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<span style="color:rgb(0,0,0);font-family:Arial;font-size:10pt;line-height:;he Gladiator Book I Draft 5

The Gladiator

Nothing real can be threatened.

Nothing unreal exists.

Herein lies the peace of God.

Intro to A Course In Miracles

Roberta this is for you, I lovingly pray that you made it this time.

Book 1 — The Gladiator :

The Gladiator saw his world through the shade of his face shield, and heard what he could through eardrums muffled by sweat in their water logged canals. Sweat also poured in stinging his eyes which were already slanted hard against the streaming Roman afternoon sun storm. Out there in the space of the arena a Retiarius, swift and agile moved rapidly in and out striking deftly, taking a little, then taking a little more of his body’s lifeblood each time. That blood flowed more copious now, from gashes across, and stabs to his body. Sweat flowed around and over his well formed brows, they provided less and less protection to his stinging eyes. Around his right thigh he felt the well timed pull of the fisherman’s net, it failed to fell him, this time.

Earlier he had been in control of the fight, but now he was exhausted,  striking like a wounded Buffalo at the pecking hyena, always turning a second too late, responding to the prior attack just after the current one. He was wearing inexorably down, but was still able to bring his shield up to parry the triad as though he were reaching for an apple from a bowl of fruit. Though the body was depleted the mind was disciplined, he did not panic. This block had been in time, but he was slowing down. He felt it absorbed into his forearm then glance off of his shield, instantly he countered with the gladius in his right hand bringing it down and across at a 45 degree angle, lurching forward with his right foot after the swing, too late, the Retiarius was far removed. He circled around to  Pompili ‘s left side, feigned another thrust, stepped back, then thrust the triad at his face with lightning speed,  Pompili was barely able to avoid it with a combination of a rising block with his shield and bending his knees while ducking his head under it. Close! There was no counter this time, he was too exhausted. The two combatants circled each other warily in sand that burned their feet under the scorching sun. Pompili , sweating profusely was losing the battle of attrition. He was the heavier and more powerful of the two, but was less agile. He was well accustomed to suffering the wounds of combat under the intense heat of Roma’s sun, he had been trained well. Discipline and indifference wove a sturdy pattern in the Gladiator’s psyche, but training also taught that the body had its limits and  Pompili knew that his was fast approaching its own. Sweat stung his eyes and he could no longer ignore the screaming cramps in his legs, making them ever heavier by the second. The Retiarius feigned to his head again which brought his shield high again, but the effort was enormous, his left shoulder burned. When he hoisted the shield too low a point of the triad found its mark again piercing the forehead, making it bloodier. As he was locked in a downward spiral toward a slow death of a thousand cuts, the gladiator would make a life or death decision, on his feet, with blood burning his eyes and cramps setting in. He would likely regret either action, but he had to decide and training took over again. His left arm need the rest. So, he dropped the shield, it fell with a muffled sound, pushing into the sand like a stone into water.

Without his shield Pompili had his left arm free to strike and grab, but he was exposed to the Trident. Now the retiarius swung the net at his head, forcing him to duck his head, but now he saw an opening as the retirarius’s follow through exposed his rib cage and Pompili did not hesitate, he jabbed his gladius at the open ribs like it was a piece of meat. As the blood poured,  Pompili hoped he had broken a rib, but he had only bruised it. The Retirarius feeling as though all of his ribs were broken brought both elbows in to protect the badly punctured ribs. It was involuntary leaving him momentarily rooted, exposed to Pompili ‘s sword, but he was too exhausted to follow-up. Instead he moved around to his right, keeping a safe distance while desperately trying to take control of his breathing. It was something he would not regain until one of them was dead. The Retiarius however seemed already to have endured the worst of it as he was able to swiftly cast the net over Pompili’s head and moved closer with the Trident while the net was still in the air. Pompili hacked at the open net, deflecting it harmlessly to the ground and in one move parried the Trident at the last second. The retiarius deftly spun back, reached his net on the ground, and returned to face him squarely. The near misses were getting closer.

Exhausted still, Pompili moved back, circling to his right trying to buy time, but the retiarius had much different intentions, he pressed the attack. Stepping backward Pompili felt the net wrapping around his left ankle, calmly he lifted his leg, stepped in and thrust his sword, but the Retiarius moved back out of range and deftly countered with his three-pronged spear. Pompili having dropped his shield could block it only by jamming the point of his sword in it between two of the three prongs. It was a close, and he could feel the clinging of the three-pronged sphere against the iron anklet of his left leg. Pompili clenched his free left fist and delivered a crushing blow to the Retirarius’s jaw. The Retiarius staggered back and dropped his spear. The instinct was now for Pompili to plunge his gladius deep into his opponent’s chest, but fatigue from an hour of combat beneath the scorching Roman sun made him hesitate. It was fatigue that forced him to drop his shield, and it now intensified allowing the swifter Retiarius to roll on the ground toward his trident and come up with it standing. Pompili was as disheartened as he was astonished. He decided that now was the time to retrieve his shield. Facing his opponent squarely, in a left forward stance with his sword firmly in his right hand he shifted to his left, the Retiarius would not so easily allowing him to. This time the when the fishermen threw his net around his left ankle it latched on, and he pulled it straight. The gladiator staggered, but caught himself. But the fishermen buried the center prong of his Trident into his straightened left knee. The excruciating pain electrified him, but it lasted only long enough to intensify his pain. Pompili looked at the blood gushing from his leg that was bent backwards and fell back hard between his shoulder blades. He lay on the ground in the position of a man being crucified. He was going to be run completely thru by the trident. The Retiarius moved to his left and was standing between him and his shield. He moved in cautiously for the kill, making sure that Pompili was too injured and fatigued to counter him. Satisfied he began his approach, but when he moved in Pompili saw something that made him forget all about the retiarius. It made him ignore the pain and forget his body all together. It made him doubt all that he had till this moment come to believe and know. It made him lift his head and through distraction and fatigue his training held sway, the gladius was still in his hand. So, as the sky behind the Retiarius began to drop out of existence Pompili had to make a split second decision, was death the greater disaster or was it life. When a black lightning bolt sliced across the late afternoon sky it seemed that death, was more welcome, but a second after when whole black chunks of the sky were ripped away showing only starless, dark empty space behind, it seemed that the edge of the world had come up to Roma, to the arena, to his very body, as the sea rolls to the shore. It was as if the world had been broken into two, right down the center of the arena, and he was going to be swept in. Pompili became too uncertain to  act. But his body knew what to do. From his back Pompili brought the gladius across his body and the Retiarius lost his left leg above the knee, then on the backstroke it was the right leg that ripped away, just below the kneecap. Pompili never saw that which he had done in less than a second, focused as he was on the sky falling away in chunky slabs, as though the earth were a room in the sky, whose walls came down like papaya in a storm to reveal a darkness so total that all light was taken in there and from there none returned. Then as the advancing darkness opened it’s ugly mouth and drew nearer, nearer, so near that he could feel the sand into which he clenched with all that remained of him falling off the edge. So near that he was certain to be washed away with the sand which ran through his fingers. So, he put his head back down and still clenching the sand, and felt the light sprinkle of blood that dappled down upon his body. Then he turned away and shut his eyes tight hoping that the darkness inside his lids could protect him from the darkness on the other side of them.


Lucilla couldn’t unclench her eyes, fully expecting that when she opened them the Retirarius would have skewered her husband to death. She never would have reopened them, except for the faint cries of her husband’s name. Pompilli, Pompilli. She could not believe that he had won again even less than the crowd. Slowly, cautiously, not to be deceived she opened them focused. Her jaw shuddered as she strained in the distance to see the unthinkable, her husband, alive. She was in no condition for rational thought as tears streamed down her face and drool unabashedly dribbled from the corner of her mouth, her love for her husband matched only by her pure joy to see him alive. She brushed back tears only to confirm the vision. Then as he lay there prostrate on the ground about the length of her thumb writhing in agony her joy became enmeshed with his pain. His pain, it was an altogether new experience for her, to him for that matter. The joy was not subdued, but added to by his pain becoming hers. She could see her husband’s body and feel his pain, but she could not see the darkness he had just seen, could not know that for him everything had changed, and changed much more than if the Retiarius had just killed him.

She was on her feet, moving down to where they were taking her husband. Her only thought was to rush to her husband, to tend to his wounds. She needed to comfort and take care of him, though even that was as much for herself as for his needs. But for now the Romans and iron gates still separated her from him. Yet Lucilla blamed Jesus not the Romans for her husband’s slavery, her separation from him, and the horrendous tortures he endured, suffering which she could not even think about, along the brutal bloody trail which led him from intellectual discussions on to spiritual enlightenment in Judea, to a bloody gladiator pit in Rome. Now, angry, grieving, and terrified for the life of her husband she was pleased that he had been crucified; now she felt he was deserving of it, making it less painful to her. Even in death it was Jesus not the Romans separating her from her husband. But just one more victory and that would be no more, Vettius had sworn it personally and contracted legally. Just one more victory and her husband was again a free man to be with her forever. That sweet thing, she and her husband together again, it was so close that it was almost real, she could almost touch it, but with tears still streaming and her body wracked at once by both agony and rapture, as she watched her husband screaming being carried away she knew that for now forever would have to wait.

Moving down she kept her eyes only on the stones beneath her feet. She bumped shoulders and slipped in between one faceless person, then another. Moving in and out of the light as she descended, men stared at her as she passed unaware. Someone else moved her body through the maze of debauched fanatics intoxicated by wine and blood of the games; she was merely a passenger in it.

She was completely in the shade now, though the air was still hot having been cooked by the sun all day. A fight broke out between two men gambling, but it sounded vicious, guttural, like the lions that had been fighting in the arena earlier. She looked up just in time to see one man’s face ripped open by the club brought down from the heavens. Blood splashed like a rock thrown into a still pond. Then others gathered round as the violence spread. She fell back against a wall, scarcely able to stand and stared hypnotically at the conflict before her, unable to comprehend it, unable to take her eyes from it.

There was violence that day too, that day in Judea when they first saw Jesus in the Temple where the money changers plied their trade. There was always a foul air about them she thought, the cloud of discontent which they breathed out as they took advantage of one group or another. On this day they exploited the Jews who had to buy their silver coins to pay the temple tax.  The Temple tax gave the money changers a monopoly which is used to bleed the market for all that it would bear. Eventually the poorest Jews became desperate and then angry and they raised their voices, when they had to give over all of their possessions to the money changers, for which to pay the temple tax. She remembered how suddenly, her own husband Sanyi (defender of man ) took action, turning over their tables and letting their coins spread around. Then he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn this temple into a market!”

Sanyi was a giant who towered over all men there in the market, in all of Judea. She felt proud and righteous watching her strong, good husband doing the right thing. And it was the right thing, what could be more right, what else could a right thing be. That was when everything that she thought she knew about right and wrong changed, that was when Jesus came.

Absorbed in the actions of her husband she didn’t notice another man of slight build who was also watching until that man had walked over to where her husband was scattering the coins and driving both the sheep and the cattle from the Temple. She could see him then, but could not hear him. But whatever he said to her husband it stopped him there like a stone statue. Then in what seemed like the longest second later for reasons Lucilla couldn’t understand Sanyi let the money changer’s coin box slip out of his large grasp and fall with a clunk to the temple’s stone floor. That was the first that she had laid eyes upon Jesus, the only time she had seen her husband do violence. But that violence was nothing like this, nothing that she had ever known was like this.

She was at pit level now, the clanging of slaves in their shackles, grunting gladiators clashing, and from down the long corridor beneath the seats she could hear the anguished sounds of men in pain. In her heart, there raised the sickening certainty that somewhere down there, her husband languished in agony. She wrapped her slender fingers around the bars that separated her from the long corridor, which separated her from her husband. She struggled to peer into the darkness and around the corner to glimpse a piece of Sanyi, or isolate a fragment of his agonizing cries from the ensemble, the vain attempt making her heartbreak even more bitter. She remained there, hopeful and heartbroken, until there were no more slaves clanging in the shackles, until the sounds of men suffering subsided, until the day waned and she finally realized her husband was no longer down there, there was no one else down there. She was alone.

Pensively she left the arena, and walked alone down the cobblestone street. It was nearly dark now, but all of Rome seemed to be out, still intoxicated by wine and blood of the games that ended hours ago. There were more faceless people to not look at, and more lusting men to not see. She paid less attention to the outside world than she did even her own body, which was now she was vaguely aware hungry for not having eaten in more than a day. Nothing else registered until the street opened into a large courtyard, the far side of which was a wedding. She remembered instantly her own wedding Sanyi.

Sanyi was all that Lucilla ever wanted from the second she first laid eyes on him. Her mother told her that when she loved the man at first sight it meant that she had loved him before in other lifetimes. That may be true she thought, but it was not so easy to gain his love in this lifetime. So, it was that on her wedding night she savored her prize, the greatest prize in all of Judea, the handsome and wealthy Sanyi. He was a prize worth fighting for now she had won him. Oddly though there was no competition, she had come to wonder. Indeed there was a moment a very short time where she actually thought the impossible was real, and that he cared not for her. Their early courtship was a series of prearranged  accidental meetings at the market or in the Temple. And even after he noticed her and courted her it was too long it seemed before at long last he married her.

But then it did seem to have been worth it especially when he came towards her on their wedding night. All of her fears and doubts washed away by delicious mingling of wine and the mixed juices of their lovemaking which lasted until the morning. And as the sun rose that day it rose on new, on a deeper level of her love for him than even she could fathom. Before Jesus, in spite of herself, Sanyi made her deliriously joyful.

And while she never doubted his love for her and despite her joyful delirium, she did doubt her place with him. She sensed that she would always be second, but second to what for whom. It was a subtle, subconscious doubting that she was not wholly aware of. It gnawed at her, unseen. Sanyi was a man in search of something other than her, in search of what he knew not. But when she saw Jesus standing there with him, she knew that Sanyi had found exactly that which he was unaware that he sought.

The time with him before their wedding was as labor before childbirth, horrible but would be instantly forgotten as soon as a new child is brought into the world. The time after Jesus was like a mother whose child is snatched up suddenly by death. Now consumed in the agony of missing him, it was as though he made her life unbearable. And yet she would have to bear it until gentle Sanyi could win one more match, if he could win one more match. She looked away from the wedding and making her sorrowfully way down the narrow street alone, and got lost.

She had taken the wrong road by which to leave the courtyard and didn’t notice until it was well past dark, didn’t notice it until the Romans nearly ran her down. Immersed in her sorrows she couldn’t hear the horses galloping down the narrow cobblestone. But as she entered into the crossway, they appeared as if instantaneously. She leapt back but not in time to avoid a violent encounter with the hairy front shoulder of the onrushing beast. It spun her around in midair threw her hard to the cobblestone on her hands and knees. The second rider cursed at her as he rushed past. She crawled away as best as she could, but it was slow it was the most physical pain she’d ever experienced in her life. Her knees were black and blue in her palms were bleeding. She leaned back against the wall curled her legs up like a child and cried. She cried not the deep sobs of anguish, but the gentle ones of despair. Sitting there, knowing not what to do she shut her eyes hard, as if trying to awaken from a nightmare. As though she would open them and be safe in bed beside her big gentle husband. Instead she opened her eyes she saw that her palms were bleeding.

She waited there, waited for the bleeding to stop, waited for the pain to subside. But just like waiting for the return of Sanyi, it was hopeless. When the rain began falling she got up to find her way home.

By the time Lucilla entered the apartment that Vettius had provisioned for her, she was drenched in cold. Roma, was the center of the world, the hub to which all roads lead, but here in her dark apartment on the top floor corner of a stone building Rome, disappeared and the anguish of her broken heart was all she had fill the emptiness. She walked past the fireplace, which she had never seen burn to light a candle on the bedside. She hesitated at the edge of the bed, staring as if not sure what to do, as one would test the temperature before entering a bath. Gradually, ineptly she curled her tiny body into its center and stared blankly at the flickering shadows in the room.

The last time she could remember curled up in bed like this, it was with her husband’s big, safe body behind her. She remembered gently caressing the hairs on his arm about her waist, and feeling as comforted by his presence as she was frustrated by Jesus’ message. “I try, I try” she explained,” but try as I might, I can’t get it, I can’t understand. Jesus is the tiny mad idea”, she screamed in a whisper. Then her husband, as though he were moving a pillow, effortlessly turned her to her back, brushed the hair away from her cheek, “you will, you will” he said in a tone that was as gentle as any she had ever heard, and then she looked up, catching his eyes, that revealed a certainty, and the seriousness that his voice did not. That view of Sanyi she’d had a thousand times, had it burned into memory. His dark eyes were white, with tapered brows riding a finely sculptured ridge that balanced a nose of the gentlest  Hebrew variety. He was the one who understood Jesus better than anyone. And then they made tender love. She didn’t care one bit about Jesus, but oh god, how she needed Sanyi now. But on this night she wasn’t reassured, nor did she make love to her husband, she lay in as she had for so many nights in Roma, alone, in a cold, empty room. For one who had endured so much pain for so long, yet beautiful, privileged and protected, young Lucilla was just beginning to learn to hurt.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% Begin Jesus %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Just as in the beginning of the universe, there was not a witness to it. What began as just a tiny eddy barely able to stir the dust in the desert outside of Cairo, became a vortex that carried the burning sand to the sea, there it turned to clay and then to stone, and finally the stone to living bone. The spirit making the body seem real. By the time the body was first seen by John who was baptizing on the east bank of the Jordan River it had walked thousands of miles under a scorching sun and freezing night without water or warmth or the need for either. When John looked up and saw Jesus standing on the bank he knew instantly that the light for which he had so long sought had found him instead.

John a self-righteous man had heard many confessions and done many baptisms by then, saying “confess your sins and God will forgive them.” But John the Baptist believed in sin and so he condemned it. He had no idea what true forgiveness really was or that sin was not at all. John watched as Jesus stepped into the water and came towards him. “Lord I cannot hear your confession as you have none to make,” John said. “Nor does any of us,” said Jesus. Then Jesus took John’s hands and put them on his head and went under the water. When he came up again, John understood that he did not understand. Jesus smiled and he watched as Jesus walked out of the river and up the bank, then out of sight, leaving John with the perfect peace of God which he had never experienced before. But it was the last time that John the Baptist walked out of the river Jordan, nor did he ever baptize again.

Jesus went on to Nazareth to find Mary and Joseph who had lost their only son during the slaughter of King Herod more than 30 years before. They had remained childless since, unable to have children, living still in the insufferable sadness of what could have been, and the crushing guilt for not preventing that which could not.

When word reached her of King Herod’s mass execution order she took up her son and fled into the sparse woods outside of Nazareth. She hid there for two days. Heat and cold. She ignored the raging thirst in her own mouth could not ignore the suffering of her child. She had to get him water or he would die. So, she put the child in a basket, covered with clean linen and carried it boldly back into the city, to the water well. There were two Romans on horseback in the street and as the child lay silently in the basket she began to draw the water. Then a horrible realization came over her, that she had brought no jar to carry the water away with. So, she had to expose the child to the light in order to let him drink. It was a fatal mistake. Two Roman soldiers with their swords and cloaks already bloodied from prior hours of infanticide closed in swiftly. She clutched the child desperately to her breast, but one of the soldiers violently straightened her arms and the child fell from held them. Miraculously she caught him in the air and fell back hitting her head hard against the well made of stone, with the child in her lap. The soldier, as though he were stabbing at a leaf on the ground in order to pick it up thrust his sword at her child in her lap. The blade skewered her left arm went through the child’s heart and didn’t stop until it had cut her through the womb . The last thing that Mary remembered before she fell to the dirt was the faint sound of a limp child splashing into the water far below. She should have died there, instead she lived forever with the guilty memory and the deep gouge through her womb which left her barren.

Since she’d never seen the child actually be killed it was easy to pretend that some miracle had occurred. That she had not heard a dead infant splash into the water. Over the years she told herself this till she almost believed it was true. But she never drew another drop from that well.

Joseph suffered from a similarly pernicious form of self-attack, he blamed himself for not having been there when the Romans attacked his wife and son. But it was Joseph who drew the Romans away in the first place. It was he who hid a bundle under his coat and ran off in the other direction to draw the soldiers. It worked. When the soldiers discovered that it was aught but a log that he concealed from them they beat him within a camel’s hair of his life and that beating gave his wife and child time to get away. But the world, this world, gives only to take and too soon it takes everything. It is a dry and dusty place where starved and thrifty creatures come to die. Jesus felt their deep pain and was moved, understanding that they believed that what was happening was real. He was still in Galilee when he told Mary that she would soon see him. She in turn told her husband Joseph that “our son is coming home.” She did not have to explain it to him. They decided to prepare a feast.

Jesus was followed there by Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who they say, but Jesus did not, betrayed Him.” These then were the 12 disciples.

When Mary and Joseph saw their son for the first time they recognized him instantly, it was as though he had simply left for a while and now was returning. Jesus had many ways of easing people’s anguish. For Joseph and Mary he used the simplest, he let them no longer think about what had happened. Whenever he did this it always worked. For as Jesus himself explained, “nothing in the past can hurt you here in the now.” Jesus did not remove the memory of what had happened, he simply removed the parents habit of thinking about it at all. Jesus would often say that nothing in the past or the future could harm you now, for the past and future do not exist at all. To ease their pain Jesus gave Mary and Joseph a gift which others would have to earn, the gift of now. To them nothing of the past was forgotten nor the future hidden, but for the remainder of their days the once grieving parents lived fully in the joy of the only instant that really exist, the instant called now. For Jesus who was remembering a body, remembered too the myriad of methods the human brain had to attack itself.

At the feast Mary and Joseph were in such bliss that they didn’t even notice when the wine had given out, but one of Jesus’s disciples did and said to him, “the wine has run out.” “What am I to do about this,” Jesus said? Then Jesus smiled and got up.

The Jews have strict rules about ritual washing. So, there were six large water jars there, each one large enough to hold between 20 and 30 gallons. “Fill these jars with water,” Jesus said to his disciples and they did it. When they were done Jesus paused for a second and then said, “Draw out the water and give it to the people.” They did and to their astonishment the water had turned to wine. The other guests did not see this but remarked it was the most delicious wine they had ever tasted. Not only the disciples, but a beautiful young girl named Mary Magdalene had seen this. They were all amazed especially Mary Magdalene.

In those days there was great hatred toward the money changers. For they controlled all the wealth from Judea all the way to Capernaum. It was the money changers who told Caiaphas to turn the Temple into a marketplace and he made it so.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% Begin Jesus and Sanyi%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

A few days later, in time for the Passover Jesus and his disciples and Mary Magdalene traveled to Jerusalem. There they witnessed the weary and worn-out way the working people lived, moving as though chains were about their arms and legs as they labored under the oppressive weight of Roman taxes. The Romans took all they could, and when this caused people to produce less Rome raised their taxes. Jesus said that Rome produces nothing while taking all in all it can from those around it. Therefore Rome would forever extend its forces outward at greater cost retaining less wealth. Soon would be a time when Rome was no more. But as they entered the Temple there was a raucous and great commotion. When they moved close enough to the noise Jesus could see a huge man, the biggest man he had ever seen, who had made whip of cords and was chasing the animals away. Also he had overturned the tables of the money changers and scattered their coins on the Temple floor. His disciples tried to persuade him out of it, but Jesus walked over to the big man saying, “My Brother, Trust not your good intentions. ”

Mighty Sanyi was so disarmed by the tiny Jesus that he froze in place, going at once from fearsome to comical. But he stammered and stopped there for what seemed many long seconds asking, is this the young Rabbi I have heard about. Then staring into the eyes of Jesus he remembered something that all save for Jesus had forgot.  For only  a holy instant Sanyi forgot about all symbols, words, his body, and symbols of symbols, but remembered the peace of God instead. It was a peace that upon seeing Jesus he more remembered than discovered, but once remembered was known almost in full. So, despite the awkward outward appearances, Sanyi was in that second far more enlightened than confused.

Jesus knew that Sanyi believed himself to be a righteous man acting in a righteous manner, but just as John the Baptist he was confused about what righteousness was. Or that there was no such thing. Jesus was aware of the man’s wife his wife scrutinizing himself as well as he was aware that there was much more to the big man then just his size.

Then the Jewish authorities appeared and wanted to seize Sanyi who had said this is a temple, but you have turned it into a den of thieves. The Jewish authorities demanded that Sanyi perform a miracle to prove that he had the right to do such a thing. But it was Jesus who answered them reciting the Scripture which said, “My devotion to your house oh God Burns in me like a fire.” The Jewish authorities looked at Jesus for a long time, then said amongst themselves, “Who is this man who recites our Scripture?” Then they looked at Sanyi, but walked away without laying hand upon him. Sanyi relaxed now, stood looking at them until Jesus put his hand on his shoulder. Then Sanyi turned to see Jesus smiling up at him and smiled back down at him.

How do you know my name”, Sanyi asked Jesus. “I have not known you before, nor have you known me.” Then Jesus squeezed Sanyi’s shoulder and answered him saying “Ah Sanyi, you are a good man who wanted to be a physician, but for his father’s sake became a merchant instead. You who wanted to heal now give away your wealth and fight injustice wherever you see it.” Jesus walked away from Sanyi toward the steps the money changers had just fled. Then he turned and came back toward Sanyi saying loud enough for everyone to hear, “You now heal the world, finding that which was wrong and putting it to right.” But when Jesus drew near to Sanyi again he said so that only he could hear, ”Great Sanyi, don’t you know that for all your righteous might that you can save not one lonely lamb”. And Sanyi was amazed. Who was this man he wondered to himself who knows my deepest secrets. Jesus said these words to Sanyi because he knew that Sanyi was the only child of a wealthy merchant who wanted for his only son to be like he. Sanyi did not know how this stranger meant what he said. What does he mean by you cannot save even a single sheep. Does he say that it my fault he wondered to himself. But as the man drew closer to Sanyi he could see great compassion in his eyes. Latter Sanyi would say that never seen such compassion in a man’s eyes, never before nor since. Then he heard him say, “ You were just a small boy, who could never have stood up to the wild dogs. You can no more bring back the sheep than could you have saved it. Can you not forgive yourself for it. And I tell you the truth, that you can no more save the world now, the large powerful man that you are, than you could have that lonely sheep when you were just a small boy.”

Then Sanyi’s large hands dropped to his sides and he remembered. He remembered that he was a small boy who would rise before the sun to attend his father’s flock. His father had a hired man who came to attend them after the sun was up. The hired man was paid, but Sanyi’s only reward was to be with the flock. He loved them since the first time he’d seen one of them born. First there was one sheep, then there were two, how. From where comes the baby lambs, from where comes life, from where come the world itself? These questions Sanyi asked himself as a child and a man, with no answer. To young Sanyi it was just magic, the magic of life and he wanted to be in that magic for the rest of his life. So, he stayed with the sheep all that he could. The flock knew the hired man, but out on the rocky slopes of his father’s pasture they came to him, to the sound of his young voice for they trusted it. And it was out there where only stubby grass grew on the rocky terrain that it happened.

A pack of hungry wild dogs attacked the flock and separated one of the sheep from the rest of them. The hired man was able to take the flock back to the pen. But he was a hired man and he would not try to save the one that was lost. Sanyi left the hired man and went after the pack. He could not see them for they were hidden behind a small hill over which is tiny body could not see. But he could hear the sound of many dogs barking and single sheep’s panicked crying. When his tiny legs had finally carried him there the dogs were already finishing off the sheep which they had shredded into bloody fleshy pieces.  

But cried in anguish, but the dogs, one with a bite on its throat with not let go. Sanyi did the only thing he could he struck out with his stick. He hit the one with its teeth upon the sheep’s throat. Then he was overtaken by fear and fled. But the dog let go of the sheep’s throat and chased Sanyi down from behind in it him on the leg. Sanyi tripped, and all the dogs mauled him. As he lay on his stomach his hands find his head he could hear the animals growling, he feel the hot air and blood on their breath until he passed out.

Many hours later Sanyi woke up. Somehow he knew to crawl to the edge of the cliff. When he looked over he saw the bloodstained rock below where the dogs had finished off the sheep. The image was seared into his mind from that moment on. This is what Sanyi remembered as he stared at the curious stranger coming closer to him, wondering how does this man know everything I have ever done. When Jesus got close he put his hand Sanyi’s shoulder and said, “Sanyi my brother, forgive yourself, at least in the way of the world, or you will try to save that same sheep for the rest of your days, Forgive yourself In The Way Of The Holy Spirit And Be free”. This only Sanyi could hear. %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Now a larger crowd gathered around them and was filled with much agitation and discussion. ”Who is this man who says of the money changers that they have done no one harm,” they demanded of one another. But no answer was to be provided there so they asked Jesus, “Who are you? ” Then one of them said, “Sanyi was chasing the money changers from the Temple, but you said to him let them be.” And they accused Jesus of defending the money changers.

I tell you what I told him, Judge them not, for they have harmed no one.”

Angered the crowd drew near to Jesus the disciples and Mary gathered around. Lucilla also came near to Sanyi. The crowd was loud and accusatory, but they did quiet down and demanded of Jesus that he explain himself. So, Jesus did. As Jesus was waiting to speak, Lucilla was still sizing him up.

But they (the money changers) are stealing from the poorest Jews, on their holiest ground, no less”, they replied. “They are evil”, others persisted. And now the fury was directed at the slender stranger. But Jesus gently corrected that no one is good or evil and that nobody could possibly be victimizing anybody, saying:

I tell you the truth that everyone acts in service of their own perceived needs. Everyone acts selfishly. The money changers, attempting to maximize their profit on every single coin, as were the poorest Jews attempting to pay as little as possible, for each coin. To each his motives are moral, but each acted so that need his needs would be met first, each acted equally selfishly in service of those needs. And we each act equally selfishly, we each act completely selfish in the service of our needs. Even the martyr is totally selfish; there is nothing else that he can be.”

The point of view of Jesus was unexpected and unacceptable to all save for Sanyi. Lucilla was especially critical Jesus because she could not understand that he had not acted in defense of the despicable money changers, it simply had not judge them. But even amongst the disciples themselves and Mary Magdalene it was Lucilla who would struggle most to understand that good and bad were only what we called it.

And Sanyi had more shocks in store for his wife, inviting Jesus and his disciples, and Mary to stay with them. “Please, you and your friends come and stay with me at my house, for I am a wealthy man and I have room enough for all of you.” Upon hearing this Lucilla jumped quietly out of her skin. But Sanyi had not consulted her so, Jesus the disciples and Mary went and stayed there a while.

The idea of spending the night with these strangers and Jesus repulsed her. If asked she could not have said why, indeed she never pondered the question. But she had judged Jesus as a defender of the money changers and anything to do with him from then on was refracted through the lens of that judgment. That was exactly what Jesus was going to tell her, though she would not hear it. But Lucilla only thought that she was repulsed by the thought of Jesus and his disciples spending the night under her roof, she had no idea that she was truly threatened by Jesus, threatened because Sanyi’s attention to him detracted from his attention toward her. But Lucilla, young and beautiful, had much to learn about what a true distraction Jesus was going to be.

Sanyi felt the gentle breeze wrap around his legs and watched it ruffle the cloth on the table with Jesus was drinking wine. He had learned by now that Jesus had turned the water into wine in Cana in Galilee. Sanyi was not surprised that Jesus could perform miracles, for the slender stranger had told him everything that he had ever done. But he had provided a dinner in which the wine would not run out, for he knew that Jesus had not come here to perform miracles or magic. He had come to teach. In time he would teach Sanyi what a Miracle really was, and remove all barriers to the awareness of Loves presence. Yet to see and hear Jesus with the eyes and ears of the body could only be misleading he thought. Sanyi realized early on that if you could understand Jesus at all, then it must be with the mind.

For Jesus was the answer to every question, to receive  one just had to ask. Jesus was constantly trying to get through, one simply had to let him. Just now Sanyi was attempting to do precisely that. Oddly he felt himself unable to think of a thought about which to ask the question. He was distracted slightly by children who had been playing at a distance but now drew closer to the adults.

Yet as he struggled for the question which eluded him, it was a small child who provided the question to the answer. It was in fact the answer from which all other answers sprang, the only question that need been asked, the only answer there really was. From a child, Lucilla’s young niece came the question about creation.

She had been laying on the ground looking up at the stars, now pointing up at them she asked, “Jesus where do they come from?” As Jesus began to answer Sanyi could never have believed how different he would be when he was done. Sanyi was familiar with the law as given by Moses and interpreted by the chief priests and the Pharisees. But until now he had never heard anyone speak with such a gentle power, on that question. Before now no one had ever said where the world comes from, and more importantly why. For Jesus said, “Little girl, they come from you.”

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% begin the tiny mad idea %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

The law says “In the beginning”, but there is no beginning or end, I tell you the truth there is only now. Now is forever and God is everything, God is all there is. But my words make no sense to little a little girl or to an old man, because you think you are of this world. Very well then, I shall meet you where you think you are. A very long time ago, but it never really happened at all. The Son of Man was in Heaven, in a state of eternal bliss and in perfect oneness with the Father. That is all that can be said of heaven, that it is perfect oneness. The oneness was so perfect that there was no place where one began or the other ended, oneness so perfect you could have no thought that was not thought of God, you could not imagine anything that was not God. There was no difference save one, that the Father is first cause, He created the Son, the Son did not begat Him. Yet in the Holy Trinity it is said that God is first, but there is no second, never

was there a thought of separation, you were one with God who created you. We are not separate from God, we are not part of God, each and everyone of us is God. God is everywhere and everything and we simply say God Is. We say God is and then we cease to speak.

Then into the mind of the Son there crept a sick insane thought, A Tiny Mad Idea.  The idea was mad because it was not of God, but at the Tiny Mad Idea the Son of Man remembered not to laugh, the forgetting being the beginning of nothingness. – Latter Sanyi would understand that it was the failure to laugh away the Tiny Mad Idea, that was the root of the nightmare. – The idea, was, what would it be like to be apart from God? The Son waited for God to answer, but He didn’t. It was a tiny mad idea because there is no such thing as separate from God. So, God not willing to make that which was unreal appear real, did not answer. The non-answer from God to the non-question, The Son mistook as rebuke. It was a great mistake, the greatest mistake, one who’s impact is matched only by the magnitude of its incorrectness. In forgetting to laugh at the tiny mad idea the Son now mistakenly believe that God is angry with Him, angry for his thought of separation.

So, this Tiny Mad Idea, your original sin. For his imagined sin, The Son imagines real retribution. The first fire went out and the others growing dim everyone moved closer to Jesus, not simply to see or even hear him, but simply to be closer. There they saw his face as he looked at and into theirs, they saw on his face as he went on his compassion for them, for Mankind.

%%%%%%%%

Believing him, this is original sin, for which the entire Sonship

feels deep, unknowing, abiding guilt and expects severe and merciless retribution for a crime that never was. The Son of Man, with sin in his past, guilt in his heart, and fear of the terrible retribution to never come seeks shelter in Heaven from God.

%%%%%

The Son now has a false belief in himself as apart from God. Having sinned in separating from perfect oneness the Son has a sense of self, this is where we each receive our false sense of self or Io (ego in latin) (should I use ego or io ). The false sense that you are separate from your Brother, that you are separate from God. Silly, how can perfect oneness be separate from itself?  

This is where the Io, or I self comes in and says, “I’ll help you, I’ll show you a place to hide” the Io is not a demon or a devil, it is no more real than the body, rather is just trick, or devise of the mind. The Io is the part of your mind that makes up and protects the illusion of separation from God. It is what makes the illusion seem real, so very real. Then the Son of Man, terrified, running scared from an angry pursuer that doesn’t exist, actually makes a deal with the Io itself.

It is the Io, the is the part of the mind which believes that believes that the separation from the Father actually occurred,  and that a wrathful Father pursues His guilty Son, kill or be killed.  

of the Son of Man which made the world seem to exist for him to hide himself from God. That is how the world came into being. How silly, could the Son really hide from God? But burdened by original sin and mistaken guilt the Son of Man sold his soul to the Io to deny the reality that God Is.

To protect the mad dream the Io must preoccupy Son of Man with more illusions. So, the false world that we fill with cruelty, inhumanity and bloody wars, with friends and enemies, with money changers and Romans. All of them, all aught but distraction. So terrified is the Son of the Father that he runs to the devil to hide.

So, all the world all that you think you see with the eyes of the body comes from but a mind turned inside out and spilled onto a world outside of itself. A world outside of God, is one outside of everything that’s real. Remember, God is, and We cease to speak. This world that you see is but the made dream caused by A Tiny Mad Idea.

The Son of Man is asleep and heaven dreaming the dreams of exile. Each lifetime you think you live in this world but a nightmare to a dreamer in heaven. To awaken from the dreams the Son must learn forgiveness. Not the kind of forgiveness that the world knows, but true forgiveness that knows the world is not. But it takes many dreams of many lifetimes to train the mind to ignore the io and listen to only the Holy Spirit. And in the myriad of dreams and lifetimes in the multitude forums of joy and horror they bring, at one time or another we each play the others part, we are each master and slave, we are each predator and prey, we are each everything there is to be many millions of times over. The father has sent me to gently wake the Son from his dream, to ease his burden, to reduce the number of his nightmares, to free the master from the slave, and I have already done it. I have already undone all that was never done. But follow or ignore the word makes no difference, everyone wakes up, everyone makes it out, everyone already has. Nor am I above you. You shall see me as an older Brother who has traveled the path before you, and now is reaching out to help you along. I am entitled to your awe, that is reserved properly to the Father. I am entitled to your devotion because I am devoted to you. I deserve your obedience as an older more knowledgeable brother, I can lead, but you must choose to follow. “

When he was finished the little girl understood, so did Sanyi. Jesus had given to all of those gathered there what had never been given before, the meaning of existence, it’s served purpose, as well as nature of guilt of the son-ship one and all, saying, “Any man who so ever it is that he shall be who expects punishment, so then shall that man receive it.”

When asked about love, Jesus answered saying,” I come not to teach Love’s meaning for that is beyond what can be taught. I come to remove all barriers to the awareness of Love’s presentence, which is your natural inheritance “.

Wake to make it out of the dream. As Sanyi seized on those words, on the symbol those words represented, he felt a burgeoning sense of purpose, and wondered openly if he could wake to make it out of his dream, and make it out this time.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% end tiny mad idea %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Sanyi was going to follow Jesus, making no mention of it to Jesus, but Lucilla was stunned when he told her. Her 19 years old world being torn apart she fell and had to catch herself on the table, and Sanyi had to help her into the chair. Such a little girl he thought as she sat legs together hands twisting and writhing on her knees as she gently she gently sobbed. “It’s not as though you never see me again,” he said taking her tiny hands in his. He was as miffed by her severe reaction as she was by his desire to leave her. She tried to be angry with him, but when she looked up she could do aught but put her slender arms around his thick neck. He picked her up from there carried her gently to bed.

Sanyi was patient with Lucilla as she protested with all her might. But there was no way to stop him. Sanyi was leaving with Jesus no matter what the costs or consequences. And even had he known then just what those consequences would be, still Sanyi would have followed Jesus.

The following morning Nicodemus came to visit Jesus. Nicodemus was a money changer. He had not fled when Sanyi came through the market and heard Jesus speak. He came inside where Jesus was resting from the heat of the day and spoke alone to him. “Jesus we know that you are a spiritual man and speak the truth,” Nicodemus began. “We want to help you spread the truth all across Judea,” he continued. But Jesus perceived his treachery and interrupted him saying, “Nicodemus I do not judge usury, nor do I sanction it.” Then Jesus stood up and put his arm on Nicodemus shoulder and asked him, “Nicodemus what good does it do a man to gain the world and yet remain in it. Profit and loss are simply opposite sides of the scarcity coin, designed keep the attention of the Son of Man on worldly things instead of the infinite treasures in heaven where no one has any need of scarcity or want.” But Nicodemus persisted saying, “Jesus we have not just wealth, but influence. Influence with the Jewish authorities and the Roman ones. We can do all manner of things to get our way.” Then Jesus stepped back from Nicodemus and looking him directly in the eyes and said, “I am aware of all that you think you can do to me. You may to all manner of things to my body, but you cannot touch me for I am not a body. You can cause me no pain for the guiltless mind cannot suffer. Yet must you try, yet must it be done.” Nicodemus has caused much suffering in his life yet never felt remorse once. But just now he did feel pity for Jesus, for what he would do to Jesus.

Sanyi watched Nicodemus leaving his house. He walked in quickly and found Jesus. He knew what Nicodemus wanted, but Jesus said with a light heart, “Worry not big man for nothing is being done only undone.”

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% End Jesus and Sanyi %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

The next morning Jesus, his disciples, Mary Magdalene, and Sanyi left Jerusalem. Jesus had been asked to return to Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water and wine. The people there remembered how he had turned the water into wine and wondered if he would try to heal a young girl sick possessed with demons. “Jesus,” protested Thomas. “It will take too long. By the time we get to Galilee the girl will be dead.” But Jesus smiling replied, “Have faith Thomas and she will be healed in this very moment.” And just as Jesus said that the young girl’s demons left her. And there was great joy among them as well for they believed and knew that she had been saved.

Later, along the way a Roman centurion with his men coming from Jerusalem approached them rapidly on horseback. He was oblivious to Jesus’s miraculous ability to cure, he was there to seize Jesus at the behest of Nicodemus the money changer. Sanyi counted 20 mounted soldiers as they circled threateningly Jesus and his followers. The disciples and Mary were frightened and moved towards Jesus to protect him, but as Sanyi anticipated Jesus brushed them side. Sanyi was more calm, he had already seen Jesus performed miracles, he already knew that nothing could happen lest Jesus let it happen, but still a little peace was lost. And so it was that when two soldiers put their hands on Jesus they stopped just before touching him. The horses stopped the dust stopped everything came to a dead still. And Jesus looking up at the captain said to him. “You are captain Aurelius Dalmaticus Marcellus, you act in service of the money changers, but you distrust them. So, why then do you do their work?” With that the soldiers stepped back from Jesus. And the captain was amazed, but when Jesus told him, “Your young son is afflicted with the fever,” the captain nearly fainted. “Go home and attend your son and leave the work of the money changers to the money changers.” With that the man dismounted and came towards Jesus. When he got close Jesus put his arm around the man’s shoulder looked him seriously in the eye and asked, “Do you believe I can do this?” Without delay the man said, “command me and I shall do it.” Then Jesus looked at the man smiling and said, “By your faith at this very moment your son is saved. ” The captain wept at Jesus’s feet, but Jesus lifted him up and told him to go. In time Sanyi would understand just what Jesus meant when he said, “By your faith, is it done. “

Later that day they entered a town, and Jesus tired out by the trip sat on a wall, while the disciples went ahead of him. Sanyi, who walked slower than them because of his huge size came up to Jesus and sat next to him. Jesus rested his hands on the top of the wall while his feet dangled off the ground, but Sanyi more leaning than sitting, was too tall to get his feet off the ground. Sanyi looking at the dirt cupped his hands and was about to speak when Jesus said, “did you walk these past miles frightened by the threats of the money changers?” Sanyi smiled, he was not surprised that Jesus could perceive his thoughts. Then Sanyi said, “my father was a wealthy and powerful man. He was unafraid of the Pharisees or the chief priests. But my father always feared the money changers.” Jesus put his hand on Sanyi’s big shoulder and with a squeeze said, “Sanyi you who wanted to be a doctor a healer, you are so close Sanyi. You might just make it this time, but you still have an important lesson to learn, that you cannot save the world, not even yourself.” Then Jesus came down off the wall and went toward his disciples. They being led by Mary Magdalene with a bucket of water were coming towards Jesus. They reunited as though they had been separated from him for year rather than just a few minutes. Jesus stroked the side of Mary’s face and then hugged her before he drank. Then he touched all the disciples as they gathered round, on the arm or the shoulder or even the top of the head. Sanyi noticed that Jesus had done it to him too. It was Jesus’s way of saying, I acknowledge you even though I am not looking at you speak directly to you right now. Sanyi was not trying to fit into this group, but slowly stealthily they were growing effortlessly on him. They were becoming part of what Jesus would call each other’s special relationships. Part of an especially dangerous trap.

Then they left that town and as the evening drew on found themselves at last in the cool dark aloneness of the desert. Sanyi was tired, his big legs had carried his large body far and it felt good to rest them as he leaned back against a stone. He fell asleep briefly and when he had waken Jesus had just returned with his arms full of logs. He dropped them into a pile and then knelt on the ground and started putting them one at a time into the fire. Sanyi didn’t exactly notice when it got completely dark or when Jesus was all he could see. He didn’t notice when Jesus went from chit chatting about when we would arrive, to teaching about healing. He didn’t even notice, that he didn’t notice the weariness in his legs any longer. All he noticed was what they all notice, was how Jesus became so much bigger when he was teaching, how they were completely absorbed in the now with Jesus, and each felt that he was speaking only to them, Sanyi was sure of it. “When you are healing,” Jesus began, “remember this.

The acceptance of sickness as a decision of the mind, for any purpose for which it would use the body, is the basis of healing. And this is so for healing in all forms.”

Notice that before I heal them I ask, do you have faith and I can do this? Then after I heal them I say by your faith I have cured thee. Who then is the physician?”

Jesus,” asked Mary Magdalena,  “I heard that the young girl whom you cast the demons out of  in Cana was levitating,  and speaking Egyptian,  she had never heard before. Are such things possible? “ Jesus stirred the fire and in the distance and cock cooed. Jesus white robes were bathed in the firelight,  but it was still so cold the his breath shown as he spoke. “All these things are possible, “he said.  “And all these things are not possible too.” Then he held the stick that he had just used to stir the fire above the fire for a long moment.  Jesus then dropped the stick into the fire, it fell being engulfed by the locking flames. “Why did it fall down,  rather than up to the heavens? “ He paused,  all looked at each other searching for exactly what each thought Jesus was searching for. “It is the way things work,” Mary said shyly, things fall down. But Jesus answered saying, because we, the entire  Son of Man decided in our tiny mad idea to make just such a world.  And if someone truly believes that it would fall to the sky, then so it would. “ Then Jesus held a large stone the size of a orange over the fire and released it. There it levitated a moment, rolling over in the air before them all, then  raised slowly and gently into the dark sky, it’s  underbelly glowing red, getting smaller, smaller, then disappearing altogether just as the mist from Jesus mouth. And again the cock cooed.

Remember that we made this world, the sky and the seas and all the laws which government them, and remember why. In our mind we believe that we took perfect oneness and split from it, killing it, for that which is one can never be two. As I have said this was our sin against God, and I have said that this gives birth to the io, whom we believe when he says God will punish you.” The wind blew cold, from all directions and Sanyi wondered if it was Jesus,  but it was them. “The io says, think not that he has forgot,” stay in Heaven and face the angry, merciless father pursuing his guilty son, murder in the heart of one, blood on the hands of the other, kill or be killed. At war with God in Heaven,  this is the Son’s dilemma. The io councils,  you cannot possibly defeat God in Heaven,  but choose me, and I’ll give you a world to hide in, a world which is too big even for almighty God to find you. One with a sky, and mountains, and seas, and sprawling deserts. Then the io gives you the body, the one you think you are.” Jesus touched his arms with his hands. “If the Father ever finds you,  then you will point to your brother,  and say there is the sinner.  Then the cock cooed a third time.

