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Published:September 12th, 2009 15:17 EST
Life On The Red Planet!

The Prophet

By Mark Frederic Jennings

What I am about to relate to you will sound crazy, I`m pretty sure. Maybe not. But most likely. Which is why I`m putting it in this section of the SOP and not the one designated to stories about religion. Even though the Holy Spirit popped up in this incident too. But I`d like to spread my writing around if possible. So I`m putting this story in here. I hope that`s okay. It goes like this.

    Anyway, there I was, just walking down the street the other day, and it was pretty much really too bright out for my tastes. You know, Sunny and all that. At the time I`d worked nights for like fifteen years, so I lived mostly at night too, and the sun kind of bugged me. Not that it didn`t feel real good and all that. But it burned my eyes and I had to squint alot. Unless I`ve got shades on, of course. Problem was though that just right then I wasn`t so lucky. I`d lost my sunglasses again. Like I always do. I swear, I must be a world record holder for most pairs of sunglasses ever owned. I really probably am.

    But the only reason I was out so early in the city which is so dirty in the bright light like that, which let`s be honest, it really is, but the only reason I was out in it at all at that time was because I had to pick up something at the post office before they closed. A package or something. Wasn`t quite sure what.

They`d just left me one of those little brown slips in my mailbox, you know, the ones that say they have something for you that they couldn`t just leave on your doorstep. So come and get it, or whatever.

   Of course I just couldn`t wait to find out what it was someone had sent me, of course. I mean, just like anybody else probably really. But for me even worse. Cool stuff like that doesn`t happen very often at my mailbox. Just call me Mr. Knows Nobody. Not that I`m whining about it. I like it that way, being a writer and all.

   Either way, it had flushed me out of my hole during daylight hours, since the Post Office was open only then, and now the sun was cooking my eyes like Sunday morning egg yolks. Sunny side up. So I just walked on a little quicker with my head down, squinting and keeping my eyes looking forward, out from beneath my bushy brows.

   Luckily I`d been to this post office a couple times before. So I knew just take the next right off the boulevard and then up the side street a half block and it should be there. But as I rounded the corner there he was. I couldn`t miss him. Also too, I couldn`t just pass him on by. What with the Holy Spirit, who just happened to be tagging along again, saying, "You gonna just let him lay there like that?" like He always does. When I run into a homeless person, that is. He always perks up when I come across one of them, the old Holy Spirit does.

    "Well, he`s homeless though Lord," I came back with before remembering what I just wrote. How He likes them so much.

    "So that`s an excuse?!" the God of Everything, or His spiritual essence anyway, almost snapped in reply. And by, snapped, " I don`t mean that I actually heard the words, but the idea of what He wanted to convey just sorta popped into my head. And now I`ve found it`s kinda fun to put actual dialogue around those, thought packets, " like I like to call them. And who knows, maybe if I keep doing that, it`ll really start to happen like that. Who knows. Maybe someday I really will be able to hear His voice. So that`s why I`m practicing it though.

    "Maybe He likes it that way," I said back at the Lord, feeling kind of cranky, up early and my eyes hurting like they were. "He`s outta the loop Lord, you know, definitely not of this world, which I know you said your kingdom is also not. So maybe he`s better off," I said. Really feeling that way too. Almost envying him. Well, not really, but sort of. Only in the way that he was beyond the reach now of greed, and covetousness, and pride, quite obviously. 

    "You`ve got a point there my boy," the Holy Spirit said back. "But," He added in, and by now I was just standing there, shading my eyes with one hand, looking too at the poor homeless guy. He really was in bad shape I could see now too. Older than most of them. Something special though too, I was thinking. Which the Lord would soon confirm. "You gotta tell him something for me," He added then too.
    "Okay, no sweat," I told the Lord, knowing I could do that. The old broken down dude would be easy to witness to. Which is what I figured the Lord had in mind. But there was more.

    "And flip him that five spot you`ve got. I want him to have a good last meal."
    "Hey dad, that`s all I got! I was gonna get some rolled tacos and a big pile of beans with that!"
    "You`re too fat anyway," the Lord told me, and like always, He was right. " And besides, what`d I say about sacrafice. And for the least of them."

