Updated: Oct 19, 2022
A Brotherhood Story
By Mark Meier
Bein’ a senior imp was good. After gettin’ promoted from junior imp I could mostly do what I wanted – that’s pesterin’ folks. The best places were cities. People got together there, and just watchin’ ‘em gave tons of ideas.
Take Samaria. Please. I chuckled as I moved down the street. Folks gettin’ up in the mornin’ tossed the stuff in their chamber pots out the window. That’s funny, too. Splatterin’ all over ‘em walkin’ below made me laugh.
A hundred yards away a full Brother was with one of the city fathers, pushin’ others out of the way. Good way to make that guy feel puffed up by havin’ regular folks fall down at his feet.
I tried to avoid full Brothers, though. They were so serious and didn’t seem to have any fun. Even most of the junior Brothers acted like the world was endin’. Besides, they treated imps like slaves.
When the Brother and his guy walked away I found someone I wanted to mess with. He was an older kid called Simon, accordin’ to the merchant in the marketplace – agora, in Samaria. Different places called it by different names.
Some guy sellin’ apples told Simon about that city father.
“You should have seen it, Simon. Eshed was just walking through. For no reason, people tripped and fall on their faces. It was great!”
Now, I’d been an imp for a long time. I couldn’t count how many years. Mostly it’s ‘cuz the most junior imps didn’t have no idea of what time was. I’d been a senior imp for about eighty years, and I could see what folks were thinkin’. Surprisin’ what just watchin’ can show about a human.
Simon, I could tell, wanted folks to fall in front of him, too.
Oh, not really just fallin’, but the kind of “deference,” I’d heard Brothers call it, where folks did what you wanted without havin’ to ask.
Simon was wonderin’ how to get that.
“Must be nice, Lior.” Simon picked up a couple of apples and paid the man. “Happy selling.”
As Simon wandered through the crowded agora I whispered in his ear. Not in words he could hear, but words he’d feel deep inside. “You could have that. You should have that.”
And he believed me.
The Brothers never believed me. Junior imps didn’t, and senior imps were too busy havin’ fun.
Here in Samaria there were imps by the thousands. A lot of ‘em were helpin’ full Brothers. I wasn’t, so I kept whisperin’ to Simon.
He went back to his leather workin’ master. Simon believed he was better than the other apprentices. He wasn’t, but he started bossin’ ‘em around like he was the master.
Eil came down hard on the kid. “Simon! You’ve been here less than a year and know less than nothing. Stop telling your betters how to do things.”
He hated that.
“You don’t have to put up with this,” I whispered.
The fool couldn’t see or really hear me. He just thought to himself, “Nobody should tell me what to do.”
By midday he’d walked out on his master. The promise of Eil echoed in his ears, “You’ll never work in Samaria again! And I’ll tell your father to not take you back!”
I whispered, “You’re gonna be a man of influence.”
I wondered what the boy would do. Would he try goin’ back to his parents? Beg on the street? I couldn’t see that kid doin’ neither.
An hour later he was in the agora, wonderin’ what to do. When he saw someone buyin’ a necklace, he visualized the guy’s bag of silver flyin’ through the air into his hands.
So I thought, why not? I grabbed the bag and threw it at Simon, then pushed a couple of people into the pouch’s path behind it. The man who lost the silver, eyes wide, couldn’t see who got the coins.
Simon, not exactly an idiot, tucked the coins away. He looked into the crowd as if the pouch had flown right past him. The few folks who’d noticed the flyin’ bag followed Simon’s gaze to see where the silver went. They thought no more of Simon.
I whispered, “There’s more of that if you work at it.”
Simon, who thought the idea his own, nodded. “I have to practice that!”
That night Simon stayed at an inn for the first time, not wrappin’ up in a ratty blanket for the night like he had at the leatherworkin’ shop. He had an actual mattress instead of a pile of straw.
If you appreciate this story, please consider supporting the author's ability to write more stories by purchasing The Brotherhood, available in print and on Kindle. Any shares to social media would also be appreciated. The next section of Mastema will be posted next week.