No one said a thing, nor even did they blink and eye in cold dry night air, then still illuminated by the orange glow of the firelight  Jesus said, “Peace on this, peace on all the misperceptions of sin and guilt and judgement and pain, peace on all of the fear of retribution,  peace to it all for none of it really happened. The son is asleep at home dreaming of exile,  I say only that the next time the io beckons my brother,  choose again. “  

Peace on it Sanyi what a beautiful thought Sanyi reflected, peace on it, and choose again and Sanyi did choose again, and having done so put the peace of Jesus to himself.  He stretched on his back with one hand under his head and for a long time just looked without thoughts into the dark sky, then in the cold night air fell to peaceful sleep.

On the next day they arrived at Joseph and Mary’s house. They were the agonized parents who Jesus healed by returning them to their natural state, their true state of bliss. It was there that Jesus performed his first miracle of turning the water into wine to celebrate his becoming their son. This time he would create a feast to celebrate his marriage to Mary Magdalene.

Jesus did not wed Mary Magdalene in a way that the world understood. The ceremony took place when she anointed his feet with oil. Sanyi was outside when he noticed the sweetest scent of perfume oil he had ever smelled. It floated out from the window and drew Sanyi irresistibly inside. When Sanyi Wednesday and he saw Mary Magdalene ever said caressing Jesus’s feet with her hands. Then she put the end of her long beautiful hair into the oil and anointed his feet. None of them there realized that from that moment on Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married. This made Joseph and Mary extremely joyous.

Latter in the garden  Jesus spoke more about judgement.

Judgment is what the mind made to separate us from other brothers and sisters and to create a different experience that is not true. To make real what is not real but I say, nothing real can be taken down, nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.”

Then Jesus said, “Judgment, coming from the mind, also turns within and attacks us, creating self-hate and unworthiness.

Instead of judging ourselves for having sick thoughts, realize it is just sickness, and turn to the love of Jesus in faith to show him your sick thoughts.”

Do not judge yourself.”

%%%%%%%%%%%%% Jesus and Sanyi on the open sea %%%%%%%%%%%%

After the wedding Jesus stayed in Cana for three days. Then he and his new bride and the disciples, and Sanyi left Cana and went to Haifa. There they boarded a large boat to Sidron. For there was a great feud in that land and Jesus said he would go there to try to end it. When they left land it being in the middle of the day the single sail filled up fast in the afternoon heat. The mood was lighthearted. They were all happy to be done walking and alone together on their little island in the sea. Jesus and Mary danced on the foredeck while Thomas and Peter fished with nets off the rear deck. Everyone laughed when Thomas caught one. As he showed it to them flapping around in his hands they said, “don’t you see we have the greatest fishermen in the world right here and pointed to Jesus. Don’t you remember how he turned four fish into 4000. So, laughing Thomas threw the fish back into the sea.

Sanyi relished in and shared mutual joy of the moment, even as they teased him mercilessly for his ungainly bulk which could find no comfortable place to rest. The boat seemed much too small for him. Also after about an hour had passed he was becoming visibly sick. This was the reason, rather than his size, that Sanyi stayed out of boats most of the time. Some of the disciples remarked that, if Jesus wanted to perform a real miracle then he should cure Sanyi of his seasickness. But Sanyi focusing his site back on the land said, “there is no need to annoy Jesus with little things, I will cure myself”. They all laughed again.

Jesus sat down and leaning back against some barrels offered to help Sanyi. But Sanyi waving his hand and said, “I am fine.” With that Mary Magdalene sat down in front of Jesus and he put his arms around her as she leaned back into him. Sanyi lay down on his side of prop himself up with his right elbow, at the rear of the boat. From there he was both a watcher and a participant of the goings-on on the little island in the sea. Now what he wanted to was to observe his thoughts in the same way. He saw Mary Magdalene curl up and lean sideways into Jesus as he stretched out completely on the deck. He fell asleep to the rocking of the ocean and the raucous sound emanating from the pure joy of being with one another, of being with Jesus.

Sanyi woke under a canopy of cacophonous colors that came all the way down to the water in 360°. The waves upon the sea seemed to be reflected in strips of clouds across the sky, bathed in orange and purple. And as the sun settle down somewhere in the West a blood red moon was rising, filling the eastern sky. Jesus, Peter and Mary Magdalene were cooking fish on the fore deck, the sent wafted back and deliciously tickled Sanyi’s senses. Everyone woke and ate. The dinner was delicious.

When he was finished Sanyi went to just behind the mass. It was dark by then, but the moon illuminated a huge swath of the sea and it seemed that their boat was flying on it like a cloud. Sanyi looked to the east and was astounded. Where was the land? For all his worldliness Sanyi had never been on the open sea away from land. It was amazing. The immense expanse of emptiness defeated his imagination. Lost in its awesomeness he was unaware of the goings-on in the boat, it took him a while to notice Jesus standing beside him. Jesus was looking up smiling, “you have never seen anything so grand have you Sanyi,?” “Ha ha, drink it all in the entire experience Sanyi, for the next time you see this shall not be half so grand. Nor half as much again the time after that.” Now it was Jesus that Sanyi studied intently, wondering what could he mean by that. Jesus perceived his confusion and answered saying, “the grand new vista or experience is an example where the mind has no prior experience with which to compare. The mad mind searches the past frantically for reference with which it can explain the present experience which it cannot. The awestruck mind is speechless. You think that you are awestruck by something outside of you, yet it comes from aught but within you, and splashes on to the outside world like dye into the water. Just like the sunset at which you marveled earlier it is unreal.

At these times the io is speechless and unreality may be perceived, that the Holy Spirit can come in. But the io is quick, it must have you believe that the world is real. So, the next time you have the experience, just beneath the surface of your cognizance the io lurks and replaces the second experience with memories of the first. This could keep real what is unreal and the Holy Spirit out.”

Sanyi looked back up at the sky, then out to the sea, and finally back at Jesus, trying to take it all in. But before he could even get started Jesus gave him even more, saying, “And even the next time is an illusion just like tomorrow and yesterday Sanyi. When the mind thinks about yesterday or tomorrow if thinks about that which does not exist. And when the mind thinks about what it thinks is now, it considers that which has no beginning and no end and no between. So, it does not think at all. But the greatest illusion the mind is under, is that it thinks that it thinks at all.”

Jesus perceiving Sanyi’s confusion yet added to it again. “There is no yesterday today nor tomorrow nor even this very moment, there is only always and the difference between always and now is everything.”

Sanyi was no longer thinking about what Jesus saying, for it was too much for him all at once. Instead an odd thought came into his mind and it occurred to him that Jesus must have been alone with him for quite some time now and the rest of the disciples and Mary Magdalene would soon be coming to him. But when Sanyi looked toward the bow of the boat he noticed that nothing had changed since Jesus had come to him. Even the moon had not climbed in the sky nor had even the sail made a ruffle. The whole world saved for he and Jesus seemed frozen. “Don’t be afraid Sanyi, I’m just trying to show you how what is now for them is not now for us because there is no now, there is only always.”

Then Jesus turned and went to his disciples at the bow leaving Sanyi to stare in wonderment. Exhausted he sat and leaned against the bulkhead. He hugged his one knee and left the other straight out and looked up at the stars.

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Jesus said, “ pay your taxes if you must, but do not levy them upon the Son of Man.”

Whenever any of us looks at the world we look at the world through our beliefs and our concept’s, there can be no exceptions. This is what happens when we observe the world through the eyes of the body and interpret with the mind that thinks it is a body. it is the mind of judgment.

The time is coming in and is already here when by the power of God’s Spirit

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%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% In Sidron %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

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There was no one on the shore when they landed in Sidron just south of the Saida Citadel. Jesus led his disciples and Mary Magdalene, and Sanyi inland to the place in the mountains where the tribes were at war.

The war between the tribes was not like the war of armies. The tribes came into each other’s villages and killed each other’s wives and children, destroyed each other’s crops and animals. They threatened not just each other’s lives, but everything the other held dearer than life.

As Sanyi looked down upon the Village in the throes of a vicious attack he overheard Simon Peter plead with Jesus to “Please stop the carnage, you who heal the injured her, and bring the dead back to life.”

Jesus staring out upon the manifest violence as if in a dream said, “ Instead of this, I can see peace. “ The Jesus looked at Simon Peter and told him the same thing he told Sanyi before. “You cannot save that which is not Simon Peter,” Jesus said. “This all of this is aught but distraction. It is the purpose of the Io to keep the Holy Spirit out. It is not by good deeds that you get to heaven, it is by judgment of any deed that keeps you out. No deed done in a false world can be real, but by your judgment you make it seem so. This is what you must all learn, not how to save the world rather how to forgive it and to forgive it with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not forgive as the world does. The world recognizes that one has done wrong to the other, that the wronged and the wrongdoer are separate and unequal. The wrongdoer acknowledges his guilt, and then the wronged will grant a pardon to the guilty one there by setting all that was wrong to right. But the Holy Spirit recognizes that no one is wronged, no one is guilty and that no one can done anything to anyone. Our bodies may do all manner of things to other bodies, but none of us is a body. Only when this truth is realized can true forgiveness begin, only when all forgiveness has been given can we awaken from the dream and make it back to Heaven.”

Sanyi watched the disciples as they look questioningly amongst themselves. It was difficult for them to deny the seeming realness of the world. A world dressed up in all of its splendors and horrors to seize our attention, to seize us for all time. The Io can paint the world, but only we can Judge it to make it seem real. This is what Jesus was teaching. Then Jesus took the disciples and Mary Magdalene, and Sanyi down to the village.

When they were in the village fighting was done, but the chaos remained. Jesus put his hand on the stomach of a young man dying from a sword which had stabbed him there. The young man grabbed Jesus by his wrist as he did it but when Jesus pulled his hand away from the man’s side he was healed. A few of the people who saw this were amazed and they told others about it. Then Jesus walked to the dead body of one of the others had been killed by them. The limp body lay face first in the dirt with the club that had been used to kill him still buried in his skull. Jesus knelt, put his hands on the man’s head and in a moment the man got up and knew everything that had happened to him. Then the man tried to leave but those in the village wanted to seize him for he was one of the others. But Jesus knew their word and told them in their own language to let the man go so that he could return with his own leader so that they might make peace. Jesus pointed to the top of the hill between the two villages and told them after the sun does rise again we shall meet there. Then Jesus bade the man go. And even as the man was leaving Jesus was healing the injured and raising the dead.

Because he had saved so many of them Jesus now had great authority in that place. But one of their elders admonished Jesus for letting the enemy go. But Jesus said to him in his own words, “where were your men to protect the village by?” Jesus did not wait for an answer, but responded saying, “they were away attacking that the village. See not the spec in your brother’s eye until you remove the plank from thine own.”

When the sun had risen on the next day everyone from both villages climbed to the spot Jesus had pointed to. Each remained on the same side as their own village as Jesus and the disciples and Mary Magdalene and Sanyi met the elders on the ridge line between the two. Sanyi and the disciples studied Jesus and the goings-on, but understood it not. Jesus could speak all languages, they could not. But they all sensed great hatred between the tribes each for the other. If it were not that Jesus held great authority then surely he would be dead and the tribes locked in bloody conflict even at this moment.

They were all frustrated and fascinated over the several hours that Jesus worked a miracle seemingly greater than bringing the dead back to life. He was bringing peace to a region that had no none for the lifetimes of anyone there on the hill. But when all the elders threw down their swords and a pile and embraced one another in rigid formal hugs, indicating deep distrust,  but war was past. Sanyi didn’t have to understand the intricacies of the language or the doctrine to realize that something amazing had happened. But Jesus said it was as natural as the sunrise.

On the hilly return to the coast the disciples and Sanyi could not contain their curiosity. They implored Jesus to tell them how he had done what he had done. Jesus teased them saying, “I don’t know how I did what I have done.” And he tapped Simon Peter on the four head as he said it. Everyone laughed. They walked and when it was dark made of fire in a hilly crevice and ate. Sanyi could see the fire light Jesus’s face and the shadow of his head cast on the rock behind him. As always when Jesus began to talk nothing else seemed to matter.

When you try to make peace always remember this. You deal with the world of dreams, and you deal with God. On the level of the world of dreams everybody acts feel a sense of lack. It’s just as with the money changers and the poor Jews in the Temple. Everyone is trying to satisfy their perceived needs, to fill a void. But in reality there is only one need, one for a test that need to be filled. And that is the loneliness the Son of Man feels because he thinks that he did the impossible and separated from God. It is the same sick insane idea of something that could never really be.”

Jesus looked back and forth at them as an ember cracked and pop in the fire. “I spoke mostly with the chiefs and elders. I chose the chief form of one tribe and asked him ‘What do you want from them?’” Jesus said it as though he were pointing at someone reenacting the event. “He answered me saying, that man is a murderer, he murdered my son. I already knew that this was so, but I asked so that you might learn from his answer.” Then the disciples and Mary Magdalene looked around and questioned among themselves, “What can he mean by this?” But Sanyi kept his eyes fixed directly on Jesus. “Notice that I asked, what do you want and received instead judgment and condemnation. So, I asked him again what do you want from this man? But he could not answer me. So, I asked him saying, “ Do these men threaten you when they attack, do you need more security?” You see, this was his perceived need. You must go past judgment to perceived needs that are being threatened. I say perceived needs, for the Son has not a single real need. He is as me, I have everything, the difference between us is that I have nothing else.

Then I asked the other chief the same question. What do you want of this man?” Jesus pointed to his other side still reenacting it. “They are dogs,” he told me. “But what do you want from them?”

He could not answer me either. Nor would he be able to answer me yet, for he was different from the first chief. His needs were different from the other chief.” They all looked at each other and Jesus, but Jesus looking at the ground shook his head then said, “You see this chief wanted nothing from the other chief. His needs could not be satisfied by the other tribe because he had no needs of them. His need stemmed from this false sense of worthiness to be chief. He was too young and too inexperienced in battle. His father a great warrior had died and he had become chief. In his own mind he alone perceives his unworthiness. But he casts that unworthiness like paint upon a canvas onto his own tribe,misperceiving it in them, and then he attacks the other trib again and again for what it does not have, it cannot give, that he alone can give himself, through a simple shift in perspective. But now he sees himself through the eyes of the Holy Spirit, seeing himself as he Truly is, as we all truly are, the guiltless the Son of Man. All was still, even the flickering of the fire seemed still. “Again when you mediate conflict, pay no attention to judgment of one side to another, search instead for perceived lack and fill it. But even doing so realizing it too is illusion, for all lack  is as a result of a belief in the separation from God that never occurred.” This Jesus spoke to them regarding conflict.

They came the following day to rest in the shade of a large rock and there decided to eat. Sanyi could smell the sea air, hidden by the hill to their west, the other side of which sloped gently to the sea. As they sat there Jesus said to them, “We return now to Jerusalem for the religious festival. There I will be taken up by the Romans at the behest of the money changers. And they will seemingly do all manner of things to me.” Sanyi felt his stomach coming up through his throat and amongst the astonished disciples there was much agitated discussion. Mary Magdalene remained serene standing to Jesus’s side. Then Simon Peter who counted on Jesus the most rushed toward his ow made master saying, “No, no Jesus don’t go to the festival in Jerusalem, stay away from that place.” Then Jesus put his hand on Peter Simons head and said gently, “Peace on this Peter .” Then Jesus turned to them all to say without judgement,  “You yet lack the discipline so, I remind you that this is all a dream.” Jesus tugged at his arm as he said this. “It is important that you see this and that you forgive this as I have, which is with the eyes of the Holy Spirit. I forgive it realizing that it never happened. Though their bodies may crucify my body in the dream, in truth no one has done harm to anyone because no one is a body. This is the essence of true forgiveness. Therefore the world will say that we was torn and shredded, and made to suffer nightly, but know that I do not share this opinion with them. Therefore peace to this silliness, peace on you all.” Sanyi  observed Jesus putting the perfect peace of God to the disciples and observed too how they did shun it, even as he had in the boat on the return voyage from Shidron. But not now, not this time. They had been gone for exactly 30 days and nothing about the world had changed, only their information about it. They each suffered now for separation that was about to come as though it had already happened. The anticipation making it seem real. Jesus though did take pity on them, just as he had the childless parents, Mary and Joseph. He took pity on them as he did all dreamers, because they believed their dreams to be true. So, he gently reminded them that when the mind thinks about the future he thinks about that which is not and therefore nothing in the future could harm any of them now. But Sanyi did not feel better. The same boat which had floated them merrily here seemed now to be a death ship.

They set sail in the late afternoon and Simon Peter sailed the boat directly east until they could see land no more before turning south towards Jerusalem. It became dark around then, but Sanyi did not notice the full moon until it was almost straight up in the sky, did not notice it until the clouds came in to obscure it. Then he remembered what Jesus had told him that it would not seem half so grand the next time.

The storm moved in rapidly, the wind picked up and it grew cold. Jesus slept as the rest of them took down the sail threw up the tarps in the slanting rain. Sanyi pulled a blanket around himself he thought about the future. The mind cannot think about that which isn’t. Therefore the mind doesn’t think about the future nor the past. And the now is so fleeting that the mind cannot grasp it either. So, there is only Always. That is what Jesus had said, but suddenly Always seemed so very fleeting. Jesus could so easily save himself. With his hand he could waive the Romans and the money changers into the sea. Why didn’t he do it? Sanyi wanted to wake Jesus and beg him to do so just as Peter had, but to what end.

But as Sanyi deeply lamented over Jesus’s future, in the cold, as the rain dropped heavy into the hard canvas, a tiny idea of a different sort crept into his mind. It was an awareness of what Jesus wanted for them when he rebuked Simon Peter. It was something more important than the body of Christ, more important than all bodies altogether. Something more important than even happiness here in this world, it was that Jesus wants us to use this to practice our own forgiveness to get out of this world. Jesus was as indifferent to our happiness in this world as he was dedicated to our salvation, to Jesus nothing was happening to anyone. This Sanyi realized as daylight came yet it did not help him feel better. The sun did rise, but did not show through the clouds for a storm had formed. A cloud does not put out the sun Sanyi thought, then he lay his big body down on a bed of fishnet and slept.

He was awakened by Thaddeus when they disembarked at Yafo. Sanyi looked around himself as he staggered out of the boat. To this see the clouds hung oppressively low to the horizon. To the east lies Jerusalem and somewhere between here and there Jesus would be taken up by the Romans at the behest of the money changers. Sanyi felt his mind, he heard its voices. They told him, “You Are going to lose he and you love.” But Sanyi neither obeyed nor resisted, neither did he listen to them. He did not notice when he could not hear them any longer. But the gray and melancholy that had seemed so oppressive just moments ago seemed now cool comfort and as he walked. It wasn’t a shift in perspective, but it was a single crucial step.

On the way to Jerusalem there came a man to them saying, “Are you the Christ whom we seek, or shall I ask another.” Jesus stopped walking but did not answer him. Then the man said, “I have a sister who is possessed and only the Christ can save her.” But Jesus perceived his treachery and answered him saying “Return to Nicodemus and tell him that you have found me.” So, the man turned to toward Jerusalem and ran there. To all of the disciples and Mary Magdalene and Sanyi there came a grave fear. But Sanyi as he had the night on the boat with neither accept nor deny his fear, he simply watched it.

When they came to Jerusalem it was on the day before the Passover festival. A man came to him and said, “You are Jesus the Christ, I saw you in the Temple which the money changers had turned into a market. Come, you and your friends to my home and we shall feast and drink wine.” So, Jesus, the disciples, Mary Magdalene and Sanyi went with the man to supper.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% the Last Supper %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Sanyi observed Jesus and his disciples and Mary Magdalene at supper. He was across the room from them, much as he had been on the boat. As he listened to the mingling sounds of the supper he pondered his own significance here. Unlike the other 13 Jesus had not chosen him, rather he had chosen to follow Jesus uninvited. But when Jesus so inclusive so uniting would have declined no one, why was he the only one to choose Jesus. He couldn’t understand his own question. He was not separate from the group, but more like the object by which the group could observe itself. He was as the third eye by which sees in totality what the other two eyes cannot. Then Sanyi smiled to himself as he understanding unannounced suddenly appeared.  Jesus he realized was orchestrating all of these events,  up to his own crucifixion,  insisting upon it. Why else would he who could deliver himself immediately not do so. “Even the martyr is selfish, had not Jesus said so himself. Then a peace came to him, not the final peace, that was near at hand, but yet to come, but a broad and gentle peace. So, he was calm as Jesus rose to say these words: “Love one another, not as the world knows love which is to gain love in return, but as the Holy Spirit does, which is simply to love, as I have loved you love the world. The world will not love you in return, but you do not need its love. You need only to forgive the world as it is, as it is not there, this is the way out of the dream. All of you all of your sad suffering brothers and sisters, will make it. Some of you this time, some of you will make it another time, but the Son of Man will make it, there is aught else he can do, for by the Grace of the Father it is already done. Even so, the dream seems to live on, and will until the Son of Man remembers this time to laugh at his own tiny mad idea.

Until then forgive the world and its trespasses. Remember we are all of us figments of a guilt ridden dream. We share many dreams and many lifetimes we are both man and woman, predator and prey, teacher and student and master and slave. But I am telling you the truth that the time will come and is already here that the predator no longer hungers for the prey, and the master is free from his slaves.

Nothing real can be threatened, nothing unreal exists – herein lies the peace of God .”

This is what Sanyi learned from Jesus, that what is real is real, not that which is perceived to be real. A cloud does not put out the sun.

But when Jesus told them that his time had come, despite all his teachings that the world was a meaningless dream a pal was cast across the entire room and into the soul of each and every one of them. Judas Iscariot openly wept. Jesus went to him slowly knelt across the table from him and put his hand on his head. Then he told Judas take the money bag and returned with some wine, some supplies for the festival, then to go and get a prostitute to ease his pain. So, Judas took the money bag and left.

After Judas left much sadness remained in the room. So, Jesus took the rest of them and went to the other side of Kidron Brook. There was a garden in that place and Jesus and the disciples and Mary Magdalene went in. Meanwhile Judas found the wine and the supplies for the festival and return with them to where they had the Last Supper. When he found no one there he became very sad. But instead of finding a prostitute as he had thought to do now he thought to find Jesus and be with him. He knew that Jesus would likely be at the garden by Kidron Brook because the disciples had met there with him many times. But what Judas did not know is that the man whom they had passed on the road to Jerusalem was following him. The man whose treachery Jesus had perceived sent someone to fetch Nicodemus and the Romans and they followed Judas to where Jesus was.

The Romans came upon Jesus and the disciples and Mary Magdalene, and Sanyi in the garden of Gethsemane. Pointing to Jesus Nicodemus said, “ That is him there seize him.” Whereupon the soldiers moved Jesus who was walking towards them saying, “I am Jesus Christ, if you are looking for him, then you have found me.”

Before Sanyi  even saw him Peter took up his sword and cut off the ear of one of the arresting soldiers. Sanyi understood at once that in Peter’s perception Jesus needed physical protection from a physical world. But Jesus had always taught that there is no world. So, Jesus said to Peter, “Peter, put back your sword, for as I have taught, no man can strike his brother for any reason without out guilt, and as I have also taught, any man who so ever shall perceive guilt so then shall that same one demand punishment!” Then Jesus stepped forward and touched the soldier Peter had wounded on his bloody ear and healed him. Then Sanyi upon seeing the example of forgiveness set by Jesus, in a world of illustration found the perfect peace of God as he stepped at last fully into his right mind.

Jesus paused and then turning to the others said, “Let these others go.” But Nicodemus remembered what Sanyi had done to his money changers in the market and he said to the Romans, “Let them go all of them except that one there, the big one.” And then Sanyi as did Jesus allowed himself to be seized and taken away by the Romans. Sanyi watched the Romans as they lead Jesus away.

Jesus disappeared down the road and Sanyi never saw Jesus again, ever. The last thing he heard was Judas wailing aloud again and again into the night. They were taking Jesus to be crucified, but they had much different plans for Sanyi. And as his ever deepening sadness of missing Jesus mingled with lamentation of the agony he knew that he would endure Sanyi still would have lamented just as much over his own, if he could’ve had any idea what it was. For where money changers and the Jewish authorities take prisoners, Romans take slaves.

First they took Jesus to Caiaphas the high priest that year. Caiaphas question Jesus about his teachings. Jesus said About those teachings:

That nothing, in this world, save God in Heaven is real. God Is, the rest is not. Everything that you see, and feel, and know is illusion, all the world is but a dream within a dream a million times over. Jesus had never been sent to the world to suffer and pay for the sins of mankind. For mankind had no sins to pay for. He had been sent instead to teach forgiveness and shorten the journey that we had each of us completed before it was begun.

Caiaphas laughed, but he found no quarrel with Jesus’s teachings for Jesus never said that he was Lord or a king. But Caiaphas and the Temple were also under the domain of the money changers for that is why he had turned the Temple into a market. So, Caiaphas sent Jesus still tied up to Pontius Pilate.

It was early in the morning when Jesus arrived at the palace of Pontius Pilate. The Jews themselves could not enter the palace of Pontius Pilate for they wanted to keep themselves ritually pure so that they might eat the Passover meal that day. So, Pontius Pilate when out to them and asked, “What do you accuse this man of?” The Jewish authorities answered, “We would not have brought him to you if his crimes were not serious.”

Pontius Pilate too could find no wrong in Jesus. But Pilate was a politician and wanted to appease the money changers and the high priest. Just as Jesus had taught Pontius Pilate seeking to satisfy his own short-term needs gave Jesus to the Jews. When Pilate asked the Jews what he should do with Jesus the response was loud and immediate, they said, “Crucify him”.

Then Pontius Pilate took Jesus and had him whipped. The soldiers made a crown of thorny branches and put it on his head. And they found a purple rope and put it on him. Then they dragged Jesus back out before the crowd and the crowd said, “Crucify him.”

When the servants told Lucilla that there was someone at the door she had been expecting Sanyi, but the man standing there instead was Judas. He was weeping and he was drunk and he dropped to his knees on the floor before her. “Where is my husband,” was all she could think to ask? Through tears that he could hold back for only seconds Judas told her that they had both been taken up by the Romans. Then Judas found his feet and left. Walking into the night what he didn’t tell Lucilla, because he was unaware of it was that after they took Jesus away the Roman spy stood up and paid Judas 30 pieces of silver that he never wanted for doing what he’d never knew he had done. When he learned that the spy had followed him to where Jesus and Sanyi where he went found a piece of rope and hanged himself.

Lucilla heard Judas say that Jesus and Sanyi were taken up by the Romans, but she thought he said they were taking up together. So, panicked she went off to find them. So terrified was she of losing Sanyi to Jesus she never thought that he could be taken by the Romans instead. One thing that she could have never foreseen was that by the time Jesus was nailed to a blood soaked cross, Sanyi would be shackled in the hold of the slave ship set sail for Roma.

When Lucilla arrived Pontius Pilate’s palace looking for Sanyi she did not know that they were already separated by years and thousands of miles. She could only hear the throngs screaming about Jesus, “Crucify him,” It was not unlike the masses she would later hear in the gladiatorial arena. She moved eagerly to the front, but when she saw the bloody mess that Jesus had become standing next to Pontius Pilate and she fainted. It was only the sharp impact of her knee caps on the ground which woke her. She looked back up at Jesus whom she could barely recognize. “How could this happen’’, she asked herself? Grief for Jesus set in deep and instantly. Who would do such a thing to him, to anyone? But as she would see the Romans were just getting started with Jesus.

Lucilla somehow managed to capture Pontius Pilate attention, being beautiful had some advantage, yet it was impossible to change the course of some events once set in motion. She beseeched him to stay his hand, but he was just beginning to wash them. He looked directly into her eyes as he dipped them into the bowl. “You can wash the blood, not the deeds from your palm’s” she screamed though he didn’t hear her through the din of the mob. Then she looked at Jesus, he heard every word of it. The blood was thick and crusted around his eyebrows, but still oozing from the top of his head, and down beside his face. Though his lips never moved it sounded like he said to her, “I know.” She looked at her own palms, then buried her face in them and dropped to her knees unable to believe her eyes.

The guards pushed Jesus down the stone steps. She heard him groan, and fall off each level to the next one with a sickening bloody thud. Jesus was thrown to the stones in the center of the Villa and the people disbursed around him. Spread out on his stomach he was whipped, but not so much as to incapacitate him. He still had a cross to bear. Then the guards cleared away to the fountain, and taking Jesus by the feet dragged him to it. They set him up right and pushed him back against it. His head hung down in the guards grabbed it and set a crown of thorns upon it. Blood poured from newly opened wounds as they did. Next they threw him on his hands and knees and brought the cross. They put it across his back and wrapped and tied his hands around it. They commanded Jesus to carry it, but Jesus was weak. His right leg quivered and he put it down again. Lucilla heard a whip whistle through the wind and rip more flesh from Jesus side and back. Jesus felt the pain, but his body was too weakened to react. Slowly, unsteadily Jesus rose to his feet and slowly began to drag his cross behind him.

It’s quiet here Lucilla thought. She was on her knees when she opened her eyes. She could not believe that so much blood had come from one man. Even the water in the fountain was red. She pulled back her hair and put it behind her head, and then with her skirt tried to soak up Jesus’s blood as though she would give it back to him. She could hear the sounds of the tormenting crowd following Jesus up the hill to where he would be crucified. She wanted to hide, she wanted to die, she wanted to have never existed. Instead he came to her feet and staggered off after them. She walked through the streets then in much the same manner as she would later leave the arena. But it was the first time she had ever known such a feeling. Such a feeling as what, it was a strange to her as it was indescribable. She had not experienced anything like it. Soon it would become more than familiar, it would be her entire world.

She arrived to the place where they would crucify Jesus as he was being nailed by the palms. She thought he was already dead, but when the Roman drove the spike through Jesus woke up screaming. Lucilla could feel the friction of every inch of the nail in her own body. The anguish didn’t stop with the one hand, a guard rammed spike through the other. Standing at Jesus’s feet, Lucilia though that his suffering was so great that it encompassed the pain of all of mankind. Now she wanted so desperately to save the same man she had thought that she hated. But what could she do? She went towards him, but the guard pushed her back. Jesus lifted his head to look at her to speak. Then the soldier becoming indifferent to both of them let her through to Jesus. She put her year to his bloody lips so that she could hear him. His voice was a raspy whisper that said, “Do not despair for me. I can see peace instead of this.” And Lucilla understood that despite the way his body suffered, Jesus did see peace, for as he had so often said, “the guiltless Mind cannot suffer.”

Then the guard pushed her away again, she hit the ground on hands and knees, mixed with blood and sand, then she cursed Jesus, for that was one thing she hated about Jesus, it was the thing for which she hated Him most, that even while being crucified Jesus could always aught but peace. She wished for some of that peace now, she wished to spread it on the world, then she wished she had never been born, then beter that the world had never been. Then the soldier crossed Jesus’s feet and drove the spike through them both. Initially his body tensed, but then Jesus forgave the pain and his body relaxed. “The guiltless mind cannot suffer.” And so it was that Jesus’s mind did not suffer even when they drove the huge silver spike through his side Jesus remained calm, so calm was it that she thought he was dead. But when they hoisted the crucifix upright the wind blew cold from across the gorge behind it. Jesus looked up, but the sun was still in his eyes. Lucilla could not now see pain in Him. Looking up at she could only hope that he would soon give up the ghost. Behind her she saw Mary, the mother of Jesus weeping. The wind blew hard and it lifted Mary’s dress and pushed her back. She didn’t see the bolt of lightning but rather sensed it raze her skin, lifting every follicle straight, then the deafening, instantaneous, sudden crash of thunder.

Besides she and Mary and the Romans there was almost no one else. For all of the multitudes whom he had saved from suffering, there was no one else to witness his. Only the jeers of the onlookers saying,  he who rescued others cannot rescue himself. Then they threw stones at him. But Jesus understood their attack as a call to love and said, “Forgive them Father, they know not what they do. “

She looked back up at Jesus, the sky behind the crucifix was black. The rain came sudden and hard. Another bolt of lightning struck diagonally across the sky and the thunder shuttered the ground. Jesus looked up and screamed something which she could not hear, and then he gave up the ghost. His body hung on his arms as limp as string. The rain splashed loud against the ground and was suddenly drowned by the wind. A guard stabbed Jesus with the spear. His body did not move but blood gushed from his side and ran down to the base of the crucifix in a torrent. It will never run dry she thought holding herself up against the wind as best as she could. When she looked up the entire sky was raining blood red. What she heard next was louder than ever that of Christ screams, louder than anything she ever had or would ever hear again. A thick powerful bolt of lightning electrified the air instantly before striking the crucifix. Electricity covered her skin, the wet hair on her arms raising, then she covered her head with her arms while dropping to her elbows and knees before the cross bearing the dead and crucified body of  Christ.

From her elbows she looked back up at the crucifix as another lightning strike lit the night, and in the electric light all she saw was a silver spike on a bloody cross. The body of Christ was gone, had completely vanished . For split-second there was a dark dead calm. Then the rain came down horizontally and ripped at her olive skin. She paid no attention to it. From her knees she cleared the stringy strands of hair from her dark and tear shot eyes. She looked to her left at Jesus mother Mary, and Mary Magdalena clutching each other in tearful embrace.  They saw the body of christ. To her right strangers, some throwing stones,  at the dead body of Christ. She tried to look back up at the cross, but terror overtook her, the terror that she would not perceive the body of Christ there. She didn’t leave that place until it became impossible to stay. The wind seemed to push her back down the hill and so she went.

Lucilla returned to the temple in the same manner she left it, alone. She was soaked to the bone and shivering from the cold, but when she learned that Judas had hanged himself she got even colder. She staggered now rather than truly walked. Sanyi she thought suddenly realizing that she hadn’t seen him all day. Where would he be? He wouldn’t be here in the temple. So, she went to where she knew he might be. There she found Peter and Paul and Mary Magdalene and others. From their manner she could tell that something was dreadfully wrong. After all that had occurred on this day Lucilla thought that she was emotionally broke, and could feel pain no more. She was certain that she was cursed by Jesus, and in that certainty expected and demanded punishment. But she never dreamed that Sanyi would be taken from her and when she learned that he was a slave, but for beautiful, protected and privileged Lucille it still remained for her to discover how badly she could truly hurt.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

As Lucilla was looking up at an empty bloody cross, at that same moment Sanyi awoke gagging and coughing as the salt water went through his nose and down his throat. He had been knocked unconscious three days prior, but the water woke him instantly to panic. He found himself shackled to the bulkhead of a slave ship that was sinking. Already his lungs were burning and his only thought was that, “I need to breathe”. But then Sanyi instantly remembered that, “I don’t need anything. My body needs to breathe, but I need nothing. Then he was at peace. The burning in his lungs intensified as did the anguished screams of men afraid to die. But Sanyi was not afraid of anything realizing that he was not going to die, but rather had never been born at all. It would have been that way except that Jesus came and told him, “Sanyi I have been crucified. I have made it, but you have lessons to learn if you wish to make it this time.” “Jesus”, Sanyi asked, “How did you get here”? And Jesus replied in a light tone that asked don’t you already know, “I walked”. Sanyi smiled as his head dipped under the water for the last time. Down there he remembered that all this was put there by his mind. All this could be removed by his mind. So, it was. Then he went to sleep again. Unconscious his head rose up and bobbled in the water against the bulkhead. The storm still raged and waves continued to break over the deck, but somehow the sailors managed to keep the ship afloat until it subsided. It took three more days for the ship to make Rome. They were three horrific days of starvation, disease and constant threat of sinking again. But Sanyi knew of none of it, until he awoke in a rock quarry in Rome.

For most of Rome’s male slaves taken near and far, there are only two possibilities, swift and certain death by attempted escape or a slow death by slave labor in the rock quarries. For Sanyi there was a third, yet unknown way.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ end end Captured +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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Sanyi asks Jesus, why did you choose to be Jesus? Why did you choose to be just the last in a long line of false messiahs? Jesus answers saying I came to gently correct that long line. Sanyi smiled.

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%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% The Quarry %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

To the workers concentrated there the quarries were a place of desperation, a hopeless pit from which none could emerge. The feeble and the old broke soon. The young and mighty took longer, providing more labor for the Romans. But starved and worked to death no one left the quarries, sooner or later all of their bodies all broke. For eleven months Sanyi watched his body wintering. When he was arrested with Jesus, he was powerful and stocky, now he was tall skinny and starving. Sanyi knew that the end for his body lay at the bottom of this pit, and he knew it would be soon. But Sanyi also knew that he was not a body. That awareness made the destruction of his body acceptable. Sanyi put his head down, nearly naked and completely exhausted, wondering, wondering how many more months, two or maybe three. He knew that he would be dead by now, had they not doubled the rations the past few days and he casually wondered why. He had no idea that the following morning he would find out.

The next morning there was excitement in the camp. Today a Lanista would visit in search of gladiatorial talent. To some men it meant a way out, most simply meant a better way out, to all many things better than this. To all save Sanyi. His body, though far from frail had been greatly emaciated. He doubted that any Lanista would choose him.

When the Lanista did arrive, all the men stood eagerly in line, while those with the strength, hoped. But the Lanista went up the line in front, and down the line behind, selecting no one. It was like he wasn’t really even looking, no one caught his eye. But one man intended to make him look.

Sanyi was watching the Lanista leave, when he shockingly felt his head snapped back so far all he could see was blue sky as a charging bull slammed into him from behind. When he hit the ground his face was in the sand, but he had no idea what was happening.

He was able to get his arms up underneath him, and with dirt dripping off his face roll over to see Vibius raining down punches on his face. This was odd indeed. Vibius was the only man in camp nearly as large as he, they had never spoken, and every man in camp was worked too hard to engage in extraneous violence, until now.

Sanyi bucked his hips wildly throwing Vibius forward, forcing his hands on the ground to keep himself righted. That allowed him to wiggle free, and get to his feet. Vibius stood and charged instantly, clenched tight fists at the end of wildly spinning arms that seemingly made Vibius as dangerous to himself as anyone else. Sanyi was able to duck under the first salvo, but he did so with his eyes closed. He could not react to Vibius second attack. Initially standing on his feet seemed to be the correct strategy, but when Vibius granite fists dug into his ribs Sanyi rethought the ground strategy. So, Sanyi wrapped his still massive arms around Vibius body, arms and all, and gave a mighty hug. It broke Vibius like a huge oak, and as he grunted they both crashed to the ground. And here they were again, but this time Sanyi on top. He had an intuitive sense that it was the superior position, but no idea how to take advantage of it, and Vibius was wiggling free. Reflexively Sanyi pinned the other man’s alarms under his knees, and then with his left hand he turned the other man’s head so that the right side of his face was pressed hard into the sand. This was well and good but control was tenuous so, with a sense of urgency Sanyi drew back his huge left fist and prepared to drive it home, but someone pulled him from the elbow behind. It was the Lanista, he had decided to take a look after all.

It wasn’t until the horse-drawn cart rolled out of the quarry and up the chaotic Via Nomentana that Sanyi got his first glimpse at the grandeur of Rome. The horse-drawn cart went slowly, almost deliberately so that period could see each intricate monument, fountain, and the awe-inspiring aqueducts. Sanyi looked up as he passed through the shade of one of its broad archways. From its shade he could see the sunlight flowing, cascading as water around a dam. When he was thrust back into the naked rays  of the sun again he found himself moving up the broad and spectacular Via Nomentana.

If all roads lead to Rome then he thought they all lead first to the Via Nomentana. And it seemed that today the whole world was on it. For surely Sanyi wondered, how could there be one more person, one more body anywhere in the world. There was an ocean of people flowing and mixing on the broad and turbulent Via Nomentana. But Sanyi was calm about all of this, for he remembered what Jesus had said to them in the boat on the way to  Sidron. The mind sought to make much of things, especially those things which it had no experience of. Yet it was ought  but distraction. But Sanyi would not be distracted by world which did not exist anymore than the guilt which put it there. Knowing that nothing here was real, only that it seemed to be, he smiled, observing these thoughts, as he would puppets on a stage. He could see and hear them, but not go onstage nor become one of them. Thus he was not one of them, he was in the world, but not of the world. Sanyi watched his mind thinking its thoughts,

Eventually just as the mountain gives way to foothills and they in turn to the flat plains, so to the wide Via Nomentana a thin strip of dirt worn into the grass. Soon after the cart turned West and headed to the sea.

Sanyi rode in the rear of the cart with his hands hugging his knees, Vibius who had attacked him, sat front diagonally across, with his legs outstretched, suffering from cramps. The two men were not allowed to speak so Vibius glanced askance at Sanyi for any clues, but Sanyi was deep in consideration of what had happened between them. He had of course perceived Vibius’s motives, but what he contemplated now was his own. The attack was a complete surprise. He had defended himself reflexively and instinctually, the suddenness and ferocity of the attack left him no time to think. His body had taken over. But Sanyi remembered what Jesus had said, that  “forgivenesses is still and quietly does nothing, for in a world which is not nothing need  be done.” So, through it all he had been at peace. He judged neither the attack nor the attacker. In fact he had forgiven it without judgment, in this moment riding in the back of an ox drawn cart with the man he had just fought, he was as indifferent to everything in the past as he was to what could be in the future, as indifferent to his own wellbeing it the fight as he was toward, gaining his freedom in the gladiatorial arena, or dying in the rock quarry. God’s will be done. Sanyi did what Jesus had done, the only true thing there was to do, forgive.

The two didn’t speak until they stopped at a riverside, and Sanyi assured him that all was well. Both men were too parched to urinate, but Vibius condition improved soon after he drank. Sanyi was not thirsty, he was aware however that his body was so, he drank until it had enough.

When the cart finally stopped they were almost to the sea at Ostia, where the Tiber River split and the water which went one way from there would not meet up again with the water that went the other way until the Tyrrhenian Sea. It was in this place that the men’s new lives began.

***************************************The Ludus*************************************

When the two men arrived at the ludus they immediately swore their oath of loyalty to their new owner of that land, a stingy little nobleman named Vettius. The ludus was a class room to experiment with Jesus’s teachings, and verify the wisdom of following His way.

The ludus of Vettius was a two-story rectangular building on the western outskirts of Rome. In reality it was more of a rectangular collection of buildings. The main training area consisted of the sandy pit in the middle. Inside were the men’s quarters, a hospital, baths, beds and the kitchen which cooked up a steady diet of bland beans and barley. The Western Wall was several feet higher than the rest of the structure with a wide flat patio space where the men to gather and talk in the evenings. The Romans were extremely equitable, in who they selected as slaves. They came from all quarters, there were slaves and criminals from the mines and quarries, mixed with former freemen who sold themselves to Vettius, to gain coin, or forgive debt. To Sanyi the contrast could not have been starker. For men like Vibius, the baths and rub downs were luxurious, former freemen interpreted the same experience at the same time as an imprisonment, and a loss of everything they held dear. One group of men was ecstatic, the other dismayed. It had nothing to do with the men’s pasts, everything to do with what Jesus said. “Some will make a heaven of hell, others a hell of heaven.”

Both Sanyi and Vibius were still exhausted from the rock quarry, but their training began promptly the next morning. Practicing with Vibius made one thing very clear to Sanyi, which was that with a sword in his hand Vibius was much better. Vibius rather than being a political prisoner had been captured during battle by the Romans. He was a seasoned warrior, and it showed. Vibius liked Sanyi, they trained often, and within weeks Vibius was showing him very sneaky little tricks. Sanyi never thought of using them, but he genuinely appreciated the gesture.

All of the training took place under the stern eye of the “Doctore” or gladiator trainer. No one knew his name; they just called him Doctore. He was a fierce, mean Gaul who had won a wooden sword of the freedom with 23 victories in the arena. It was an astonishing feat, no one else had ever done it. It was said in the ludus that to be as good as Doctore was to gain one’s freedom, for then surely no one could defeat you in the arena. Under Doctore training was intense, but not cruel. To avoid this staggering heat training took place in two shifts of three hours each. The first was at sunrise, the second began at three hours after midday. The gladiators were a high valued investment, and Doctore meant to maximize Vettius’s returns.

Doctore was immediately impressed with Vibius, but he could not understand Sanyi. The big man was not a trained fighter, neither was he fierce, nor aggressive. But he trained harder than any man he had ever seen, trained himself to exhaustion each session and was soon the best conditioned fighter that he had ever seen. Eleven months of labor in the quarries could not account for it. Such labor destroyed men rather than fortifying them. Once as punishment for poor performance, Doctore trained the entire ludus to the last man standing, it was Sanyi. He was impervious to pain, and would absolutely not complain. Doctore concluded he must have been spiritual leader, because his mind was stronger than any man he’d ever known.

Still Doctore was concerned that Sanyi might never become a gladiator. For all of his other attributes he was clumsy, and his bulk which was an advantage in unarmed combat was a disadvantage to a smaller man swiftly wielding a sharp gladius. Vibius was exceptional; hopefully his added tutorship might make the difference, hopefully.

Doctore was not the only warrior to notice something about Sanyi, Vibius had himself noticed these traits. And more, Vibius had talked with Sanyi, over many hours, more than any other man in the ludus.

&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt; Put Vibius character sketch here– Asinius too &lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;

During the cool of the dusk some men would sit on the patio and watch the sky turning hues as the sun set in the west. To the Spaniard Asinius it was ritual. One night Asinius spoke in awe of such beauty to Vibius and Sanyi. But Sanyi quietly explained that such judgments were unnecessary. “The sky”, he said, “is not out there. The sky is in your mind and you do put it out there. Then you do marvel at it, as being out there, distracting you from your godliness within. Vibius and Asinius stared at each other then at Sanyi and smiled, understanding him less than Lucilla, and excepting him the same. And Vibius became aware as Lucilla had that events in the outside world did not change Sanyi. With slavery and violence and viciousness swirling about him doing all manner of violence to his body nothing touched his soul. Vibius understanding him less than Lucilla could only think of the spokes of a rapidly turning wheel, in which Sanyi was the center.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

Three months into their training and it was time for Sanyi and Vibius to be initiated into the gladiatorial ranks, or sent back to the quarry. The initiation was a solemn ritual. Each initiate must do battle with an established gladiator on a 9 x 6 foot platform ten feet off the ground. There they would do battle, until one of them was thrown to the ground or forced to surrender. Even Vettius who hardly glanced askance at the training sessions of his own investments, would attend.

