Waiting For Jesus

Jeremy opened his eyes from a long ragged sleep after a night on the sauce. Another two-bit room somewhere on skid row. He couldn’t remember how he had got there but that wasn’t unusual.

He sat up and his head started pounding so he lay back down. Why was he still alive? The same question that came to him every morning. There was no answer; there was only the living hell he had inhabited for the last three months.

He forced himself to stand and stumbled to the bathroom to throw some water on his face. He felt his stomach roll and heaved the remains OF the night before into the sink. When he was done he washed out his mouth and looked at his reflection in the dirty mirror. Charming

He tidied himself up as best he could and headed down the stairs and out into the harsh light of day. Threading his way through the debris, human and otherwise he made his way to an intersection to try to figure out where he was. He passed a few bars that looked familiar.

He was in the bowels of East Los Angeles. Man oh man, how had he gotten here and how was it that he was still alive? He shuffled along the avenue and headed west. It would take him a long while to reach the beach but he needed to breathe salt air. As he walked he reflected.

It had begun with a gambling debt. It had started with Friday night games with some co-workers and from there he had been introduced to higher stakes games where guys named Doc and Fast Eddy were at the table.

They were only too happy to stake him when his luck was running dry and he had run up a considerable debt. His wife hadn’t been too happy about that, but then again she wasn’t too happy with a lot of things. That was probably why she left him.

He became depressed and had begun drinking too much. Or was that before she left? He couldn’t remember. He missed work a little too often. From there things got worse.

By the time he reached the beach the sun was going down it was all he could do to collapse on a bench and watch the waves roll in.

A strong breeze came up and debris began swirling around him. Hamburger wrappers, cigarette butts, and bits of paper. A business card landed in his lap and he picked it up and looked at it. It read: Broken down? Need help right away? Jesus can help. Call 555-1234.

He thought it over. He’d never been religious but right now he could use any help he could get. It was probably some prayer group but maybe they could point him in the direction of help. He got up and fished some coins out of his pocket and walked over to a phone booth and dialled. On the third ring he got a recorded message. A deep voice invited him to leave his exact location and promised quick help. Perhaps his luck could change. A sign from above wasn’t what he had expected but any port in a storm. He felt a tap on his shoulder. He looked up to see a scruffy Mexican grinning at him.

“Ola, amigo, you ring me? Where’s your car?”

“Um…what? What car? Who are you?”

“I am Jesus, amigo, that’s my tow truck. Where’s your car? You called me because you’re broke down, no?”

Jeremy looked out at the waves. They were looking so inviting.


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