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Chapter 21 of Jesus Josephovich: The Revolution

where jesus is chapter 21

Ch 21. The Boss

After a memorable cab ride, Jesus Josephovich headed into a fancy restaurant where he was supposed to meet Volodomir and his boss for dinner. Volodomir was waiting for him by the door, and to Jesus Josephovich’s surprise, there was an attractive middle-aged woman standing next to him in a modern two-piece pants suit.

“Jesus Josephovich,” Volodomir greeted his friend with a handshake and a hug. “This is my boss, Irina Alexandrovna.”

They shook hands politely and entered the restaurant. Jesus Josephovich thought it was quite interesting that Volodomir’s boss was a woman. He imagined that it would be very nice to have a calm, patient female superior.

As they sat down at the table, Jesus Josephovich’s ideal vision of a motherly manager was quickly shattered when Irina Alexandrovna began shouting out orders to the hostess who, as she so tactfully expressed, had seated them at the worst table in the house. He suddenly understood why she was the boss of the company.

“How can we enjoy our meal here?” she ridiculed. “Find us a good table.”

The terrified hostess ran off and handed them off to another waiter, a young woman who patiently sat them down at a private table in the corner of the restaurant.

“The service at these places is always intolerable,” Irina stated spitefully, and loud enough that the waitress could hear her. “They hire these ignorant children who haven’t even finished their university courses yet. They should be working at McDonald’s, not a four star restaurant.”

Volodomir tried to smile, but said nothing. Jesus Josephovich watched the severe businesswoman as she sat down and glanced at the menu. Before he even had time to pick his menu up, Irina had already placed her menu back on the table and declared that she would order for all of them.

“I know the best things to order,” she assured them. “If you order something else, you’ll probably be disappointed. The chef here isn’t very creative. Few Ukrainian chefs are.”

Volodomir put his menu back on the table, but Jesus Josephovich continued flipping through it just to see what was there. He wasn’t sure what Irina was complaining about. All of the food looked good to him.

“So Volodomir has told me a lot about you,” Irina said straightforwardly, when she saw that the foreigner hadn’t put the menu down yet. “How long are you going to be in Ukraine?”

“As long as it takes,” Jesus Josephovich answered. “What is Chicken Kiev?” he asked, perusing the dinner specials.

“You don’t want that,” Irina said firmly. “So you’re here in Kiev indefinitely? Would you consider staying forever?”

“Forever is a long time,” Jesus Josephovich said, as if he had experienced it before. “But I’m actually planning on going home when I finish my work here.”

“Unless we change your mind,” she said, fully confident that she could change his mind at a moments notice if she wanted to. “What do you think of Kiev so far?”

“I’m enjoying it,” Jesus Josephovich said. “The people are great and so is the food.” He held up the menu with a smile.

Irina sat up tall in her seat and shook her head. “People here are stupid,” she said. “Stupid and petty and corrupt.”

Volodomir was embarrassed and cleared his throat, shuffling the menu in his hands. Jesus Josephovich continued to study the uptight businesswoman.

The waitress returned and Irina quickly ordered for all three of them, including drinks and appetizers, in a voice that sounded like it was commanding an army. After giving her orders, she returned to her former line of thinking.

“Yes, the people in Ukraine are stupid,” she continued. “These people don’t know how the real world works. They steal from each other like ignorant children, and they think that the government is going to solve all of their problems. They are lazy fools,” Irina said callously.

“You might be judging them a little bit harshly,” Volodomir argued.

“I judge them no harder than I judge myself,” she declared. “If I did the things that I see my countrymen doing every day, I would be ashamed of myself as well.”

Volodomir stifled a grin. He found it hard to believe that Irina Alexandrovna had ever felt ashamed of herself for anything. He tried to change the subject. “How was your time with Andrey Bogdanovich?” he asked Jesus Josephovich.

“Very interesting,” Jesus Josephovich said. “Religion never ceases to amaze me.”

After more general conversation about the day and Irina’s pessimistic perspective on the general state of the country, the waitress delivered their food and left their table as quickly as possible before the businesswoman could complain about anything else.

