A Brotherhood Story
By Mark Meier
By the end of the year people fell at Simon’s feet when he walked in the agora. I’d whisper advice to him, and the advocates discussin’ cases at the city gate listened to what he said. Runners in the annual games asked for a word from him, then won their races – thanks to me givin’ them a push. Or maybe it was holdin’ others back. Gamblers heeded Simon when he said which horse would win at the hippodrome. Other horses suddenly strained a muscle or stumbled.
More than that, Simon could make stuff appear from nothin’ and other things vanish. Folks paid just to watch him do tricks.
He even healed some injuries.
Those were hard to arrange. I had to ask junior imps to hold bones or skin together for weeks on end. Some imps were willin’, others not so much.
A rich man once asked Simon to destroy a rival. While that man watched, Simon pointed into the clear blue sky and a stroke of lightin’ blasted the rival’s townhouse. The man who owned the house was so terrified he left Samaria and was never heard from again.
Then a few years later Phillip came along.
Simon was at the city gate, talkin’ about someone stealin’ a cucumber. One man said, “Thing is, the farmer isn’t getting the cucumber back. The beggar ate it.”
One of the advocates, named Barkan, said, “That beggar still took something of value from the farmer.”
The other, Aldo, argued, “It fell from the wagon and the farmer kept going. The beggar only ate something that fell in the street.”
I whispered to Simon. “Beggars can’t pay anyway. Besides, farmers is expected to give to the poor.”
Simon walked to the center of the fray. “Where does anyone imagine a beggar will find money to pay for a cucumber?”
Folks in the crowd nodded. They heard wisdom in Simon’s words, like so many other times.
The young man spoke again. “The only way to pay the farmer is to let the beggar beg. When he gets a bit of coin, he could then pay the farmer.”
A voice spoke from the back of the crowd. “Why not have the beggar work for the farmer? He’ll earn the price of the cucumber, and perhaps keep working for room and board. The farmer gets labor, the beggar gets a job. Both come out ahead.”
I flew toward the man to close his mouth, but there were two massive individuals beside him. They were like Brothers, but not. They held up their hands and I stopped in mid air.
“You are not permitted to touch this man,” the bigger one said. On the outside he looked like any human man, though human eyes wouldn’t see him at all. If physical height meant anythin’ with Brothers and these beings, he stood just over six feet tall and had long, dark brown hair. He was kinda hard to look at, all shiny and bright.
“Who are you?” I asked.
The smaller of the two waved his hand and I tumbled backward through the crowd. People meant nothin’ to my kind, and I rolled right through ‘em before comin’ to a stop at Simon’s feet.
I’d been so distracted by the not-Brothers that I’d lost track of what was happenin’.
Simon walked up and squared off with the man between those two shining folks. “Philip of Jerusalem,” Simon said, repeatin’ the introduction. “I’ve never heard of you. What are you doing here?”
“Spreading the good news,” Philip said.
The word he used was the same one a messenger from a battle front would use to tell folks of a great victory. I wondered who had won a battle that such an man would be tellin’ about. He wasn’t built like a messenger. Those were picked ‘cuz they could run all day, and Philip didn’t look like he could run like a boy could.
“The gospel of Christ,” he continued.
At that word I was again thrown to the ground. The bright non-Brothers broke into a song I couldn’t understand. The words made no sense, and they danced in joy.
I was pulled to my feet by a full Brother, who hissed, “What are you doing here? Get away from those two!”
“I’m having fun with Simon, and you can’t stop me.” While partly true, this Brother had the authority to do anything to me. I could continue doing whatever I wanted, but any full Brother of second rank or higher could demote me to a junior imp with no self identity. Those didn’t have enough free will to do much beyond following orders.
“You may continue with Simon,” he said, “but not in the presence of Philip or his attendants. You will avoid them at all costs.”
“What’s your name?”
The Brother stood tall – nearly seven feet from head to toe. “I am Chamos, and you will heed my words, imp.”
Those words bounced around in me as if echoing. From thirty feet away the two non-Brothers looked at Chamos and smirked. They weren’t in the least affected by my Brother.
That should have told me everythin’, but I couldn’t understand what it meant.
Chamos, a fourth or fifth level Brother, was the only other Brother in the agora. Surprise left me standin’ there as Philip and his escorts walked out.
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