    "Okay, okay," I told him. Then thought of something. "Hey, you wouldn`t happen to have a pair of sunglasses I could borrow."

    "Check your shirt pocket," and I did and sure enough they were there now. The ones I`d lost. I slipped them on and it was like heaven. Well, you know what I mean.

    "Thanks Lord," I told him, and meant it, with every fibre of my being like. It really touches you when the Lord does something like that for you. Which I knew He had. I had looked there before. In my shirt pocket. They weren`t there before.

    "Ask and ye shall receive, remember? But back to business. I want you to tell my friend there that I`m gonna come and get him tonight. And to use your five for a good last meal. Tell him to then go down to the park. To the spot and sack out. He`ll know where you mean. And tell him I`ll come to him in a dream and he`ll never wake up from it. A dream of coming home, and then he`ll be there."
    "Wow," was all I could say.

    "And he`ll have a message for you."
    "He will?!"
    "Oh yeah, he`s a prophet. He has told many, many people of my coming."
    "Oh man," was all I could say now. "I`m, I`m, I`m honored," I managed to add in, then felt like crying.
    "Wait `till you get home to turn on the old faucet my boy," the Lord told me in kind humour. "You gotta do this for me first. I know it`s not easy. But I have faith in you."
    And when the Lord tells you He has faith in you, you can understand how and why He died on the cross for you. And right then you know you would do the same for him. Over and over again if you had to. And of course that was all it took as well. This was so little compared to that. Slipping a five spot to a homeless dude, that is.

    So I walked over to the prophet and kneeled down before him. He was crumpled up against the wall like an old newspaper. He smelled like a trash can full of old food and dirty, pee stained underwear. But I worked past that and helped him into a seated position there against the wall. He came to and opened his eyes. They were like blue stars in the dirty, stubble covered and sunburned universe of his face. He smiled. I could see he knew who had sent me. He just knew somehow.

    I told him what the Lord had told me to tell him and gave him the five. His smile grew. He was very happy. This was the greatest thing anyone had ever told him, he told me.
    "Could you help me up," he then asked too.

    Once I got him up he tucked the five into his shirt pocket and brushed his pants off. Like it mattered. He seemed filled with new life though. Like he`d had a good nap there against the wall.

    "The Holy Spirit said you`d have a message for me," I told him and he looked back up at me with his big smile again. It was then that I remembered who he reminded me of. This little Irish guy I`d almost gotten in a fight with once in a bar. He was all smiles too and happy and ready for anything, even though I outweighed him by over a hundred pounds and was ready to throw him through a window or whatever.
    "Yes," the prophet said and walked up to me even closer. He grabbed me by the shirt and got close to my face. "He says, write like you`re going to die next week. And don`t stop until He comes to get you too," and with that the old prophet let go of my shirt and staggered back.

    He started laughing first, but I quickly joined him, knowing what he knew and feeling it too, just the incredible joy in the afterglow of the Holy Spirit`s presence and knowing we`d been with Him. So close, almost close enough to touch Him, and definitely having felt Him there with us. And best of all, doing His will.

    I watched the prophet stagger off up the sidewalk and came back down to earth enough to carry on with my task that had brought me down here like it had. Which as you may remember was going to get whatever it was they had for me at the post office, which I`d just remembered and all too, so I adjusted my sunglasses and walked the rest of the way there.

    Waiting in line, the ever present Post Office line, I knew some of the other people in there probably thought I was stoned. I couldn`t stop smiling from ear to ear.

    When I finally got up to the clerk, I wasn`t surprised when he told me there had been some sort of terrible mistake and they were so sorry but they had no package for me. The slip must have been misdelivered, they said. Which I knew really it wasn`t. The Holy Spirit had sent it to get me out and over to meet that homeless guy. So then I asked the clerk could I maybe get the slip back, wanting it as a memento, something from the Holy Spirit, you know. But even then I wasn`t suprised again that it had disappeared somehow now too. Figures I told him. Just figures.

     On my way home I kept thinking it all over. I remembered what the prophet had told me about the writing. That I was supposed to write like I was going to die next week, and keep writing until the Lord came back to get me. How could he have known I was a writer, or was trying to be one at least. Then I knew it had to be real. As crazy as it all seemed. So I`m still writing. Like maybe you can tell.