"Jesus the First at the Bethlehem Livestock-Baby Exchange"
This recent acquisition is one of the rarest of works of art, as it depicts an event in the life of the predecessor to the founder of the popular religion.
One of the most closely guarded secrets of the Vatican is the fate of the first Jesus, who was born in Bethlehem in 43 BCE. Due to an earthquake in Asia Minor, the Three Kings, Sylvester, Ludicrantz and Bonanafanna, missed their camel caravan and never showed up on December 25th as they were intended to. Overcast skies completely ruined the angelic light show as well, so Marfak and her husband Giuseppe never caught on to the fact that she had just given birth to the Son of God.
As they were on their way to a labor camp in Egypt for failing to report Marfak’s dowry as income, they really had no use for an extra mouth to feed, and since tribal wars had caused a drastic drop in the peasant population, the value of a newborn boy was at an all-time high. So they spent an afternoon at the ruins of the Livestock-Baby Exchange, which Consul Gaius Marius had donated to the town in order to raise additional votes at one of the Emperor elections back in 104 BCE.
Giuseppe, although a fair-to-middling carpenter, was an unreliable negotiator after the sixth hour, when he tended to dip too heavily into the old Falernian. So Marfak negotiated a great trade for the baby, getting a 2-year-old mule, which they needed for the journey, and a 3-year-old cow, which they could trade for supplies en route. She even wangled a pair of lambs for a nice shepherd’s pie and as a winter coat lining.
Nothing is known of the fate of the original Jesus. The painter Bassbanjo, however, was broken on the wheel for blasphemy and his eyes put out with a red-hot iron, which severely affected his artistic output, although he was able to eke out a living whitewashing stables and privies if the owners weren’t particular about neatness…