Prophets by Bob Wickizer

Prophets
Bob Wickizer
Deuteronomy 18:15-20; Psalm 111; 1 Corinthians 8:1-13; Mark 1:21-28

One time years ago when I was constantly traveling on business I was traveling home to San Jose California on a Friday night. In the 1980s before the days of “business casual” dress, most of the business travelers were still wearing suits. I took my seat near the aisle and got out my reading material.

I’m not sure if I heard him or smelled him first but something made me look up to see a man coming down the aisle with his eye on the empty seat next to mine. I got up and he shuffled into his seat almost as if he had come directly from a six month desert camping trip directly onto the airplane. His clothes were dirty, tattered and torn. His hair and beard were greasy and scruffy. He had obviously not bathed for a long time. I wondered if the man was mentally ill or homeless. I wondered why God sent this person to sit next to me.

Within seconds he fell asleep which relieved me of the possibility of small talk. Later on he read some magazines and dinner was served. Over dinner I learned that he indeed lived in the desert alone with only his cactus collection. He was a vegetarian and he read radical political books and magazines in several languages. With dinner he consumed two airline bottles of red wine and promptly went back to sleep.

When we landed in California everyone was eager to get off the plane and go home. There was the usual banter and noise you hear of overhead bins opening and stuff being removed. My mystery seat mate woke up and as he rose moving to the aisle he began to speak in a loud raspy voice causing everyone on that aircraft to be quiet and listen. “You’re all a bunch of prostitutes” he said. His eyes blazed as he glanced around at all the people wearing suits including me. “You will reap what you sow someday.” He paused between each delivery. “You think your nice jobs will protect you.”

You could hear a pin drop between ...


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