Fiery the Angels rose, and as they rose deep thunder roll'd
Around their shores: indignant burning with the fires of Orc
- William Blake, America A prophecy.

Confessions of an Ex-Soldier, Ex-Cop and Ex-Con

Irish Stew

Friday, August 15, 2019

I don’t know why, but the street preacher yesterday really got to me.

I dreamed about the End Times last night. Weird bloody, smoke filled nightmares, with me running down the cell blocks or back in the Desert with the preacher. In the dream the world was like those scenes of hell in the movie Constantine and the preacher looked a lot like Keanu Reeves, weird because I haven’t seen that movie in years. And there were camel spiders, I dreamed that the preacher kept saying the spiders were a Sign, and when I looked down one the size of a dog was crawling up my leg (when I was in the desert, we used to wake up with those dammed things under our sleeping bags. Bodies the size of a peach, I’ve seen them as large a pie plate, I swear. God, I hate those things). I woke up shaking, thinking I was back in my old cell. And when I flipped on the light, there was a rat sitting on the end of the bed which is probably why I was dreaming about shit crawling on me.

I really have to find a new place to stay.

I got up and looked out the window, hoping to catch a glimpse of the comet (comet-like object). It’s supposed to be visible to the East from here, but the sky was a bright, hazy uniform grey; city light reflecting off the smoke from wildfires up near Temecula, the whole city has smelled like it for a week, fire season is coming earlier and earlier every year. I know that the White House says Global Warming is crock, but you couldn’t prove it by me. I did see that John had the lights on in the café though, so I skipped the shower, got dressed and headed across the street.

He didn’t seem surprised to see me knocking on the window at 0400. He let me in and then handed me a key to the front door. “If you’re going to come in this early, you might as well have your own key,” he said. Trust. Nobody has trusted me in a long, long time. I can’t even begin to tell you how good that felt.

I got a couple of cold biscuits and cup of hot coffee (John always has good, hot coffee. Always. Day or night) and sat down with the AfricaBox. I looked up The Revelation to John, from KJB Wiki and read while eating, stopping to crank every couple of minutes.

John looked over my shoulder, “Ah for shit’s sake, Van, you’re not buying into that crap, are you?”

“I don’t know. As a Christian (yeah, a piss poor one said a voice in my head) you’ve got to admit, there’s some parallels to what’s going in the world right now,” I said.

I figured John for a skeptic right from the first, but I could tell then that it went deeper than that. He’s an atheist, for sure.

“Oh come on, Van. The bible is so dammed vague that you could interpret any time in history as the ‘End Times’ of Revelations. You might as well be reading Nostradamus.”

I should say here that if it seems that John and I were talking like we were old friends, it’s because in a way we were. The military does that to you. There’s a bond between veterans, and especially between combat veterans, even if they don’t actually know each other. We have shared experiences, shared background. And even though, for both of us, our time in the service was years ago now – it was still there. If you don’t understand what I’m saying, I can’t explain it to you any better than that. I expected John to speak bluntly to me, that’s the way of it. And after the Army, the squad room, and ten years in General Population, I’ve got a pretty thick skin. So I wasn’t even remotely offended.

“Van,” he said, “It’s just a dammed comet. A weird one, sure, but I guarantee you that in a week the guys up at Palomar, or Wilson, or out in Hawaii will have it figured out. And nobody will give a shit anymore. They’ll go back to hating the President and protesting the war. Now finish your coffee and start peeling potatoes. I’ve got a guy bringing over a bag of barley this morning. I’ll teach you how to make Irish stew.”

And that’s John for you, right there. A good stew takes precedence over the end of the world.

Posted by VanDerDecken at 6:31 AM

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