XII November, year of the consulship of Publius C. Fufius Geminus and Pulius L. Rubellius Geminus (XXIX AD)
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Bethany, Judah -- Police are seeking information on a recent crime involving plant persecution of local flora. Detectivus Inspectorus Centurion Mathius Romanus, an officer of the Roman Expeditionary Force, theorizes that the attempted murder of a tree happened thusly, "First, I man with scruffy hair, unkempt beard and a puffy shirt, followed by XII more men of like appearance and similar attire didst loiter around Bethany. This group of XIII then approached the victim, and when their ringleader didst find no fruit on the victim He proceeded to curse the victim, rendering it permanently fruitless."
During a press conference held yesterday the plaintiff, one fig tree, had this to say, "Of course I had no fruit; I'm not in season. Now I'll always be out of season...with what that bastard did to me. I feel so unclean. He comes up to me, right?..and his gang surrounds me, then He's all, like, 'Do you know who I am?'. To which I replied, 'Um, a hippie cultist?' which was a poor choice of words, admittedly. Then He's all, 'I'm the Son of God, little tree, and you should bow the knee and give Me and my boys here some figs.'"
"But what could I do? I'm just a humble wintering fig tree and had no nothing to give! Then He spit on me and didst speak thusly, 'Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever.' or 'No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever.' I'm sorry, the shock of it all has muddied my memory. I'm permanently childless...a sad shrub. Now I'm normally a live-and-let-live kind of tree, but I hope He dies for his sins.'"
One of several spokesmen for Mr. Christ, Mark (last name not available as of this printing) disagrees, "Sure, now I'm not saying that He didn't curse the fig tree. All I'm saying is; it didn't shrivel up until the next day. J.C. is like that. You think you're safe, then 'boom', the next day you're all shrivelled up."
His co-spokesman, Matthew, vehemently opposes the gospel according to Mark, "It was just like the bush said. No fig, curse, shrivel. Relax, Mark, a minor doctrinal difference like this is nothing to schism over. Mark? Don't storm off like that. Lover? I hate it when you do this. Mister Pouty, turn that zealous frown upside down! We'll fix it before we, or an unknown number of anonymous authors writing in our name, write it all down in XL years or so."
The owner and tender of the victim, famed horticulturalist Luther Burbank, isn't looking for a criminal conviction. Rather, he is pursuing a civil suit for loss of income over the life of the tree, and emotional and florical distress. "Sure, to other people it's just a barren bush, but to me it's the center of my business. I mean, we're in the <expletive> desert here! How many <expletive> fig trees do you normally find in the <expletive> desert? People would come from miles around to sample those <expletive> figs, but now my <expletive> fig newtons are gonna be all <expletive> hollow. Who the <expletive> wants to eat a figless <expletive> fig newton?"
News of the fig newton crisis has sent prices skyward; several recently sold on EBay for up to XXX pieces of silver apiece.
Magistratti have issued an all points bulletin, hoping to capture the wily cultist. Centurion Romanus is hopeful, "You'd think it'd be easy to spot XIII cultists, one of whom professes to be God. But this is the Near East; there are cults like that all over the place. We're hoping that one Judas Iscariot, who has been told that he'll double-cross our suspect three times, will use one of those times to betray Him to local law enforcement."
Jesus Christ, of no fixed address, has again been sewing discontent across the region, reappearing recently after spending approximately XX anum on the lam, after an unruly childhood brought Him to the attention of high-ranking authorities, like the Roman senate-elected "King of the Jews", King Herod. Previous outstanding charges against Him include; conspiracy to create a monopoly on deism, disrupting legal business at a temple and failure to render unto Caesar. "Frankly, the rabble-rousing of Him and his cabal of fanatics is a destabilizing influence on our normally peaceful region." said Governor Pilate of the suspect, "He got away from us once, we'll not let it happen again."
Centurion Romanus closed the press conference by cautioning that no attempt should be made to apprehend the itinerant cult leader. Instead, should he be spotted, you should notify your local constabulary, as he is considered to be unarmed and extremely pious.
A reward of XXX pieces of silver has been posted for information leading to His arrest and crucifixion.