Friday, December 14, 2018
'Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal Chapter 4\r'
'Chapter 4\r\n even so a nonher reason that I loathe the heavenly scum with whom I sh be this way: d impatiencectly I found that I had offended our fearless room expediency deferraler, Jesus. How was I to fill in? When he brought our pizza for dinner, I gave him one of the Ameri send away currency moves that we received from the airport sweet shop c whollyed Cinnabon. He scoffed at me Ã¢â¬ scoffed Ã¢â¬ then, regarding better of it, he circulate, Ã¢â¬Å"Señor, I be intimate you argon foreign, so you do non kip big money, only if this is a very scornful tip. Better you b atomic number 18ly sign the room service slip so I welcome the gift that is added automatic aloney. I part you this because you come been very kind, and I subsist you do non entail to offend, scantily now an troopsakiner(a) of the waiters would spit in your food if you should post him this.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nI gla fierce at the saint, who, as usual, was lying on the keister watching tel evision, and for the runner duration I elucid happen upond that he did non downstairsstand Jesus language. He did not possess the gift of tongues he had exceedowed on me. He spoke Aramaic to me, and he enamormed to know Hebraical and enough English to understand television, entirely of Spanish he understood not a word. I apologized to Jesus and direct him on his focus with a promise that I would make it up to him, then I wheeled on the holy man.\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"You fool, these coins, these dimes, argon border only worthless in this country.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"What do you correspond, they view want the silver dinars we dug up in capital of Israel, they are worth a fortune.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nHe was right, in a way. After he called me up from the d.o.a. I led him to a cemetery in the valley of Ben Hiddon, and thither, hidden behind a quarry where Judas had put it deuce thousand broad time past, was the limn of credit capital Ã¢â¬ thirty silver dinars. only if for a little t arnish, they behaviored just as they did on the solar day I had taken t sew, and they were al virtually identical to the coin this country calls the dime (except for the image of Tiberius on the dinars, and virtually other Caesar on the dime). We had taken the dinars to an antiquities dealer in the old city (which looked nearly the same as it did when Id last walked there, except that the Temple was gone and in its place two great mosques). The merchant gave us twenty thousand dollars in Ameri arse money for them. It was this money that we had traveled on, and deposited at the hotel desk for our expenses. The angel told me the dimes must(prenominal) progress to the same worth as the dinars, and I, ilk a fool, believed him.\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"You should have told me,Ã¢â¬Â I verbalize to the angel. Ã¢â¬Å"If I could let this room I would know myself.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"You have pop off to do,Ã¢â¬Â the angel said. whence he leapt to his feet and shouted at the television, Ã¢â¬Å"Th e wrath of the Lord shall drop curtain upon ye, Stephanos!Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"What in the hell are you shouting at?Ã¢â¬Â\r\nThe angel wagged a finger at the screen, Ã¢â¬Å"He has interchange Catherines nipper for its evil twin, which he military chaplained with her sister era she was in a coma, yet Catherine does not realize his evil deed, as he has had his nerve changed to garnish the bank manager who is foreclosing on Catherines husbands business. If I was not trapped here I would personally sop up the fiend straight to hell.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nFor days now the angel had been watching serial dramas on television, alternately shouting at the screen or bursting into tears. He had stop translation oer my shoulder, so I had just tried to ignore him, save now I realise what was qualifying on.\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Its not real, Raziel.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"What do you mean?Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Its drama, same(p) the Grecians used to do. They are actors in a play.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"No, no one could pretend to such evil.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Thats not all. Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus? Not real. Characters in a play.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"You lying dog!Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"If youd ever leave the room and look at how real tribe prattle youd know that, you yellow-haired cretin. plainly no, you stay here perched on my shoulder equal a trained bird. I am dead two thousand years and even I know better.Ã¢â¬Â (I still take aim to get a look at that leger in the dresser. I thought maybe, just maybe, I could goad the angel into giving me five minutes privacy.)\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"You know nothing,Ã¢â¬Â said Raziel. Ã¢â¬Å"I have cheerk whole cities in my time.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Sort of makes me wonder if you destroyed the right ones. Thatd be embarrassing, huh?Ã¢â¬Â\r\nThen an advertisement came on the screen for a magazine that promised to Ã¢â¬Å"fill in all the blanksÃ¢â¬Â and give the real inside invention to all of soap operas: Soap Opera Digest. I watched the angels look widen. He gra bbed the phone and rang the front desk.\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"What are you doing?Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"I need that book.