Chapter 1: Kiss Me, Holy
Of all the synagogues in all the backwater provinces in the empire, she
had to walk into mine... I could tell she was trouble; she didn't
introduce herself before she put one long leg up on the dais and leaned
over me, brushing her long hair seductively over my bare feet.
"I need a Messiah," she breathed. The kohl around her eyes was smeared;
she'd been crying.
I put down my Torah and looked her in the eye, "Don't touch me,
sister - I haven't been glorified...yet."
She backed away as she swept her hair from her face. I took a good
look at her. She was pretty in a way; wide set eyes, large mouth, tawny
skin, and henna'ed hair that spilled onto her shoulders like melted
honey. Under her Egyptian shift I could she that she was sleekly
naked. She squirmed as she pulled her foot away from the dais and
rubbed her slender thighs together in a beautifully obscene gesture. I
shrugged. Some men are born eunuchs; I was a eunuch for the sake of the
"Mr. Kristos...," she began.
"Hold it, kid. Call me Yusef, Yeshua bar Yusef. Nobody but those
damn-fool crazy Gentiles call me Kristos. I'm no Roman citizen; I was
born and raised right here in Nazareth."
"...Mr. Yusef," she continued, "I want you to help me find
someone - someone who's got something that I need."
Looking at this doll, I could tell what she really needed was a good
stoning, but I had a soft spot for wayward dames.
"I'm not in the detective business anymore, baby. As far as the
Romans and their Pharisee stooges are concerned, I'm dead and I'd
like to keep it that way for a while."
"But I'd be willing to pay you handsomely for your troubles, Mr.
Yusef; a shekel a day plus expenses until the case is solved."
"You can render unto Caesar if you want, baby - I render only unto Big
Daddy." The broad looked at me like I'd just kicked her favorite temple
client in the seat of his linen ephod. But her look of disdain melted
into one of lost, abadoned helplessness; the kind of look a sheep gets
right before the wolves rip it to shreds.
I felt my sheparding instinct rise to the fore. I knew that I would
regret it next Sabbath, but I decided to take the case. Against my
better judgement, this was one lost sheep I was going to try to pull
out of the thicket.
"Would this someone happen to have a name?" I enquired.
She looked at me through hooded eyes and smirked. "Judas Iscariot. Do
you know him?"
I held my expression steady. Judas, the High Priest's lackey. The
rat-bastard sold me out to the Sanhedrin for a handful of silver.
Yeah, I knew him and I had the stigmata to prove it. This broad was
toying with me. She hadn't just picked my name off of a roadside
stele. I decided to play her little game - for now.
"Iscariot's dead, baby. My boys saw his body dangling from a tree with
his guts spilled out like a sacrificial goat."
She leaned across and purred seductively into my ear, "Oh, they saw
somebody alright, but it wasn't Judas."
"Cut to the chase, sister. My patience isn't eternal."
Just then the front door of the synagogue burst open with a splintering
crack and 5 centurions piled into the room. Trouble was all around us
in a split-second and we couldn't walk away from it. The sword in the
lead centurion's hand spit out like a viper in the night as the dame
screamed. Off-balance, his swing went wide of my head. He never got
another one out because my fist split his face open. Those who lived
by the sword never seemed to learn that they were no match for a
well-placed knuckle sandwich.
My triumph was short-lived as the remaining centurions quickly
surrounded us. Something hissed through the air and caught me across
the shoulders. I spun around on one foot - too late. Another hissing of
something whipped through the air and thudded against my forehead. I
went down like a sack of wet figs. The hard flagstones of the floor
swam up to greet me.
I didn't lie there for long. The pain that pounded across my head was
too sharp, too damn deep. It was a hard, holy pain that burst in my
ears with every heartbeat, sending a blinding white light flashing into
my eyes even though they were squeezed shut.
In back of all my pain was the muffled screaming, the choked-off sobs,
the cadence of harsh, angry voices biting out words that were
indistinguishable. The jangling of a chariot chewed into the sounds and
there were more scrapings of metal on metal. I tried to get up, but it
was only my mind that could move. The rest of me was limp.
Arms grabbed me around the waist and hauled me into the corner.
Somewhere, during those seconds the screaming had been chopped off and
I lay in a crumpled heap. I knew that the girl was gone, or worse than
A red curtain dropped down in front of my eyes, and time and distance
pulled away. Righteous hatred for those Roman bastards oozed out of my
skin like sweat. Gentle Jesus, meek and mild was gone...cold-cocked
with a sword hilt. Somehow, somewhere, vengeance was going to be
Next - Chapter 2: The Big Resurrection