Time: A week after
The Crucifixion, approximately 33 A.D.
Place: The living quarters of
a high level Roman soldier.
a Roman Centurion,
Delici`e, the concubine of Arbitus;
and Evangelisio, a Roman slave.
Arbitus' eyes were closed, and he was
smiling, as if in a euphoric trance.
Musky pefume, and the bathing oils of a young woman
filled his nostrils. Delici`e,
his most recent female slave,
was lying at the bottom of his pillowed couch,
and was tickling his bare toes with an ostrich feather;
after each tickle, Delici`e would gently
blow across each toe with a soft, delicate breath.
Delici'e's silky strands of long dark
hair lay across Arbitus' bare legs;
they were tickling him, as well. The
girl was wearing silver coin bracelets
on her bare ankles, and they made little
chiming noises with each movement of her
perfumed, and startling...voluptuous body.
Arbitus opened his eyes, and looked toward the door. He groaned, loudly. He reached down, and touched the top of his concubine's head in a gesture that said, 'Don't stop!' He pulled one of the silky sheets up, just a scant few inches, along the top of his muscled stomach. Then he reluctantly called in a stern voice,
The door opened, a
bit too swiftly, and
Arbitus' other slave
walked swiftly inside,
and immediately bowed.
His name was Evangelisio, and he was
so dutiful to Arbitus
that he could be
often quite irritating.
But Arbitus valued his
loyalty, and even his
judgment; for a slave,
Evangelisio was unusually intuitive,
and therefore quite
useful to his master.
and groaned, once more. Delici`e's soft
young fingers had crept under the silky sheet,
like a delicately moving spider.....
and began drawing little circles
on the sensitive skin under his
left kneecap: each delicate
fingertip would gently pause at
the beginning of each circle....
in a moment of sweet anticipation.
Immediately, Evangelisio bowed his curly head. An ugly,
reddish scar was evident on his high forehead; it was the brand in the form of an 'F', for 'Fugitive'; Evangelisio had once been a runaway slave, until he was bought, for a few coins, by his newest master, Arbitus: who seemed to appreciate the slave's keen intelligence, common sense, and unique intuition.
Arbitus' voice was sleepy, and low. He
gave another groan, but did not sit up,
or seem alarmed. Evangelisio was intensely efficient,
and obedient to the point of bothering his master whenever......and WHEREVER, he deemed important to his master's welfare, and status as a Centurion in the Roman army.
it, that you should BOTHER ME....at such
Delici`e's gentle fingertips
continued their delicate little dance
along Arbitus' kneecap. Turning her
head away from the direction of the intruder, Delici`e pressed her smooth warm cheek against the top the sheet which covered Arbitus' muscular, hairy thigh, and gave her master a sleepy, innocent smile....and with small, even teeth bit a small pucker of sheet, and began slowly pulling it back down.
Arbitus gave a low chuckle; he reached down and pinched
Delici`e's through her silky tunic. She immediately gave
a small woeful face, and put her fingertips over the
sore spot on her plump buttux: giving it a little rub. Arbitus looked down, and chuckled, again. Then he leaned
back against the pillows, as Delici`e began tucking
her soft fingertips under the sheet, again, and caressing
the crisp curly hair on his left thigh. Artibus gave a
little growling sound; then he sighed, and looked up...
EVANGELISIO? Can't you see that I am....... BUSY?"
Evangelisio bowed lowly, again. He was wearing the colorless, belted garment of a slave, though he had the good fortune of wearing sandals, since he served a high-status
official. And......he was clean, and adequately fed.....like
a field beast of a well-stocked farmer.
Arbitus just stared
at the messenger; he
didn't say a word. Delici`e's shining mane of hair, lying carelessly across his knees, smelled of musky oiled perfume.
Arbitus breathed in deeply. Then at last
he spoke, reluctantly.
Evangelisio remained standing; he never sat
in his master's presence unless it was
to help him put on his
armor, or bathe his feet.
"One of the crosses
on Calvary is....BURNING!"
Arbitus shook his head, and chuckled;
he reached over, and plucked a few plump
grapes from the small bowl on the couch. He smiled, and set one on top of Delici`e's head; she giggled, and let it fall
into her lap. Then she picked it up, and pressed it against
Arbitus' lips. He sunk his teeth into it, and laughed.
"What are you BRINGING this to ME, for......Evangelisio?
Tell the other slaves...
to put it OUT.....!"
Arbitus shook his head, and reached over for another grape; he particularly liked the dark purple ones.
