- 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.
“Oh wait, what chapter is this?” I recently shouted to my cat. The cat looked up at me. “It’s chapter nine and I forgot about the rest of the apostles!”
My cat, as usual, was largely indifferent to this information and went back to his nap. I stared at him for a moment until I heard him snoring and then went back to writing. (And yes, he does snore. It’s very faint, but you can totally hear it.) Anyway, as an exercise, I thought I’d write about Saint Andrew. Andrew is a nice enough person, but one of those people who if you said, “I’ve just spent my weekend rock climbing,” has to then tell you about some backpacking trip he took to Everest when he was ten. I mean…not Everest. None of these people have been to Nepal, but…Ok. If you say, “This salsa is delicious,” he’ll immediately say that he gets his salsa from some place a few towns over which uses organic peppers from the Eastern Desert of Moab. I feel this is a person we all know, but maybe it’s just me.
So that’s a brief character synopsis of Saint Andrew. Maybe in real life he wasn’t like that? I encourage anyone to prove otherwise. I’ll wait…
Right, so as I’ve stated above, something that I had broadly ignored while writing the first eight chapters of this book is that there were twelve apostles. So far we’ve only met four. If this had been a more traditional novel, I would have probably noticed it around this time and threw a few more apostolic references in to earlier chapters. Unfortunately chapters one through eight are already published and no amount of wishing will change that. As my uncle used to say, “if wishes were fishes we’d live in the sea.” But wishes aren’t fishes and I live in Brooklyn.
So you’ll meet all of the apostles here. Also, for fun, I threw a little Resevoir Dogs into the chapter. Enjoy!
In which we meet the remaining apostles at the Passover feast.
Holy Mary, Mother of God heard some people approaching through the woods before she could see them. It was getting dark and she had yet to light the lamps. She had been setting up the Passover meal, since as a woman, she wasn’t allowed in a number of places in the temple grounds. Certainly not in the place where her sons and their friends were planning their little demonstration.
So she skipped the whole thing and agreed to play team mom which is a role which she enjoyed. She set the table and cooked the meal…or…well that wasn’t true. When she married Joseph she made it clear that she wasn’t really one of those wives who cooks. Not for lack of any desire, mind you. She was just very bad at it and despite efforts to force herself to get better, she didn’t. So she ordered the food from Alder’s Kosher Deli. Alder’s was a little pricey, but they did very good work when you had a large group. She had them cater the funeral when Judas’ parents died and it was all very reasonable and well organized. Plus they were willing to haul everything all the way out here to the grove.
In any case, Mary, (the mom, not the wife of the Christ and good friend of Judas) was opening wine bottles and called out to whoever the first arrivals were. Despite the darkness, she made out that one of the shadows was James.
“Well hello,” she said. “What news? Was the high priest upset that you knocked over his tables?” (As seen in Matthew 21:12) As James came closer, she could see that he seemed to be supporting a limping Simon the Zealot.
“Mom! I didn’t know if you’d be here or not. I’m so glad you’re ok.” James dropped Simon who whimpered, came up and embraced her. This did not happen very often with James, as he tended to be much less emotionally driven than his brother, but that’s neither here nor there. Mary liked hugs and accepted this one happily.
“And a good evening to you as well. Why wouldn’t I be Ok? What happened? Where’s Jesus?” Finally she looked over to Simon who had blood stains on his robes. “What happened to the zealot?” she yelled.
“Jesus got out unscathed, he told me to bring Simon here. He said he was going to heal who he could and then he and the rest would meet us here. He told us to sit tight.”
“Ok. How did he get stabbed, though? Were the soldiers actually attacking people at the temple? Even Prelate Pilot can’t have been that insane or stupid.”
“No, they weren’t attacking. Simon started screaming that he could summon bears to attack the Romans. He got up on a rock shouting to the heavens. The Romans stood their ground in one of their little shield-wall formations and Simon slipped off of his rock and stumbled into one of their pikes.”
As James was explaining and Mary was frowning, another shadow came running into the grove.