At the end of the meal, however, as the waitress was clearing their plates off the table, Irina began commenting to her about everything that could have been better. The food wasn’t hot enough, the vegetables didn’t taste fresh, the meat was overcooked, and the soup didn’t have enough flavor.

“And what’s the matter with you?” Irina Alexandrovna questioned the discouraged waitress. “You look so depressed that I can’t enjoy my food. You could at least pretend to be happy to serve the people who pay your salary.”

The waitress’ eyes began to water and Volodomir quickly asked for the check to give her an excuse to leave. The waitress stomped away bitterly.

“Was that necessary?” Volodomir asked.

“Of course it was,” Irina answered. “If no one tells them the truth, then they’ll never improve.”

“The truth,” Jesus Josephovich echoed. “It is so rare to find these days.”

“I couldn’t agree more,” Irina said. “What we need are more people who are willing to speak their minds.”

“What we need is God’s perspective,” Jesus Josephovich said.

Irina nodded her head vigorously, assuming that God’s perspective agreed precisely with her own. “You know, people have made such a mess of things, sometimes I think that it would be better if God just destroyed them all and started over.”

Jesus Josephovich looked into her eyes. “Do you know how God judges?”

“With fire and suffering,” she said passionately. “That’s how God will judge this degenerate world. And rightfully so.”

“God doesn’t judge people the way you think he does,” Jesus Josephovich stated.

“Then how does he judge us?” she asked. “According to what rules?”

“God does not want to judge us like the courts judge us, showing us where we have broken the law. He is not a lawyer,” Jesus said.

“I’ve heard there aren’t many lawyers in heaven,” Volodomir joked.

“There are some,” Jesus Josephovich joked. “But they usually work pro bono.”

“Then how will he judge me?” Irina asked, interested to see if the foreigner’s answer would match her own feelings on the matter.

Jesus Josephovich sat back in his chair and silently stared at her.

“How will he judge me?” she repeated.

Suddenly a familiar voice echoed in Irina’s mind. “That was a stupid question,” the voice said. “You already asked it.”

Irina was shocked. She looked around, but no one was there.

“And sit up straight,” the voice said. “You look like a country peasant.”

Irina was angry now. She looked everywhere for the source of the voice, even under the table, but there was no one to be found. Volodomir looked at her like she was crazy. The voice continued speaking, saying rude, judgmental things, and she was about to scream for silence when she recognized whose voice it was.

The voice made a comment about work, and Irina realized that she was hearing her own voice and her own comments that she had made about others. But these comments were aimed back at her, and each time she heard the voice, she remembered a time in the past when she had been guilty of such a fault.

The voice took her through her childhood, when she had selfishly hidden her friend’s toys, and through puberty, when she had lied to her parents. It took her through University when she had cheated on an exam, and through her early working years when she had ignored her friends and family so she could succeed at work. It took her through all the times she had insulted someone else, or made a jealous comment about another woman, and her mind showed her when she had been guilty of the exact same faults of which she had accused others.

Then the voice began talking about today. It made a comment about everything she had done, the way she looked, the way she walked, the way she spoke; all the comments that she had made about other people were now being made about her. Finally her words to the waitress came back to her, and she saw her own melancholy face in the mirror as the voice spoke: “You could at least pretend to be happy.”

Irina broke into tears and cried like a little girl. Everyone in the restaurant was stunned into silence. Volodomir looked at Jesus Josephovich with wide eyes, but didn’t dare say a thing. Jesus simply reached out and tenderly touched Irina’s hands.

The waitress came over with the check and asked if everything was okay. Irina grabbed her hands and knelt on the floor with tears streaming down her cheeks.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I’m so sorry. I’m sure you’ve had a long day and you’ve had to deal with terrible people like me and you have a tiring job and nobody is grateful for what you do and I didn’t mean to say those things to you. I’m so sorry.”

The waitress began to cry too. She forgave Irina and the two women held one another in each other’s arms and wept softly as the patrons looked on in shock.

After the spectacle was over, the trio paid for their meal and left the restaurant in a dream-like state. As Irina walked outside, she felt as if her soul had been washed clean. She was drying her tears with the edges of her sleeves when she stopped suddenly and ran back inside the restaurant as if the place had been on fire.