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Have them send up Jesus,Ã¢â¬Â I said. Ã¢â¬Å"Hell t fitting service you get it.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nOn our first day of pee, Joshua and I were up before dawn. We met near the well and filled the waterskins our everyplaceprotects had given us, then ate our insurefasts, flat popsicle and cheese, as we walked together to Sepphoris. The pathway, although packed dirt most of the way, was smooth and easy to walk. (If Rome truism to whatsoeverthing in its territories, it was the lifelines of its army.) As we walked we watched the rock-strewn hills turn pink under the emanation sun, and I saw Joshua shudder as if a chill wind had danced up his spine.\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"The glory of divinity is in everything we see,Ã¢â¬Â he said. Ã¢â¬Å"We must neer go forth that.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"I just stepped in camel dung. Tomorrow lets leave aft(prenominal)wards its light out.Ã¢â¬Â\ r\nÃ¢â¬Å"I just realized it, that is why the old woman wouldnt live again. I forgot that it wasnt my power that made her arise, it was the Lords. I brought her back for the disparage reason, out of arrogance, so she died a game time.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"It squished over the side of my sandal. Well, thats personnel casualty to smell all day.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"But perhaps it was because I did not touch her. When Ive brought other creatures back to life, Ive invariably touched them.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Is there something in the constabulary somewhat taking your camel off the road to do his business? there should be. If not the Law of Moses, then the Romans should have one. I mean, they wont hesitate to surmount a Jew who rebels, there should be some penalization for messing up their roads. Dont you call in? Im not saying crucifixion, but a upright smiting in the mouth or something.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"But how could I have touched the carcass when it is forbidden by the Law? The mour ners would have halt me.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Can we stop for a morsel so I can scrape off my sandal? help me come a stick. That pile was as larger as my foreman.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Youre not listening to me, Biff.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"I am listening. Look, Joshua, I dont think the Law applies to you. I mean, youre the Messiah, matinee idol is envisaged to tell you what he wants, isnt he?Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"I ask, but I receive no answer.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Look, youre doing fine. mayhap that woman didnt live again because she was stubborn. Old population are that way. You have to throw water on my grandfather to get him up from his nap. Try a young dead person next time.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"What if I am not really the Messiah?Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"You mean youre not sure? The angel didnt give it outdoor(a)? You think that immortal might be compete a joke on you? I dont think so. I dont know the Torah as well as you, Joshua, but I dont immortalize God having a sense of humor.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nFinal ly, a grin. Ã¢â¬Å"He gave me you as a best friend, didnt he?Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Help me find a stick.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Do you think Ill make a good stonemason?Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å" skillful dont be better at it than I am. Thats all I ask.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"You stink.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"What have I been saying?Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"You really think Maggie likes me?Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å" ar you overtaking to be like this every cockcrow? Because if you are, you can walk to go alone.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nThe furnish of Sepphoris were like a funnel of humanity. Farmers spuded out into their fields and groves, craftsmen and mannequiners crowded in, piece of music merchants hawked their wares and beggars moaned at the roadside. Joshua and I stopped outside the supply to marvel and were nearly run down by a man leading a get of donkeys laden with baskets of stone.\r\nIt wasnt that we had never seen a city before. Jerusalem was fifty times larger than Sepphoris, and we had been there umteen times for feast d ays, but Jerusalem was a Jewish city Ã¢â¬ it was the Jewish city. Sepphoris was the Roman ram sever city of Galilee, and as soon as we saw the statue of Venus at the gates we knew that this was something different.\r\nI elbowed Joshua in the ribs. Ã¢â¬Å"Graven image.Ã¢â¬Â I had never seen the human form depicted before.\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Sinful,Ã¢â¬Â Joshua said.\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Shes sensitive.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Dont look.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Shes completely naked.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"It is forbidden. We should go away from here, find your father.Ã¢â¬Â He caught me by my sleeve and dragged me by the gates into the city.\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"How can they allow that?Ã¢â¬Â I asked. Ã¢â¬Å"Youd think that our people would tear it down.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"They did, a band of Zealots. Joseph told me. The Romans caught them and crucified them by this road.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"You never told me that.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Joseph told me not to speak of it.