- 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.
Many years ago, I dated a girl named Rebecca Cohen. In a weird bit of kismet, my cousin also dated her. Not at the same time of course. He dated her after I did. I didn’t find out about that until years later because Rebecca wasn’t speaking to me and I don’t pay attention to who my cousins are dating until I get a “Save the Date” card. I have like…fifty some cousins and no time to keep track of them all. In any case, as stated, she had not spoken to me for years, because she blamed me for breaking up her engagement to another ex of mine named Heidi.
Breaking up engagements isn’t usually my bag. Unfortunately, one of my bags is being fairly easy to seduce. Seriously. It’s not that hard to trick me into any number of compromising situations. Heidi wanted out of her engagement, she had access to both myself and a bottle of wine, and suddenly I’m getting yelled at by Rebecca for ending her betrothal.
After a very long span of time, on a rather blustery Fall day, I randomly happened upon her in a bar in my neighborhood. This was an odd occurrence as I lived on the Upper West Side at the time, and she lived on the west coast. She explained that she was in the city for a convention, she was in an open marriage, and convinced me that it would be a good idea to sleep with each other, for…closure, I think? There was a complicated explanation as to why this would be a good idea. Both Rebecca and Heidi were psychologists and very good at convincing me to do such things. And so we did, and then once again, no contact for years.
The last time I saw her was on my cousin’s Facebook page, holding a baby. I was like. Why is my ex girlfriend on your Facebook page. “You mean my ex?” he asked. It was then that my cousin and I discovered that he and I had both, at different times, dated the same girl and had a good chuckle. I messaged Rebecca to ask about the child.
She explained that sleeping with me almost ended her marriage because she had broken some rule or another about ex boyfriends. Still, after six months of therapy, she and her husband had gotten to a good place, she got pregnant, and she and the child were both happy and healthy. However, at the request of her husband, she couldn’t speak to me anymore and that for her family, I should never contact her again.
So I messaged her back and was like, “You know what? I’ll do what you want, but never forget this. You were going to marry Heidi and I stopped it…sort of…Not on purpose, but still. Do you know how bad that would have been? How much of a nightmare you’d have had to endure? Elton F’ing John wrote a song about that same scenario. You ever hear that song “Someone Saved My Life Tonight?”
That song was written about the time when Elton John was engaged to a woman and Elton John was so fucked up about it that he was contemplating suicide. Elton’s friend Long John Baldry saw how messed up Elton was over the whole engagement and was like, “Dude. You’re awesome. And I’m not saying that Linda isn’t great. She’s a nice gal, but you have to get out of this engagement because she’s a lady and you’re a gay man. End it, concentrate on your music and I promise that it will work out far better for everyone involved.”
And thus, Elton’s life was saved. And that’s what I did for you, Rebecca. I just didn’t do it as eloquently. So let’s all remember that if it weren’t for me, you would have been in freakin’ Portland and you wouldn’t have gotten married to your husband or had your kid. So just think about that and inform your husband that he owes me a huge thank you.”
…Though actually… You know what? I didn’t do that. I blocked her on Facebook and never contacted her again.
My time with Rebecca had come to an end. The same is true with all things, really. It is even true with this very book!
The story is complete.
So, thanks to Adam for allowing me this forum in which to futz around with what ended up being a very silly bunch of chapters. To all of my friends and loved ones who helped pull me out of the mire which I was in when I started writing Iscariot. I probably could have done it myself, but it would not have been as fast, nor would it have been nearly as fun. Might have been a bit cheaper…I Probably didn’t need to get bottle service at that strip club, for example. I don’t think anyone was aware of how much that was going to end up costing. I mean. Sober people could have probably guessed, but that’s hardly relevant.
In any case, enjoy, and thanks for reading!
Your handsome friend,
In which Judas and Mary have a pre-dinner drink, and we leave them there.
Judas walked along the garden path, occasionally stopping to inspect various herbs he saw growing. He was pleased that Menahem and Kelsey had chosen this estate to be their primary residence. As he wiped some sweat from his brow with a thin handkerchief, he thought of how proud he was of himself for orchestrating such a deal and then living long enough to see it carried out.
Eventually he made his way to a pergola situated in front of a small stone fountain. Vines had grown up into the latticework of the structure which offered a bit of shade from the sun, and there, underneath it all, was Mary. She saw Judas approach and poured a cup of wine for him.
“Sit with me a spell, Judas,” she said.
“A small spell, perhaps. Menahem told me that dinner will be ready soon. Our presence is humbly requested back at the estate proper.”
“What are we having?”
