Pure Evil


He’d seen it in the doctor’s notes.  He’d heard it from his own lips–from the one man that actually tried to help him.

The one man who took the time, actually dedicated his life, to reach the humanity in this child, and he had given up.

He would show Dr. Loomis what it really looked like.

It doesn’t hurt the way I do.

It doesn’t fear the way I fear.

I’ll give them what they need.  They need to know that it exists so that they can live the way they live….

I will burn in hell for them…so they can sleep at night.  They’ll remember what Halloween really is–it is not a game.

He stood in dark, tree covered obscurity,  hospital gown clinging wet to his powerful shoulders, pulse raging, in the cold autumn rain, waiting for his chance.

No longer a child.

No longer innocent.

A surge of adrenaline shot through his veins as the first glimmer of headlights flashed onto the wet road just outside the hospital grounds.  Michael Myers was alive now, and he lived for one purpose:

Pure Evil

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Try the Salsa, y’all!


I first noticed her hovering around the breakfast bar while struggling with the pump on the coffee dispenser.   I’ll be honest.  I’m not a fan of chatty food service professionals, and was already struggling to form a game plan to avoid the chit-chat assault that was fast approaching my vicinity. As I reached the juice dispenser I began to glean bits of what I was up against. She wasn’t just chatting, she had an agenda, and it all seemed to center around a bowl of some diminutive form of salsa. It was just a grade above the hot sauce that comes in packets at fast food Mexican restaurants.

I could see a very disturbing pattern forming here. She would step out with an empty tray or cruise the hotel dining area for empty plates, then she’d return to the eggs where she had displayed the salsa very prominently.   She was watching for something. But for what, I was not quite sure. Then, to my horror, the full agenda of Chatty Cathy the Holiday Inn Express breakfast bar professional, was fully revealed when a woman cautiously reached for salsa. Cathy pounced.

“Ooo, I see you’re trying the salsa with your eggs,” she said with perverse enthusiasm, blocking the buffet line.

“Oh, yes, I saw it there and thought That sounds interesting. I’m going to give it a try.”

“I’d never heard of it myself before just a few weeks ago. It just doesn’t seem like it would be gooooood? I don’t usually like real spicy stuuuuuuuff?  But I really got hooked on it…..yewwwwww know…sooooooo…I just went ahead suggested it to the manager myself.”

Myself.

This word really rang out. It hung in the air like a foul odor. I had heard similar words uttered by grocery store baggers, receptionists at doctors’ offices, and interns of any profession … people with big ideas and small positions. This was far worse to me than general chattiness. She meant for me try this salsa. She had a son or a nephew who had visited San Antonio or Santa Fe or El Paso or somewhere in the Southwest and who had spooned Pace Picante sauce on her eggs one visit on Christmas or Thanksgiving or something and she was not going to rest until she had spread the gospel of bad salsa on eggs.

How would I get passed this to get to the sausage and biscuits? How would I reach my fruity yogurt and Corn Pops cereal. Corn Pops for Christ sake! This was not the crappy organic cereal at home. This was FUCKING CORN POPS!!

In the distance I heard the cry of a young child, “Mommy! It burns my mouth!”

No!  I would not make it passed her without salsa somewhere on my plate.

But just as she began to sidle up to me the voice of a savior rang out. It was the voice of authority and reason.

“Carol. Can I see you for a moment?”

Apparently her name was not Chatty Cathy the Salsa Nazi. It was Carol. Carol attempted one parting shot before she stepped away from the egg station.

“Hey. You oughta try the salsa on your eggs.  But juuuuust a little, you know. It’s preeeeeetty spicy. But it gives it just a little kick, you know?”

I stared at her, speechless and terrified. I looked at the eggs. I looked at the salsa. Then looked at the Corn Pops. She was relentless. Merciless. Exuberant. Undeniable.

But the hotel manager was too quick. She touched Carol on the arm and spoke her name once more. She led her out into the hall. The manager spoke in hushed tones. The only piece I  could make out was, “Carol. We’ve talked about this. The answer was no. Corporate was very specific.”

