In You Are the Messiah!, take a humorous and irreverant journey through the life of Jesus Christ-the lives he touches, the miracles he executes, and the roads he travels during the most tumultuous period of his life-from the clumsy beginning of his ministry, to the development of his fabled miracle-working powers, and ultimately, to his tortured sacrifice on the cross as he struggles with becoming humanity's unlucky savior.
Turn the page, but watch out. The choices made at the end of each plot point can either further the story along the correct path, lead to crazy side stories, or end in a comically brutal death-or much worse.
Along the way, you'll get the chance to answer one age-old question: What would Jesus really do?
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.37(d)|
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YOU ARE THE MESSIAH!
By BROCK LABORDE
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2010 Brock LaBorde
All right reserved.
Chapter OneA knock on the curtain of your hut jolts you out of a strange dream.
With half-opened eyes, you grumble for your parents, Mary and Joseph, to answer the door.
When the knocking starts up again, you remember that today is the day that your parents were taking your younger brothers and sisters to watch a group of harlots get stoned to death.
You've got the whole day to yourself!
You jump up from your bed of dust and rocks and take three steps forward—passing through the living room, kitchen, dining room, kitchenette, and foyer—to the front door of your family's tiny hut.
Pulling back the door curtain, you see your best friend, Simon Peter Timothy, excitedly jumping up and down.
He's yelling and pulling your arm.
"Put on your swimming robe and let's get going! We've really got to hoof it if we're going to make it to the River Jordan by noon!"
That's right! You forgot that you had planned to go on a double-date with Simon Peter Timothy and a couple of girls at the river today.
You change out of your sleeping robe, throw on your sandals, and head out the door.
Before you leave, you scribble a note on some papyrus for your parents in case they return before you do.
"Gone fig hunting. Fear ye not, for I shall return very soon.
Turn to the NEXT PAGE
"Are we really going on a date? Like, with girls? My parents would totally crucify me if they knew we were doing this," you tell Simon Peter Timothy as the two of you begin the long trek across town.
"Jesus, you're thirty-two years old," he replies. "You're not some little baby boy away in a manger anymore. Besides, it might really be worth getting in trouble over. I heard that your date, Mary, flashed her bare shoulder to some boys behind the youth synagogue last week."
For a moment, you fantasize about Mary's naked shoulder hanging out for all the world to see, but soon your thoughts drift back to the time your parents caught you preaching in the temple when you were a teenager. They sure were sore about it, and you don't want to disappoint them like that again.
Gee, that seems like so long ago, you wonder.
And indeed it was, roughly 20 years. Oddly enough, you can't remember much else that's happened in your life, either before or after that day. It's like you were a baby one day and then a teenager the next, and now you're suddenly a middle-aged man.
Regardless, you're pretty certain that you haven't preached anywhere ever since that day when you were twelve.
Lately, though, you've been having these weird dreams that you were a preacher, and a darn famous one at that ...
Simon Peter Timothy slugs you in the arm. "Don't worry about what your stuffy-ass parents say, Jesus. You're so naïve! You honestly believe that your parents were virgins when they were your age?"
"My mom definitely was. I think she still is," you say.
"You'll be fine. You need to live a little, dude."
He's right. But then again, Simon Peter Timothy has a knack for making you ignore your responsibilities, which is one reason why your parents don't like you hanging out with him.
Another reason is that he's a filthy Gentile and you're Jewish.
You relax and the two of you continue on your way.
Later, you are both thirsty and exhausted from the intense midday heat and from swatting at the swarms off lies and gnats that follow everyone around all the time.
"Sheesh! Are we having another insect plague or what?" Simon Peter Timothy asks, frustrated.
"Maybe people are falling behind on their sacrifices to Jehovah," you offer.
As you approach the river, you notice that it's a lot more populated than it usually would be on a day like this. A crowd is gathered along both sides of the riverbank, watching a man who shouts and splashes about in the waist-deep water.
"Aw cripes! That John the Baptist dude is out here baptizing people again," Simon Peter Timothy laments. "He's absolutely bat-shit crazy about baptisms."
You scan the dense crowd, but don't see any sign of your dates, so the two of you decide to watch John the Baptist scream and dunk people's heads underwater for a while.
As Simon Peter Timothy looks for a good seat on the muddy bank, you walk down to the river's edge for a quick sip of water.
"Hey there! You with the beard, robe, and sandals!" a voice shouts.
Every man in attendance (including you) starts looking around, pointing at themselves, and asking aloud, "Who? Me?"
"Yeah you!" the voice answers.
Finally you follow the voice to its source and see that it's John the Baptist and he's pointing right at you, a crazed look in his eyes.
