the political situation in Rome.
- Iscariot: Chapter 13 – In which the Passion of the Devil.
- Iscariot: Chapter 14 – In which we meet the rice goddess Inari and a fox named Mrs. Noodles.
- Iscariot: Chapter 15 – In which Mary, Martha, and Kelsey meet a Behemoth and the story passes the Bechdel test.
- Iscariot: Chapter 16 – In which Judas and Jesus travel through India and learn about road building.
- Iscariot: Chapter 17 – In which (much like in Game of Thrones, Season 3, Episode 8) there’s a wedding.
- Iscariot: Chapter 18 – In which crucifixion shmoosifixion. Jesus and Judas are back, baby!
- Iscariot: Chapter 19 – In which we extrapolate upon the Ascension a little bit.
- Iscariot: Chapter 20 – In which Judas and Mary have a pre dinner drink, and we leave them there.
If you have a spouse, and they have a best friend, and said best friend is the opposite gender as your spouse, it’s important to trust that the two people in question have worked out that they’re very happy in the positions which they hold. You have to trust that your spouse married you for a reason and that they can be completely faithful to you while also gaining strength from their friends regardless of gender.
That’s broadly where Judas and Mary fit into the larger narrative. It’s something that I like having in my own life, but don’t always see in others. I’ve seen people get so anxious about losing their significant other, (especially to another person) that they end up driving themselves crazy while also driving the person they love away. Not into the arms of the opposite gender best friend, but away nonetheless.
I cherish the friendships that I have. Some of which I’ve spent my whole life cultivating. I also recognize that when I date someone, they’ve done the same thing and the thought of denying someone something which is so wildly fundamental to their very human nature seems repellent. We’re social creatures and friends are a good thing. Certainly, someone’s sex or gender isn’t meaningless but it probably should be more often than not in this particular regard.
So Judas and Mary ended up as this ridiculous pairing of two friends who genuinely love each other, but are simply that. Still, I thought we might also want to meet Judas’ better half and as a sort of wish fulfillment, she’s not jealous of her husband’s opposite gender best friend.
In which we meet Martha, wife of Judas, and she’s a delight.
Martha looked at her husband and Mary and smiled a toothy grin. Judas had the apostles who tolerated him and Jesus who loved him, but Mary Magdalene seemed to be the one person in the whole world other than herself that actively tried to make Judas happy. It never worked, sullen old thing that he was, but he was considerably less sullen when she was around. She was grateful for Mary and delighted in having her over when she could.
She brought another round of drinks out and sat down to hear Mary gently berating her husband, which she also delighted in.
“Boys are stupid,” she said, taking a mug of wine. “Did you know that you’re stupid, Judas? Martha, did you know that your husband is dumb?”
Martha smirked. “To be fair, I didn’t marry him for his brains. I married him because he’s a demon in the sack.”
Mary laughed out loud. “Oh. Well. Fair play to you then, Martha. Good pull.”
“Also our parents arranged it, but I’d have married him anyway, depression, anxiety and all. I think he’s funny when he’s sad.”
Judas gave his wife a side eyed glance and she smiled widely for him. “So how about it my love. Are all boys dumb or is it just you?”
Judas finished his wine quickly and set about refilling his cup. “It’s not just me. I did stupid things when I was a boy and I’m sure Mena’s out somewhere being an idiot as we speak. Do you know that my friends and I used to have rock fights? We all just thought it would be fun to throw rocks at each other. It was sort of like a game of tag, but you were “it” when you’d been pelted with a stone. That’s how boring it is around here.”
“That sounds like something boys would do,” Mary said while sinking further into a chair.
“We also used to throw axes at each other.”
Martha gave an incredulous look to her husband. “What? You never told me that. What do you mean?”
“I mean we’d make a little circle of stones and stand in the center and literally throw axes at one another. The goal was to throw the axe as close to the circle as possible. If it wasn’t your turn to throw, you’d be the one standing in the circle and wait as long as you dared before dodging out of the way.”
“Well, I think that safely proves my thesis. Martha, were you horrified when you first met this man that you were set to marry?”
