Difference between revisions from 2009/09/02 11:37 and 2009/08/08 00:08.
It's a funny thing--I consider myself a man like any other, perhaps a little smarter and uglier than your usual Tommy or Dickie or Hal, but all around an ordinary bloke. Yet I've missed many things that every man is supposed to do.  I've never been married, never been in the army. And I've never owned a house, nor even a scrap of land. I've been in boys' homes and workers' camps and communes and prisons, and it's been a rare night I've had nothing over my head but the stars.  But in a certain view, all my life, I've been a man of the streets.  I tell you all this so you'll see I know what I'm talking about, because everyone knows the streets breed Messiahs like the woods breed mushrooms. And I seem to attract them like flies to a turd.

Scholars can't agree about what makes a Messiah.  Do they have to make true predictions or show magical powers?  Do they have to preach a religion, or just harangue any old point of view?  How many followers do they need before they're Messiahs instead of odd folks on streetcorners waving their arms?  I don't know where to draw a right and proper line.  But I know a Messiah when I meet one.  And I've met plenty.

I met my first Messiah when I was a lad living on the streets.  I knew him as Tinned Soup Jimmy.  He didn't say he was a god, didn't preach loving kindness or smiting unbelievers.  He just loved soup.  Cold nights, if you could find his alley, he'd have a pot cooking over a fire in a garbage can, and it never ran empty, no matter how many times you went through the line.  A few times when greedy cops came through on raids, looking to bust skulls or snatch bribes, Jimmy drove them off with nothing but a catapult made from a dog-cart and an endless pile of soup cans. After a few concussions from Chicken Noodle or Split Pea, the cops learned to leave his turf alone.  Jimmy was a man who kept to himself, so we were all stunned when he signed up for the army at the start of the [Second Subterranean War].  And that's where he goes into history.  You probably know him better as James Montgomery, the cook who somehow managed to keep a stranded battalion fed for three months during the first offensive.  Even now, every few years you'll hear tell of someone who visited his grave and had their illness cured.  

Most Messiahs aren't nearly that famous.  Has anyone here heard of Shining Buddha, Conan the Ronin, Aldous Christ, Reverend Pennywhistle?  Well, I met them all, some when they were first starting out, some when they had hundreds of followers in tow.  But they came and went without much fuss.

I did meet one other truly influential Messiah, though I never learned his name and you wouldn't recognize it anyway. He was the last gasp of [The Hummingbird Project], which was resorting to contracting most of its work out to civilians like me. Weak as it was, it still had goals, and I saw and did some truly awful things  for their dime.  This man and I were holed up on a horrid little stakeout, and after five days I said we should call it quits, but he swore that our man would show up.  He said he could tell the future.  When I scoffed, he began to make predictions.  He told me that one day there would be a band called [The Quarrymasters], and that their singer would disappear.  But someday this singer would show up again, and this would be the first of many signs.  He put his hand to my forehead and gave me visions of these signs, which gave me nightmares for years.  When I tried to run, he broke both my ankles with a glance.  I swear this to be true.

It's been a few years since I met a Messiah.  I can't say I mind too much.  But I can't seem to escape them for good.  I just hope the next one is the harmless sort.  

See: [The Hummingbird Project], [The Quarrymasters], [Second Subterranean War]
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