Jesus Christ In High School

Wednesday, 16 A.D., 3:00 PM local, 8AM GMT

[Jesus sits on a rock, with an N95 face mask, notebook on his lap, waving a Sharpie, as if he were conducting an orchestra. Two transfer students from Rome — wearing designer burlap sandals and face masks that say “I heart Rome”— come up the dirt road]

VERONICA and BETTIUS [sing-songy]

Hi Jee-sussssssss! Tee-hee.

JESUS

Hello ladies.

BETTIUS

Watcha doing?

JESUS

Oh, just cramming for the finals. Trying to skip a grade with extra credit. I’d like to take a gap year.

VERONICA

Zowie! How you gettin extra credit?

JESUS

Revising the Old Testament. Needs a refresh.

[smiling beatifically, with a soft blue light radiating from the back of his large head]

I’m now on Exodus.

BETTIUS

The Ten Commandments!?

JESUS

Yeah, just finished fixing that. Now there are eleven. “Thou shalt praise the Son of God, once a day. But thou not needest overdo it.”

VERONICA [cooing]

Far out! But why only eleven?

JESUS

It’s a small, odd prime number.

[Veronica and Bettius look confused]

JESUS [embarrassed, lowers his head]

I took pre-Calc last semester. The Egyptians have been on my mind.

[Veronica and Bettius pretend to understand as a tall, bearded teen — without a mask — sneaks up from behind and tickles them.]

VERONICA and BETTIUS [screeching with laughter]

Oooh, who’s that!?

JUDAS

Hey girls!

VERONICA and BETTIUS

Judas!

JUDAS [sneering]

Hello… Jesus.

JESUS

Hello, brother J.

JUDAS

Going to the big Pesach game tonight? I’m the starting quarterback… again!

JESUS

Thanks, but no can do. Got this final. And there’s a problem in Exodus that needs fixing, concerning the order of the Ten Plagues: water turning to blood, frogs, lice, flies, livestock pestilence, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, and the killing of firstborn children. First, I think there oughta be eleven or thirteen plagues. And it makes no sense that the lice comes after the frogs and before the flies, livestock pestilence, and locusts. The order should be from the largest animal to the smallest organism, according to the rules we studied in first-year bio.

JUDAS

[coughing into his hand]

Nerd!

[Veronica and Bettius cackle]

VERONICA

You are too funny.

BETTIUS

And so handsome.

VERONICA [giving Bettius a vulgar Roman hand gesture]

And so strong.

[Bettius pouts]

JUDAS

Girls, girls. Ask me “which way is the surf?”

BETTIUS [gleefully]

Which way is the surf!?

JUDAS [flexing his biceps, pointing at the Jordan River, beaming]

It’s thattaway.

[more cackling. Suddenly, two more teenagers — in high-end masks with designed for drinking malteds — ride up in a luxury-model chariot, with Carthaginian plates]

REGICUS

Hey gang!

VERONICA and BETTIUS

Hey Regicus!

JUDAS

Sweet ride! Can you take us to the game?

REGICUS

Sure, we’ve got room.

VERONICA

Who’s the new guy, Regicus?

REGICUS

You mean Jugheadius? Met him at the diner. We had the blue-plate special: ground oxen patty over leavened bread and these crazy fig shakes. He doesn't say much, but he sure can chow!

[Smiling]

I made him my new man slave.

[Jugheadius climbs up an exceptionally well-groomed horse, and the gang piles into the chariot]

REGICUS

Hey Jesus. Coming with? We gotta rocket.

VERONICA and BETTIUS [sing-songy]

Mary Magdelene will be there! Tee-hee.

BETTIUS

You don’t want Judas to steal her, do ya?

JESUS

Sorry. Promised Dad I’d ace this test. Besides, Judas would never betray me.

[NEXT SCENE: JESUS AT THE JORDAN HIGH TALENT SHOW]

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Giovanni Rodriguez

Giovanni Rodriguez

Writer, amateur blacksmith, future Pope.