The conversation was over. The manager stepped briskly into the dining area grabbed the bowl of salsa off of its decorative stand, and disappeared through the service door.

Carol stood in the hall, deflated.  I could just make out the words on her lips as she spoke them to the floor. “I thought it was a good idea. I liked the salsa.”

My heart sank. It was just salsa after all. Did it really hurt to set some salsa out by the eggs? Some people like salsa on there eggs. Even bad salsa.

“Ma’am?” I said to the manager as she reappeared through the service door. “Do you have any salsa? I’d like some with my eggs.”

The manager returned with the salsa. Her face and ears were flush and her smile was forced.  I’d duped her, and she knew it. She glared at Carol who was sauntering up to the egg station, revived and triumphant.

“Mmmmm. Ain’t them salsa and eggs good?”


Deeper Hunger


DISCLAIMER:  The following contains scenes of a graphic nature. Consider yourself warned.

The woods were still thick with the stench of his cruelty, as he stalked his next victim.  She walked alone.  It was as if she…wanted to be found.

Too easy.

This time, his appetite for human flesh far exceeded his need for mere sustenance.

With the stealth only a predator such as he possessed, he tracked her path, sometimes behind, sometimes ahead…sometimes just a few steps beside.   With razor sharp senses, he slowly pieced together a thorough knowledge of her; touching every part of her with his cold canine eyes, and breathing  in the essence of his prey.   Nostrils flared, he drank in the perfume of her fresh womanhood, igniting his baser instincts.   He bared his deadly fangs as hot saliva began to drip from his mouth.   She poured into him, and like fresh blood from a kill, intoxicated his mind and body so that he was enslaved with hunger for her flesh.

No!  Not this way!

With all the remaining  power of his still potent mind, he cooled his instincts, easing the cursed grip that had so ferociously choked out nearly all semblance of humanity from his beastly form.  He ached for more in her than just another hot meal.   He ached–and hungered now–for her beauty, knowing that he may never know beauty in the world again.    And he wanted to be more to her than her death.  He wanted to be her entire world before the end; her awakening, her ecstasy, her love, her life, her agony, and ultimately, her death.

Then she stopped in her tracks, neither turning nor trembling.  She let him approach her.

“And where are you going, little girl?” breathed the wolf onto the hood of her crimson red cape.

Still not turning, breathing shallow and quick, she said, “I’m looking for my lover.”

“You needn’t search any longer.  Your lover is dead,”  he growled.

Still she stood with her back to him.

“And you’re not afraid, my lady?”

“Yes!” she gasped, chest heaving.  “Yes, I’m afraid.”

Again, he drank her in, deeply, searching her thoughts and feelings.

“As well you should be, little girl.  Do you know who I am?”  he crooned.

“Yes! Yes,” she replied, her words catching on her breath.  “I know who you are. ”

His croon grew into a low growl.  “And yet you stand before me…alone…in the woods.”

Cunning girl.  She fears me, yes, but why doesn’t she run?

So close now that the lingering death on his breath caressed her fair cheek,  and she shuddered…or trembled.  He would gain full power over her flesh before it was over.

Come, my child,” he breathed, “come with me to where the fragrance of flowers will adorn your beauty.”

And then she turned to face him.  She beheld his beastly form with both fear and awe, and….

And what’s this?  What’s this I see in beauty’s eye?

Never had he stood face to face with his prey.  Never had he looked into the eyes of his victim and seen anything but mortal terror.

How dare she behold me in such a way!

Exploding in a thrust of carnal rage, he seized her and tore through the wilderness to the bed of flowers that awaited his feasting in the silvery meadow.  The moonlight poured onto the vile scene of the beast throwing his prey down onto the damp earth as he raised his inhuman snout to the source of his power–the mistress of his curse–and cut the night with his wild howls.

She lay before him, still gazing directly into the eyes of certain death, further enraging him.  His lips curled over his murderous teeth as he snarled and pounced.  With three swipes of his merciless claws he shredded her clothes from her body leaving her naked and oozing with crimson, writhing in agony.

With all of her remaining strength, she raised her face once again to meet his eyes, now even more boldly than before.

