It has been a long night and I am still shaking from my earlier encounter with the messiah. Today I felt a strong spirit come about me, something unusual. It all started when I was at a gathering with a crowd listening to Jesus preach about the blessings of God. I could not help but stay and listen with the crowd cowering in the back. I did not want him to notice me. I must admit I have been more and more curious about Jesus ever since I had bribed my cousin not to rob his family on their way to Egypt. I cannot call what I am doing as spying since I am not against this man. Afterall, I think that I deserve a little credit for saving his family the grief of being robbed. That was a long time ago and Jesus has grown since then. Gestas and I have been following him in search of more wealth. Now that he is older and making a living as a carpenter, we feel if the wise men bring him another horde of wealth it is in our best interest to take a bit. These are hard times. I get a headache everytime I hear Jesus speak about the blessings of God. I have personally given up on any more wealth being brought to this man myself and I am starting to think it is a bad idea afterall. Gestas still pilfers the locals waiting for something bigger to come up. He is convinced that wise men bring Jesus and his family silver and gold all the time. I am starting to think that maybe this is the son of God myself despite the wealth we are after. So many people call him messiah and I am starting to call him the same in conversations with others. I have so many regrets up to this point and I want a better life that Jesus talks about. Its too late for me to go back to my father who is a wealthy merchant and become like him. He knows of my crimes and will not welcome me back so easily. Especially not if I show up with Gestas who has been by my side ever since we left our homes when we were 15. This is nearly 19 years later and we are getting older. Jesus has grown up so much over time and I should know. I feel as though I have been stalking him all these years. But, his family just smiles at me. We did help them make it to Egypt, but parted ways when we got there. I wonder if they are shocked to see us now and then. I simply tell them our paths cross because we have similiar interests of good intent and helping others. It hurts sometimes to lie all the time. I know these people mean us no harm and it feels good to be accepted by them and not looked upon as a thief. I wish Jesus would accept me as a better person and consider a wretch like me to enter into his paradise. But I cannot join his cause because I am no holy man. My crimes are too great to come clean in a day. And if Jesus is indeed the son of God, then he knows my crimes as well. I am too ashamed to bring up them up and risk embarassment and rejection from Jesus. I wanted to make a point to Jesus that I could be of worth and wanted to live a better life. So I did a little job that I did today that I felt was a just cause. Not just any job that pays either, a job that most people would frown upon. I wanted to do it just this one time, so that Jesus would have a better memory of me, just in case he really was the son of God. I have so much doubt in my heart these days, I cant always be sure. But I hate to waste an opportunity to show someone that I am more then just a worthless thief.
Gestas and I have gotten use to spying on the local guards to keep track of their whereabouts. Its always good to know where they will be and what they will be doing. The local guards are not what anyone would expect. They are filthy whoremongers. I have seen them late at night with their mistresses, sometimes 3 or 4 women to one guard entering into the private section of the barracks. Oh yes, I have my ways of finding out what goes on behind closed doors, and I am very good at climbing rooftops after all these years. The wicked life that these so called officials live is not something even I would consider doing. But of course I am the bad guy because I have no other way of living. I suppose I chose my way of life in some ways, but it feels more like society has molded me this way. Well, tonight was the night I decided to do something more daring alright. Everynight one of the guards comes into the private building with their women, they drop off their gear and head to a smaller room which I guess has a bed in it. I can only see the main section through the hole in the ceiling. They have not even fixed the roof yet after many months. there is an interior cover on it and I would say the hole is about 3 inches in diameter. I am thinking tonight was pay day for the guard who came in. They usually bring some drachmas to pay the women which I see them doing when they are done. This guard tonight dropped about 400 drachmas on the table. They were in a bag of course, but I can count drachmas just by the sound of the jingle. I have been listening for the jingle of change all my life. And just by looking at the bag I knew this would be a score for me. I wondered why he brought so much. Maybe he worked overtime or was a captain. Anyhow, I knew I had to get the bag and I started to climb back down before he got finished with the scarlets. I knew the door would be locked but of course I have my own keys to get into places. I have always used the same lock picks I had since I was 16. My cousin Gestas had given them to me when we did our first break in on a rich merchant years ago. We ended up taking about 200 drachmas that night. Never bothered me though. The old man was cheating on his wife anyhow. So back to the locked door on the barracks, well I got in of course to make a long story short. Took me about 3 minutes. I had to keep looking out for a guard who was posted nearby. Luckily he was talking to some scarlets waiting for the guard inside to get done. The door made a creeking noise when it opened and I started shaking. If I got caught, they would cut my hand off right now. The guard in the next room with the women must of heard me entering the first private section. He yelled out something like “Karl is that you?”