PETER: I've called this special meeting of The Twelve today to discuss recent events and past concerns. Before I go on, let me say, and I think we can all agree on this, Jesus is a great guy.
MATTHEW: Oh yeah.
BARTHOLOMEW: Wonderful guy. No doubt about it.
ANDREW: Give you the shirt off his back.
JAMES: Two thumbs up.
JUDAS: He's okay I guess.
SIMON: Judas, don't be forever a schmuck! Listen, man. If I hadn't been voted Most Improved Apostle of the Month, I- I'd ram this staff up your—
Let's be honest. His tables wobble. His chairs collapse without warning. His picture frames fall apart at a glance. PETER: Hey. Hey. Tone it down a notch, Mr. Zealot.
SIMON: Sorry, Peter. Sorry everyone. Old habits. Lost my cool. Sorry, Judas.
JUDAS: Yeah. Yeah. Whatever.
JAMES (THE LESSOR): If you want to know what I think about the Christ—
PETER: Let the record show that James the Lessor is about to speak.
JAMES (THE LESSOR): Why do I have to be called James the Lessor for Chrissake? PETER: Watch the language, young man! Thaddeus is keeping the minutes of this meeting. There are two Jameses in our group, you and the other James. Thaddeus needs to keep your identities separate for the record. Enough said?
JAMES (THE LESSOR): Fine. Then why don't you tell Thaddeus to call me James and call the other James, the "Other James"?
PETER: Three reasons. First, Jesus likes calling you James the Lessor. Second, we've always called you James the Lessor around here. Third, and most importantly, I SAID SO!
JAMES (THE LESSOR): All right, dude. Lighten up.
SIMON: So do you still have something to add or not, James the LESSOR?
JAMES (THE LESSOR): Yes I do, Simon. Why don't you take a flying leap into the River Jordan.
PHILIP: Relax, kid. You're very important to our organization. No one can sweep up sawdust and wood shavings like you can. Here's a broom. Show us how it's done.
JAMES (THE LESSOR): Screw you, Philip. You're not the boss of me.
THOMAS: If I may interject a thought here. Don't be so touchy about the whole name thing, young man. After all, in a hundred years, who'll know the difference?
PETER: Let's get back to why we've called this meeting in the first place, shall we? James, why don't you pour wine for everyone so we can all calm down and deal with the business at hand?
JAMES: Do you mean that I, James the Master Fisherman, should pour the wine, or are you referring to our pimply-faced teenage dropout, little James the Lessor?
PETER: James the Lessor, of course, James.
JAMES (THE LESSOR): I knew it. Why don't you ever ask the other James to pour the wine once in a while? Why do I always wind up being the one who has to do it?
PHILIP: Here we go again.
PETER: Just pour the wine, boy.
ALL: James the LESSOR! James the LESSOR! Hahaha.
JAMES (THE LESSOR): I hate you guys. Sheesh!
PETER: Let's settle down, shall we fellas? We have a lot to get through and not much time to do it. Today's topic is "Why is the Woodworking Business Losing Money?" Who wants to start it off?
PETER: Quiet, everyone. Matthew has something to say.
MATTHEW: Thank you, Peter. As all of my brothers know, at one time I was a tax collector, hated by everybody in the land.
BARTHOLOMEW: Donkey breath!
SIMON: Camel lips!
PETER: All right. Leave him alone. Go on, Matthew.
MATTHEW: Thank you, Peter. But since I changed my greedy ways and began letting the Messiah's love shine through me… everybody still hates me. Why is that?
JOHN: Look in the mirror, dufus.
MATTHEW: What I'm trying to say is… I don't know an awl from a chisel and don't want to. But I do know one thing for certain and I'll declare it before the God of our Fathers: JESUS IS NO CARPENTER!
ALL: Here here, my brother.
PETER: Philip, may we have your input please?
PHILIP: Thanks, Peter. Look. Let's be honest. His tables wobble. His chairs collapse without warning. His picture frames fall apart at a glance. Sometimes I think Jesus' mind isn't on his work.
BARTHOLOMEW: It's not that and you know it, Philip. The Christ doesn't have the God-given talent to work with wood, plain and simple.
ALL: Amen, my brother.
