Preview of Change


The temple guards threw their clay goblets against the tavern wall. We departed the tavern and marched to a neighborhood by the Pool of Siloam. I found myself knocking on a familiar door. It was Prochorus’ house. Prochorus sold published treaties and manuscripts for a living from his one-room house. He was regarded asJerusalem’s foremost authority on ancient Hebrew scrolls.

Prochorus was a middle-aged widower. His wife and only child had been accidentally run over in the marketplace by a Roman centurion’s chariot during a recent rebel uprising. I had been a valued customer and dear friend of his for nearly twenty years. I tutored his adolescent daughter in Latin for treaties during my college years.

The impatient Amon kicked in Prochorus’s front door just seconds after I pounded on it. Prochorus’s four internal, mud-plastered walls were covered with wooden shelves from floor to ceiling. They were filled with leather and papyrus scrolls.

His floor was filled with cedar boxes full of clay tablets. Prochorus was still seated at the dinner table in prayer when the guards busted in. He quickly read the intentions of the single-minded guards. He jumped to his feet, and his long salt and pepper beard covered his upper torso like a breastplate.

The callous temple guards ransacked his house. They threw his rare scrolls all over the floor as well as outside on the Lower City street. Nearly all the scrolls were in pristine condition and only a few were worn around the edges.

The guards quickly became bored with rummaging through his scrolls. They turned their attention to Prochorus and ripped off his shirt. Prochorus’s chest was as bald as his scalp. The temple guards dragged him into the street by his uncombed beard, and then beat him with wooden clubs.

“Are you a believer?” Fat Jesse, a drunken temple guard, slurred. Fat Jesse was really tall and thin; a Roman galley slave’s oar had more thickness to it than Fat Jesse. He had a raggedy, red beard and a rusty moral fiber. His oversized nose had been broken five times in fights; it looked like a mountain range.

“Yes, it is as you say!” Prochorus declared, quoting the words Jesus spoke to Pontius Pilate.

“Deny him, and we will set you free!” I impatiently screamed at my old friend while standing over his swollen, bloody body.

“I can’t. Jesus is The Way to heaven!” Prochorus claimed without fear.

A young temple guard began savagely whipping him. “Maybe I can expedite your trip to Heaven,” the flogging temple guard, Thin Imna, sadistically snorted through his eagle nose. Thin Imna was really short and fat. He looked like a tomato. His right eye had been recently poked out in a tavern brawl. His flesh was pale white, while his eyebrows, hair, and beard were as black as octopus ink. Thin Imna’s values resided in that gray area between vile and evil.

“If I go to Heaven today, I hope to find a place there for you!” Prochorus audibly prayed for his abusers between lashings as his blood dripped onto the dust from which he had come and would go.

“Quit whipping him! I want him alive not dead,” I screamed at Thin Imna.

“He’s a blasphemer! Let’s end his life right now! Why wait for tomorrow to eliminate this scum from our city streets?” an inebriated Fat Jesse hollered as Thin Imna dropped his whip.

“Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Prochorus spoke, barely managing to quote Jesus while using a palm tree to rise to his knees.

“Today’s troubles may do you in before tomorrow even gets here!” Amon remarked then accented that comment with the toe of his boot. Amon stood over him like a vulture deciding how to pick apart its prey.

Prochorus collapsed back on the dusty street and tried to raise his head. “You may eradicate my life, but not the teachings of our divine redeemer. His words will always exist somewhere, someplace, and somehow. You can’t eliminate the truth,” Prochorus muttered before passing out.

“Amon, take him to the prison. We will deal with him when he awakes!” I commanded. Fat Jesse tied Prochorus to his horse, and then dragged him off to the death dungeon.

Categories: Agent of Changes

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