Monday, June 16, 2008

Who Is the One?

"Have you ever heard the story of the One?" he asked me, leaning over his chair.

In a fit of frustration, I'd been staying lately in cheap hotels to live the "good life". But I came to realize it was an illusory waste, not really giving me what I want. So back to the shelter I went to make a more prudent use of my dollars. I don't blame myself for the hotel thing because I had to get it out of my system. Had I not done it the idea would still be eating on me to try it. In the end I found my true home in my lowlife existence.

Which sort of left me with a more open outlook, more accepting of things.

So here I am back in the shelter and I feel these eyes on me. Like I mentioned before, I've been watching "Nash Bridges" who has this character named Angel with some sort of psychic connection to the universe and seems to know things about people before even meeting them. And it was Angel's eyes I'd been feeling on me for the past half hour. Actually, I just thought there was something different about this guy so I filled in the empty space with a TV character for fun.

But that feeling shot through the roof when he spoke to me.

"One what?" I asked defensively. "Last time I heard there was one born every minute." I was trying to clue him in that whatever bullshit he had to sell, I wasn't buying. And believe you me, if you want bullshit stories, come to a homeless shelter. You got guys here in permanent con man mode with fantastically real sounding stories to rip your heart out. But most of the time it's a Rashamon story absolving themselves of any complicity.

So I really didn't want to hear this guy's stupid ass story about "the One" - except for the fact I did.

"The One," repeated 'Angel', sounding as if I should understand. "There's One out there that determines the fate of the world. He doesn't know it - he has no way of even possibly conceiving of it - yet his fate is our fate."

Angel's words did nothing but stomp on my ever-so-fragile nerves. "That's just stupid! Everyone determines their own fucking fate."

"And you have determined this should be your fate?" he frowned, gesturing to my hopeless surroundings.

"Yeah, well...I hate this fucking world."

"The One is unknown to us - cannot ever be known - and yet how we treat him decides if the world lives or dies. God made him completely dependent on his fellow man. He has a direct connection with our Maker. The One is God's weathervane of our souls."

I stared at him unrealizing I was staring, waiting for him to continue. I felt a sadness for this One, knowing what he must be going through. I pictured him wandering destitute, hand out, asking for help - and receiving none. Of all the jobs to be assigned on this godforsaken world, that would be the last one I'd want.

Angel continued: "The world will never see any obvious value in the One outside of what it ascribes to the preciousness of any soul. It takes a blind faith to keep him alive, to blindly take care of everyone regardless. If we fail to value every life, then he slips through the cracks and our fate is sealed."

"Well, no society is going to take care of everyone."

"I would call that a tragic decision. Who do they decide should not be taken care of?"

Well, I certainly knew the answer to that! Angel's story was building me up, making me feel important. I've had flashes of those feelings before when volunteers handed food out with cheer and no thought of judgment of who we were. It always made me think, "Hey...maybe I do count.' But I never dared to believe it. And I was always deeply ashamed my life was so extremely vicarious.

"Well, dude," I admitted, "I gotta say I like your story. It's total bullshit, but I like it. What's funny is if everyone believed it, the whole fucking world would change! We'd all be thinking we have to take care of everyone in order to survive. God, that'd be funny! It'd be like a total reversal of the way things are now."

"The truth will set us free."

"I've probably said that a million times. But heck, man, if you can't prove your story somehow, no one's gonna believe it. Talk about an inconvenient truth!"

"I can think of nothing more inconvenient than death. I do not seek to prove my story true because I already know it to be so. In time, it will be proven so and if our fate is foul we'll cry out, "If we'd only known!" But if you ask me, we already know."

That's when I stared at him a second time, this time wondering just who the fuck this guy is. Had he been reading me, seeing some weakness? More was going on here than I could see but I just couldn't quite put my finger on it. I hate things I can't get to the bottom of so I asked Angel dead on: "So why tell me this story?"

Then Angel's entire demeanor changed, relaxing, pulling away from me and locking his hands behind his head in an air of satisfaction. That made me want to slap him! Did this fucker put something over on me? Dammit, I have to know! Instead, all I see is this Cheshire grin staring back at me with the simple reply of, "Why not?"

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