“Roast oxen along with a bunch of fish and things. He’s also gotten the servants to make that olive tapenade that I like. From what Mena was describing, it’s going to be quite a spread.”
“Sounds delicious. Sit and drink your wine.”
Judas frowned, but sat down next to his friend and took a swig. As he did so, a servant carrying a tray of figs and dates, hurriedly walked past them and towards the house.
“Look at this guy,” Mary said. “Shoes dyed yellow, blue robe and a red and green sash. I’m not even going to mention the purple hat. Why would you choose such a terrible array of items in those colors?”
“Simply garish,” Judas replied. Soon after, another servant wandered past, this time holding a basket of vegetables. “And then there’s this guy’s hair. Did he shave the sides and just leave the top to get longer? What is this, the thirty-seven-eighties?”
“Right? And this guy behind him looks like if Simon the Zealot gave up.”
“Gave up, what?”
“Just…everything. If Simon gave up on trying anymore, he’d look like this slovenly piece of crap walking by.”
“Are we resorting to body shaming, now?”
“I’m a widow. I’m allowed. Plus, it’s not about the body. It’s about the style. People can wear what they want but why not accentuate what you have.”
“Ok. What am I allowed to poke fun at? Is it just making fun of people who can’t coordinate colors?”
“I’ve never been one to make fun of servants, regardless of their terrible taste in clothes.”
“Fine. No more making fun of the servants. New subject. I’m lonely.”
“I was friends with a girl once. We were drinking after I had gone through a bad breakup and I asked her what I was doing wrong. She said I wasn’t doing anything wrong, per se. My problem is that I’m attracted to interesting people and I’m attractive to interesting people. But I don’t know if that’s right. I think it’s just lonely people as opposed to interesting ones. Jesus was lonely. I’m lonely. You’re lonely. But at least you’re not alone and neither am I. I got a whole family you can borrow if need be.”
“Well, thank you Judas. Speaking of being lonely, can we talk about monogamy?”
“You’re just full of non sequiturs today, aren’t you?” Judas said with a bit of trepidation.
“Here’s my biggest problem with monogamy. People are limited in the amount of sex they can have by the person in the relationship who likes sex the least.”
“And in your mind, if you were married to a guy with multiple wives, you’d have more sex?”
“No but…I don’t know what the hell I am. Jesus is in heaven but didn’t die. Where does that, and by proxy, monogamy, leave me? I’m not a widow, exactly, but I’m also not a married woman. I’m not a virgin, so if the country got conquered, I wouldn’t be taken for a slave.”
“I’m not sure that should be a goal.”
“No, but if it happened, at least you can rise up through the ranks. (Numbers 31:18) Of course, James could get me pregnant in accordance with Onan’s law (Genesis 38:8), but he’s off spreading the gospel instead of his seed, and really, I don’t want a kid. I miss my husband.”
“I know. I miss him too. It’s not the same, I know, but still.”
“It’s all bullshit anyway. The only two ways I could see it happening is if I got raped and sold to the rapist for fifty shekels, (Deuteronomy 22:28) or if I became a handmaid, which…no thank you. Truly we live in a golden age for women. (Genesis 30…Or the popular Internet television series.)”
“We can’t control much about that. We tried a minor thing and lo and behold, everyone went crazy and killed Jesus, and burned down your house. My house too, as it happens. And mark my words, this is going to get worse before it gets better. I see no good coming from Rome, for example. All of that aside, you can’t be sold for fifty shekels, or be a handmaid because you’re not a virgin.”
“Shit…you’re right. I guess I could go preach with the rest of the flock. Eventually get martyred and burned at the stake.”
“Bad way to go. Better the rest of them than us.”
“What am I going to do, Judas? I don’t fit into this world anymore. I don’t want to go live with my mother in law. The church won’t touch me. My parents are long gone. What would you do?”
Judas finished his cup and stood up, offering his hand to Mary, who took it and stood up herself. “I’d go and eat dinner with my friends, and then if need be, I’d move into the spare room of my good friends Judas and Martha. Just for a while. Until I figured out what my next move was.”
Mary looked at Judas, “Would Martha be ok with that? Would you?”
“Tone down any discussions of polygamy around her and it’ll be fine. She actually suggested it. The room, I mean. Not polygamy.”
Mary smiled, cried a bit, and gave Judas a hug. “Just for a little bit then. Thank you, Judas Iscariot. You’re a good and loyal friend.”
“I am at that,” he said. “Now let’s go eat dinner. Everything will be look better in the morning.”
And with that, the two friends left their little spot by the fountain and made their way back to Menahem’s estate, to feast on all manner of beasts with cloven hooves, surrounded by their friends and family.