Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Jesus and the Robot - Part One


Jesus and the Robot is a story told in three episodes, posted serially by me, your temporally displaced host, Cheeseburger Brown. Chapters: 1|2|3

"A warrior carries a fat man!"

Our story begins:



1/3

It was a sunny day in Galilee. Seabirds wheeled, ants crawled, clouds drifted.

A crown of dust hung over old Capernaum on the shores of Lake Gennesaret. It was the dust of commerce and freight, motion and work, missions and games -- the dust of life. Insects, too, hovered over the town: drawn by the rot-rich earth tilled by the farmers, by the dung of asses in the street, by the offal cast away by butchers.

It was the last market day of Sextilis, in the year Tiberius XIX.

The road from Bathsaida was clogged with travelers. There were plodding clots of merchants' carts interspersed with swifter strings of those moving on foot -- consumers and beggars, students and fools, thieves and pilgrims. They could see the dust over Capernaum, and it made them less weary to walk the final mile.

The sun was hot. The shadows were short. Some stumbled.

A void in the traffic surrounded a strange duo along the road. One sat upon the shoulders of the other, drooping with exhaustion over his ride's brow. The rider was sunburned and baby-faced, his bulbous, heavy body wrapped in rags. The one who served as his steed wore armour from head to toe, as colourless as the dust itself save for faint traces of burnished crimson showing through at the base of scuffs or at the edges of dents.

The armoured man stood straight. He did not lean or stagger under his burden. His chin was high, his eyes hidden.

Capernaum had neither walls nor a gate, for Rome kept the peace. Never the less a sort of informal border could be discerned that marked the transition from country to town: smaller mews ringing quaint courtyards flanked by flocks of olive trees replaced the rolling green fields; sheep wandering by the way became dogs; the smell of human oils overtook the smells of excrement and grass.

The armoured man and he who rode him went south upon the avenue. The passersby afforded them a wide margin. Word spread that strange men had come to town, and children pushed their faces at the windows in an effort to catch a glimpse.

"A warrior carries a fat man," went the whisper through the market's stalls.

"Where do they go?"

"Where do all pilgrims go today? To seek Mara Yeshua!"

The line outside the famous teacher's Yahad was long. Some in the queue shared water or biscuits. Some chatted. All cast fleeting glances at the silent armoured man and his sagging charge.

A Pharisee at the road's edge recited from the Tanakh in lilting, guttural Hebrew. His eyes were glazed and unfocused, like a Yogi. Those who passed close to him nodded reverently in acknowledgement or stooped to touch the hem of his robes. Most ignored him.

On the opposite side of the road a wiry ascetic in a ragged loincloth exhorted the pedestrians to repent, for the end of days was nigh. He spat and shouted, waved his arms and carried on. He sang about the death of Yohanan, a sign of the broken convenant between the sky and the world. He plead for righteousness to reign, before it was too late.

A baker gave him a crust of bread.

The afternoon waned and the pool of pilgrims shrank. At sunset a bearded man who called himself Yakob announced the end of admissions for the day and those still waiting murmured resignedly and shuffled away to find an inn or a stable or a length of grass for spending the night. In moments none remained but the armoured man, who neither swayed nor sighed but instead stood steadily in place, his tarnished masque expressionless.

Yakob hesitated, cleared his throat, then said, "Go find rest, pilgrims. Tomorrow you might see my brother."

The armoured man looked up. Where his eyes should have been were two black lenses, as inscrutable as stones. From behind the masque his voice issued tinny but bold, muffled but certain: "Sir, we must meet with Yeshua."

Yakob smiled uncertainly. "Even if not for the hour, we do not permit weapons within our walls, good pilgrim."

"Sir, I carry no weapons."

"You come in armour."

"I have no blade. This armour is my flesh, sir."

Yakob narrowed his eyes, uneasy. "That is not Roman armour...nor forged by any Greek or Persian craft I have ever seen. Where do you march from, pilgrim? What is your tribe?"

The armoured man paused. He exchanged a look with the man sitting on his shoulders, who shrugged. At last he carefully said, "I am Jeremiah. My companion is called Tim. We are in a desperate situation, stranded far from home."

"Where is your home, pilgrim?" persisted Yakob.

"Sir, we are castaways from a storm in time." He spread his metal-covered arms in an attitude of appeal. "Please, will you help us?"


35 comments:

Orick of Toronto said...

They made it out alive!!! yeah!

sheik yerbouti said...

Dang.

I did not see that coming.

Star Trek IV, anyone?

Cheeseburger Brown said...

Dear Orick,

It's true -- and there's quite a bit behind their survival, to be candid.

Dear Sheik,

Just wait til the part when Yakob cries, "Double dumb ass on you!"

Love,
Cheeseburger Brown

sheik yerbouti said...

