Continued from here
There were general nods of agreement around the room. That made sense: the various ‘Liberation Army”s and “People Front”s spent so much effort on arguing the correct way to liberate Israel, that it made it easier for the Romans to occupy us.“What do we know about him?” Josh asked.The Chief checked his notes again. “Jesus Bar Joseph” – he waited for the laughter directed at me to die down- “son of a Carpenter…” (continued)“Oh, not the Boss then” called Tommy, getting in another dig at me “I’ve seen him torture bits of dead tree with his rusty saw.”“…born in
Bethlehem…” the Chief paused, re-reading the next part with a frown on his face “says he was born about 33 years ago.”The whole room went quiet. I looked at Jacob out of the corner of my eye. He had been close to his little brother, and had never really got over the loss of the child. It seemed odd, in a time where complications during the birth killed so many mothers and babies, that he still grieved. I could only assume it was because he of the fact, that he admitted once in a drunken flood of tears on the anniversary, that it was because it was his earliest memory- he had been three. That, and the manner of the death. Death in child birth was God’s will. This had been something more brutal.Tommy broke the silence. “No man is thirty two or thirty three, Chief” he said softly. “Not this year.”I looked at the Chief. He was rubbing his eyes with his left thumb and forefinger, then he pinched the bridge his nose, as a man might do if trying to stay awake. I suddenly realised his eldest was twenty nine. I wondered if somewhere, in a tiny grave, was an elder brother. He looked down at the notes again. “He… He appears to have been taken south,
Egypt possibly, maybe towards
Persia, where his family stayed a few years. Escaped it.” The Chief took a deep breath. “Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. Asking around we think we have him again at the age of twelve. No reliable reports, but a couple of old men remember some precocious brat debating theology with the priests. You all know one-eyed Aaron? Says if was the strangest thing you ever saw, and it’s stuck with him. A kid, not even Bar-Mitzvah’ed arguing the toss with a bunch of the longest beards you’ll see. Certainly made an impression on him. ““Yeah, but let’s face it Chief, Aaron only sees half of what everyone does.” Tommy was back on form, an broke the heaviness that had descended three minutes before.