Next installment of my next historical novel: Peter and Paul.
Nasi, the President, raised his hand. He had to do it three more times before the assembly came to order. He motioned the Chancellor to rise and present the remaining Order of the Day to the Assembly.
But the moment the Chancellor sat down, at the two extremities of the semi-circles whispers resumed with rising ferocity.
“You can’t leave it to the old man.”
“You’re right, he’s much too gentle.”
“Not here, let’s go outside…”
“And if we let them continue with their preaching, people will begin to listen. They can be pretty convincing,” the younger Pharisee said, stroking his beard. He was an expert in Law, though his beard didn’t show any signs of gray. He looked more like a successful merchant, which he also was, then a member of the Sanhedrin.
“My men got rid of three of them. But it’s not easy. They cannot connect their actions with us…”
“Of course not.” His interlocutor leaned closer his colleague and lowered his voice. “I got the fellow who got Yehuda to sing for thirty shekels.”
“Judas Iscariot, you’ve heard of him?”
“Ah, yes… he’s pretty famous now…” the councilor confirmed sarcastically. He really meant ‘infamous’, although he’d served their purpose.
“Anyway, the man I have in mind is a truly low-life character. He can do a lot of harm to them, but he’s now asking for fifty.”
“Fifty?! For what?”
“For getting, ah… to get rid of three more. Maybe four, if I press him hard enough.”
“Couldn’t you threaten to expose him, to, ah… to us?”
“What, and let him recognize me?”
“Hmmm. It’s never easy, is it…” His hand reached up to stroke his lengthy beard. “I’ll see if I can get you twenty five.”
“Fifty. I did the Yehuda thing all on my own.”
The younger councilor gave him a dirty look. After a short while, he replied. “Fifty it is.” And began turning away to put some distance between himself and his interlocutor. It didn’t pay to be seen talking to men who did the necessary but dirty work.
“In advance,” he heard behind his back.
He nodded without slowing his pace.
During the session of the Sanhedrin men moved around a lot, exchanging opinions, arguing, before taking the vote. Three other exchanges similar to the one above took place concurrently on the other side of the steps. Similar deals have been made. There was an atmosphere of success in the air. The dozen murders wouldn’t put a stop to the Yeshûa followers’ ramblings, but it would scare them out of Jerusalem. No one wanted troublemakers on their own doorstep. Romans were problems enough.
(to be continued)