“Make sure Passamaquoddy is ready to go Horatius. Just in case things don't go quite so good with the locals.” Doctor Minus whispered as he knocked three times on the wooden door.
“Yes Doctor.” The short man acknowledged petting their faithful ass before tightening the straps on the caravan.
The door opened quickly; the sound and light both surprising the men and their donkey. The sound of liquid in glasses that clanged together shifting about disrupted the otherwise peaceful and silent night air in Galilee.
“Please, come in quickly!” One of the men at the door said in a near shout.
Before he could answer, the doctor was pulled inside, and the door shut tightly behind him. He was seated at a small table, while the two men who abducted him were joined by a third on the opposite side.
“It's incredible!” Said the man on the left.
“Miraculous...” Said the man in the middle.
“Fortuitous!” Laughed the one on the right.
“Listen, I'm not sure what you all called me here in the middle of the night for, but if you're not going to buy any of my oils, then I'm afraid I really must go.” Minus said, growing more uncomfortable at the leering men.
“Oh, my, where are our manners,” the man on the left said, “I am Judas. This is Andrew,” He motioned to the man in the middle, and then to the man on the right, “And his brother Simon.”
“You can call me Peter” Simon said.
“Why would I call you Peter, Simon?” Minus asked.
“You're not here because of the oil doctor.” Judas ignored.
“Well, not because we want any, rather...” Added Andrew.
“But more because we know your tricks.” Judas stopped.
Minus shifted uncomfortably in his chair, readying to jump out the nearest open window if necessary.
“Please, don't be scared. We're not interested in outing you or anything. We need your help, and your talents rather. You see, we have a friend...and he's a little...well...” Andrew started.
“What? It's true. Don't get me wrong, I love the guy...we all love the guy, but he's out of his damn mind.”
The three men looked back and forth at each other quickly and with a group shoulder shrug and nod of their heads they all reached consensus.
“Ok...um, while I disagree that my product is anything other than advertised, I'm not exactly THAT kind of doctor you know?” Minus said, still looking at the open windows.
The trio across the table laughed in an eerie unison.
“No no, Doctor Minus...we don't need you because of the title. It's your talents and...well...”
“We should just tell him Andrew.” Peter Simon said.
“You look just like our friend.”
“More importantly...well, ok...we'll just come right out and say it. He's Jesus.”
“Oh come now. Walks about in a long white robe...”
“Like all of you.” Minus pointed out.
“Has long wavy hair and a beard...”
“Like most people today.”
“Spends a lot of time touring and preaching about our Lord and whatnot...”
“Yeah, that Jesus!.”
“Ok, gotcha. And I look like him?”
“Sure do, I mean, if you grew out your hair a bit more and started dressing a little differently. Put on a little muscle...guy is a carpenter after all.”
“Makes pretty shitty chairs though...” Judas commented.
“What? He does.”
“Anyways,” Andrew moved on, “The fact is, we need your face.”
“Hopefully still attached to the rest of me, yes?” Minus asked, entirely without humor.
“Yes, and your other talents. As we said, Jesus is a little bit off, and we've come to the conclusion that he could use a hand every now and then.”
“I'm still not sure I get it.”
“We need you to help him along as non-Jesus, and then also on occasion AS Jesus.”
“So...you need me to be his look-alike, and then when I'm not his look-alike, I'll be his shill?”
“Technically, you'd be your own, or our shill, not his. He believes too much in what he's preaching, he would never actually catch on to the fact that you're helping to play the crowd, even if you said so straight to his face.”
“How's that possible?”
“Oh, well, God moves in mysterious ways.”
“Does he? Why?”
“Hell if I know, it's just something we tell everybody when bad things happen that we can't explain or don't want to take responsibility for them.”
“Ah...that's actually quite ingenious.”
“Thank you, that was me and Pete's idea.” Judas said motioning to Simon.
“Very nice, so who's idea was the whole God thing?” Minus asked.
“Well, that would be Jesus. He really is convinced that he is the son of God.”
“And that his mother is a virgin?” Minus laughed.
The trio looked completely serious and nodded in unison.
“Wow. So, his mom never had sex, and his father is a faceless man in the sky who created the world out of nothing? People really believe this?”
“Yes, a few. What do you believe?”
“What? The creation of the world? Hell...I don't know...it's here now. It could've just been an explosion of gas for all I know.”
“And how's that any more believable than a man in the clouds doing it?”
“Can we get back on track?” Judas said, mildly annoyed.
“Right, so here's the thing Doctor Minus, we want you to help us make one of the biggest sells in history. We want you to help us sell religion.” Andrew said with a smile.
“As I said, we have our followers and all, but it's not quite catching on as quickly as we'd like. We're missing that extra something to help this thing really take off! And that's where you come in.”
“I'm not really sure you have the right guy for this. I'm just a traveling olive-oil salesman.”
“And yet what you do isn't going to be all that different than what we want you to do for us.”
“Except, if you know how I operate...you know that I don't tend to stay in one place long.”
“Neither do we necessarily.”
“Ok, except, what I do doesn't tend to garner a lot of long-term love.”
“That's because you're selling something tangible.” Peter Simon said.
“Indeed. You are essentially selling miracles, with a very definitive cause.” Andrew added.
“And lets face it, this is probably a much better use of your talents for you as well. Rather than spending your time on the run trying to sell miracles that can be verified easily to be false and risking getting nailed, you'd be selling miracles with no real attachment to something physical. God is the best marketing tool you could ever use.” Judas continued.
“Judas!” Andrew exclaimed.
There was a knock on the door.
“Listen, we have to go meet Jesus and the other disciples. We all suspect promotion, so after whatever ceremony we have in store for us, we'd like you to have your answer by the time we get back. I'm sorry for the rush, but there's no telling when he might want us to go on tour again, or where, and the sooner you're on board, the sooner we can start to work out the details.”
The three men rose from the table as Doc Minus sat still bewildered by the request. As they reached the door, Andrew turned.
“We know that we're asking quite a lot, but I hope you understand that while this project may not have an immediate monetary payoff, the riches for those of us getting in early, will be far reaching for ourselves and our children. Please think about it.”
With that they were gone. Horatius waited just a moment before coming in to check if his business partner was dead.
“That took some time. Make a sale?” The short man asked.
Doctor Minus sat silently ignoring his partner while doing all sorts of calculations in his head, the likes of which have kept him alive and well in a business that many others didn't last long in.
“Far reaching riches huh?” The doctor whispered.
“What was that Doc?”
“Nothing Horatius. Ready Passamaquoddy. We need to do some research, and fetch me something to write with.”
When the disciples now named apostles, Andrew, Judas, and Peter (or Simon to some) arrived home, they found nobody awaiting their return. There was, however, a single note saying: “You're getting me the robes.”