In preparation for the event the gladiators were spared the two grueling training sessions, held by most days. Instead the men bathed, received physical therapy, and rested. And now the hot day had given way to dusk, a pleasant breeze from the East, and in the West there was blood red sky going down. The first two gladiators summarily dismissed first two initiates, but as Vibius scaled the ladder to the platform to fight, Doctore’s hopes began to rise, and not in vain.

Vibius did not attack instantly as an inexperienced fighter would. Rather he offered a low fake with his wooden blade. When the gladiator lowered his weapon to block Vibius grabbed the wrist with his free hand and brought the point of his blade to the man’s throat, holding it there, less than an inch away. In a live match it was a sure kill. Swift, efficient, and overwhelming, it was Vibius’s way.

Sanyi’s way was much different. He could feel the ladder creek under his enormous weight as he climbed up to the platform to fight. Instead of being the aggressor, it was the gladiator who confidently attacked. Sanyi blocked the thrust with his blade, but was slow. With his thrust blocked, the gladiator hit Sanyi hard in the face with the butt of his weapon in a back fist motion. But it put him in too close. With blood flowing from above his eye, Sanyi was able to wrap both of the gladiators arms in his free left arm from behind, then as if pointing to himself he was able to bring his wooden gladius up to the gladiators throat and hold it there. In the arena it would have forced the gladiator to appeal. Although he was indifferent to his fate, Sanyi had won, he would be a gladiator.

There was a ritual whereby the new gladiators, were gathered in the square and honored by the Dotore, the other gladiators, and then by Vettius. This event represents the first indicator of a return on his investment. At this time Sanyi, politely expressed all of the correct sentiments, as the world would have him do, but it did bring back to mind one of Jesus’s most difficult lessons, that to the dreaming Son of Man, praise was at least as dangerous as punishment. The Io would use praise and love, and joy to keep the Son distracted and dreaming. Judgement of any kind or degree was equally distracting to the Son of Man.

Also the new gladiators received their arena names, Sanyi would be called Pompili.

Later Sanyi joined Asinius and Vibius on the patio lying on their backs looking at the stars. “We are looking at the stars inside of our heads,” Asinius said. “Yes I am seeing stars inside of my own head, even when I close my eyes”, Sanyi replied holding a blood soaked cloth to his bleeding eye as he sat down with a groan. All three men laughed. “Spain is out there somewhere”, Asinius said pointing to the west. “And were I to be there, I would be a king”. “But you were captured instead” Vibius retorted.” You could have fought to the death or killed yourself, but you let yourself be captured.” Asinius grew agitated at the obvious truth. To Asinius the world was unfair he was royalty forced into slavery. Sanyi correctly noted that it was not being captured that distressed Asinius, but his judgement that something was unfair about it. His judgement about it. In the kill or be killed world of Vibius the world was just as it should be, ruthless, and unforgiving, not judging it, the entire world failed to even annoy him. In fact Sanyi noticed that mighty Vibius judged Asinius much more than he did the Romans, saying, “That is why he is so arrogant”, while pointing at Asinius. “His arrogance is your judgment of the form of his pain,” Sanyi said still groaning. “But the true cause is his false belief in guilt of separation from the Source. It is the true cause of the world’s pain, the only cause.” Asinius in Vibius stared at each other and looked back up at the sky.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

One night shortly after their initiation, Vibius and Sanyi were summoned from their quarters, and taken to a party of some Roman nobleman. When the guard informed them, that some important Romans wanted to meet them Vibius became agitated and suspicious, while Sanyi was as always, unaware of lurking treachery, but untouchable. The guards led them down too long rows of head high torches, that disperse light in waves rather than rays, that led to a lavish spread on the far end. Sanyi was surprised to see Vettius, it was the first time he’d seen him up close. Vibius already knew what was up and paid no attention to the scowling old man. They were each handed a sword, and instructed to prepare themselves to do battle.

Vibius had felt this way many times before, blindsided, helpless. The first time when he was eight and watched his father killed on the battlefield. He was hiding with his mother, not fully comprehending, as she beseeched the gods to see her husband just once more. They did oblige. The battle had gone badly for their side. Vibius his father had come on horseback to rescue them, but so had the enemy tribe. He had barely dismounted when an arrow found him in the middle of the back, he fell dead with a muffled thud in the grass. Is that all little Vibius wondered? He could still hear the hiss of the arrow even though it was buried firmly between his father’s shoulder blades. Just one final gasp, where did his father go?

Tonight would be like that all over again. Sanyi knew it too. He had not reasoned it out as Vibius had, rather he had revealed to him. It was a certainty that one of them would die by the hand of the other. How he wanted to console his friend, how he wanted to tell him, how unnecessary his anguish was, how much it didn’t matter. But it was Vibius who took control of the situation. They were allowed 10 minutes to stretch and prepare during which Vibius instructed Sanyi, to fight as absolutely hard as he could. The reasoning was sound, if the men put on an entertaining bout, the losers appeal was more likely to be granted. If they both put on a near death performance, perhaps they both could live.

As the men proceeded to the center of the floor to fight, the only flaw Vibius could find in his plan was whether the big man would respond with the requisite aggression and fury, such fears were quickly allied. Before he could even get his sword pointed straight the big man was charging him, thrust, thrust, horizontal slash, thrust, vertical slash, thrust. All the while bringing his massive bulk forward at a speed Vibius had never imagined he possessed. Now Vibius found his sword arm pinned between his own body and Sanyi’s. Sanyi sword arm however was quite free, which posed a problem for Sanyi as well. The last thing but Sanyi wanted to do was kill his friend. In the same instant that Vibius connected with a stern left hook, Sanyi shoved with all his might, freeing his friends sword arm, but sending him in mid air, crashing and sliding across the floor and the other side of the room. Spectators scattered as Sanyi followed up. Vibius escaped the first downward slash, back clunked into the concrete, by rolling to his right. Sanyi followed up with a second downward slash that Vibius partially blocked and by rolling to his left was able to stand. Vibius felt his counter attack stopped from behind, by the big dark hand of Doctore, who proceeded to instantly between the two men to keep them separate. It had worked, the crowd was mightily pleased, Vettius was proud as a peacock, and rather than let them destroy the place, he stopped the fight.

As soon as he was breathing normally the first curious thought Sanyi had was that his premonition had not been fulfilled, the next one was, where is Vibius? It was just now he noticed that the guards were returning him to the ludus alone.

Back at the ludus Doctore informed him that Vibius had been sold. So, after all the invented drama, it was just a demonstration, just business. Had he known Vettius it would make perfect sense to him. As Doctore would later inform him, Vettius would’ve never pitted two of his investments against each other. But Sanyi was soon to know Vettius well enough for himself.

Vibius was jolted, how easy it had been for him forget that he was chattel. Sanyi firmly ensconced in his right mind experienced the apparent separation from his friend differently, he did not partake of the io’s offering of loneliness and isolation. Instead he used the Holy Spirit Vision to realize that no separation had really taken place, that in Heaven they were both truly one with God. He

missed his friend just as fiercely, but in a completely different way, one that brought deep joy to him for each of the many memories of his friend. The mock battles during training, the long talks at night. No sorrow, just joy. “Some men make heaven from Hell, others make hell from heaven.” If Sanyi had any regrets, it was that he never told Vibius about Jesus. It was not so much like regret as wondering what if.

*********************

Not bad Doctore thought, as Sanyi deflected the opponent’s gladius in a crescent shaped block, then retrace same arc, and with his fist at the level of his own chin and blade vertical, sliced through the throat. The only sounds were banging of the wooden swords and the muffled sound of Sanyi’s own into the opponent’s flesh. Not bad at all. Vibius had been gone for six weeks and it seemed as though Sanyi had suddenly learned everything he taught him, on top of Doctore’s own teachings. Most men learned their lessons little at a time, some learned them all at once. Doctore had seen this before, but Sanyi was the most extreme.

Now Doctore considered Sanyi worthy of him and he was set to let the big man from Judea know it. Doctore had a way of moving without being seen. It could only be experienced, all the men talked about it and mystified manner, even Vibius. Now Sanyi saw that they were right. Most men lean, shift their weight ever so slightly, or flinch just before they attack. Not Doctore. Doctore hit Sanyi on the head from 8 feet away before he could blink. There in the hot sun on the burning sand Doctore went at him, using the very same attack again and again and again. A choppy 45 ° diagonal cut, that Sanyi, that no man could catch up to. “Block me”, Doctore demanded, attacking again and again with his right arm like the spokes of a chariot. And one-time Sanyi did, the cracking of the wood against wood, and would against skull, Sanyi’s. Again and again as it happened, then a block, then hit, then a block again. Doctore couldn’t believe it, Sanyi never feigned. Never shied away, but Doctore had no idea what Sanyi was looking at.

++++++++++++++++

Sanyi had not seen the Vettius for nearly two months, since the night he fought Vibius at the party. Now, standing in his office watching the little man toil at the desk, Sanyi wondered if he would ever speak to him. It was easy to see why the men thought he was so mean and cheap. He was not unlike the money changers. But he remembered what had Jesus said of them that,” We all act in service of our own needs.” It was a lesson that Vettius would bring Sanyi back to. Once as they were gathered round, Jesus said to Peter, who had his legs folded in front of him, “why are you sitting in that way?” Peter, perplexed, Wondering what profound teaching would come from such an innocuously posed question, struggled to respond. So, Jesus answered for him saying, “you are sitting in such a manner because it pleases you to do so. You will change position as soon as you deem another more suitable.” And as if unable to help himself, Peter stretched out his legs, and put the palms of his hands on the ground behind him. Everyone laughed including Peter. And Jesus said, “Judge not neither the villainous nor the virtuous, for each acts selfishly as the other. Trust not your good intentions. It is not possible for any act in opposition of his perceived needs. We are all equally selfish. We are all totally selfish.”

“I wish to congratulate you on your progress,” he finally offered. “Doctore tells me you’re progressing, and your battle with Vibius tells me it’s true.” Sanyi was shocked to hear such a booming, baritone voice from such a diminutive frame. It was clear that this was a man who carried authority, who was accustomed to giving orders and having them obeyed, to having his way. It was also clear, by the way he had yet to look up at Sanyi, that he was arrogant.

In reality we all suffer equally from the thought of separation, which hides itself in many different forms in the dream. Vettius suffered from one of the cruelest hoaxes, that of unrealizable parental expectations.

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Vettius goes here

Vettius

Vettius lay on the table receiving a massage from a beautiful young slave woman who he barely noticed and remembered, And More Relieved than remembered foot races with his brother in childhood.  

Growing up as the youngest son of a powerful Roman nobleman, Vettius labored

under a far more crushing weight, that of unrealizable parental

expectations.

He was set to war against his older brother Tiberius from almost the day he

was born.  Tiberius was older bigger stronger and by far the more suitable

heir to his father’s fortune.  Tiberius was exemplary of everything and

noble child should be, while Vettius smaller, weaker and timid was what was

left over.  His earliest memories were of fake gladiatorial bouts against

Tiberius. Later as a small boy he would lose foot races as well. The the

boys would race around the outer walls of the villa which was about 400

yards. Their father looking one way as they took off, then the opposite as

they returned. Tiberius always finished before Vettius could be seen.

Growing up this way made him believe that he hated Tiberius. He really hated

his oppressor his father.  But young boys do not hate their father so, deep

in places that he did not know of, little Vettius began hating himself and

blaming his brother. The io’s methods are subtle.

Vettius believed the lies his mind told him until one day when his father

punched Tiberius in the face as punishment for not winning by a large enough

margin, then turned abandoning them both to endure their shame alone. But

the young boys didn’t endure alone, they endured together.  Tiberius was

still laying face down in the sand with blood streaming from a gash high on

his forehead, which made it appear that his entire face was a mask of blood.

Vettius weeping, dropped to his knees at his brother side and helped him to

sit.  With Tiberius leaning on his shoulder he was all he could do to hold

him up, but with all his might hold him up he did. Tiberius groaned, but he

never shed a drop in between the two of them they built one fortress against

their father.

The next day Vettius tried mightily to keep up with his brother. Vettius saw

his brother disappear around the first corner, but when he cleared the third

corner and Vettius saw Tiberius standing there waiting.  Together the two

brothers jogged around the last corner rent directly toward and stopped

finally in front of her father. He said not a word, rather calculated coldly

and cruelly.  He had too much invested in Tiberius to strike him down again.

Without a clue he backhanded Vettius across the face turned sharply and

left him. Vettius could remember forgetting that moment for years.  He

remembered the ringing in his ears warm feeling in his head, but not his

feet leaving the ground nor his tiny body flopping down hard. This time it

was Tiberius helping his battered brother.

Their father continued pitting the brothers against each other. The method

was to build Tiberius’s confidence so that when he competed against the sons

of other nobleman he would have the mental advantage. It didn’t take much

account of Vettius at all. Vettius began not so much to enjoy losing, but to

become comfortable with it.  And as the beatings continued his mind told

him, “You deserve this”.  Even a small child’s spirit isn’t killed by a

single blow, it takes many to break him. Once broken no amount can put wrong

tack to write.

Tiberius was set for greater glory.  At 11 years he had already been

fighting with grown men.  But now as set forth by his father, came his

greatest test.  He was placed alone in a large patio with high walls with a

spear in his hands and a large male lion. It seemed obvious now that he

should have perceived his father’s treachery.  He had been training against

a mock lion for several months now.  His father had hired two soldiers to

train him, but here he stood, alone and frighten with his spear that may as

well have been a twig.  When the lion growled Tiberias could detect no

discernible confidence gained by all the victories over Vettius. The foul

breath waifted through the air and assailed his nostrils.  He was stunned to

be standing here now with his father and his trainers looking down from high

above, too far away to help if needed.  It was needed.

The lion attacked and mauled him, but Tiberius alone with his spear killed

it. The lion died on the bloody marble patio floor, Tiberius died in his bed

the next day. Vettius who had been noticed by his parents as only the

darkness against which Tiberius shined became invisible.

And while his parents descended into grief, it was he who lost a brother an

ally and a friend. Maybe, he thought, maybe now they will leave me alone. To

a small boy alone in the world the wish was not unreasonable, but it was

the first brick in the wall. It was the first instant when Vettius cared

about only Vettius. And for Vettius it would have been better that he

remained so. But his parents did not honor the silent wishes, they simply

transferred their ambitions.

++++++++

Vettius began spending much time around his father’s gladiators.  The

same man who dedicated his life crushing him to the sand now dedicated

himself to reach down and pick them back up.  But small boys are not like

puzzles rather they are more like a sheet of glass.  Once broken they can

never be fully repaired.  Some pieces never fit, some shards are always

missing.  And Vettius the small boy would always craved his father’s

attention never received, now despised it heaped upon him.  Some cuts are

just to deep, some wounds never heal.

By the time he was 13 and Vettius knew all the techniques of all the styles

of gladiators.  But to him they were just empty movements, just like the

steps he took walking. Which Vettius learned from his father is not how to

be a gladiator, but the gladiatorial business. He watched his father’s fortunes rise on the blood tide of his gladiators victories.  The investment of coin paid dividends in fame that his father

could cash in political clout.  To his father political clout was all there was. Perceiving scarcity on the inside he sought fulfillment from without. It was his sons heritage.

At 15 Vettius was put in charge when it was his father’s turn to host the

gladiatorial games.  As unnatural and awkward as he was physically he was as

adept and capable as administrator.  It was he competed to gladiators

against each other in such a way that his father’s had the best chance to

win.  He wrote the stories which the gladiators fought to.  He promoted the

event nearly a year in advance so that by the time his father dropped the

white linen to commence the games, it was on the tip of every Roman’s tongue

to urge him to do so. Vettius’s games began with a roar, blood sprang freely

from the gladiators veins, his father was a staggering success, and Vettius

himself had come of age.

The coming-of-age arrived with conflict and confusion.  Vettius was dismayed

to realize that he paradoxically adored the adoration of the man who had

murdered his brother.  And of the brother that surely must have been

sacrificed then to procure his success now.  If it were that he could change

it all again would he? He did not think so.  He knew so.

The roars of the crowd were for him alone.  He was jealous of the

gladiators, and both success which yet helped engineer for his father.  He

remembered racing around Villa with his brother only to be punched in the

head by the man success he just helped engineer.  He was in conflict. By 15

Vettius acted almost exclusively for Vettius, but when he saw his father’s

rival Augustus stagger drunkenly into the streets, Vettius saw a way to act

exclusively for himself.

Augustus had wagered much on the games and lost much in coin and much more

in politics. Vettius didn’t have to prod very hard.  Vettius arranged to

negotiate repayment for Augustus.  It was easy to lower his unsuspecting

father to Augustus with the expectation of contracting humiliating terms for

Augustus.  Vettius was delighted by the shock and betrayal that was the last

expression that masked his father’s face.  He remembered picking his

brothers bleading face out of the sand. Now here he stood, master of his

father’s house with Augustus’s indebtedness too. He could not help feeling

that now that the circle had been completed. But it wasn’t a circle that was

finished rather it was the last brick in the wall, final crushing of the

gentle spirit of a small boy into dirt. As a seed becomes a tree and is a seed no more,  so it is when a boy becomes a man.  From henceforth Vettius acted only

Vettius.

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END VETTIUS

“””””””””

“Sanyi let me come directly to the point.” Sanyi thought he was already there, but the little man continued. “Doctore wants you to fight in some of the smaller venues outside of Rome, while I want to maximize my profits by having you fight in more lucrative events in Rome. But I want to know what you think.”

Sanyi was still struggling with the Roman accent but it was obvious that the little man with the big voice was lying. He couldn’t care less Sanyi thought, or his needs for that matter, but Sanyi was already at peace with it, it was forgiven, which was Jesus’s way of making himself impervious to the world and its horrors. “Well Sanyi he demanded, are you up to it?” “Dominus”, he began, “Doctore is a master instructor, it would be wise to obey his counsel, nor would I be profitable to you, dead after the first match.” Sanyi had dutifully kept his eyes floor, but now reflexively, irresistibly, he raised them to look at his dominus. So, this was this the stingy little ludenista all the men hated so. Vettius glared scornfully as he prepared a scolding, but it was never delivered. The response was polite, and proper and appropriate for the situation, but it simply was not the one he wanted. So, he refrained, paused from writing and looked at Pompili simply to size him up. So, this was the gladiator Vettius had heard so much about,  his gladiator, the one with such a different way,  the one who was a follower of a crucified rabbi named Christ.

Sanyi realizing his mistake offered up his obedience, “Dominus, your will be done of course.” “Of course Pompilli, ” Vettius replied, “of course.” The silence was long, but for Pompilli nothing was uncomfortable. His Dominus demanded not a response, rather the correct one. He could understand why the gladiators distrusted and disrespected him so, but Pompilli remembered what Jesus had said, that Forgiveness is still and quietly does nothing.

He was not disquiet in the least by the little man who could have ended his body’s life on the spot. At the wave  of whose small hand half a dozen Roman soldiers who gladly impaled him with their spears. “ I am prepared to do your glory Dominus,” was the reply. Pompilli had understood and Vettius was appeased.

Then Vettius asked, “Is there anything I can get for you?” “I have a wife and Judea,” Pompilli  said halfheartedly thinking that it was too much to ask. But Vettius replied without hesitation, “if she is alive, I will bring her to you.” There it was again Pompilli noticed. He did not say would try to bring her, rather he would bring her. The man was accustomed to getting what he wanted. So, he would see his wife again if she was alive.

Your Latin is good, but you seem to have difficulty with our accent, you will improve .” Pompilli nodded agreement before understanding the statement for the accent. When he did he smiled to himself.

+++++++++++++++++++

Jesus taught that language was aught but symbols of symbols, developed by the io and learned by the Son for the purpose of keeping the dreamer dreaming. On the level of the world language has been developed by the ruling class in Egypt 1000 years before. It had been developed to facilitate guilt and obedience, rather than to express needs. guilt designed to manipulate obedience. But by the io to further separate the sleeping Son from himself. “There are no words in Heaven,” Jesus said, nor need of them.”

+++++++++++++++++++

Vettius looked back down at his table and there unconsciously flattened both palms on it’s surface and made straight his arms, then relaxed and looked at his gladiator.  He had much to ponder about in this regard. Used correctly he could win much coin with a minimum of risk. Maybe his Doctore was right, he grew weary of losing gladiators in their prime,  it grew costly despite their vast earnings was was not maximizing on his capital, perhaps. And yet the currency was counted in political profit rather than coin, that which was more likely to guide him upwards towards the pillars of the Senate.  This was Vettius’s guiding, principal,  his only principal regarding his investments in gladiators.

But from this gladiator he desired more than arena winnings, much more,  from this he would gain what even his mighty father and superior brother could not, acceptance into the elite of Roman society and true power, political power. No less than this he demanded of himself, of Pompilli. He rose and moved around the table approaching his gladiator.

You were captured in Judea with a rabbi named Christ, one who said that he was the Son of God, is that correct? “ Vettius was close enough that he had to crane his neck at an uncomfortable upward angle to speak to the gladiator.  “The rabbi said that we are all of us God’s one Son, Dominus “ Vettius did not expect any particular response,  but by that one he was amazed and did even betrayed a bit of his amazement.  He recovered his composure,  but for him life had unknowingly become vastly more complicated. Vettius wondered what the Father would give to his one Son in the world and for what.  Now was not the time to ask these questions,latter. Vettius gave his gladiator some wine, and bade him to sit in the large comfortable seat across from his table and he took his customary seat observing Pompilli. Pompilli felt himself being observed and calculated against without judgement.  They chatted, Pompilli drank his wine without being hurried, Vettius had none. When he finished the wine Pompilli was dismissed and returned to his quarters. There he stretched out his big body on its back, put his hand under his head and bent one of his massive knees. He considered his Dominus. The little man was obviously a liar, he would gladly sacrifice his life for short-term profit. Before Jesus Sanyi had little patience for liars, they even made him ill, the illness of judgement, but now nothing made him uncomfortable. It was also obvious that Vettius was a quick student. He also knew he was more interested in Jesus than himself, but as yet not why. It was true what the others had said, and now he was sure that he would likely die at the  greedy hands of Vettius. He considered all these things quickly,  the the gladiator closed his eyes and fell into a deep comfortable sleep.

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After his meeting with Vettius, Pompilli’s intense training intensified. Doctore had no control over who would be Pompilli’s opponents, but he would control what he could, that meant he would fight Sanyi daily. For Sanyi it was much more than merely an opportunity to survive. He knew what was coming, Doctore instructed him to block his vertical overhand cut. Still he was unable, on his first attack Doctore cracked him on the skull. Then again and again Sanyi struggled to fend off Doctore’s furious attacks, but struggled more to see the instant, the eternal instant, the instant that always is, but never was, nor is to be. And gradually, gently, under the blazing sun, and rain of vertical blows it came into view of his mind’s eye. Sanyi felt the block, then being hit, then blocking, then being hit, then blocking, then being hit, all of the same blow. Then each blow. Behind Doctore’s dark streaking body the sky turned to the color of the sand, and Sanyi experience both alternatives of each attack, blocked, and being hit each at once. Doctore paused, but Sanyi was confused, facing at once both consequences of the same event. Doctore was at once congratulating him for fending off all of the attacks, and berating him for blocking none of them. He could see them all and from deep within his right Mind hold them each equally irrelevant. Simply different shades of the same mad dream from which the Son has already woke. But in all those many worlds, it was time for Sanyi’s first fight, under the Doctore scornful eye.

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The night before his first fight Sanyi received first lesson in the full decadence of the roman orgy. There were nude women dancing in pits in the marble floors,The gladiators were permitted to feast, drink wine, and have sex with wealthy noble women who could not wait to get their hands on them. It was debautcheious, but most of the gladiators welcomed the diversion, from the looming threat behind tomorrow’s sun. Tonight there was only one who was unappreciative, he was Asinius, a holy man captured in Turkey, the eastern part of the empire. Asinius told Sanyi, ” the gods would punish the impure, who indulge in access”. Sanyi thought, then the gods must punish us all, for we each indulge completely in our own needs, the sinner and the saint are equally virtuous. ” tomorrow they will all die”, Asinius said.  Sanyi knew that Asinius too was satisfying his needs, and even as he moved away get some wine, he did so without judgment.

Smiling he thought how much Vibius would enjoy such frolic as this. Joyfully he thought of Lucilla. Anathema to some, bewildering to all, but blissful was the only ways he could think of things, the only way he could long for those loved, but not close, the only way he could be, it was what he was, what he had become since knowing Jesus.

Later that night, he stretched out on the bed in his cell, thinking not about tomorrow, but the evening that had just been. He remembered it not as if living in the past, for that was gone, rather bringing the past moment in too the present one, and experiencing them both at once, as they really were. Contented, Sanyi fell into a deep sleep.

He was awakened the following morning by a Roman guard clanging at the gate of his cell. Behind the guard was Doctore. Doctore made sure to let the men sleep as long as possible. He wanted to minimize their wait, and its strain on their nerves. It was unnecessary for Sanyi. When all of Vettius’s gladiators had gathered, Doctore led them into the arena. There they paired off, and did light sparring with each other. Across the arena gladiators from the other ludus did the same. It served as a warm up for the gladiators, and a snack before blood, for the crowd.

To ruling noblemen like Vettius pleasing crowd was everything. Individuals were of no importance at all, but controlling the imagination of the collective was the key to power. To a Lanista like Vettius, the games meant nothing, the power he could garner from them, met all. When the warm-ups were over, all there was for the gladiators to do, was returned to the areas, and wait. Asinius was the first to fight. Sanyi did not watch the fight, he focused on the crowd. Although the contest lasted a full 25 minutes, the only parts Sanyi saw of it was Asinius’s appeal to Julius Lentulus, and Vettius. The fight was well contested by both men, the crowd had been appeased, it was Lentulu’s games, and he was given to Mercy, but Vettius was not. So, with the thumb pointed towards his own throat, Vettius gave the signal, and Asinius was no more. A dark pal was cast instantly over all the gladiators. Such was the nature of Vettius, their Domino, their owner. Sanyi make no judgments, nor was he affected by the elements of a dream. He was up next.

As Pompilli emerged from to shade inside to the unsheltered blazing sand of the arena floor, he was not invested in his fate, rather curious. The glare cut his eyes like glass, forcing him to squint hard. He was aware that the shards of light and furnace of heat made the sun enemy to both men. Sanyi was a secutore, a heavyweight, and he was fighting Brutus, a samnite with three victories in the arena. The three men in the arena, to gladiators, and a referee, acknowledged sponsor, the gladiators faced each other, and the referee signaled about to begin. Sanyi was fighting for his life.

The two men circled first. The samnites was another heavyweight, but slightly less heavily armored. Sanyi knew that a long fight was not to his advantage, however circling the arena with the din of the intoxicated crowd surrounding, there appeared to be no opening to his opponent.  Keeping his shield tight Sanyi shuffled in hopes with his gladius that Brutus’s shield. To no avail. His weak attack failed to open Brutus up, and worst of all Sanyi failed to retreat after his attack.  He was flat-footed as Brutus moved in.  Brutus’s sword, and a slashing diagonal cut, hit Sanyi hard in the head, bending his neck at a 90° angle, sending him stumbling backwards. Sanyi noticed something. After weeks of training with Doctore, Brutus seemed to be moving in slow motion. And in slow motion Sanyi could see that Brutus dropped his shield ever so slightly, just before he attacked.

Sanyi, circled around until he felt recovered. Then pulling his shield close, behind it the tip of his blade pointed at the Samnites throat. Then flat-footed, Sanyi waited. Doctore thought Sanyi was dead. Instead Brutus, dropped his shield as anticipated. Sanyi pushed his own shield against that hard thrusts the tip of his blade against his opponent’s helmet. It entered the left eye socket, and snapped the man’s head to the right in a twisting motion. In agony Brutus dropped his sword and shield and writhed on the ground holding his eye. Brutus never appealed, it was unnecessary. Vettius signaled the referee stopped the fight, and the match was over. Sanyi had won.

The following morning they buried Asinius, on a sandy hill east of the ludus. His body was wrapped in white linen and he was carried on a stretcher from the ludus to his grave. Burial was another solemn ritual for the gladiators. Another mechanism by which they bestowed respect and honor upon each other. Another narcotic and numb the sting of being slaves.

Asinius had no family so all the gladiators together bought his gravestone. Thousands of years later the gravestones would be the treasure trove’s to archaeologists. Sanyi noticed he can just see the ocean off to the horizon. He knew that Asinius would have approved of being buried near the ocean, toward the setting sun.

Returning to the ludus the men were sad, about the death of one of them. Even if the aggravating one of them, one of them. But in total Vettius had done well, having only lost Asinius, and everyone else won. Sanyi as usual was not saddened, having only happy memories of Asinius, having never judged him, secure in the knowledge, that not only was Asinius not really gone, but that he had never really been. But there was one thing for which Sanyi was completely unprepared. It was the astonishing outline from the side perspective of the petite and lovely  Lucilla. Indeed, Vettius was well versed in the language of reward and punishment.

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She stood there in the archway of the gate to the villa pestering one of the soldiers as to his whereabouts which the solder had already inform her he knew nothing, but for her beauty the solder would have arrested her already. Even at a distance and under the shade he could not mistake her outline. So absorbed was she in interrogating the guard that she did not see him until he was almost close enough to touch. She didn’t so much see as feel his presence about her at first. As everything seemed quiet around her she look down at her feet for what seemed to Sanyi a very long time. When she finally turned over her right shoulder to see him her body went limp, Sanyi had to catch her before she hit the ground. She was gently awakened in the embryo of his arms, against his chest, the long lost and familiar scent come cascading through her lungs, was it a dream.

For him it was a feeling he had never forgotten, one he could never take for granted, her tiny body against his, her soft skin and marble hands. He stood there holding her with her face buried in his chest and he stroked her hair gently as she sobbed. He remembered what a child she was, he remembered how he loved her, but was still surprised by how good this felt.

When finally she looked up, and he could brush the hair away from her cheek and the tears from her eyes he looked long into them before kissing her. Then he looked at her again, there were no words. This was a potent portion of the dream. He noticed now that in being a good husband towards his wife, doing the best for her that a slave could, he understood that the pain of separation cut her deeply, she believing it real, yet even for her he did not surrender the peace of God. Further that peace still covered the entirety of the Sonship,  Romans and Vettius included. It was the surest sign that he was still in his right mind.

The guard grew impatient and hurried them in, Sanyi was only too happy to comply. With his  winnings Vettius provisioned a private room for Sanyi in the ludus, and one for Lucillia in the city. It was to here he led his wife now.

BEGIN TOO SAPP|YYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

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After so long Lucilla hadn’t nearly time to adjust. Sanyi still didn’t seem real to her, not as real as the sounds of combat clangoring up through the window from the ludus down below. A half oval window through which the fading daylight feebly cast out the remaining darkness  was the sole source of light after he closed the solid wood door.  Stone ran from wooden floor to the wooden ceiling which her husband’s huge frame nearly scraped.when she turned so that the closing door was behind her she beheld a rectangle,  containing a small writing desk on her left, no chair, Sanyi was too big for one, to its opposite a bed. She did not want him to take her to it yet. She had her prize, but not in perpetuity. She could not relax yet into what was as it was at the instant,  the only instant that really is,  now. Her defenses against happiness relented stubbornly. She plopped rather than sat on the bed. Staring at her hands on her knees she heard her heavy bag falling against some wall or corner or other having just been casually cast there by her husband. As he came to her she relaxed even though what followed couldn’t help but be etiolated by the constant whisper of the subtle and deceitful io.

He sat next to her, the pillow of the mattress caved in bringing her to him, he who was ready for her, she already regretting the future moment when she would be torn from him. When and only when she could support the io’s way of thinking, temporarily at least, no longer,  only then did she fall into his loins and allow joy to ensue.

Unlike the unencumbered peace of their lovemaking before their separation, before Jesus her passion was  panicked, fearful, impossibly  fearful. Rather than live in the lovemaking, she sought to save it, to keep it like a coin to spend at a later date. So, it was that she sought desperately to hold on that which cannot be grasped, digging her nails into his back again and again and again. For him it was the simplest lovemaking they’d ever had. Sanyi could always enjoy the moment, any moment. It was a skill he had honed with Jesus, and practiced expertly now, enjoying her exquisite,  long missed and mightily desired body in full absence of the fear of the near and uncertain future, that she would soon be taken from him, rather he took her in his huge hands, took in every delicious drop of her, living only in the purity of the moment.

For a long time there were no words.

When finally, they spoke, though two years apart it was as familiar as yesterday. Sanyi was sprawled out on his side as Lucilla sat up cross legged looking at him. She seemed almost embarrassed now, halfheartedly giggled and spoken to his shoulder, when she did speak to him. Although she was certain that he had endured unspeakable horrors, still she wanted desperately to know that nothing bad happened to him. She tried to believe in the reality that wasn’t. She looked at him, his entire body. My big gentle husband is so strong, she thought. “How do you do it,” she asked? How do you endure all this pain and suffrage”? He gave her the concerned look which she recalled instantly, meant that right now, he was focusing everything on her every word, on her very next word.

“I was told that just yesterday you killed a man, yet could’ve been killed yourself. When I saw you, you were just returning from a funeral of your friend. I don’t understand, how can you go on another day? In your place, I’m sure I should have killed myself long ago.” She finished her statement weeping. “You want me to kill myself,” he asked wryly, but the wounded look in her flashing in her rapidly upturning eyes made him think again. He wanted to tell her that fear and pain were unreal, just as the past and the to come, wanted to say that no one has killed anyone, because no one is here. Had he not already said as much, had not Jesus.  Oh my dear, don’t you understand it yet, was what he thought,  and his expression must have betrayed him because she went from looking at him lovingly, her childlike manner,  to flashing anger, in another childish way. She couldn’t believe what she was feeling, anger. Here it was two years later, after all, he’d been through, and all she’d done to get to him, she was actually getting angry at him. They were squabbling as though nothing had happened. “You sound just like Jesus”, she snapped at him. “Why don’t you try speaking to him”, she said, then she paused, feeling horrible for what she had just said and intended. Softly,  in a whisper she finally said, “he’s dead, didn’t you hear?”

Lucilla, Jesus is the only thing that’s real,he thought, the one real thing in our dream, and He still speaks to me and I take down every word.” He waved his hand and turned his wait pointing to the large pile of bound and unbound books he had written in pen and ink, some on papyrus, some on parchment.

“They crucified him,” she persisted as if reading his thoughts. “They crucified his body, but Jesus was not a body, he was resurrected before he was crucified. ” “I saw it myself,” she persisted.

Tell me all that happened,” he bade her.

She told him how she could not see Jesus body on the cross,  even though everyone else could. How she was too terrified to look back upon it for fear of not seeing him there.  

Sanyi quietly understood his wife’s mistake. Had she looked back upon the cross until she could have seen the body of Christ then she would have been saved that very instant, yet did she forsake salvation for the sake of the io, further that she escaped the net of salvation desperately of her own accord, that she alone was responsible for the surrender of Love in favor of the preservation of the self, the all to terrible defense against joy. He did not judge his wife, knowing that she has done only that which we all have, himself too at one time. Terrified at the lose of the false sense of self, the illusion of a self, anything that was not God, that she would suffer through an infinity of horror and misery in the nightmare,  before giving up the io. But he did not telling her that. Instead he lied and told her it was nothing. And then they were infinitely tender for the remainder of that night, for she had nowhere to turn but to he who has nothing else.

That night, the ludus fell silent, but she knew she could not keep it from encroaching with the sunlight. Lucilla looked out the window as the first rays dappled the sands of the ludus below. She felt Sanyi behind her enveloping her like the ocean around a rock on the shore. He held her there and she already dreaded having to leave, having to leave him there to the horrors of the day and days ahead, which she was powerless to save him from, as well as leaving her absent him. He turned her toward him, and putting his hand gently under her chin lifted it until her eyes met his.” You are sad, there is aught else you can be, it is understood, I cannot remove your burden from you”, he said. They each were equally powerless to save the other, the difference being that Sanyi knew it. Yet something came upon him now for which reason there was not. He stood up, the act of raising his big body taking some time and changed the viewpoint of the room very much in so doing. But he kept his eyes fixed directly upon his wife as he made ready his words. She raised herself to her knees on the bed, then sensing the correct moment lifted her eyes expectedly towards her husband’s.  He held her gently by both shoulders then bent his body so their eyes were inches from one another. At last he said,  “What is important is not what happens here in , but rather that you see that there is no here.” She was unsure which was the greater absurdity, that which her husband spoke or his surety of its correctness. “Your grief can be overcome with the certainty that it is impossible to be separated. We are in heaven, we are as one there, so much so that there is no place where one of us ends for the other begins, a oneness that bodies cannot accomplish. “ As she protested, he interrupted her gently, saying, “You will see this when you awaken from the dream, when realize (the only way to know anything) in actuality, you already have, we all already have.” And now she stared up at him in such a way that she could never look away and he said “we awake, none of this will matter. I know you don’t believe me, but I swear you’ll see that it’s true. And when I do make it out, I’ll find you, I’ll find you and make straight your path, I promise.”  Though still fully in his right mind,  he said it with such tenor and authority that she was inspired, took courage and grudging believe finally.  If great and mighty Sanyi came to Jesus, so then could she someday.

Still looking straight into his eyes and believing every word she said, without knowing what she was saying, or how she would accomplish it swore “And I promised to let you know, when I awaken from mine, when I make it out.” Before now Lucilla had never thought of waking from a dream, of making it, indeed despite her husband’s beliefs and Jesus teaching she was unaware of being in one, but now she swore solemnly, and hoped that she meant it. It was implicit of course, that Sanyi would be the one to make it first, and he would return to rescue her. Then she would be with him forever,  and Jesus be damned to hell, that was all that she wanted. She took comfort in that, but she resisted it too. For Lucillia wanted not the oneness of Heaven, rather the specialness of a happy dream with her wonderful husband.

Don’t die,” she beseeched him, “please don’t ever die”, she whispered interlocking her fingers behind his neck whilst peering into him. She could not be aware of how desperate she sounded because she was unaware of how needy she was. Bodies need he thought, and she thinks she is a body.

Trying in vain to speak through the tears she instead wept openly, fully into to her husband’s great chest instead. Gently he pulled her, brushed her hair back from her face, and lightly kissed her cheek. Then he pushed her back onto the bed holding her until she finally was to sleep, for Lucilla it was the only cessation of her intense grief she would find, and yet she still could not know what a curse loving the gentle Sanyi would be.

END TOO SAPPY END TOO SAPPY END TOO SAPPY END TOO SAPPY END TOO SAPPY

The following morning, it was not the ludus that exited, it was her. Sanyi watched his wife depart through the gated archway. Most men never could’ve watched her walk away with such peace. Most men would have felt deep pangs of want, born of loving from lack. Sanyi lacked very little, therefore, he loved almost purely, the absence of missing her, but a symptom of his pure love for her.

The ludus was like a microcosm of Rome, he lived and breathed it woke in slept and rose again. He was not concerned for her welfare, because he was aware that as himself, she was a dreamer in a dream. But he was curious as to whether or not she would attend his fights. Well aware that she could watch him die before her very eyes. Such thing would intensify her nightmare, but could not harm her, the dreamer. He decided that he would take these things to Jesus.

She exited with those melodious words from her husband’s tongue, reverberating, and rebounding off the inside of her brain, “So close that there is nowhere one begins or that the other ends. A oneness so close that bodies cannot accomplish it.

Being so close to him felt like the only thing she could stand right now, nothing else would suffice, yet where her husband’s feeling was inclusive of the entire world, even the Romans, even the money changers, her sense of that infinite expression of closeness excluded every single thing in the world that was not her husband. Such a sense of specialness, born of the bloody hands of the io’s defiance, defense to Love was what necessitated and would continue to necessitate for her unreal centuries and the death and rebirth, of pain and suffering, the stubborn holding onto of a world which never was, which her husband following Christ’s example had so gently and insouciantly cast aside, but now bitterly persecuted her.

@@@@@@@@@@— BEGIN OR CONTINUE DEATH AROUND HERE —@@@@@@@

With a victory fresh under his belt, Vettius was anxious to maximize his returns on Sanyi as he would with any of his investments, but with this one not simply in the arena. Having been already rebuked by Jesus via this messenger, Vettius now sought to appeal to the Son of God for redemption in the afterlife. Redemption for the punishment that he expected for the guilt which he perceived.

Pompilli was brought to him in his and Vettius dismissed the centurions leaving him alone with his property. They greeted and Vettius led Pompilli to the shaded fountain where they sat side by side on a cool marble bench there. Even as he came directly to the point Vettius was almost certain that receiving redemption in the afterlife would be more difficult than favor in this life, he was shocked at Pompilli answer. “You need do nothing, for it has already been undone. Remember that you have never left your home which is in Heaven. But you fear death,”the gladiator said. Vettius nodded. “No you don’t my Domina.” Crossing his mighty elbows and bringing his mouth down to his master’s ear he spoke softly but powerfully. “ You don’t fear death, you love it, you embrace it, you call to it, “come save me, save me from a most unmerciful disaster, which unmerciful disaster,  God?” we all do.” Looking up and to his side Vettius remained silent knowing full well that Pompilli would soon prove his startling point. Then the gladiator straightened himself looking straight, but speaking to the man at his side. “Death,” he continued proves we are real,

It is the undeniable symbol of The Son’s victory over God. The one indisputable token that says I lived, and I lived apart from God. Recall the original seeming separation occurred because of the tiny mad idea, what would it be like to be apart from God. We wanted to be apart from God, why else then would such a question come to the lips of the Son? In death do we have proof of our bloody victory, our omnipotence. If death is real, then God is dead. If death is real then I am above God, for God cannot kill His creation,  but I can. Our very own existence, our io, death proves we have achieved it. That is part of the io way of thinking, but only part. For though we are Victorious, there is a terrible price to be paid. We have killed God comma we have but we have taken comma and what we have taken we have taken in blood. The ego says God is vengeful comma the ego says angry Father pursues his guilty son, kill or be killed. It is a perfect combination from which none accept Jesus has recognized. But Jesus is the light, Jesus shows the the way to the home we have never left.  Jesus said:“

Death is the central dream from which all illusions stem.  Is it not madness to think of life as being born, aging, losing vitality, and dying in the end?  We have asked this question before, but now we need to consider it more carefully.  It is the one fixed, unchangeable belief of the world that all things in it are born only to die.  This is regarded as “the way of nature,” not to be raised to question, but to be accepted as the “natural” law of life.  The cyclical, the changing and unsure; the undependable and the unsteady, waxing and waning in a certain way upon a certain path, – all this is taken as the Will of God.  And no one asks if a benign Creator could will this.

In this perception of the universe as God created it, it would be impossible to think of Him as loving.  For who has decreed that all things pass away, ending in dust and disappointment and despair, can but be feared.  He holds your little life in his hand but by a thread, ready to break it off without regret or care, perhaps today.  Or if he waits, yet is the ending certain.  Who loves such a god knows not of love, because he has denied that life is real.  Death has become life’s symbol.  His world is now a battleground, where contradiction reigns and opposites make endless war.  Where there is death is peace impossible.

Death is the symbol of the fear of God.  His Love is blotted out in the idea, which holds it from awareness like a shield held up to obscure the sun.  The grimness of the symbol is enough to show it cannot coexist with God.  It holds an image of the Son of God in which he is “laid to rest” in devastation’s arms, where worms wait to greet him and to last a little while by his destruction.  Yet the worms as well are doomed to be destroyed as certainly.  And so do all things live because of death.  Devouring is nature’s “law of life.”  God is insane, and fear alone is real.

The curious belief that there is part of dying things that may go on apart from what will die, does not proclaim a loving God nor re-establish any grounds for trust.  If death is real for anything, there is no life.  Death denies life.  But if there is reality in life, death is denied.  No compromise in this is possible.  There is either a god of fear or One of Love.  The world attempts a thousand compromises, and will attempt a thousand more.  Not one can be acceptable to God’s teachers, because not one could be acceptable to God.  He did not make death because He did not make fear.  Both are equally meaningless to Him.

The “reality” of death is firmly rooted in the belief that God’s Son is a body.  And if God created bodies, death would indeed be real.  But God would not be loving.  There is no point at which the contrast between the perception of the real world and that of the world of illusions becomes more sharply evident.  Death is indeed the death of God, if He is Love.  And now His Own creation must stand in fear of Him.  He is not Father, but destroyer.  He is not Creator, but avenger.  Terrible His Thoughts and fearful His image.  To look on His creations is to die.

And the last to be overcome will be death.”  Of course!  Without the idea of death there is no world.  All dreams will end with this one.  This is salvation’s final goal; the end of all illusions.  And in death are all illusions born.  What can be born of death and still have life?  But what is born of God and still can die?  The inconsistencies, the compromises and the rituals the world fosters in its vain attempts to cling to death and yet to think love real are mindless magic, ineffectual and meaningless.  God is, and in Him all created things must be eternal.  Do you not see that otherwise He has an opposite, and fear would be as real as love?

Teacher of God, your one assignment could be stated thus: Accept no compromise in which death plays a part.  Do not believe in cruelty, nor let attack conceal the truth from you.  What seems to die has but been misperceived and carried to illusion.  Now it becomes your task to let the illusion be carried to the truth.  Be steadfast but in this; be not deceived by the “reality” of any changing form.  Truth neither moves nor wavers nor sinks down to death and dissolution.  And what is the end of death?  Nothing but this; the realization that the Son of God is guiltless now and forever.  Nothing but this.  But do not let yourself forget it is not less than this.

Death is not to be feared, it should be treated as nothing for it is nothing,  but there is the mistake of thinking that death is peace,  but you cannot awaken and see heaven if there is fear in your mind. “ “And tell me of my enemies,  Marcus Crassis and his ilk”, Vettius asked,must I pray for them.” Pompilli flexed his huge thigh, still surprised by the booming voice emanating from so small a frame.  “ You simply must not judge them, recall that difference, love or hate is what the io uses to confuse us, to make us believe that we are each separate one from another.  Were you to deny a brothers entry into heaven,  then you would deny your own. And consider how futile, for it heaven is already here, you and I have never left it, we but sleep, dreaming dreams of exile. “

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% the mystical fight %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Vettius considered his options regarding Pompilli carefully, which was unlike him. Normally Vettius was considered bold for risking his investments so easily. It was a strategy which gained him favor in the eyes of the populace and accordingly, grudging recognition by the political class. What no one understood was that in Vettius mind he risked nothing. His gladiators were mere chattel, and his wealth was vastly unknown and underestimated by all. But regarding this piece of chattel Vettius was already unknowingly guarding against friendship.

Regarding the threatening friendship and

with a victory fresh under his belt, Vettius was anxious to maximize his returns on Sanyi. So, he determined that Sanyi would fight in the ludus of his political rival, Claudius Maximus against his best gladiator. Vettius was in the enviable position of not having to field the winning fighter. Maximus was younger, but Vettius was politically unknown. To gain status, he merely needed to satisfy the crowd, which could include either sparing or sacrificing  Sanyi at their whim full delight. Maximus had not only to please the crowd, but his men had better win. Either way, as always, the gains and losses to the owners were denominated in the currency of blood of the gladiators on the field.

