Monday, May 01, 2006

The Gardener

Hey hey hey. Just got back from Roots which was pretty cool. Matt asked me to write three short monologues to be performed over the weekend at various points. Only having a week in which to do them, however, made it kinda challenging so it was all a bit rushed. This first one was particularly difficult to learn for some reason and I stumbled over a lot of it on the Friday night. I wasn't feeling all that great about it but then got a really positive response from people afterwards. So here it is...

The Gardener

As a gardener you tend to get about. I do freelance work mostly so I’m all over the shop. I’ve done ‘em all. Jews, Romans, tax collectors, political officials. I do private, public… Round these parts, people know that if you want a decent display, Frank’s your man. I mean I’m hardly world famous but round here, people know me. And when you’re working in people’s garden’s you get talking. And after a while… people start to tell me things. I don’t know why exactly but everyone trusts the gardener. Well, who am I going to tell other than the chrysanthemums right? So I’m told certain things. I overhear certain other things… And when you’re working in people’s private gardens – doing window displays that sort of thing – you see a lot of things that probably aren’t meant to be seen. You wouldn’t think it to look at me but I know more about what goes on in this city than the Romans do.

If you want the gossip, come to Frank.

Which is why I suppose I’ve had everyone asking me about what happened that Sunday a couple of weeks back. I mean you’ve heard the rumours by now right? Jesus – the controversial rabbi – who was crucified and buried about this time a fortnight ago? They say he’s back. Raised from the dead to… carry on his mission, get revenge on the people who killed him, prove that he could do it? I dunno. I can tell you this much though. They’re more than just rumours.

I’d been asked to work on the Arimathea tomb after Jesus had been buried there on the Friday. I’ve done a lot of work for Joseph in the past so he asked me to take care of it. Now, it was too late to start anything on the Friday and Saturday, of course was the Sabbath (I don’t care what you believe, you don’t work on a rabbi’s tomb on the Sabbath). So I was going to start work on it on the Sunday. Only I never quite got that far.

I get to the garden on the Sunday morning and there in the distance I see the tomb. It’s open. It’s empty. And outside stands this woman, crying. No prizes for guessing who. Mary Magdalene. It wouldn’t surprise me if she’d been standing in that same spot since Friday night. Well, obviously she hadn’t or she’d have known what had happened. Seeing her there, I didn’t know what to do. She was crushed. And understandably. I figured it was grave-robbers. It happens… But not this time. Coz then… Jesus appeared.

Now, I have to say, if I were Jesus, I don’t think I’d show myself to Mary first. For a start, she’s not exactly the sharpest tool in the box. I mean, for example, that morning, the first time she sees Jesus – her Lord and master – He who she has devoted her life to, right? She thinks he’s me. “Frank” she says to him – catch this – “Frank” she says “have you moved Jesus?”. Now some might say it’s an easy mistake to make. After all, Jesus is well known for being a 5ft7, clean-shaven, Caucasian white blonde – yeah – we’re practically twins. I mean don’t get me wrong, of all his followers she had to be the most – loyal. I mean she was at his trial, his death, his burial. Maybe she deserved to see him first. I dunno. I just think he could have picked someone with a bit more street-cred to tell everyone else that he’s back. I mean, she hasn’t got the best reputation. Yeah it’s all in the past sure but if a recently bereaved woman who is rumoured to have once been a demon possessed prostitute tells you that the man who you know for a fact has been whipped, crucified and stabbed through the heart is now walking about dressed as a gardener, you’re gonna have your reservations.

Having said that, there are some who wouldn’t believe no matter who told ‘em.

For example, it turns out that after he appeared to Mary, Jesus makes an appearance in front of his disciples as they’re hiding from the Jewish officials. Now Thomas, one of his disciples, good guy, I did his geraniums once. He wasn’t there at the time. So when he gets in all the others are buzzing and they’re telling him that they’ve seen Jesus and he’s back and they’re all worked up and laughing and excited… And Thomas, being one of their brothers – one of them – gets caught up in it all and gets all excited and overjoyed about his master being back from the dead right? Does he heck. He takes one look at the bowl of mushrooms on the dinner table and decides they’ve all gone nuts. And he says this to them, he says “I will not believe that he’s back until I’ve put my fingers in the holes in his hands and side”.

Last week, from what I hear, he got his wish. He saw Jesus. He touched his wounds and he believed. But apparently Jesus said something to him that I haven’t managed to get out of my head since I heard it. It was something like: “you’ve had to see me in order to believe. But there are those who are going to have to believe in me without seeing. And those people – they will be blessed.”

You know, I can’t help thinking. I was there. You know? I saw him. But what if I hadn’t? Would I believe? I mean all I’d have to go on was the word of some crazy woman and a bunch of fanatics who have probably kept themselves locked up too long. I mean if it was one of the Roman officials or one of the High Priests then maybe but these guys… Is anyone gonna believe them? I guess we’ll just to have to wait and see.

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