So, I managed to obtain permission to interview Juda in jail. (Thank you General Peters). I should have known everyone would want me to interview Juda next. Thanks for all the interview questions you guys sent me. I just hope Juda will answer them. He’s not the chattiest of people, you know? Hopefully he won’t just give me stony looks and refuse to speak…
As I am led down the echoing hallways towards Juda’s cell, I realise that I have never been inside a prison before. The prison officer unlocks a sturdy-looking iron door. On the other side is a wide open space. In the middle of that space is a large cage surrounded by bars. I figure it’s supposed to be a room. I can see someone lying on the bed inside the cage.
I look around as I am led over. There are no windows. And it’s dead quiet in here. As I approach, the figure on the bed sits up quickly. It’s Juda Lincoln. The hope on his face is unmistakable. So is the disappointment in his eyes when his gaze settles on me.
He lies back down.
Prison officer: Your interviewer has arrived Mr. Lincoln.
Juda doesn’t respond.
Dayo Benson: Am I allowed to go inside?
The prison officer looks at me like I’m nuts: You can interview him from here. He’s dangerous. And he’s a practitioner.
Juda: I’m a Christian.
His voice sounds like a growl.
The prison officer rolls his eyes. He leans against the wall and looks at me: Just hurry and interview him.
I clear my throat and offer my best smile.
Dayo Benson: Good morning, Juda. It’s great to meet you.
I move closer to the cage and reach a hand through the bars, inviting him to shake my hand.
Juda looks at my hand like it’s covered in mold: I thought it was Crystal.
Dayo Benson: Oh. Sorry to disappoint you.
I decide to withdraw my hand since he’s not shaking it.
Dayo Benson: So, how are you?
Dayo Benson: How are you, Juda?
Still no answer.
Dayo Benson: Um, I would appreciate it if you would get up and come closer, and talk to me. I’m not like the other journalists who just want to tear you down. I’m doing this interview to try and make you more sympathetic to the general public. I would like to portray you in a positive light, so help me out here.
Juda: Why should I believe that?
Dayo Benson: Because I believe that God can change anybody, and that everybody deserves a second chance if they are truly reformed.
Juda sighs. He stands from the bed and walks over. It hits me just how big he is as he stops less than a foot away from me, only the bars between us. With the formidable frown on his face, and his narrowed gaze he’s a pretty intimidating sight.
Dayo Benson: So, I asked ‘how are you’?
Juda’s gaze narrows further: I’m fine.
Dayo Benson: Really?
Now his dark brows knit in a deep frown.
It’s then that I notice his eyes. He’s not wearing his contacts. Maybe he’s not allowed to wear them in jail.
Dayo Benson: Can we talk about your blue eyes. They’re unusual but pretty nice.
Juda glowers at me now.
Dayo Benson: Why are they such a sore topic?
Juda: Ask another question.
Dayo Benson: I spoke to Alejandro a few days ago. He made some comments…
Juda lifts one brow.
Dayo Benson: He said that the Bible talks about the joy of the Lord and the joy of salvation, but you don’t seem to be a very joyful person even now that you’re saved.
Juda just looks at me. It’s pretty unnerving being on the end of that quiet scrutiny.
Dayo Benson: Are you joyful?
I almost snort, but I catch myself in time.
Dayo Benson: You don’t look very joyful.
Juda: Joy is not laughter and smiling.
Dayo Benson: Then what is it?
Juda: An inner state of well-being
Dayo Benson: So, you have an inner state of well-being?
Juda: I do.
Dayo Benson: Right. Describe a typical day in jail.
Juda crosses his arms across his chest: There’s nothing much to say. I’m locked up most of the time. There are mealtimes. I get to make phonecalls.
Dayo Benson: You’re a loner so you must be fine with the loneliness.
Juda just looks at me.
Dayo Benson: Are you fine with the loneliness?
Juda: No. However, I busy myself with prayer and studying the Bible.
Dayo Benson: You mentioned mealtimes. Does the prison offer you your preferred restricted diet?
Dayo Benson: Do you miss your fruit peel, enzyme yogurts and nuts and seeds.
Juda: Food is the last thing on my mind.
Dayo Benson: What is on your mind?
Juda’s expression darkens. I wait for him to answer, but after a few moments, it’s obvious that he’s not going to.
Dayo Benson: Is your trial on your mind?
Again, Juda says nothing.
Dayo Benson: What will you do if you are sentenced to capital punishment?
Dayo Benson: Well, obviously. I mean… Never mind. What will you do if you don’t get capital punishment?
Juda: I’ll thank God.
Dayo Benson: How will you celebrate?
Juda: I don’t know.
Dayo Benson: You have pleaded ‘not guilty.’ Do you not consider yourself guilty?
Juda’s eyes become flinty.
Dayo Benson. Okay, you don’t have to answer that question. Um, let’s see. What’s the best thing that ever happened to you?
Juda: Jesus and Crystal.
Dayo Benson: Explain.
Juda just stares at me. Once again, it’s pretty unnerving.
Dayo Benson: How sweet that you consider Crystal one of the best things that ever happened to you. You’re quite the Mr. Romantic aren’t you. I loved the way you proposed, and your crazy love for Crystal, and how sweet you are with her.