The match would be held without shields. It would be to Sanyi’s detriment, he was by far the bigger and slower man. As anticipated, the Thracian brought the fight to him, trying to negate his superior reach. Sanyi deftly blocked a series of diagonal and horizontal slashes with the same attitude that he would pick flowers from the side of the road. Then the Thracian thrust straight at Sanyi’s midsection. Sanyi brought his blade down in a counterclockwise half arc, and clearly heard and saw thrust being easily blocked, he also clearly felt and saw the blade run him through. Both, disparate acts, occurring in slow motion stop action. That was, “interesting”, he thought. He retaliated with a horizontal cut, which missed entirely when his opponent ducked under it, and simultaneously cut the Thracian’s head off. From above the battlefield, Sanyi could see his dead prostrate body, could see himself appealing to Vettius his mercy, could see the Thracian appealing for the same, and could see the dead Thracian. He could see all the dreams as they were, happening all at once. It was his Jesus had said, and he could take any of them he wanted, or none at all. But he could not hold all of them at once, anymore than he could see both near and far. He had to focus on one and it was not one of his choosing. The Thracian cut him across the belly, horizontally, not deep enough to cause internal injuries, but deep enough that if Sanyi wanted to do in this lifetime, then he had to do something fast. He did. The Thracian was leaning forward and off balance, as he finished the slicing cut. Sanyi’s, with more agility than such a big man should have had already recovered and was moving in. With both hands on the hilt, he sliced vertically with all his might. The dull blade struck the Thracian in the back of the head, with a blunt thumping sound, splitting it from the crown to the base of the spine. When the man fell on his stomach at Sanyi’s feet, a cloud of dust was the only movement his body made. The helmet was the only thing holding his head together.

Back inside to Sanyi was once again obtained the finest standard Roman medical care. Roman doctors had pioneered physical therapy techniques that would be practiced for thousands of years. They could reset broken bones perfectly. Only severe internal bleeding was beyond their competence, and fortunately Sanyi had none of that. His quick backward jump, along with the extra layer of fact afforded by his bland bean diet, had protected him from the worst of the Thracian’s blade. He was still safe from things that weren’t, within the dream. He had seen the multitude of allusions, now he wanted to see beyond it. He could have no idea how soon he would. But that little bit of wanting, would make him wish he hadn’t. So far it had all been going well, for the man who’d never lost sight of the goal. But he was about to find out just what a distraction being too close to what he always wanted could be.( the special relationship of getting it out of the dream)

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% End the mystical fight %%%%% %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

09/05/2016

Lucilla was still very naïve as to just what a gladiator does. She waited patiently, but expectantly for her husband’s return, as though he were returning from the fields where her expectation would be justified. She still had no idea what he would have to risk and endure to return to her, that was still coming. But for now when horse cart bringing all the gladiators from the arena came back to the ludus she leapt with blind expectation that her husband would be in it and of course he was. The smile that came across her face was one that only pure joy could form and she was not even disappointed by the fact that the gladiators would be put straight to bed or hospital. For now she was happy that he was alive, safe and close. She went to sleep that night with something that she’d lost the night Sanyi was captured with Jesus, something she was sure she’d never hold again, it was the most precious of things to lose, but unknowingly she’d found it once again, hope. But safe is not what a gladiator is, ever. Safe comes only after freedom, only after the wooded sword and the green wreath.

Sanyi had seen his wife from the slave cart, but feigned that he had not. It was not for lack of what the world would call love anymore that splitting a man’s head open was what the world called brutal. Sanyi realized from the many faceted experiences of his most recent fight that all of this, this world was over long ago. It was over before it ever really happened. It was how he could watch his beautiful wife leave the ludus taking with her all the touches and scents that a man craved, that he craved as his body craves the air and in his mind yearn for her not.

When the cart stopped in the court and Sanyi got out he was aware of some pain at various points of his body, but he wanted to be alone this night, not answering the inane questions of the physician. So, he went to his cell, not the room he had spent with his wife though it was still paid for, and lay on his back on the hard cot staring straight up at the fungus on the ceiling. Not thoughts, but clarity came through in a flood.

He finally understood now what Jesus said that night in his garden. It wasn’t that the mind of The Son was healed by Jesus when he was crucified, it was healed the instant that it seemed to be apart from The Father. That is what became so clear to him in his top down view of the battle field, that none of what he thought he saw was real. For how could it be. How could the Atonement be accepted and the world which is aught but the result of guilt for a sin that never really happened, be real. Sanyi shifted his body a little on the cot and then put his arm across his brow without blinking. He realized the truth now, that the world lived only in a dream of time that is already over. Time is what the Io used to make the dream seem real. Jesus came not to forgive a crime that never was, Jesus is to remind us of our place beside the father from which we could never really leave.

This world is long since gone,” Jesus said on that night. This is a terrifying thought to the Io which created the worlds illusion and strives to keep the illusion real. For if the world is long since gone so too then is the Io. But it is infinitely healing to The Son who’s mistaken belief is the Io’s device to keep the dream alive. But Jesus said that the Io would not allow the Son to simply wake, because like a trick of magic once it is known it is undone, once it is undone it is dead. Sanyi didn’t stir for the remainder of that evening, he simply lay on his back with is arm across his brow trying to scheme the Io’s scheme of keeping The Son asleep and in his dream of separation. He understood that the Io would do anything to keep him in the world, but what he was trying to understand now was how.

On the following morning with his the gash in his side still bleeding Vetius plotted Sanyi’s next contest. The pitting of gladiators was a battle in itself between Doctore and Vetius. They each had an equal, but different kind of investment in the fighters. Vetius’s investment was purely financial. He treated each of his gladiators as an expensive piece of equipment. He was good to them so long as they won in the arena, but he was determined to get full use of each unit. Whereas Doctore had forged a personal bond with each fighter and cared for all while having loved some as a son. Neither man was better than the other, neither more or less selfish than the other.  Each was completely selfish, Doctore in attempting to make schedules which maximize his fighters chances to live, and Vetius in maximizing his financial and political return.  The men were as selfish as they were different.  

Vetius had always lived the privileged life of a Roman nobleman, he looked down upon Doctore as unworthy and unappreciative. He was after all not noble. Doctore had been a gladiator, a slave. He had escaped the horrors of slavery by the blade of the gladius knowing that Vetius could not have prevailed for a single day in his place. Also he was too well aware of the stingy manner to Vetius’s nature. Doctore had won an incredible 23 bouts for Vetius and still not been awarded the wooden sword and green wreath. Where it not for public disapproval Doctore knew that he would be a slave still.

What Doctore  really need now was to buy time and large and largely inexperienced pupil. A gladiator is like fruit on the vine, it needs time to grow ripe. Vetius needed a new champion to showcase at the games he was to host in the coming months. Each year the gladiatorial event is hosted by a different ludus and this year it was Vetius’s turn to put on the event. But for politically ambitious Vetius to curry favor with the crowd it was critical not only for the overall event to be spectacular, but that his gladiator, his champion win. As of now that champion was the promising, but inexperienced Sanyi, whom he now called Pompili. Vetius insisted that he fight the rising new retiarius XXX from the ludus of Maximillian, Doctore stubbornly refused insisting that Pompili needed more time to develop, even suggesting that they enter the lesser venue’s to let Pompili further both his skills and reputation there. “Nonsense,” Vetius said raising his voice. “My champion fights only in the grand events.” But Doctore saw through Vetius’s feigned pride. Vetius was taking short cuts with his, their gladiators again. When he was still a slave Doctore had to accept Vetius decisions, decisions which were the thread by which his life hung. Doctore often wondered how he had made it. Vetius push him to soon as well. And even once he was established Vetius made him fight while still badly injured, often made him fight two other gladiators at once, and even made him fight a retiarius without a sword or shield. Then there was the lie, there was always that. Vetius swore to Doctore that he would grant him freedom as soon as he had accomplished ten victories in the arena. Doctore did not complain after he’d won his eleventh, or twelfth matches. Even after the 13th win Doctore simply asked Vetius if he remembered what he had said about freeing him. Vetius didn’t hesitate to say, “Of course I do,” looking away as though he were not worthy of being spoken to. That is what a slave is. But when he defeated two Thracians at once the crowd in that arena chanted Libera, Libera, Libera,  meaning freedom for Doctore, and Vetius granted it immediately. Vetius was a slave too, to his ambition. Doctore would never forget going from the body of the second fallen opponent to where Vetius was seated to get his wreath and wooden sword.  It was unreal to him at the time because it was so unexpected, he was always resigned to die in the arena.

Doctore never noticed how he became accustomed to being a slave. Most men don’t, sooner or later they simply accept it. Men can even see past human failings and their betrayal, but men can never go unappreciated. Even a slave must feel that his life, that he is significant, all be it in service to another. But Doctore was so aware that for all his sacrifice Vetius was completely indifferent and it was against that indifference that Doctore the free man could now at long last retaliate.

When Vetius promised to free Pompili if he won all the fights through his tournament, Doctore did not remind Vetius that he was a liar, but he did demand that Vetius contract it legally, cleverly extending his free rights to a slave and forcing Vetius to do what he otherwise would not have. Vetius did not get angry, he did the practical and made the contract.

So, Doctore had secured Sanyi’s future at the expense of his present. The contract would spare Pompili from Vetius’s treachery after the tournament, but noting put down on a scroll could save him from the fights in the tournament nor the upcoming on against the retiarius of the ludus of Maximillian. Against that salvation if it existed at all was to be found squarely within the walls of the ludus. But Doctore had no idea what true salvation was nor that there wasn’t anything he could do to spare Pompili from what lay in wait in the darkness all around to be revealed in the arena.

As he dismissed Doctore, Vettius demanded to see Pompilli immediately and privately. Doctore was sure of treachery, but in fact none would be revealed. Doctore would simply use the occasion to do what he had long wanted, to broach the subject of Jesus with his champion gladiator Pompilli.

Pompilli entered wearing a red toga, on indicating that he belonged to the House of ***. But it showed that he had status, rank among the slaves. It was an unwanted distinction, one of which he neither approved nor disapproved.

A spear carrying Roman soldier escorted Pompilli into the office whose door from the main house was an oval opening covered only by a thick purple cloth or curtin, and was readily dismissed by Vettius who was just raising from the desk upon which he labored. He stood waved his arm over the tabletop in a manner as to clear it off. Then he feigned a laugh. “Dominus, “ Pompilli said with a respectful bow of the head. “Let’s go outside,” the little man boomed in that deepest of baritone. Pompilli thought that they were going to the balcony overlooking the practice practice arena directly behind the table, but they walked off to his through a door to his left into a portion of the complex which he had never seen. It was a large rectangular court so cluttered with green leafy trees that he could not have determined it’s size had he been intending to do so. His eyes were dutifully pointed down at his Domina.

You were arrested with a Rabbi name Jesus, one who said that he was the son of  God,” Vettius said in a tone as close to low as he could. So, this is about Jesus Pompilli perceived immediately.

who said that all of us are,” Pompilli corrected when he thought the time was right. Vettius stopped and looked up at his slave. Pompilli could almost hear the little man’s thinking.  “Let us sit,”Vettius said, moving towards a stone block for that purpose.  As he sat down, Pompilli looked up at the birds flying through the opening. It wasn’t so much an opening,  rather just the roof was left off. The garden was a huge rectangle bordered by the inner walls of the massive house of —. But he could not see through the trees inside to know,  nor did he try. He did perceive that Vettius wanted him to explain, so he did. Pompilli explained to his Domina what Jesus had taught, that the world  is aught but a dream, and that our purpose is but to awaken from it. Pompilli had explained this to many others, his wife included, but unlike all of them, Vettius instantly understood. “There is only one Son of God, that is all of us,” Pompilli was finishing.  Vettius hadn’t even noticed that it was fully dark out and the only light was the flame from the torches. “So Jesus was aught but the first to awaken from the dream?” Vettius asked. Surprised, Pompilli smiled broadly nodding his head in the affirmative as he did so. Vettius did not even notice how much he enjoyed the affirmation. Then in a little while Vettius asked Pompilli how he could pray to Jesus for things of this world.  Pompilli considered his answer carefully,  Vettius was a man accustomed to getting what he wanted.

I have done as you were doing in there,” Pompilli motioned towards the office with his head. “I have toiled for coin, plotted to vanquish my enemies,  in Judea they were the money changers. But you see that I am here. Jesus did not enter a plea to The Father or intercede on my behalf,  nor would he, for to do so would be an admission that the world is real and of consequence, which is a lie. [ explain why Jesus worked miracles ]

You can ask Jesus to help you in this dream world,  but because He loves you, He will not answer, for to do so would make the dream seem to be real, and you would be doomed to never escape it. You have ambitious,  as did I. But you need no ambitions any more than did I. At this moment we each have everything,  the only difference between us is that I have nothing else.”

Vettius remained silent for a long while, stunned by the gentle authority of his slave, unknowing of how to proceed.  Pompilli perceived his treachery without judgement,  understanding that it was born of long habit of not letting your enemy know what you knew, and  in time every one was your enemy. But implicitly Pompilli understood that his master understood.

A most amazing man Vettius thought of Pompilli as he dismissed him. Back in his chamber Pompilli stretched out in the manner he had, on his back drought one leg up so his foot rested flat and one hand under his head. He had already summed Vettius up. His Domina understood implicitly, just as one of the warring chiefs in Sidon had. Another thing apparent to Pompilli was that his Domina was a man in great anguish.

It continued in this manner,  that Vettius would call Pompilli to him in the early evening,  as soon as he could. Sometimes his champion was still breathing heavy from practice. They would take long walks in the gardens, sit on the balcony and watch the brilliant sunsets to the west. Vettius was always impressed by the rapturous beauty of them, Pompilli indifferent to their worldly, dreamlike nature. Vettius would talk, talk of his desires to become governor,  of his treacherous methods to obtain it, and always Pompilli would listen without judgment or scorn, the only man Vettius could trust to do so. Gradually, by steady degrees their relationship became more and more revealed for what was the true nature between master and slave, namely that Pompilli needs nothing from Vettius,  not even his freedom,  but Vettius needs everything from him.

09/03/2016

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All of the above happens before the opening fight. What happens below occurs after the first fight. you need to bring the story from here to the opening sentence.

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While his wife was pacing desperately outside the Sanyi hung his huge leg over the end of a table as the physician removed the Retiarius’s trident which had broken off in his left thigh. The pain was excruciating, but it was not what was making him quiver with cold sweat. The lightning bolts of pain that shooting through his body barely registered, it was remembering the dark sky and falling off the world that made his fingers dig into the table top when the physician removed the tridents one embedded prong in one quick motion. Sanyi aware of the pain wished it was all that there was to worry about. With the trident removed he lay down his head and with his arm covered his eyes as the blood which spurted from the wound mixed with sweat and sand into a soupy brown mud that oozed into tiny rivers that ran down his leg and dripped down on the ground. What was that, what was the world coming to get him. Jesus had said much about the world being illusion, but he had never said anything about the darkness. What was that. Sanyi didn’t know. But in trying to make sense of it he made the subtle and terrible mistake and remembered not to laugh.  And in remembering not to laugh, Sanyi knew again that which he had not known since he known Jesus, doubt.

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After he could walk again, but before he could resume training Sanyi went to meet Vetius in his office. There Vetius disclosed what he and Doctore had previously agreed upon. The agreement had seemed clear at the time, but his injury had cast some doubt upon it.

How is your leg Sanyi, Vettius asked?” “”Well, I think it bends in both directions now,” he answered dryly. Vettius straightened his arms out on the desk leaned back in his chair and studied his man. Without either of them knowing it, in the next few minutes, they would both make a critical decision for themselves and each other. “Sanyi”, Vettius began, “you’ve done well. You’ve risen quickly and with just three victories, you’ve won coin and fame. Of course, you’ve also gained me coin and influence with Claudius Maximus. He almost begged me to sell you to him.” He said it as though he had done Sanyi a favor by not selling to him, but was thrown off when he realized that Sanyi did not get the implication. Actually Sanyi did get the implication, it just didn’t register with him. Vettius lived by the double-edged sword of reward and punishment, success and failure, friends and enemies. Sanyi understood those concepts, and understood the falseness of them. He understood they were just devices of the Io to keep our attention on things in the dream and not having.

“I didn’t sell you, but I did pledge you to fight in Maximus games in three months. I know you are still injured in Doctore tells me that three months is not enough time, but if you win I will gain his patronage for the Senate and I will grant you your freedom.” Now did Pompilli sense, a slight touch of pleading in his voice, that Vettius was unaware of.  “You don’t have to answer now, give it some thought.” But Pompilli did perceive his master’s treachery.

At this moment their constantly evolving master and slave relationship became more completely entwined. In this moment it was the master pleading to the slave for something that only he could give. At this moment, their relationship, crossed the well-marked line of master and slave to man to man. Vetting could in principle command his slave to fight and it would be done, but Vettius had favor to gain and had to appear to be magnanimous. His gladiator had to seem to be willing to give his answer to fight in the affirmative,  then more importantly, once answer was rendered,  to win.

The Sanyi in the temple that the money changers had turned into a market before Jesus had entered it  would have yearned to do good deeds and so, would have agreed to risk his body for the other man’s sake. The Pompili that was  before the dark sky opened up would not have trusted his good intentions,knowing that they are not enough. Knowing full well the misleading desire for doing good deeds, that there are none, knowing full well that nothing good or bad can happen to us in this world, for it is all aught but a dream. But Pompili who answered was not the same as the gladiator before the darkness appeared to him, or as the man in the temple. He was a mixture who remembered, but once again had the old desires, the desire of the io, to do seemingly good deeds. So, even before he was aware that it was, his decision was made. He studied the Vetius studying him, “Dominus”, was Sanyi’s only remark, but given with a slight bow for the head and the answer had given.

Doctore was the only one worried about Sanyi’s next match. Vettius was far too self-centered and preoccupied, when not directly involved in the affairs of the ludus. Sanyi himself was still badly shaken by having seen the sky, the world, drop away. He had no idea what it was, or what it meant. Jesus always said that the absence of the illusion of separation looked like pure bright light. But the reality he had just woken to was completely dark.

@@@@@@@@@@@— Pick up here 03/10/2016 —@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Every organ in the body does its job. The liver secretes bile, like the brain thoughts. Since it seemed the sky fall away Sanyi’s brain had been excessively secreting thoughts. Successively secreting, evaluating and eliminating ideas before most of them made their way to his consciousness. Each idea, a toehold into understanding what he had seen. And of all the thoughts which capricious randomness could give him, the only idea taking form now was the one that was unthinkable until now. Jesus was wrong. The thought popped up and was immediately suppressed for it could become a full-fledged idea, but like everything else in the dream it fights to live, fights to make believe it is there, fights to make The Son believe it is real

Pompilli,  who could not train had plenty of time to think, his thoughts weren’t the only thing working against him. Claudius Maximus in his quest for redemption against Vettius, has a new gladiator in his employ, but not his ludus. None of Vettius spies could discover him, but out there, somewhere in Rome, a healthy highly accomplished technically polished gladiator was training, training as though he were fighting the gods, but would be fighting Pompilli instead.

It was already a month after his match with the retirarius and yet was Pompilli preoccupied, by the darkness, by the doubts about Jesus. His injured left leg could barely hold weight. It was being manipulated by the physical therapists. By this point in his career painful injuries were commonplace to Sanyi. In the past he’d always ignored the pain and chatted with the doctors and physical therapists, attending him, but now, he solved with the shoulders hunched and stared at the floor, beyond the floor.

He needed the help of two other gladiators to scale the steps to his room. Once there, however, he noticed a Vettius have left a small, very big gift for him, Lucilla. He was overjoyed to see her, but as her visit lingered a new idea, entered his mind, one he’d never known before. As he saw her sitting there, on the edge of the bed, her beauty, her desirability for the first time in his life he was overwhelmed with the impending sense of loss. Beautiful and desirable now, he wanted to hold her more than ever, but when he stepped toward her he could not back the grimace as the leg sent the screening message of agony to his brain and he stumbled. Lucilla rushed to get him and together they hobbled over to the bed.

Once there Lucilla realize that she was not going to make love to her husband this day. She could feel his burning with fever and see that the pain in his leg would take predominance over all. Lucilla was barely 22 years old and still very much a girl, but as she stroked her husband’s four head propped up the pillows for him to lean against, she sensed, became aware that they were something wrong with her husband, and it wasn’t his leg. Sanyi reclined back against the pillows, but he didn’t stay that way long, he immediately lay full out.

She looked up at her into her gentle eyes and told her, told her about the darkness. And as doubt weaved it’s way deeper into Sanyi psyche is wife’s response turned it upside down. “It was nothing”, she said. “It was just nothing, just as Jesus always said.” “Listen now to you, quoting Jesus”, Sanyi said, laughing, painfully, and fell asleep. Lucilla spent the night in the V shape between her husband arm and body. She cuddled his burning hot arm in hers and lay awake all night. Though there was no way for them to know it, she had just taken the first baby steps toward her own enlightenment.

Three months later

Doctore was livid. Somewhere in Rome was a fierce and seasoned gladiator who had been training for three months while Sanyi could barely recover, he could only limp. For all the spies that his and Vettius is money could buy, that Maximus is gladiator was in Capua was the only information they can get. Doctore told Sanyi of this and promised to double the name and some useful information about the unknown gladiator, but for Sanyi it was completely unnecessary. He instantly knew who his opponent was. Sanyi kept to himself, there was no need for Doctore to know. But on this day, it wasn’t just Sanyi keeping secrets. He had been with Vettius many years now, and he perceived Vettius’s treachery. Earlier in the week he had pled with Vettius to delay the fight, or place another gladiator in Sanyi Stead. But Vettius steadfastly refused, Maximus insisted on Vettius as champion, and that was Sanyi. But the treachery did not and there, Doctore realized that Vettius was deliberately sacrificing Sanyi to the altar of his own higher ambitions. Politically, Vettius could gain more right losing to Maximus, and politically Vettius was moved as in no other way. Vettius would sacrifice Sanyi and Maximus would save face. Vettius would then have his patronage for political advance. It was also painfully obvious, but he would spare Sanyi such knowledge, he thought. He was wrong.

As Sanyi finally began training, he perceived Vettius’s treachery and forgave it, but he did not forgive it as Jesus would. He did not forgive it by making nothing of it, because it was nothing. He forgave it as one who is wronged. Since he’d seen the darkness Sanyi sees the world through the eyes of his separated mind rather than the eyes of the Holy Spirit, and thus had slipped back into the rescuer personality of his boyhood, and now he would rescue Vettius.

Doctore must now train Sanyi such that his strength and stamina returns, but his injured leg also heels. With two weeks to go, there was no good way to do it. Yet was Doctore amazed for Pompilli had progressed beyond all he could have imagined. He might yet win.

He remembered it not ever like this. Lucilla’s shapely form snaking rhythmically on top of him. It was an experience that made the dreams seem very real and not one he wanted to wake from, and he wondered what was Jesus really talking about anyway.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The last day +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The games began early the next morning. First Lesser known and lesser skilled gladiators were paired against each other en masse. From between the vertical bars of his cell Sanyi could see the men entering from opposite sides of the arena and walking purposefully towards each other at its center. He was painfully aware that each man began the morning with high hopes of moving down his road to freedom. But neither Vettius nor Claudius Maximus were in a mood for mercy. The men who lost and appealed were slaughtered, the winners paired against each other again. Before the sun’s shadow was lifted from the arena’s floor not a single gladiator was standing, all their high hopes brought down to bloodstained sand.

Sanyi adorned his armor in the manner of a man accustomed to doing a particular task, unconscious, that he was even doing it. It was the same manner in which Doctore had taught him to fight. Warming up, he felt the pain of his injured leg, moving from unbearable to something just slightly less. To save both his stamina and leg for the match, Doctore kept his warm-up, abbreviated. The gladiators would enter from opposite sides of the arena and walk briskly towards each other. Doctore didn’t want his man limping into the arena.

As the gates swung open with the clang Sanyi stepped onto the sand into the din of the crowd noise and walked towards the center towards his old friend of Vibius. He was shocked, Vibius had changed his style completely, he was now a Thrax. He fought now with a shield, and a sword curved like a J.. He knew that the sword when blocked still snake around and slice him in the back. All of Doctore’s hard work, just crumbled like grains of sand. He made eye contact with Vibius for just a second. If Vibius recognized or was surprised to see him it didn’t show. He simply turned to Vettius and bowed, Sanyi followed suit. It wasn’t surprising to Pompilli thought. Gladiators lived trained and grew together, just like Original Sin separation sets in scattering loved ones like dust in the wind.

And Vettius dropped a white cloth to signify the beginning of the bout, and cool dusk breeze blew it away before it hit the floor. To Sanyi was a good sign. But Vibius was quick, barely had Sanyi turned to look what he felt the impact of Vibius is curved blade against the shield, it staggered him. The rumor that Vibius would be granted his freedom for winning was obviously true, he fought like a man possessed. Sanyi now put head into the fight, he determined to fight in the center and make Vibius use more energy and move around him, like spokes around the hub of a wheel. Vibius charged viciously, he had never seen his old friend in this manner before. It felt like he had 10 arms, but Sanyi’s shield, sword and own massive body absorbed and sprung back after each powerful blow. Vibius’s frontal assaults weren’t working so, he shifted, moving around in a large circle as Sanyi had hoped. It was Vibius, who was using more energy, but it was he who had more energy to use.

Still Sanyi was well aware that Vibius was much too good to continue using something that wouldn’t work. Sanyi shifted to his left to his right keeping pace with Vibius moving in a wide arc. Then Vibius attacked, but unlike the previous times this time when he stepped back after his failed attempt he moved right back in Sanyi, slamming his shield and shoulder into Sanyi’s massive torso. Sanyi was slightly unbalanced, but it was Vibius, who was knocked off balance. Sanyi hesitated not an instant he jabbed reaching with his right arm for all he could, nearly stepping Vibius in the rib cage and ending the fight, but pushing off with his injured left leg made him a second to slow and Vibius regained his balance without injury.

For a cruel hopeful second Lucilla thought her nightmare was over, until Vibius straightened up and squared off against her husband.

Pompilli took the standard position, with his left leg forward now. It’s not that his leg didn’t hurt, he was just too busy to pay attention to it, and as Vibius charged in like lightning, this time he gave Pompilli something else to think about. Vibius struck diagonally down and although Pompilli blocked it, he was a second late, with a shield to close to his body. It was then that Vibius’s oddly curved sword did its duty. It reached like a claw around Sanyi’s shield and sliced tissue of his left shoulder to the bone. The pain was worse than his leg had ever been, but not enough to stop the attack he’d already commenced. While fending off Vibius his blade with a clang he lunged in with several short chopping jabs when his blade returned bloody he knew that at least one of them found its mark.

Neither man knew how bad the other was wounded, but each of their bodies recognized their limits against the cold steel of the other man’s blade.

The calculation had changed from preserving stamina to saving blood. Each man would have to kill the other before he bled to death. Pompilli agonizing shoulder left his shield noticeably low and Vibius sought to take immediate advantage. He attacked with lightning speed but surprisingly big man sidestepped and bladed his body to the attack and was able to nick him on the sword arm as he flew by. Suddenly both men realize that although Vibius entered the arena with more stamina now he was the one losing the most blood. Sanyi didn’t have to do anything but wait and Vibius knew it. But Pompilli shield was now down by his side and when Vibius sliced at his left side it cut a gash across Pompilli left arm midway between his shoulder and elbow. Sanyi shield dropped as he brought his elbow into his ribs, holding himself, comforting himself. When Vibius attacked again he had only his sword to block with. It might be enough Vibius was slowing down. They who were in a fight to the death were now in a race to it. The loser would survive. Had Vibius looked at his injury he would’ve seen a streaming blood, instead his focus zeroed in on the huge target offered by his one armed opponent. Then he did something desperate. Vibius inched in slowly, cautiously,. Sanyi was confused, yet never seen such trepidation on the part of Vibius. He was sure that Vibius was on the verge of death or treachery. Then he noticed Vibius’s shield held low, down to the rib cage. With every fiber of strength remaining Sanyi drew back his sword and sliced horizontally that Vibius his head. He was sure that Vibius would be too late to raise the shield; he was right. Vibius drops and shield entirely bent his knees and let the blade swish harmlessly above him. In a split second that seemed like an hour all he could see was Sanyi’s huge damage left leg. Remorsefully but viciously he cut it to the thigh bone. Sanyi screemed and dropped to both knees, his blade fell ineptly into the sand.

Vibius, bleeding badly moved in for the kill. With his left hand he pulled back to Sanyi’s head his right hand placed the point of the blade on Sanyi’s throat poised for the command that both men knew was coming. Pompilli could feel the slight pressure of the tip of the blade as he raised the two fingers of his right hand to Vettius. Vettius in turn appealed to the crowd and it was in a frenzy. He extended his right fist with thumb pointed out parallel to the ground. Sanyi could see Vettius’s head pivoted slowly back and forth its full range. As he scanned carefully, deliberately all the choices came down to just the only choice there ever have been. And then with a final glance at Claudius Maximus, Vettius did what Jesus said we all do. Acting against his word, but in his own self-serving test interests Vettius put his pointed thumb on his own throat sending the command to Vibius to take his old friends life. There was only one frantic heart beat when he saw the sign, again training took over, but not so much that he didn’t miss his wife. He desired desperately  to take care of her now. So it was in desperation that Sanyi tried to change his dream. In the times when he’d been in different he could change the dream at will, but suddenly, when it deeply mattered all the choices vanished like midst into the air, the mere wanting of any, instantly doing away with all of the infinitely many possibilities. Betrayed and blindsided as his old friend rammed the gladius through his chest, forcing a gag reflex that he would never live to experience, Sanyi’s eyes locked onto Vettius, but it wasn’t Vettius’s treachery that he perceived, it was Jesus’.

+++++++++++++++++++ End the last flight ++++++ +++++++++++++++++++

Nooooooooooooooooo”, Lucilla screamed, louder, longer, than she had in her life, whatever would again. Leaning over the rails so that her feet came off the floor, she wailed for a minute continuously without drawing a breath. She shrieked so loud that it could not be heard over the roars of the drunken rowdy crowd. She screamed the life, vibrancy and beauty of youth right out of her, and when her feet hit the floor again, she turned her back bent her knees, collapsed, curled up on the concrete floor, and stayed there till her weeping became shallow raspy breaths, stayed until she was the only one there, until the pale sun came out under a rainy sky.

She staggered down the stone steps and out of the arena in the drizzly light. She meandered lonely cobblestone streets blank in thought with her jaw quivering in slanting rain that was turning cold. Aught for what to do she returned to the dank apartment that Vettius had provisioned for her.

It was there that she resolved to end her suffering, but with dagger in hand Vettius’s men summoned her. So, concealing the knife in her gown she determined another way to join her husband and take Vettius with her. Lucilla did not lift her eyes, had not lifted her eyes since seeing Sanyi killed. She did not look directly at Vettius sitting at his desk. He began speaking, saying all the polite and appropriate words. What a great champion Sanyi was, how sorry he was that he was gone. He said it as though he had nothing to do with it. But when he slid coin that Sanyi had won across his desk toward her she reached into her gown pulled the dagger and sliced down at the ugly little man. It was the most futile act she had ever done. The guards were upon her instantly. They seized her harshly leaving the dagger stuck in the desk. Vettius stood up and walked around the desk and bade the guards to release her. She fell like a sack in his arms weeping. He nearly had to hold her up, but for a reflexive act of revulsion was she able to pull away. ” Don’t touch me”, she screamed in a guttural tone as loud as she could, that could barely be heard. Vettius told her that she could stay in the apartment for as long as she lived, and had the guards deliver her and her coin to it. But she never heard him, she fainted in the guards had to deliver her home.

Lucilla didn’t remember what much in the days and weeks that followed. They buried Sanyi along with Vettius’s other fallen gladiators. She did not attend, nor did she purchase a headstone. It was the expected thing to do, but she would not dishonor him so. It was an ugly and inhumane practice that took her husband, who was himself a savor of lives, a physician and a philosopher. She would not do what was wrong simply because it was proper. She would not leave his name for eternity on a lonely gravestone on a sad hill outside of Vetius’s ludus. She would not!

The days and weeks flowed into weeks and months, but for her nothing changed. She ached for Sanyi who was gone and gone with him all hope. It is an incomprehensible, but undeniable mechanism, that a thing available, whoever much want or not, when made unavailable becomes so much more in value, and now for Lucillia that mechanism cast a cold pall over her. He had always seen her as a gentle thing, a flower. But some flowers do not blossom in the dark, cannot thrive in the cold. So, lost and alone and seeing no way out she took the only way out she knew. The one she knew she would eventually take the instant he died. And though she lived in crippling anguish he did so without fear. She feared not to be alone, for companionship brought no relief. She did not fear death, she welcomed it.

She studied the dagger, like the one she tried to bury into Vettius. She did approve at long last of what she was to do. Being left and alone without him was unbearable, more unbearable than the uncertainty of death, hopefully she could be with him once again there. Being in his presence was all that she knew since she first seen him. She had loved him unquestioningly, with neither motive nor purpose and been in longing of him since. She followed him from Judea to Rome with Jesus or Vettius and now for anything even death to stand between them seemed unfitting. Without him her life was unbearable. Since his capture she had lived in fear of losing him, but here in the certainty of that her fear dissolved easily away, and in her fearlessness she can at last say that the cost of Sanyi had been too high, loving him had not been worth it. There she has said it, she had said it and not loved him one bit less for so saying. But being apart from him was always meant to be. I cannot live with myself was the thought her mind spoke to her as without hesitation she prepared with both hands to drive the blade home. If her thoughts had ceased there she would have been dead in seconds, that thought which made her hesitate was not nearly so singular odd as the one which made stop altogether. It was a simple thought really, an obvious one overlooked daily by the masses and multitudes, but it stopped her like a stone statue. Somewhere between the last thought and the next one  there oozed in a slow elongated moment the thought that most never perceive, the one that said, who is the me whom I can’t live with.

She felt the cold dull blade in her hands, but it was upon the far wall that she fixed her gaze.

As she looked at the wall across the room she saw a small dark oval in the middle of it. The voice in her mind said look away, it said be terrified, but she was beyond that now and so defiantly she stared at the darkness, she challenged the darkness, threw her dagger at it with a groan seeing herself as it left her hand and disappear into the ever growing slit in the space in her room. Knowing in that instant that she was not in her body, that she was not a body. She could see the room both inside and out from any perspective and all perspectives at once. The oval was now a large dark sphere and she knew that though it looked to the eyes of the body as the world falling away, with the eyes of the mind she could see that it was the world that the body saw that was not there. There in that Holy Instant she forgave the world as Jesus would. Knowing that it wasn’t there, knowing that it took nothing from her, because from an illusion nothing is all there is to take.

Then staring at the blade with the body’s eyes she said regretfully “Oh my poor pitiful Sanyi, my poor husband”, there was nothing to fear, it’s just the nothingness that is. Those were the last words of regret she ever spoke, and after she looked back up she would weep no more forever.

**%%%%%%%%%  — The Promise Remembered —   %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

To Lucilla it was an odd thing that had happened to them. Where one of them had set off upon a journey the other had finished. She had awaken from her dream before him, but she could not have done it without out him. Whereas he walked a disciplined path of daily forgiveness and non-judgment she had been shaken awake without trying, without event wanting to. She simply saw her body throw the dagger and then she knew forever that she was not a body. That was is all it took a simple shift in perspective and salvation was hers for Always. But she knew one thing that he did not. Not to judge the darkness, but to see beyond it, that is what she must tell her husband. It was so simple she thought. We spend our lives tripping over it never noticing. Gentle Sanyi had found it. He’d found and lost it as suddenly as she found it. So, as unlikely as it seemed at the time when they made the promise it now fell to her to find him and show him his way home. But how. She had only to ask and it was answered.

One of Vetius’s guards knocked upon her door. They had been coming by every week and until now she had avoided them, but on this day she opened the door. The soldier very formally ask if there was anything that she need she said that she need only speak to Vetius for a moment. So, on the next day Vetius’s solders returned to take her to him.

Lucilla could hear all the familiar sounds of the ludus as they drew near the arched gate. The clanking of wooden swords, the grunts of men struggling under the midday sun. She smiled to herself as she observed the part of her mind that still thought that she was a body try to draw her back to sadness and the feeling that she was alone by mixing the familiar with the missed to create the sense of loss. But the Io would not have its way as the inner smile made it’s way to her slightly upturning lips and she gently forgave all of it. She did not allow the Io to make a tool of the ludus which would make her remember her dead husband and mourn him all the more. The ludus was just a ludus that is all. This ludus by sight and sound was the same as she remembered, but there was something different. The men there pitched in mock battle all stopped to see her going into the main house. Once in there she could hear the sounds of battle resume. She knew that she was the reason the men had all stopped. Some out of respect for her husband others just because she was beautiful, but she made nothing of any of it. Just the illusion of bodies all around she thought. She watched her body going up the stairs with a guard before and after. The sudden unawareness of the body becoming as common as an involuntary hiccup, she gave it no thought. At the top of the steps they turned sharply and made their way to the office of Vetius. Before they passed through the broad doorway the guards searched her. They had no need to, a folded paper was all she had. They led her into the office and stopped as soon as they were inside. Vetius looked up from his desk. He was all the way across the room, but she could see relief so strong in his eyes that it felt almost like gratitude. Despite his outward demeanor Vetius was a deeply guilt ridden man and whatever he saw in her face obviously assuaged his sense of guilt. He motioned to the guards to let her go and immediately got up, they met on the side of his large desk and embraced. For Vettius it was reflexive.

When they parted again Vetius was just as amazed by his own actions as that of Lucilla. That she had even allowed him to touch her.

The shattered little girl who had previously left his office had gone. This woman was, what. She just was. “You look well,” he told her. “You not so well,” she replied and they both chuckled. “I noticed that Doctore was not in the training yard,” she said, knowing that what was different about the ludus.”Yes,” Vetius replied, “Doctore retired and returned to Greece. He will live there for the rest of his days a wealthy man.” He said it as though to justify himself, but knew all too well that it did not. Vettius was having a crisis of conscience that he could not recognize. Lucilla recognized it and though she knew that we are all innocent in the eyes of God she understood the Vetius’s pain was an unavoidable if unnecessary part of his path to salvation. She remembered seeing her body throw the dagger and realized what her pain had helped her to do. So, taking his hand she said, “I want you to know that you didn’t do anything to anyone.” it was that kind of thing that can only be said only by one not with faith, but who knew that what was being said was true, who had fully realized it, and that which was being said was that the world and everything in it was a vast illusion. Such faith comes only to one completely in his right mind.

Vetius thought how soft her hand felt and let it go and waved his hand in protest, but she stopped him and looked into his watering eyes and said, “No, we are all dreaming this dream in order that we awaken to the peace of God.” He still tried to pull away, but she wouldn’t let him and continued saying, “And we, each and everyone of us already has awakened.” With this Vetius stopped in amazement saying, “My God you sound now just like your husband. He lives inside of you.” Smiling she answered saying, “He lives in us all.” Vetius nodded in agreement, but he did not know that she was speaking of Jesus now.

With his hands on her elbows Vetius pushed her gently. “I’ve decided to get my husband a headstone,” after all she said. “I have already seen to it,” he confessed. “That is well she answered, but I want you to inscribe something on it for me. It must be exactly as I say, in a tone indicating it must be exactly thus. She reached into her dress pocket and retrieved the parchment that was crumpled now since she’d been searched. She placed it directly into his hand saying, “Promises me you will do this for me, exactly as I have written it here. Never taking his eyes from hers he nodded in agreement and she let go of it and stepped back. “You have my solemn oath he said. “Thank you.”

They looked at each other for just another second. “Why don’t you stay in Rome,” he asked. And she answered, “Maybe, maybe I will.” But Vetius knew that just like Doctore she would leave. But where would she go he wondered, where would she roam to and what would she do. At one moment he wanted desperately for her to stay, because she  as did Doctore reminded him of Pompilli, but for the same reason he wanted her to leave just the same in the very next moment.  Life for Vettius would be such until the end of his days. His sacrifice of his friend and teacher gained him the political power that had been his lifetime (what), and appointment to the Senate, but he finding that having was not the same as wanting he refused it. He continued the ludus as a matter of course, but he never sacrificed another gladiator and freed all of his slaves after three years,  regardless of position or statue.  Some left, others remained but to Vettius it was all the same. The constantly ticking ambition and conniving ceased, his desk became clear,  it was his brain that became  encumbered, by his broken heart. He became as Lucilla had been, he even realized it for himself.  He lived in the shade of the flame that he had extinguished,  that flame which had rested upon the gladiator and cast it’s cold shadow over him. Vettius lived a very long life, he lived it in shade, he lived it alone.

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Vetius kept his word. There was a headstone on Sanyi’s grave which was on top of the small shifting hill where all of Vetius’s investments lay. Lucilla sat on her knees running her fingers lovingly across his name in the cold stone. The inscription on it was just as she told him that it had to be. Then she felt a clean spirit. Was it Sanyi’s, she could tell only that it was clean. Then she saw herself on the hill by the eyes of the great eagle circling high overhead, in the cool gray misty sky. Sanyi would have like a day such as this, she thought from this point of view, above the battlefield. His big body had always been so hampered by the heat. The remembrance brought not even a small pang of remorse, the old Lucilla, the one that had never been would have languished, constipated  in sorrow, but the io could not touch her here in her right Mind. Then she kissed his name and smiled, finally realizing as he had for a time at least that this was all illusion that was long ago undone. That the body which she thought he was had never been, the truth that he is can never be destroyed.

The promises they had sworn to each other in the world of form had reached beyond the dream to their truth as one. It was an unlikely journey, though one we have all made, theirs  began by one of them and completed by the other. She exchanged his faith for her lack of and had made it before him, but knew she could never have made it without him. Just as he could for now at least he not make it without her. So, she would suffer as Jesus had, to be reborn into the world of illusion, again and again to find that lost little lamb and set straight his path, until God himself would reach down and lift him into Himself.

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The ego does not exist

jesus, spurrio and the money changers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdMkTejZzzc&amp;NR=1

                                                            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5z9G533G8k&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6NcLNoxiPBk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=we6wN-TGJAk

Tell yourself when you make a mistake that was just another silly mistake I must be really afraid of love today.

i am telling you the truth, no master is greater than his slave, no master is free of his slave.

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The Gladiator Book I 3rd draft 11-30-2011
Start on page xx to xx

jesus, spurrio and the money changers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdMkTejZzzc&NR=1


Tell yourself when you make a mistake that was just another silly mistake I must be really afraid of love today.
i am telling you the truth, no master is greater than his slave, no master is free of his slave.
Nothing true can be taken down, Nothing untrue can be put up, Herein lies the peace of God.

