Down three flights of stairs to the NCS Light Rail. A car is pulling in. I grab a seat and then see him.
“Brudders and sisters,” the Preacher Man says, “I am here to tell you the news about heaven …”
He always waits until the car pulls out of the station before he begins.
“I used to smoke, cheat, steal … Jesus gave me a new …”
You figure it isn’t easy to preach the word to these bones, these bones that ride these rails. The ones who hear him won’t give him the time of day, so to speak. The heavenly choir riding that peace train home is tuning out the song.
“Jesus came into this world to seek and to save that which was lost …”
On my fractured CD player, Marty Robbins sings in my ear. Yes. El Paso. One of the songs I can’t hear is about the bad cowboy saved while rustling cattle. In the song lightning stampedes the herd and a strike splits a tree into the shape of a cross and the bad cowboy sees it and is saved from his evil ways.
Kind of reminds me of the Sgt. York movie when lightning shatters the rifle Alvin is carrying.
Norfolk Street and the Preacher Man’s still going. I've been running in to him for about four years. A lot of good it did me, eh?
The walking dead are trying to tune him out. In desperation to get his baritone droning out of their heads they read the ads posted overhead. It doesn’t matter that they are written in Spanish "Su Dinero Cuando Usted Lo Necesita" – make funny sentences by mixing up the meanings of the foreign words.
This must be the 20th time “from out of nowhere Felina has found me.”
You remember, of course, that I got the CD player to play – more or less – in one ear, depending on a jostle here and there.
BUT it’s only playing ONE SONG over and over & I can’t reach down to get it out of my pocket to re-set it.
Here goes the “handsome young stranger lay dead on the floor.”
My fingers have given up & I’m writing in a fist. You could wonder – but my hand is asleep when I need it most.
Preacher Man got off at Bloomfield Avenue. I hear a lot of buses pass that way.
Our car rattles on to Davenport Avenue and Branch Brook Station.
Two more modes of transportation, "then Felina good-bye."
Copyright © 2005 by Anthony Buccino, all rights reserved. Content may not be used for commercial purposes without written permission. Updated May 2008
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