Older Brother James
(from WIP Not for Sunday School)
When Jesus was 15, he was invited to a party. He accompanied his older brother James. There was music and dancing and many were drinking wine and strong beer imported from Sharrupek.
Jesus didn’t know a particular dance but he watched the others closely and then joined the circle, stepping lively and shouting a big harruah up into the air like the rest as they lunged toward the center. The girl next to him stumbled, but he held her hand firmly and prevented a fall. She smiled at him from behind her veil and Jesus brought her hand to his lips. It was a great night, except James’ staff was stolen during the last dance, after many had already left.
“That was hickory,” he complained as they trudged back in the dark, taking a short cut through the scrub and Jesus leading with just an ash branch, sweeping and beating the ground ahead of them to shoe away any snakes. “White hickory, straight as a plumb, all because you had to have the last dance.”
“You can fashion another,” Jesus said.
“And you,” said James. “Will you fashion any more kisses or rest content with the one I saw you steal?”
“Mind the thorns,” said Jesus and led them straight into a cluster of kayberry.
About the writer:
Kent Dixon is a prize-winning writer with three Pushcart nominations and three Ohio Arts Council awards to his credit. His fiction and poetry have appeared in TriQuarterly, The Iowa Review, Shenandoah, Antioch Review, Gettysburg Review, Georgia Review and others. His nonfiction has appeared in The American Prospect, Florida Review, Kansas Quarterly, Energy Review, and others. He is recently retired from teaching Literature and Creative Writing at Wittenberg University. His graphic novel The Epic of Gilgamesh, co-authored with his son Kevin Dixon, is available now from Seven Stories Press. He lives with his wife Mimi in Springfield, Ohio.
Image: Untitled photograph by Nathalie von Arx, Zurich. @nathalie_von_arx