“YES!  WOLF!”  she screamed.  “YES!!!”

She taunts me?!!!!

As her life slowly drained from her body, he plunged himself between her legs with violent power.  He commanded her flesh.  Her screams penetrated his beastly heart.  He intoxicated himself with the aroma of her terror and ecstasy as he tore into her, devouring her, piercing her,  destroying her.  Her body spasmed as his saliva dripped into her wounds.  He snorted and growled and howled, caught in the throes of his hunger for both flesh and beauty.

After his final, terrible thrust, she lay beneath him, nearly lifeless.  Silence fell upon the meadow.  Moonlight bathed her limp body lighting what few patches of milky white remained unstained by blood as she groaned and gasped for life and for death.

“I am yours, ” she breathed.  “I am yours.  I found you.  Oh my love, I found you.”

With her final breath, the words remained formed on her lips.

And so she had.  She had found him there in the woods.  She had been searching for him.

And now she lay dead before him.  In horror, he sensed the last shred of his humanity well up in his pounding heart.

Hunched over her, he beheld the faint remnant of her beauty, and read the final words on her lifeless lips.   With a rush of anguish and pain he again split the air with his howls.  But instead of screams of violence, he raised a new song for all the forest to hear.  He howled a long, mournful cry, and something deep in him began to quake and throb.  Something deep and aching and ancient and beautiful.  His howls echoed through the lonely woods…

and he wept.

He wept for his lost love.  In that moment, the object of his beastly desires had become the object of his human love.

His tears mingled with her blood, washing it slowly away from her pale body before he collapsed into a deep sleep among the fragrance of flowers and death, dreaming far into his murky past, before curses and murder to a time when beauty reigned in his life.

He awoke to the long forgotten sensation of flesh on his own human flesh.

Where is cursedness? The thought grew brighter in his dim mind.  Where is cursedness?  And what is this?

He awoke to beauty.

“Beauty,” he croaked. “What happened to us?”

And she spoke.

“I found you.”


Growl and Thump


Lingering summer heat drifted in through my open window as I traced another drop of cold water on my bare belly.   I knew she would be going out soon.  She always got to stay out late on Friday nights while I, little sis, was stuck at home waiting for my high school days to begin.  Lucky her, senior class of ’81, and then she’d be out of this do-nothing, know-nothing town.

As I dipped my finger into a glass of ice water for another cool touch,  the approaching rumble of what might have been a lion or some other vicious, wild beast seized me and a thrill raced through my body.   It growled and roared and thumped and screeched, growing louder as it approached.

I sat up in bed and looked out of the window just in time to see its eyes throwing light onto the dark street as  it stopped in front of our little house on Cherry Creek Lane.   I could feel the pulse of its music deep in my body.  My heart and breathing quickened as the engine of the shining, black van idled down into a low growl, punctuated by powerful, roaring, thrusts from the driver’s foot.   Concealed by tinted windows and a moonless night, he pushed the passenger side door open, letting the full range of the song cut like a jagged knife into the night air.

Aaaaa-aaaaa-aaaaa-aaaah!  Aaaaaa-aaaaa-aaaaaaa!” screamed the singer, his voice running icy fingers up my spine.   I closed my eyes to savor the full impact of its menacing touch in me.

Cuz I’m back in black!

I’m BACK

IN

BLACK!”

In an instant, the front door of the house slammed shut, and my sister  climbed into the black beast…engine roaring, tires screeching, door slamming as she laughed and cheered it on.  Then she was gone once again.  I listened intently as the beat of the music and the groan of the engine faded,  dissolving gradually into the August night air.

By the time she rolled back home,  I would be asleep.

I wasn’t supposed to know that song.  I wasn’t supposed to be listening to that kind of music yet, but still I  snuck into my sister’s room every Friday night just as I would tonight.  Plugging in her big, studio headphones, I dropped the needle and laid back onto her bed, and as the guitar tore into my mind, I felt something begin to ache inside of  me, something growing and throbbing and pounding.   It ignited a hunger deep inside me that I didn’t know how to satisfy.   I listened to the record over and over again, tracing the outline of my emerging hips as Brian Johnson’s vocals ripped into me, claiming a little piece of my soul.


