Matthew was arrested.

The charge was obstruction of justice/interfering with the duties of a peace officer. He didn’t really care.

They finger-printed him, took his mug shot and he was escorted through two green, metallic doors into a holding area with a large L-shaped cell, occupied by about twenty or so people.

Matthew immediately noticed that all the detainees were sitting on one side of the cell and Jubal Carlos was on the other. He was a bit confused about the separation–until he was placed inside and came close to Jubal. Mr. Carlos explained that since his incarceration, he had refused to eat or bathe. He smelled like a rotten tomato at a manure factory. All the inmates had decided to leave him alone to literally stew in his own juices.

Jubal looked horrible–already gaunt, ashen, with a bit of sweat dripping from his brow. He was happy to see Matthew, though perplexed as to why he was gaining a partner.

“What happened?” Matthew asked.

Jubal drew a deep breath, looked around to make sure no one was listening and replied, “I don’t exactly know. I was down in the homeless area, passing out bologna and American cheese sandwiches, when I was suddenly surrounded by what looked like a battalion of policemen–clad in armor! I protested, so they added the charge of “resisting arrest” onto my indictment. They explained that a complaint has been levied against me by a woman from New York City, who was visiting in Vegas, and she said I accosted her, demanding donations for the street folk, and she felt threatened.”

Matthew squinted. He hadn’t known Jubal very long, but the chance that this pacifist had stirred up a sea of violence seemed highly unlikely. Something was obviously going on. He paused, trying to figure out whether he should assimilate into the scene along with Jubal, or share the vision he had for taking Jesus to the streets.

Instead, Matthew opted to ask for his phone call. He chose to dial up Jo-Jay. She was once again right on top of matters, and had a lot more information than Matthew.

She explained that Prophet Morgan had gone off to the blackjack tables for his yearly fund-raising campaign for an orphanage he funded in Honduras. Sister Rolinda was in the streets of Las Vegas, passing out condoms to the prostitutes, Soos was already on her way to the Clark County Jail, having picked up through the grapevine that Jubal was in there and assuming that Matthew would not be far behind.

Matthew gave Jo-Jay one instruction. “Find out the source of the arrest of Jubal Carlos.”

She jumped on the opportunity. No question or doubt. What a dynamic lady she was. It would have been so easy to whine–discontent over such an ill-defined mission. Instead, she decided to learn as she went and hope for the best.

As soon as he hung up the phone, one of his jailers told him he had a visitor. It was Soos. Matthew was confused by Soos’s appearance–she was limping and had what appeared to be a colostomy bag hanging from her side.

“What the…?” Matthew wasn’t able to finish his thought before Soos grabbed his arm and guided him back toward the clink. Being placed safe inside again, the keeper of the crooks brought Soos a chair so she could be comfortable during her visit with Matthew.

Matthew continued to stare at Soos in disbelief. “What the hell is going on?”

Soos motioned for him to be quiet, whispering, “I found out they wouldn’t let anybody see you or Jubal, here, unless it was a relative or an emergency, so I told them I was your sister and I was on my way to have an operation to be further disemboweled for my cancer treatment.”

Matthew gasped. “You what?”

Soos continued. “Figuring they would need to see some evidence of my condition, I went to the medical supply house, picked up this colostomy bag and some other contraptions that made me look real endangered.”

Matthew shook his head and Jubal chuckled.

“Don’t encourage her,” Matthew said to Jubal.

Jubal reached through the bars, took her hand and shook it. “Brilliant, my dear.”

Soos looked Jubal in the eye. “Thank you. Do you know how bad you smell?”

Jubal laughed. “No…but thank you for making me aware.”

Matthew began to explain the situation to Soos, but she stopped him. “I only have ten minutes. That gives you five minutes to tell Jubal what we’re trying to do with this campaign, and five minutes for me to take the I-Phone I snuck past the guards in my colostomy bag, so I can make a video of Jubal and put it on the Internet, and see if we can’t get him out of here.”

Matthew was speechless, dazzled.

Soos went on. “Oh, you’re such a man. I don’t have time to explain the details to you. Just trust me. Let me tell Jubal. Here’s the way it is, Mr. Carlos. We’re trying to get Jesus popular again, and we thought the best way to do that was to get you to travel around the country, in character, playing the part and the heart of Jesus, so that once again there would be a visual for the young people, and in so doing, the same controversy, presence, and maybe power, would be generated.”

Matthew tried to interject but Jubal touched his arm and silenced him.
“You explained that so well,” he said to Soos. “It would have taken my brother here two hours to do that. I don’t know if I want to be Jesus or not, but I would like to get out of here, eat a nice steak and take a shower.”

Soos, tipping her head back to avoid the odor, agreed. “We think that would be a good thing, too.”

“So what do you want me to do?” asked Jubal.

Matthew started to give stage direction. Soos interrupted. “Listen, Mattie Boy, I’m on a roll, so let me handle this.”

Matthew felt it was a poor time to have a business argument in the Clark County Jail. He submitted.

Soos paused, thinking, then looked at Jubal and said, “I want you to be Jesus, and I want you to tell people what Jesus would feel about being in the Clark County Jail, accused of a crime he did not commit.”

Jubal crinkled his brow, then bowed his head. After about fifteen seconds, he lifted it up and spoke to Soos. “I think I’m ready.”

She cautiously removed her phone from the bag and pointed it in his direction. “Action.”

Jubal began. “I was in prison, and you visited me. I am in prison, and I’m so lonely. I do not know what I’ve done wrong. I have tried to love people–and they told me these folks were not lovable. I passed out a bologna sandwich, and was informed I was disturbing the peace. I’ve tried to bring my music to the world. I have brought the rhythm of joy, and now I find myself quite alone–without anyone to be my champion. I’m not afraid. I’m not sad. I haven’t given up on anything I believe. And if I’m supposed to stay in here until my sentence is completed, then praise God. But if I could get out, I would do even more. I would climb a housetop and shout. I would find an injustice and expose it. And I would find ways to sprinkle hope and faith on everything I see. My name is Jubal Carlos. There’s nothing special about me except whatever I can do special to bless others.”

He bowed his head again.

Matthew was in tears.

Soos smiled. “That’s a wrap,” she said. “Now let me get to work.”

Join us Sundays for the continuing saga of Matthew, Jubal, Soos, and all the rest, and what's gone on before!