The Gladiator — Book 1

The Gladiator was exhausted, but was still able to bring his shield up to parry the triad as though he were reaching for an apple from a bowl of fruit. Though the body was depleted the mind was disciplined, he did not panic. This block had been in time, but he was slowing down. He felt it absorbed into his forearm then glance off of his shield, instantly he countered with the gladius in his right hand bringing it down and across at a 45 degree angle, lurching forward with his right foot after the swing, too late, the Retiarius was far removed. He circled around to Spurio Pompili ‘s left side, feigned another thrust, stepped back, then thrust the triad at his face with lightening speed, Spurio Pompili was barely able to avoid it with a combination of a rising block with his shield and bending his knees while ducking his head under it. Close! There was no counter this time, he was too exhausted. The two combatants circled each other warily in sand that burned under the scorching sun. Spurio Pompili , sweating profusely was losing the battle of attrition. He was the heaver and more powerful of the two, but was less agile. He was well accustomed to suffering the wounds of combat under the intense heat of Roma’s sun, he had been trained well. Discipline and indifference wove a sturdy pattern in the Gladiator’s psyche, but training also taught that the body had its limits and Spurio Pompili knew that his was fast approaching its own. Sweat stung his eyes and he could no longer ignore the screaming cramps in his legs, making them ever heavier by the second. The Retiarius feigned to his head again which brought his shield high again, but the effort was enormous, his left shoulder burned. When he dropped the shield too low a point of the triad found its mark again piercing the forehead, making it bloodier. He was locked in a downward spiral toward a slow death of a thousand cuts. Spurio would make a life or death decision, on his feet, with blood burning his eyes and cramps setting in. He would likely regret either action, but he had to decide and training took over again, he dropped the shield, it fell with a muffled sound, pushing into the sand like a stone in the water.
Without his shield Spurio Pompili was free to move about, but was exposed to the Trident. Now the retirarius swung the net at his head, forcing Spurio Pompili to duck his head, but now he saw an opening as the retirariuss follow through exposed his rib cage and Spurio did not hesitate he jabbed his gladius at the open ribs like it was a piece of meat. As the blood poured, Spurio Pompili hoped he had broken a rib, but he had only bruised it. The retirarius feeling as though all of his ribs were broken brought both elbows in to protect the badly punctured ribs. It was involuntary leaving him momentarily rooted, exposed to Spurio Pompili ‘s sword, but he was too exhausted to follow-up. Instead he moved around to his right, keeping a safe distance while desperately trying to take control of his breathing. It was something he would not regain until one of them was dead. The Retirarius however seemed already to have endured the worst of it as he cast the net over Spurio Pompilis head and moved closer with the Trident while the net was still in the air. Spurio Pompili sliced at the open net, collecting up harmlessly to the ground and in one move parried the Trident at the last second. The retirarius deftly spun back, reached his net on the ground, and returned to face Spurio Pompili squarely. The near misses were taking their toll.
Exhausted Spurio Pompili moved back, circling to his right trying to buy time, but the retirarius had much different intentions, he pressed the attack. Stepping backward Spurio Pompili felt the net wrapping around his left ankle, calmly he lifted his leg stepped in and thrust his sword, but the Retiarius moved back out of range and deftly countered with his three-pronged spear. Spurio with his shield long since dropped could only block it by jamming the point of his sword in it between two of the three prongs. It was a close call and he could feel the clinging of the three-pronged sphere against the iron anklet of his left leg. Spurio clenched his free left fist and delivered a crushing blow to the Retirarius’s jaw. The Retirarius staggered back and dropped his spear. The instinct was now for Spurio to plunge his gladius deep into his opponents chest, but fatigue from an hour of combat beneath the scorching Roman sun made him hesitate. It was fatigue that forced him to drop his shield, and it now intensified allowing the swifter Retiarius to roll on the ground toward his trident and come up with it standing. Spurio was as disheartened as he was astonished. He had to retrieve his shield. Facing his opponent squarely, in a left forward stance with his sword firmly in his right hand Spurio shifted to his left, the Retiarius would not so easily allowing him to. This time the when the fishermen threw his net around Spurio’s left ankle it latched on, and he pulled it straight. Spurio staggered but caught himself. But the fishermen buried the center prong of his Trident into Spurio’s straightened left knee. The excruciating pain electrified him, but it lasted only long enough to intensify his pain. Spurio looked at the blood gushing from his leg that was bent backwards and fell back hard between his shoulder blades. He lay on the ground in the position of a man being crucified. He was going to be skewered. The Retiarius moved to Spurio’s left and was standing between him and his shield. He moved in cautiously for the kill, making sure that Spurio was too injured and fatigued to counter him. Satisfied he began his approach, but when he moved in Spurio saw something that made him fear both life and death and doubt all that he had till this moment believed and known. It made him lift his head and through distraction and fatigue his training held sway, the gladius was still in his hand. So, as the sky behind the Retiarius began to drop out of existence Spurio had to make a split second decision, was death the greater disaster or was it life. When a black lightning bolt sliced across the late afternoon sky it seemed that death, was more welcome, but a second after when whole black chunks of the sky were ripped away showing only starless space behind, that was most uncertain. From his back Spurio brought his sword across his body and the Retiarius lost his left leg above the knee, on the backstroke it was the right leg that ripped away, just below the kneecap. Spurio never saw that which he had done in less than a second, focused as he was on the sky falling away in slabs, as though the earth were a room in the sky, whose walls came down like papaya in a storm to reveal a darkness so total that all light was taken in there and from there none returned. Then as the advancing darkness opened its ugly mouth and drew near he put his head back down and clenched the sand with all that remained of him feeling the light sprinkle of blood that dappled around his body. Then he turned away and shut his eyes tight hoping that the darkness inside his lids could protect him from the darkness on the other side of them.
Lucilla couldn’t unclench her eyes, fully expecting that when she opened them the Retirarius would have skewered her husband to death. She never would have reopened them, except for the faint cries of her husband’s name. Pompili, Pompili. She could believe that he had won again even less than the crowd. Slowly, cautiously, not to be deceived she opened them focused. Her jaw shuddered as she strained in the distance to see the unthinkable, her husband, alive. She was in no condition for rational thought as tears streamed down her face and drool unabashedly dribbled from the corner of her mouth, her love for her husband matched only by her pure joy to see him alive. She brushed back tears only to confirm the vision. Then as he lay there prostrate on the ground about the length of her thumb writhing in agony her joy became enmeshed with his pain. His pain, it was an altogether new experience for her, to him for that matter. The joy was not subdued, but added to by his pain becoming hers. She could see her husband’s body and feel his pain, but she could not see the darkness he had just seen, could not know that for him everything had changed, and changed much more than if the Retiarius had just killed him.
She was on her feet, moving down to where they were taking her husband. Her only thought was to rush to her husband, to tend to his wounds. She needed to comfort and take care of him, though even that was as much for herself as for his needs. But for now the Romans and iron gates still separated her from him. Yet Lucilla blamed Jesus not the Romans for her husband’s slavery, her separation from him, and the horrendous tortures he endured, suffering which she could not even think about, along the brutal trail that led him from intellectual discussions on to spiritual enlightenment in Judea, to a bloody gladiator pit in Rome. Now, angry, grieving, and terrified for the life of her husband she was pleased that he had been crucified; now she felt he was deserving of it, making it less painful to her. Even in death it was Jesus not the Romans separating her from her husband. But just one more victory and that would be no more, Vettius had sworn it personally and contracted legally. Just one more victory and her husband was again a free man to be with her forever. That sweet thing, she and her husband together again, it was so close that it was almost real, she could almost touch it, but with tears still streaming and her body wracked at once by both agony and rapture, as she watched her husband screaming being carried away she knew that for now forever would have to wait.
Moving down she kept her eyes only on the stones beneath her feet. She bumped shoulders and slipped in between one faceless person, then another. Moving in and out of the light as she descended, men stared at her as she passed unaware. Someone else moved her body through the maze of debauched fanatics intoxicated by wine and blood of the games; she was merely a passenger in it.
She was completely in the shade now, though the air was still hot having been cooked by the sun all day. A fight broke out between two men gambling, but it sounded vicious, guttural, like the lions that had been fighting in the arena earlier. She looked up just in time to see one mans face ripped open by the club brought down from the heavens. Blood splashed like a rock thrown into a still pond. Then others gathered round as the violence spread. She fell back against a wall, scarcely able to stand and stared hypnotically at the conflict before her, unable to comprehend it, unable to take her eyes from it.
There was violence that day too, that day in Judea when they first saw Jesus in the Temple where the money changers plied their trade. There was always a foul air about them she thought, the cloud of discontent which they breathed out as they took advantage of one group or another. On this day they exploited the Jews who had to buy their silver coins to pay the temple tax. The Temple tax gave the money changers a monopoly which is used to bleed the market for all that it would bear. Eventually the poorest Jews became desperate and then angry and they raised their voices, when they had to give over all of their possessions to the money changers, for which to pay the temple tax.
She remembered how suddenly, Spurio took action, turning over their tables and letting their coins spread around. Then he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn this temple into a market!”
Spurio was a giant who towered over all men there in the market, in all of Judea. She felt proud and righteous watching her strong, good husband doing the right thing. And it was the right thing, what could be more right, what else could a right thing be. That was when everything that she thought she knew about right and wrong changed, that was when Jesus came.
Absorbed in the actions of her husband she didnt notice another man of slight build who was also watching until that man had walked over to where her husband was scattering the coins and driving both the sheep and the cattle from the Temple. She could see him then, but could not hear him. But whatever he said to her husband it stopped him there like a stone statue. Then in what seemed like the longest second later for reasons Lucilla couldnt understand Spurio let the money changer’s coin box slip out of his large grasp and fall with a clunk to the temple’s stone floor. That was the first that she had laid eyes upon Jesus, the only time she had seen her husband do violence. But that violence was nothing like this, nothing that she had ever known was like this.
She was at pit level now, the clanging of slaves in their shackles, grunting gladiators clashing, and from down the long corridor beneath the seats she could hear the anguished sounds of men in pain. In her heart, there raised the sickening certainty that somewhere down there, her husband languished in agony. She wrapped her slender fingers around the bars that separated her from the long corridor, which separated her from her husband. She struggled to peer into the darkness and around the corner to glimpse a piece of Spurio, or isolate a fragment of his agonizing cries from the ensemble, the vain attempt making her heartbreak even more bitter. She remained there, hopeful and heartbroken, until there were no more slaves clanging in the shackles, until the sounds of men suffering subsided, until the day waned and she finally realized her husband was no longer down there, there was no one else down there. She was alone.
Pensively she left the arena, and walked alone down the cobblestone street. It was nearly dark now, but all of Rome seemed to be out, still intoxicated by wine and blood of the games that ended hours ago. There were more faceless people to not look at, and more lusting men to not see. She paid less attention to the outside world than she did even her own body, which was now she was vaguely aware hungry for not having eaten in more than a day. Nothing else registered until the street opened into a large courtyard, the far side of which was a wedding. She remembered instantly her own wedding Spurio.
Spurio was all that Lucilla ever wanted from the second she first laid eyes on him. Her mother told her that when she loved the man at first sight it meant that she had loved him before in other lifetimes. That may be true she thought, but it was not so easy to gain his love in this lifetime. So, it was that on her wedding night she savored her prize, the greatest prize in all of Judea, the handsome and wealthy Spurio Pompei. He was a prize worth fighting for now she had won him. Oddly though there was no competition, she had come to wonder. Indeed there was a moment a very short time where she actually thought the impossible was real, and that he cared not for her. Their early courtship was a series of prearranged accidental meetings at the market or in the Temple. And even after he noticed her and courted her it was too long it seemed before at long last he married her.
But then it did seem to have been worth it especially when he came towards her on their wedding night. All of her fears and doubts washed away by delicious mingling of wine and the mixed juices of their lovemaking which lasted until the morning. And as the sun rose that day it rose on new, on a deeper level of her love for him than even she could fathom. Before Jesus, in spite of herself, Spurio made her deliriously joyful.
And while she never doubted his love for her and despite her joyful delirium, she did doubt her place with him. She sensed that she would always be second, but second to what for whom. It was a subtle, subconscious doubting that she was not wholly aware of. It gnawed at her, unseen. Spurio was a man in search of something other than her, in search of what he knew not. But when she saw Jesus standing there with him, she knew that Spurio had found exactly that which he was unaware that he sought.
The time with him before their wedding was as labor before childbirth, horrible but would be instantly forgotten as soon as a new child is brought into the world. The time after Jesus was like a mother whose child is snatched up suddenly by death. Now consumed in the agony of missing him, it was as though he made her life unbearable. And yet she would have to bear it until Spurio could win one more match, if he could win one more match. She looked away from the wedding and making her sorrowfully way down the narrow street alone, and got lost.
She had taken the wrong road by which to leave the courtyard and didn’t notice until it was well past dark, didn’t notice it until the Romans nearly ran her down. Immersed in her sorrows she couldn’t hear the horses galloping down the narrow cobblestone. But as she entered into the crossway, they appeared as if instantaneously. She leapt back but not in time to avoid a violent encounter with the hairy front shoulder of the onrushing beast. It spun her around in midair threw her hard to the cobblestone on her hands and knees. The second rider cursed at her as he rushed past. She crawled away as best as she could, but it was slow it was the most physical pain she’d ever experienced in her life. Her knees were black and blue in her palms were bleeding. She leaned back against the wall curled her legs up like a child and cried. She cried not the deep sobs of anguish, but the gentle ones of despair. Sitting there, knowing not what to do she shut her eyes hard, as if trying to awaken from a nightmare. As though she would open them and be safe in bed beside her big gentle husband. Instead she opened her eyes she saw that her palms were bleeding.
She waited there, waited for the bleeding to stop, waited for the pain to subside. But just like waiting for the return of Spurio, it was hopeless. When the rain began falling she got up to find her way home.
By the time Lucilla entered the apartment that Vettius had provisioned for her, she was drenched in cold. Roma, was the center of the world, the hub to which all roads lead, but here in her dark apartment on the top floor corner of a stone building Rome, disappeared and the anguish of her broken heart was all she had fill the emptiness. She walked past the fireplace, which she had never seen burn to light a candle on the bedside. She hesitated at the edge of the bed, staring as if not sure what to do, as one would test the temperature before entering a bath. Gradually, ineptly she curled her tiny body into its center and stared blankly at the flickering shadows in the room.
The last time she could remember curled up in bed like this, it was with her husband’s big, safe body behind her. She remembered gently caressing the hairs on his arm about her waist, and feeling is comforted by his presence as she was frustrated by Jesus’ message. I try, I try she explained, but try as I might, I can’t get it, I can’t understand. Jesus is the tiny mad idea. Then her husband, as though he were moving a pillow, effortlessly turned her to her back, brushed the hair away from her cheek, you will, you will he said in a tone that was as gentle as any she had ever heard, and then she looked up, catching his eyes, that revealed a certainty, and the seriousness that his voice did not. That view of Spurio she’d had a thousand times, had it burned into memory. His dark eyes were white, with tapered brows riding a finely sculptured ridge that balanced a nose of the gentle Hebrew variety. He was the one who understood Jesus better than anyone. And then they made tender love. She didn’t care one bit about Jesus, but oh god, how she needed Spurio now. But on this night she wasn’t reassured, nor did she make love to her husband, Lucilla was just beginning to learn to hurt.
But for one who had hurt for so long, Lucilla still had much to hurt about.

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Just as in the beginning of the universe, there was not a soul to see it. What began as just a tiny eddy barely able to stir the dust in the desert outside of Cairo, became a vortex that carried the burning sand to the sea, there it turned to clay and then stone until finally the stone to living bone. The spirit made the body seem real. By the time the body was first seen by John who was baptizing on the east bank of the Jordan River it had walked thousands of miles under a scorching sun and freezing night without water or warmth or the need for either. When John looked up and saw Jesus standing on the bank he knew instantly that this was the light that he had in searching for had found him instead.
John a self-righteous man had heard many confessions and done many baptisms by then, saying “confess your sins and God will forgive them.” But John the Baptist believed in sin and so he condemned it. He had no idea what true forgiveness really was or that sin was not at all. John watched as Jesus stepped into the water and came towards him. “Lord I cannot hear your confession as you have none to make,” John said. “Nor does any of us,” said Jesus. Then Jesus took John’s hands and put them on his head and went under the water. When he came up again, John understood that he did not understand. Jesus smiled and he watched as Jesus walked out of the river and up the bank, then out of sight, leaving John with the peace of God which he had never experienced before. But it was the last time that John the Baptist walked out of the river Jordan, nor did he ever baptize again.
Jesus went on to Nazareth to find Mary and Joseph who had lost their only son during the slaughter of King Herod more than 30 years before. They had remained childless since, unable to have children, living still in the insufferable sadness of what could have been, and the crushing guilt for not stopping that which could not have prevented.
When word reached her of King Herod’s mass execution order she took up her son and fled into the sparse woods outside of Nazareth. She hid there for two days. Heat and cold. She ignored the raging thirst in her own mouth could not ignore the suffering of her child. She had to get him water or he would die. So, she put the child in a basket and carried it boldly back into the city, to the water well. There were two Romans on horseback in the street and as the child lay silently in the basket she began to draw the water. Then a horrible realization came over her, that she had brought no jar to carry the water away with. So, she had to expose the child to the light in order to let him drink. It was a fatal mistake. Two Roman soldiers with their swords and cloaks already bloodied from prior hours of infanticide closed in swiftly. She clutched the child desperately to her breast, but one of the soldiers violently straightened her arms and the child fell from held them. Miraculously she caught him in the air and fell back hitting her head hard against the well with the child in her lap. The soldier, as though he were standing at a leaf on the ground in order to pick it up thrust his sword at her child.
The blade skewered her left arm went through the childs heart and didnt stop until it had cut her through the womb . The last thing that Mary remembered before she fell to the dirt was the faint sound of a limp child splashing into the water far below. She should have died there, instead the deep gouge through her womb barren.
Since she’d never seen the child actually be killed it was easy to pretend that some miracle had occurred. That she had not heard a dead infant splash into the water. Over the years she told herself this till she almost believed it was true. But she never drew another drop from that well.
Joseph suffered from a far more pernicious of self-attack, he blamed himself for not having been there when the Romans attacked his wife and son. But it was Joseph who drew the Romans away in the first place. It was he who hid a bundle under his coat and ran off in the other direction to draw the soldiers. It worked. When the soldiers discovered that it was aught but a log that he concealed from them they beat him within an inch of his life and that beating gave his wife and child time to get away. But the world, this world, takes away everything eventually.
Jesus felt their deep pain and was moved. He was still in Galilee when he told Mary that she would soon see him. She in turn told her husband Joseph that “our son is coming home.” She did not have to explain it to him. They decided to prepare a feast.
Jesus was followed there by Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him. These then were the 12 disciples.

When Mary and Joseph saw their son for the first time they recognized him instantly, it was as though he had simply left for a while and now was returning. Jesus had many ways of easing peoples anguish. For Joseph and Mary he used the simplest, he let them no longer think about what had happened. Whenever he did this it always worked. For as Jesus himself explained, “nothing in the past can hurt you now.” Jesus did not remove the memory of what had happened, he simply removed the parents habit of thinking about it at all. Being in such pain made them willing enough for, Jesus to give Mary and Joseph a gift which others would have to earn, the gift of now. To them nothing of the past was forgotten nor the future hidden, but for the once grieving parents rest of their days when were lived fully in the joy of the only instant that really existed, the instant which is now. For Jesus who was remembering a body remembered too the myriad of methods the human mind had to attack itself.
At the feast Mary and Joseph were in such bliss that they didnt even notice when the wine had given out, but one of Jesuss disciples did and said to him, the wine has run out. What am I to do about this, Jesus said? Then Jesus smiled and got up.
The Jews have strict rules about ritual washing. So, there were six large water jars there, each one large enough to hold between 20 and 30 gallons. Fill these jars with water, Jesus said to his disciples and they did it. When they were done Jesus paused for a second and then said, Draw out the water and give it to the people. They did and to their astonishment the water had turned to wine. The other guests did not see this but remarked it was the most delicious wine they had ever tasted. Not only the disciples, but a beautiful young girl named Mary Magdalene had seen this. They were all amazed especially Mary Magdalene.
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In those days there was great hatred toward the money changers. For they controlled all the wealth from Judea all the way to Capernaum. It was the money changers who told Caiaphas to turn the Temple into a marketplace and he made it so.
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A few days later, in time for the Passover Jesus and his disciples and Mary Magdalene traveled to Jerusalem. They entered the Temple there to a raucous and great commotion. When they moved close enough to the noise Jesus could see a huge man, the biggest man he had ever seen, who had made whip of chords and was chasing the animals away. Also had overturned the tables of the money changers and scattered their coins on the Temple floor. His disciples tried to persuade him out of it, but Jesus walked right up to the big man stopped a few feet away and waited. When the big man did notice him Jesus said to him, Spurio my Brother, what are you doing there?
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Mighty Spurio was so disarmed by the tiny Jesus that he froze in place, going at once from fearsome to comical. But he stammered and stopped there for seconds not because the words wouldnt come, but because staring into the eyes of Jesus he remembered something that all save for Jesus had forgot. In a holy instant Spurio forgot about all symbols, words, his body, and symbols of symbols, but remembered the peace of God instead. It was a peace that he more remembered than discovered, but once remembered was known almost in full. So, despite the awkward outward appearances, Spurio was in that second far more enlightened than confused.
Jesus knew that Spurio believed himself to be a righteous man acting in a righteous manner, but just as John the Baptist he was confused about what righteousness was. Namely that there was no such thing. Jesus was aware of the mans wife his wife scrutinizing himself as well as he was aware that there was much more to the big man then just his size.
Then the Jewish authorities appeared and wanted to seize Spurio who had said this is a temple, but you have turned it into a den of thieves. The Jewish authorities demanded that Spurio perform a miracle to prove that he had the right to do such a thing. But it was Jesus who answered them reciting the Scripture which said, My devotion to your house oh God Burns in me like a fire. The Jewish authorities looked at Jesus for a long time, then said amongst themselves, Who is this man who recites our Scripture? Then they looked at Spurio, but walked away without laying hand upon him. Spurio relaxed now, stood looking at them until Jesus put his hand on his shoulder. Then Spurio turned to see Jesus smiling up at him and smiled back down at him.
How do you know my name, Spurio asked Jesus. I have not known you before, nor have you known me. Then Jesus squeezed Spurios shoulder and answered him saying Ah Spurio Pompei, you are a good man who wanted to be a physician, but for his fathers sake became a merchant instead. You who wanted to heal now give away your wealth and fight injustice wherever you see it. Jesus walked away from Spurio toward the steps the money changers had just fled. Then he turned and came back toward Spurio saying loud enough for everyone to hear, You now heal the world, finding that which was wrong and putting it to right. But when Jesus drew near to Spurio again he said so that only he could hear, and said,
—***Great Spurio, dont you know that for all your righteous might that you can save not one lonely lamb. And Spurio was amazed. Who was this man he wondered to himself who knows my deepest secrets. Jesus said these words to Spurio because he knew that Spurio was the only child of a wealthy merchant who wanted for his only son to be like he. Spurio did not know how this stranger meant what he said. What does he mean by you cannot save even a single sheep. Does he say that it my fault he wondered to himself. But as the man drew closer to Spurio he could see great compassion in his eyes. Latter Spurio would say that never seen such compassion in a man’s eyes, never before nor since. Then he heard him say, You were just a small boy, who could never have stood up to the dogs. You cannot bring him back any more than you could have saved it. Can you not forgive yourself for it. And I tell you the truth, that you can no more save the world now, the large powerful man that you are, than you could have that lonely sheep when you were just a small boy.
Then Spurios large hands dropped to his sides and he remembered. He remembered that he was a small boy who would rise before the sun to attend his fathers flock. His father had a hired man who came to attend them after the sun was up. The hired man was paid, but Spurios only reward was to be with the flock. He loved them since the first time hed seen one of them born. First there was one sheep, then there were two, how. From where comes the baby lambs, from where comes life, from where come the world itself? These questions Spurio asked himself as a child and a man, with no answer. To young Spurio it was just magic, the magic of life and he wanted to be in that magic for the rest of his life. So, he stayed with the sheep all that he could. The flock knew the hired man, but out on the rocky slopes of his fathers pasture they came to him, to the sound of his young voice for they trusted it. And it was out there where only stubby grass grew on the rocky terrain that it happened.
A pack of hungry wild dogs attacked the flock and separated one of the sheep from the rest of them. The hired man was able to take the flock back to the pen. But he was a hired man and he would not try to save the one that was lost. Spurio left the hired man and went after the pack. He could not see them for they were hidden behind a small hill over which is tiny body could not see. But he could hear the sound of many dogs barking and single sheeps panicked crying. When his tiny legs had finally carried him there the dogs were already biting into blood and flesh. The sheep cried in anguish, but the dogs, one with a bite on its throat with not let go. Spurio did the only thing he could he struck out with his stick. He hit the one with its teeth upon the sheeps throat. Then he was overtaken by fear and fled. But the dog let go of the sheeps throat and chased Spurio down from behind in it him on the leg. Spurio tripped, and all the dogs mauled him. As he lay on his stomach his hands find his head he could hear the animals growling, he feel the hot air and blood on their breath until he passed out.
Many hours later Spurio woke up. Somehow he knew to crawl to the edge of the cliff. When he looked over he saw the bloodstained rock below where the dogs had finished off the sheep. The image was seared into his mind from that moment on. This is what Spurio remembered as he stared at the curious stranger coming closer to him, wondering how does this man know everything I have ever done. When Jesus got close he put his hand Spurios shoulder and said, Spurio my brother, forgive yourself or you will try to save that same sheep for the rest of your days. This only Spurio could hear. %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
Now a larger crowd gathered around them and was filled with much agitation and discussion. Who is this man, they demanded of one another. But no answer was to be provided there so they asked Jesus, Who are you? Then one of them said, Spurio was chasing the money changers from the Temple, but you said to him let them be. And they accused Jesus of defending the money changers.
I tell you what I told him, Judge them not, for they have harmed no one.
Angered the crowd drew near to Jesus the disciples and Mary gathered around. Lucilla also came near to Spurio. The crowd was loud and accusatory, but they did quiet down and demanded of Jesus that he explain himself. So, Jesus did. As Jesus was waiting to speak, Lucilla was still sizing him up.
But they (the money changers) are stealing from the poorest Jews, on their holiest ground, no less, they replied. They are evil, others persisted. And now the fury was directed at the slender stranger. But Jesus gently corrected that no one is good or evil and that nobody could possibly be victimizing anybody, saying:
I tell you the truth that everyone acts in service of their own perceived needs. Everyone acts selfishly. The money changers, attempting to maximize their profit on every single coin, as were the poorest Jews attempting to pay as little as possible, for each coin. To each his motives are moral, but each acted so that need his needs would be met first, each acted equally selfishly in service of those needs. And we each act equally selfishly, we each act completely selfish in the service of our needs. Even the martyr is totally selfish; there is nothing else that he can be.
The point of view of Jesus was unexpected and unacceptable to all save for Spurio. Lucilla was especially critical Jesus because he could not understand that he had not acted in defense of the despicable money changers, it simply had not judge them. But even amongst the disciples themselves and Mary Magdalene it was Spurio who would struggle most to understand that good and bad were only what we called it.
And Spurio had more shocks in store for his wife, inviting Jesus and his disciples, and Mary to stay with them. Please, you and your friends come and stay with me at my house, for I am a wealthy man and I have room enough for all of you. Upon hearing this Lucilla jumped quietly out of her skin. But Spurio had not consulted her so, Jesus the disciples and Mary went and stayed there a while.
The idea of spending the night with these strangers and Jesus repulsed her. If asked she could not have said why, indeed she never pondered the question. But she had judged Jesus as a defender of the money changers and anything to do with him from then on was refracted through the lens of that judgment. That was exactly what Jesus was going to tell her, though she would not hear it. But Lucilla only thought that she was repulsed by the thought of Jesus and his disciples spending the night under her roof, she had no idea that she was truly threatened by Jesus, threatened because Spurios attention to him detracted from his attention toward her. But Lucilla a lot to learn about what a true distraction Jesus was going to be.
Spurio felt the gentle breeze wrap around his legs and watched it ruffle the cloth on the table with Jesus was drinking wine. He had learned by now that Jesus had turned the water into wine in Cana in Galilee. Spurio was not surprised that Jesus could perform miracles, for the slender stranger had told him everything that he had ever done. But he had provided a dinner in which the wine would not run out, for he knew that Jesus had not come here to perform miracles or magic. He had come to teach what a miracle really was. Yet to see and hear Jesus with the eyes and ears of the body could only be misleading he thought. Spurio realized early on that if you could understand Jesus at all, then it must be with the mind.
For Jesus was the answer to every question, to receive one just had to ask. Jesus was constantly trying to get through, one simply had to let him. Just now Spurio was attempting to do precisely that. Oddly he felt himself unable to think of a thought about which to ask the question. He was distracted slightly by children who had been playing at a distance but now drew closer to the adults.
Yet as he struggled for the question which eluded him, it was a small child who provided the question to the answer. It was in fact the answer from which all other answers sprang, the only question that need been asked, the only answer there really was. From a child, Lucillas young niece came the question about creation. For no seeming reason she asked, Jesus where do we come from? As Jesus began to answer Spurio could never have believed how different he would be when he was done. Spurio was familiar with the law as given by Moses and interpreted by the chief priests and the Pharisees. But until now he had never heard anyone speak with such a power, on that question. Before now no one had ever said where the world comes from, and more importantly why.
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% begin the tiny mad idea %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
The law says “In the beginning”, but there is no beginning or end or now, there is only Always. Always is forever and God is everything. The Son of Man was Always in heaven, in a state of eternal bliss and in perfect oneness with God. The oneness was so perfect that there was no place where one began or the other ended, oneness so perfect you could have no thought that was not thought of God, you could not imagine anything that was not God. There was no difference save one, that the Father is first cause, He created the Son. Yet was no thought of separation, you were one with God who created you. We are not separate from God, we are not part of God, each and everyone of us is God. God is everywhere and everything and we simply say God Is.
Then into the mind of the Son there crept a sick insane idea. The idea was silly because it was not of God, but the Son of Man remembered not to laugh. The idea, was, what would it be like to be apart from God? The Son waited for God to answer, but He didn’t. It was a sick insane idea because there is no such thing as separate from God. So, God not willing to make that which was unreal appear real, did not answer. The non-answer from God to the non-question, The Son mistook as rebuke. You now mistakenly believe that God is angry with you for your sick insane idea, your original sin. For his imagined sin, The Son expects real retribution.
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leaving him, this is original sin, for which all mankind feels deep, subconscious, abiding guilt and expects severe and merciless retribution for a crime that never was. The Son of Man becomes the prodigal son.
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This is where Satan comes in and says, “Ill help you, I’ll show you a place to hide” Satin is not a demon or a devil, Satan is not real, rather is just trick of the mind. Satin is the part of your mind that makes up and protects the illusion of separation from God. Satan makes the illusion seem real. Then the Son of Man, terrified, running scared from an angry pursuer that doesnt exist, actually makes a deal with the devil himself. It is Satan, the Satanic part of the mind of the Son of Man that made the world seem to exist for him to hide himself from God. That is how the world came into being. How silly, could the Son really hide from God? But burdened by original sin and mistaken guilt the Son of Man sold his soul to Satan to deny the reality that God is.
To protect the mad dream Satan must preoccupy Son of Man with more illusions. So, the false world that we fill with cruelty, inhumanity and bloody wars, with friends and enemies, with money changers and Romans. All of them, all ought but distraction. So terrified is the Son of the Father that he runs to the devil to hide.
So, all the world all that you think you see with the eyes of the body comes from but a mind turned inside out and spilled onto a world outside of itself. A world outside of everything thats real. A world outside of God in Heaven. A world that is nothing but a dream that we but make real with judgment.
The Son of Man is asleep and heaven dreaming the dreams of separation. Each lifetime you think you live in this world but a nightmare to a dreamer in heaven. To awaken from the dreams the Son must learn forgiveness. Not the kind of forgiveness that the world knows, but true forgiveness that knows the world is not. But it takes many dreams of many lifetimes to train the mind to ignore Evil and listen to only the Holy Spirit. And in the myriad of dreams and lifetimes in the multitude forums of joy and horror they bring, at one time or another we each play the others part, we are each master and slave, we are each predator and prey, we are each everything there is to be many millions of times over. The father has sent me to gently wake the Son from his dream, to ease his burden, to reduce the number of his nightmares, to free the master from the slave, and I have already done it. I have already undone all that was never done. But follow or ignore the word makes no difference, everyone wakes up, everyone makes it out, everyone already has.
Wake to make it out of the dream. As Spurio seized on those words, on the symbol those words represented, he felt a burgeoning sense of purpose, and wondered openly if he could wake to make it out of his dream, and make it out this time.
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% end tiny mad idea %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Spurio never asked Jesus if he could follow him. He just assumed that he could, and he could. But Lucilla was stunned when he told her. She fell and had to catch herself on the table, and Spurio had to help her into the chair. Such a little girl he thought as she sat legs together hands twisting and writhing on her knees as she gently she gently sobbed. Its not as though you never see me again, he said taking her tiny hands in his. He was as miffed by her severe reaction as she was by his desire to leave her. She tried to be angry with him, but when she looked up she could do aught but put her slender arms around his neck. He picked her up from there carried her gently to bed.
Spurio was patient with Lucilla as she protested with all her might. But there was no way to stop him. Spurio was leaving with Jesus no matter what the costs or consequences. And even had he known then just what those consequences would be, still Spurio would have followed Jesus.
The following morning Nicodemus came to visit Jesus. Nicodemus was a money changer. He had not fled when Spurio came through the market and heard Jesus speak. He came inside where Jesus was resting from the heat of the day and spoke alone to him. Jesus we know that you are a spiritual man and speak the truth, Nicodemus began. We want to help you spread the truth all across Judea, he continued. But Jesus perceived his treachery and interrupted him saying, Nicodemus I do not judge usury, nor do I sanction it. Then Jesus stood up and put his arm on Nicodemus shoulder and asked him, Nicodemus was good does it do a man to gain the world and yet remain in it. Profit and loss are simply opposite sides of the scarcity coin designed keep the attention of the Son of Man on worldly things instead of the infinite treasures in heaven where no one has any need of scarcity or want. But Nicodemus persisted saying, Jesus we have not just wealth, but influence. Influence with the Jewish authorities and the Roman ones. We can do all manner of things to get our way. Then Jesus stepped back from Nicodemus and looking him directly in the I said, I am aware of all that you think you can do to me. You may to all manner of things to my body, but you cannot touch me for I am not a body. You can cause me no pain for the guiltless mind cannot suffer. Yet must you try, yet must it be done. Nicodemus has caused much suffering in his life yet never felt remorse once. But just now he did feel pity for Jesus, for what he would do to Jesus.
Spurio watched Nicodemus leaving his house. He walked in quickly and found Jesus. He knew what Nicodemus wanted, but Jesus said with a light heart, Worry not big man for nothing is being done only undone.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% End Jesus and Spurio %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
The next morning Jesus, his disciples, Mary Magdalene, and Spurio left Jerusalem. Jesus had been asked to return to Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water and wine. The people there remembered how he had turned the water into wine and wondered if he would try to heal a young girl sick possessed with demons. Jesus, protested Thomas. It will take too long. By the time we get to Galilee the girl will be dead. But Jesus smiling replied, Have faith Thomas and she will be healed in this very moment. And just as Jesus said that the young girls demons left her. And there was great joy among them as well for they believed and knew that she had been saved.
Later, along the way a Roman centurion with his men coming from Jerusalem approached them rapidly on horseback. He was oblivious to Jesuss miraculous ability to cure, he was there to seize Jesus at the behest of Nicodemus the money changer. Spurio counted 20 mounted soldiers as they circled threateningly Jesus and his followers. The disciples and Mary were frightened and moved towards Jesus to protect him, but as Spurio anticipated Jesus brushed them side. Spurio was calm, he had already seen Jesus perform miracles, he already knew that nothing could happen lest Jesus let it happen. And so it was that when two soldiers put their hands on Jesus they stopped just before touching him. The horses stopped the dust stopped everything came to a dead still. And Jesus looking up at the captain said to him. You are captain Aurelius Dalmaticus Marcellus, you act in service of the money changers, but you distrust them. So, why then do you do their work? With that the soldiers stepped back from Jesus. And the captain was amazed, but when Jesus told him, Your young son is afflicted with the fever, the captain nearly fainted. Go home and attend your son and leave the work of the money changers to the money changers. With that the man dismounted and came towards Jesus. When he got close Jesus put his arm around the mans shoulder looked him seriously in the eye and asked, Do you believe I can do this? Without delay the man said, command me and I shall do it. Then Jesus looked at the man smiling and said, By your faith at this very moment your son is saved. The captain wept at Jesuss feet, but Jesus lifted him up and told him to go.
Later that day they entered a town, and Jesus tired out by the trip sat on a wall, while the disciples went ahead of him. Spurio, who walked slower than them because of his huge size came up to Jesus and sat next to him. Jesus rested his hands on the top of the wall while his feet dangled off the ground, but Spurio more leaning than sitting, was too tall to get his feet off the ground. Spurio looking at the dirt cupped his hands and was about to speak when Jesus said, did you walk these past miles frightened by the threats of the money changers? Spurio smiled, he was not surprised that Jesus could perceive his thoughts. Then Spurio said, my father was a wealthy and powerful man. He was unafraid of the Pharisees or the chief priests. But my father always feared the money changers. Jesus put his hand on Spurios big shoulder and with a squeeze said, Spurio you who wanted to be a doctor a healer, you are so close Spurio. You might just make it this time, but you still have an important lesson to learn, that you cannot save the world, not even yourself. Then Jesus came down off the wall and went toward his disciples. They being led by Mary Magdalene with a bucket of water were coming towards Jesus. They reunited as though they had been separated from him for year rather than just a few minutes. Jesus stroked the side of Marys face and then hugged her before he drank. Then he touched all the disciples as they gathered round, on the arm or the shoulder or even the top of the head. Spurio noticed that Jesus had done it to him too. It was Jesuss way of saying, I acknowledge you even though I am not looking at you speak directly to you right now. Spurio was not trying to fit into this group, but slowly stealthily they were growing on him. They were becoming part of what Jesus would call each others special relationships. Part of an especially dangerous trap.
Then they left that town and as the evening drew on found themselves at last in the cool dork aloneness of the desert. Spurio was tired, his big legs had carried his large body far and it felt good to rest them as he leaned back against a stone. He fell asleep briefly and when he had waken Jesus had just returned with his arms full of logs. He dropped them into a pile and then knelt on the ground and started putting them one at a time into the fire. Spurio didnt exactly notice when it got completely dark or when Jesus was all he could see. He didnt notice when Jesus went from chit chatting about when we would arrive, to teaching about healing. He didnt even notice, that he didnt notice the weariness in his legs any longer. All he noticed was what they all notice, was how Jesus became so much bigger when he was teaching, how they were completely absorbed in the now with Jesus, and each felt that he was speaking only to them, Spurio was sure of it. When you are healing, Jesus began, remember this.
The acceptance of sickness as a decision of the mind, for any purpose for which it would use the body, is the basis of healing. And this is so for healing in all forms. ACIM
Notice that before I heal them I ask, do you have faith and I can do this? Then after I heal them I say by your faith I have cured thee. Who then is the physician?
On the next day they arrived at Joseph and Marys house. They were the agonized parents who Jesus healed by returning them to their natural state, their true state of bliss. It was there that Jesus performed his first miracle of turning the water into wine to celebrate his becoming their son. This time he would create a feast to celebrate his marriage to Mary Magdalene.
Jesus did not wed Mary Magdalene in a way that the world understood. The ceremony took place when she anointed his feet with oil. Spurio was outside when he noticed the sweetest scent of perfume oil he had ever smelled. It floated out from the window and drew Spurio irresistibly inside. When Spurio Wednesday and he saw Mary Magdalene ever said caressing Jesuss feet with her hands. Then she if put the end of her long beautiful hair into the oil and anointed his feet. None of them there realized that from that moment on Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married. This made Joseph and Mary extremely joyous.

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Judgment is what the mind made to separate us from other brothers and sisters and to create a different experience that is not true. To make real what is not real but I say, nothing real can be taken down, nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.
different experience that is not true.
Judgment, coming from the mind, also turns within and attacks us, creating self-hate and unworthiness.
Instead of judging ourselves for having sick thoughts, realize it is just sickness, and turn to the love of Jesus in faith to show him your sick thoughts.
They may come up more often when you have decided to allow Jesus to do this healing work. Do not judge self.
%%%%%%%%%%%%% Jesus and Spurio on the open sea %%%%%%%%%%%%
After the wedding Jesus stayed in Cana for three days. Then he and his new bride and the disciples, and Spurio left Cana and went to Haifa. There they boarded a large boat to Sidron. For there was a great feud in that land and Jesus said he would go there to try to end it. When they left land it being in the middle of the day the single sail filled up fast in the afternoon heat. The mood was lighthearted. They were all happy to be done walking and alone together on their little island in the sea. Jesus and Mary danced on the foredeck while Thomas and Peter fished with nets off the rear deck. Everyone laughed when Thomas caught one. As he showed it to them flapping around in his hands they said, dont you see we have the greatest fishermen in the world right here and pointed to Jesus. Dont you remember how he turned four fish into 4000. So, laughing Thomas through the fish back into the sea.
Spurio relished in and shared mutual joy of the moment, even as they teased him mercilessly for his ungainly bulk which could find no comfortable place to rest. The boat seemed much too small for him. Also after about an hour had passed he was becoming visibly sick. This was the reason, rather than his size, that Spurio stayed out of boats most of the time. Some of the disciples remarked that, if Jesus wanted to perform a real miracle then he should cure Spurio of his seasickness. But Spurio focusing his site back on the land said, there is no need to annoy Jesus with little things, I will cure myself. They all laughed again.
Jesus sat down and leaning back against some barrels offered to help Spurio. But Spurio waving his hand and said, I am fine. With that Mary Magdalene sat down in front of Jesus and he put his arms around her as she leaned back into him. Spurio lay down on his side of prop himself up with his right elbow, at the rear of the boat. From there he was both a watcher and a participant of the goings-on on the little island in the sea. Now what he wanted to was to observe his thoughts in the same way. He saw Mary Magdalene curl up and lean sideways into Jesus as he stretched out completely on the deck. He fell asleep to the rocking of the ocean and the raucous sound emanating from the pure joy of being with one another, of being with Jesus.
Spurio woke under a canopy of cacophonous colors that came all the way down to the water in 360. The waves upon the sea seemed to be reflected in strips of clouds across the sky, bathed in orange and purple. And as the sun settle down somewhere in the West a blood red moon was rising, filling the eastern sky. Jesus, Peter and Mary Magdalene were cooking fish on the fore deck, the sent wafted back and deliciously tickled Spurios senses. Everyone woke and ate. The dinner was delicious.
When he was finished Spurio went to just behind the mass. It was dark by then, but the moon illuminated a huge swath of the sea and it seemed that their boat was flying on it like a cloud. Spurio looked to the east and was astounded. Where was the land? For all his worldliness Spurio had never been on the open sea away from land. It was amazing. The immense expanse of emptiness defeated his imagination. Lost in its awesomeness he was unaware of the goings-on in the boat, it took him a while to notice Jesus standing beside him. Jesus was looking up smiling, you have never seen anything so grand have you Spurio,? Ha ha, drink it all in the entire experience Spurio, for the next time you see this shall not be half so grand. Nor half as much again the time after that. Now it was Jesus that Spurio studied intently, wondering what could he mean by that. Jesus perceived his confusion and answered saying, the grand new vista or experience is an example where the mind has no prior experience with which to compare. The mad mind searches the past frantically for reference with which it can explain the present experience which it cannot. The awestruck mind is speechless. You think that you are awestruck by something outside of you, yet it comes from aught but within you, and splashes on to the outside world like dye into the water. Just like the sunset at which you marveled earlier it is unreal. At times like this evil is speechless and unreality may be perceived. It is at times like this that the Holy Spirit can come in. But evil is quick, evil must have you believe that the world is real. So, the next time you have the experience, just beneath the surface of your cognizance evil lurks and replaces the second experience with memories of the first. This could keep real what is unreal and the Holy Spirit out.
Spurio looked back up at the sky, then out to the sea, and finally back at Jesus, trying to take it all in. But before he could even get started Jesus gave him even more, saying, And even the next time is an illusion just like tomorrow and yesterday Spurio. When the mind thinks about yesterday or tomorrow if thinks about that which does not exist. And when the mind thinks about what it thinks is now, it considers that which has no beginning and no and no between. So, it does not think at all. But the greatest illusion the mind is under, is that it thinks that it thinks at all.
Jesus perceiving Spurios confusion yet added to it again. There is no yesterday today nor tomorrow nor even this very moment, there is only always and the difference between always and now is everything.
Spurio was no longer thinking about what Jesus saying, for it was too much for him all at once. Instead an odd thought came into his mind and it occurred to him that Jesus must have been alone with him for quite some time now and the rest of the disciples and Mary Magdalene would soon be coming to him. But when Spurio looked toward the bow of the boat he noticed that nothing had changed since Jesus had come to him. Even the moon had not climbed in the sky nor had even the sail made a ruffle. The whole world saved for he and Jesus seemed frozen. Dont be afraid Spurio, Im just trying to show you how what is now for them is not now for us because there is no now, there is only always.

