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Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Note (02/07/13)

TITLE: I'm in Charge Around Here!
By Noel Mitaxa
~1st Place


Nobody’s going to tangle my toga, for tourists are packing out the town for this weekend’s festival.

Tomorrow the priests in all their fancy robes will be the cheerleaders.

Today they are wearing those same robes, but they are herding mass hysteria in my direction!

If only these Jews would let go of that “invisible god” myth and be like us. Our individual gods all have sculptures to show us what gods look like, and what kind of help we can expect.

So why not the Jews?

Can’t they accept that we have improved the whole world? We allow home rule for every nation in the Empire; and local public works projects soak up most of the taxes they pay. Our engineers arrange water supplies into desert cities; our army is unbeatable; our all-weather roads will last forever; and the Great Sea (Mare Nostrum—“Our Sea”) is free of pirates so even Jews can safely travel to their festivals.

All we ask in return is an annual sacrifice to honour Caesar. What more could they want?

Lately, a Galilean rabbi has been teasing Jewish legalities, producing the odd miracle, collecting some followers; and there’s some vague claim about him being a divine king.

The Jews could easily solve that by stoning him.

I could have ordered my troops in on his group at the Temple—like I fixed some other irritating Galileans;(1) but I sent him off to Herod, for strictly speaking, they are under his jurisdiction. Anyway, this crowd needs no extra provocation over human blood being mixed with their sacrifices again. But hey, life is cheap—animal or human.

Now this rabbi’s back before me, wearing one of Herod’s cast-off robes. Ironic touch there, Herod. Maybe we could be soul mates after all.(2)

My wife’s note warns me not to get involved because she’s had a scary dream about him.(3)

Big deal!

I’m in charge around here.

Not her.

Not the priests.

Not this rabbi.

And definitely not the crowd—even though the priests have them baying for his blood.

On what charge?

First-degree healing?


Wrong-footing their lawyers?

Seated in my judge’s chair I raise my hand for quiet; which reluctantly descends as I look into the clear eyes of this purple-draped target of hatred.

A king? A rebel?

He shows no anger,

Nor scorn,

Nor guilt,

Nor resentment,

Nor fear.

“Don’t you know I can free you or crucify you?” I demand of him.

He replies quietly, searching me with piercing warmth, “You would have no power over me if it were not given from above.”

Could it be that he is in charge—ignoring my position and the shrieking of the crowd? I sense a depth beyond mine, and I have to try to persuade this mob to see reason.

Surely there is some way to free him from these hysterical indictments…

I offer to exchange a murderous thug for him. That’s always placated the crazies before; but I have no choice but to set this Barabbas free, knowing he’ll be back.

Those “Crucify him!” calls are getting louder.

“But isn’t he your king?”

“We have no king but Caesar!” Not from the crowd but, amazingly, from those holy, hollow priests in their empty robes! My involuntary chuckle catches in my throat as I hear one of them purr icily, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar!”

Definitely not meant for Tiberius’ ears to catch!

Sane debate and discussion have left the arena, and my wife’s note is making more sense: “Have nothing to do with this innocent man” and, with personal comfort rapidly disappearing, I ask for a basin of water and a towel.

I stand to splash my hands and dry them, publicly disavowing my support for this fervent ignorance. After all, good soldiers can choose which hills are worth dying on.

As my guards bustle him away, one further way to show that I’m in charge rapidly comes to mind.

I write my own note that reads “Jesus of Nazareth – the King of the Jews,” in Aramaic, Latin and Greek; and order them to attach it to the cross above this rabbi’s head.

“No!’ protest these empty robes. “Say that he said he was the King of the Jews!”

My stomach’s churning over their vapid vindictiveness briefly surfaces as a gulp before I reply, “What I have written, I have written.”

Because I’m in charge around here.


(1) Luke 13:1
(2) Luke 23:12
(3) Matt 27:19

Author’s “note:” This entry selects from all four gospel records of Pilate’s conversations with Jesus, so to avoid a mass of footnote references I have only highlighted three specific scriptures.

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Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 02/14/13
Excellent job of depicting the famous Biblical story/passages. The dialogue, the interaction, and the overall entry was a very worthy and compelling read.

This will score well with the judges for sure!

