Out of breath from running back to the rock, Jesus stopped and bent over, gasping for breath. He spotted the man he had spoken with earlier from the restaurant and approached him.
“You still have the table ready?” he asked panting.
“Yes Sire, absolutely, and may I just say Sir, what a lovely pair of sandals you're wearing.” He nodded and smiled at Jesus’ feet
“Ya? You really like them?” Jesus perked up with the compliment and pulled up the hem of his robe to allow the admirer to see the leather straps making their way up his calf.
“Mmmm… very nice Sire.”
“You’re not just sayin’ that, ‘cause you know I can guarantee you a place in heaven?”
The man swallowed and looked fearfully at Jesus.
“Ahhhhh!!!! Got ya! Don’t worry man you’re fine.”
The man laughed a little and walked away, glancing back over his shoulder.
“Tell me to wear shoes…” Jesus said under his breath and returned to his rock perch.
He held up his hands and the people gathered fell silent. “Apostles of mine! My Apostles! Mi Apostles!” Jesus began to a good chuckle. He knew how to play to the crowd. “We gather here to break bread…”
Suddenly there was a sharp gasp in the back of the crowd that distracted those further up, and caused people to turn their faces from Jesus, craning their necks to see what was happening.
Jesus sighed in frustration, “What the hell now?” he muttered quietly, and looked to James the Lesser motioning him over.
Huddling down their heads in close proximity, Jesus whispered harshly to James, “James what the hell is going on out there, I’m losing them.”
“There seems to be a commotion in the crowd Sire.”
“No shit James, how are you ever going to become “James the Greater” if you keep stating the obvious?” Jesus was a master of sarcasm and James felt the sting of his Lord’s words. “Get your ass over there and find out what's going on.” Jesus sat down on the rock, put his head on his fist in frustration and waited.
Soon Jesus noticed a smell wafting over the crowd making its way toward him, growing stronger and stronger. Pulling his robe up over his nose, Jesus glanced up to see James hurrying back.
“Well did you find out what’s going on, and what the hell is that ungodly smell?”
“What?” Jesus asked confused.
“It’s Jonah Sire, he’s here, and he says he has an invitation from you to attend tonight's supper.”
“Who the hell invited Jonah?”
“Jesus it wasn't me, I swear to your Father!” James looked at Jesus with panic in his eyes. “Cross my heart and hope to die, dude.” He drew an X over his heart with his index finger.
“Alright, alright, get Bartholomew, he’s right over there. And make sure he’s got the list.”
“Yes Sire, right away,” and James ran off.
Less than a minute later Bartholomew strolled up to Jesus looking rather uncomfortable in a pair of converse hightops.
“Barth, buddy, what the hell is Jonah doing here, apprarently he says he has an invitation to our supper!”
“Ah yes Sire, it’s my fault, I went down the list and just forgot to cross his name out, and then with all other preparations, you know, I got behind, and …”
“Okay, okay man, don’t start to cry! I’ll take care of him. Who’s next on the list?”
Bartholomew consulted his papyrus scroll, “ah… James, no he’s already here.” Jesus nodded. “Jonah, no he’s about to leave,” Bartholomew grinned devilishly at Jesus who winked in return. “Ah… then we get to … Judas!”
“Okay go find Judas, while I take care of smelly over there!”
Bartholomew hurried away and Jesus took a last deep breath, walked around the rock and held his arms up for Jonah.
“Jonah my friend,” Jesus said on the exhale, “What brings you to dusty old Jerusalem?” He concluded taking another quick breath.
Jonah looked slightly confused and quickly hugged his Lord, “My Sire, I have an invitation to attend supper this evening. I came as quickly as I could from the sea.
“Yes, yes of course, but you see there’s been a bit of a mix up and well… we actually don’t have a space for you at our table this night my fisherman friend.”
“Oh… really, but the carving in my stone says a space is mine, Sire.”
“So it does Jonah, so it does. It’s just… well... I’m sorry man, I gotta tell it to you straight you deserve that much. You smell. You stink. You reek dude, like… well… like you just got thrown up by a big ass whale! There I said it.”
Jonah looked down with a red face. “I’ve tried Jesus. I see the people turn away from me and retch when I pass. I see them cover their noses and mouths with the hems of their robes…”
Jesus blew out the last of his air and took another loud, deep breath, and nodded at Jonah’s expression of embarrassment. “I’m sorry man,” Jesus wheezed, squinting his eyes against the smell emanating from Jonah, “go on.”
“I’ve scrubbed myself raw Jesus, my wife has walked a fortnight to get the sandstone to peel the layers of skin from my body! I just can’t get rid of this damn whale smell!”
Jesus nodded, “I understand, dude, now beat it. Back to the sea with you,” and he shooed Jonah away much to the relief of all those in attendance.
James the Lesser approached when he saw Jonah retreat. “Jesus Christ, first we need shoes to get in the restaurant, and then Jonah shows up smelling like whale ass! What else can go wrong tonight?”
Jesus shook his head, “You got me man!” Jesus looked up and brightened as he saw Bartholomew weaving his way back to the front of the crowd towing you know who. “Judas, buddy!” Jesus pointed at Judas and gave him the divine nod. “All right everyone,” Jesus lifted his voice once again. “Whose ready for a party?”
The crowd whooped and Jesus and his apostles made their way to supper – at last!