CBB,

As long as there are no whales, we should be fine. Then again, given Shatner's propensity for meeting up with Roddenberry's various concepts of God, who's to say?

I can't wait to hear the escape story. Is this another factor in whole rift plotline?

Teddy said...

OH MY GOD!

Literally - I was raised Catholic. Through the sun and a temporal storm to the time of the turn of the calendar! Tim isn't doing well health-wise, so they prolly need to see Jesus of Nazareth for a healing. I'll wager a lot of money that Jesus is Long. Couldn't be Lallo himself, Lallo isn't a spotlight type.

Yay Jeremiah and Tim! I might say that I want to hear the story of the time storm, but then again it might be an interesting Noodle Incident type of thing.

TRH

mandrill said...

Teddy, We already have it on good (if dubious) authority that Jesus is not long (Lallo's conversation with either Moses or PJ at the Vatican) but the theory was put forward by Lallo that it was Aum yanking peoples chains.

Mr. Brown, I'm sorry to say that I saw this one coming from the moment the pair are mentioned. Not to say I'm not intrigued, I hope your as successful at turning this cliche on its head as you have been in the past. I like the authenticity you've given this, I can almost taste the dust and humanity.
BTW Thanks for reading that link I sent you, I'll be going over your advice and the piece with a fine comb.

Cheeseburger Brown said...

Dear all,

I'm completely buried at work. I have 23 videos to finish in the next 10 days.

Posting may be erratic for a short time. Holy shit I'm going crazy!

Here's what's coming up (schedule subject to change):

1) "Jesus and the Robot" - three part, light fare.

2) "Life & Taxes" - single episode short story concerning Dr. Zoran's robotics lab.

3) "The Rich Dance" - single episode short story concerning the end of the Universe.

After that I'm not sure which longer-form serial to plunge into next -- I have a handful on the backburner of my brain right now. Possibilities:

*) "Revenge of the Space Hippies" - serial adventure concerning the Jovian resistance movement against Imperial Mars.

*) "(Untitled)" - serial adventure concerning men and woman living on a dysfuctional ark plying space as they escape a dying Sun.

*) "(Untitled)" - serial adventure concerning wayward youth of the French ghettos ("les cites") in the not-too-distant-future in which one boy is subjected to a new and startling kind of morality surveillance.

*) "Welcome to Mars!" - a story concerning the arrival of the first manned mission to Mars, and the surprises they find there. NB: this may possibly be issued as a stand-alone short (print) novel and not serialized via this blog. Decision pending.

*) "Felix and the Frontier" - a serialized adventure about a robot's frightening discoveries at the edge of human exploration.

P.S. "Simon of Space" is being pitched to 20th Century Fox next week. Keep your fingers crossed!

Love,
Cheeseburger Brown

Anonymous said...

I'd like to make a request for "Felix and the Frontier".

In what form is SoS being pitched? Movie/Series/DVD?

Simon said...

Uh, what year is it? Is that Tiberius 26? It reads funny to me, and I thought I had my Roman Numerals under my belt.

I nearly let out a girlish "squeee!" when I found out who they were. Unlike Mandrill, I did not have it figured out. I was very happy to read that Jeremiah and Tim had survived, after a fashion.

Good luck with the storm at work, and even better luck with Fox.

Mark said...

Sounds like a fun on so far. I almost reached up to wipe dust from my forehead after reading this one.

Looking forward to the rest.

Pitching SoS to a major studio, eh? Good luck.

gl. said...

goodluck & godspeed, cheeseburger!

tolomea said...

Felix and the Frontier \o/

Bridget said...

YES!!! Praise Oprah!

I don't suppose there are any nuclear wessels in Galilee at this point? Ah, well.

Will said...

I vote for Felix and the Frontier also. I'd like to see it as a novel length serial like SoS was back in 2005.

sheik yerbouti said...

Yes, Felix; absolutely! We need more on the long-awaited Something Wicked.

Hang in there; we'll see you on the other side of the mountain.

Mandrill said...

Simon, XVIX is fourteen. 10 and then 6 before 10 (4) though I've more often seen it written as XIV. I checked it up and the date just about tallies with current thinking on the life of Christ, though understandable we can only work with approximations.

Mr B, Good luck with Fox, I hope they don't want to dumb it down too much.

Simon said...

Thanks Mandrill. That's been bugging me since I first read it, never having seen 14 written quite that way. Had I simply stuck to the rules of Roman numerals, (Roman Numerules) I could have figured it out.

This is what I do to occupy myself between CBB chapters.

Cheeseburger Brown said...

Dear Simon,

Actually, it was supposed to be "18" and has now been corrected to properly read so.

The year is Tiberius Eighteen.

I'd hoped to have the next chapter ready for today, but my weekend looking after the children alone permitted me less typing time than I'd anticipated, mostly due to teething on the part of my boy.

I'm sure I'll get it done today, though.