“What happened?” Volodomir shouted inexplicably.

Irina replied without looking back. “We forgot to leave a tip.”

Also available in the Parables section.  Click here to READ MORE…

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Comments Off on Chapter 21 of Jesus Josephovich: The Revolution

Posted by on July 24, 2013 in E-Book, Parables, Where Jesus is

 

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Chapter 20 of Jesus Josephovich: The Revolution

where jesus is chapter 20

Ch 20. The Taxi Driver

As Jesus Josephovich and Andrey Bogdanovich were leaving the building, the Texas Preacher handed them each a book that he had written and said that he would be very pleased if they would read it. The preacher’s name was in larger letters than the title of the book and there was a huge picture of him on the back side showing off his big American smile and his gold rings. The book was called “Giving to God”.

As they walked out to the street, Jesus commented on the title. “I wonder if they understand what God really wants,” Jesus Josephovich said.

“From his sermon, it sounds like God wants all of our money,” Andrey replied.

“God doesn’t want our money. He doesn’t need our money,” Jesus Josephovich explained. “He wants us to give it to each other. To help each other. Not to build buildings or hold rock concerts. He wants us to learn how to love.”

“Maybe they don’t know what that means.” Andrey looked at his watch. “It’s time for you to meet Volodomir,” he said. “I’ll call you a taxi.”

Andrey went to the main street and hailed a cab. He explained where the driver was to take Jesus Josephovich and then handed his friend money for the trip.

They shook hands as Jesus Josephovich climbed into the taxi.

“Thank you for what you have shown me today,” Andrey said earnestly. “I will not forget it.”

“The only way not to forget it,” Jesus Josephovich replied, “is to do it.”

Jesus got into the taxi, closed the door, and waved goodbye to his new friend. The car started up with a jerk as the engine revved and the taxi driver pulled out into the busy street.

“Hello,” Jesus Josephovich said politely to the driver.

The driver looked in his mirror and half-smiled out of amusement. He mumbled something to himself about foreigners under his breath, and continued driving.

The taxi was an old, dirty, discolored blue Volga with patchwork seats and yellow-stained windows. The air was so thick with smoke that Jesus Josephovich could barely breathe, but when he tried to roll down the window, he found that it was broken. The driver was blasting tasteless pop music from the radio and smoking a cigarette with one hand while driving haphazardly with the other. He seemed not to notice that he was driving much faster than anyone else on the road, and those who were driving slower or trying to obey the traffic rules he swore at abusively.

Jesus Josephovich was quite amazed by his driving style. It seemed to perfectly match his temperament. He swerved in and out of traffic, slipped through extremely tight places between cars, ran through red lights when they weren’t convenient, and honked at pedestrians who dared to cross the street in front of him.

There was a lot of traffic at this time of day, so the driver was employing special maneuvers to get them where they needed to go as fast as possible. There was a long line of cars at a red light, but rather than wait in the line, the driver drove on the wrong side of the road around the line and stopped his car in front of all the other cars. Before the light turned green, he sped off down the narrow avenue.

Jesus Josephovich was pleasantly surprised that nobody honked. Apparently the other drivers knew that the “Taxi” sign on the roof of the car gave it special privileges to break the law.

On another busy street, they ran into a long line of traffic that was barely moving. The taxi driver cursed and looked around for an exit. He tried to drive his car backwards down the street towards where they had come, but he was soon blocked in by more cars.

With nowhere else to go, the driver pulled his car onto the sidewalk. The sound of scraping metal vibrated through the old Volga as it climbed up the curb. The driver sped down the sidewalk as far as he could go, occasionally slowing down for old women and children who moved out of his way, and when he ran out of room on the sidewalk, he simply pulled back into the line of traffic. Again, no one honked or complained. Jesus Josephovich was astounded.

“Is it okay to drive on the sidewalk?” he asked.

The driver shrugged his shoulders. “There are too many cars in Kiev,” he said. “You have to do what you have to do. If you sit in that traffic, you won’t go anywhere.”

“Are there rules for driving here?” Jesus Josephovich wondered.

The taxi driver laughed. “Of course. But nobody follows them.”

“Don’t you have to get a license or permission to drive?” Jesus Josephovich asked.