"THAT is your responsibility.....to give the other slaves..
Arbitus took the grape, and put it down
the silky tunic that
covered Delici`e's velvety smooth
back. Delici`e just giggled
again, and reached over to pull her thick rope
of hair over to one side so that she could
retrieve the succulent little piece of fruit.
Evangelisio paused for
a moment; he was keeping his eyes down, as usual.
A slave never looked his
master in the eye.
"The men haven't
been able to put it...
OUT. The cross is
Arbitus laughed aloud; he watched
Delici`e pull the juicy
grape from out of her opaque tunic, and then
opened his mouth for
her soft fingers to
plop it onto his waiting tongue. Munching
on the grape, which
tasted of Delici`e's musky perfume, Arbitus chuckled again.
"WELL? Just let
it burn to the GROUND, then! We
can always make OTHERS! Is there
you needed to tell
"No, sir. Only......"
Evangelisio paused again,
looking unsually uncomfortable; his
eyes were still fixed
on the floor.
Arbitus plucked another grape and set it on Delici`e's small
pointy chin; it slipped down into the front
of her silky tunic.
"Can't you see I'm
cross won't burn to
Arbitus looked up
from watching Delici`e small fingers
slowly pulling aside the silk from her bare
skin, to search for the grape. He shouted, impatiently.
"Then just BURY
the damn THING!
Tell your MEN....to
just PULL IT DOWN
then BURY the damn
THING! What's the
MATTER with you?"
Evangelisio wanted to
fidgit, but he dared
not; he was the Centurion's slave, and
he was supposed to
be stoic, at all times.
slaves are AFRAID
of it......they are saying that MAN....
was really the son of
Arbitus gritted his
teeth, and closed his
eyes in frustration:
shook his head, and
Arbitus had missed
seeing Delici`e pulling
the other one out of
her tunic; he waved away her hand holding
".....to STOP being
and be DONE with
the THING! That...
Evangelisio kept his
eyes firmly on the
tiled floor; he could
feel a trickle of sweat sliding down his
"Some say He is NOT........
A long moment of
silence filled the shuttered room. The
musky sweet scent of
hung in the still air.
Arbitus finally spoke;
he had been studying
his slave with curious, intelligent eyes.
one of those 'some'..
Then, he looked up;
his eyes were soft
with tears, and his
voice was a whisper.
Arbitus had been fingering the wet grape, and studying it:
turning it this way,
and that, as if it were
something he hadn't
stroked the silky hairs of Delici`e's
head as if she were
a lovely little pet dog.
Finally he spoke; his
voice was just a whisper, also. But
his dark eyes were flashing with anger,
and something else.
"Never SAY that
again, to me......
in my PRESENCE....,
Evangelisio dipped his
head toward the floor. Another trickle
of sweat slid down
his back, and down his
leg; it fell into the heel of his leather sandal, and stung a
small open wound from a mosquito bite.
Evangelisio closed his
eyes, and dipped his
head, again. He didn't whisper this
he could have had
his slave flogged for
what he had just done: looking at him
levely in the eye,
and admiting belief
in that insipid king of
the Jews. Worsely,
Evangelisio had ruined
a wonderful present mood......
and for that he wanted to beat him, himself. Arbitus sighed, miserably.
"You've been a useful
slave to me, Evangelisio.......just don't repeat those WORDS.......
to me, again......is that
his eyes were still closed tightly.
Arbitus looked down
at his pet; she was still resting her lovely
scented cheek on his
knee, and had closed
her eyes for a little
nap. Arbitus stroked
her soft skin, and
smiled. Then he looked up.
this other MATTER...
just GET the THING
I don't want the SLAVES....or any
of my men..........."
Arbitus waved his
other hand at the air.
"........going too FAR
with this thing, and
WORSHIPPING it....., or anything......."
Arbitus chuckled; he
relaxed, again. Soon
he would wake up his sweet little pet,
with another wet
grape down her silky, bare, perfumed back.
Evangelisio nodded, brusquely: keeping
his eyes pinned to the
floor. He was relieved, and grateful, for not having been punished.
"Rocks and stones
will BURY it,
I ASSURE..... you."
Arbitus smiled, and
He stroked Delici`e's
hair, absently; his good mood had returned.
Evangelisio was softly
out of the room: bowing his head with
"And....this is the
LAST TIME.... I shall
HEAR... of it."
"And don't BOTHER
me, again, tonight....
unless ROME... is on
is upside down.....
is that CLEAR?"
to bow, and step
he was out of the
Step, and bow.