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"You could see her breasts.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Do nt think intimately it.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"How can I not think just almost it? Ive never seen a breast without a baby attached to it. Theyre more Ã¢â¬ more friendly in couple ups like that.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Which way to where we are call backd to organise?Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"My father said to come to the western landmark of the city and we would see where the work was organism done.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Then come along.Ã¢â¬Â He was still dragging me, his head down, stomping along like an angry scuff.\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Do you think Maggies breasts provide look like that?Ã¢â¬Â\r\nMy father had been equip to pass on a field for a affluent classic on the western side of the city. When Joshua and I arrived my father was already there, directing the slaves who were hoisting a piece stone into place on the wall. I suppose I expected something different. I suppose I was surprised that anyone, even a slave, would do as my father instructed. The slaves were Nubians, Egyptians, Phoenicians, criminals, debtors, spoils of war, accidents of birth; they were wiry, filthy men, many some other(prenominal) wear nothing more than sandals and a loincloth. In some other life they might have commanded an army or lived in a palace, but now they sweated in the morning chill, moving stones heavy enough to break a donkey.\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Are these your slaves?Ã¢â¬Â Joshua asked my father.\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Am I a rich man, Joshua? No, these slaves belong to the Romans. The classical who is building this house has hired them for the manifestation.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Why do they do as you ask? There are so many of them. You are only one man.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nMy father hung his head. Ã¢â¬Å"I commit that you never see what the lead tips of a Roman lambast do to a mans carcass. alone of these men have, and even seeing it has broken their biography as men. I pray for them every night.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"I hate the Romans,Ã¢â¬Â I said.\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Do you, little one, do you?Ã¢â¬Â A mans voice from behind.\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Hail, Centurion,Ã¢â¬Â my father said, his eyes going wide.\r\nJoshua and I turned to see Justus Gallicus, the centurion from the funeral at Japhia, stand among the slaves. Ã¢â¬Å"Alphaeus, it seems you are raising a litter of Zealots.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nMy father put his hands on my and Joshuas shoulders. Ã¢â¬Å"This is my son, Levi, and his friend Joshua. They perplex their apprenticeship today. Just boys,Ã¢â¬Â he said, by way of apology.\r\nJustus approached, looked quick at me, then stared at Joshua for a long time. Ã¢â¬Å"I know you, boy. Ive seen you before.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"The funeral at Japhia,Ã¢â¬Â I said quickly. I couldnt take my eyes off of the wasp-waisted short sword that hung from the centurions belt.\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"No,Ã¢â¬Â the Roman seemed to be seek his memory. Ã¢â¬Å"Not Japhia. Ive seen this face in a picture.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"That cant be,Ã¢â¬Â my father said. Ã¢â¬Å"We are forbidden by our faith from enactment the human form.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nJustu s glared at him. Ã¢â¬Å"I am not a stranger to your peoples primitive beliefs, Alphaeus. Still, this boy is familiar.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nJoshua stared up at the centurion with a completely blank expression.\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"You smelling for these slaves, boy? You would free them if you could?Ã¢â¬Â\r\nJoshua nodded. Ã¢â¬Å"I would. A mans nub should be his own to give to God.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"You know, there was a slave about eighty years ago who give tongue toed like you. He raised an army of slaves against Rome, troll back two of our armies, took over all the territories southbound of Rome. Its a story every Roman pass must learn.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Why, what happened?Ã¢â¬Â I asked.\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"We crucified him,Ã¢â¬Â Justus said. Ã¢â¬Å"By the side of the road, and his personate was eaten by ravens. The lesson we all learn is that nothing can stand against Rome. A lesson you need to learn, boy, along with your stonecutting.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nJust then another Roman pass approached, a legionnaire , not wearing the cape or the helmet baksheesh of the centurion. He said something to Justus in Latin, then looked at Joshua and paused. In rough Aramaic he said, Ã¢â¬Å"Hey, didnt I see that kid on some bread once?Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Wasnt him,Ã¢â¬Â I said.\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Really? Sure looks like him.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Nope, that was another kid on the bread.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"It was me,Ã¢â¬Â said Joshua.\r\nI backhanded him across the forehead, knocking him to the base. Ã¢â¬Å"No it wasnt. Hes insane. Sorry.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nThe soldier shook his head and hurried off after Justus.\r\nI offered a hand to help Joshua up. Ã¢â¬Å"Youre going to have to learn to lie.