Thanks. God bless~
Margaret Kearley 02/18/13
This is frighteningly true and so powerfully written. Just excellent. I think your lines 'I sense a depth beyond mine' and 'personal comfort disappearing' highlight so accurately some of the issues going on within Pilate. Your title is perfect, and tragic. Thank you for writing such a great piece - only you could stand with such an amazing first sentence!!
Cheryl Harrison02/18/13
Let those ideas bubble up some more! I so enjoyed this. The "first degree healing" line made me giggle. Good depiction of Pilate. Keep writing!
lynn gipson 02/18/13
Another fine job here. I look forward to your stories every week. I think this one will do very well. God BLess
Terry R A Eissfeldt 02/18/13
I know a common comment around here is show not tell, however, because of my love for drama this is a perfect soliloquy! You caught his voice - arrogant, unsure, grasping for control, and a little fear. Well done.
Danielle King 02/18/13
Well - here's another of your adoring fans with nothing left to say. It's been said already. You are just sooo good at this! But I think this tops 'em all.
Beth LaBuff 02/18/13
Pilate's story is one that has haunted the ages. You've taken us into his thoughts, which at times made me smile when he considered the hypocrisy of the religious leaders. Your topic tie-in with the note written above the cross has the power to send chills. This is a powerful piece of writing.
Judith Gayle Smith02/18/13
Rivetting! "purr icily" - terrific word picture! I truly enjoyed this. Thank you.
Bea Edwards 02/19/13
What began with a fanciful line that made me smile as I'm a 'don't get your knickers in a bunch' gal, rapidly developed into an amazing and quite probable inner dialogue Pilate might have had. Your entries always captivate and intrigue!
Terry R A Eissfeldt 02/21/13
Now to see it on stage!
Leola Ogle 02/21/13
Noel!!!! Doing a happy dance for you! Wow! Congrats!
Danielle King 02/21/13
Yeah! You dunnit oznoel. Told you this one topped 'em all. Congratulations!
Margaret Kearley 02/21/13
Huge congratulations. This was SO fantastic, it well deserves first place!
Dannie Hawley 02/21/13
Excellent article! Looks like I'm one of the multitude of your fans and glad to be counted in their number. Enjoy being at the top of the mountain this week! This article deserves to be there; that's for sure!
Beth LaBuff 02/21/13
Super congrats on this noteworthy entry! I'm very excited for you!
Carolyn Ancell02/21/13
Oh, you had waaaaay too much fun writing this one. And what a great ride you took us on as your readers. Keep up the good work.
Lillian Rhoades 02/21/13
You certainly were "in charge" of this one. Splendid!
C D Swanson 02/21/13
Congrats Noel on your Blue ribbon and your EC! I told you this would do well with the judges! Excellent job.

God bless~
Fiona Stevenson02/21/13
Congratulations, Noel. What more can I say? God bless you.
Ellen Carr 02/22/13
Good onya Noel! You've written this so well and your 1st place is very much deserved. Congratulations!
lynn gipson 02/22/13
Congrats! I told you it would do well!
Bea Edwards 02/22/13
Yay! Congratulations~ Yay!
Verna Cole Mitchell 02/22/13
Wonderful entry--worthy of first place in EC. So proud of you Noel--your best yet!
Loren T. Lowery02/22/13
Truth prevailed in three simple words - the Holy Spirit guiding even those we thought could not hear. Truth undeniable regardless of whose lips or hand it proceeds from. Great writing, Noel. Exceedingly, so! Congratulations.
Vince Martella02/22/13
Congratulations on an excellent story. I really enjoyed the feel of the story and especially the POV. Judging by your placing, I'd have to agree - you certainty are in charge around here this week!
Olawale Ogunsola02/22/13
My BT, congrats on your well deserved first place win. More success will come to you in Jesus' name.
PamFord Davis 02/23/13
Wonderful work, Noel!
This would be perfect for an Easter week reading with the speaker dressed in attire of the time.

Wing His Words
Sharon Eastman02/23/13
Excellent and amazing. Congratulations!
Karen Pourbabaee 02/23/13
Stunning! You've captured the complex and evolving thoughts of Pilate and in such a profound way portrayed the topic in this masterful piece.Congratulations Noel on your #1 ranking!
Irene Patterson 02/27/13
Congratulations, Noel.
Very interesting response to the simple word "note".
Loved it!
Charla Diehl 04/02/13
You did a great job of conveying the feelings Pilate was wrestling with on that life-changing day in the history of humanity. A very well deserved win--congratulations!
stanley Bednarz04/09/13
What a timely writ. Love the style and the prose. Congratulations. It deserves the win. Stan
Sara Harricharan 05/16/13
I love how your title plays into the end. That twist was just right. Great work and showing just how things might have been playing through his head. I absolutely loved every word of it. Brilliant writing!
Catrina Bradley 05/31/13
I love it! You've expressed the MC's character pretty much how I've imagined him to be, and you've given a familiar scene new life.