Then Jesus turned and went to his disciples at the bow leaving Spurio to stare in wonderment. Exhausted he sat and leaned against the bulkhead. He hugged his one knee and left the other straight out and looked up at the stars.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% In Sidron %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
Jesus said, pay your taxes if you must, but do not levy them upon the Son of Man.
Whenever any of us looks at the world we look at the world through our beliefs and our concepts, there can be no exceptions. This is what happens when we observe the world through the eyes of the body and interpret with the mind that thinks it is a body. it is the mind of judgment.
The time is coming in and is already here when by the power of Gods Spirit
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There was no one on the shore when they landed in Sidron just south of the Saida Citadel. Jesus led his disciples and Mary Magdalene, and Spurio inland to the place in the mountains where the tribes were at war.
The war between the tribes was not like the war of armies. The tribes came into each others villages and killed each others wives and children, destroyed each others crops and animals. They threatened not just each others lives, but everything the other held dearer than life.
As Spurio looked down upon the Village in the throes of a vicious attack he overheard Simon Peter plead with Jesus to Please stop the carnage, you and heal the injured her, and bring the dead back to life. But Jesus looked at Simon Peter and told him the same thing he told Spurio before. You cannot save that which is not Simon Peter, Jesus said. This all of this is aught but distraction. It is the purpose of the Io to keep the Holy Spirit out. It is not by good deeds that you get to heaven, it is by judgment of any deed that keeps you out. No deed done in a false world can be real, but by your judgment you make it seem so. This is what you must all learn, not how to save the world rather how to forgive it and to forgive it with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not forgive as the world does. The world recognizes that one has done wrong to the other, that the wronged and the wrongdoer are separate and unequal. The wrongdoer acknowledges his guilt, and then the wronged will grant a pardon to the guilty one there by setting all that was wrong to right. But the Holy Spirit recognizes that no one is wronged, no one is guilty and that no one can done anything to anyone. Our bodies may do all manner of things to other bodies, but none of us is a body. Only when this truth is realized can true forgiveness begin, only when all forgiveness has been given can we awaken from the dream and make it back to Heaven.
Spurio watched the disciples as they look questioningly amongst themselves. It was difficult for them to deny the seeming realness of the world. A world dressed up in all of its splendors and horrors to seize our attention, to seize us for all time. The Io can paint the world, but only we can Judge it to make it seem real. This is what Jesus was teaching. Then Jesus took the disciples and Mary Magdalene, and Spurio down to the village.
When they were in the village fighting was done, but the chaos remained. Jesus put his hand on the stomach of a young man dying from a sword which had stabbed him there. The young man grabbed Jesus his wrist as he did it but when Jesus pulled his hand away from the mans side he was healed. A few of the people who saw this were amazed and they told others about it. Then Jesus walked to the dead body of one of the others had been killed by them. The limp body lay face first in the dirt with the club that had been used to kill him still buried in his skull. Jesus knelt, put his hands on the mans head and in a moment the man got up and knew everything that had happened to him. Then the man tried to leave but those in the village wanted to seize him for he was one of the others. But Jesus knew their word and told them in their own language to let the man go so that he could return with his own leader so that they might make peace. Jesus pointed to the top of the hill between the two villages and told them after the sun does rise again we shall meet there. Then Jesus bade the man go. And even as the man was leaving Jesus was healing the injured and raising the dead.
Because he had saved so many of them Jesus now had great authority in that place. But one of their elders admonished Jesus for letting the enemy go. But Jesus said to him in his own words, where were your men to protect the village by? Jesus did not wait for an answer, but responded saying, they were away attacking that the village. See not the spec in your brothers eye until you remove the plank from thine own.
When the sun had risen on the next day everyone from both villages climbed to the spot Jesus had pointed to. Each remained on the same side as their own village as Jesus and the disciples and Mary Magdalene and Spurio met the elders on the ridge line between the two. Spurio and the disciples studied Jesus and the goings-on, but understood it not. Jesus could speak all languages, they could not. But they all sensed great hatred between the tribes each for the other. If it were not that Jesus held great authority then surely he would be dead in the tribes locked in bloody conflict even at this moment.
They were all frustrated and fascinated over the several hours that Jesus worked a miracle seemingly greater than bringing the dead back to life. He was bringing peace to a region that had no none for the lifetimes of anyone there on the hill. But when all the elders threw down their swords and a pile and hugged, Spurio didnt have to understand the intricacies of the language or the doctrine to realize that something amazing had happened. But Jesus said it was as natural as the sunrise.
On the hilly return to the coast the disciples and Spurio could not contain their curiosity. They implored Jesus to tell them how he had done what he had done. Jesus teach them saying, I dont know how I did it. And he tapped Simon Peter on the four head as he said it. Everyone laughed. They walked and when it was dark made of fire in a hilly crevice and ate. Spurio could see the fire light Jesuss face and the shadow of his head cast on the rock behind him. As always when Jesus began to talk nothing else seemed to matter.
When you try to make peace always remember this. You deal with the world of dreams, and you deal with God. On the level of the world of dreams everybody acts feel a sense of lack. Its just as with the money changers and the poor Jews in the Temple. Everyone is trying to satisfy their perceived needs, to fill a void. But in reality there is only one need, one for a test that need to be filled. And that is the loneliness the Son of Man feels because he thinks that he did the impossible and separated from God. It is the same sick insane idea of something that could never really be.
Jesus looked back and forth at them as a member cracked and pop in the fire. I spoke mostly with the chiefs and elders. I chose the chief form of one tribe and asked him What do you want from them? Jesus said it as though he were pointing at someone reenacting the event. He answered me saying, that man is a murderer, he murdered my son. I already knew that this was so, but I asked so that you might learn from his answer. Then the disciples and Mary Magdalene looked around and questioned among themselves, What can he mean by this? But Spurio kept his eyes fixed directly on Jesus. Notice that I asked, what do you want and received instead judgment and condemnation. So, I asked him again what do you want from this man? But he could not answer me. Do these men threaten you when they attack, do you need more security? You see, this was his need. You must go past judgment to perceived needs that are being threatened.
Then I asked the other chief the same question. What do you want of this man? Jesus pointed to his other side still reenacting it. They are dogs he told me. But what do you want from them? He could not answer me. Nor would he be able to answer me yet, for he was different from the first chief. His needs were different from the other chief. They all looked at each other and Jesus, but Jesus looking at the ground shook his head then said, You see this chief wanted nothing from the other chief. His needs could not be satisfied by the other tribe because he had no needs of them. His need stemmed from this false sense of worthiness to be chief. He was too young and too inexperienced in battle. His father a great warrior had died and he had become chief. In his own try he alone perceives his unworthiness. But he casts that unworthiness like paint upon a canvas onto his own tribe, and then attacks the other tried again and again for what it does not have, it cannot give, that he alone can give himself, through a simple shift in perspective. But now he sees himself through the eyes of the Holy Spirit, seeing himself as he Truly is, as we all truly are, the guiltless the Son of Man.
Again when you mediate conflict, he no attention to judgment, search for perceived lack and fill it. But even doing so realizing it too is illusion, for all lack as a result of a belief in the separation from God that never occurred. This Jesus spoke to them regarding conflict.
They came the following day to rest in the shade of a large rock and there decided to eat. Spurio could smell the sea air, hidden by the hill to their west. On the other side the sloped gently to the sea. As they sat there Jesus said to them, We return now to Jerusalem for the religious festival. There I will be taken up by the Romans at the behest of the money changers. And they will seemingly do all manner of things to me. Spurio felt his stomach coming up through his throat and amongst the astonished disciples there was much agitated discussion. Mary Magdalene remained serene standing to Jesuss side. Then Simon Peter rushed to Jesus saying, No, no Jesus dont go to the festival in Jerusalem, stay away from that place. Then Jesus put his hand on Peter Simons head and said, Get out of thee Satan. Then Jesus turned to them all to say, You yet lack the discipline so, I remind you that this is all a dream. Jesus tugged at his arm as he said this. It is important that you see this and that you forgive this as I have, which is with the eyes of the Holy Spirit. I forgive it realizing that it never happened. Though their bodies may crucify my body in the dream, in truth no one has done harm to anyone because no one is a body. This is the essence of true forgiveness.
The mood of everybody save for Jesus was much different when they returned to the boat than it had been when they landed it. They had been gone for exactly 30 days and nothing about the world had changed, only their information about it. They each suffered now for separation that was about to come as though it had already happened. The anticipation making it seem real. Jesus reminded them that when the mind thinks about the future he thinks about that which is not and therefore nothing in the future could harm any of them now. But Spurio did not feel better. The same boat which had floated them merrily here seemed now to be a death ship.
They set sail in the late afternoon and Simon Peter sailed the boat directly east until they could see land no more before turning south towards Jerusalem. It became dark around then, but Spurio did not notice the full moon until it was almost straight up in the sky, did not notice it until the clouds came in to obscure it. Then he remembered what Jesus had told him that it would not seem half so grand the next time.
The storm moved in rapidly, the wind picked up and it grew cold. Jesus slept as the rest of them took down the sail threw up the tarps in the slanting rain. Spurio pulled a blanket around himself he thought about the future. The mind cannot think about that which isnt. Therefore the mind doesnt think about the future nor the past. And the now is so fleeting that the mind cannot grasp it either. So, there is only Always. That is what Jesus had said, but suddenly Always seemed so very fleeting. Jesus could so easily save himself. With his hand he could waive the Romans and the money changers into the sea. Why didnt he do it? Spurio wanted to wake Jesus and beg him to do so just as Peter had. But to what end he questioned, merely to be rebuked.
But as Spurio deeply lamented over Jesuss future, in the cold, as the rain dropped heavy into the hard canvas, a tiny idea of a different sort crept into his mind. It was an awareness of what Jesus wanted for them when he rebuked Simon Peter. It was something more important than the body of Christ, more important than all bodies altogether. Something more important than even happiness here in this world, it was that Jesus wants us to use this to practice our own forgiveness to get out of this world. Jesus was as indifferent to our happiness in this world as he was dedicated to our salvation. This Spurio realized as daylight came but not the sun through the clouds. Yet even as the storm intensified, the clouds did not block out the sun. Spurio lay his big body down on a bed of fishnet and slept.
He was awakened by Thaddeus when they disembarked at Yafo. Spurio looked around himself as he staggered out of the boat. To this see the clouds hung oppressively low to the horizon. To the east lies Jerusalem and somewhere between here and there Jesus would be taken up by the Romans at the behest of the money changers. Spurio felt his mind, he heard its voices. They told him, You Are going to lose he and you love. But Spurio neither obeyed nor resisted, neither did he listen to them. He did not notice when he could not hear them any longer. But the gray and melancholy that had seemed so oppressive just moments ago seemed now cool comfort and as he walked. It wasnt a shift in perspective, but it was a single crucial step.
On the way to Jerusalem there came a man to them saying, Are you the Christ whom we seek, or shall I ask another. Jesus stopped walking but did not answer him. Then the man said, I have a sister who is possessed and only the Christ can save her. But Jesus perceived his treachery and answered him saying Return to Nicodemus and tell him that you have found me. So, the man turned to toward Jerusalem and ran there. To all of the disciples and Mary Magdalene and Spurio there came a grave fear. But Spurio as he had the night on the boat with neither accept nor deny his fear, he simply watched it.
When they came to Jerusalem it was on the day before the Passover festival. A man came to him and said, You are Jesus the Christ, I saw you in the Temple which the money changers had turned into a market. Come, you and your friends to my home and we shall feast and drink wine. So, Jesus, the disciples, Mary Magdalene and Spurio went with the man to supper.
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% the Last Supper %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
Spurio observed Jesus and his disciples and Mary Magdalene at supper. He was across the room from them, much as he had been on the boat. As he listened to the mingling sounds of the supper he pondered his own significance here. Unlike the other 13 Jesus had not chosen him, rather he had chosen Jesus. But when Jesus so inclusive so uniting would have declined no one, why was he the only one to choose Jesus. He couldnt understand his own question. He was not separate from the group, but more like the object by which the group could observe itself. He was as the third eye by which sees in totality what the other two eyes cannot. As Spurio observed he watched Jesus rise say these words: Love one another, not as the world knows love which is to gain love in return, but as the Holy Spirit does is simply to love, as I have loved you love the world. The world will not love you in return, but you do not need its love. You need only to forgive the world as it is, as it is not there, this is the way out of the dream. All of you all of your sad suffering brothers and sisters, will make it. Some of you this time, some of you will make it another time, but the Son of Man will make it, there is aught else he can do, he already has made it for by the Grace of the Father the dream is already over. Yet the dream seems to live on until the Son of Man remembers this time to laugh at his own tiny mad idea.
Until then forgive the world and its trespasses. Remember we are all of us figments of a guilt ridden dream. Share many dreams and many lifetimes we are both man and woman, predator and prey, teacher and student and master and slave. But I am telling you the truth that the time will come and is already here that the predator no longer hungers for the prey, and the master is free from his slaves.
Nothing real can be threatened, nothing unreal exists – herein lies the peace of God .
This is what Spurio learned from Jesus, that what is real is real not that which is perceived to be real. A cloud does not put out the sun.
But when Jesus told them that his time had come, despite all his teachings that the world was a meaningless dream a pal was cast across the entire room and into the soul of each and every one of them. Judas Iscariot openly wept. Jesus went to him slowly knelt across the table from him and put his hand on his head. Then he told Judas take the money bag and returned with some wine, some supplies for the festival, then to go and get a prostitute to ease his pain. So, Judas took the money bag and left.
After Judas lacked much sadness remained in the room. So, Jesus took the rest of them and went to the other side of Kidron Brook. There was a garden in that place and Jesus and the disciples and Mary Magdalene went in. Meanwhile Judas found the wine and the supplies for the festival and return with them to where they had the Last Supper. When he found no one there he became very sad. But instead of finding a prostitute as he had thought to do now he thought to find Jesus and be with him. He knew that Jesus would likely be at the garden by Kidron Brook because the disciples had met there with him many times. But with Judas did not know is that the man whom they had passed on the road to Jerusalem was following him. The man whose treachery Jesus had perceived sent someone to fetch Nicodemus and the Romans and they followed Judas to where Jesus was.
The Romans came upon Jesus and the disciples and Mary Magdalene, and Spurio in the garden. Before he even saw them Spurio knew exactly their purpose. Of its own accord his body stood up to block off the Romans from Jesus. But Spurio understood Jesuss purpose and so he stepped aside to let Jesus come to the front. Pointing to Jesus Nicodemus said, That is him there seize him. Whereupon Jesus still walking forward said, I am Jesus Christ, if you are looking for him, then you have found me. He paused and then turning to the others said, Let these others go. But Nicodemus remembered what Spurio had done to his money changers in the market and he said to the Romans, Let then go all of him except that one there, the big one. And then Spurio as did Jesus allowed himself to be seized and taken away by the Romans. Spurio watched the Romans as they led Jesus away. Jesus disappeared down the road and Spurio never saw Jesus again, ever. The last thing he heard was Judas wailing aloud again and again into the night. They were taking Jesus to be crucified, but they had much different plans for Spurio. And as his ever deepening sadness of missing Jesus mingled with lamentation of the agony he knew that he would endure Spurio still would have lamented just as much over his own, if he couldve had any idea what it was. For where money changers and the Jewish authorities take prisoners, Romans take slaves.
First they took Jesus to Caiaphas the high priest that year. Caiaphas question Jesus about his teachings. Jesus said About those teachings:
That nothing, in this world, save God in Heaven is real. God Is, the rest is not. Everything that you see, and feel, and know is illusion, all the world is but a dream within a dream a million times over. Jesus had never been sent to the world to suffer and pay for the sins of mankind. For mankind had no sins to pay for. He had been sent instead to teach forgiveness and shorten the journey that we had each of us completed before it was begun.
Caiaphas laughed, but he found no quarrel with Jesuss teachings for Jesus never said that he was Lord or a king. But Caiaphas and the Temple were also under the domain of the money changers for that is why he had turned the Temple into a market. So, Caiaphas sent Jesus still tied up to Pontius Pilate.
It was early in the morning when Jesus arrived at the palace of Pontius Pilate. The Jews themselves could not enter the palace of Pontius Pilate for they wanted to keep themselves ritually pure so that they might eat the Passover meal that day. So, Pontius Pilate when out to them and asked, What do you accuse this man of? The Jewish authorities answered, We would not have brought him to you if his crimes were not serious.

Pontius Pilate too could find no wrong in Jesus. But Pilate was a politician and wanted to appease the money changers and the high priest. Just as Jesus had taught Pontius Pilate seeking to satisfy his own short-term needs gave Jesus to the Jews. When Pilate asked the Jews what he should do with Jesus the response was loud and immediate, they said, Crucify him.
Then Pontius Pilate took Jesus and had him whipped. The soldiers made a crown of thorny branches and put it on his head. And they found a purple rope and put it on him. Then they dragged Jesus back out before the crowd and the crowd said, Crucify him.

When the servants told Lucilla that there was someone at the door she had been expecting Spurio, but the man standing there instead was Judas. He was weeping and he was drunk and he dropped to his knees on the floor before her. Where is my husband, was all she could think to ask? Through tears that he could hold back for only seconds Judas told her that they had both been taken up by the Romans. Then Judas found his feet and left. Walking into the night what he didnt tell Lucilla was that After they took Jesus away the Roman spy stood up and paid Judas 30 pieces of silver that he never wanted for doing what he’d never knew he had done. From there he went found a piece of rope and hang himself.
Lucilla heard Judas say that Jesus and Spurio were taken up by the Romans, but she thought he said they were taking up together. So, panicked she went off to find them. So terrified was she of losing Spurio to Jesus she never thought that he could be taken by the Romans instead. One thing that she could have never foreseen was that by the time Jesus was nailed to a blood soaked cross, Spurio would be shackled in the hold of the slave ship set sail for Rome.

When Lucilla arrived Pontius Pilates palace looking for Spurio she did not know that they were already separated by years and thousands of miles. She could only hear the throngs screaming about Jesus, Crucify him,” It was not unlike the masses she would later hear in the gladiatorial arena. She moved eagerly to the front, but when she saw the bloody mess that Jesus had become standing next to Pontius Pilate and she fainted. It was only the sharp impact of her knee caps on the ground which woke her. She looked back up at Jesus whom she could barely recognize. How could this happen, she asked herself? Grief for Jesus set in deep and instantly. Who would do such a thing to him, to anyone? But as she would see the Romans were just getting started with Jesus.

Lucilla somehow managed to capture Pontius Pilate attention, being beautiful had some advantage, yet it was impossible to change the course of some events once set in motion. She beseeched him to stay his hand, but he was just beginning to wash them. He looked directly into her eyes as he dipped them into the bowl. You can wash the blood, not the deeds from your palm’s she screamed though he didn’t hear her through the din of the mob. Then she looked at Jesus, he heard every word of it. The blood was thick and crusted around his eyebrows, but still oozing from the top of his head, and down beside his face. Though his lips never moved it sounded like he said to her, I know. She looked at her own palms, then buried her face in them and dropped to her knees unable to believe her eyes.

The guards pushed Jesus down the stone steps. She heard him groan, and fall off each level to the next one with a sickening bloody thud. Jesus was thrown to the stones in the center of the Villa and the people disbursed around him. Spread out on his stomach he was whipped, but not so much as to incapacitate him. He still had a cross to bear. Then the guards cleared away to the fountain, and taking Jesus by the feet dragged him to it. They set him up right and pushed him back against it. His head hung down in the guards grabbed it and set a crown of thorns upon it. Blood poured from newly opened wounds as they did. Next they threw him on his hands and knees and brought the cross. They put it across his back and wrapped and tied his hands around it. They commanded Jesus to carry it, but Jesus was weak. His right leg quivered and he put it down again. Lucilla heard a whip whistle through the wind and rip more flesh from Jesus side and back. Jesus felt the pain, but his body was too weakened to react. Slowly, unsteadily Jesus rose to his feet and slowly began to drag his cross behind him.

It’s quiet here Lucilla thought. She was on her knees when she opened her eyes. She could not believe that so much blood had come from one man. Even the water in the fountain was red. She pulled back her hair and put it behind her head, and then with her skirt tried to soak up Jesus’s blood as though she would give it back to him. She could hear the sounds of the tormenting crowd following Jesus up the hill to where he would be crucified. She wanted to hide, she wanted to die, she wanted to have never existed. Instead he came to her feet and staggered off after them. She walked through the streets then in much the same manner as she would later leave the arena. But it was the first time she had ever known such a feeling. Such a feeling as what, it was a strange to her as it was indescribable. She had not experienced anything like it. Soon it would become more than familiar, it would be her entire world.

She arrived to the place where they would crucify Jesus as he was being nailed by the palms. She thought he was already dead, but when the Roman drove the spike through Jesus woke up screaming. Lucilla could feel the friction of every inch of the nail in her own body. The anguish didn’t stop with the one hand, a guard rammed spike through the other. Standing at Jesus’s feet, Lucilia though that his suffering was so great that it encompassed the pain of all of mankind. Now she wanted so desperately to save the same man she had thought that she hated. But what could she do? She went towards him, but the guard pushed her back. Jesus lifted his head to look at her to speak. Then the soldier becoming indifferent to both of them let her through to Jesus. She put her year to his bloody lips so that she could hear him. His voice was a raspy whisper that said, Do not surrender the peace of God for things of a dream. Instead of this I see peace. Then the guard pushed her away again. She wondered, how can Jesus comfort me, how can anyone through all this see peace.

Then the guard crossed Jesus’s feet and drove the spike through them both. Initially his body tensed, but then Jesus gained forgave the pain and his body relaxed. Then Lucilla remembered that Jesus had said, “The guiltless mind cannot suffer.” And so it was that Jesus’s mind did not suffer even when they drove the huge silver spike through his side Jesus remained calm, his body did not flinch.

But when they hoisted the crucifix upright the wind blew cold from across the gorge behind it. Jesus looked up, but the sun was still in his eyes. Lucilla could not imagine his pain. Looking up at him she could only hope that he would soon give up the ghost. Behind her she saw Mary, the mother of Jesus weeping. The wind blew hard and it lifted Mary’s dress and pushed her back. She didn’t see the bolt of lightning but the sudden crash of thunder told her it was close. Besides she and Mary and the Romans there was almost no one else. She looked back up at Jesus, the sky behind the crucifix was black. The rain came sudden and hard. Another bolt of lightning struck diagonally across the sky and the thunder shuttered the ground. Jesus looked up and screamed something which she could not hear, and then he gave up the ghost. His body hung on his arms as limp as string. The rain splashed loud against the ground and was suddenly drowned by the wind. A guard stabbed Jesus with the spear. His body did not move but blood gushed from his side and ran down to the base of the crucifix in a torrent. It will never run dry she thought holding herself up against the wind is but she could. When she looked up the entire sky was raining blood red. What she heard next was louder than anything she ever had or would ever hear again. A thick powerful bolt of lightning electrified the air instantly before striking the crucifix. The blast lifted her into the air and threw her down 100 feet away. She looked back up at the crucifix as another lightning strike lit the night, and in the electric light all she saw was a silver spike on a bloody cross. The body of Christ was gone. For split-second there was a dark dead calm. Then the rain came down horizontally and ripped at her skin. She didn’t leave that place until it became impossible to stay. The wind seemed to push her back down the hill and so she went.

Lucilla returned to the temple in the same manner she left it, alone. She was soaked to the bone and shivering from the cold, but when she learned that Judas had hanged himself she got even colder. She staggered now rather than truly walked. Spurio she thought suddenly realizing that she hadn’t seen him all day. Where would he be? He wouldn’t be here in the temple. So, she went to where she knew he might be. There she found Peter and Paul and Mary Magdalene and others. From their manner she could tell that something was dreadfully wrong. After all that had occurred on this day Lucilla thought that she was emotionally broke, and could feel pain no more. She was certain that she was cursed by Jesus, and in that certainty expected and demanded punishment. But she never dreamed that Spurio would be taken from her and when she learned that he was a slave she discovered how badly she could truly hurt.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Lucilla was certain that she was cursed. In her certainty she expected even demand punishment, but she never expected for Spurio to be taken from her.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

At the same moment that Lucilla was looking up at an empty bloody cross, Spurio awoke gagging and coughing as the salt water went through his nose and down his throat. He had been knocked unconscious three days prior, but the water woke him instantly to panic. He found himself shackled to the bulkhead of a slave ship that was sinking. Already his lungs were burning and his only thought was that, I need to breathe. But then Spurio instantly remembered that, I don’t need anything. My body needs to breathe, but I need nothing. Then he was at peace. The burning in his lungs intensified as did the anguished screams of men afraid to die. But Spurio was not afraid of anything realizing that he was not going to die, but rather had never been born at all. It would have been that way except that Jesus came and told him, Spurio I have been crucified. I have made it, but you have lessons to learn if you wish to make it this time. Jesus, Spurio asked, How did you get here? And Jesus replied in a light tone that asked don’t you already know, I walked. Spurio smiled as his head dipped under the water for the last time. Down there he remembered that all this was put there by his mind. All this could be removed by his mind. So, it was. Then he went to sleep again. Unconscious his head rose up and bobbled in the water against the bulkhead. The storm still raged and waves continued to break over the deck, but somehow the sailors managed to keep the ship afloat until it subsided. It took three more days for the ship to make Rome. They were three horrific days of starvation, disease and constant threat of sinking again. But Spurio knew of none of it, until he awoke in a rock quarry in Rome.
For most of Rome’s male slaves taken near and far, there are only two possibilities, swift and certain death by attempted escape or a slow death by slave labor in the rock quarries. For Spurio there was a third, yet unknown way.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ end end Captured +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
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But Lucilla was stunned when Jesus told her not to worry that he would never tell Spurio what she had done.

Spurio asks Jesus, why did you choose to be Jesus? Why did you choose to be just the last in a long line of false messiahs? Jesus answers saying I came to correct that long line. Spurio smiled.

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%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% The Quarry %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
To the workers concentrated there the quarries were a place of desperation, a hopeless pit from which none could emerge. The feeble and the old broke soon. The young and mighty took longer, providing more labor for the Romans. But starved and worked to death no one left the quarries, sooner or later all of their bodies all broke. For eleven months Spurio watched his body wintering. When he was arrested with Jesus, he was powerful and stocky, now he was tall skinny and starving. Spurio knew that the end for his body lay at the bottom of this pit, and he knew it would be soon. But Spurio also knew that he was not a body. That awareness made the destruction of his body acceptable. Spurio put his head down, nearly naked and completely exhausted, wondering, wondering how many more months, two or maybe three. He knew that he would be dead by now, had they not doubled the rations the past few days and he casually wondered why. He had no idea that the following morning he would find out.
The next morning there was a buzz in the camp. Today a Lanista would visit in search of gladiatorial talent. To some men it meant a way out, most simply meant a better way out, to all many things better than this. To all save Spurio. His body, though far from frail had been greatly emaciated. He doubted that any Lanista would choose him.
When the Lanista did arrive, all the men stood eagerly in line, while those with the strength, hoped. But the Lanista went up the line in front, and down the line behind, selecting no one. It was like he wasn’t really even looking, no one caught his eye. But one man intended to make him look.
Spurio was watching the Lanista leave, when he shockingly felt his head snapped back so far all he could see was blue sky as a charging bull slammed into him from behind. When he hit the ground his face was in the sand, but he had no idea what was happening.
He was able to get his arms up underneath him, and with dirt dripping off his face roll over to see Vibius raining down punches on his face. This was odd indeed. Vibius was the only man in camp nearly as large as he, they had never spoken, and every man in camp was worked too hard to engage in extraneous violence, until now.
Spurio bucked his hips wildly throwing Vibius forward, forcing his hands on the ground to keep himself righted. That allowed him to wiggle free, and get to his feet. Vibius stood and charged instantly, clenched tight fists at the end of windmilling arms, but seemingly made Vibius as dangerous to himself as anyone else. Spurio was able to duck under the first salvo, but he did so with his eyes closed. He could not react to Vibius second attack. Initially standing on his feet seemed to be the correct strategy, but when Vibius granite fists dug into his ribs Spurio rethought the ground strategy. So, Spurio wrapped his still massive arms around Vibius body, arms and all, and gave a mighty hug. It broke Vibius like a huge oak, and as he grunted they both crashed to the ground. And here they were again, but this time Spurio on top. He had an intuitive sense that it was the superior position, but no idea how to take advantage of it, and Vibius was wiggling free. Reflexively Spurio pinned the other man’s alarms under his knees, and then with his left hand he turned the other man’s head so that the right side of his face was pressed hard into the sand. This was well and good but control was tenuous so, with a sense of urgency Spurio drew back his huge left fist and prepared to drive it home, but someone pulled him from the elbow behind. It was the Lanista, he had decided to take a look after all.
It wasnt until the horse-drawn cart rolled out of the quarry and up the chaotic Via Nomentana that Spurio got his first glimpse at the grandeur of Rome. The horse-drawn cart went slowly, almost deliberately so that period could see each intricate monument, fountain, and the awe-inspiring aqueducts. Spurio looked up as he passed through the shade of one of its broad archways. From its shade he could see the sunlight flowing, cascading as water around a dam. When he was thrust back into the naked rays of the sun again he found himself moving up the broad and spectacular Via Nomentana.
If all roads lead to Rome then he thought they all lead first to the Via Nomentana. And it seemed that today the whole world was on it. For surely Spurio wondered, how could there be one more person, one more body anywhere in the world. There was an ocean of people flowing and mixing on the broad and turbulent Via Nomentana. But Spurio was calm about all of this, for he remembered what Jesus had said to them in the boat on the way to Sidron. The mind sought to make much of things, especially those things which it had no experience of. Yet it was ought but distraction. But Spurio would not be distracted by world which did not exist anymore than the guilt which put it there. Knowing that nothing here was real, only that it seemed to be, he smiled, observing these thoughts, as he would puppets on a stage. He could see and hear them, but not go onstage nor become one of them. Thus he was not one of them, he was in the world, but not of the world. Spurio watched his mind thinking its thoughts,
Eventually just as the mountain gives way to foothills and they in turn to the flat plains, so to the wide Via Nomentana a thin strip of dirt worn into the grass. Soon after the cart turned West and headed to the sea.
Spurio rode in the rear of the cart with his hands hugging his knees, Vibius who had attacked him, sat front diagonally across, with his legs outstretched, suffering from cramps. The two men were not allowed to speak so Vibius glanced askance at Spurio for any clues, but Spurio was deep in consideration of what had happened between them. He had of course perceived Vibius’s motives, but what he contemplated now was his own. The attack was a complete surprise. He had defended himself reflexively and instinctually, the suddenness and ferocity of the attack left him no time to think. His body had taken over. But Spurio remembered what Jesus had said, that forgivenesses is still and quietly does nothing, for in a world which is not nothing need be done. So, through it all he had been at peace. He judged neither the attack nor the attacker. In fact he had forgiven it without judgment. In fact, in this moment riding in the back of an ox drawn cart with the man he had just fought, he was as indifferent to everything in the past as he was to what could be in the future, as indifferent to his own wellbeing it the fight as he was toward, gaining his freedom in the gladiatorial arena, or dying in the rock quarry. Gods will be done. Spurio did what Jesus had done, the only true thing there was to do, forgive.
The two didn’t speak until they stopped at a riverside, and Spurio assured him that all was well. Both men were too parched to urinate, but Vibius condition improved soon after he drank. Spurio was not thirsty, he was aware however that his body was so, he drank until it had enough.
When the cart finally stopped they were almost to the sea at Ostia, where the Tiber River split and the water which went one way from there would not meet up again with the water that went the other way until the Tyrrhenian Sea. It was in this place that the mens new lives began.

***************************************The Ludus*************************************
When the two men arrived at the ludus they immediately swore their oath of loyalty to their new owner of that land, a stingy little nobleman named Vettius. The ludus was a laboratory to experiment with Jesus’s teachings, and verify the wisdom of following His way.
The ludus of Vettius was a two-story rectangular building on the western outskirts of Rome. In reality it was more of a rectangular collection of buildings. The main training area consisted of the sandy pit in the middle. Inside were the men’s quarters, a hospital, baths, beds and the kitchen which cooked up a steady diet of bland beans and barley. The Western Wall was several feet higher than the rest of the structure with a wide flat patio space where the men to gather and talk in the evenings. The Romans were extremely equitable and who they selected as slaves. There were slaves and criminals from the mines and quarries, mixed with former freemen who sold themselves to Vettius, to gain coin, or forgive debt. To Spurio the contrast could not have been starker. For men like Vibius, the baths and rub downs were luxurious, former freemen interpreted the same experience at the same time as an imprisonment, and a loss of everything they held dear. One group of men was ecstatic, the other dismayed. It had nothing to do with the men’s pasts, everything to do with what Jesus said. “Some will make a heaven of hell, others a hell of heaven.”
Both Spurio and Vibius were still exhausted from the rock quarry, but their training began promptly the next morning. Practicing with Vibius made one thing very clear to Spurio, which was that with a sword in his hand Vibius was much better. Vibius rather than being a political prisoner had been captured during battle by the Romans. He was a seasoned warrior, and it showed. Vibius liked Spurio, they trained often, and within weeks Vibius was showing him very sneaky little tricks. Spurio never thought of using them, but he genuinely appreciated the gesture.

All of the training took place under the stern eye of the “Doctore” or gladiator trainer. No one knew his name; they just called him Doctore. He was a fierce, mean Gaul who had won a wooden sword of the freedom with 23 victories in the arena. It was an astonishing feat, no one else had ever done it. It was said in the ludus that to be as good as Doctore was to gain ones freedom, for then surely no one could defeat you in the arena. Under Doctore training was intense, but not cruel. To avoid this staggering heat training took place in two shifts of three hours each. The first was at sunrise, the second began at three hours after midday. The gladiators were a high valued investment, and Doctore meant to maximize Vettius’s returns.

Doctore was immediately impressed with Vibius, but he could not understand Spurio. The big man was not a trained fighter, neither was he fierce, nor aggressive. But he trained harder than any man he had ever seen, trained himself to exhaustion each session and was soon the best conditioned fighter that he had ever seen. Eleven months of labor in the quarries could not account for it. Such labor destroyed men rather than fortifying them. Once as punishment for poor performance, Doctore trained the entire ludus to the last man standing, it was Spurio. He was impervious to pain, and would absolutely not complain. Doctore concluded he must have been spiritual leader, because his mind was stronger than any man he’d ever known.
Still Doctore was concerned that Spurio might never become a gladiator. For all of his other attributes he was clumsy, and his bulk which was an advantage in unarmed combat was a disadvantage to a smaller man swiftly wielding a sharp gladius. Vibius was exceptional; hopefully his added tutorship might make the difference, hopefully.
Doctore was not the only warrior to notice something about Spurio, Vibius had himself noticed these traits. And more, Vibius had talked with Spurio, over many hours, more than any other man in the ludus.
>>>>>>>>>>>>> Put Vibius character sketch here– Asinius too <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

During the cool of the dusk some men would sit on the patio and watch the sky turning hues as the sun set in the west. To the Spaniard Asinius it was ritual. One night Asinius spoke in awe of such beauty to Vibius and Spurio. But Spurio quietly explained that such judgments were unnecessary. The sky, he said, is not out there. The sky is in your mind and you do put it out there. Then you do marvel at it, has being out there, distracting you from your godliness within. Vibius and Asinius stared at each other then at Spurio and smiled, understanding him less than Lucilla, and excepting him the same. And Vibius became aware as Lucilla had that events in the outside world did not change Spurio. With slavery and violence and viciousness swirling about him doing all manner of violence to his body nothing touched his soul. Vibius understanding him less than Lucilla could only think of the spokes of a rapidly turning wheel, in which Spurio was the center.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++
Three months into their training and it was time for Spurio and Vibius to be initiated into the gladiatorial ranks, or sent back to the quarry. The initiation was a solemn ritual. Each initiate must do battle with an established gladiator on a 9 x 6 foot platform ten feet off the ground. There they would do battle, until one of them was thrown to the ground or forced to surrender. Even Vettius who hardly glanced askance at the training sessions of his own investments, would attend.

In preparation for the event the gladiators were spared the two grueling training sessions, held by most days. Instead the men bathed, received physical therapy, and rested. And now the hot day had given way to dusk, a pleasant breeze from the East, and in the West there was blood red sky going down. The first two gladiators summarily dismissed first two initiates, but as Vibius scaled the ladder to the platform to fight, Doctore’s hopes began to rise, and not in vain.

Vibius did not attack instantly as an inexperienced fighter would. Rather he offered a low fake with his wooden blade. When the gladiator lowered his weapon to block Vibius grabbed the wrist with his free hand and brought the point of his blade to the man’s throat, holding it there, less than an inch away. In a live match it was a sure kill. Swift, efficient, and overwhelming, it was Vibius’s way.
Spurio’s way was much different. He could feel the ladder creek under his enormous weight as he climbed up to the platform to fight. Instead of being the aggressor, it was the gladiator who confidently attacked. Spurio blocked the thrust with his blade, but was slow. With his thrust blocked, the gladiator hit Spurio hard in the face with the butt of his weapon in a back fist motion. But it put him in too close. With blood flowing from above his eye, Spurio was able to wrap both of the gladiators arms in his free left arm from behind, then as if pointing to himself he was able to bring his wooden gladius up to the gladiators throat and hold it there. In the arena it would have forced the gladiator to appeal. Although he was indifferent to his fate, Spurio had won, he would be a gladiator.

Later Spurio joined Asinius and Vibius on the patio lying on their backs looking at the stars. We are looking at the stars inside of our heads, Asinius said. Yes I am seeing stars inside of my own head, even when I close my eyes, Spurio replied holding a blood soaked cloth to his bleeding eye as he sat down with a groan. All three men laughed. Spain is out there somewhere, Asinius said pointing to the west. And were I to be there, I would be a king. But you were captured instead Vibius retorted. You could have fought to the death or killed yourself, but you let yourself be captured. Asinius grew agitated at the obvious truth. To Asinius the world was unfair he was royalty forced into slavery. To Vibius the world was ruthless, but just. He had been captured in battle, and deserving of his fate as a result. That is why he is so arrogant, Vibius said to Spurio while pointing at Asinius. His arrogance is your judgment of the form of his pain, Spurio said still groaning. But the true cause is his false belief in and guilt of separation from the Source. It is the true cause of the worlds pain. Asinius in Vibius stared at each other and looked back up at the sky.
+++++++++++++++++++
One night shortly after their initiation, Vibius and Spurio were summoned from their quarters, and taken to a party of some Roman nobleman. When the guard informed them, that some important Romans wanted to meet them Vibius became agitated and suspicious, while Spurio was as always, clueless, but untouchable. The guards led them down too long rows of head high torches, that disperse light in waves rather than rays, that led to a lavish spread on the far end. Spurio was surprised to see Vettius, it was the first time he’d seen him up close. Vibius already knew what was up and paid no attention to the scowling old man. They were each handed a sword, and instructed to prepare themselves to do battle.

Vibius had felt this way many times before, blindsided, helpless. The first time when he was eight and watched his father killed on the battlefield. He was hiding with his mother, not fully comprehending, as she beseeched the gods to see her husband just once more. They did oblige. The battle had gone badly for their side. Vibius his father had come on horseback to rescue them, but so had the enemy tribe. He had barely dismounted when an arrow found him in the middle of the back, he fell dead with a muffled thud in the grass. Is that all little Vibius wondered? He could still hear the hiss of the arrow even though it was buried firmly between his father’s shoulder blades. Just one final gasp, where did his father go?
Tonight would be like that all over again. Spurio knew it too. He had not reasoned it out as Vibius had, rather he had revealed to him. It was a certainty that one of them would die by the hand of the other. How he wanted to console his friend, how he wanted to tell him, how unnecessary his anguish was, how much it didn’t matter. But it was Vibius who took control of the situation. They were allowed 10 minutes to stretch and prepare during which Vibius instructed Spurio, to fight as absolutely hard as he could. The reasoning was sound, if the men put on an entertaining bout, the losers appeal was more likely to be granted. If they both put on a near death performance, perhaps they both could live.

As the men proceeded to the center of the floor to fight, the only flaw Vibius could find in his plan was whether the big man would respond with the requisite aggression and fury, such fears were quickly allied. Before he could even get his sword pointed straight the big man was charging him, thrust, thrust, horizontal slash, thrust, vertical slash, thrust. All the while bringing his massive bulk forward at a speed Vibius had never imagined he possessed. Now Vibius found his sword arm pinned between his own body and Spurio’s. Spurio sword arm however was quite free, which posed a problem for Spurio as well. The last thing but Spurio wanted to do was kill his friend. In the same instant that Vibius connected with a stern left hook, Spurio shoved with all his might, freeing his friends sword arm, but sending him in mid air, crashing and sliding across the floor and the other side of the room. Spectators scattered as Spurio followed up. Vibius escaped the first downward slash, back clunked into the concrete, by rolling to his right. Spurio followed up with a second downward slash that Vibius partially blocked and by rolling to his left was able to stand. Vibius felt his counter attack stopped from behind, by the big dark hand of Doctore, who proceeded to instantly between the two men to keep them separate. It had worked, the crowd was mightily pleased, Vettius was proud as a peacock, and rather than let them destroy the place, he stopped the fight.
As soon as he was breathing normally the first curious thought Spurio had was that his premonition had not been fulfilled, the next one was, where is Vibius? It was just now he noticed that the guards were returning him to the ludus alone.
Back at the ludus Doctore informed him that Vibius had been sold. So, after all the invented drama, it was just a demonstration, just business. Had he known Vettius it would make perfect sense to him. As Doctore would later inform him, Vettius would’ve never pitted two of his investments against each other. But Spurio was soon to know Vettius well enough for himself.
Vibius was jolted, how easy it had been for him forget that he was chattel. Spurio following the way missed his friend just as fiercely, but in a completely different way, one that brought deep joy to him for each of the many memories of his friend. The mock battles during training, the long talks at night. No sorrow, just joy. “Some men make heaven from Hell, others make hell from heaven.” If Spurio had any regrets, it was that he never told Vibius about Jesus. It was not so much like regret as wondering what if.
*********************
Not bad Doctore thought, as Spurio deflected the opponent’s gladius in a crescent shaped block, then retrace same arc, and with his fist at the level of his own chin and blade vertical, sliced through the throat. The only sounds were banging of the wooden swords and the muffled sound of
Spurio’s own into the opponent’s flesh. Not bad at all. Vibius had been gone for six weeks and it seemed as though Spurio had suddenly learned everything he taught him, on top of Doctore’s own teachings. Most men learned their lessons little at a time, some learned them all at once. Doctore had seen this before, but Spurio was the most extreme.
Now Doctore considered Spurio worthy of him and he was set to let the big man from Judea know it. Doctore had a way of moving without being seen. It could only be experienced, all the men talked about it and mystified manner, even Vibius. Now Spurio saw that they were right. Most men lean, shift their weight ever so slightly, or flinch just before they attack. Not Doctore. Doctore hit Spurio on the head from 8 feet away before he could blink. There in the hot sun on the burning sand Doctore went at him, using the very same attack again and again and again. A choppy 45 diagonal cut, that Spurio, that no man could catch up to. “Block me”, Doctore demanded, attacking again and again with his right arm like the spokes of a chariot. And one-time Spurio did, the cracking of the wood against wood, and would against skull, Spurio’s. Again and again as it happened, then a block, then hit, then a block again. Doctore couldn’t believe it, Spurio never feigned. Never shied away, but Doctore had no idea what Spurio was looking at.
++++++++++++++++
Spurio had not seen the Vettius for nearly two months, since the night he fought Vibius at the party. Now, standing in his office watching the little man toil at the desk, Spurio wondered if he would ever speak to him. It was easy to see why the men thought he was so mean and cheap. He was not unlike the money changers. But he remembered what had Jesus said of them that,” We all act in service of our own needs.” It was a lesson that Vettius would bring Spurio back to. Once as they were gathered round, Jesus said to Peter, who had his legs folded in front of him, “why are you sitting in that way?” Peter, perplexed, Wondering what profound teaching would come from such an innocuously posed question, struggled to respond. So, Jesus answered for him saying, “you are sitting in such a manner because it pleases you to do so. You will change position as soon as you deem another more suitable.” And as if unable to help himself, Peter stretched out his legs, and put the palms of his hands on the ground behind him. Everyone laughed including Peter. And Jesus said, “Judge not neither the villainous nor the virtuous, for each acts selfishly as the other. It is not possible for any act in opposition of his perceived needs. We are all equally selfish. We are all totally selfish.”
++++++++++++++++
“I wish to congratulate you on your progress,” he finally offered. “Doctore tells me you’re progressing, and your battle with Vibius tells me it’s true.” Spurio were shocked to hear such a booming, baritone voice from such a diminutive frame. It was clear that this was a man who carried authority, who was accustomed to giving orders and having them obeyed, to having his way. It was also clear, by the way he had yet to look up at Spurio, that he was arrogant.
In reality we all suffer equally from the thought of separation, which hides itself in many different forms in the dream. Vettius suffered from one of the cruelest hoaxes, that of unrealizable parental expectations.
“Spurio let me come directly to the point.” Spurio thought he was already there, but the little man continued. “Doctore wants you to fight in some of the smaller venues outside of Rome, while I want to maximize my profits by having you fight in more lucrative events in Rome. But I want to know what you think.”
It was obvious to Spurio that the little man with the big voice was lying. He couldn’t care less Spurio thought, or his needs for that matter, but to Spurio that was okay, it was forgiven, which was Jesus’s way of making himself impervious to the world and its horrors. “Well Spurio he demanded, are you up to it?” “Dominus”, he began, “Doctore is a master instructor, it would be wise to obey his counsel, nor would I be profitable to you, dead after the first match.” Spurio had dutifully kept his eyes floor, but now reflexively, irresistibly, he raised them to look at his dominus. Vettius glared scornfully as he prepared a scolding, but it was never delivered. When his eyes met Spurio’s he sensed something he had never sensed before, something he had never even known hed been missing, acceptance. And he realized that Spurio simply answered his question, truthfully. Then Vettius did something he hadn’t done in years, he chuckled.
Spurio realizing his mistake offered up his obedience, “Dominus, your will be done of course.” “Of coarse Spurio,” Vettius replied, “of course.”
The silence was long, but for Spurio not uncomfortable. He wondered about this Vettius. “What would Jesus do with Vettius?” Spurio asked. Instantly he answered, “Jesus would love him”. That settled it, if Jesus would love Vettius, so would Spurio.
Then Vettius asked, “Is there anything I can get for you?” “I have a wife and Judea,” Spurio said halfheartedly thinking that it was too much to ask. But Vettius replied without hesitation, “if she is alive, I will bring her to you.”
There it was again Spurio noticed. He did not say would try to bring her, rather he would bring her. The man was accustomed to getting what he wanted. So, he would see his wife again if she was alive.
+++++++++++++++++++
Jesus taught that language has been developed by the ruling class in Egypt 3000 years ago. It had been developed to facilitate guilt and obedience, rather than to express needs. guilt designed to manipulate obedience.
dominus
Dominus
+++++++++++++++++++
After his meeting with Vettius, Spurio’s intense training intensified. Doctore had no control over who would be Spurio’s opponents, but he would control what he could, that meant he would fight Spurio daily. For Spurio it was much more than merely an opportunity to survive. Spurio knew what was coming, Doctore instructed him to block his vertical overhand cut. Still he was unable, on his first attack Doctore cracked him on the skull. Then again and again Spurio struggled to fend off Doctore’s furious attacks, but struggled more to see the instant, the eternal instant, the instinct that never was. And gradually, gently, under the blazing sun, and rain of vertical blows it came into view of his mind’s eye. Spurio felt the block, then being hit, then blocking, then being hit, then blocking, then being hit, all of the same blow. Then each blow. Behind Doctore’s dark streaking body the sky turned to the color of the sand, and Spurio experience both alternatives of each attack, blocked, and being hit each at once. Doctore paused, but Spurio was confused, facing at once both consequences of the same event. Doctore was at once congratulating him for fending off all of the attacks, and berating him for blocking none of them. But in all those many worlds, it was time for Spurio’s first fight.
under the scornful eye
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%The night before his first fight Spurio received first lesson in the full decadence of the roman orgy.
There were nude women dancing in pits in the marble floors,The gladiators were permitted to feast, drink wine, and have sex with wealthy noble women who could not wait to get their hands on them. It was debautcheious, but most of the gladiators welcomed the diversion, from the looming threat behind tomorrow’s sun. Tonight there was only one who was unappreciative, he was Asinius, a holy man captured in Turkey, the eastern part of the empire. Asinius told Spurio, ” the gods would punish the impure, who indulge in access”. Spurio thought, then the gods must punish us all, for we all indulge in compleatly in our own needs, the sinner and the saint are equally virtuous. ” tomorrow they will all die”, Asinius said. Spurio knew that Asinius too was satisfying his needs, and even as he moved away get some wine, he did so without judgment.
Smiling he thought how much Vibius would enjoy such frolic as this. Joyfully he thought of Lucilla. Anathema to some, bewildering to all, but blissful was the only ways he could think of things, the only way he could long for those loved, but not close, the only way he could be, it was what he was, what he had become since knowing Jesus.
Later that night, he stretched out on the bed in his cell, thinking not about tomorrow, but the evening that had just been. He remembered it not as if living in the past, rather bringing the past moment in too the present one, and experiencing them both at once, as they really were. Contented, Spurio fell into a deep sleep.
He was awakened the following morning by a Roman guard clanging at the gate of his cell. Behind the guard was Doctore. Doctore made sure to let the men sleep as long as possible. He wanted to minimize their wait, and its strain on their nerves. It was unnecessary for Spurio. When all of
Vettius’s gladiators had gathered, Doctore led them into the arena. There they paired off, and did light sparring with each other. Across the arena gladiators from the other ludus did the same. It served as a warm up for the gladiators, and a snack before blood, for the crowd.
To ruling noblemen like Vettius pleasing crowd was everything. Individuals were of no importance at all, but controlling the imagination of the collective was the key to power. To a Lanista like Vettius, the games meant nothing, the power he could garner from them, met all. When the warm-ups were over, all there was for the gladiators to do, was returned to the areas, and wait. Asinius was the first to fight. Spurio did not watch the fight, he focused on the crowd. Although the contest lasted a full 25 minutes, the only parts Spurio saw of it was Asinius’s appeal to Julius Lentulus, and Vettius. The fight was well contested by both men, the crowd had been appeased, it was LenTulus’s games, and he was given to Mercy, but Vettius was not. So, with the thumb pointed towards his own throat, Vettius gave the signal, and Asinius was no more. But pal was cast
instantly over all the gladiators. Such was the nature of Vettius, their Domino, their owner. Spurio make no judgments, nor was he affected by the elements of a dream. He was up next.
As Spurio emerged from to shade inside to the unsheltered blazing sand of the arena floor, he was not invested in his fate, rather curious. The glare cut his eyes like glass, forcing him to squint hard. He was aware that the shards of light and furnace of heat made the sun enemy to both men. Spurio was a secutore, a heavyweight, and he was fighting Brutus, a samnite with three victories in the arena. The three men in the arena, to gladiators, and a referee, acknowledged sponsor, the gladiators faced each other, and the referee signaled about to begin. Spurio was fighting for his life.
The two men circled first. The samnites was another heavyweight, but slightly less heavily armored. Spurio knew that a long fight was not to his advantage, however circling the arena with the din of the intoxicated crowd surrounding, there appeared to be no opening to his opponent. Keeping his shield tight Spurio shuffled in hopes with his gladius that Brutus’s shield. To no avail. His weak attack failed to open Brutus up, and worst of all Spurio failed to retreat after his attack. He was flat-footed as Brutus moved in. Brutus’s sword, and a slashing diagonal cut, hit Spurio hard in the head, bending his neck at a 90° angle, sending him stumbling backwards. Spurio noticed something. After weeks of training with Doctore, Brutus seemed to be moving in slow motion. And in slow motion Spurio could see that Brutus dropped his shield ever so slightly, just before he attacked.
Spurio, circled around until he felt recovered. Then pulling his shield close, behind it the tip of his blade pointed at the Samnites throat. Then flat-footed, Spurio waited. Doctore thought Spurio was dead. Instead Brutus, dropped his shield as anticipated. Spurio pushed his own shield against that hard thrusts the tip of his blade against his opponents helmet. It entered the left eye socket, and snapped the man’s head to the right in a twisting motion. In agony Brutus dropped his sword and shield and writhed on the ground holding his eye. Brutus never appealed, it was unnecessary. Vettius signaled the referee stopped the fight, and the match was over. Spurio had won.
The following morning they buried Asinius, on a sandy hill east of the ludus. His body was wrapped in white linen and he was carried on a stretcher from the ludus to his grave. Burial was another solemn ritual for the gladiators. Another mechanism by which they bestowed respect and honor upon each other. Another narcotic and numb the sting of being slaves.
Asinius had no family so all the gladiators together bought his gravestone. Thousands of years later the gravestones would be the treasure trove’s to archaeologists. Spurio noticed he can just see the ocean off to the horizon. He knew that Asinius would have approved of being buried near the ocean, toward the setting sun.
Returning to the ludus the men were sad, about the death of one of them. Even if the aggravating one of them, one of them. But in total Vettius had done well, having only lost Asinius, and everyone else won. Spurio as usual was not saddened, having only happy memories of Asinius, having never judged him, secure in the knowledge, that not only was Asinius not really gone, but that in reality he had never been. But there was one thing for which Spurio was completely unprepared. It was the astonishing sight of Lucilla. Indeed, Vettius was well versed in the language of reward and punishment.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
She stood there in the archway of the gate to the villa. Even at a distance and under the shade he could not mistake her outline. She did not see him until he was almost close enough to touch. When she did, she threw herself into his chest. It was a feeling he had never forgotten, her tiny body against his, her soft skin and marble hands. He stood there holding her with her face buried in his chest and he stroked her hair gently as she sobbed. He remembered what a child she was, he remembered how he loved her, but was still surprised by how good this felt.
When finally she looked up, and he could brush the hair away from her cheek and the tears from her eyes he looked long into them before kissing her. Then he looked at her again, there were no words. This was a potent portion of the dream. He wondered now, whether he had been in denial. No matter, it was a dream for sure, and for sure he would live. The guard grew impatient and hurried them in, Spurio was only too happy to comply. With his Spurio’s winnings Vettius provisioned a private room for Spurio in the ludus. It was where he led his wife to it now.
It was the most exquisite lovemaking they’d ever had. It was the simplest lovemaking they’d ever had. Spurio could always enjoy the moment, any moment. It was a skill he had honed with Jesus, but this time Lucilla enjoyed the purity of the moment as well. In their prior lovemaking, she had been passionate and sincere, but fearful. Irrationally fearful. Rather than live in the lovemaking, she sought to save it, to keep it like a coin to spend at a later date. This time she sought to save nothing digging her nails into his back again and again and again. There were no words.
Lucilla hadn’t nearly time to adjust. Spurio still didn’t seem real to her, not as real as the sounds of combat clangoring up through the window from the ludus down below. ”