Juda is just looking at me. I decide to move on to the next question.
Dayo Benson: Uh, what’s the worst thing that ever happened to you?
Juda: Do you have all day?
I look at my watch.
Dayo Benson: No, but I have ten minutes.
Juda says nothing.
Dayo Benson: I’m waiting.
He still says nothing.
Dayo Benson: Are you always this chatty?
A muscle works in his jaw, suggesting that he’s clenching his teeth.
I decide that this interview is going nowhere. He’s obviously not in the mood to talk.
Dayo Benson: Well, it’s been a pleasure to meet you Juda. I have no idea why people find you intimidating. You’re so personable and friendly.
I totally understand why Crystal is smitten with his smile. It’s surprisingly beautiful. His whole face transforms. However, I am taken aback.
Dayo Benson: Did I say something funny?
Dayo Benson: Then why are you smiling?
Juda: Because you sound like you’re about to leave.
I’m semi-offended so I reach through the bars and slap his arm.
Juda: Don’t touch me.
Dayo Benson: Oops. Already did.
Juda’s smile is gone. He’s glowering again.
Dayo Benson: Can you teach me how to glower like that?
He says nothing.
Dayo Benson: Well, have a nice day. All the best with your trial.
Juda: Where is your accent from?
Dayo Benson: I’m British.
Juda: I’ve heard British accents before. You sound different.
Dayo Benson: I’m from up North. It’s a great accent isn’t it? Yours is nice too.
Juda holds out a hand.
I look at it, a little suspicious.
Dayo Benson: I thought you said I shouldn’t touch you.
His hand remains between us.
I slip my own hand through the bars and shake it.
Juda: You’re not scared of me.
Dayo Benson: Maybe because I created you.
Juda frowns: Are you trying to sound like Luke?
Dayo Benson: No, really. I created you.
Juda gives me an odd look: Right. Are they all as creepy as you in the UK?
Dayo Benson: Only if they’re writers.
A ghost of a smile passes over his features. It looks like he’s lightening up, so I look through my questions and decide to ask a few more.
Dayo Benson: You mentioned that you spend your time reading the Bible and praying. Now that you’re in jail do you regret your decision to become a Christian? If you were still a practitioner you could escape. In fact Abha tried to help you to escape. Surely you have considered escaping? You must have had low moments when you’ve felt so lonely and afraid that you wished you could get your practitioner power back and escape?
Juda eyes me: That was like fifty questions. Which do you want me to answer?
Dayo Benson: All of them.
Juda: I don’t regret becoming a Christian. Jesus’ yoke is easy, and His burden is light. The yoke of the devil is very heavy.
The words are spoken softly in that gravelly voice of his. They’re profound. So much food for thought there.
Dayo Benson: So, how are you dealing with…everything?
Juda shrugs: God is helping me.
Dayo Benson: Your fans want me to ask you about Crystal.
Juda’s jaw locks again.
Dayo Benson: Please answer. They’ve enjoyed watching your romance unfold.
A muscle works in his jaw.
Dayo Benson: When did you first realize that you were in love with Crystal? And how did your love grow?
Juda: I knew I was in love the day she yelled at me over President McCarthy’s assassination.
Dayo Benson: Really?
Dayo Benson: Please elaborate.
Juda: Nobody yells at me. Well, not when I was a practitioner. But no matter what Crystal did to me, it didn’t cross my mind to hurt her.
Dayo Benson: So, that’s when you realized you were in love?
I’m not sure if it’s my eyes, but there seems to be a faint hint of colour in Juda’s cheeks.
Dayo Benson: So, how did your love grow?
Juda: I don’t know. What kind of question is that?
Dayo Benson: Your fans want to know.
Juda: The more I was around her, the more I wanted her around. I began to really fear the day that the team would go their separate ways because it would mean I would be without her. I’d never thought about getting married before, but all of a sudden I was thinking about it. But she was a Christian and I was an occult practitioner, so I didn’t know how it would work. I would have married her despite our different beliefs, but I knew she wouldn’t marry me.
Dayo Benson: Is that partly why you became a Christian?
Juda: What does 1 Corinthians 12:3 say?
Dayo Benson: Uh, you expect me to know off the top of my head?
Juda: Aren’t you a student of the Bible?
Dayo Benson: I am, but…hey, what’s that got to do with the question I asked you? And, I’m the one asking questions here.
Juda: It says that nobody can confess that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. And John 6:44 says that nobody can come to Jesus except the Father draws him. I am a Christian today because the Father drew me. The Holy Spirit reached out to me. If I did it just to be with Crystal, I would have given up by now. Jail isn’t easy. Neither will my trial be easy. I could even lose Crystal. I’m a Christian because there’s power in the Name and the blood of Jesus to save even the chief of sinners, which I am.
Dayo Benson: What are your plans for the future? If you don’t get capital punishment.
Juda: To be a Godly man. (Juda pauses, and then he grins and winks) And to make Crystal never regret marrying me.
Prison officer: Time up!
Dayo Benson: Just when things were getting interesting.
Hope you enjoyed the interview guys. I’m interviewing either Dan Black or Trixie next. Leave a comment or email me: email@example.com, to let me know which of the two of them you prefer, and what questions should I ask them xx