The Crucifixion of Cornelius the Cunning

Three man, nailed on large crosses, on a mountain under a cloudy sky
What I think the crucifixion on mount Golgatha looked like

Ah, what a fine day for a crucifixion! The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and I find myself nailed to a cross atop Golgotha with a great view of Jerusalem. I mean, you really can't beat the real estate up here. Sure, the amenities are a tad rustic, but that's all part of the experience, right? However, my appreciation is short-lived as I am painfully reminded that I'm dying.

Allow me to introduce myself, for those of you not yet acquainted with my illustrious career. Cornelius the Cunning, they called me, the wittiest thief this side of the Mediterranean. I could talk my way out of a prison cell and charm the gold right off a nobleman's neck. But alas, my charm and quick wit could only take me so far, and here I am, crucified like a common criminal. Oh, the irony.

So, what brings me to this delightful predicament? A series of unfortunate events, you might say, and a few misplaced bets. And then, one fateful day, the Romans caught up with me. I know, I know – hard to believe that someone as smooth and crafty as me could get caught, right? But alas, it happened. And what a show they put on for my arrest! There were trumpets, banners, and even a parade. Okay, so maybe it was less of all that and more of an angry mob, but I like to see the glass half full.

Next thing I knew, I was on trial. And can you believe the gall of the Romans? They found me guilty and sentenced me to death! Shocking, I know. But hey, at least they were kind enough to provide me with an all-expenses-paid trip to my very own crucifixion. No, seriously, it was a package deal. They even threw in the nails for free.

As I hang here, nailed to this cross, my attention is drawn to the others sharing my fate. Over to the left, there's some poor sap who's been convicted of who-knows-what, and in the middle between us hangs a fellow named Jesus of Nazareth. He claims to be the Son of God. I gotta hand it to him, he's got guts. But it looks like the Romans aren't big fans of his divine aspirations. Who knew?

And let me tell you, this Jesus fellow is quite the character. I mean, here we are, nailed to crosses, and he's talking about forgiveness. "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." Can you believe it? If I were the Son of God, I'd be hurling lightning bolts at my enemies or something. But no, Jesus is all about love and forgiveness.

But enough about him. Let's take a look at my other neighbor on the cross. To be honest, I have no clue what his actual name is, so I just refer to him as Bruno the Brute. Now, Bruno is real piece of work. He's been jeering and cursing at the Roman soldiers, the crowd, and even at poor Jesus. You'd think he'd have some sense of decency, considering the current situation, but nope – not Bruno. He's as nasty as they come.

As I hang here, I've got plenty of time to reflect on my life and ponder my many exploits. There was the time I stole the golden statue of Jupiter right out of the temple in Damascus – a heist that left the priests scratching their heads for weeks. Or that time I swindled the proconsul of Egypt out of his prized racing chariot. I made a fortune on that scam, and it's a memory that still brings a smile to my face.

But now, as the end draws near, I can't help but feel a pang of regret. Perhaps I should have chosen a different path, one less fraught with danger and deception. A life of honest work, perhaps? A simple merchant, or maybe even a humble farmer? Then again, who am I kidding? I'm Cornelius the Cunning, and I wouldn't trade my life of adventure for anything.

And hey, at least I'm not alone. Bruno and Jesus keep me company and there's quite the crowd gathered to watch the spectacle. I guess you could say we're the hottest ticket in town. I can't help but find a twisted sense of humor in the whole situation. Here we are, three men from different walks of life, brought together by fate and the Romans' taste for public executions. It's almost poetic, really.

I can't say I ever expected my life to end like this, but then again, who ever does? It's a shame we couldn't have met under better circumstances, but I suppose there's a lesson to be learned here. Maybe, in some bizarre way, our suffering serves a purpose.

As the sun begins to set, casting its warm glow upon us, I can feel my strength fading. But even in these final moments, I find myself awestruck by the beauty of the world around me. The golden hues of the sky, the distant murmur of the crowd, the delicate song of the birds above – they all seem to sing in harmony, a bittersweet symphony for a dying thief.

As I glance over at Jesus, I can't help but feel envious. Despite the agony he must be in, he remains calm and composed, as if he knows something I don't. And as much as I'd like to dismiss his talk of forgiveness and love as the ramblings of a madman, I find myself drawn to the idea. Perhaps there's more to this man than meets the eye.

And then there's Bruno, who couldn't help but let his bitterness get the best of him. "Hey, aren't you supposed to be the Messiah?" he sneered at Jesus. "How about you save yourself and the rest of us while you're at it, you idiot?"

The nerve of some people. I mean, we're all in the same boat - or rather, nailed to the same crosses - so at least have a little decency. As I glance over at Jesus, I see that he remains silent, bearing his pain with quiet dignity. An impressive feat, considering the circumstances. I may be a thief, but I know injustice when I see it, and this man has done nothing to deserve such a fate. Feeling a sudden kinship with him, I had to put Bruno in his place. "Dude, seriously? We're both up here getting what we deserve, but this guy hasn't done anything wrong. Stop acting like a jerk!"

Jesus looks at me, and I suddenly feel a connection to him. In a moment of vulnerability, I turn to him and say, "Hey, when you get to your kingdom, don't forget about me, okay?" Jesus, ever the gracious one, replies, "I promise you, today you'll be with me in paradise." Talk about a silver lining. Despite the pain, the exhaustion, and the cruel irony of my circumstances, I can't help but smile.

It's funny, really. We're all here because we've broken the law in some way or another, but Jesus is the only one who doesn't seem to regret it. He's not begging for mercy or trying to plead his case. He's just... peaceful. It's almost like he knows something the rest of us don't.

As I look further around, I see the crowd of people gathered at the foot of the hill, watching us suffer. Some of them are weeping, others are jeering and taunting us. And I can't help but wonder, what did we do to deserve this? What kind of justice is this?

But maybe that's the point. Maybe this isn't about justice or punishment at all. Maybe it's about something bigger than all of us. Maybe Jesus is right when he talks about forgiveness and love. Maybe there's more to life than just survival and self-preservation.

Or maybe I'm just delirious from the pain. Who knows? All I know is that I'm here, hanging on a cross next to the supposed Messiah. And if there's one thing I've learned in my life, it's that anything can happen.

Finally, Jesus calls out loudly, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." And with that, he took his last breath. It's a somber moment, one that makes even a hardened criminal like me feel a pang of sorrow. In the midst of our pain and suffering, this man, who claimed to be the Son of God, was gracious, compassionate, and forgiving. And now, he's gone.

But as Jesus calls out to his father, I can't help but think of my own father. A simple, hardworking man who did his best to provide for his family, he would be devastated to see me here. But in his eyes, I see the same love and forgiveness that Jesus has shown me. Perhaps, in the end, we are all capable of redemption.

And I guess that's it. I have to say goodbye. It's been a pleasure, truly. But now, as the sun sets over Jerusalem and my vision fades to black, I must take my leave. As my consciousness slips away, I take solace in the knowledge that my story, too, will become a part of history – a small but memorable chapter in the grand tale of humanity. And with that thought, I close my eyes and let the darkness take me, eager to see what lies beyond this world, and what new adventures await a thief like me in paradise.