When finally, they spoke, though two years apart it was as familiar as yesterday. Spurio was sprawled out on his side as Lucilla sat up crosslegged looking at him. She seemed almost embarrassed now, halfheartedly giggled and spoken to her shoulder, when she talked to him. Although she was certain that he had endured unspeakable horrors, still she wanted desperately to know that nothing bad happened to him. She tried to believe in the reality that wasn’t. She looked at him, his entire body. My big gentle husband is so strong, she thought. “How do you do it,” she asked? How do you endure all this pain and suffrage”? He gave her the concerned look which she recalled instantly, meant that right now, he was focusing everything on her every word, on her very next word. “Just yesterday you kill the man, it could’ve been killed yourself. When I saw you, you were just returning from a funeral of your friend. I don’t understand, how can you go on another day? In your place, I’m sure I should have killed myself long ago.” She finished her statement weeping, but her husband was laughing. He laughed long and heartily, and then shaking his head, said “oh my dear, don’t you understand it yet? No one has killed anyone, because no one is here.” And then he finished laughing, looking at her lovingly, but looking at her like a child. She couldn’t believe what she was feeling, anger. Here it was two years later, after all, he’d been through, and all she’d done to get to him, she was actually getting angry at him. They were squabbling as though nothing had happened. “You sound just like Jesus”, she snapped at him. “Why don’t you try speaking to him”, he said, still smiling. She paused, “he’s dead, didn’t you hear?” “Jesus is the only thing that’s real, Lucilla. The one real thing in our dream.” “They crucified him,” she persisted. “They crucified his body, but Jesus was not a body. So, once his body died, he was resurrected.”
She was still incredulous, but unwilling to waste what precious little time remained discussing Jesus. She coyly and gently seduced her husband again, and he willingly led to where she want to go. That night, the ludus fell silent, but she knew she could not keep it from encroaching with the sunlight. Lucilla looked out the window as the first rays dappled the sands of the ludus below. She felt Spurio behind her enveloping her like the ocean around a rock on the shore. He held her there and she already dreaded having to leave, having to leave him there to the horrors of the day and days ahead, which she was powerless to save him from. He turned her toward him, and putting his hand gently under her chin lifted it until her eyes met his.” Don’t cry”, he said. “We are not apart, it is impossible to be separated. We are in heaven, and there is no place where one of us ends for the other begins. We are one.” As she protested, he interrupted her gently, saying, “You will see this when you make it out of the dream. And in actuality, you already have, we all already have.” And now she stared up at him in such a way that she could never look away he said “when I make it out, none of this will matter. And when you make it out you’ll see that it’s true. I know you don’t believe me, but I swear you’ll see that it’s true. And when I do make it out, I’ll tell you, I promise. ” Still looking straight into his eyes and believing every word she said, without knowing what she was saying, or how she would accomplish it swore “And I promised to let you know, when I make it.” Before now Lucilla had never thought of waking from a dream, of making it, but now she swore solemnly, and meant it. It was implicit of course, that Spurio would be the one to make it first.
In the morning, it was not the ludus that exited, it was her.
In the morning Spurio watched his wife depart through the gated archway. Most men never could’ve watched her walk away with such peace. Most men would have felt deep pangs of want, born of loving from lack. Spurio lacked very little, therefore, he loved almost purely, the absence of missing her, but a symptom of his pure love for her.
The ludus was like a microcosm of Rome, he lived and breathed it woke in slept and rose again. He was not concerned for her welfare, because he was aware that as himself, she was a dreamer and a dream. But he was curious as to whether or not she would attend his fights. Well aware that she could watch him die before her very eyes. Such thing would intensify her nightmare, but could not harm her, the dreamer. He decided that he would take these things to Jesus.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% the mystical fight %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
With a victory fresh under his belt, Vettius was anxious to maximize his returns on Spurio. So, he determined that Spurio would fight in the ludus of his political rival, Claudius Maximus against his best gladiator. Vettius was in the enviable position of not having to field the winning fighter. Maximus was younger, but Vettius was politically unknown. To gain status, he merely needed to satisfy the crowd, which could include either sparing or sacrifice and Spurio at their delight. Maximus had not only to please the crowd, but his men had better win. Either way, as always, the gains and losses to the owners were denominated in the currency of blood of the gladiators on the field.
The match would be held without shields. It would be to Spurio’s detriment, he was by far the bigger and slower man. As anticipated, the Thracian brought the fight to him, trying to negate his superior reach. Spurio deftly blocked a series of diagonal and horizontal slashes with the same attitude that he would pick flowers from the side of the road. Then the Thracian thrust straight at Spurio’s midsection. Spurio brought his blade down in a counterclockwise half arc, and clearly heard and saw thrust being easily blocked, he also clearly felt and saw the blade run him through. Both, disparate acts, occurring in slow motion stop action. That was, “interesting”, he thought. He retaliated with a horizontal cut, which missed entirely when his opponent ducked under it, and simultaneously cut the Thracian’s head off. From above the battlefield, Spurio could see his dead prostrate body, could see himself appealing to Vettius his mercy, could see the Thracian appealing for the same, and could see the dead Thracian. He could see all the dreams as they were, happening all at once. It was his Jesus had said, and he could take any of them he wanted, or none at all. But he could not hold all of them at once, anymore than he could see both near and far. He had to focus on one and it was not one of his choosing. The Thracian cut him across the belly, horizontally, not deep enough to cause internal injuries, but deep enough that if Spurio wanted to do in this lifetime, then he had to do something fast. He did. The Thracian was leaning forward and off balance, as he finished the slicing cut. Spurio’s, with more agility than such a big man should have had already recovered and was moving in. With both hands on the hilt, he sliced vertically with all his might. The dull blade struck the Thracian in the back of the head, with a blunt thumping sound, splitting it from the crown to the base of the spine. When the man fell on his stomach at Spurio’s feet, a cloud of dust was the only movement his body made. The helmet was the only thing holding his head together.
Back inside to Spurio was once again obtained the finest standard Roman medical care. Roman doctors had pioneered physical therapy techniques that would be practiced for thousands of years. They could reset broken bones perfectly. Only severe internal bleeding was beyond their competence, and fortunately Spurio had none of that. His quick backward jump, along with the extra layer of fact afforded by his bland bean diet, had protected him from the worst of the Thracian’s blade. He was still safe from things that weren’t, within the dream. He had seen the multitude of allusions, now he wanted to see beyond it. He could have no idea how soon he would. But that little bit of wanting, would make him wish he hadn’t. So far it had all been going well, for the man who’d never lost sight of the goal. But he was about to find out just what a distraction being too close to what he always wanted could be.
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% End the mystical fight %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
All of that happens before the opening fight. What happens below happens after the first fight. you need to bring the story from here to the opening sentence.
%%%%%%%%%%%%%% All the above happens after the first fight or the opening scene %%%%%%
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How is your leg Spurio, Vettius asked? ”Well, I think it bends in both directions now,” he answered dryly. Vettius straightened his arms out on the desk leaned back in his chair and studied his man. Without either of them knowing it, in the next few minutes, they would both make a critical decision for themselves and each other. “Spurio”, Vettius began, “you’ve done well. You’ve risen quickly and with just three victories, you’ve won coin and fame. Of course, you’ve also gained me coin and influence with Claudius Maximus. He almost begged me to sell you to him.” He said it as though he had done Spurio a favor by not selling to him, but was thrown off when he realized that Spurio did not get the implication. Actually Spurio did get the implication, it just didn’t register with him. Vettius lived by the double-edged sword of reward and punishment, success and failure, friends and enemies. Spurio understood those concepts, and understood the falseness of them. He understood they were just devices of evil to keep our attention on things in the dream and not having.
“I didn’t sell you, but I did pledge you to fight in Maximus games in three months. I know you are still injured in Doctore tells me that three months is not enough time, but if you win I will gain his patronage for the Senate and I will grant you your freedom.” Now Spurio sense, a slight touch of pleading in his voice, that Vettius was unaware of. As usual, Vettius never got that Spurio got him, but he understood Spurio not one iota. “You don’t have to answer now, give it some thought.”
Until now, their relationship was one of master and slave, but in this moment it was the master pleading to the slave for something that only he could give. At this moment, their relationship, crossed the well marked line of master and slave to man to man. They studied each other. “Dominus”, was Spurio’s only remark, but both men knew that the answer had given.
Doctore was the only one worried about Spurio’s next match. Vettius was far too self-centered and preoccupied, when not directly involved in the affairs of the ludus. Spurio himself was still rattled by having seen the sky, the world, drop away. He had no idea what it was, or what it meant. Jesus always said that the absence of the illusion of separation looked like pure bright light. But the reality he had just woken to was completely dark.
Every organ in the body does its job. The liver secretes bile, like the brain thoughts. Since it seemed the sky fall away Spurio’s brain had been excessively secreting thoughts. Successively secreting, evaluating and eliminating ideas before most of them made their way to his consciousness. Each idea, a toehold into understanding what he had seen. And of all the thoughts which capricious randomness could give him, the only idea taking form now was the one that was unthinkable until now. Jesus was wrong. The thought popped up and was immediately suppressed for it could become a full-fledged idea, but like everything else in the dream it fights to live.
Spurio, who could not train had plenty of time to think, his thoughts weren’t the only thing working against him. Claudius Maximus in his quest for redemption against Vettius, has a new gladiator in his employ, but not his ludus. None of Vettius as spies could discover him, but out there, somewhere in Rome, a healthy highly accomplished technically polished gladiator was training, training as though he were fighting the gods, but would be fighting Spurio instead.
It was already a month after his match with the retirarius and yet was Spurio preoccupied, by the darkness, by the doubts about Jesus. His injured left leg could barely hold weight. It was being manipulated by the physical therapists. By this point in his career painful injuries were commonplace to Spurio. In the past he’d always ignored the pain and chatted with the doctors and physical therapists, attending him, but now, he solved with the shoulders hunched and stared at the floor, beyond the floor.
He needed the help of two other gladiators to scale the steps to his room. Once there, however, he noticed a Vettius have left a small, very big gift for him, Lucilla. He was overjoyed to see her, but as her visit lingered a new idea, entered his mind, one he’d never known before. As he saw her sitting there, on the edge of the bed, her beauty, her desirability for the first time in his life he was overwhelmed with the impending sense of loss. Beautiful and desirable now, he wanted to hold her more than ever, but when he stepped toward her he could not back the grimace as the leg sent the screening message of agony to his brain and he stumbled. Lucilla rushed to get him and together they hobbled over to the bed.
Once there Lucilla realize that she was not going to make love to her husband this day. She could feel his burning with fever and see that the pain in his leg would take predominance over all. Lucilla was barely 22 years old and still very much a girl, but as she stroked her husband’s four head propped up the pillows for him to lean against, she sensed, became aware that they were something wrong with her husband, and it wasn’t his leg. Spurio reclined back against the pillows, but he didn’t stay that way long, he immediately lay full out.
She looked up at her into her gentle eyes and told her, told her about the darkness. And as doubt weaved it’s way deeper into Spurio psyche is wife’s response turned it upside down. It was nothing, she said. It was just nothing, just as Jesus always said. Listen now to you, quoting Jesus, Spurio said, laughing, painfully, and fell asleep. Lucilla spent the night in the V shape between her husband arm and body. She cuddled his burning hot arm in hers and lay awake all night. Though there was no way for them to know it, she had just taken the first baby steps toward her own enlightenment.
Three months later
Doctore was livid. Somewhere in Rome was a fierce and seasoned gladiator who had been training for three months while Spurio could barely recover, he could only limp. For all the spies that his and Vettius is money could buy, that Maximus is gladiator was in Capua was the only information they can get. Doctore told Spurio of this and promised to double the name and some useful information about the unknown gladiator, but for Spurio it was completely unnecessary. He instantly knew who his opponent was. Spurio kept to himself, there was no need for Doctore to know. But on this day, it wasn’t just Spurio keeping secrets. He had been with Vettius many years now, and he perceived Vettius’s treachery. Earlier in the week he had pled with Vettius to delay the fight, or place another gladiator in Spurio Stead. But Vettius steadfastly refused, Maximus insisted on Vettius as champion, and that was Spurio. But the treachery did not and there, Doctore realized that Vettius was deliberately sacrificing Spurio to the altar of his own higher ambitions. Politically, Vettius could gain more right losing to Maximus, and politically Vettius was moved as in no other way. Vettius would sacrifice Spurio and Maximus would save face. Vettius would then have his patronage for political advance. It was also painfully obvious, but he would spare Spurio such knowledge, he thought. He was wrong.
As Spurio finally began training, he perceived Vettius’s treachery and forgave it, but he did not forgive it as Jesus would. He did not forgive it by making nothing of it, because it was nothing. He forgave it as one who is wronged. Since he’d seen the darkness Spurio sees the world through the eyes of his separated mind rather than the eyes of the Holy Spirit, and thus had slipped back into the rescuer personality of his boyhood, and now he would rescue Vettius.
Doctore must now train Spurio such that his strength and stamina returns, but his injured leg also heels. With two weeks to go, there was no good way to do it. Yet was Doctore amazed for Spurio had progressed beyond all he could have imagined. He might yet win.

He remembered it not ever like this. Lucilla’s shapely form snaking rhythmically on top of him. It was an experience that made the dreams seem very real and not one he wanted to wake from, and he wondered what was Jesus really talking about anyway.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The last day +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The games began early the next morning. First Lesser known and lesser skilled gladiators were paired against each other en masse. From between the vertical bars of his cell Spurio could see the men entering from opposite sides of the arena and walking purposefully towards each other at its center. He was painfully aware that each man began the morning with high hopes of moving down his road to freedom. But neither Vettius nor Claudius Maximus were in a mood for mercy. The men who lost and appealed were slaughtered, the winners paired against each other again. Before the sun’s shadow was lifted from the arena’s floor not a single gladiator was standing, all their high hopes brought down to bloodstained sand.

Spurio adorned his armor in the manner of a man accustomed to doing a particular task, unconscious, that he was even doing it. It was the same manner in which Doctore had taught him to fight. Warming up, he felt the pain of his injured leg, moving from unbearable to something just slightly less. To save both his stamina and leg for the match, Doctore kept his warm-up, abbreviated. The gladiators would enter from opposite sides of the arena and walk briskly towards each other. Doctore didn’t want his man limping into the arena.

As the gates swung open with the clang Spurio stepped onto the sand into the din of the crowd noise and walked towards the center towards his old friend of Vibius. He was shocked, Vibius had changed his style completely, he was now a Thrax. He fought now with a shield, and a sword curved like a J.. He knew that the sword when blocked still snake around and slice him in the back. All of Doctore’s hard work, just crumbled like grains of sand. He made eye contact with Vibius for just a second. If Vibius recognized or was surprised to see him it didn’t show. He simply turned to Vettius and bowed, Spurio followed suit. It wasn’t surprising to Spurio thought. Gladiators lived trained and grew together, just like Original Sin separation sets in scattering loved ones like dust in the wind.

And Vettius dropped a white cloth to signify the beginning of the bout, and cool dusk breeze blew it away before it hit the floor. To Spurio was a good sign. But Vibius was quick, barely had Spurio turned to look what he felt the impact of Vibius is curved blade against the shield, it staggered him. The rumor that Vibius would be granted his freedom for winning was obviously true, he fought like a man possessed. Spurio now put head into the fight, he determined to fight in the center and make Vibius use more energy and move around him, like spokes around the hub of a wheel. Vibius charged viciously, he had never seen his old friend in this manner before. It felt like he had 10 arms, but Spurio’s shield, sword and own massive body absorbed and sprung back after each powerful blow. Vibius’s frontal assaults weren’t working so, he shifted, moving around in a large circle as Spurio had hoped. It was Vibius, who was using more energy, but it was he who had more energy to use.
Still Spurio was well aware that Vibius was much too good to continue using something that wouldn’t work. Spurio shifted to his left to his right keeping pace with Vibius moving in a wide arc. Then Vibius attacked, but unlike the previous times this time when he stepped back after his failed attempt he moved right back in Spurio, slamming his shield and shoulder into Spurio’s massive torso. Spurio was slightly unbalanced, but it was Vibius, who was knocked off balance. Spurio hesitated not an instant he jabbed reaching with his right arm for all he could, nearly stepping Vibius in the rib cage and ending the fight, but pushing off with his injured left leg made him a second to slow and Vibius regained his balance without injury.

For a cruel hopeful second Lucilla thought her nightmare was over, until Vibius straightened up and squared off against her husband.
Spurio took the standard position, with his left leg forward now. It’s not that his leg didn’t hurt, he was just too busy to pay attention to it, and as Vibius charged in like lightning, this time he gave Spurio something else to think about. Vibius struck diagonally down and although Spurio blocked it, he was a second late, with a shield to close to his body. It was then that Vibius’s oddly curved sword did its duty. It reached like a claw around Spurio’s shield and sliced tissue of his left shoulder to the bone. The pain was worse than his leg had ever been, but not enough to stop the attack he’d already commenced. While fending off Vibius his blade with a clang he lunged in with several short chopping jabs when his blade returned bloody he knew that at least one of them found its mark.

Neither man knew how bad the other was wounded, but each of their bodies recognized their limits against the cold steel of the other man’s blade.

The calculation had changed from preserving stamina to saving blood. Each man would have to kill the other before he bled to death. Spurio’s agonizing shoulder left his shield noticeably low and Vibius sought to take immediate advantage. He attacked with lightning speed but surprisingly big man sidestepped and bladed his body to the attack and was able to nick him on the sword arm as he flew by. Suddenly both men realize that although Vibius entered the arena with more stamina now he was the one losing the most blood. Spurio didn’t have to do anything but wait and Vibius knew it. But Spurio’s shield was now down by his side and when Vibius sliced at his left side it cut a gash across Spurio’s left arm midway between his shoulder and elbow. Spurio shield dropped as he brought his elbow in to his ribs, holding himself, comforting himself. When Vibius attacked again he had only his sword to block with. It might be enough Vibius was slowing down. They who were in a fight to the death were now in a race to it. The loser would survive. Had Vibius looked at his injury he would’ve seen a streaming blood, instead his focus zeroed in on the huge target offered by his one armed opponent. Then he did something desperate. Vibius inched in slowly, cautiously,. Spurio was confused, yet never seen such trepidation on the part of Vibius. He was sure that Vibius was on the verge of death or treachery. Then he noticed Vibius’s shield held low, down to the rib cage. With every fiber of strength remaining Spurio drew back his sword and sliced horizontally that Vibius his head. He was sure that Vibius would be too late to raise the shield; he was right. Vibius drops and shield entirely bent his knees and let the blade swish harmlessly above him. In a split second that seemed like an hour all he could see was Spurio’s huge damage left leg. Remorsefully but viciously he cut it to the thigh bone. Spurio screemed and dropped to both knees, his blade fell ineptly into the sand.
Vibius, bleeding badly moved in for the kill. With his left hand he pulled back to Spurio’s head his right hand placed the point of the blade on Spurio’s throat poised for the command that both men knew was coming. Spurio could feel the slight pressure of the tip of the blade as he raised the two fingers of his right hand to Vettius. Vettius in turn appealed to the crowd and it was in a frenzy. He extended his right fist with thumb pointed out parallel to the ground. Spurio could see Vettius’s head pivoted slowly back and forth its full range. As he scanned carefully, deliberately all the choices came down to just the only choice there ever have been. And then with a final glance at Claudius Maximus, Vettius did what Jesus said we all do. Acting against his word, but in his own self-serving test interests Vettius put his pointed thumb on his own throat sending the command to Vibius to take his old friends life.
Spurio tried desperately to change his dream. In the times when he’d been in different he could change the dream at will, but suddenly, when it deeply mattered all the choices vanished like midst into mid air, the mere wanting of any, instantly doing away with all of the infinitely many possibilities. Betrayed and blindsided as his old friend rammed the gladius through his chest, forcing a gag reflex that he would never live to experience, Spurio’s eyes locked onto Vettius, but it wasn’t Vettius’s treachery that he perceived, it was Jesus’.

+++++++++++++++++++ End the last flight ++++++ +++++++++++++++++++

Nooooooooooooooooo, Lucilla screamed, louder, longer, than she had in her life, whatever would again. Leaning over the rails so that her feet came off the floor, she wailed for a minute continuously without drawing a breath. She shrieked so loud that it could not be heard over the roars of the drunken rowdy crowd. She screamed the life, vibrancy and beauty of youth right out of her, and when her feet hit the floor again, she turned her back bent her knees, collapsed, curled up on the concrete floor, and stayed there till her weeping became shallow raspy breaths, stayed until she was the only one there, until the pale sun came out under a rainy sky.

She staggered down the stone steps and out of the arena in the drizzly light. She meandered lonely cobblestone streets blank in thought with her jaw quivering in slanting rain that was turning cold. Aught for what to do she returned to the dank apartment that Vettius had provisions for her.
It was there that she resolved to end her suffering, but with dagger in hand Vettius’s men summoned her. So, concealing the knife in her gown she determined another way to join her husband and takes Vettius with her. Lucilla did not lift her eyes, had not lifted her eyes since seeing Spurio killed. She did not look directly at Vettius sitting at his desk. He began speaking, saying all the polite appropriate things. What a great champion Spurio was, how sorry he was that he was gone. He said it as though he had nothing to do with it. But when he slid coin that Spurio had won across his desk toward her she reached into her gown pulled the dagger and sliced down at the ugly little man. It was the most futile act she had ever done. The guards were upon her instantly. They ceased her harshly leaving the dagger stuck in the desk. Vettius stood up and walked around the desk and bade the guards to release her. She fell like a sack in his arms weeping. He nearly had to hold her up, but for a reflexive act of revulsion. ” Don’t touch me”, she screamed in a guttural tone as loud as she could, that could barely be heard. Vettius told her that she could stay in the apartment for as long as she lived, and had the guards deliver her and her coin to it. But she never heard him, she fainted in the guards had to deliver her home.

Lucilla didn’t remember what much in the days and weeks that followed. They buried Spurio along with Vettius is other fallen gladiators. She did not attend, nor did she purchase a headstone. It was the expected thing to do, but she would not dishonor him so. It was an ugly and inhumane practice that took her husband, who was himself a savor of lives, a physician and a philosopher.
The days and weeks flowed into weeks and months, but for her nothing changed. She ached for Spurio who was gone and gone with him all hope. It is an incomprehensible, but undeniable mechanism, that a thing available, whoever much want or not, when made unavailable becomes so much more in value, and now for Lucillia that mechanism cast a cold pall over her. He had always seen her as a gentle thing, a flower. But some flowers do not blossom in the shade, cannot thrive in the cold. So, lost and alone and seeing no way out she took the only way out she knew. The one she knew she would take the instant he died. And though she lived in crippling anguish he did so without fear. She feared not to be alone, for companionship brought no relief. She had not fear death, she welcomed.
She studied the dagger, like the one she tried to bury him to Vettius. Though she didn’t approve she had confessed herself that being left alone without him was fitting. She had loved him unquestioningly, with neither motive nor purpose and been in longing of him since. She followed him from Judea to Rome with Jesus or Vettius and now death to stand between them. And now without him her life was unbearable. And here in her fearlessness she can the last say that the cost of Spurio had been too high, loving him had not been worth it. Being apart from him was the only way he could be. So, without hesitation she prepared with both hands to drive the blade home, but a singular odd thought made her delay. “Jesus was wrong”, she remembered her husband saying. She remembered that as though he were in the room speaking it to her now. But Jesus was right as well, Spurio had seen the lack of separation for himself. If she killed herself which should be one with her husband in timeless permanence, or separated from him forever. Can Jesus be both wrong and right?
Wrong or right she couldn’t care less. As she looked at the wall across the room she saw a small dark oval in the middle of it. The voice in her mind said look away, it said he terrified, that for her was impossible. She stared at the darkness, she challenged the darkness, threw her dagger at it, watched it disappear into it and in that instant saw not it for what it was, rather the rest of the world for what it wasn’t,. She realized that the dagger didn’t disappear rather that it never really was. Simply that it wasn’t. Staring there into the abyss she said mournfully “Oh my poor pitiful Spurio, my poor husband”, there was nothing to fear, it’s just the nothingness that is. They were the last words of regret she ever spoke, and after she looked back up she would never weep again.

Her eyes dropped to the floor in tears, but they were the last tears she ever cried. When she looked up she saw rather than the nothingness the oneness of all, and new that she’d made it.

It was so simple she thought. We spend our lives tripping over it never noticing. But Spurio had found it. He’d found and lost it as suddenly as she found it. However improbable!

Although nothing in the dream mattered she had made a promise to her husband, they had made a promise to each other and that promise was somewhere between the dream and heaven. So, she results to keep her promise to leave her message and believe something more. But where? Where could she leave it? She had only to ask and it was answered.
She left the improbable message she had made it, in the only place it could be found, the one place it could not be missed, at the same time fulfilled the promise to her husband, champion, her student and teacher, herself. Then she lived as many years days and seconds as she wanted, teaching the word, but living not in the world until she decided to leave the dream. Then she gently set aside her body and went out with no intention to come back in save to find the one who was lost and help him home.

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For Spurio it was the something more that would make all the difference.
She left the improbable message in the only place it could be found, the one place it could not be missed, at the same time fulfilled the promise to her husband, champion, her student and teacher, herself.
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He told her about the darkness, but she could not comprehend the reason for his alarm. “Jesus always said, I am the way to the light.” But all he saw was darkness so thick it could be touched. Lucilla had never seen her husband confused before, not in any of Jesus’s teaching, word or deed, but now she sensed more than mere confuse, she could taste a palpable loss of faith.
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If you are not, then neither is my life, nor meaning, nor reason to be. Spurio felt a gentle heaving of his wife’s stomach and her tears on his arm. Gently he pulled her, brushed her hair back from her face, and lightly kissed her cheek, and then he whispered to her, “I am not real in your dream, yet I am real. We are all real in heaven and there we are so close that there is no place that one of us ends and another begins, we are all one, the only one.” Lucilla stopped crying, but was not satisfied. If this was a dream she didn’t want to wake up, she wanted everything to be as it seemed, that she lay here surrounded by the man she loved, would always love, and would love no other. To her things were as they should be, if this was a dream, then she did not want to wake up. She wanted to take her husband, live her dream, and Jesus with his strange message to go away. Yet Spurio, the only man she understood less than Jesus stayed with him so, she stayed with her husband, making Jesus’s message all the more threatening, making Jesus all the more threatening.
but could not know what a curse loving him would be.

Jesus came to correct Arjunea and others were born of a virgin birth, died on the cross,, and after three days resurrected.

And even if the money changers had given the coins away altruistically, still they would have been completely selfish. It is as impossible for us to knowingly act against our own perceived best interest, as it is to know it. There can be made no distinction between victim and victimizer, between predator and prey we are all equally selfish, we are all completely selfish. Money is simply a symbol, a powerful one, of that selfishness.

The Site

 

Chapter 1-The Site

Walter Bailey had just finished hanging the 14th floor trusses for the huge window panels that would wall the new bank. He’d had a headache all day and was glad for this one to be at last over. In 40 years of working he’d never really become accustomed to the disaster area, that was a construction site. The smells, churning and commotion, agitated him, the long dark drive to work depressed him, the cacophony of racket that erupted pounded his eardrums until his head split and they all had one or more ass holes, who would work their own mother to death. Walter couldn’t help noticing that most of the guys he worked around for 40 years had never been to his house.

In 40 years of working, he’d come to realize that one site was pretty much like all sites, but in less than four weeks he knew that this one was by far worse in every way than any he’d ever seen. It was smack in the Coral Gables business district. Coral Gables was built on the swamp just west of downtown Miami. The sun there is a furnace whose relentless heat gave in only to the late after noon monsoon, which gave way in turn to the sun turning what had been unbearable into a steamy sauna that was unbreathable.

And in the swamp which became a business district parking was a royal bitch. Every day about two pm, he’d have to drop whatever he was doing run down the however many flights of stairs he was up to sink money into the well, just so the meter sluts couldn’t write him up. The round trip more often than not involved a near death experience with a Dade County fire engine, hook and ladder as they rumbled through the downtown canyons. The blasting air horns nearly lifted him off his feet on his first day on the job and he’s been a target of one or more since. By the time it was done it was a good day, just to not have a hell of a bad headache.

After 40 years of work, Walter felt as though he had been worn down to a nub, most men his age were pitched in a losing battle with a pot belly, Walter was thinner than the he graduated high school. He knew that this would wear him down more, but privately he began to wonder if it would kill him too. He was not thinking metaphorically, but literally the way it had killed, the concrete finisher.

He heard about that just before he came on the site. They were pouring the concrete for the 11th floor when it happened. Walter was an iron worker, but he had seen many a pour, and on a high rises like this it was a cluster fuck. The cement trucks circled the base of the building like a swarm of ants, pouring their loads into huge vats that the cranes –or storks as they were called— lifted buckets of the liquid rock to pour on the flying frames set up on the top floor.

The frames looked for the most part like a gigantic rectangular kitchen table with about a million metal legs under it. They were called flying frames because they were set up on the highest floor. The new floor was poured on top of them and ounce it set the frames were pulled and placed on top of the new one. On this site there were nine frames to a floor for all 41 floors.

The commotion during the pour was frenzied because all the action had to take place before the concrete dried. The dare devils –other than the iron workers who walked on and fastened the beams— were the concrete finishers who stood on the frames as the buckets dropped the rock and spread it out and around column forms to speed up the spreading before the concrete dried. One of them was a young Haitian apprentice named Jean Claude Bastile.

They were pouring the 11th floor when it happened. Bastile was working on the western edge above Pounce De Leon Blvd. when “For reasons OSHA could not determine”, the legs on the form on which he was working collapsed. The form tipped and thousands of gallons and tons of liquid rock cascaded over the side, down 10 stories and cratered the street, splashed up and flowed back in swirling eddied of tidal concrete. As soon as men who had just scampered for their lives, realized that one of them was missing, they had to search for him in the great concrete cistern, Pounce De Leon Blvd. had become. It was impossible for the concrete to dry so fast, but they didn’t find him until it was rock-hard . It took hours to chip it away until they could see his body, hands clawing for the surface, silenced in his scream. For the funeral they had to chisel concrete out of his mouth, eye sockets nostrils and ass hole.

Metaphorically, at least.

After that guys started pointing out all the little accidents that they’d never noticed before, but now it added up to something unexplainable, something evil. The Cubans and Haitians were just too dam superstitious Walter thought. He passed it off as being after the fact, he didn’t believe in evil, he went to church when he had to but for the most part he was a working stiff who believed in God, Country and Larry Csonka. But Walter Bailey had no idea how close he would soon be to pure evil.

Chapter 2-Jack Napoli:

“Baily get your old sorry ass up” Jack Napoli yelled when lunch break was over. Walter wasn’t sure which was weirder, that’s he could be so tired after only half a day’s work or that some freak like Jack Napoli could be foreman. Napoli was a big bully ex-pro fighter with a barrel chest and arms bigger than a man’s torso. He got his kicks out of humiliating and maiming other men. He was dirty and lost as many fights on disqualification as he won.

But win lose or draw in the ring Walter Bailey knew all too well how much damage Jack Napoli with his hands. 10 years ago, In a skyscraper job in downtown Miami, Walter was walking down the stairwell when he heard a lot of noise coming from one of the floors. As he stepped out of the stairwell onto the floor in the middle of men screaming and cheering, he watched Jack Napoli beat dog shit out of a huge mean black ex-con who got this job on parole. It took Napoli a week to goad the kid (to Walter every body, except Napoli was a kid) , but when he came out on the 33rd floor where the kid was working and announced,” I don’t work with no niggers”, parole or no the kid was rough and ready.

Yet when Walter walked out on the floor Napoli was just mopping up. A left to the jaw sent the kid’s body straight up and a right boot to the groin sent his face smashing to the floor on his knees with his ass sticking up in the air. The raucous routing ceased and you could hear a pin drop on the street 33 floors below. And even as a kid tried to crawl away, but couldn’t move Napoli put his huge boot to the kids ass as it protruded there and every muscle the kid had went loose, including his bowels.

They had to scrape the remains of him off the floor and he spent two months in the hospital before going back to prison. Walter was spooked. He had never seen a man beaten that way before. He had the crap beaten out of him, literally not metaphorically. He had never seen another man possess such viciousness and callous indifference. He had never been afraid of a man. But since that day he had no trouble admitting to himself that he was terrified of Jack Napoli.

Jack Napoli never made it big in the ring, but not because he was ever beaten. Instead his career had come to an end when he nearly killed his stablemate and number one heavyweight contender Wily White in Vegas one night. The two were playing poker after a workout and White caught Napoli cheating. He went to do something about it. That was his mistake. A flurry of crashing blows to the head and a stiff knee to the groin had reduced the number one contender to a trash pile of flesh in less than 20 seconds.

After that Jack Napoli couldn’t buy a fight.

Chapter 3 — Walter Bailey

Walter was an Irish Catholic who grew up in Boston’s tough south side. Anyone could get beat up, but he had it ingrained in him as a kid that only the lowest scum backs down from a fight. “You don’t back down from no body”, his father Sean said, to him when he was just eight. “I don’t care if it’s a 10 foot tall nigger , you don’t back down from no body”. Walter didn’t have anything against 10 foot tall niggers, but he knew he rather fight ten of them than one Jack Napoli, and he knew that his father would be ashamed if he weren’t part of the pavement of Lincoln Blvd. in downtown Boston.

Sean, like his son was a sky-walker, that meant he worked hundreds of floors high, welding the iron beams and girders together that would comprise the skeleton of the finished building. Walter had done it too, walking, sometimes jumping from beam to beam with death just six inches on either side of your boot. But his father walked the beams in the Boston’s sleet and snow, not under the Miami sun.

On a winter morning when hurricane force winds whipped around Boston’s downtown corridors Sean and the other skywalkers were testing each others testosterone to see who would go up and work and who would stay, back down, on the ground, on a day when no one should have gone up. Every man in the union hall knew that Sean was by far the strongest sky-walker there, but the strongest walker in Boston would have had to been a bird to be saved on that day. Sean Bailey was far too strong a walker to get blown off the beam, but the beam wasn’t strong enough to hold its mooring. The wind whipped through the guts of the new building and the beam that Sean was walking on, had it’s welds and pins blown apart, so that it and he were blown from the 117th and the largest piece of Sean Bailey they ever found was the size of a finger nail. It was an impossibility that the wind could rip that beam loose like that, but it happened as sure as Sean Baily met Lincoln Blvd at about a 117 miles per hour.

Soon after his mother moved the family to Miami and Walt learned a life lesson in being a parentified child. The only conscious thought he ever had about it was that he would never ever walk on that pavement, in downtown Boston for as long as he lived. Unconsciously he thought that his father sacrificed him to the altar of machismo. His father didn’t care about him.

Walter was tough, but he was also a 54 year old iron worker with a previous heart attack. The doctor told told him not to work anymore and he told the doctor to screw himself, but even in his prime Walter knew he was no match for Jack Napoli , worse he knew he’d back down. It still got to him, that which was inculcated at his fathers knee, he owed it to his father god dammit.

“I don’t care if it’s a 10 foot tall nigger, you don’t back down from no body”.

Sean wasn’t a pussy, he didn’t back down, he got to be a million little permanent pieces of the pavement in downtown Boston, but he back down. Sean was tough but he never fought Jack Napoli, it was something Walter didn’t like to think about.

When he thought about his own kids, he didn’t want to think about that either. He loved his kids, but they came from different times and places. Walter believed in working even if he didn’t like it. An honest man works he told his kids, even though he was already tired of it by then. The oldest, Dan, never got that straight. He moved out at 19, worked part time jobs, sold dope to make ends meet and didn’t have a fucking clue of a plan for the future. For Dan there was no future. He had gone to his dealer friend Eric’s condo to pay him $200 he owed. Then he and Eric went strolling down Biscayne Blvd., when the jealous boyfriend of Eric’s ex-girlfriend stepped out from the corner of Eric’s condo building and sprayed the air with nine millimeter shells like he was misting Patagonians. He missed Eric entirely, but Dan had his brains blown all over Eric’s condo wall.

In order to cope with the tragedies gravitational pull, Walter needed to process, make sense of it, instead he summarized succinctly. To Walter, for the net sum of $200 Dan had his brains sprayed all over that condo wall on Biscayne Boulevard .

His two daughters Karen and Sarah both graduated high school with honors, married nice boys, and moved out of Miami so fast that he might of seriously wondered if Jack Napoli had hits on them. Ungrateful bitches, he still hadn’t seen his grandkids.

That left just Mark and Mark was his pride and joy. Mark just adored Walt, he was still 13, 13, tops in the seventh grade class, and Walter thanked God for him.

He believed in family and work and not necessarily in that order, but as Walter Bailey was finding out, none of those things are real. Reality isn’t real not the way he thought of it anyway.

Chapter 4 — The Stairwell

“Move your sorry old ass Baily”, before you make me make a comeback” Napoli said as he gave Walter his daily rousting. Who the fuck did you kill, or kill for, to get this job, Walter wondered again. Outside of cheating and beating to a pulp a one time confident heavyweight, Napoli was just a big dumb bomber who did know is ass from a hole in the ground. But hits on the side, that was something Walter imagined Napoli would do quite naturally.

He packed up his tools and started into the stairwell, then caught a whiff of something that made him stand bolt upright. “Jesus Christ, I wish those guys wouldn’t piss in the stairwells,” he mumbled to himself.

By then Richie Zettle was already on the fifth, where he just finished cutting another fart. Being so tired put Walt in no mood for Richie today. No one heard it, but they all knew where it came from. Richie was famous for raunchy jokes and farts that could burn paint off the walls. Sometimes they lasted 30 seconds and sounded like a loud barf. Outside of being covered from neck to toe with more tattoos than a comic book, Richie wasn’t a bad kid really. He was just a fuck up, and Walt wasn’t fond of fuck up’s, they reminded him too much of Dan. Passing the fifth floor, Richie Zettle was laughing and cursing as usual, but somewhere between there and sixth floor, something made Richie stop laughing, and that something changed a lot more than just his mood, when Richie staggered out onto the sixth floor he had been ripped to shreds.

“It looked like a pack of wolves chewed him up and spit him out”, one of the electricians said, “It took the ass right out of him.” Blood dripped from every pour of his body and matted his hair down the front of his face, that he didn’t even bother to push back, he just staggered across the floor, bounced off of a support column, then dragging his boots on the concrete and spitting blood walked up to the floor’s edge. Then he just kept walking, fell 6 floors and broke his back on a pile of cinder blocks. After that Richie Zettle never moved another muscle on his own.

OSHA called it an attempted suicide, but never explained the cuts covering his body. In fact only Walter Bailey would know what carved Richie to pieces, and know it

Chapter 5 — The Omen

 

Walter thought that Richie Zettle was dead and felt bad for him, but not so bad that he didn’t take the rest of the day off. OSHA was going to be around asking a lot of questions, and there was nothing the Walter could do for Richie anyway. Walter was parallel parked on Alhambra Street, he stood on the sidewalk as he packed his tools into the back of his truck. Then he walked around the back of his truck, looked down. Alhambra Street towards Ponce de Leon Blvd. and seeing that it was clear stepped around to the drivers side of his truck.

It was then that the hook and ladder seem to have materialized right on top of him. First of the engine rumble by turning his insides to jelly. The Horn hit him like a punch in the face as he was pressed against his truck, pinned. The tires shaved the front of his boot, then came the ladder. When Walter looked up at the ladder driver he saw death.

Its operators spinning its slender vertical steering column madly, clutching at it so tightly that he could see the bare bones in his fingers. And that’s what’s weird. They were bare-bones, his hands and arms too.

The ladder tillerman was a skeleton wearing a black raincoat, black boots and black fire-men’s hat. It stared at Walter through dark eye sockets, turning his head in an eerie slow motion as it passed. That moment seemed like hours to Walter so, he was sure of what he was seeing, a skull glowing white. The huge beast’s wake ruffled Walter’s clothing and dragged his hair down in his face. Then it lifted his stiffened body off its feet and smashed it into the pavement elbows first. Walter’s gaping eyes dropped with his head as his jaw slammed his bottom teeth into the top.

He was looking straight down at the pavement,” your dads in there, in the pavement “, the thought said. A fucking horrible thought, he shouldn’t have had it, Walter chastised himself. But you’re fucking dad’s down there and some day you will be too you piece of shit, the thought said. Looking up he could see the fire engine rumbling down Alhambra Street with circling eddies of trash and black smoke swirling behind. Gasping he rolled over and fumbled for the aspirin can in a shirt pocket. He swallowed the precious little heart pill inside and in physical agony forced himself to start the truck on its way down Alhambra Street in the same direction as the fire engine. His arms hurt so bad he could barely steer or shift gears, but somehow managed to bang second. He no sooner thought that he was on his way home when he locked up the brakes, screeching, burning rubber, sliding sideways over his dead dads, up right from out of the street, torso. There was no mistaking it, the sound of his dad’s skull crushing against the pavement, and thud against the underside of the truck. Alhambra street was somehow empty in the middle of the day and his dead dad was right in the middle of all four lanes of it.

What to do? RUN stupid, just drive the fuck outta here. Wait you hit some-fucking-thing. What? He knew it couldn’t be–THAT, but he knew what he saw Goddammit! What was it, then? Walter warily cracked open the door, and slowly put his foot halfway to the ground, then knowing that he couldn’t have hit what he did, he couldn’t even have seen what he saw, dismissed it. Denied it. He snapped his head forward, engaged, the clutch and forgetting about his agonizing body entirely made the trip home without blinking.

Walter had looked death in it’s cold dead eyes, with no way to know that what was happening to him was far worse.

Chapter 6-Schizophrenic Thoughts:


If Walter thought he was going to get any rest that night he was sorrowfully, wrong.

He had trouble getting to sleep and when he finally did, it was the thought he had when he imagined that he’d run over his father that he dozed off to. Fucking horrible thought I shouldn’t have had it, I had no right to have it.

Later, Jack Napoli had just finished beating him to a pulp right in front of Mark. He was coming around now and Mark was sobbing over him, “You all right Pop? How come you let him beat you up Pop? You all right? You son of a bitch you let him whip you, you let him win. The incongruity of Mark’s sobbing and concern, against his accusing tone rattled Walter more than real punches could. But when Mark went over and listened wide-eyed to Jack Napoli’s old flight stories, he woke up thrashing and woke Kathryn up with him.

Neither of them slept again that night. After 20 years of marriage, or was it 30 years, it didn’t matter anymore, Kathryn was the only thing beside Mark that didn’t make him feel tired. Nothing could make up for the disaster his oldest children had become, but she at least was on his side. Kathryn and Mark were all he had left, the only thing he worked for; but what did he work for? Kathryn would say “you’d keep working if we won the lottery. ” We ain’t won no fucking lottery,” he’d say indifferently to the one who would always stand by him. Walter wouldn’t begin to see how much he’d taken her for granted, he’d kill himself. Never mean to her, but she always stood in the shade of his not noticing and after 30 years some marriages don’t grow in the dark. And of course she was right. We wondered how much longer could she stand by him, knowing she should have left years ago? He only had 11 years to go,..

” You’re going to die on that site”, the thought said.

Fucking Stop It Walter said and slapped himself in the face, hard. Why am I thinking these things? These fucking thoughts are out of control he thought. But it would take a lot more than a slap in the face for Walter to shut off the spigot to the cesspool of self talk cluttering his consciousness.

Walter was not the type to think naturally about such things, but Walter was no longer thinking the way he once thought natural. What he couldn’t know is that all his thoughts had always been out of his control, but now they were attacking him, like schizophrenic whisperings in an echo chamber, they were out to drive him mad, his own thoughts making him think, am I crazy?