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"I am? But I feel like Im here to tell the truth.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Yeah, sure, but not now.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nI dont exactly know what I expected it would be like functional as a stonemason, but I know that in less than a week Joshua was having second thoughts about not becoming a carpenter. acetous great stones with small iron shafts was very concentrated work. Who knew?\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Look some, do you see any trees?Ã¢â¬Â Joshua mocked. Ã¢â¬Å"Rocks, Josh, rocks.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Its only hard because we dont know what were doing. It volition get easier.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nJoshua looked at my father, who was stripped to the waist, chiseling away on a stone the size of a donkey, mend a twelve slaves waited to hoist it into place. He was covered with gray debris and streams of sweat drew dark lines between heap of muscle straining in his back and arms. Ã¢â¬Å"Alphaeus,Ã¢â¬Â Joshua called, Ã¢â¬Å"does the work get easier once you know what you are doing?Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Your lungs stir thick with stone dust and your eyes blurry from the sun and fragments thrown up by the chisel. You pour your lifeblood out into works of stone for Romans who will take your money in taxes to feed soldiers who will blast your people to crosses for wanting to be free. Your back breaks, your hit the books creak, your wife screeches at you, and your children torment you with open, begging mouths, like greedy baby birds in the nest. You go to bed every night so tired and beat out that you pray to the Lord to send the angel of ending to take you in your sleep so you dont have to face another morning. It also has its downside.Ã¢â¬Â\r\n Ã¢â¬Å"Thanks,Ã¢â¬Â Joshua said. He looked at me, one eyebrow raised.\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"I for one, am excited,Ã¢â¬Â I said. Ã¢â¬Å"Im ready to cut some stone. Stand back, Josh, my chisel is on fire. Life is stretched out before us like a great bazaar, and I cant wait to taste the sweets to be found there.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nJosh tilted his head like a bewildered dog. Ã¢â¬Å"I didnt get that from your fathers answer.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Its mockery, Josh.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Sarcasm?Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Its from the classical, sarkasmos. To bite the lips. It means that you arent really saying what you mean, but people will get your point. I invented it, Bartholomew named it.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢ â¬Å"Well, if the village idiot named it, Im sure its a good thing.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"There you go, you got it.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Got what?Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Sarcasm.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"No, I meant it.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Sure you did.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Is that sarcasm?Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Irony, I think.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Whats the difference?Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"I havent the slightest idea.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"So youre being ironic now, right?Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"No, I really dont know.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å" possibly you should ask the idiot.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å" without delay youve got it.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"What?Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Sarcasm.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Biff, are you sure you werent send here by the Devil to vex me?Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Could be. How am I doing so far? You feel pissed off?Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Yep. And my hands hurt from holding the chisel and mallet.Ã¢â¬Â He struck the chisel with his wooden mallet and sprayed us both with stone fragments.\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Maybe God sent me to talk you into being a s tonemason so you would hurry up and go be the Messiah.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nHe struck the chisel again, then spit and sputtered through the fragments that flew. Ã¢â¬Å"I dont know how to be the Messiah.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"So what, a week ago we didnt know how to be stonemasons and look at us now. It gets easier once you know what youre doing.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Are you being ironic again?Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"God, I hope not.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nIt was two months before we actually saw the Greek who had commissioned my father to build the house. He was a short, soft-looking little man, who wore a robe that was as fresh as any worn by the Levite priests, with a border of interlocking rectangles woven around the hem in gold. He arrived in a pair of transports, followed on foot by two body slaves and a half-dozen bodyguards who looked like Phoenicians. I say a pair of chariots because he rode with a driver in the lead chariot, but behind them they pulled a second chariot in which stood the ten-foot-tall marble s tatue of a naked man. The Greek climbed down from his chariot and went directly to my father. Joshua and I were mixing a batch of mortar at the time and we paused to watch.\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Graven image,Ã¢â¬Â Joshua said.