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The Death of the Dipper (Reblog #2)

I've posted this monologue a couple of times before. It purports to give Herod Antipas' take on the story in this coming Sunday's Gospel reading from the Lectionary (Mark 6: 14-29). Wrote it twelve years ago now, as per the lectionary cycle, but I have only ever used it once, and won't be using it this week (I've done a couple of monologues in a row recently and you can have too much of a "good" thing... However, I thought I would post it a few days ahead of time incase any colleagues are at a loss for something for Sunday... Would be interested to hear if anyone was brave enough to attempt it...
(ps. Saw the accompanying picture "The Beheading of John the Baptist" by Caravaggio in St. John's Cathedral in Valetta. Malta a couple of years ago, and this doesn't do it any justice.)


Why!? Why could the damned dipper not keep his nose out of my personal life?
And why could Herodias not simply ignore him? What harm could he do once I’d locked him away?
Yes, he went on and on about the immorality of our relationship, but what did she expect? He’s a religious fanatic… But if he is one of God’s prophets I don’t want his blood on my hands as well as my marital sins…
But she didn’t care… She wanted his head on a plate… Literally. And she knew just how to get it… The same way she got me in the first place…
I’ve always been a sucker for a bit of fine young female flesh… I’d taken her even though she was both my own niece and my brother’s wife… Keep it in the family is my motto…
But she then dangled her own daughter as bait to get what she wanted… Just one dance and I was slavering at the mouth… I offered her half my Kingdom… and I would have given it to her too (the dusty, deserted half that is…) But oh no… she had been well trained by that scheming witch of a mother of hers… All she wanted was to have the Dipper decapitated…
So what could I do? At that moment, my whole Kingdom lay in the balance, not just half of it… Everyone at the party was watching me for the first sign of weakness. So I couldn’t lose face… I couldn’t show fear…
Yet if truth be told, I feared that man more than any other man on earth… with the possible exception of my own father…
His words were not just the words of a religious nutcase… they came with power and authority… An authority that I would give more than half my Kingdom to possess… I wanted to hear more of what he had to say…
But now he’ll never say anything again…
Although some are saying that he has risen from the dead… That he is preaching again up by the sea of Galilee… Preaching and healing people…
But men don’t rise from the dead, do they?
It would be good to start again though, wouldn’t it… That’s what John said he was doing, dipping people in the river… washing away their sins so they could start again… But what river is deep enough to wash away my sins? To wash away the guilt of the dipper’s death… Not the Jordan certainly… Maybe it would take the whole of the Sea of Galilee… Maybe I’ll go and see if the man preaching and healing up there is the dipper come back from the dead… See if he will wash away my sins… Or maybe I won’t… Because if Herodias hears that he’s back, she’ll not give up until he’s dead again…

© David A. Campton 2009
Selah

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