A/N: There seems to be some variation with the names of the twelve disciples. I used Wikipedia's list for my story.
So, I was sitting with my new friends at school one October morning. My group had grown quite a bit since the beginning; it now featured twelve different guys. In addition to Peter, Andrew, James and John, I had now met Philip, Bart, Matthew, Thomas, James A., Thaddeus, Simon, and Judas. And things had gone pretty well for a while. I had surprised myself with my ability to make friends.
Anyway, we were all having lunch together. Nothing special. The school food really sucked of course, but we dealt with it.
Of course, fun times never seem to last forever. In this case, everything was ruined a bit by the arrival of Satan, who had been ignoring me since the last time we spoke.
I expected him to start going on and on about himself like last time, but that wasn't the case.
"Hey Judas, would ya mind sitting over here today?" Satan said.
"Sure, Satan." Judas turned to the rest of us. "I'll hang with Satan today, but I can join you guys tomorrow or something."
Judas hadn't told me that he was Satan's friend. And while I didn't care for Satan much, I wasn't going to judge my friend on who his other friends were.
Peter, on the other hand, seemed mad. And as I looked around the table, most of the others were too.
"What?" I said. "There's nothing wrong with Judas."
"That we know of," Peter said angrily. "I don't want to trust any of Satan's friends. They're the biggest bunch of assholes I've ever met!"
The others seemed to agree.
I tried to make my case. "Look, I don't see why that should have anything to do with Judas. Satan has a lot of friends; they don't all have to be bad!"
"Look, Jesus," Thaddeus said, "You and Satan are like, opposite! It's one side or the other!"
"I'm just a guy," I said. "I'm not like a leader or anything like Satan is."
I looked around the table. Was I?
No one answered, but I suddenly felt like the focal point around which the group revolved. Was I in charge? Was I the center of it all?
After an awkward pause, we resumed eating. And while everyone else talked and ate, I was thinking for the rest of lunch.
It was the end of the day, and the halls were packed as everyone rushed to leave. None of my friends were nearby, so I was alone for the moment, surrounded by both strangers and vague acquaintances. I got everything I needed from my locker, and headed in the general direction of the exit.
Suddenly, someone tapped on my shoulder. I turned slowly. It was Satan.
"Oh, hello Satan," I said. I hoped my voice sounded neutral.
"Hey Jesus," he said.
"So what're you here for?"
"Listen, Jesus," said Satan. "You need to start controlling your friends better."
"They've been giving my friends a hard time lately. Did you know that Peter hurt my bro Steve?"
"What? No way!"
"Yep," Satan said, a hint of vindictiveness in his voice. "Punched him right in the friggin ear. He bled, too."
"No!" I wasn't sure whether to believe it.
"And do ya know why?"
"Steve badmouthed you. Nothing too major. And Peter hurt him for it!"
"I'll talk to him."
"You'd better," Satan said. I was about to leave, but he continued. "You know, Jesus, we're not too different from each other. Our friends can all get pretty… zealous. They see us as their leaders. I do my best to control mine. Why don't you do the same for yours?"
He walked away, then. I don't know if he could tell, but he had disturbed me a bit. Would someone I know really get into a fight for me? Was I really the boss? Was friendship supposed to be like this?
I resolved to ask God. Maybe he'd help me out.
NEXT TIME: Jesus talks to God, and begins to realize that like it or not, he's a leader.