This Old Town


At what point is a town not the same town it used to be?  Is it when the Super Walmart shows up?  Is it when the local restaurants give way to fast food chains lined up by the interstate like guests at a party who act like they own the place.   Or is it when all the people you used to know have either left or changed beyond any hope of recognition?

No, my feet say no, this is the same town.  This is the same street  I use to walk down from my little church house to the corner market for candy and a Coke.  My ears hear the same cry of the blue jay and high song of the park swing.  The smell of the pine and cedar still rest on the same breeze and rise to the same steeple of the old church that I called my home.   And I knew that when it rained on a warm sidewalk, that the fragrance of rainwater and concrete still rose to meet the smiling faces of bare-footed children exploring the puddled terrain.

And maybe the events of the past that formed this town had fallen out of the memories of its inhabitants, but the pain still flowed through there veins, knit into the fabric of their beings.   This town would always bear the curse of its past.  The bitter would always be mixed with whatever sweet was to be found among the big houses that still stood at the center of this old plantation town where the bare feet of an enslaved race toiled and suffered and blistered and bled.

If you looked deep enough into any open eyes, you could still see it.  If you walked to the east of the old park, you could  still see the deep division of color.   You can still meet folks who remember what this part of town used to be called and was still called behind the closed doors of the big houses.    I can still remember the warnings of the old schoolteacher who’s grandson I used to play with, “Don’t you boys be riding your bikes over there in N—-r Town.  There ain’t nothin’ over there for you.”  The same teacher who stood with us, white children and black children, and led us in the Pledge of the Allegiance and the 23rd Psalm.   The same teacher who used to paddle our little first grade bottoms for speaking out of turn, who’s mother and grandmother did the same, and who’s grandfather used to hold a whip, was teaching us to say

The Lord is my Shepherd;
I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

And I can still say it, and so can all of the children she taught, no matter which side of the park they lived,  even while her body rests in the family cemetery along with the forgotten memories of this old town that will always be the same no matter how it may change.


Shuffling Now


“Say hi to Lorraine for me,” said Julie, a friend from  church.

Frank turned back slowly with a sly smile and put on his fedora.  Mishearing the young lady, he replied, “Oh she’s as mean as ever.”

“Who?  That sweet woman?”

“I knew you’d take her side! ” he replied, chuckling and waving goodbye.

Frank shuffled his way out of the bookstore and to his 1962 Plymouth Savoy, newspaper tucked under his arm, new book in hand.  He’d only just retired a month before after 52 years in medicine.  He saw the fancy gadgets that the other patrons at the bookstore cafe were playing with and wondered how long he would be able to buy an actual honest-to-goodness newspaper anymore.   Maybe I oughtta buy one of those thingies to just set out on the table so these kids will think I’m up-to-date? But he wouldn’t, and he knew it.  He was perfectly content with what he had.  He really just liked to tease himself from time to time.

Lorraine would be fixing him a sandwich by the time he got home; tuna on toasted whole wheat bread, light mayo.  He sometimes found himself daydreaming about white bread and real mayonaise, Not that light stuff that she’s been trying to kill me with.  Mayonnaise is made of fat!  I can’t even imagine what this stuff is made of! It was nearly always served to  him on a TV tray, cut in half, low-sodium pickle spear on the side, and a glass of iced tea,  Unsweetened, tastes like tree bark or something.  That woman wants me to die unhappy, I swear to God she does!

Lorraine?  I’m home!”  he called as he hung his hat on the hat tree by the front door.

“In the kitchen, darling!” she called back.

He walked to the kitchen door and peaked in.  Wearing a 30-year-old apron, her back to him, humming to herself, she was smearing tuna salad on his toast.  And for a moment, he saw his wife.  He saw the woman he married 58 years ago.  He saw the way her hips swayed as she stepped from one foot to the other, almost dancing to the tune she hummed.  It just all happened so fast, he thought.  How did we get here so fast?

Like an old cat, he tip-toed up behind her, hoping to catch her by surprise,  but she caught him.

“Frank,  quit that foolishness and go sit down so I can bring you your lunch!”

