“Jesus,” said Peter, “How are we going to keep this out of the papers?”
“What papers?” wondered Jesus, but He knew that someday ‘the papers’ would be invented and that someday even further everyone would blame the Internet for killing off papers, but He wasn’t going to stop the Internet from being invented, just delay it past the 1970s. God only knows why THAT was the plan, but He wouldn’t tell Jesus.
Jesus just didn’t know how Peter knew about the papers. “And keep what out?” asked Jesus, who often wished He was omniscient. There was a super-power! He knew that being able to fly was also a pretty good power, wowed the crowds at State Fairs, but still, it would be nice to be able to finish the crossword puzzle just once.
Peter slung his scabbard over his shoulder, preferring that style rather than the more popular Egyptian belt-scabbards, and said “The dragons. And how they exist.”
“I don’t think you can keep it out of the papers,” said Thomas, who would be skeptical of that, too. “I mean, everyone knows about them.”
“Everyone?” said Judas, but already people weren’t paying much attention to him. Most people wondered why Jesus even bothered including Judas. It made an unlucky number of people to go into battle against the dragons, for one thing, and even with Their Lord And Savior on their side the Apostles weren’t willing to tempt fate, as it were, by going into battle against dragons with 13 people, so one of them had to be left behind each time, chosen by Lot, who had time on his hands that, unless occupied, he would use looking for a new wife.
Single man seeks close-minded female, Lot’s profile on J-Date read. Willingness to try new things a definite minus.
“If everyone knows, why do you want to keep it out of the papers?” Jesus asked, not unkindly. Everything Jesus did was done not unkindly, because He was (is) Jesus. Even when Jesus was slaying a dragon, bloody sword held over His head, His majestic hair blowing in the wind He summoned up for just such moments, eyes glowing with a righteous majesty, the dragon cowering before Him, already mortally wounded, even then, when Jesus swung His terrible, swift sword in a mighty arc, the razorlike edge slicing through the dragon’s neck and causing an acidic ichor to gush out, the dragon’s lifeblood drenching Jesus and anyone near Him, as yet another foul beast of Satan was expelled from this realm back to its unholy demesnes, even then Jesus did that not unkindly, albeit a little messily. There is no really clean way to slay a dragon.
“I mean, the papers of the future,” said Peter, and now Jesus wondered if Peter had been reading Jesus’ blog, the posts that were not yet published. How does he know? Jesus wondered (not unkindly, of course.)
“I don’t think it matters,” said Andrew, who was Peter’s brother and who kind of resented all the attention Peter got. Nobody ever was going to build their church on the rock that was Andrew, that was for certain. Maybe an Arthur Treacher’s. Maybe. “So they know there were dragons. So what?” Andrew cinched the saddle on his saber-tooth tiger.
“What if someone wonders why there are no dragons then?” asked James, The Son Of Alphaeus. Don’t bother wondering who Alphaeus was, or why he’s so important that James is known as his son. That mystery will never be solved. “I mean, assuming we are successful.”
“Maybe we won’t wipe out all the dragons in our lifetime,” argued Thomas, who would say something like that.
Thomas, for all that, was one of the better dragon-fighters. Once, Thomas had been in a particularly vicious battle with a greenish dragon, the kind that everyone knows breathes not fire but clouds of chlorine gas, which scientists would one day discover can kill you. Nobody ever knew chlorine could kill you because for many centuries the only source of chlorine was greenish dragons, and if you were close enough to inhale their chlorine breath you generally got chomped in half. “It’s not the chlorine, it’s the chomping,” would have been a saying if the people back then had had the leisure time to think up sayings, but they were very busy what with the Romans and the dragons and the Messiah and the UFOs that kept coming and making them build nuclear reactors that were so cleverly constructed they appeared to be natural occurrences. Jesus Himself had been a subcontractor on one of those sites. He was not just a carpenter/Messiah, after all, but did many other things, a real Renaissance deity.
Thomas had been close enough to get caught in a cloud of chlorine, but he had quickly pulled a swath of his tunic over his face to avoid breathing most of it. Eyes watering, and as the rest of them watched in awe, Thomas had charged the greenish dragon, his spear held in his other hand, over his head, and the dragon, expecting Thomas to run, had overshot its mark, just slightly, and Thomas stabbed the spear into the dragon’s neck, where it met the body, aiming for the largest of the four hearts dragons have. The spear drove all the way into the handle, and the dragon had shrieked in outrage, spinning its sinuous neck around to Thomas, and gnashing its teeth at him. Thomas had grabbed the mouth of the dragon, holding it closed like an alligator wrestler. The dragon had smashed its own head repeatedly against the ground, trying to kill Thomas, who didn’t bother stabbing his dagger into the dragon’s eyes, as everyone knew dragons’ brains are located between their wings. That’s Dragon 101. Thomas instead suffered a battering until the dragon’s largest heart began to give out, and as the dragon struggled to move with only three hearts, slowed, Thomas leapt onto its back and, crawling over the bloody, razor-sharp scales, jammed his dagger into the thing’s brain, causing the dragon to shudder and drop like a doll cast aside by a careless child, if such a doll also weighed several tons, could spit chlorine, had 73 needle-esque teeth, and had come fro m Hell.
“They’ll probably just assume the dinosaurs killed them all,” Jesus said.