Peter instigates a search of the camp and confiscates any remaining belongings, kicking out any transgressors.
Thomas, Wednesday September 13
I awoke extra early and headed out through the vineyard with a flask of water, a stale loaf and Cyrus’s draft lease, all of which I had kept by my side overnight. The agreement contained more detail than I was used to, and I needed somewhere quiet to read it in peace and think about it. It was still almost completely dark when I left, and I had to be careful not to step on the fishermen who had slept in the courtyard and were just beginning to stir.
From my position on a hillside I must have been over half a mile from the camp on the other side of Mary’s farm, but I could just make out the five pairs of apostolic searchers as they went from tent to tent while Jesus and Peter watched. The initial sounds of surprise and anger were muted, but as the whole camp awoke and realised what was going on, the shouts of protest became louder and more unified.
Then Peter started going round shaking his stick at people and the noise level subsided again. I couldn’t make out what he was shouting but I could tell it wasn’t a cheery ‘good morning’. A short time later I saw a man cowering and fleeing while Peter chased him, hitting him whenever he got near enough. The man ran to the edge of the camp and kept on going while Peter stood waving his stick and hurling curses after him. I watched the search continue, one or two more men getting literally kicked out of the camp in the process, while trying to concentrate on my reading.
“I bet you’re glad you managed to give that disgraceful business a miss.” I was becoming so used to Cyrus appearing from nowhere that it didn’t surprise me any more, even though I couldn’t work out how he had managed it when I had such a good vantage point.
“Thanks for defending me yesterday,” he said. “I couldn’t help overhearing your little discussion, I’m afraid. I’d go if they wanted me to, but it would be their loss. I think you are one of the few with any sense of proportion left. How’s the reading going?”
We sat and discussed the lease for a while, and I said I would give him some written notes later on. Eventually the camp seemed to return to normal and we made our way back during the afternoon.
Peter had a right go at me for not being present for the search but at least he didn’t beat or kick me, so I considered myself lucky. He knows how much Jesus relies on me in areas other than crowd control, fishing, aural hallucinations and brutality, although I appreciate that Peter’s skills will put him in the ascendency as Yom Kippur approaches, and I’ll have to watch my step as well as my cloak.
“I’m surprised you didn’t segregate the few women in the camp to keep the men away from temptation,” I said sarcastically. “Then the apostles could mate with them and create a master race for the new age.”
“Hmm, not a bad idea,” he said, without a hint of a smile. I gave myself a mental beating more severe than he could have managed with his stick and looked for a chance to get away. A few seconds later he put both hands to his head and I knew he was receiving a message. I escaped while he was distracted.