Another day, another denarius. I could really have done without pulling another duty up on the hill, though, to be honest. There aren’t many of the things we have to do that are fun exactly, but keeping order at the executions has to come pretty close to the bottom of the list.
Not that I’ve much time for the people we process – chances are, if you’re assigned a cross, you’ve put yourself in a position to deserve it one way or another. No, it’s not that. It’s just the whole nature of the day. Early start, flogging up from the city, sometimes literally, with a bunch of criminals who funnily enough aren’t too keen on co-operating; half of them probably trying to find ways to get themselves killed before we get there. Then the fight to get them on and up, followed by a tedious day out in the heat. Their victims jeering and hurling abuse. Maybe the odd friend or family member grieving or standing vigil. The occasional mad, misguided rescue attempt. The shouts, groans, protests and curses from above and all around. Tension, hate, grief, the stink of fear and death.
And of course, we’re in charge. We’re authority. So no room for weakness, no signs of doubt – club together, the bravado of the gang, mocking, jeering, and distracting ourselves however we can just to get to the end of the shift. Why else do we gamble for their possessions? I mean, the pay’s not great, but most of these people are only clad in rags by the time they come to us, and none of us are that hard up.
Still, can’t have bleeding hearts in the army. The job needs doing, and it’s us that get to do it. Keep your head down, don’t stand out for the wrong reasons, get on with it and get through the day as best you can.
What other choice is there?