The atmosphere began to buzz humidly. The older man shifted and coughed moving a cloud of dust from his airway. “Have Mercy” he cooed to the pat of bare feet. A light coin hit is palm. He pawed it and placed it in his pocket. The younger bent his neck forward and rubbed beneath his right ear. Sticky. He swayed.
“How much?” the younger asked. “Some.” “How much?” “Enough for today.” He shuffled his cane, “I am tired and it is hot.” The older moaned an acknowledgment. The wall, the ground, their canes, checking pockets - they were moving about to make way for home… .and then they ceased abruptly. Without a word they lowered themselves back into the matted dirt. A rabble in the distance. Vocal commotion. Laughter. A throng of varied persons were descending upon the Jericho gate.
Both blind men scampered about with their hands to secure their position. They pressed hard against the wall to avoid trampling feet. “Have Mercy,” they crooned together. “Haaaave Meeercy!” The rabble drew nearer and the voices became thick with thought, wit and piety. A soft, sonorous male voice let out a joyful proverbial jest, poking fun his humanity. For a moment, the older wanted to be that man. He often drank voices and imagined the lives of their owners. He listened. A self-conscious sensation grabbed his attention. He cocked his head to the left, moving in on their conversations. Whispers. Someone in the throng had noticed the blind men. Most of the crowd continued in conversation but somewhere towards the front, the blind man perceived these words: “Jesus… .I don’t… .we should continue… .Master, but….” He couldn’t hear most of it but his memory was provoked by Jesus… .Master. Jesus, Master? With a tapping finger he begged his mind to recall. Jesus, Master… .Ah! Jesus! Master!
“Aaaa- yaaa- ya- ya” he doubled forward on hands and knees toward them. “Jesus,” he broke into near hyperventilation, “Son of David… .HAVE MERCY on me!” The younger face became emotional and he groaned, “Aaaa”, grabbing his cane. He tapped incessantly. The unexpected arrival of a healer burst their responses into bits and pieces. They fought and made sightly fools of themselves throwing their bodies towards the crowd in the most half-hazard manner. “David! Son of David!” The younger said nothing. He began grabbing at garments searching for the bearer of this title. Titch. Slap. Ouch! It was their desperate manner that offended - clawing, pinching, begging for the man. A broad chest hugged the side of the older’s chin and shoulder. “Move back!” it hissed, “Be quiet!” The older glared with his cheek bones and teeth. He pointed his brows and barked “Jesus!”. He had no desire to hit anyone but thrust his cane into the crowd to part a way. His whole body went searching for the Healer’s soul. “Have Mercy on me Jesus!”
The crowd was pressing hard and had pinned the younger back against the wall. His deeply tanned face went white and shades of panicky grey. He was suddenly terrified. Was this Jesus merciful or too important for dirty blind men today?