JAMES: Hey you guys. Lighten up. Nobody's perfect.
PETER: Judas, I think you have something to add.
JUDAS: Thanks Peter. Recently we made a deal to sell 35 supposedly high-end couches wholesale for a piece of silver each. Remember, Matthew?
MATTHEW: Yes, I do.
JUDAS: As treasurer of the company I can tell you that, at first glance, it looked like we were going to make a real killing. And, as you all know, we could use every shekel we can get.
MATTHEW: You can say that again.
JUDAS: But because of past quality control problems, I decided to set aside my duties in the front office for half a day and get my hands dirty. So I went to the warehouse and inspected the inventory myself. I was impressed. Those couches looked top-of-the-line. I gave them my personal stamp of approval and sent them on their merry way. It turned out the wood was crawling with termites.
JOHN: That was not good.
SIMON: No way.
JUDAS: When our client Benny, of Benny's Exotica Near & Far, found out about the bug infestation, he was furious. He demanded that we take back the 35 couches and make restitution immediately. Could I blame him? Unfortunately, I'd already spent most of his money paying overdue bills and, in the end, could make good on only five of them.
PHILIP: This story is not going well.
JUDAS: Luckily for us Benny is a Jesus Freak so he kindly granted us a few weeks' grace and, as you know, Benny doesn't do that for just anyone.
ANDREW: Great guy that Benny.
MATTHEW: I'm putting him on the Christmas list.
JUDAS: Still, when all is said and done, it's me who has to do the explaining and it's me who takes the heat and it's me who has to come up with the coin to make good on Benny's rightful claim. If I don't, our reputations suffer—and you all know what that means?
JUDAS: We're back on the road peddling wooden plaques with pithy sayings to gullible tourists quicker than you can say, "Sermon on the Mount."
BARTHOLOMEW: Oh Lord!
SIMON: I hate traveling.
PETER: Is there anything else, Judas?
JUDAS: Yes, Peter, there is. Would someone please tell me exactly how I'm supposed to come up with these 30 pieces of silver we still owe Benny? I'm telling you this and I don't care if the Man has superpowers and can hear my every word: I resent the mess He's gotten us into and if it doesn't get straightened out soon—well—I assure you that I'm not the only one who's going down with this ship, if you catch my drift.
ALL: We are with you, my brother.
JOHN: Speaking of ships, what about the time Jesus built that boat so we could cross the Sea of Galilee together?
JAMES: That was a real piece of work.
MATTHEW: Didn't you think it was a bit suspicious that at the last minute He backed out of the boat trip and said He'd decided to walk across instead of ride so we'd have more room for ourselves?
PHILIP: Well, we were cramped.
JAMES: I'm not saying we weren't. It was a miserable, stormy night and the waves were crashing over us like crazy and we were crammed together like galley slaves. No doubt about it. But it seems to me there was something else going on with Him besides His ever-present selflessness and love. Like maybe He knew He hadn't done such a good job on the caulking and wasn't going to risk His butt crossing the sea in that lousy heap of junk.
BARTHOLOMEW: All I know for sure is, from the moment we left our side of the Galilee until the time we arrived at our destination, we were bailing water the whole friggin' way. Am I right or am I wrong, Peter?
PETER: I'll be honest with you, Bartholomew, the only reason I told Jesus I thought I could walk on water with Him that night was because I was sick of scooping it out of the bottom of that leaky scow He built.
THOMAS: I doubt if I would ever have guts enough to try walking on water.
SIMON: Like that's front-page news, Thomas.
THOMAS: Kiss my foot, Simon!
SIMON: Lick my toe jam, Thomas!
PETER: Knock it off you two. John, you have the floor.
JOHN: What about the ridiculous long table He designed and had us construct for the upcoming Last Supper extravaganza he's been planning?
ALL: We hear you, my brother.
JAMES: When we gave it a trial run the other night, that table turned out to be so skinny we all had to sit on the same side of the damned thing to make it work. Every time I tried to lift a fork I elbowed the guy next to me. After a while I just gave up, stood in a corner slopping down wine, and left the rest of the troubleshooting to you guys.
ANDREW: You think you had it bad, James, I was sitting at the far end of that pathetic monstrosity and by the time the food bowl got passed down to me, there was nothing left but crumbs. I couldn't wait for the evening to be over so I could slip next door and buy myself a bowl of corn soup and a bagel.
