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Longinus

The thing about being around for over two thousand years is that you just get so sick of sandwiches. It seems like any time he washes up on the shore of a strange and wondrous rising civilization, they’re just in the throes of discovering that hey–mash up some of that grain there, heat it, shit, put a little meat between two halves and whoop de doo! WONDER FOOD. Pita, gyro, taco, sushi, y’know, fucking loaves and fishes. It’s all the same.

It makes him want to stab somebody, which is of course what got him here in the first place.

Longinus

Okay look the whole reason they got Spanish Inquisited is because Ahasuerus wouldn’t tell him how he lost half his nose. A simple question! But the little prick would just snigger through his remaining nostril and say he’d used it as bait.

So Longinus brought the matter to some people who knew how to get answers and, here’s the tricky part, turns out that accusing someone else is technically saying they led you into heresy, so you’re both screwed. Which, y’know, come on. Longinus pointed out that compared to him, his investigators were the real heretics.

They really didn’t like that.

Longinus

He used to get his hopes up, in the first few centuries. Around 380 he’d actually scraped together a little money working as a messenger, and there was this girl, and then her father got pissy and sailed halfway to Cartagena before weighting down Longinus’s manacles and dropping him overboard.

Longinus held his breath on the long dark walk back to shore. He had a beard by the time he emerged. He could have just breathed water, yes, but have you ever been to the ocean floor? You’d hold it too, if you spent two weeks neck-deep in fish shit.

Longinus

Longinus started the first two cults by accident, and found them tremendous annoyances. The steppes made him as depressed as they made everyone else clingy; he swatted them away like Mongolian horseflies (but smaller and less determined).

The third he assembled deliberately, and for a specific reason: he hadn’t slept with anyone in a hundred and thirty years. Just a run of bad luck, which didn’t get any better, as the name “Sisterhood of Love Divine in Flesh” somehow managed to attract eighty-nine eunuchs.

The fourth cult got stolen by Ahasuerus and that just ruined the whole thing for him.

Longinus

Sometimes he’ll just amble the trade roads for weeks, watching peasants die. Pus bubbling on their necks and genitals, the backs of their hands, their heads: it’s marking their sins for convenience in later sorting.

He helps desperate men tear down and burn plague houses, and they value him, because he’ll walk into fire to make sure the walls collapse properly inward. Actually, all he wants is a last chance to see the bodies blister and burst to black.

Longinus lost the capacity for sickness so long ago; now he’s exultant. Finally, finally, the old bastard’s getting around to ending the world.

Longinus

There’s a church named after him in Kansas, which is hilarious. From 1922 to 1978 he made it a point to stop by the night before his own feast day, every year, and paint something obscene on the front doors–until they caught on in ’66 and he had to start writing on the grass with gasoline instead.

He would have liked to pee on the altar, but of course that would mean setting foot inside. Stupid rules. Eventually they paved the lawn and he got bored and went to Madagascar.

No way Ahasuerus is ever getting one, so, y’know, there.

Longinus

“Ooah,” says Captain Van der Decken, pacing the poop deck, “it’s der doom what I feel upon me, ah, der crushing despair of immortality!”

“You’ve been doing it for like seventy years,” groans Longinus, and pauses to vomit. “I’m sixteen hundred and I still get seasick.”

The captain switches to his native tongue. Unfortunately, Longinus can pretty much comprehend it.

“I don’t care if this is the only ship we can both ride,” he growls at his fellow traveler, “it’s not worth the dinner show.”

Up in the crow’s nest, Ahasuerus manages to grin maddeningly right through his mouth harp solo.

The Centurion

“I’m not checking him, you check him.”

“I checked the other guy!”

“You’re on check duty.”

“You invented check duty! Yesterday! And I had it then too!”

“It’s a weekly rotation!”

“God! Fine!”

“Fine!”

“Fine!” A mutual glare, and the scruffier centurion steps up to the base of the cross.

“Hey, man, you okay?” he asks, and pokes his crappy dull twice-mended spear gently–gently, he will swear so many times in the years to come that it was gently–at the guy’s side.

He gets a face full of blood and water for his trouble.

“Oh GROSS,” Longinus sputters.

Longinus

The other thing about time passing is that after a few hundred years it gets impossible to find a good catamite. There are alternatives, of course, but any diet suffers for lack of variety: it’s as if apples were going extinct. Longinus finds himself going to preposterous lengths just for an afternoon with a companionable nine-year-old. It’s one such fit of desperation that drives him to learn Japanese, just in time to get expelled by the shogunate.

He tries thinking about it in terms of relative ages, but it’s no use, and anyway mathematics always made him go soft.

Longinus

It’s been circulating under his name for fourteen hundred years before he becomes aware of its existence, tracks down the real author and confronts him with it.

“‘Sublimity?’” Longinus snaps. “REALLY?”

“Not the best translation,” Ahasuerus agrees. “I see you’ve attempted to confuse the issue of authorship.”

Longinus glances at the title page, where he’s successively written and crossed out LONGINUS DIONYSUS CASSIUS BACH AHASUERUS SUCKS. “It won’t work,” he grumbles. “Did you have to use my name?”

“They wouldn’t publish it under mine.”

“That’s no excuse!”

“Plus,” Ahasuerus grins, “payback for the thing in Athens,” and Longinus turns bright pink.

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