"You look like you're in need of a real good baptizing, yessir!" he screams. "So get your filthy, un-baptized self out here and let me baptize you!"
Ugh! How mortifying! It feels like everyone in the world is staring at you right now.
Turn to PAGE 8
You arrive at the wedding just in time to see your mother, Mary, and your sister, Mary, busily braiding some baskets as last-minute wedding gifts. Feeling like you're not yet ready to confront them and defend your recent Messianic expedition, you attempt to duck out of their line of sight.
Just then, a man waves and calls out from across the pavilion, "Hey, Jesus!"
You freeze and attempt to signal the man to shut up, but he doesn't get it.
"Thanks so much for healing my lame brother," he says in an even louder voice. "Man, he was the lamest dude ever before you came along!"
Hearing this, your mother looks up and immediately spots you. Throwing her basket down, she charges at you and pinches your ear so hard that she almost tears it off.
"Jesus Theodore Christ! You have quite some bit of explaining to do, young man!" she bellows. "You don't come home for months and I hear you're performing miracles all over town? What, you couldn't find the time to turn some trees into hundreds of collectible cat statues to help out your poor father who's breaking his back with all his carpentering? And what's with all this preaching? Who taught you how to sermonize like that?"
"Ma, hold on. It's not so easy to explain," you whine. "You'd probably need a ridiculously thick, confusing book and half a million derivative self-help books to even begin to understand whatever ministry it is that I've started here."
Before she can respond, someone announces that it's time for the wedding couple to make their big wedding toast.
Everyone falls respectfully silent as the young bride and groom say a few cute words to one another and then clink their goblets.
However, their clinks sound more like hollow thuds, and when they take their sips, they find there's no wine in their goblets.
"We're all out of wine!" the bride screams, glaring at the groom before storming off into the honeymoon hut and repeatedly attempting to slam the curtain shut.
The wedding planner drags a few jugs of water out of a house.
"Oh God! There's been some sort of mix-up. Somebody accidentally watered the camels with all of the wine!"
So that explains why the camels started brawling, having sex, and then crashed out of their pens a little while ago, you think.
"I'm afraid that these jugs of water are all we've got to drink," he says, obviously embarrassed.
You feel a slight tingle in your fingertips. Your disciples look at you. Your mother shakes her head. You eye the water jugs.
"Well, perhaps I can be of service," you meekly suggest.
Everyone turns to you.
"Oh sure, you can just magically turn water into wine just like that, Jesus," Thomas says with a snicker. "You're better off taking those useless coca leaves and that sugar cane over there and dumping that in the water!"
"Helping the underprivileged is one thing, Jesus, but performing off-the-cuff parlor tricks involving alcoholic beverages is quite another," your mother says, her eyes narrowing.
You look to your sister Mary, but she just tsk-tsks you and makes you feel even more like a loser.
And what's with Thomas? His doubtful outlook is starting to be a real bummer.
Should you prove him wrong by changing the water into wine? Or is there something to his crazy coca leaf idea? It seems like something worth pursuing.
You don't want to further disappoint your mother by using your limitless supernatural powers in a silly way, but these poor people don't want to toast with mere water on their special day ...
Do something, Jesus!
If you turn the water into wine, turn to PAGE 38
If you use the coca leaves, turn to PAGE 122
Ok, time to put my miracle-making ass to the test, you think.
You take one of the fish, tear off a wedge of bread, and hold them both up to Heaven. You mumble some serious-sounding gibberish and then put the food up to your mouth.
"Num-num-num-num," you say, pretending to eat the fish and bread. You belch loudly, then rub your belly and wipe your forehead as if you can't eat anymore.
At first, the people stare at you, confused. Your disciples quickly start mimicking your actions and handing out little pieces of the food.
The crowd catches on, and eventually everyone follows suit, pretending to eat and passing the tidbits offish and bread around.
For the next hour, the air hums with smacks, burps, and people repeating, "Num-num-num-num."
Your trick worked! Soon enough, all four thousand people are satisfied, their still-empty stomachs thoroughly fooled by their even emptier skulls.
"Nice one, Jesus," says Simon Peter, nodding toward a ship anchored nearby. "But I think we should make a hasty exit, real quick and fast-like, because your little ruse might not last for very long."
You agree with this tidbit of wisdom and sneak over to the boat.
The captain tells you that they're headed for Magdala and if you agree to heal all of his crew's scurvy, he'll let you ride along.
Scurvy? Ha! That doesn't stand a chance against your healing powers, so off you go!