“You call that lunch?  I know what you’re trying to feed me!  In the Navy, we used to call that S.O.S.;  shit on a shingle!”

Feigning irritation, she slammed his sandwich down on the plate and handed it to him to carry back to the den himself, but as he turned to shuffle out of the kitchen, she smiled and shook her head remembering the way he used to walk before he shuffled.


#fridayflash Accidental Whore


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Accidental Whore" - David Wilson-Burns © 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

pop!

“Hey, baby, how much for 1 hr massage?”

pop!

“Free tomorrow night?”

pop!

“Ok, so I saw your ad.  How does this work?  Do I meet me somewhere?  Do you come to my apartment?  I’ve never done this before.”

“Oh, I meant you.  Do I meet you.”

pop!

“$500 for an hour?”

pop!

“Lonely tonight, can I see you?”

pop! pop! pop! pop! pop!

In a panic, Tammy Love pulled the plug on her computer straight out of the socket.  She’d received at least twenty instant messages in a period of two or three minutes while sitting in her quiet gray cubicle at her quiet gray job at a home and life insurance company that nobody had heard of.

Whoever these men were, they all had two things in common:  they all wanted sex and they all seemed to think that she would provide it as a service.  She was flush with panic and embarrassment sitting in her cube with her hand on her chest trying to catch her breath, and trying to regain her composure.  Clearly, she thought, there’s been some sort of mistake. My email must be similar to someone else’s!  Some WHORE!!!

That night, she laid in bed trying to sleep, but couldn’t get all of the filthy requests out of her head.  And for so much money!  These guys must be really be lonely and depraved! And what was more disturbing to her, was how it was making her feel.  Wasn’t she as lonely as they were?  And didn’t she need the same things they were needing.  She hadn’t been with a man for nearly two years.  And suddenly, she found herself a little bit….curious.

Maybe these weren’t all bad guys, she thought, maybe they were just a little lonely.  And then she remembered one of the messages, “I’ve never done this before.”  Maybe she was no different than he was.  Maybe he was alone in bed just like she was just wanting to be close to somebody?    There was something almost sweet to her about the nervous tone in the message, now that she thought about it.   She dragged her laptop onto the bed, wondering if she could find the message in her chat history.   She logged in, tammylove69, with a new kind of thrill inside, open to new  possibilities.


On the Threshing Floor


“Threshing Floor” – David Wilson-Burns © 2010

It had been a long day of winnowing barley.  I was well pleased with the harvest, well-fed, and had had my fill of wine from my vineyard.  I drifted to sleep with thoughts of the woman I’d met in the fields.   What a noble woman she was, and lovely.  She had done such a kindness, a hesed, for my kinswoman.  Rarely had I witnessed such faithfulness, and in a Moabite woman!  I couldn’t help to think that she would certainly make as faithful a wife.

Deep in the night, I was awoken.  During winnowing time, I sleep on the threshing room floor along with my servants.  But this was not one of my servants.   I was awoken by a sweet fragrance, something sweeter than the barley grain.  Sleeping at my feet was a woman wrapped in my cloak.  I sat up and touched her softly and whispered, “Who are you?”

My heart raced when the woman replied, “I am Ruth, your servant.”

Oh Ruth.  My dear, sweet woman.  She had come to me in my slumber to lay herself before my feet!

She continued on; her words as sweet as the honey I had supped on the evening before!

“Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.”

Yes, yes.  I was a redeemer, being very closely related to her mother-in-law, Naomi, but I was not the closest.  So I spoke words to honor her and let her know how I felt about her, and made also a proposition that was good and proper.

“May you be blessed by the Lord, my daughter. You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich.”  Her eyes met mine for just a moment, but being a modest woman she bowed them quickly.  “And now, my daughter,” I continued, “do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman.  And now it is true that I am a redeemer. Yet there is a redeemer nearer than I.   Remain tonight, and in the morning, if he will redeem you, good; let him do it. But if he is not willing to redeem you, then, as the Lord lives, I will redeem you. Lie down until the morning.”

