Dirty hands holding cross photo by Bigstock.
Strolling down Davie Street, I came across a sorry-looking individual sitting on the sidewalk, a toque full of holes sitting in front of him, sorting a few coins. His hair was dirty, greasy, long and scraggly and in his bushy white beard there were traces of food or maybe vomit. His filthy t-shirt said, “Love thy Neighbour as Thyself.” On the ground beside him was a cardboard sign with the words, “Turn the Other Cheek” printed on it in squiggly letters. I noticed that the bottom of one of his shoes was hanging out like a dog’s panting tongue.
As I leaned over to put a couple of quarters into his hat I could smell piss, puke, and alcohol.
“What is your name?” I asked him.
“Jesus Christ,” he replied, with a slight slur.
“Nice to meet you, Jesus,” I said. “You seem a bit down on your luck today.”
“My father has forsaken me these days, my friend,” he said. “It seems he doesn’t like my being drunk so much lately. I think I’d best cut down or quit drinking for my own good.”
”You know, Jesus, I’m on my way to an AA meeting. Have you heard of AA?”
“Yes, I have,” he stuttered.
“Hey,” I said. “How about you come with me and help some people how to hook up with your father. Many of our members have trouble getting in touch with a higher power. You could help us and maybe we could help you.”
Jesus looked at me as if to ask me a question or something. Then he turned his head and spit on the ground. Suddenly, he got to his feet, a little unsteadily, put his arm in mine and said, “I’d like that, friend. Lead the way.”
Johnny participates in Megaphone's creative writing workshop at the Gathering Place.