“Holy lord in heaven was that a set up or what?…oh, hi Mrs. Ben Jacob.”
“Is that you Andrew?” Mary asked. “James, can you get some light started around here? And fetch some hot water and clean cloth for Simon. Andrew, are you alright?”
“I’m ok,” Andrew stated before seeing Simon lying on the ground near James. “Oh shit. Simon got stabbed? By who?”
“Who do you think?” James answered while lighting lamps. “Roman soldiers were everywhere with their damned pikes and their swords.”
“Andrew, help James. Get some cloth or something, and some clean water from the table.” Mary approached Simon who was trying to sit up against a tree. “Hi sweetie. Tell me where it hurts.”
While Mary attended to Simon the Zealot, Andrew (who is described above in the chapter introduction. Sort of described, anyway. He was mostly just given a singular character trait, although I feel that you can gleam a lot about the remaining parts of his personality by just understanding that particular affliction,) ran up to James the Greater. “Set up, right? Total set up.”
“I don’t know. I don’t know, man. I haven’t had a chance to think,” James replied. “I was just trying to get out of there and keep the zealot alive. Do you think it was a set up?”
“Think? No. I know we got set up. The High Priest started ringing the bells after Jesus tipped over the tables, right? Well Pontius and his little army have their barracks across town. They have patrols, but they don’t patrol with the whole regiment, and they definitely don’t march the damn thing to the temple in full armor while riding fucking chariots. And yet there they all were, waiting for us at the gates and shouting about Jesus.”
Before James could respond, his mother Mary called to him. “Let it be.” (John and Paul 19:70) “Bring me water and cloth. We need to tend to the zealot’s wounds. What did you boys do?”
“We just did what Jesus had planned!” James exclained. “We protested how much the temple charges for incense to burn and animals to sacrifice. Jesus knocked over one of the money changers tables and then all I remember was the Romans arriving outside. There was a commotion and everyone was yelling. People were pouring out of the temple and some Roman officer was shouting about arresting Jesus. Jesus told us all to come here and wait. I knew that we’d end up dealing with some political fallout from this stunt, but I have no idea how the Romans got there as fast as they did.”
Andrew heard James’ version of the story. “That’s what I’m saying. I’m saying they were already there and looking for Jesus for some reason. Someone had to have told them what we were planning.”
“Oh, even if someone did, why would they care? They’re going to kill a bunch of people over some nothing protest about the price of sacrificial chickens and frankincense? Why?”
“The why is not important. The soldiers were there, they were shouting for the Christ, and they knew what we were doing before we did it. The question is not why, James. The question is who betrayed us.”
The two apostles stared at one another in thought. Quietly, and through the shadows, the messiah joined them in the grove, surrounded by the following people.
Nathanael Bartholomew, the Israelite in whom there was no guile, (John 1:47). John, a tough as nails fisherman who acted gruff but had a heart of gold (Mark 1:20). Jerome L. Thaddeus, the intense and ambitious patriot with dreams of making Jesus the king of the world, (John 14:22). Matthew the tax collector, who was quiet and thoughtful and the only apostle who knew how to write. A bronze age Thomas Jefferson if you will. James the younger, Matthew’s little brother who talked a good game but often fell into trouble and needed to be rescued. Peter, an outspoken guy, who was the emotional center of the group. “Doubting” Thomas Didymus, who never believed what he was asked to believe, (John 20:25). And of course, Jesus’ wife, Mary Magdalene. (Philip herein is replaced by Mary because I read that “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” book, and believe that Mary was an apostle and that Jesus was married to her. As such, someone had to get bumped and Philip doesn’t really do all that much outside of Acts. There’s also quite a bit of uncertainty about whether the Philip from Acts 1:13 is the same Philip as from Matthew 10:3 so off he goes.) Ladies and gentlemen! Your Apostles!
Judas, meanwhile, was running late as he had to organize some things for his son’s wedding. In doing so, he got a bit more tipsy with his son’s future father in law than he had planned and stumbled into the grove about an hour after everyone else. Unfortunately for all involved he had been unknowingly followed by about thirty Roman soldiers.