And this sweet woman nodded her consent and lay back down at my feet.  And I, taken with love and compassion for her, could hardly sleep,  for she had redeemed our dear Naomi.  She, a Moabite, chose to live here in Bethlehem to care for an Israelite out of no legal obligation.  She must truly be a good woman, a woman of God.   And I prayed to the Lord until morning that my cousin, the closest possible redeemer, would pass her to me, if it be the Lord’s will.

Oh my sweet Ruth!  Let it be that I would redeem you and your husband’s line.  It is certain to be a noble one!


Chilled by the Fire


500 Club

 

"Camp Fire" - David Wilson-Burns © 2010

The campfire warmed our faces, but didn’t touch the icy chill inside. Whatever had been stalking us would be back before the night was through.  It or she had tasted human blood and would not be quenched until she’d had the rest.

My right arm throbbed with pain from the bite.  If Shannon hadn’t arrived when she did, I would be dead.  I felt certain of this.   One of the many questions I was turning over in my mind as I stared  blankly and numbly into the fire was why had the creature been so frightened of Shannon?

We’d only been hiking for a couple of days, but we were already deep enough into the refuge and far enough off the official marked trail that no one would see or hear us.  Shannon confided that it was part of a fantasy of hers to be deep in the woods with a man, and I wanted to be that man.  While Shannon was taking a break to adjust her gear, I was exploring a sound that I’d been hearing intermittently for most of the day’s journey.

She was beautiful, as beautiful as Shannon.  When she first revealed herself to me, the sight of her froze me in my tracks.  I felt a chill deep inside, as if I was in the very presence of death.  Her fangs were poised to bite as she crept toward me staring me down with her fiery, eyes.  But still, I could not move, or would not move.  I didn’t want to move at all.   I wanted the stench of death on my neck.  I wanted the blood drained from my body.  When I was free to move again, I reached my hand out to her and groaned as she sunk her fangs into my wrist.

Suddenly, the spell was broken and the creature fled.  I turned around to find Shannon walking toward me.

“There you are, Mike!”

She seemed entirely nonplussed.

“Didn’t you see her?!!!!”

“See who?”

“That….THING!

“Oh my God, Mike.  What happened?!  Your wrist?!”  She quickly tied her handkerchief tightly around my wrist to stop the flow of blood.  I was still stunned and chilled.

“Mike?”

Shannon’s voice broke the spell of my thoughts by the fire.

“We need to talk,” she began.

“Ok, what’s going on?” I asked.

She had a cool about her that made me feel uneasy, but her eyes told me not to be afraid.

“I lied to you earlier.  That thing, as you so aptly put it, was my sister.”

“What?”

“She’s ALWAYS been so JEALOUS, that little BITCH!  Anytime I find a nice, warm-blooded mortal she tries to POACH him from me!  But she knows better.  She knows better than to mess with big sis!”

“Shannon!  I don’t understand what’s happening?!  Please help me understand what you’re saying”  I pleaded.

“How ’bout I show you!”

I wanted her to do it.  It was my destiny to join her.  Something deep down inside me knew that I would be hers…forever.


Corndog Angel


inspired by a true event.  thanks, Doug for your creative, compassionate heart!

“Corndog Angel” – David Wilson-Burns © 2010

This wasn’t the most extravagant corporate party I’d attended, but it was no small event either.  We were entertained and amused by a live, tiki-carving, alternative surfer band.  We were perplexed and somewhat titillated by a gaggle of  seventies-inspired rollerskating girls.  Beer and wine were flowing freely.  And food…the food was everywhere; more food than we could possibly consume that night.

There were tables and tables of chinese food, chili dogs, mexican food, fresh fruit, and my personal favorite, corndogs; hundreds , possibly thousands, of piping hot corndogs stacked up in massive heated metal pans.  It was a little nippy that night, so the corndogs also had a very pleasant warming effect.  We drank beer and filled our guts until we were loud, laughing, and stuffed.

The party, however, was not exactly taking off the way we were.  It’s difficult to throw thousands of software developers and database administrators together with weird surf rock and beautiful skating girls and prevent them from spending the entire time carefully documenting everything with their iPhones.  No one danced and many were too shy (and too busy documenting) to even speak to each other.  So, we decided to make our exit.