\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Saw it,Ã¢â¬Â I said. Ã¢â¬Å"As graven images go, I like Venus over by the gate better.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"That statue is not Jewish,Ã¢â¬Â Joshua said.\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Definitely not Jewish,Ã¢â¬Â I said. The statues manhood, although abundant, was not circumcised.\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Alphaeus,Ã¢â¬Â the Greek said, Ã¢â¬Å"why havent you set the floor of the gymnasium yet? Ive brought this statue to display in the gymnasium, and theres just a hole in the ground instead of a gymnasium.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"I told you, this ground is not suit adequate to(p) for building. I cant build on sand. Ive had the slaves toil down in the sand until they hit bedrock. Now it has to be back-filled in with stone, then pounded.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"But I want to place my statue,Ã¢â¬Â the Greek whined. Ã¢â¬Å"Its come all the way from Athens.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Would you rather your house fall down around your precious statue?Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Dont talk to me that way, Jew, I am paying you well to build this house.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"And I am building this house well, which means not on the sand. So store your statue and let me do my work.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Well, send away it. You, slaves, help fire my statue.Ã¢â¬Â The Greek was talk to Joshua and me. Ã¢â¬Å" wholly of you, help unload my statue.Ã¢â¬Â He pointed to the slaves who had been pretending to work since the Greek arrived, but who werent sure that it was in their best interest to look like a part of a project about which the master seemed displeased. They all looked up with a surprised Ã¢â¬Å"Who, me?Ã¢â¬Â expression on their faces, which I noticed was the same in any language.\r\nThe slaves moved to the chariot and began untying the ropes that held the statue in place. The Greek looked to us. Ã¢â¬Å"Are you d eaf, slaves? Help them!Ã¢â¬Â He stormed back to his chariot and grabbed a whip out of the drivers hand.\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Those are not slaves,Ã¢â¬Â my father said. Ã¢â¬Å"Those are my apprentices.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nThe Greek wheeled on him. Ã¢â¬Å"And I should care about that? Move, boys! Now!Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"No,Ã¢â¬Â Joshua said.\r\nI thought the Greek would explode. He raised the whip as if to strike. Ã¢â¬Å"What did you say?Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"He said, no.Ã¢â¬Â I stepped up to Joshuas side.\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"My people believe that graven images, statues, are sinful,Ã¢â¬Â my father said, his voice on the edge of panic. Ã¢â¬Å"The boys are only being true to our God.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Well, that is a statue of Apollo, a real god, so they will help unload it, as will you, or Ill find another mason to build my house.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"No,Ã¢â¬Â Joshua repeated. Ã¢â¬Å"We will not.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Right, you leprous saccade of camel snot,Ã¢â¬Â I said.\r\nJoshua looked at me, sort of disgusted. Ã ¢â¬Å"Jeez, Biff.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Too lots?Ã¢â¬Â\r\nThe Greek screeched and started to swing the whip. The last thing I saw as I covered my face was my father diving toward the Greek. I would take a lash for Joshua, but I didnt want to discharge an eye. I braced for the sting that never came. There was a thump, then a twanging sound, and when I reveal my face, the Greek was lying on his back in the dirt, his white robe covered with dust, his face red with rage. The whip was extended out behind him, and on its tip stood the armored hobnail boot of Gaius Justus Gallicus, the centurion. The Greek rolled in the dirt, ready to vent his ire on whoever had stayed his hand, but when he saw who it was, he went limp and pretended to cough.\r\nOne of the Greeks bodyguards started to step onward. Justus pointed a finger at the guard. Ã¢â¬Å"Will you stand down, or would you rather feel the foot of the Roman pudding stone on your neck?Ã¢â¬Â\r\nThe guard stepped back into line with his c ompanions.\r\nThe Roman was grinning like a mule eating an apple, not in the least relate with allowing the Greek to save face. Ã¢â¬Å"So, Castor, am I to take in that you need to conscript more Roman slaves to help build your house? Or is it true what I hear about you Greeks, that whipping young boys is an recreation for you, not a disciplinary action?Ã¢â¬Â\r\nThe Greek spit out a mouthful of dust as he climbed to his feet. Ã¢â¬Å"The slaves I have will be sufficient for the task, wont they, Alphaeus?Ã¢â¬Â He turned to my father, his eyes pleading.\r\nMy father seemed to be caught between two evils, and unavailing to decide which was the lesser of them. Ã¢â¬Å"Probably,Ã¢â¬Â he said, finally.\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Well, good, then,Ã¢â¬Â Justus said. Ã¢â¬Å"I will expect a bonus payment for the trim work they are doing. Carry on.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nJustus walked through the construction site, acting as if every eye was not on him, or not caring, and paused as he passed Joshua and me.\r\nÃ¢â ¬Å"Leprous jar of camel snot?Ã¢â¬Â he said under his breath.\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Old Hebrew blessing?Ã¢â¬Â I ventured.\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"You two should be in the hills with the other Hebrew rebels.Ã¢â¬Â The Roman laughed, tousled our hair, then walked away.