Iscariot: Chapter 17 – In which (much like in Game of Thrones, Season 3, Episode 8) there’s a wedding.

This entry is part 17 of 20 in the series Iscariot

If ever I get married, I’m not sure how many of my ex-girlfriends my bride-to-be will let me invite. I’m assuming that we’ll just negotiate a number. My absolute floor is four, but I’m hoping for six. (I’m thinking that if I start the negotiations at nine, I can at least get five.) Not inviting any of them would effectively cut my friend group in half, given that I’d want a small affair, and as I said, I need at least four.
When I brought this up with my current girlfriend, (Who…let’s not get ahead of ourselves here, this was a “Proof of Concept” conversation.) she started the negotiations at zero ex-girlfriends to which we haggled up to three, with a sub clause stating that we both could invite an unlimited number of ex-lovers. I actually think that would work well depending on the delineation we make between the two types of exes.
Paramours are apparently right out.
Also out is anyone who I estimate has a more than 12% chance of standing up and saying something during the bit where they ask if anyone has any objections to the marriage. (But none of you would do that, right? Good.)
I’m assuming the girlfriend will stay with me despite these negotiations, however, in the unlikely event that she does not, the contract will remain valid with future girlfriends as all pieces negotiated herein only referenced “Philippe’s wedding” and as such would remain in place regardless of future parties being added or current parties being removed.
Upon review of that clause, the current girlfriend asked that we negotiate further. If we do break up, she would like to be invited to the wedding as one of the three ex-girlfriends, thus bumping someone or forcing a realignment of a former girlfriend to former lover status. Additionally, she would like to act as DJ and has informed me that she will only play songs by Radiohead. (A band which I’ve never been partial to.)
So that’s all settled then. Enjoy the festivities everyone!


Chapter 17

In which (much like in Game of Thrones, Season 3, Episode 8) there’s a wedding.

A man in a wonderfully decadent, ceremonial robe picked up an equally wonderful and ceremonial knife. The knife itself had been specifically designed to pierce through the bone located at the base of a human eye socket while simultaneously making the user look stylish.

Among the assassin community, there are differences of opinion on how best to kill someone. The primary point of contention comes down to finesse. Some people think that the best way to kill a living being is to just sneak up behind them, clap your hand over their mouth and stab their neck repeatedly.

This method will absolutely get the job done, but again, a certain sect of the community says, where’s the sophistication? Where’s the subtlety and tact? It’s crucial, they say, for an assassin to have some amount of discretion or what’s the point? “We’re not common thugs,” the assassins like to say.

No. This knife wasn’t for just random neck stabbing. This was a knife meant for precision. With care, one could put a blade directly into the brain of their target and cause an instant and almost painless death for the victim with minimal mess for all involved. This knife was strong enough and kept sharp enough to perform such a task. Quietly tasting the smallest amount of blood necessary to drown the brain and shuffle someone off of this frail and delicate mortal coil.

Though all of that was neither here nor there, as the knife was currently being used to make a clinking noise against a glass of water in order to garner the attention of everyone in the room. It was time to address the crowd. It was the time-honored tradition of the best man’s speech.

“Hello everyone. First of all, I’d like to thank the bride and the groom for having this reception, and I’d like to say that I feel truly honored to be standing in this position while both the groom’s father and my brother are apparently gallivanting around the world. Assuming, of course, that the giant winged man with the sword who came and screamed at us was telling the truth. I mean. Admittedly we were all at the cave and saw that crazy flash of light which lit the whole valley up as if it was daytime. But that angel guy was intense and weird, right? Am I the only one who thinks so? Anyway, hopefully your dad and my brother will be back soon.

I’d also like to thank whoever was in charge of the seating. Sitting me at a table with three of my ex-girlfriends was a classic bit of frivolity. Maybe everyone thought I’d be more comfortable with people I know? Hard to say. I do admit that Simon the Zealot finding out that he’s engaged to my ex-girlfriend, Lydia of Thyratia was a fun bit of business. Hi Simon! Are your stab wounds healing up ok? Ha ha. Ok, you old bastard. Anyway, today is a day for Kelsey and Menahem. I’ve heard that when you give your best man speech that you’re supposed to keep it short, and I already fucked that up. But I’ll come to an end. Mena? I’m glad you’ve found someone who shares your sheer exuberance for being an assassin and such. Kelsey? I understand the ladies all brought you out to go slaughter some sort of demon monster and your performance was exceptional. That’s great. I think it’s safe to say that you two will get on like gangbusters and I hope the first child comes soon. I should probably wrap up here, so I’ll just say that I love you both. James the Greater, out!”

James held the knife sideways and dropped it on the ground, which was the traditional way people ended important speeches in biblical times, and walked back to his table. He was annoyed but not surprised to note that his date was nowhere in sight. His three exes (Lydia of Thyratia, the seller of purple ((Acts 16:14-15)), Sapphira, a real estate agent ((Acts 5:1-11)), and Rhoda, who hated Peter the apostle almost as much as she hated opening the gate at Mary’s house ((Acts 12:13))) all had guilty yet pleased looks on their faces.

“I was gone for like five minutes. What happened to Kezia, granddaughter of Anna the Prophetess?”

A complicated explanation followed between the three women at the table but the crux of the conversation was that they did not feel that Kezia and James would make a good match and convinced the young lady of that fact. James waited patiently for them to finish the explanation, nodded his head and sauntered off to the bar.

“Something big and full of alcohol,” he said to the barkeep and sat down on a stool.

“You look troubled, my friend. What ails you?” asked a voice.

