The Traitor

Mary Magdalene didn't like Judas Iscariot. She couldn't help herself. The way he smiled, scornfully and mocking; the way he moved, silent and suddenly appearing right behind you; his dark, cold eyes… she hated it all. Although, he was a pleasure to look at, many girls in town just came listen to the men because they liked the apostles and Jesus…

Jesus. He was such a dear. Always calm and understanding. He had dreamy, dark brown eyes, which didn't seem to see you and at the same time it was like they invaded your soul. His hair was long, and quite light. She always wanted to caress it, stroke it… but she didn't dare. It was stupid, ridiculous even, but she, the girl who wasn't afraid of anything, the whore of light pleasures, didn't dare to tell a man she loved him. She was terrified he might reject her.

She wished he hadn't such a deep connection with Judas. They almost seemed like brothers, always hanging out together. She was sometimes even afraid that he and Judas had a love relation. But then Jesus would say something to her, and for a moment, she was sure he loved her… She loved listening to his voice; he was so warm and soothing.

At the evenings, when they had made a camp, sometimes in a field, sometimes in a deserted house or an old temple, or, like now, in a forest, they would after dinner gather around the fire and discuss ideas, or listen to Jesus.

She looked around, watching the thirteen men fondly. Simon Peter, calm and fatherly; his brother Andrew, young and excited; James, wise and nice; the youngest, his brother John; Phillip, shy but sweet; Bartholomew, one of the older apostles with a very dry humour; Thomas, silent but loyal; Matthew, the sweet talker; another James, more like Andrew (they were good friends); Labbaeus, who everybody called Thaddeus (why nobody knew); Simon, the fighter; Judas; and Jesus.

This evening, Jesus had a discussion with Simon (not Peter) about fighting, like usual. For one reason or another, Simon kept pressing the point, not seeing what was obvious.

"No Simon," sighed Jesus. "That's my final word and that it will always be."

"But we can win, Nazareth!" exclaimed Simon. "They don't belong here."

"It's still no. If we fight them, we're as guilty as they are. What do you think, Mary?" he asked, suddenly turning to her.

"I think you're right," she answered. "Two wrongs don't make a right. That's what you mean, isn't it?" He smiled at her, approving, and some apostles, Peter, Matthew and Bartholomew amongst them, nodded.

"They don't belong here," said Simon stubborn.

"Why not, Simon?" said Judas unpleasant. "They did concur us, didn't they?"

"That doesn't make them belong here," said Simon triumphant, thinking he had defeated Judas-with-the-sharp-tongue. He wished.

"Of course, not now. But I promise you, over a century or so, nobody will remember. And if they do, they won't care. Everybody here will think they're Romans."

Simon opened his mouth, closed it, opened it again and said: "But it's our country."

"How very adult spoken. 'Mummy, it's my toy!'" he added in a childish voice.

Simon started pale and shouted: "Do you think you're smarter than me!"

"I must say it's very funny how people always start with seeing an insult in everything when they don't know a proper answer. But yes, I do think so."

"And what would you think if I hit your stupid face!"

Judas looked at him coolly. "Everybody would think you're a big hero, of course. Hitting a man who won't defend himself."

"Defend yourself then!"

"You know I won't."

"You're just scared! You're such a coward!" There was a little commotion at that shout. Judas was regarded upon as the lieutenant of the group.

"Sure. I attack everyday men who don't want to fight."

Simon jumped at Judas, and hit him at the chin. At a shout of Jesus Peter, James, Bartholomew, Matthew and Thaddeus stopped him and Judas came slowly up, smiling scornful. "What a hero."

"Judas, stop defying him!" said Jesus sharply. "And Simon, if you attack someone again, you can leave! Now apologize!"

"I'm sorry, Judas," muttered Simon.

"Never mention it," Judas said cheerful. "And sorry for the challenging, but you're darn funny when I do that."

They grinned at each other. She couldn't believe it! Men!

After some talking, Judas said: "Hey Jesus," Jesus turned towards him. "Why is 'God' and everything He says about himself always written with a capital letter in the Bible?" Jesus blinked. "I mean, how did Abraham or Job or David or Moses know that God talked about himself with a capital? Did he pause every time he said 'me' or 'mine' and said then: 'this is with a capital letter.'? How did they know that?"

"Maybe the writers of the Bible did that, Judas."