[Two men in togas sit at a round table drinking cappuccinos]
Asher: He's gone to Rome then?
Ben: Good riddance I say.
Asher: What's he after, do you know?
Ben: Gonna be made Pope.
Asher: What's one of them?
Ben: Not sure but I think he gets to sit on a fancy chair and wear a mitre.
Asher: A what?
Ben: It's a cross between a hat and an umbrella. Only problem is when he sits down, the guy beside him gets re-baptised.
Asher: That's a bit weird. Still, it's a step up from being a stonemason.
Ben: I'm sorry?
Asher: He carved cornerstones, didn't he?
Ben: Nah, he caught fish for a living. Up north by the Lake.
Asher: Our Rocky?
Ben: The very same. Course he was no good. That's why he packed it in and took up preaching. More money in religion.
Asher: Maybe that's why he changed his name: Rocky Barjona. Got more of a ring to it. Makes him sound like a contender: the Judean Jaguar.
Ben: Too right. After all, who's gonna take you seriously if your name is Simon?
Asher: Yeah, Simon the Snooze.
Ben: How about Soporific Simon the Ponderous Preacher?
Asher: [giving his friend a high five] You're the man!
Ben: (pause) I still think it's odd how he got away with all them lies.
Asher: What do you mean?
Ben: You know, in the courtyard, at the trial. Said he didn't know him, didn't he?
Asher: That's right. Three times, wasn't it?
Ben: I heard four.
Asher: Funny that he wasn't struck off for that. Bit hypocritical if you ask me. Goes and snuffs Ananias for telling porkie pies while excusing his own whoppers.
Ben: I reckon he paid the others off. The way I hear it, once Judas was out of the picture, Rocky took charge of the money bag. And no one ain't seen no certified accounts in a very long time.
Asher: Makes you wonder, dunnit?
Asher: Me too.
Ben: (pause) Do you suppose he'll bump into Saul when he gets to Rome?
Asher: Don't you mean Paul?
Ben: That's what I said.
Asher: No, you said Saul.
Ben: Well who are you talking about then?
Asher: Er, old bandy legs.
Ben: Right. I hear him and Rocky had a run-in up in Antioch.
Asher: Hard to imagine Paul jogging with those legs of his.
Ben: No, not a race. A bust-up.
Asher: He wears a bra?
Ben: Don't be facetious. They had a bit of a barney.
Asher: They ate a purple dinosaur? That's hardly kosher.
Ben: Something like that. The way it was told me, Rocky was offered this plate of local Syrian delicacies: eye of newt, and toe of frog, wool of bat, and tongue of dog. Then when he tried to refuse, Saul called him a sissy. Don't think Rocky's ever forgiven him, especially not after Mr I'm-better-than-any-of-the-apostles-even-though-I'm-not-one-of-the-original-twelve went and told the Galatians all about it in a letter.
Asher: He didn't?
Ben: Did too. I've got a copy of chapters one and two at home.
Asher: What about the rest of the letter?
Ben: Nah, figured I'd read the heavy stuff once they get the book published.
Asher: Do you reckon Paul's also in the running for Pope?
Ben: He's been published more often and that counts for a lot in some circles. But if you ask me they're running neck and neck. I reckon it'll be a sudden death decider.
Asher: That's one good thing about Paul. He's a cool cucumber. Won't go losing his head.
Ben: Maybe so but they'll crucify Rocky if his temper gets the better of him.
Asher: Too true.
Ben: Don't they have to canonise someone before they can become Pope?
Asher: I'm not sure. Could be a bit tricky seeing as how gunpowder hasn't been invented yet.
Ben: What about beatification?
Asher: Not likely. Have you seen Rocky's ugly mug? And his missus is no looker.
Ben: What'll they call her if he becomes Pope?
Asher: I don't know. Maybe the Popette.
Ben: Saint Peter and the Popettes. I reckon Rocky could roll with that.
Asher: [pulling out an egg-timer] Oops, is that the time? Gotta run. [exits]
Ben: Quo vadis?
Asher: [off stage] Couldn't have put it better myself.
Quo Vadis is Latin for 'Where are you going?' and the title of a novel by Henryk Sienkiewicz on the life of the apostle Peter.
Rocky Balboa (aka the Italian Stallion) is a boxer played by Sylvester Stallone.
The line "eye of newt" is taken from Shakespeare's Macbeth, Act 4 Scene 1.
If you don't know who Barney is, be thankful for small mercies.
According to tradition Paul was beheaded in Rome while Peter was crucified upside down.
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