Tom’s activities outside work have caused embarrassment inside work, and his employer decides his services are no longer needed. His wife gives him a similar message and kicks him out of the house.
Thomas, Thursday June 22
Writing this in the living room of Jesus’ parents’ house. They have two bedrooms as well as this room. I had been intending to buy Hannah some flowers and a bottle of wine to make it up to her, but it didn’t quite work out.
Ruben has been grumpy with me all week, first for associating with Jesus, who he sees as a lawless troublemaker, then for leading Bart, the servant of his wealthiest client, astray, and then for asking for a half day off work. Today he found out that I wanted the time off to go with Jesus to a different synagogue, and that made him even grumpier. He more or less told me that if I didn’t stop supporting Jesus and start devoting myself more to my work, he would fire me.
Then Bart came in around midday to tell Ruben that his boss was taking his legal work elsewhere. Ruben found out that Bart’s boss, a wealthy landowner called Matthias, was in town on business, and stormed off to see him and find out what was going on. He came back with some story about Matthias having quite legally thrown some lowlife off a piece of land on the edge of his estate outside Magdala, only to be tricked into giving it back after the man consulted a local sorcerer, who put a spell on him. Ruben had given the original legal advice about seizing the land, but then in his moment of weakness Matthias had given the man a written agreement granting ownership of his old land as well as part of a particularly good orchard. Unfortunately even Ruben had been unable to overturn this contract when Matthias changed his mind.
After telling me all this, Ruben shook his head and put his hand on my shoulder.
“I’m going to have to let you go, Thomas,” he said. “You’re disruptive, you take too much time off, you hang about with the worst kind of amateur preachers, and now I discover your friend Jesus almost lost me my biggest client, assuming he’s the sorcerer Matthias was referring to. I’m sorry.”
Not as sorry as I was. I begged and pleaded, said I would never speak to Jesus again or ask for another day off, but it was too late. He’d promised Matthias he would fire me as part of a deal to get his legal work back.
When I eventually gave up the fight and walked out, I bumped into Bart. He’d been fired too. At least Capernaum wouldn’t be a problem for us now, and we agreed to meet up tomorrow morning and walk there together.
When I went home in the middle of the afternoon and told Hannah the news, she fired me too. I’m not to go back till I get another job and have stopped all this Jesus nonsense. I know she loves me and wants me back, but I’ve decided to stay away for a few days before trying to go back again. I’d forgotten all about the wine and flowers, so at least I hadn’t wasted any money.
To make things worse, she passed on to me the news that my father, who had been totally normal ever since Jesus exorcised him, had started talking to himself again this morning and had wandered off. I’m sure he’ll be fine.
Jesus went to Capernaum this morning, so I haven’t even had him to talk to, but his Mum’s been very kind about letting me stay here. I’m going up to sleep on the roof. It’s even hotter than yesterday.