jesus and i went to a party
given in honour of him and his twelve disciples
and jesus was eyeing me strangely all the time
until it came to supper
(i was afraid he had something in for me
and tried to tell myself i was imagining things
though the look was there all the same)
and while we were eating and laughing
god (who was giving the party) came in with a handful of cards
and said in his usual way
after supper we'll have a game of murder
it was a game i enjoyed and i had played it much before
but god's words had quite an effect on jesus
whose eyes were shining like points and his face was flushed
and his hands clenched as if his life was going to depend
on this amusing but not important game
perhaps that is why as god was handing round the cards
i found myself thinking with a little malice perhaps
if it comes to me i will murder jesus
whom i was beginning not to like
because he was getting too big for his boots
and had been treating me strangely all evening
and as luck would have it god gave me the black ace
which was the murderer's card

i think it must have shown in my eyes
for jesus looked at god and god looked back
and both were hard put to it to hide a smile
i was beginning not to like this at all i can tell you
certainly jesus made it easy for me to kiss his cheek
(which was the way in those days signifying death)
and i could not help noticing he was shaking all over
but whether it was from tension or relief i could not say

meanwhile the others were wandering around in the dark garden
excited and half afraid as the innocent always are
when they do not quite know what is going on
but sense like animals there is something queer in the air

jesus cried out when i kissed him as the rules say
and everybody knew it had happened and was glad
and we all returned to the house laughing and chatting idly

but god had gone to bed

everybody went silent like a shot sensing the danger
and in the deathly silence christ came forward
smiling queerly and holding a card in his bleeding palm
it was the king of hearts — the detective's card

i saw the trick he had played on me but it was too late
i was furious but there was nothing i could do
the other disciples were already beginning to threaten me
with eternal damnation and wanted to lynch me there and then
but christ would not give the word but just looked at me
with that inhuman smile on his lips and pity in his eyes
until he had me believing i had done something wrong
and i saw he was telling me to go and hang myself
to save his disciples from dirtying the word
nor would he take back the black ace i held in my hand
but made great play
of branding it amid jeers and catcalls on my brow
with a steady hand and a grip as cool as ice
i tried to wash it off with my tears but it was no use
and all my crying only made them laugh the more

through the window behind christ's head i could see the trees
creaking in the wind and the lonely moon
i went into the garden and hanged my body on a tree
and i have longed for death ever since
but christ is alive and will not let me die