It was May of their senior year and everybody around them was talking about plans and making plans. Planning for the long-term. Planning for gap year. As they walked home from school, they alternted turns kicking a sopping wet spongy socccer ball down the street ahead of them. It threw off a spray of dirty water with every kick.
“Hell, Jesus” said Peter, giving the ball a boot and sending it airborne into an empty carport. “At least nobody’s accusing you of being some kind of a Philistine reprobate. My parents imagine me a moron. They won’t even entertain the idea of college.”
Jesus sort of winced and then pulled his hair away from his face, first with the swipe of a hand and then a practiced head flip which still left quite a long strand in his eyes. He sighed, frustrated. He realized none of this really mattered in the grand scheme of things. He wasn’t especially worried about his future. Not more than any of his friends. Though his own father was very strict, even vindictive at times He had heard stories growing up. His father seemed to like to test people. He thought, this is not the kind of dad that he’s become. I think he’s mellowed out quite a bit since the early days maybe.
“My father still insists I go into the priesthood,” said Jesus. “Demands is more like it.”
“Your father scares the fuck out of me,” said Peter. “Especially when he’s angry. I wouldn’t want to make him angry.”
“If I had my choice, I’d make my father a bit more tolerant.”
“So when are you taking the oath? Or is that even part of it? How do you become a priest these days? Do you have to sacrifice a chicken or a goat or something? I really don’t understand much about your family’s religion.”
Jesus retrieved the errant kick from the carport and passed the ball to his friend after waiting for a car being extra cautiousd and driving very slow to pass.
He said, “I mean I’ll probably relent and do what he says, but I definitely want to go do something cool for gap year. I just don’t know what.”
“Come with me to the Holy Land.”
“Yeah, but how much fun is Vegas when you’re 18? You’ve got to be 21 to do anything.”
“Just a thought. I’m open to going almost anywhere. I just don’t have any good ideas. I’d like to travel. See the world.”
“Won’t you do enough of that in the service?”
They’d arrived at Jesus’ house. There didn’t appear to be anybody else home. Peter followed Jesus inside where they set their bags down on the kitchen table and Jesus opened the fridge.
“You got any soda?”
“Only a bottle of water,” said Jesus, rummaging around in the back, looking for hidden treats. “Wait,” he said. “We also have wine,” he said, pulling a bottle out and looking for some paper cups.
“Red or white?”
“I don’t know,” said Jesus. “What kind do you want?”
“Will it get me drunk?”
“Then just start pouring.”
The pair sat down at opposite leaves of the long oak kitchen table. There was a loaf of freshly made bread on the table which the two began snacking on.
Peter squished a piece of bread in his hand until it turned into a doughy consistency. He then proceeded to shape the bread into a cube. He then made another one about the same size. He rolled his bread cubes down the table. “Coming out,” he said.
“Seven!” said Jesus, slipping the bread dice into his mouth.
“You seeing that chick this weekend?” said Peter.
“Mary?” said Jesus. “I don’t think so. I think she is working. She’s working late this weekend.”
“She’s always working late. It’s like she’s slinging ass that girl.”
Jesus blushed a little. Mary did work some odd hours and with some disreputable people.
Suddenly the front door came under attack. The bell rang. There was a pounding. The sound of heavy feet stomping. “Let me in, you drunken homo bastards!” came a voice from the street.
“Fucking Judas!” smiled Jesus.
“Speaking of Philistines!,” said Peter. “I hate that guy. Let’s ignore him.”
“He’s okay,” said Jesus. “You just hate everybody.”
“You just love everybody.”
“What’s wrong with loving everybody?”
“Nothing,” said Peter. “If he pulled the kind of shit on me that he’s pulled on you… I just don’t know how you can forgive a bastard like that. Plus,” he said. “He’s a bigger suck-up than that kid Constantine.”
“Don’t get me started,” said Jesus.
Jesus opened the front door and let Jude inside.
“Thou bitches be getting all crunk and shit without me?” he said, his eyes searching the room for the bottle.
Jesus found a cup and poured Judas into the next round.
“Wine?” he said. “Somebody’s putting on airs. How come your dad doesn’t drink beer like the rest of the world? Your family drinks wine like its tap water.”
“I’m sure there are bars open right now that stock exactly what you want to drink that won’t serve you,” said Peter. “Beggars should just shut the fuck up already.”
The two exchanged dirty looks and finally wry smiles. They tolerated each other and besides, something about being in the same room with Jesus that seemed to being out the humanity in most people. He had that effect.
The trio exchanged cheers and moved to the cooler den area downstairs where the Nintendo was set up on the old console TV. Out of force of habit more than out of desire to play, Judas put Galaga in and pulled on the TV knob. “Almost forgot,” he said, pulling his hand out from under his elbow.
“Check it out,” he said. “Smell my fingers.”
“Your mom finally got parole,” laughed Peter. “Congratulations! Oh, holy day!”
“No,” said Judas, exhibiting his other hand in the same fashion for Peter. “Your mom finally got parole,” he said.
Jesus moved in for a whiff. “This better not be ass again.”
“Prime poon,” said Judas. “I just had ann afterschool meeting with the vice-president of the freshman class.
“Joan Dark?” said Peter. “You’re so full of shit it’s coming out of your mouth but it’s making your breath smell a little better.”
“Not shitting.” said Judas. “Seventh period. During photography class. In the darkroom. We totally could’ve fucked but being in there all alone made her nervous and the red lights were giving her panic attacks. She dried up like Lake Mead.”
Peter had a reluctant whiff. If true, that was a huge coup for Judas. How did the fucker manage? He was such shit. Maybe the freshman classes weren’t aware? “How many fingers?” he asked.
“You mean knuckles,” said Judas.
“God damn!” said Jesus. “Knuckles?”
“Up to and beyond the fucking wrist,” said Judas. “Like a fucking sock puppet. Fuck the wrist. I’m talking elbow deep here, gentlemen.”
“Bullshit,” said Peter. “You stuck your hand in your fishtank at home! That’s the smell of fucking carp you fucking fist faker!”
Judas broke down in laughs. Of course he had been bullshitting. He swigged at his wine and finished the glass. The bottle of wine was empty.
Jesus got up.
“You gonna make more?” laughed Peter.
Jesus hesitated and stuttered for a second. “I think there’s more wine in the cellar,” he said. “I’ll be right back.”
“You fucking bunco artist!” said Judas, laughing and mocking his friend. As soon as he was out of range he said “And you think I’m a fucking con artist!What about Jesus? I love the guy but come on! He’s so full of it,” he said. “Just because his dad is some big shot. Fucker thinks his ass can walk on water,” he said.
“You sound like Thomas,” said Peter.