Brute strength: no problem. WOODWORKING? Ehhh… PETER: Let's face it. When it comes to sawing wood, Jesus is a gifted, inspired, communicator of the Word.
ALL: Amen, my brother.
PETER: Then we all agree that His woodworking, to put it compassionately, needs some dramatic improvement?
SIMON: No question.
MATTHEW: Okay. But who's gonna tell Him?
BARTHOLOMEW: Not me. The last time I stared cross-eyed at the Christ, He shriveled-up a fig tree I was standing under so quickly I nearly lost an ear.
PETER: Wait. I have a genius idea.
PETER: Just go along with me, my brothers.
ALL: Play on, my friend.
PETER: Watch this. Oh James?
JAMES: Are you talking to me, James the Master Fisherman?
PETER: No. I'm speaking to young James.
JAMES (THE LESSOR): Who me?
PETER: Would you have a moment to spare us, my lad?
JAMES (THE LESSOR): I- I guess.
PETER: We were just saying how maybe it IS time that we change your name from James the Lessor to something more respectful.
JAMES (THE LESSOR): Are you kidding?
PETER: I'm serious. We all agree that you took a pretty nasty hazing today and we feel terrible about it. Isn't that true, Philip?
PHILIP: Indeed, Peter.
JOHN: We thought you demonstrated a great deal of restraint and maturity through it all and deserve to be rewarded for your obvious show of personal growth.
JAMES (THE LESSOR): What kind of flimflam are you maniacs trying to pull?
PETER: We were just thinking that if you were the one to tell the Boss that his craftsmanship was not—shall we say—totally up to par, then maybe we could see our way to upgrading your nom de plume to something more to your liking.
JAMES (THE LESSOR): Um hum.
JOHN: I was trying to keep this quiet, but for the last six months a couple of us have been secretly working on a bio of Jesus. If we can make a deal with a publisher and it sells, you stand to become famous yourself.
JAMES (THE LESSOR): How so?
MATTHEW: You're in the book.
JAMES (THE LESSOR): And?
PETER: Well. Do you want to go down in history as James the Lessor?
JAMES (THE LESSOR): So you're saying all I have to do to change my name to something more to my liking is tell the King of Kings, the one who possesses the power to change water into wine (my personal favorite), heal the sick, raise the dead, and a myriad of other mind-boggling miracles that when it comes to His carpentry chops He stinks worse than a dead dog in a honey hole?
PETER: That's right. Come on. What do you say?
JAMES (THE LESSOR): Forget it!
SIMON: Fine. Then for the rest of eternity you'll be known as James the LESSOR. Right, fellas?
ALL: James the LESSOR! James the LESSOR! Hahahah.
JAMES (THE LESSOR): I hate you guys.
JAMES: Shhh. Someone's coming.
PETER: Can you see who it is, James?
JAMES: By James do you mean me, James the Fisherman, or are you talking to that zit-faced adolescent, James the Lessor?
PETER: James the Lessor, of course, James.
JAMES (THE LESSOR): Why am I always the one who has to stick his head out the doorway to see if the Master is coming?
PETER: Because you're the only one with 20/20 vision. Now who is it?
JAMES (THE LESSOR): It's Him all right.
JOHN: Jesus Christ!
PETER: OK everyone. Hang loose and look pious.
SIMON: Think you can handle that, Thomas?
THOMAS: Bite my big toe!
SIMON: Salve my foot sores!
PETER: Quiet you two.
THADDEUS: What should I do with the notes I took of today's meeting, Peter?
PETER: What do we usually do with them, Thaddeus?
THADDEUS: Tear them up?
PETER: And fast!
JESUS: Hello, everyone. What have you guys been up to all day while I was out preaching the Gospel and healing the sick and performing miracles and stuff?
PETER: Oh. You know. The usual.
ALL: That's right, my brother.
JESUS: What say we all head for the shop and build some end tables? I feel really inspired this afternoon.
JOHN: Excellent idea. Right, Philip?
PHILIP: Just what I was thinking, John.
JUDAS: You're the best there is, Jesus.
THADDEUS: Oh brother!