. I guess that was the name of his other buddy on shift. I gave no answer as I was frozen up. I shut the door quietly and then I heard the women laughing and teasing the guard with them. I think he forgot all about the noise after they started moaning. I did not get distracted by their situation either. I have always stay focused on my job. Thats how we always make it. As I was making my way out the door, the women were walking away from the guard outside. I shut the door quickly and bolted around the other corner from the guard. I swear I heard him shout “HEY YOU!”. My head was ringing from the excitement of pulling it off so I could not tell. A few blocks away I started counting the drachmas. I could not help but notice the strong smell of freshly baked bread, or bread being baked while I was fishing through the bag. Some old lady who sold bread was preparing her batch for the next day nearby. She did not see me and I am glad about it too. I have taken bread from her so often, even though I have tried to give back to her as much as I can. She is only a widow, her family long gone, noone to talk to. Sometimes she looks at me strange when I give her a bunch of drachmas for a loaf of bread. I just tell her to keep it, hoping she would never know I have bad days and have to steal from her. She always smiles at me , telling me I am a nice young man. My thoughts started to clear up a bit at the smell of the bread baking and I reached into the bag to start counting. 380 drachmas to be exact. I was 20 off this time. Still not bad for someone who is on the rooftop of the guard barracks and counting drachmas by the sound of them hitting the table. I thought to myself what I wanted to do next knowing I had a little wealth to spend. Something Jesus said earlier to the crowd I was behind came to mind as I thought about this. He said give to the poor and the needy and you will be blessed. But if I start handing out these drachmas everyone will know I took them when the guards put up the post for the crime. The guards post crime bulletins on the walls when something happens like this. Plus I did not want to give everything away. I had a plan but I had to wait awhile til it got dark. I knew about what time the old widow went to sleep and I thought I would pay her a nightly visit after she went to bed. As I was waiting I started thinking to myself about the years Gestas and I wasted evesdropping on Mary and her family, thinking wise men would come deliver more gold. I am convinced the wise men only gave them enough to make their journey and establish themselves here. Of course we got stuck when we arrived and starting making our own living on the streets so I cannot feel that bad for wondering about them now and then. After I was thinking about this for awhile, I realized it was time for me to do what I needed to do. I quietly snuck over to the old widows house and entered through the back of her house. She was the only one on the street that had a backdoor for some reason. Of course her home was older and the newer homes probably did not have back doors to reduce the number of break in attempts since robberies had increased over the past 10 years for some reason. Just one more thing that would make it easy for me to get inside. I was not here to rob the old widow though, but to make a secret exchange with her. I knew she would be selling the bread she had for money, so I started to estimate how much she would make by the bunch she was selling. She also had fresh honey that was going to be sold with the bread. I was being careful not to touch anything that she needed to use. The last thing I would want to think is the old woman crying because someone took her food. I did some quick math and started to quietly gather up the bread and the jars of honey. What she was asking for each item I left her triple the amount in drachmas where the bread and honey was at. I still felt a little bad about what I was doing and as I heard her snoring in the background, I used a quill she had on the table and started writing on a clean parchment to her: “My dear lady, please excuse me for my hasteful intrusion, but I have an emergency I must attend to. I must travel quickly and I needed some food for my journey. The merchants are closed, but I smelled your baked bread from outside and it won my curiousity. Please accept these drachmas as a token of my appreciation and apology. I will not be back.” I put the note underneath the bag of coins, grabbed a gift basket near the back door and snuck out of her house. I grabbed a gift basket that was near the back door. A good distance away was where Mary and her family lived. I wanted to go there and deliver the bread and honey as a gift. It would be to Mary because Jesus may reject it knowing who it came from, but I know that he and his family would enjoy it if Mary accepted it. I filled the gift basket with bread and honey and left it on their porch. “To Mary and her family, a gift of friendship to remember through the years – from Dismas”. It was not a big deal for me to do this. Many people who listened to Jesus speak would bring him gifts and leave them on the porch. Noone ever said anything about it. It was a common practice. Anyhow I wanted my name to be in front of them when they got it. And I wanted Jesus to see it too. Now I am tired and falling asleep. What drachmas I have left will be spent quickly when Gestas finds out. I cant help but fall asleep with a smile tonight. The expressions on the faces of those scarlets when they find out they would not be getting any drachmas tonight from the guard has got to be priceless. Of course I would not want to be anywhere near that happening, but it would be nice to be a fly on the wall sometimes. I will fall asleep tonight thinking about the old widow waking up to find she does not have to stand out in the sun tommorrow, or for the next week for that matter. I accidentally gave her 5 times the amount for her bread and honey now that I recount the drachmas. What was I thinking? What came about me. Pehaps the guilt of invading her privacy, or just the fact she has never done anything wrong. I dont know. I guess I just count wrong when I get nervous. Well, if Jesus is the son of God then he will know the money went to an old widow instead of prostitutes. He says do not steal, but I think that when money ends up in the hands of those doing wrong, that is thievery in itself.