Love,
Cheeseburger Brown

Anonymous said...

Actually it says "19" right now. "18" would be XVIII.

Cheeseburger Brown said...

Fine, 19.

I don't care. Close enough.

Dan said...

I want my CBB!

(Just Kidding)

THE Danimal

sheik yerbouti said...

so... whose CBB do you want?

Mark said...

I'm hoping the lull here means big things are happening for Simon of Space.

Of course, it could just be real life taking up CBB's time.

Cheeseburger Brown said...

Dear all,

Yeah, sorry about the extended delay. With regard to Mark's guesses, it's a little from column A and a little from column B.

Work is pure madness. Imagine this: your company has its biggest project of the year going live in two weeks, and everyone in the office except you if off-site on another project. Imagine you don't have the authority to make real decisions, but you have all the responsibility to produce the entire show singlehanded without any budget control. That is my current work situation.

As for Simon of Space, things are proceeding. I really can't get into the details, but suffice it to say it is an extremely exasperating process which reminds me (in no good ways) of some of my experiences having my TV series developed a number of years ago (some of you may have read the story about it, Four Corners of a Box). Nothing is easy.

It pains me to no end that you've all been left hanging. I hope you appreciate how insane my life must truly be right now for me -- for this verbose and profane fool -- to fall so badly behind in posting. You know how dedicated (read: obsessive) I am about it.

Right now...there's just no room to breathe.

Thanks for bearing with me.

Love,
Cheeseburger Brown

Dan said...

Matt,

You do what you need to do. As painful as it is to wait for your jewels for the mind, keeping your life right is what matters for now. Our eyes will be here waiting patiently (I hope). LEt us know when you go live eith your project so we can see your visual mastery (if we can).

THE Danimal

Anonymous said...

Does anybody have an account on wikipedia? There should be a page dedicated to the burgerverse.

Teddy said...

Meatspace decidedly takes priority over the intarweb, take as long as you need!

By the way, what happened to those little bloglets that used to precede the story?

TRH

Simon said...

Ah well, here's hoping the best for both the culmination of this story as well as the Big Production orchestrated by a hamstrung maestro.

And SoS too. That would be uber-kewl.

Anonymous said...

It must be cool to know that we your people wait here for you patiently while we twiddle our thumbs and check your blog 5 or more times a day looking for a new post.... (not that I do this) Take your time we all can wait.

You should start a cult put sabliminal messages in your stories and have us tatoo CCB across our chests then jump off a bridge at the same time I can see the news now "People around the world take a nasty plunge. What The hell is CCB??" HA HA
Just kidding

**twiddle twiddle** of my thumbs
Santa

Anonymous said...

^^ WTF?

sheik yerbouti said...

No more drugs for that man.

Teddy said...

Congrats, CBB, you have your first freaky fan!

And...umm...somebody take away his crackpipe.

TRH

Mark said...

Glad to hear that you're still breathing, albeit in fast gasps.

Some of you folks really should use an RSS reader and keep up with CBB that way. Much easier.

CBB, I'm confident SoS will work out well because Red Green is nowhere near it.

Sith Snoopy said...

Or you could subscribe to his stuff so you receive updates in email. :)

Loving this one, CBB, btw. ;)

Can't wait to hear how it's going on SoS. That would KICK ASS as a sci-fi movie. :)

It would be pretty long, though. Probably end up better as a Sci-Fi series for TV thingy. Like the remake of Dune they did. Else, I don't think they could do it real justice. There's just so much that happens, so many different worlds and people. I'd hate to see anything get cut out to meet some stupid time constraints, you know?

Heh. Maybe it could be a 4 hour miniseries, like they did on Battlestar Galactica. And if it took off, you could end up writing the new Simon of Space TV series. :) [Which would GREATLY make up for BSG having only one season left. :P ]

Hope your work life calms down and that your home life is nice and relaxing.

Me, I'm preggers (I think I already mentioned it once in an email), and have found yet another mouse in the kitchen. [Thankfully found it by hearing the trap go SNAP last Friday!] Yikes. Mice and mice germs in my kitchen cabinets. Talk about a way to torture a pregnant woman with OCD, LOL! CONTAMINATION! NOOOOOOOO! ;)

NEED... A... VICIOUS... KILLER... CAT. NOW. Our dumb German Shepherds don't chase mice.

Oh, and work has been way stressful for me, too, due to some serious fires to put out.

In short, you have my utmost sympathy and empathy. I hope both our lives calm down for a bit, LOL!!!! It's definitely time for a breather.

Good luck on the job stress, the current story, SoS, and life in general, Dude. :)

Sheik Yerbouti said...

Which is worse for a pregnant woman, finding (dead) mice or finding (live) giant roaches?

We had the latter problem in our kitchen/bedroom/nursery a few months back... nearly had some third-trimester vomiting going on.