They kept coming around again and again, the thought of his father in the road, the thoughts about Jack Napoli , the thought of feeling old and tired. They tormented him, like swarms of killer bees driving a man over a cliff. Buzzing and thumping against you, stone cold sane without a suicidal bone in your body given enough time you’d gladly sprint for the cliff, like a stark raving lunatic, just the way Richie Zettle did. That’s how Walter knew that whatever made Richie jump in 10 seconds, musta seemed like years to him.That’s how he knew Richie really fucked it up. Instead of killing himself he became a vegetable,but his minds ears could hear those wicked wispers, the buzzing like a jet engine, yet he unable to tell anyone or move a muscle. Fuck that Walter thought I’ll jump from the roof when I do it, and wished he could do something to help Richie.

” You’re going to die on that site you fucking pussy”, the thought screamed at him, “You wont jump, I’ll kill you.
Then Walter came up with another idea and went to get his gun, but by the time he put it to his head he was more than ready to blow his own brains against a wall, just like Dan’s. Then that thought took control and Walter put his gun down.
Who will kill me Walter wondered. If I am the one thinking these thoughts, then I must have been the one who thought, ‘ I’ll kill you’. If I kill myself, and who said ‘I’ll kill you”? Actually Walter continued thinking and self could thought the thought, ” I’ll kill you”? like most people Walter was not accustomed to examining his thoughts.He had difficulty getting in touch with his feelings, and usually didn’t think much beyond words and deeds. But now under attack by his own mind, he reacted not with a gunshot or a swan dive from the 41st floor, but by deeply, unknowingly, examining his own thoughts.
In paying attention to the thoughts, he thought of father Diego Sanchez.

Despite his Irish Catholic upbringing Walter and the Catholic Church had split up years ago. He went to church with Kathryn in Miami, but not as a matter of choice. The only thing he remembered was Diego Sanchez seem to pay attention to him. That was at least 10 years ago, and Walter felt old even then so, he couldn’t figure out why the young priest took an interest in him. Was he a fucking faggot? If so he was Goddamn desperate faggot.

Sanchez was no faggot, but he acted like he always had something to say to Walter, but then was afraid to say it. Walter wondered now, had Sanchez been trying to warn him. How would he have known back then.

The only thing anyone knew about Sanchez was that he’d been a priest and psychologist in Cuba, but was now living in exile in Miami and that he claimed to be an incarnate of the big J Jesus himself. Further he said that he was fixing what the church had fucked up, for 2000 years. It didn’t take long for that kind of talk to get him eventually defrocked by the Church. Even after kicking him out, the Vatican continued a smear campaign for years Kathryn told him.

Preposterous or prophetic, doctor or quack, Vatican smear campaign and all Walter knew it would not be long before he would be talking to defrocked,  Diego Sanchez himself.

Chapter 7- Fathers are Like Brothers


Some things can bring men with nothing at all in common, closer together than brothers. One is being a father. John Smith and Walter Bailey had never known each other before that hot mid August afternoon. Glenn Smith was a 19-year-old interior carpenter working summers with his dad. He had a newly reconditioned 1964 Mustang convertible, a letter of acceptance to the University of Florida law school at Gainesville, but most important it was Friday, and he had a date with his girl Sarah and the whole weekend to spend with her. So maybe that’s why Glenn wasn’t watching what he was doing. Maybe it was through an act of careless that the skill saw he was cutting the drywall with, jerked suddenly and cut his left hand off at the wrist landing at Palm up on the floor with a nasty, bloody splat.

But what would explain why he buried the skill saw in his stomach and cut himself up to his throat? Funny, though Sammy Burgess said. It almost looked as if he were fighting the damn thing off. The way he held it away from him with his right arm and how it jerked back and forth its cord whipping around like a tail, then it just went screaming, whining into him.” Glenn didn’t live long enough to feel pain or terror, only astonishment at the attack. The pain would be felt by the fathers,John Smith and Walter Bailey.

Walter came out on the floor just after it happened. He knew exactly how John Smith felt. He’d had this feeling before, first as a kid in Boston when he learned that his dad had died, and how.

“He’s part of the fucking pavement now. Stop it.”

Then when he learned that his own kid had gotten his brains splattered against a condo wall on this Biscayne Boulevard, for $200 worth of marijuana. “How much was a brain worth”, Walter wondered now. “Brain transplant anyone, got a cheepy here, but you will have to scrape it off the wall”. Stop it, stop thinking these fucking thoughts. Stop it. He kept trying to stop it, until he saw Dan get up from the ugly pile ofbutchered flesh and plainly say “Shouda lent me the $200 pop, shoulda just lent me the fucking $200”, he vomited right then and there.

Dan’s ghost would have terrified him, but it was the shocking, disobedient flashback to a desperately suppressedmemory and the tsunami of guilt,that washed over him, bringing his guts up in dry heaves now. Most of us live behind a mask, a thin veneer of goodness covering the murderous rage we carry for our brothers, our sons to which we can never admit. To admit to such atrocious feelings would bring down the weight of self judgment that no one of us can stand. So, what felt like losing his mind was the pain of learning the truth about himself, of his veneer being ripped from his skin in chunks. To punish Dan for disappointing him and being a fuck up, he had taken the hard line, refused him $200, it cost the kid his life and he died with his brains nowhere near his skull.

 

Chapter 8- Coconut Grove

http://images.travelpod.com/users/takinbetz/1.1237673580.coconut-grove.jpgBiscayne Bay reflected the sailboats perfectly in the mornings dead calm. South Bay shore Drive was abroad four lane with center divide. Walter drove the until he turned into McFarland Road where it twisted away from the sailboats, went past Bayfront hotel and up towards Coco Walk and dead ended at the intersection of Grand Avenue and Main Highway.

It was more than simply to roads that intersected there, more than showed on a map.

The streets branched off, lined with expensive exclusive little retail shops, sporting the latest in European fashions. Only a few blocks away, children play in filthy garbage ridden streets. There on any day you could meet beautiful fashion models rushed to catch a plane on the way to another high-paying photo session, or a mean gang banger waiting to blow your brains out at a stoplight just to get your wallet. There could be no other place in the world like Coconut Grove, it was exclusive to Miami.

After Diego Sanchez was defrocked he moved to a supporters home in Coconut Grove according to the Church. He continued “teaching” until he died in a private plane crash returning from a seminar. Like everything else that’s fucked up in life,when Diego Sanchez was alive Walter didn’t want to see him and now that talking to him seems like life or death he’s dead. Now all Walter had was an address and hope he could learn something from someone there.

Walter pulled the family wagon, up next to the curb. It was the same family wagon that Kathryn had made countless many shopping trips in, taking kids to and from school. Walter drove on the annual August madness called family vacation, and to church on Sundays, when Walter used to take his family to church on Sundays. He missed those days now , weeks and months and years, huge chunks of the best times of his life that he’ll never see again. Cursing the releaseseatbelt , that pissed him off that he had to wear it or get a ticket. Then he lifted his aching body up out of the car. Unlike his work truck from which he could step down, the station wagon made him work just to get out of it. But the wind picked up briskly and sweetly as he got out rustling the palm trees and scattering a few leaves, while messing his thinning hair. It stayed that way, and felt good. He didn’t bother to drop money into the meter. It was early Sunday morning, the streets were deserted,

He searched up and down the streets until they all became a vast jumbled assortment in his mind. A resting world now of high of prices and high fashion, things he knew nothing about. Across the street, a beautiful girl walked her ridiculous woolly dog with a graceful sexy stride. The wind blown sheer dress billowed out in front, then swirled around, pushing up between her legs in back and wrapped her in it, like a piece of cellophane. But especialy here nothing is as it seems, ahead of her lay a homeless urchin, covered with newspaper sleeping between the street and the sidewalk under one of the gently rustling palm trees.

The wagon door creak as Walter shut it hard and it closed with a clunk which said that the door no longer lined up with the lock cylinders. The address was the one that the church gave him, the house was a big one story, but not flashy. Spanish barrel tile covered the roof and textured stucco was on the walls. Walter was an construction worker and notice things like that. He liked the stucco. It was solid, something you could depend on in a hurricane, not like the glass that they used instead of walls at the site. He pushed the buzzer and could hear it ring inside. He expected a Hispanic servant to answer, all rich people had servants, and homeowners in Coconut Grove were definitely rich.

Wealthy or not there were no servants at this house. Instead, the diminutive man who opened the heavy wooden door he recognized immediately as Diego Sanchez.
Chapter 9- The Watcher

http://www.mrbartonmaths.com/images/Optical%20Illusions/vase.jpg
The ex priest recognized Walter as well, but Walter almost thought he wasn’t thrilled to see him. Kathryn was the one who set up the appointment between the two, making it a weekend so he wouldn’t miss work, but it was Sanchez who suggested Sunday morning for Walter’s sake because of the traffic. Walter didn’t want a sermon this morning, he needed just the facts maam; but which ones. Walter hadn’t spoken more than two words to Sanchez when he was a priest, what the hell was he going to say now?

They exchanged small talk and Walter followed Sanchez to the kitchen, where he poured 2 cups of Cuban coffee and they both sat at a plain rectangular table. He was pleased that they went not to the sitting room, but the kitchen. They sat at the corner so they could look at each comfortably, but not directly opposite. Walter’s left arm was against the wall and without knowing it, he felt comfortable enough to turn his back and lean against it.

Walter: I wasn’t sure you’d remember me father, egh Deigo.

Deigo: Please, I never liked all that father shit anyway, especially from people older than me.

The shit word made Walter feel even more comfortable, and he knew that he didn’t have to say that he didn’t like it either. In fact Deigo was easily young enough to be his son, just a few years older than Dan, a few years older than he would be, anyway.

Walter: Do you remember everyone?

Deigo: Not by a long shot.

Walter: Who stands out.

Deigo: It’s difficult to say. I forget the weddings and baptisms, the mindless stuff. Unfortunately it’s the troubled people and things that I can’t forget.

Walter: You remember my son then.

Diego: I remember him and the tragedy, but I never considered Dan to be troubled.

Although he didn’t show it, Walter was seriously taken aback, because he had always considered Dan to be troubled. He had always considered Dan to be a fuck up.

Walter: So I’m in trouble then?

Deigo: (laughing) You never said word one to me in church, but here you after what, three years.

Walter: ( laughing) I am here, but what the hell am I doing here?

Deigo: Runaway thoughts? Voices in your head like schizophrenia, only you’re not schizo; stuff like that Walter?

Walter: Jesus Christ father, egh Deigo. They said you went nuts and thought you were talking to Jesus, but I’m gonna believe you did, or I’m gonna shit my pants.

Deigo: Well wait a second Walt I know you don’t believe…

Deigo: I don’t want you to believe in the church or that there’s anything special about me because I talk with Jesus. You need to make up your own mind about me. But know this, Jesus is constantly talking to all of us, constantly trying to break through, the problem is we constantly refuse to listen.

Walter: Why?

Deigo: Because most of us aren’t ready, most of us are afraid.

Walter: Of what?

Deigo: Ourselves. Our preconception of our universe, ourselves and God. Our collective unconscious guilt for a crime that could have never been and a never was and unconscious fear of a retribution that can never be.

Walter: What the hell?

Deigo: Not hell Walt, purgatory. Let’s start with where we are which is purgatory.

Walter: How’s that?

Diego: You know purgatory?

Walter Stilled shocked that Sanchez was reading his mind, but chuckled.

Walter: Sure, it’s your last chance, screw up there and off to hell you and your fucked up immortal soul go.

Deigo: Yea, but for most there is no chance, they are going to hell is anabsolute certainty. And it is especially true for the church, it’s entire hierarchy and anyone who follows their teaching. The church isn’t just leading you down a dead end, but off the cliff. But I gotta say the followers of any spiritual path are equally condemned, any path that doesn’t recognize the illusory nature of reality.

Walter didn’t grasp he significance of that sentence, but he would and how. For now though he relaxed as with his misgivings about Sanchez evaporating the young man, old priest pushed back his chair, spun around in it,got up and went to the fridge, grabbed two beers popped their tops and put one in front of Walter. The two men tipped their bottle tops toward each other and Sanchez proceeded.

Deigo:Condemned though only through ignorance, or blindness. It’s like this, say the bank is gonna foreclose on your house.

Walter: I’m free and clear, burned the mortgage last year.

Deigo: Excellent, but imagine the poor outta work slob, who gets foreclosed on, but had a treasure chest in his basement, but just didn’t know it. Maybe he even passed it or climbed over it a few times, or maybe even thought to look into it someday, but never did. The answer to all his problems, his salvation was always right beside him and he never even knew it. It’s just like that.

The church says that good deeds has nothing to do with being saved, but that you must be forgiven to go to heaven.Well it got the no good deeds part, but screwed the forgiveness part all to hell and back.

Walter: Poor bastard.

Deigo: Who?

Walter: The one with the treasure chest that couldn’t do him any good.

Deigo: It could, but he just didn’t know. Suppose he got around to looking inside, or better yet, supposed he droped something that busted through the top of it, exposing the gold inside. Then that poor rich bastard would know exactly what to do. Now imagine that all that rich bastard’s neighbors had a treasure chest in their basements just like he did, and they were just as ignorant as he was, but he was going around telling them what was up. That’s just what it’s like with me. Only I had to have a hole punched into my skull the size of a sunny side up egg before I saw the light.

Walter: Ouch. What happened?

Deigo: Cuba is poor, for most kids there was only one of two ways out, one was to become a priest, and then not say anything that would piss Castro off too much. It wasn’t a sure thing, but it could work. The other was to leave the island and that was an almost certain disaster. I don’t know which was harder, but I did both.

I was already a priest when I was regularly helping Cubans escape to Miami. I forget how many round trips I already made by boat or plane by then. For this run we had a little trinity of three speedboats and the fairest conditions you could ask for, calm seas and no moon. I was captain of one of our fair vessels and honestly can’t remember what I was doing when my boat collided with one of the other two. I don’t know how it happened, but the other boat must have taken flight because it crashed down on top of us like a whale jumping out of the water.

I was out, then laying on top of something that wasn’t sunk, yet. I could feel my brains oozing out of my head when whatever I was floating on would float no more. I thought I was a goner. I was nearly 30 years old then, had spent my entire life preaching salvation, but I didn’t believe it, I never did. And out there swimming in the water I believed it even less. I kept having this strange thought, more like a voice in my head really, You can’t make it, you got no chance.

The water was warm,I was in shock I guess, not afraid, I just didn’t think I could make it. The other two boats were circling and they even used their lights, –a big no no–, but I was listening to that stubborn thought, “You can’t make it”, and going under. It didn’t even matter to me then if I did, but that though simply seized me. Who was the you that said you couldn’t make it, better yet who was saying it. I didn’t say it, because I would have said, I can’t make it, but the thought in my head said, you can’t make it. So it must have been someone or something else saying to me you can’t make it. Whoever it was they were right because salt water went into my lungs and I gagged, under the surface.That’s when it happened, that’s when I got it or should I say, that’s when I realized reality. I saw my body, not through my eyes, slipping under the waves and realized that I was no longer in it. It’s not so much that I was no longer in it, but I never was.

Walter thought he knew something about being out of his mind, but here was Deigo Sanchez saying the same thing.
Deigo: I don’t know how, maybe the head trauma, or maybe I was in shock and prepared to go down, but I got knocked out of my mind and into my true self. My body that was sinking needed oxygen, my true self needed nothing. My thoughts kept saying “You can’t make it,” my true self could make up any version of the universe it wanted to. I realized what I was and finally saw myself in the driver’s seat.

Walter: But if you not your own thoughts who are you, the thinker of your thoughts?

Deigo: Not the thinker, but The Watcher of my thoughts. That’s what any of us truly are, not the thinkers, but the watchers. Each and everyone of us is our own watcher, but here’s the rub, Walter, there is only one watcher.

We are seemingly seperate, but we all have the same true idenity in The Watcher of which there is only one so, we are all one.

Walter: I don’t get it. Deigo (Walter put his elbows on his knees) there this thug on the job, Jack Napoli, youre not telling me I’m one with him? Please say it ain’t so? (Walter straighten up again)

Deigo: Thug on the job, huh?

Walter: Yup.

Deigo: Well I can tell you this Walter, there is no Jack Napoli. There is no job site, there is nothing anywhere, except in your head and that is what The Watcher sees. The Watcher of any of us is The Watcher in all of us and it sees the one true reality.

Walter: Ok maybe I’ll regret this, but what is that one true reality?

Deigo: It’s simply this: This universe is an illusion, it’s no more real than a projection, a movie. It’s a spiritual optical illusion and once you see it you can change it (the universe) like a script writer. It gives all those miracles Jesus performed a whole different perspective.

Walter: (incredulously) You make up the universe as you go along?

Deigo: Yup! shaking his head.

Walter: Why don’t you just make up yourself a lotto winner then?

Deigo: I made up a hell of a lot more than that.

Walter: Huh?

Deigo: I made up me living through that boating accident. I was a dead gonner and it was a wrap for me in this movie, but as I said,it’s a spiritual optical illusion. I didn’t theorize this Walter I saw it and still see it. It’s like Escher’s Staircase it’s anything you want it to be, only restrained by our inability to see it in all the ways it exists. And with all of the infinite possibilites we usually see the universe the way we expect to and that’s what we get.

Walter didn’t know Escher, but instinctively knew that Deigo was talking about the same thing as the black and white poster he’d seen in Mark’s room. The white part was a vase and black looked like two people facing each other. When you stared at it the image morphed back and forth, which ever one you wanted to see is what you saw. He knew Deigo wasn’t crazy or putting him on, but he had really seen the nebulous nature of the dream of the universe. The old Walter would be leaving now, this one was transfixed.

Walter: So, that’s how did you get rescued, you saw the universe in that way and it happened.

The remnants of his Boston accent coming out.
Deigo: Not bad for a Catholic, Walter.

Walter: So, when a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one to here it, it still makes a sound though.

Deigo: Nope. It makes sound waves, but there is no sound because there is no receiver. It’s just like the radio waves in this room are just waves, but there is no sound because until someone turns one the radio.

Walter: You mean no sound until some hears the radio.

Deigo: I was just testing you Walter.

They both chuckled. Deigo pulled his left foot on the edge of his chair, wraped his left arm around his knee, and sipped his beer, Walter didn’t flinch.

Deigo:The universe isn’t real, but reality sure is. That’s what I saw, the brutal duality of it. I could see the universe, as a dream. Beyond the dream I saw God in heaven, and I could see hell.

The bible says “In the beginning”, but there is no beginning or end, there is just those two distinct states of being, heaven and hell. In heaven there is only eternal bliss and it’s always now. The bliss was beyond your imagination here in this dream we call reality. The bliss comes from being in perfect oneness with God. Being perfect oneness with God means that you could not imagine anything that was not God or yourself. There was no separation, you are one with God, you are God. The only difference is that God created you, you did not create God. We are not part of God, each and everyone of us is one with God. God is everywhere and everything and we simply say God Is.

Walter: If God Is, why can’t I see him? How the hell did I get here then?

Deigo: Not hell remember, but purgatory, that’s where you are. You got here and the universe got here, because you had this one tiny mad idea, not a thought but a partial thought that was not a thought of God. The thought, the question, was, what would it be like to be apart from God? You waited for God to answer, but he didn’t. It’s not that he couldn’t answer, but he wouldn’t. To God it was a non-question, there was no such thing as separation so, it would be like asking, what would it be like to live in a place that does not exist. There is no such thing as separation so, there was no answer from God.

The non-answer from God to your non-question, you mistook as rebuke. You mistakenly believe that God is angry with you for leaving him, this is original sin, for which all mankind feels deep, subconcious, unabiding guilt and expects severe and merciless retribution for a crime that never was.
This is where Satan comes in and says, “look I’ll show you a place to hide” He’s not a demon or a devil, but a device of your mind. My background is in psychology so I call it the Ego, but it’s not the same ego most psychologists talk about. The ego is the part of your mind that makes up and protects the thought of separation from God. It was the ego who came up with the grand idea of the Big Bang, this great big universe and everything in it to hide from God. It’s the ego that tricks you into believing that the universe is real. How silly, could we really hide from God? But burdened by original sin and mistaken guilt we easily denied the reality that God is.

So, the false universe that we fill with cruelty, inhumanity and bloody wars, with all of our self centered, senseless, vicious defense mechanisms, all stems from the fact that the ego has tricked you into thinking that God is angry at you for leaving him. This makes you angry, not at God, but at yourself. You then unconsciously displace this rage at the rest of the world, even though it’s not really there. You anticipate and create the universal backlash that you receive from the outside world. It’s the Ego’s trap.

The ego’s trap is projection of self hatred, but the Ego’s nature is hate. The Ego hates. That’s not what it does so much as what it is. It hates all that is pure and love and joy. It hates all that we call life even here in the illusion. It hates humanity and will try to leed it into hell and your Ego hates you. Remember that: the Ego hates you.

That leaves us, you, me and humanity with only one purpose in life Walter, which is to break free of the Ego and get back to heaven from where you came, and you have only one way of doing it, which is complete total unrelenting forgiveness, the Ego has only one purpose, to prevent you from it.

Walter: Why?
Deigo: The Ego like anything else even in the dream wants to survive, once you see the light of heaven, the Ego is instantly undone.

No one will choose hell over heaven so, the Ego tricks you into thinking its real with love and hate, good and bad, duality. Just like a movie nothing in the universe is real, nothing can hurt us unless we get caught up in the movie, and make it real to ourselves. We make real the preceived

attacks of others when we don’t forgive them, but no one did anything to us because no one of us is real, the universe is not real.

We make the universe real by giving credence to thoughts of unreality. Via the Ego we project our hidden hate onto our brother then crucify him for them, happily unaware they are in us. The Ego hates us and wants us to hate our brother, blame him for our sins, and keep the illusion alive. So, to see beyond the dream you must you must forgive everything in it. To return to heaven you must forgive.

In heaven there is only love, no hate. In the universe the Ego perverts love via duality, adds to it the flip side, hate. Now we love some and and hate others, and fall deeper into the illusion. This is why the only way back to heaven is through complete and unremitting forgiveness.

Walter: God won’t let a pissed off soul back in?

Deigo: It’s not that God wont let us in.God Is and heaven is a timeless state of being in perfect oneness with God, unaware of anything that isn’t God. Something cannot be both separate and not separate from God anymore than it can be both real and unreal, exist and not exist. Whatever you have not forgiven, is separate from God. It’s not that God won’t let you, it’s just that you can’t go, the key won’t fit.
Walter: But even the good things? What about my wedding day? It wasnt God.

Deigo: Then it wasn’t real so it wasseparate from God. Forgive it Walter, that just means don’t make it real to your true self anymore. The good and the bad are equally illusory, but the good are even more dangerous. Good deeds will do no good. Not for the doer or receiver, because no one does anything to anyone except in a dream. Something that’s real in your dream cannot be real when you wake up and when you do, the universe disappears and there is only heaven and hell. The question is: which one do you want to be in? The answer is easy.

 

Chapter -10 The Ego Monster


The Dolphins were playing in the Orange Bowl and much of the usual early afternoon traffic was absorbed by the game. So, when Walt got northbound on I-95 his mind relaxed and thought it’s own thoughts. He had spent five hours with Deigo Sanchez, drinking up everything he said. Walter didn’t know about mysticism or the Big Bang, he didn’t have a Ph.D., he had a union card and carried a lunchbox. Even so, Deigo Sanchez was able to let him understand everything to at least a first approximation, and as he drove the concepts kept gestating.

It wasn’t all that hard to see why The Church had such a beef with Sanchez. The Church taught that our salvation lie in being forgiven, Sanchez said it lies in forgiving others, the church teaches that God is the creator of the universe and is out side of us, Sanchez taught that we created the universe in our minds and that we and God were once one, the Church wants us to believe in it, Sanchez said God wants to reunite with us in perfect oneness. These are each diametrically opposite teachings, but Sanchez said we must reunite with God, because the alternative is unthinkable.

And if not unthinkable, then certainly unbearable. It is a state of being which is the worst of all your sick perverted thoughts and self loathing. It is a state of perpetual punishment for your assumed guilt.

Sanchez made him think of his worse mood of his life. Walter couldn’t pick a number one winner for being the loser, but he had a 54 years of hard life candidates.

“Try to imagine your body on fire Walter, imagine being on fire for eternity.” But Walter didn’t have to, he only had to think of the time, the one time that Kathryn left him. He could still feel the sorrow and panic, rushing from one place to another, bar, bowling alley, any place that wasn’t here just to feel one bit better, but everywhere he went, he carried the pain of certain knowledge that she had left him. That had been so many years ago nearly forgot it, and it was worse than anything the Jack Napoli could to do to him.

He thought of the deaths of his dad and his son, and finally allowed that he really missed his daughters. He he never did think of it before this, but there was plenty of pain to round out his life.

Then he thought of his heart attack, pinned to the ground with a truck parked on his chest. If that’s what hell was like that Walter knew he couldn’t handle it, but what Deigo Sanchez was telling him was that he would have to bear it for eternity. He didn’t really give a shit about heaven, but he knew hell was no place for this old ex catholic.

That what was at stake. Your universe and everything in it are made up by you, it was dreamed up by you and would pop out of existence once you resolve them, one way or the other. Forgive everyone who shit on you for life you identify with the Holy spirit and reunite with God. If you don’t, get faked out by the ego you are shit of luck for eternity. Simple.

Impossible!

“Forgive, forgive, forgive God dammit.” he shouted slamming his hand on the steering wheel.Saying it, not getting it. Seeing the world in terms of forgiveness or judgment was fine for most things, but what about that freak Jack Napoli, there was only one way to judge that.

Outside of Napoli, who was there to forgive.

Sanchez said that even in the dream, we all play all the roles, victim, victimizer, the condemned and condemning, the predator and prey,morphing from one to the other and back again unconsciously. And wasn’t he right he now thought. Had he not always blamed Dan for going off and getting his brains blown out? Had he not treated it as though he were the victim, as if Dan had it done to him when in reality the only thing Dan was guilty of was being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and for that he lost the rest of his life. Who was the real victim there? He knew.

And what about his daughters, did they really get married in a hurry so they could move out of the house, or did they fall deeply in love and go off to start lives and families of their own as he said he wanted them to do? He knew.

So, in an extraordinary display of forgiveness Walter unknowingly forgave all of them. Unaware of the power he had and had just demonstrated there remained one black marker on his score card.

Walter knew that he was thinking in worldly terms about things for which there was not earthly representations, so it could get muddled, but the point about Jack Napoli is that he isn’t real, but a projection of Walters subconscious guilt. Forgive Jack Napoli goddamit and he would pop out of existence along with the rest of the universe, and he’d be home free in heaven. So, forgiving Jack Napoli meant not simply forgiving himself, but realizing that there had been no crime to begin with. Walter would have to begin to see things in a much different way.
Before Walter really thought he absolutely needed this job, but now he thought he needed to at least save his life if not his immortal soul. He knew the next job that would be ready was at least six weeks away, but now he didn’t give a shit. Driving on he felt the fog clearing as his thoughts coalesced around a six-week vacation, getting away from Jack Napoli and having more visits to the ex priest Deigo Sanchez. He remembered him saying how his mind’s device called the ego sometimes attached itself to certain people or places as he unconsciously pushed the old war wagon up to 85. Obviously his personal Satan had a fondness for Jack Napoli and the site and he intended to avoid them both. But Walter Bailey’s personal demon had different ideas.

He was the only car on the road as he sped over the downtown flyover. About a mile south of the 836 on-ramp to 95 it happened. The 836 Expressway was a road he took west to work each day, but he wasn’t even thinking about the fact that he was on about the same latitude as a site when when he noticed that he was holding the steering wheel in his hands, just the steering wheel all by itself. Without announcing itself the steering wheel had somehow simply come off the column, and now with Walter was holding the useless rim in his hands. Reflexively he tried mightily to push the steering wheel back into the steering column. Pushed so hard that he jammed the horn on, but did not return control to the driver. Walter’s family wagon crashed into the left lane concrete guardrail, while spinning to the right it crossed eight lanes of traffic, hit the right lane restraining wall sparking and with metal peeling and curling off in chunks it spun back across the eight lanes collided again with the left lane median wall, jumped it and landed upside down in the southbound lanes and slid another 300 feet to a grinding sparking stop. The horn stayed rammed into the on and shrieking position. Walter should’ve been unable to hear it, he should have been dead. But for Walter Bailey there was no such luck.

Chapter 11-Pop Goes The Universe

Soon after the rollover Walter abandoned any thoughts he had of contacting Deigo Sanchez or of quitting work. Whenever he dialed Sanchez’s number somehow he always got the wrong number, no answer or as in the last dozen or so attempts, the line simply was dead. Instead his crew had been working 10 hour days for three weeks now and it was killing him. He had spent most of the week working in the generator shack that jutted up from the middle of the roof like a guardhouse, welding the generators to their trusses. There were five iron risers from the rooftop to the door of the generators shack, that you could fry an egg on. The only break in the heat came with the afternoon monsoon, that lasted for less than an hour. When the sun came back out it was just as hot, but so humid you could drown.

The only other structure on the roof was the stairwell housing on the far east side. Walt’s apprenticed Donnie Blade was talking about the Richie Zettle thing, again. “What do you think Walt”? ” I think you’re beginning to sound as superstitious as those damned Cubans”, he growled. Walt didn’t want to talk about the Richie Zettle thing, he didn’t even want to think about it so, he sent Donnie to the 6th floor for the rest of the day, then Walter was alone.

It was the 2:00 pm break time, the hottest part of the Miami day when Walter put down his torch down, and stepped out of the generator shack for smoke, but when he saw Jack Napoli come out of the stairwell, he crushed out his cigarette and slid back inside.

Napoli walked slowly to the generator shack, his boots making a casual clump, clump across the rooftop. The wind pushed Napoli’s jet black hair out of his eyes and billowed under his loosely buttoned denim work shirt, revealing the huge barrel chest as he was rolling up his sleeves. Unlike Walter the sun and heat didn’t bother Jack Napoli.

Inside the generator shack Walter picked up his torch. The same torch he had just been using which was full of fuel, was somehow empty and usless. Walter would have to hide.

Napoli was walking slow, but closing in. Walter looked around and knew he’d have to move quick. He caught sight of the twin I-beams that ran down the length of the building on the west wall that was the back of elevator shaft number 3. Called I-beams they were really a three dimensional T and there was about a one foot gap between the T’s crosses, like so T T. The only approach to the twin beam cubby hole was the 2 foot wide girder between the elevators that ran right up to the slit and a crawl beam that protruded one foot from the west wall that the I-beams them selves protruded from. Napoli could never walkthe crawl beam, his shoulders were way to wide. His only approach would have to be right up the front. He would walk the 20 foot length of girder to the slit entrance, but once again he was much too wide to get inside.

One good thing about working for 40 years is that he wasn’t fat. They were a long way from where he was and he couldn’t be sure that he could fit through that slit, but if he could then it was a good bet thatNapoli wouldn’t find him. When he heard a heavy boot drag across an iron riser Walt leaped like he hadn’t since he was a kid leaving school. In the same motion he dropped his tool belt and skipped toward the bay of elevators where elevator shaft #3 was located. He moved fast not worried about the noise, it was all drowned out by the ancillary racket of the site. Walter walked the 20 ft length of the 2ft wide beam like he’d walk to the fridge for a beer. After 40 years it was one athletic thing he could make look easy. He knew Napoli was inside now, but as he tucked his stomach and forced his tired body through the 1 foot slit he felt that for once he may have just made it.

“Bailey get your ass out here, I have something for you”, Napoli bawled. Walter knew that something would hurt. As soon as he squished inside he turned his body 90 degrees, putting his shoulders to the wall and he looked directly ahead. He had no peripheral vision, only the straight forward view offered by the slit. He couldn’t see Napoli, but then Napoli couldn’t see him either. Better yet it was darker in there, even from head on Napoli would have to know that Walt was inside to see him, and the and one thing about Napoli is that he didn’t know much.

Napoli kept calling and crooning for him, but for Walter not moving was his best move.

Standing in the heat there, hiding in fear, safely trapped,a kid stuck in a refrigerator, he was oddly struck by a strange familiar reference to Richie Zettle. Familiar because he remembered it, strange because he had never known it. His remembering was Richie’s and it wasn’t subtle.

When Richie was a kid he hidfrom his older step brothers Tommy and Everett under an old overturned refrigerator in the woods behind their dad’s garage. The brothers found him by the sound of his breathing. Instead of beating the shit out of him as was routine they put a nearby engine block on top of it and left him there all night, but even the callous brothers never intended for what happened to happen. Walter could feel their embarrassed remorse, they truly never thought about the rottweilers. The three guard dogs their dad released each night just before going home. The dogs wouldn’t bite their dad or them, but anyone else was dog meat including Richie.

Walter could feel the cold sweat running down his back, not his, Richies’s. He felt the cold ground under his body. The growling, spitting, snarleing beasts slammed continuously into his tin can so hard the small boy thought for sure, they would penetrate it. He could hear the engine block rocking on top, threatening to fall off leaving nothing to keep the beasts out. Pinned there in the dark he could feel blinding, paralyzing, terror running through his senses, like a street sign in huge capital letters- TERROR blocking his entire field of vision.

Walter curled up in the fetal position, hearing Richies mind repeating itself over and over,this isn’t happening, this isn’t real. As Deigo Sanchez had taught Walter, it wasn’t, but a small boy trapped by vengeful brothers, and vicious dogs was helpless to undo the universe of his own making. Richie was trapped like men in a submarine in the old black and white war movies he would watch. Following hours of relentless attack on his tin can the animals rested briefly, just long enough to fake the kid out that they would leave, but just as the small boy thought they would go instead they resumed the attack. As the growling and banging carried on and he closed his eyes tighter and tighter. Although he wasn’t keeping count in all he spent 18 hours in self-imposed darkness, because the dark wasn’t nearly as horrible as the light. And trying with all his might to squint his eyes and make it go away, still the reality flooded in. Not by overturning the refrigerator, but digging under it. When little Richie felt the huge hairy paws brush against him as they clawed ever closer, he hit the hit back button and kicked and punched as mightily as a small boy could, he even managed to stab one of the paws with a small pocket knife, but when the Rottweilers finally dug under the refrigerator, they dug into every pore of Richie, dug in to the bone. There was no one to stop them. The only thing that saved Richie was that dogs tired of him. Somehow that small boy found a way into that universe in which the dogs showed mercy. To Richie and the rest of his universe it just seemed that the dogs stopped, but Walter knew that Richie had finally subconsciously chosen his own universe, just as Sanchez said.

They didn’t find him bleeding, near death on the ground, until the next morning when Jimmy Palmer was opening the garage. Only the hospital saved Richie from another beating by his stepfather for being late and getting himself chewed up by the Rottweilers.

Shit Walter thought, fucked up as he was no one deserved to be treated like that. And there was more that he understood about Richie, the deep shame that Richie carried through life with him, and what he expected from it.

Young children have an unconscious expectation that their mother will love and protected them. But Richie’sunconscious expectation of maternal protection was carved out of his psyche by the rottweilers, who at least stopped, even when his mother never showed. Walter felt her more concerned with her abusive new husband and not making waves, than protecting Richie. Richie felt far from unloved, but unlovable, and confused, what had he done that was so wrong that she threw him to the dogs? To Richie that is why there was no one to help as the dogs chewed into pieces. Although he was able to subconsciously morph his universe into one where the dogs displayed mercy, he was unable to create one in which he had a loving, caring mother. Richie subconsciously blamed himself for it, subconsciously he expected, demanded more punishment. As Walter knew he would get it. So he covered and recovered each mark of shame with tattoos, masked his rage in a clown suit, and surround himself with biker pals, who neither got too close nor went too far, they beat the shit out of him for initiation rights, but eventually stopped short of killing him just as the dogs had.

And Walter realized that as with his son, in a rush to judgment had summed up a man’s entire being with the two words fuck up, completely unaware of the depth of the judged and the shallowness of the judgment. As he was finally learning the true reason for all things run much deeper.

And now Walter knew something else now about Richie. Walter knew they saw Richie go from the fifth to the sixth floor in less than 10 seconds, but to Richie it was about 18 hours, 18 hours was just long enough for Richie to re-experience that childhood nightmare andmore than long enough to send him over the edge. But, Richie did more than just remember it, he re-experienced it for the first time. Unable to control his thoughts still haunted by the guilt instilled at childhood, as he was climbing the stairs, his mind ripped him to shreds again. And the 10 seconds in the stairwell that Richie experienced as 18 hours proved that time was a joke as well. But the worst thing about Richie Zettle is that sitting there a vegetable in a wheelchair without even blinking, he was re-experiencing that thing every second of every day and would be until the day he died. Richie Zettle lived in hell.

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How much better it would have been for Richie if he had jumped from the 36th floor. If Walter ever got out of this he was going to kill Richie himself. If he ever got out.

Walter wondered how long he was going to have to wait. In 40 years he’d long ago given up wearing a watch, it made it way to easy to watch the clock and that made time drag. He figured it had been an hour or so since Napoli first came up. It was hot and he was sweating profusely, but then came that feeling the someone had just turned on an air conditioner and that meant the afternoon storm was blowing in from the West making it about 4 O clock.

The cool freshness lifted his spirits and he was surprised at his own calmness. How long to wait now was the only question. In a couple of hours the site would be deserted and he could find himself alone with Napoli. Between now and then Walter figured that Napoli still had his own job to do, which was telling everyone else what to do, a job he loved. So, Napoli must have moved on, he figured. But when Walter head the pop of his own torch lighting up and saw the blue flame shoot outside past the narrow slit that now trapped him he nearly jumped out of his pants. The blow torch hissed and seemed suspended in air, but obviously Jack Napoli was attached to the other end of it and as if to make the point Napoli announced,”Hey Bailey, I got something for you.”

It was fucking impossible! Naploi had carried Walt’s rig (torch and fuel tanks) along a hundreds of feet along a one foot wide ledge with nothing to hold onto except the flat wall to the outside and 41 floors of thin air-to -the-ground to the inside. He did it without making a sound. How? Then he knew how. Napoli wore the rig like a back pack, but instead of walking the crawl beam he hung from it with his finger tips and went hand over hand to from the north west corner to the twin I-beams. Then he pulled himself up. Only a monster!

With the torch in his left hand Napoli waved the flame around in front of the slit, then with his right hand on the corner of the I beam and the torch still in his left, he casually swung his huge frame around, in front of the slit like a door slowly closing. Walter was trapped like a sardine. Napoli casually pointed the flame up, “Hey punk, I said I got something for you. You’re not afraid are you”? -pause–“PUNK.”

Walter actually wasn’t afraid now, so long as he knew that Napoli could never fit his massive chest and shoulders through that slit, and though honor demanded a response Walter was way beyond such thoughts now. This was life and death and Walt knew that all he had to do was sit tight and he was determined to do just that. And the weather was now on his side as the wind ripped the rain sideways into the generator shack. Maybe Napoli would let it go till another day. Walter wasn’t going to answer or move, until Napoli dropped the flame tip and pointed it right at him, scorching him badly on the left cheek.

His scream was partially drown out by the wind and a thunder clap followed closely. Reflexively he brought his left hand up to his cheek as he fell back on his ass kicking up frantically at his attacker as he did. Napoli pulled the flame thrower out, then reached in with his right hand and grabbed one of Walters flailing boots, lifted it straight up, so that Walter was hanging upside down by an ankel, then dropped him, reached down and pulled Walter by the scruff with his right hand while slowly, deliberately moved the flame closed to Walter’s left eye with the left hand. As Napoli stood on the beam, like he had drawn back a bow to shoot an arrow, Walter noticed that he wasn’t holding on to anything. He tried to push away, no chance, tried to break Napoli’s grip on the back of his neck, but it was a vice. Napoli was pulling him closer to the hissing flame, he turned his head away to the right until it almost twisted off, reached into his back pocket and pulled out a wire cutter, opened it around the little finger of the hand holding the torch and cut it off from the lower knuckle.

With that Napoli dropped Walter, the torch and the acetylene tank. The tank was heavy and would probably kill somebody 42 floors down, but the wind was strong enough to deflect it 45 degrees sideways. Walt could hear, it’s pounding fall for what seemed, hours.

If Napoli was in tremendous pain he didn’t show it. He just took a few steps back, cupped his left hand in his right and brought them both to mouth. His coal black eyes bore through Walter. He reached into a pocket and came out with a handkerchief, that’s when the wind gusted, and blew him off. Walt couldn’t believe the good fortune, but didn’t wait. He scurried out from the slit holding his own hands and ran across the beam past the elevator shafts, the way he had come and out the door onto the roof. His left cheek was swollen now so he only had 50% vision from it. Otherwise when he looked back, he would have seen gigantic arms give the beam a bear hug and Napoil pulling himself up.

Holding his left arm, descended from the generator shack touching every step. The rain ripped at his face and Walt squinted his eyes almost shut under an afternoon sky that had turned gunmetal black–the same gun that had blown Dan’s brains out. Even now his minds thought wouldn’t leave him alone. The storm was a veritable hurricane now and the rain ripped at his flesh. He felt his heart bang, bang, banging the hallow inside him. How much more could it take? Not much. Strange that he of all would be the one to make Napoli bleed, but almost wished he hadn’t, almost wished he’d taken it right there, almost.

Staggering against the hurricane force windsout on the roof it seemed to him that he might just make it, one way or the other. Either to the stairwell, or the ground being blown off from here. He nearly made it to the stairwell, but Napoli closed in at light speed from behind. Walter turned and somehow brought his left arm high enough not to block so much as make contact with Napoli’s vicious right. The brutal impact of the blow broke his left arm so that bone shown through the skin. He staggered two steps back, both knees buckled and crashed to the concrete.

There on his knees Walter could see the raw force of the thing he called Jack Napoli.The winds had ripped Napoil’s shirt off but otherwise had no effect on his massive body. It stood there impervious, indifferent, a robot sent to destroy him. There was not other explanation. Walter gathered enough courage to put his right knee up and try to rise, but Napoli kicked him hard in the right shin, just as Walter put weight on it. The leg broke, would not support his weight and again Walter crashed to the concrete, but this time he had help getting up his Napoli grabbed him by the throat and by the groin and threw him down the stairs.

Walter hit the first landing with the pain, crushing his chest so hard that he forgot about his broken arm and a broken leg.

He was frozen for moment in eternity, it seemed. What the hell are you waiting for a voice inside of him? He descended the raises two at a time.

Walter was in agony. His ankle is the size of a football, and his arms and ribs were bruised and his head and face were bloody mess. His heart pounded like a sledgehammer in his chest and he knew that he wasn’t going to escape this one. He leaned on the iron railing hands bloody and bruised and blistered and ascended the steps two at a time I has decent left leg. By the 11th floor Walter could see the vapor of his breath in the feel the film of ice on his skin. At the ninth floor and he could feel the blood oozing from his head, with each tremendous smash of his heart. It was as if someone had stabbed him in the chest with the Red hot Blade. Between the sixth and seventh floors, he shared an experience with Richie Zettle.

When Walter reached sixth floor landing he leaned against the wall with his right shoulder, standing on just his left leg. He held his dragging right leg in the air, his right hand coddling his left forearm. The broken arm did not even take precedence in all of the places that he hurt now.
What he needed most right now was to breath so, he put both shoulders flat against the wall and reclined more fully.And though he was running from Jack Napoli evil was closing in, breathing down hot onto the nape of his neck as the foul breath of the something beastly with a low rumble of it’s guts that rattled his insides. There was a brilliant flash as from of someone snapping a picture. And though he was leaning against the wall in a split second of stark photo phosphorescence he could see the black shadow of a rottweiler behind him projected onto the opposite wall, a rottweiler the size of a horse.

The lines in Walter’s face deepened as he opened his mouth in a silent scream, his left cheek the size of a basketball, he was grotesque. Then there was another flash of stark white and there was Jack Napoli. There stood Napoli in front of him they were in the same building on the same floor that he first saw Napoli beat the dog shit out of the huge mean parolee. But the parolee was nowhere to be seen this time it was just Walter. He didn’t even bother to ask how this could be happening, he was making it happen. How could he make it stop? Napoli grinned, preparing to toy with him, but even playing the kick to his groin was faster than Walter could see. He could just make out the blur of Napoli’s leg as he grabbed his crotch and fell face first to the concrete floor.

Walter writhed there on the floor in a toxic and combustible mixture of fear and rage, hearing the shots of other men screaming and cheering. Writhing there on the floor fear morphed into blinding rage. Raged so blind that Walter would attack Jack Napoli , the monster, the man who broke his arm with one punch. Still holding his left arm Walter rose to both knees. Then he snapped those knees straight and slammed his body into Napoli’s legs wrapping his flapping left arm round his knees as he did and drove Napoli to the floor in a fit total range. But when Walter saw Jack Napoli pop out of existence he knew that Sanchez was right again. And Napoli didn’t just disappear, he popped out of existence, as though he was never there and Walter’s left arm, cheek and right leg were both restored to the state of having never been broken. Walter felt cheated and now the guttural scream came from him, a murderous rage with no vent was turned outward to the next closest living thing he could find.

Donnie Blade happened to see Walter pass the sixth floor and thought something must be wrong, it was. Donnie caught up with Walt on the fifth floor landing in just a few seconds as Walter had spent several minutes, first getting the shit beat out of him, then disappearing Jack Napoli from the universe. “Hey Walt,” Donnie yelled. Bailey reached out with his left hand snapped Donnie’s neck like he was swatting a fly, then brought him down across the front and with a flick of the wrist tossed his entire body like a piece of trash sliding and banging over everything in it’s way all the way across the fifth floor. The last thing that Donnie Blade saw just before his eyes popped from their sockets was the walls beginning bleed.

With Jack Napoli “disappeared” he turned his homicidal rage to those on the ground, when that was done downtown Miami was next on the menu. And as the thing that Walter Bailey was becoming descended the stairs to the street to kill, the walls began to bleed.

The thing never touch the risers as it jumped from half floor landing to half floor landing on the way to a blood orgy in the street where the kills would be most plentiful. At the mezzanine, then the ground, then it burst into the street and top-flight, pursuing an unwary pedestrians like a lion chasing a gazelle. The thing that was Walter Bailey neither heard nor saw the hook and ladder.

The engine caught him square in the middle sent sailing over 100 feet and smashed side of his head and face into the pavement. Before his body could bounce the engine caught up with him ran over him again, Walter’s body spun over and over and over as it did in the car wreck, but this time it ground against the pavement and the underside of the truck each time.

He continued to feel body parts bouncing against the pavement. By the time the back tires ran over him Walter was becoming was indifferent to the critical thumping sound of his body, like tennis shoes in a laundromat dryer. The tires of the hook and ladder finally cleared him and Walter’s body rolled for another thousand feet down Alhambra Street street, then slithered to a halt. It laid there barely a lump, he was a piece of the pavement now, just like Sean. “You’re down here too you piece of shit” But Walter wasn’t down there, he was not his body and knew that he never was.

Neither was the universe that was popping out of existence around him. It isn’t real he thought, what is, is horrible and much more so than the Hell Richie Zettle lived in. It was the last human thought Walter Bailey had before dissolving into pure evil.