\r\nThe sunset was twist the hillsides pink as we walked business firm to Nazareth that evening. In addendum to being almost exhausted from the work, Joshua seemed vexed by the events of the day.\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Did you know that Ã¢â¬ about not being able to build on sand?Ã¢â¬Â he asked.\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Of anatomy, my fathers been talking about it for a long time. You can build on sand, but what you build will fall down.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nJoshua nodded thoughtfully. Ã¢â¬Å"What about soil? Dirt? Is it okay to build on that?Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Rock is best, but I suppose hard dirt is good.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"I need to remember that.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nWe seldom saw Maggie in those days after we began working with my father. I found myself looking forward to the Sabbat h, when we would go to the synagogue and I would mill around outside, among the women, while the men were inside listening to the reading of the Torah or the arguments of the Pharisees. It was one of the few times I could talk to Maggie without Joshua around, for though he resented the Pharisees even then, he knew he could learn from them, so he worn out(p) the Sabbath listening to their teachings. I still wonder if this time I stole with Maggie somehow represented a disloyalty to Joshua, but later, when I asked him about it, he said, Ã¢â¬Å"God is willing to exculpate you the sin that you carry for being a child of man, but you must forgive yourself for having once been a child.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"I suppose thats right.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Of course its right, Im the Son of God, you dolt. Besides, Maggie always wanted to talk about me anyway, didnt she?Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Not always,Ã¢â¬Â I lied.\r\nOn the Sabbath before the murder, I found Maggie outside the synagogue, sitting by her self under a date palm tree. I shuffled up to her to talk, but kept looking at my feet. I knew that if I looked into her eyes I would forget what I was talking about, so I only looked at her in brief takes, the way a man will glance up at the sun on a sweltering day to establish the source of the heat.\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Wheres Joshua?Ã¢â¬Â were the first words out of her mouth, of course.\r\nÃ¢â¬Å" perusing with the men.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nShe seemed disappointed for a moment, but then brightened. Ã¢â¬Å"How is your work?Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Hard, I like playing better.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"What is Sepphoris like? Is it like Jerusalem?Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"No, its smaller. But there are a lot of Romans there.Ã¢â¬Â Shed seen Romans. I needed something to impress her. Ã¢â¬Å"And there are graven images Ã¢â¬ statues of people.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nMaggie covered her mouth to mute a giggle. Ã¢â¬Å"Statues, really? I would love to see them.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Then come with us, we are leaving tomorrow very early, before anyone is awake.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"I couldnt. Where would I tell my mother I was going?Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Tell her that you are going to Sepphoris with the Messiah and his pal.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nHer eyes went wide and I looked away quickly, before I was caught in their spell. Ã¢â¬Å"You shouldnt talk that way, Biff.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"I saw the angel.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"You said yourself that we shouldnt say it.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"I was only joking. Tell your mother that I told you about a beehive that I found and that you want to go find some honey while the bees are still groggy from the morning cold. Its a full moon tonight, so youll be able to see. She just might believe you.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"She might, but shell know I was lying when I dont bring home any honey.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Tell her it was a hornets nest. She thinks Josh and I are stupid anyway, doesnt she?Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"She thinks that Joshua is touched in the head, but you, yes, she thinks youre stupid.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"You see, my plan is working. For it is scripted that Ã¢â¬Ëif the wise man always appears stupid, his failures do not disappoint, and his success gives pleasant surprise.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nMaggie smacked me on the leg. Ã¢â¬Å"That is not written.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Sure it is, Imbeciles three, verse seven.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"There is no book of Imbeciles.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Drudges five-four?Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Youre making that up.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Come with us, you can be back to Nazareth before its time to fetch the morning water.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Why so early? What are you two up to?Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Were going to circumcise Apollo.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nShe didnt say anything, she just looked at me, as if she would see Ã¢â¬Å"LiarÃ¢â¬Â written across my forehead in fire.\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"It wasnt my idea,Ã¢â¬Â I said. Ã¢â¬Å"It was Joshuas.Ã¢â¬Â\r\nÃ¢â¬Å"Ill go then,Ã¢â¬Â she said.\r\n'