Martha giggled. “No. We met at a dinner party. Well, actually that’s not accurate. You know what? Screw it. The first time we met it was a party and a bit of a wild one. Judas wasn’t naked, but he also wasn’t wearing his robes. That type of party. Not a sex party, but like…there was a lot of wine and he was barely wearing anything and it was perfectly fine that he wasn’t.”
Mary grinned and said, “That’s a hell of a meet cute. What happened next?”
“The next morning everyone had told me that I had won,” Judas stated.
“Won the party. The whole thing. I was the winner.”
“You’d have had my vote. Why weren’t you wearing any pants?”
“It was hot as balls and I was drunk. I opted to have a lovely swim in a fountain.”
“It’s hot as balls and you’re drunk right now. Yet here you are fully dressed,” Martha replied.
“There’s no fountains around and I got old.”
Mary sunk back into her chair. She waved her empty mug at Judas. “Judas? Another glass? And how’d you guys even get away with that?”
“Get away with what?”
“I don’t know. Going to a party with people in fountains and drinking before you were married? A co-ed party at that. I never got up to anything as a kid. I was on full lock down until I got married and we started meandering all over the countryside.”
“Well you know how it is. You can’t watch your children every second and you just assume that your kids are obeying you. But…I mean. The assumption is also that there’s no way your own kids would get up to the same shenanigans that you got up to when you were young. And even though there’s a small part of you that knows that they are, you give them the benefit of the doubt,” Martha explained.
“So you and Judas have plausible deniability? Is that all parenting is?”
“Guys, we are going through this wine like it’s water. Martha? Want me to open another casket?” Judas asked his wife.
Martha just gave Judas a thumbs up and continued her conversation. “They have to learn to be independent at some point. Arranged marriage aside, it’s good to know that your kids are at least smart enough to not get caught being bad. Of course it’s easier for Mena. He’s been getting training from his father his whole life on how to sneak, blend in, and infiltrate whatever he wants. I have no idea when he’s misbehaving.”
“You guys raised a good kid. Jesus absolutely adores him. Though…you know. That’s kind of his bag.”
“And we wouldn’t have it any other way. Speaking of kids, when are you and Jesus going to have some.”
Mary sighed and took a swig. “I don’t know. It’s come up. But I’m not getting any younger. He’s just so involved with trying to start the church. I mean, the man speaks with angels about philosophy, he literally casts demons aside who try to tempt him and he protects the hell out of his little flock. I married a good guy and I love him to pieces, but he’s just so worried about the state of the world. His father has told him that he’ll be the one who can turn it all around but he never tells Jesus how. So we just keep trying to build this…thing. I don’t think we’ll ever have kids. But…you know what? I don’t even know if I want kids. Maybe I can just be the best aunt ever. James can have a quiverful and I’ll spoil them rotten and they’ll love me and I’ll never have to punish them. Auntie Mary.”
Martha didn’t quite understand but she smiled anyway. “You sure you don’t want one? I can give you Menahem cheap.”
Judas finished tapping the keg and piped in. “Pshaw. You ain’t getting him cheap after next month. That kid is going to be richer than the rest of us combined after he marries the ginger girl.”
“She has a name, dear.”
“Kelsey. Emily was the one from before.”
“Oh right. I knew that.”
Mary yawned and stretched. “I think,” she said, “That I should go home. Big day tomorrow.”
“Well I’m sleeping late as I’m not welcome at the temple. The high priest comes to me when they want someone killed. They pay well. But oh we couldn’t possibly have an assassin in the holiest of the holies. Think of the politics, they say. So let them have their little peaceful inner sanctum. I’ll take the silver they pay me to get rid of undesireables and let them have as much fun burning myrhh and chickens as they want.”
Mary stood up and embraced Martha but knew better than to try and give Judas a hug. “As long as you’re both at the Passover Seder it will all be good. Night guys,” she said and made her way to the door.
Martha shut and locked the door behind her and joined her husband on the couch. She snuggled into his arms. “We should have her over more often. Her and Jesus.”
“Mmm. I think the amount we see her is fine. I like staying in with you.”
“Ok, honey,” she said putting her head on his shoulder and letting out a content sigh. Within minutes they were both asleep and didn’t stumble off to bed until some obscene hour of the night.