“Nah,” the driver said with a wave of his hand. “You don’t have to take the test. I bought my license for a hundred dollars.” He looked in the mirror and smiled mischievously at his foreigner passenger.

The car lurched forward and then stopped inches from the next car. The traffic was moving very slowly. Jesus Josephovich leaned closer to the driver.

“It is a great responsibility that you have,” Jesus Josephovich remarked. “You take people where they need to go, and while they are with you, their lives are in your hands.”

The driver stared uncertainly at the foreigner in the mirror. He wasn’t sure if his passenger was mocking him or not. “What do you think about Kiev?” the driver asked, changing the subject.

Jesus Josephovich looked out the window at the river of cars. “It’s a beautiful city with beautiful people,” he said. “But like many places these days, it’s so busy that sometimes people forget what is most important in their lives.”

“And what is that?” the driver asked.

“Love,” Jesus Josephovich answered.

“Ah,” the driver said, misinterpreting his words. “What do you think about our Ukrainian women? They are beautiful, yes?”

Jesus Josephovich wasn’t sure how to answer the question. He honestly hadn’t noticed if they were beautiful or not. To him all women were beautiful because of what was inside of them. What they looked like outwardly was meaningless.

“They are as full of love as any place I have visited,” he answered.

The taxi driver raised an eyebrow as he glanced at him in the mirror. “You have a Ukrainian girlfriend? Maybe two?”

“I have many friends,” Jesus Josephovich replied innocently.

The driver suddenly became very interested, thinking that the foreigner must be quite the lady’s man. “You must be a rich businessman,” he said.

Jesus shook his head. “No, I’m not a businessman. Just a teacher.”

“How do you get so many girls to sleep with you?” the driver asked.

Jesus Josephovich suddenly realized what the driver was talking about. “I don’t sleep with them,” he said in shock. “I would never sleep with a woman.”

The driver almost crashed the car. He swerved to the left and then regained control. He stared at Jesus Josephovich in the mirror. “Are you gay?” he asked nervously.

Jesus Josephovich made a confused face, as if he wasn’t sure what that meant. “No,” he answered. “I just love women too much to ever sleep with them.”

The driver put his arms up in the air expressively. “If you love a woman, I don’t think it’s wrong to have sex with her.”

Jesus Josephovich looked at the driver as if the man were a confused child. “Love is not sex. The purpose of love is to be like God. The purpose of sex is to have children.”

“Only if you’re not careful,” the driver joked.

“Do you have children?” Jesus asked.

“No,” the driver said.

“A wife?”

The driver shook his head. “A girlfriend. But it’s not serious. She probably thinks it is, but I’m not interested in getting married.”

“Why not?” Jesus Josephovich questioned.

“It’s too much work to raise a family, and I don’t have enough money to buy an apartment. Besides, I don’t really love her in that way.”

“What is the purpose of your life then?” Jesus Josephovich wondered. “If you’re not looking for real love, then what are you looking for?”

The man paused and the car slowed down. “I don’t know. I don’t think about those things.”

“Don’t you want to be happy?” Jesus Josephovich asked.

“Yeah. It’s not that I don’t want those things. I just don’t think I can be that kind of person,” he confessed.

“Can you love?” Jesus Josephovich asked.

“I think so,” he replied.

“If I gave you a briefcase with a million dollars in it, would you be willing to do anything for that briefcase?”

“Sure,” the man said.

“And what if you had something even more valuable? Would you do anything to protect it?”

“Yeah,” the driver said. “I think so.”

“Then you’re already that kind of person.”

They reached the destination and Jesus Josephovich paid the driver for the ride. As he was about to leave he handed the driver the book that the Texas Preacher had given him.

“Here,” Jesus said. “Read this.”

“What is it?” the taxi driver asked.

“I don’t know,” Jesus Josephovich admitted. “But it’s better than nothing.”

“Like love?” the driver asked.

“No,” Jesus said. “Real love is better than anything.”

Also available in the Parables section.  Click here to READ MORE…

 
Comments Off on Chapter 20 of Jesus Josephovich: The Revolution

Posted by on July 23, 2013 in E-Book, Parables, Where Jesus is

 

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