THE GRAIL’S STORY, PART XII: ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM
“O, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.”
Like the dozens that had preceded it, this somber pronouncement—recorded dutifully by Lucas (Luke 13:34)—brought a storm of laughter and the thunk of wine cups from happy celebrants (wine glasses tink, metal goblets clink, pottery cups thunk). It was a joyous and excited group assembled in the public room of a large inn an easy half-day’s journey from Jerusalem. The next day, after three years in the sticks, Jesus and company were going big time. It was Saturday night after sundown, the Sabbath was over, and the wine flowed freely.
On the drive to the post office, I shared with The Boomer the latest batch of The Grail’s stories. Having just read the gospels, it was easy to see how closely they followed the Gospel accounts, and yet how delicately twisted. The Boomer was pretty quiet, but on the way home he looked over with a deadpan expression and speculated, in apparent seriousness, “I wonder if she’s pulling your leg.”
THE GRAIL’S STORY, PART XI: IT ALL COMES TOGETHER
After leaving Cana, Jesus and his party, which had grown by one significant if unofficial disciple, traveled back and forth across the country, spreading his newfound message of love. Over the following months, Jesus developed into quite a dynamic speaker. The masses, whose day-to-day lives contained precious little evidence that God and Love had anything to do with each other, flocked to hear him. Even the wealthier classes, who up to that point had never comprised a significant part of his audience, began to trickle in to listen.
So, what exactly did I believe?
That thought rolled around in my head on my bike ride home from our bible-reading session at The Boomer’s place, and over and over again over the next couple of weeks. Your college years in your late teens and early twenties are supposed to be the time when you figure all that stuff out. And sure enough, it was pretty easy to come up with a discussion late at night on all sorts of heavy topics back when I lived in the dorm. But to be honest, after I moved into an apartment at the end of my sophomore year, the burning issues hadn’t done much more than smolder.
I’d like to share with you how the character of Mary Magdalene developed in Bradley Schuster and the Holy Grail. This inside look at the writing process is only available to my blog family and not the public at large, so don’t tell.
THE GRAIL’S STORY, PART X: THE SERMON ON THE MOUND
When Barnaby picked me up on his way downstairs to breakfast the next morning, I could tell immediately that he was a changed man. Gone was the irrational jumble of thoughts. In its place shone a clarity that, coupled with his intensity, was frightening until I got used to it. An occasional monster still wandered by, but they were a lot smaller and less scary than before. I guess from this point on it is only fair to refer to him as Jesus, since he was clearly no longer Barnaby.
When he and Mary Magdalene sat down at one of the tables in the inn, Simon Peter immediately brought his plate over and joined them.”Here’s what I think the plan for the day ought . . .” he began before stopping abruptly when he looked at Jesus more closely. “Jesus Christ, what the hell happened to you?” Continue reading
I’d spent way too much mental energy since the scam in the park worrying about possessing $1500 I hadn’t earned. By the time Saturday night finally rolled around, it was crystal clear that as a professional iconoclast, I was a miserable failure. Sweet Franca had reached down from the heavens and granted me greatness in the form of the most powerful non-nuclear object on earth, and here I was dickering with obsolete unclast icons over the paltry sum of fifteen hundred dollars. I was thoroughly ashamed of myself.
THE GRAIL’S STORY, PART IX: CANA
Barnaby had all the tools he needed to make a serious run at becoming the Messiah: a powerful personality, loads of ambition, latent psionic talents, four eager disciples, and The Grail. What he lacked most was a message that would continue to resonate after he stopped talking. The Jewish people were pretty beaten down by their religious beliefs. Priests and prophets had been telling them for centuries how cruel Yahweh was, even to his chosen people; He certainly had an impressive track record to back their claim. So while Barnaby was preaching they were intensely moved, but once they got back home, they couldn’t remember just what it was that had impressed them so.
I left Barnaby, aka Jesus, in Capernaum and headed out for a busy Saturday night: first dinner with Judy Blue Eyes, then swinging by The Boomer’s place afterward if I could manage it. He said what the heck, it was Saturday so just wake him up if it was really late. And as usual, Mother Grail was right again: after a full day of listening and transcribing, I was ready for a break. Particularly knowing that we’d be right back with Jesus in the morning.
THE GRAIL’S STORY, PART VIII: HER FIRST DAY WITH BARNABY
When The Grail came into his possession, Barnaby was at the very bottom end of the messiah ladder, mainly because he was a terrible preacher. He had been a self-proclaimed holy man for around six months, but his theology hadn’t yet jelled into a coherent message. So although he ranted with power and volume, it was hard for his audience to make sense of what he was saying. He was so bad at his chosen calling that he still had to lug his carpentering tools around to tide him over for when donations were too meager to buy food and wine, which was a big no-no. Fortunately for Barnaby, carpenters were a lot harder to find than messiahs, especially when you needed one.