We all tend to think we know better than the next man and how, given a certain mix of circumstances we would behave. Generally we credit ourselves with trying to do the right thing and think we would under most circumstances, or is that all rather a wishful and naive piece of thinking?
Judas thoughts were bubbles full of nothing when he took his last long walk out of town. He had stepped over a number of lines and now stared into the bleak vacuum of unconscious purpose. Now there was no courage in him left to look back with and only the minimalistic stream courage required to go forward blindly. He had few friends to begin with and now there are none to accompany him on this dry, lonely walk. He does not know about me though, I am looking at him now; I am the last friend of Judas.
I don’t understand what he was doing, I wasn’t there, I was busy, busy somewhere else in space, but it’s all a bit vague to me, this continual stream of existence I experience. Gets a bit patchy in places. At times I’m looking down on everything and it all seems crystal clear, then it just hazes over for no reason and my senses grow dull.
Inside his head things were spinning around, for Judas a spiral dive was underway. First it was the words, then the actions, then the focused accusations, then the silence of his loneliness. He could smell himself, the animal fear he exuded, the anxious cloud of sweat and nerves, the uncontrollable quivering before the kill, he was a shell of a man. He thought of the destiny he now had, the choices, how sure he had been at the time and yet how little he had thought anything through. And now alone he could only reflect on his exhausted role as God’s little glove puppet in this amateur theatre.
Some said the Devil had got to him, some said a dark angel or the angel of death, some said that he was bad before and he’d returned to the form he knew best. The eager fountain of original sin springs up from all hearts at some time or other. Judas knew what had happened, his scripted part in history was set up for him and he had simply moved himself into position and allowed wave after wave of events and actions to wash over him. His predestined path was carved long before now and even if he had fallen or turned and ran, some substitute would understudy his starry eyed role and deliver all the lines just as well. He may even have been the substitute, how could he ever know?
His fuse was lit the day he was born and burned and fizzed across the desert paths, over hillsides carpeted by exaggerated multitudes, at the tired camp fires and with those tedious fisherman and pimps whom he hated so. Now it had burned down, exploded and exhausted his life had no further purpose or meaning as that mass movement of destruction had begun. They want to change the world. They are determined and blind.
Judas liked the feel of money, he liked where it got him, he liked the women and the wine, the feasting and travelling, using it, but not giving it to the ignorant to waste or just handover to another taxman. A bag of silver was not a bad days work, or so it had seemed at the time. It had been a complex series of events that had led to this but through it all he had felt that heavy finger on his back. Prodding him along in the maze of moments and opportunities that flashed by until the time was right and the money was in his hand.
He looked at it again, money, metal lumps, rough cut and so hard but sensual to touch and stroke. The perfect prize for every bounty hunter, money dripping from sweaty hand to dry hand and gathered together in a leather pouch.
While the trial of Jesus took place Judas went out and got himself nicely drunk. He drank quickly and quietly and allowed the wine to seek out and suppress the feelings that were tearing at his insides. He drank and splattered, he spoke to strangers, he gambled a little, and he spoke to himself and tried to marshal an encyclopaedia of loose thought. First he laughed at himself and then as the emotional spectrum turned he wept, primarily for himself and Jesus and with a sudden sense of future foreboding for his family whom he had left far behind. Finally he sobbed and wept for nothing, for no good reason, it seemed only like a tearful celebration of his short life and a measure of where he now stood on the celestial countdown of his cursed path. God had predestined this and who was he now to shrink back from the inevitable consequences? The thundercloud was slowly appearing over the horizon, rolling and gaining speed whilst in another part of the city a centurion buckled his belt and prepared for his duties.
What was this Potter’s field place anyway? An incoherent, ranting Judas buys it with the last of his money, sprawled on the floor in a winery. All done for no reason other than to comply with a red set of messages running across his brain like stampeding buffalo. A bargain is struck and the seller returns to his proper business, fed up with arguing and cursing beside a punchy drunk. Then they said that the entire city is talking about Jesus, how could that be true? People are far more concerned with their own survival, health and profits; another dead donkey on the highway is of no consequence. The hysterical mob that would whoop and scream at a mouse dangled on a thread before them represent little of actual real opinion. Real opinions are never properly expressed and can only ever be a figment of the historian’s imagination.
But for Judas all his thoughts are pressing down now, becoming firm as the blurred vision clears. There is no win strategy here, there is no recovery position, and this has to be the end. His concept of himself has clouded to allow him to become some wraith like creature; no face, no feeling, no guilt and no memory of himself, but the whole of the universe will remember the monster he must be painted as. He looks down at the belt of his tunic and allows himself the smile of a man who suddenly has a personal peace about his strange and unique place in the swamp of mis-recorded history. What more can anybody do?