AS THE TWO BEGGARS walked back to their campsite once more, Lucas spoke. “Another lousy day!”
“Yes,” agreed Timotheus, “the take has been quite low lately.”
“Too bad we can't find any more of those big crowds.”
“Especially with that miracle worker. I could sure use another fish sandwich at least!”
“Yeah, me too. It sure seems strange. He must be teaching and healing somewhere.”
“But where? We've walked from one side of the city to the other.”
“I know, Lucas. So, what are we gonna do? Our supplies are pretty low.”
“Guess we'll just have t' be patient and keep lookin'. There's bound to be another crowd somewhere.”
Then Timotheus caught sight of a big figure heading their way. “Say, that man is walking toward us. Perhaps he's gonna give us some money.”
“Say, isn't he th' same fella who told us he was as poor as us?”
“Oh, yeah! Guess we can't expect anything from him. He also told us if things went as he expected, we wouldn't have t’ beg anymore, didn't he?”
“Somethin' of that sort. Sure wonder what he meant by it.”
“Could be he was th' one who led that insurrection against Pilate everybody's been talkin' about. They say th' leader was a big bulky lookin' fella with dark hair and dark skin, just like him.”
“But what would a fella like that want with th' likes of us?”
Our friends needed to wait only a moment to find out. The bulky bronzed being quickened his pace and was soon standing before them. They held out their hands in the usual attempt to ask alms. “My friends,” he replied, placing one hand on his hip, “I told you that I'm almost as poor as you. This is even truer now than the last time we met. I have no money to give you. But, I have a plan, which, if you wish to join me in it, will mean piles of money for all three of us.”
What kind of man this insurgent
Who plans for kingdoms made?
Was he so like the mendicant
To thus implore their aid?
“Sounds interesting,” said Lucas.
“Indeed,” rejoined Timotheus, “But just what does this plan of yours involve?”
“Robbery. There's a rich man who runs a cloth shop in town, not because he needs the money, but just for something to do. I figure we might as well have some of that money. Don't worry. I have everything planned out. We’ll go at the least busy time of day, threaten him, grab the money, and run. It'll be easy.”
The short, dark-haired, shrewd-looking beggar looked up and smiled. “I'm willing. I haven't had any excitement in years. And, maybe now I can get rid of these rags and start livin' again.”
What kind of man this mendicant
Who'd grasp at promising fate
And never see the danger
Till perchance it was too late?
Lucas twisted his mustache and glanced at his pensive partner. “And what about you?”
“I-I don't know” came the deliberate reply from a mind obviously hard at work. “I just don't know.”
“Aw, come on, Timotheus,” urged the diminutive destitute.” He paints a pretty promising picture.”
“Yes, I know. But yet, . . .oh, I don't know.”
The bronzed bulky being sighed. “Well, you better know soon. I've planned this thing for tomorrow.”
“Listen, stop by early tomorrow morning. I'll tell you then.”
“Good enough!” And the huge form dwindled slowly into the dusk.
“IT'S ALL READY, WHAT there is of it. Ah, but this may be the last time we'll have to endure such meager pickings. Come on, let's eat.”
There was not a word, not a movement from Timotheus.
“Say, what's wrong with you? Fortune comes a-knockin', and there you sit like you lost your best friend 'r' somthin'. Why, we'll get more money outa this than I've seen since I was born.”
“Yes, I know, Lucas. But robbery? It's illegal. And it's wrong, that's all.”
“To you maybe, but not to me. I've been strugglin' like this all my life, and for what? Why should some folks have everything, while we have nothing? To tell y' the truth, I've thought of trying it before but was afraid of gettin' caught.”
“Which is another reason I'm afraid to try it. Suppose we get do get caught?”
“With him as our leader? There's not much chance of it. He knows what he's about. We've got a much better chance with him than if we tried it on our own, that's for sure. So, if there ever was a time to try it, it's now.”
There was a pause, with the nocturnal crickets chirping madly away. Then, Lucas spoke again. “Go ahead and pass it up if you want to, but to me, it's a chance of a lifetime.”
A chance of a lifetime! Perhaps that was what it was – his one last hope of finding that peace and happiness for which he had been searching all his life. Yes, perhaps money would bring him the happiness he so desired. This robbery could open up a whole new life for him. It would be a new chance, a fresh start—just what he needed. He'd do it! He'll tell that big man “Yes,” when he returns in the morning.
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