That’s when my buddy Doug was struck by a bolt of inspiration.  He picked up a couple of paper baskets and boldly shoveled a pile of corndogs into them.

“Hey guys!  Let’s give out corndogs on the street!”

Yes!  Why should we let all of this good food go to waste when the streets of San Francisco are full of hungry people?  I decided to follow suit.  I admit that I felt a little anxious about it.  What if someone questioned me?  Is it rude to take so much food and then just leave?   I cautiously eyed the corndog tray and the two servers who were working the buffet.  Would they stop me?  Even after half a dozen beers, I hadn’t lost my rule-follower mentality.

But it was time to leave and I wanted this to happen.  I  grabbed two paper baskets, just as Doug had done, and scooped up about ten huge corndogs and walked away.  When we got to the street, I began looking for people who might be hungry.  We were loud and bold as we made our way to our favorite little pub on Powell.   It wasn’t long before we came upon a man sitting on the sidewalk leaning up against a building.  He held out a cup,  his head hung, and his spirit low.  I was first up.  I squatted down and held out the basket.  I spoke softly and cheerfully, “Hey.  Wanna corndog?”  He looked up at me and laughed with a street-roughened voice.  “Thanks!”  he replied and grabbed one from the top.

We moved on up the street with our little gang, handing out corndogs as we walked.  I wondered how someone who might not be homeless might react if I offered one.  I mean, a corndog’s a corndog, no matter who you are and what your circumstances may be.  A guy on a skateboard stopped beside me at the cross walk.  I uncovered my pile of corny gold and held it out to him, “Dude!  Wanna corndog?”

“No way!  Are you serious?  For free?”

“Hell yeah! Take one!  They’re still warm!”

“Right on!  That’s awesome!”

He grabbed one and skated off with the changing light.

As we turned onto Powell, I only had one dog left.  The five of us were nearing the zenith of our evening revelry, which we would most certainly reach after a few hot irish coffees at the pub.  I nearly tripped over a man sitting on the street corner.  He was very nearly invisible.  He wasn’t speaking, playing drums, holding a cup or a sign.  He had a blanket around him.  He was holding himself, trying to keep warm in the chilly night.  It would only get colder.  I squatted down as I had done before.  I uncovered the last corndog.

It had been fun and games up till this point.  Weren’t we clever, and oh so compassionate, handing out corndogs that would get a hungry man through only a few hours on the cold, hard street.   Yes, we felt great.  And it truly did lift our eyes to some of the harsher realities of this city that we were being given only the best of.  But this was real now.  This was a real man, with a real problem, on a real street.  We would soon be in a warm, friendly place and would make new friends and have a few laughs, then we would crash in warm, comfortable, luxury hotel room beds for the night.  But he wouldn’t, he would be sitting right here where he was right now, alone, cold, and hungry.

I picked up the corn dog by its stick and spoke to him through the haze of beer and joviality, “Hey, brother.  Have a corndog.”

Something happened in that moment.  Maybe it was just a trick of the street lights, maybe it was the beer.  But I wasn’t the only one who saw it.  The man lifted his head slowly until his eyes met mine, nothing but a corndog between us.  His face melted into a smile.  His eyes glistened.  There was something happening in that moment that cannot be described.  There was a light or an energy…a glow.  It wasn’t coming from me.  It emanated between us, in our brief contact.  I don’t remember if he spoke, but his eyes expressed his gratitude as he accepted my humble gift, a warm corndog.

“Dude!  You were like the corndog angel or something.  That was weird!  Did you see that?!” exclaimed one of my buddies with a tinge of awe in his slurred state.

No, I thought, I’m not the angel here.  I thought of a story that I’d heard recently in church.  A guest preacher, Shane Claiborne,  spoke of a woman who lived on the street who said,

“I used to shine!!

I used to SHINE!!!!

but it’s a COLD

dark

world.”

For just a moment, on a cold, dark, night on the streets of San Francisco, I wondered if I had seen an angel, who’s light was all but extinguished by our cold, dark, world.