An Interview with…Dismas – Issue 31

Eds: Evening Dis, take a chair. You do know that means be seated rather than actually take one, don’t you?

Dis: Greetings, why sayest thou? If you’ve done your research, I was the repentant one. Also, my thievery was petty, very petty. And your seat is not worth damnation of the soul.

Eds: But some say you were actually a murderer. Is it true?

Dis: If anyone was injured during my thievery, then it wasn’t intentional. Anyway, nothing was proven, In those days you could be condemned merely by word of mouth. No forensics or carbon dating techniques.  Fingerprints were seen as art.

Eds: Were you penitent because you wanted salvation or were you a poor thief?

Dis: What impertinence! Jesus would tell you how sincere I was. I heard Jesus often saying to his dad, “Please father, take him unto your bosom…Now would be nice,” I built a good rapport with Jesus.

Eds: Wasn’t he, and his dad compelled, logically, to forgive you?

Dis: No, they didn’t do anything for the other tealeaf, Gestas.

Eds: Yes, but he didn’t repent. In fact, didn’t he revile you while you were there?

Dis: He did. What a foul mouth he had. Called me all sorts of low things. You would enjoy the list. It would make a substantial synonymic list of derogatory epithets.

Eds; Tell us what he called you.

Dis: Use your imagination. I’m honour bound not to tell.

Eds: There’s also some who think you both reviled Jesus and badgered at the tenuous logic of his situation. Did you have no compassion for the fellow’s suffering?

Dis: That was all Gestas. He was a bitter one. Nothing more he enjoyed than making people suffer. He saw Jesus’ situation as meat and drink to his cruelty. You know the social character type. You vote them into government today.

Eds: No, we don’t vote for them but they get into power anyway.

Dis: Yes, an age of soulless cynicism. Unlike my time when belief in goodness had some clout.

Eds: So, you asked Jesus to put in a good word for you with his dad. Why?

Dis: Well, if you’d been listening and paying attention, it was because I was penitent.

Eds: Sure it wasn’t just to save your ass?

Dis: Soul, matey, my ass, as you crudely put it, was roasting under the relentless sun being hung out to crisp rather than just dry.

Eds: Was the allure of paradise the reason you repented?

Dis: No, not really. In fact, I was rather disappointed with paradise. The service is so slow. They expect you to wait for an eternity before you get what you want. How long does it take to prepare a meal of milk and honey, I ask you.

Eds: So, you didn’t truly repent then. Surely patience is a godly virtue that you seem to still lack.

Dis: I wouldn’t care but they have no complaints procedure either. It would test the patience of a saint.

Eds: Did you know that in some circles people have acknowledged you as just that: a saint?

Dis: Well, that’s just silly, isn’t it. Although when you think about it, it’s logically consistent with how power seeks to co-opt people into recognising its legitimacy.

Eds: How so?

Dis: Think about it. The people bestowing sainthood acquire credibility by such an act. It deflects attention from their regular behaviours that are less than Christian and Godly. It’s an ancient strategy that you must see in your power bases today.

Eds: You seem well informed for petty thief. How do you know these things?

Dis: I used to steal anything at one stage; turned out some of my loot was scriptures, religious and philosophical. Used to keep me out of mischief for days.

Eds: Didn’t stop you getting crucified.

Dis: Dolt, that’s the Romans for you. Thought they knew everything. Just because you can build roads, drainage, propagandist schools and edifices, doesn’t mean you know how to live a full and soulful life. Just look at their politics: appalling. Their philosophies were an existential duality from how they ruled with the same materialistic cynicism that is prevalent today across the globe. One of the most significant differences today is that horses have more rights in a relationship than they had under the Romans.

Eds: So, which way was Christ’s head lolling at the end?

Dis: Perverse but I’ll tell you: to the left.

Eds: And which side were you on?

Dis: Well, it all depends on your point of view, doesn’t it? If you came from the east, I was on the right; if you came from the west, I was on the left. But then, life on earth is merely a comic aside. Bye.

Eds: Bye, Dismas. There he goes stealing into the night like a thief. He is a very good actor.

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