When you get to the shore of Magdala, you realize that not only have the four thousand people figured out your fake food miracle, but they were also somehow able to anticipate your ship's course. And now they're even hungrier and have somehow added a thousand more starving people to their ranks.
"Hey there, everyone," you anxiously greet them. "Somehow I must've gotten turned around and lost you before I could feed you a proper meal, you large multitude of ravenous people, you ..."
They aren't laughing. You start to really sweat.
"Uh, how about I heal some of your sicklies?" you offer.
You nervously touch a couple of Siamese twin children and separate them into a pair of healthy, normal children.
The crowd isn't taking that bait, though. They just want some calories ... and fast.
You huddle up your disciples and ask for whatever food they've got stashed away.
They manage to scrounge together five loaves of moldy bread and two rotten fish, less than what you had before.
Those Siamese kids just gave you an idea, though.
Maybe you could try splitting the bread and fish enough times to feed all five thousand people.
However, that's kind of a weird miracle to pull off and if you fail at it, well, even if you escape with your life, you'll make thousands of new enemies and you might as well kiss your ministry goodbye.
Since this situation is headed for disaster anyway, you've had a really cool Last Supper speech kicking around in your head that you could try out. You were saving it up to be sort of a poignant, sentimental way to say goodbye to your disciples in case you ever felt like someone was about to persecute you and kill you.
It's timely and food-related, if nothing else, you think.
You've got to try something, though. What to do, what to do ...
If you feed the five thousand, turn to PAGE 87
If you serve them the Last Supper, turn to PAGE 108
You don't like the idea of taking a dip with this freaky-looking guy in front of all these strangers. He's wearing a smelly old camel skin vest and there's an oil slick floating around him in the water.
Plus, you've heard stories about how he eats uncooked worms and rubs wild honey on his head to attract bees to live in his hair.
You glance back at Simon Peter Timothy and he gives you two thumbs up and a knowing smile that says, "You have to do this."
Others in the crowd urge you to go on, too, and even though you have no reason to listen to the unwarranted advisements of a bunch of strangers, you kick off your sandals and slowly wade into the river.
"You know what, John, I think my parents already baptized me when I was a baby. But I don't really remember," you nervously mumble.
"Just keep coming to me, O Unwashed One," he says.
As you draw closer to John, he recoils and begins jerking about spastically.
"Oh! I knew it! It's you," he shouts. "The Messiah! My Savior!"
"What?" you say, looking around. "Uh, you must have me confused with somebody else."
"No, it's you, Jesus! I'm not worthy!"
"How do you know my name?" you ask. "You're starting to creep me out, guy."
"Because you are the one true Son of God," he cries. "I've been prophesying about your arrival for months. And now, finally, you have come to baptize me!"
The crowd gasps at this. You stand crotch-deep in the dirty water, feeling awkward and not sure how to react.
He wants you to baptize him now? If you do that, it will be the talk of the town for weeks and your parents will surely find out about it. But if you don't do it, everyone might think you're a total wiener.
Either way, you're already out here, marinating in this funky dude's bodily fluids, and that double-date is looking less and less like a possibility at this point.
If you baptize John first, turn to PAGE 14
If you decline and insist that John baptize you, turn to PAGE 46
"All right, Zach," you tell him. "I don't know why you're up in that tree, why I should trust you, or how everyone seems to know more about my tax liabilities than I do, but I'll go to your house if it means you can get me out of this stupid mess."
"Awesome," he says, jumping out of the tree. "I'm the best damn CPA in town. You won't regret this, I swear! Follow me."
Everyone (including the priests, random townsfolk, and a few beasts of burden) follows Zaccheus to his house. Practically the whole town crams into the room and watches over your shoulder as Zaccheus prepares your taxes.
Hours later, when every last cent is accounted for, the ledger reveals that your financial situation is worse than the Pharisees thought-you've never paid taxes before and you actually owe half a million shekels to the Roman government.
You'll never be able to pay that off!
You slowly turn and address the crowd of angry faces.
"Whaaaaat?" you say. "Don't blame me. I've been living with my parents. They handle all that kind of stuff."
The people are not amused, even after you cure Zaccheus's wife's crooked spine and his son's harelip, which is why he wanted you to visit his house in the first place.
Within minutes, the high priests have alerted the Roman authorities and you are arrested and imprisoned for tax fraud, tax evasion, and general unpatriotic and suspicious behaviors.
"You were wrong, Zach. I totally regret this," you sadly tell Zaccheus before they drag you off.
Months later, you are beheaded, suffering the death of a common white-collar criminal.
Excerpted from YOU ARE THE MESSIAH! by BROCK LABORDE Copyright © 2010 by Brock LaBorde. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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