I sat in with my windows down in the Mississippi heat, waiting for the food. The family, thankfully, was back at the hotel, bathing and waiting on me to return with dinner. I drummed my fingers on the steering wheel. Then I saw the prophet.
He ambled up the road into the Chili's parking lot, two bags slung over his shoulders. A worn army-surplus coat over filthy jeans. He saw me looking and started for the van.
"Shit," I muttered. A dilemma confronted me. Keep the window down and endure the inevitable sob story and begging, or roll it up and, well, be one of those people I try not to be. It stayed down and he walked up.
"Hey man! I was walkin down the street and was praying I'd find a hunred dollas!"
"Sorry. I can't help you," I quickly said, amazed at his audacity. A hundred dollars was a lot to ask from a guy in a van.
"Naw. It's not like that. I was prayin I'd find a hunred dollas cause I needed it to get back to my grammaw and I was just walkin up the skreet there and I saw you and"
"Man, I'm really sorry, but I can't help you." Where was that Chili's guy?
"Naw! God answer my prayers, man! I was walking and look what I found!" He pulled a bracelet from his dirty jeans and held it out to me in his palm. My first thought was how I was going to refuse him when he asked me to buy this crappy jewelry, but then I took a closer look. The thing looked like cheap brass, with some indiscernible scroll pattern around most of the top. There were some obviously fake pearls set into the scrollwork, with empty spaces where more of the gems had fallen out or been removed. I dismissed it, but my gaze stood fixed on the bauble. Then it began to glow...
He closed his palm, but I kept staring at where the bracelet hand been.
"I just wanted to witness, man. To let you know that God answers prayers. You know that He answers prayers, right?"
"uh, yeah, I stammered. "I know."
I looked up at his face as he backed way from the van. He smiled.
"Jesus" was tattooed on his forehead.
Tattooed Christian Prophet (4)
Homeless Wanderer (3)
Collector of trinkets and baubles (2)
Item: Magic Bracelet (3)