James turned his head and noted that it was Lucifer. “Oh. Hey. Umm. What’s up? How long have you been here? I didn’t see you at the ceremony.”

“I tend to avoid actual wedding ceremonies but I quite like receptions. I got here early. I wasn’t happy with the seating so I made some changes. I like it to be boy, girl, boy girl, you know? But my table wasn’t like that so I swapped place cards with someone. Oh! Come to think of it, I traded places with you.”

“What? Every woman at the table you moved me to was an ex girlfriend of mine.”

“You yourself called it a good bit of frivolity.”

“Damn it, Lucifer!”

“Cheeky little mischief-maker, ain’t I? Can’t help my nature. What are you going to do?”

“Nothing, I guess.”

“Well that’s not entirely true. You’re going to finish your drink and then Mary is going to come over all flustered about the election.”


“Yeah. Or whatever term you people use nowadays.”

James had no idea what the angel was talking about so he simply shook his head and finished his drink. “Whatever you say, Lucifer.”

As he said it Mary came shuffling up to them. She look flustered.

“James. We have problems.”

“Ah. My beloved sister-in-law. Trust me. I’m aware of my problems. Three ex girlfriends at my table!”

“James, nobody cares about that. We have bigger fish to grill.”

“Bigger than those three scaring off my date? We’re at a wedding and she’s a bridesmaid. It was a sure thing!”

“There’s no such thing as a sure thing. As long as we have free will, she has the absolute authority to not use her freedom to indulge your flesh. (Galatians 5:13.) So don’t be a dick, don’t assume anything about your date and follow me right now or you will feel my wrath.” As she said the words, she held up her hand in a threatening sort of way.

James cringed knowing the damage that Mary was capable of doing with her backhand and meekly said, “Yes, Ma’am.”

He followed her away from the festivities of the wedding and outside onto a patio where a group of people were gathered. The light wasn’t great, but James could make out Peter who at first looked annoyed, but quickly changed his expression into a smile.

“So glad you could join us, James. We all need to speak and this is as good a time as any. Mary, sweetheart? Could you go get us some coffee?” Peter asked.

“Peter, sweetheart? Get your own damn coffee. Also, if you call me sweetheart again in that tone of voice, I will hire Judas to kill you in your sleep,” she replied.

“Well aren’t I lucky that Judas got blown up in a cave fire. So you can’t hire him and I can sleep peacefully.”

“He didn’t get blown up. He’s on the other side of the world with Jesus. And he’s coming back. Both of them are coming back. The angel said so.”

“I’ve had my fill of angels of late, Mary. That Lucifer fellow does nothing but mess about with people. For all we know, they’re all like that.”

While Mary and Peter were bickering, James looked at the group. It dawned on him that it was the entire group of apostles, save for Judas and Simon the zealot. And until a few seconds ago, save for he and Mary as well.

“What’s going on, chums?”

The apostles all looked at each other and then at Peter. James noted that they all had expressions similar to the ones he had just seen on his ex girlfriends.

Peter coughed. ”Well,” he said. “The fact of the matter is that we all, as a group, have to figure out what we’re doing with this church. We have a good thing going and just because Jesus is gone, doesn’t mean that we have to disband.”

“Nobody ever suggested that we disband,” Mary interjected. “Additionally, my husband is coming back so it’s moot.”

“Look. We were all just sitting here and Thomas brought up a good point. What if he doesn’t come back? I mean, if Jesus comes back from the dead. Sure. No issues. But just in case he doesn’t. We all thought we should have a vote about who would be the leader of the group and be the one preaching the good word in the absence of the Christ. Plus, if he does come back and the Romans kill him again, we’d already have a backup plan.”

James raised an eyebrow. “Surely Mary would lead the church. We all know that’s what Jesus had planned if he ever died.”

“Well sure. Yes. He had said that several times. But then, things have gotten complicated. So we all had a vote and…”

“A vote? I only count eight of you,” James interjected.

“Which is just enough for a quorum. It seems as if I’ve won in a landslide. All eight votes were for me, so even if you and Simon the zealot and Mary and Judas were all here, it wouldn’t matter…as such. I am Peter. After Jesus, the new person in charge of spreading the good word.”

“Bullshit. This isn’t a democracy. Jesus wanted…”

“Your brother is dead, James. Even if he comes back, right now he’s dead. I’m sorry to you and Mary and to all of us for our collective loss, but that’s the cold hard truth. The majority has just decided that we are now a democracy. They then voted for me to lead our retinue. Like it or not, I’m your new leader, and you can either get in line or you can go and preach by yourself.”

James seethed and was about to start throwing haymakers but Mary touched his shoulder and calmed him. “Not worth it,” she said. “Jackass though he is, Peter is right. Like it or not this was never meant to be a dictatorship. Let him have his stupid title and at the very worst, he goes and spreads the gospel.”

James was too mad to think, let alone speak. He looked at the rest of the apostles, muttered the word, “betrayers” and stormed off.

“Good luck, Peter,” Mary said before she too walked away. And with that, Peter became the first Pope and effectively ended his friendship with four people. Jesus of course would end up forgiving him because, well, you know.

Series Navigation<< Iscariot: Chapter 16 – In which Judas and Jesus travel through India and learn about road building.Iscariot: Chapter 18 – In which crucifixion shmoosifixion. Jesus and Judas are back, baby! >>

About Philippe L.

When not out exploring the stars with his good friend Hotblack Desiato, he makes his living here on Earth keeping other people's money safe from the hands of thieves and spinning the occasional yarn. He enjoys beer and coffee very much, but unfortunately he can't eat shellfish or tomatoes.

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