For Benjamin, it had been an average day of shopkeeping. He was talking idly to some customers about the weather when they heard the noise of the crowd outside.
”Seems to be some excitement in the street.”
”I wonder what it could be.”
”Let’s go and see, shall we?”
One man peered out into the street. ”Seems to be a parade of some sort.”
”Let’s go see.”
”Say, Benjamin, why don’t you close up shop and come join us?”
”Nah, I think I’ll stay here and take a chance. Perhaps some of the crowd will come in and buy something.”
”Have it your way.”
The door of the shop opened noisily, and the trio found themselves before a high counter filled with all manner of goods. The withered shopkeeper smiled benignly upon them. ”So, I do have customers in the midst of so much excitement? What can I d—“
”I’m afraid not customers, sir,” scoffed Barabbas, taking from his side a sharp, wide-bladed knife, which he proceeded to dangle over the surprised shopkeeper. “Now where’s th’ money?”
Benjamin, quivering convulsively, pointed to a picture hanging on the wall. “It’s there, behind that picture, in a box in the hole. Please don’t hurt me.”
Barabbas nodded to Timotheus. This was his signal to get the money. He took down the picture, reached into the hole, and extracted the box.
Lucas, as instructed, proceeded to tie up Benjamin in order to prevent him from sounding the alarm. But the shopkeeper had different ideas. ”Take my money,” he begged tearfully, ”but, leave me alone.”
(what kind of man this shopkeeper?
Who trembled so with fear?
Was he a Jew who trusted
In a God who was not near?)
”I’ll take care of him,” called Barabbas. Holding his knife with his teeth, he tried vigorously to tie up the aged shopkeeper. But Benjamin kicked and squirmed, making the task impossible. Barabbas grew more infuriated with every second. Suddenly, he wrenched his knife from between his teeth and held it above the squirming shopkeeper. Then, in the frantic frenzy of his savage rampage, he rammed the blade deeply into the shopkeeper’s heart. Benjamin slumped across his chair, letting out a loud piercing yell. The Roman soldiers who marched upon the green would not have noticed the shop’s mysterious occupants had it not been for this outcry. Entering, they found three cringing figures, one of whom stood over the body of his second victim in two weeks.
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