Come Follow Me!

"Come follow me!" he yelled.

The sky was actually blue and clear of clouds that morning -- this takes place in the California Northwest, very near the sea -- allowing the June sun to bathe completely the little copse across the street from my living room. I was sitting at my desk munching graham crackers as I flipped through pages on the Amazon site looking for a cheap trash can.

"Come follow me!" I heard again and looked out of my balcony door window in the direction of the noise. And there on the street below me was this little guy, about five and a half feet tall, swarthy, with a black beard and mustache growing wildly in all directions. On his head was a black cowboy hat with "Make Mine a Bud Lite!" printed in red, white, and blue, on the front of it.

"Yeah, you. Do I have to say it again? What are you waiting for? Get down here!"

And then, after a second's pause, came, "Please."

My hearing is not the best but he was yelling so I was able to hear him very well. His tone was downright bossy and even a bit impatient. But his face indicated a worthy urgency. And he did say, "Please."

I slid open the balcony door to study him a bit more.

"Yeah, I'm him. Now get moving! Please." Getting a better look at his face and hearing him better, it was plain that his words and manner held neither bossiness nor impatience but simply urgency and, above all, love.

What else could I do but throw on a pair of slacks and tennies and head for the door of my apartment? As I locked the door behind me I had the feeling that I'd never see it again.

As I came out the door of the building, I saw his face. He was standing right in front of me with his hand out. He said, "Welcome to your new home, Tom!"

It was indeed him. I began to blubber as I took his hand.

"C'mon now, not to worry. We're a bit late."

"You mean this is it? I'm cashing in?"

"Of course not. We're headed for the thicket. There are people there who need you."

"The thicket! That place is dangerous!"

"Yes, but it won't be for us."

By now we were on Myrtle and headed for the bridge to the peninsula.

"Oh, you mean for the woods!" I exclaimed. "That's even more ... "

"Dangerous, yes. But it won't be..."

"...for us," I continued for him.

"Exactly!" he answered.

And then we were at the bridge and next, in what seemed about five minutes, at the edge of that infamous pine woods on Samoa Peninsula where the cops regularly find dead bodies which they cannot identify. Here we stopped.

"Now listen up," he began as he took my hand again. "These people are your brothers and you are here to serve them. To do that, you've got to talk to them and get them talking about what they want. Claro?"

"You'll be with me?"

"Yes, but they won't see or hear me, only you will."

"My Lord! My dearest God!" I stammered and fell to my knees.

"Thanks, but let's get moving," he said as he pulled me up.

We were about ten yards into the woods when I saw someone, not very old, sitting on the sandy ground with his back against a tree.

"Hi, what's your name? My name's Tom," I blurted out as I approached him.

"Jimmie," he said in answer to my question. He looked like he hadn't eaten for a week.

"You live here?"

"Yep," Jimmie answered.

"Do you want to live here?"


"Are you hungry?"


"Who else is here?"

"Lots. And they're hungry too."

("Tell him to start a fire," my companion prompted.)

"OK. Well, let's start a fire."

"The cops'll see the smoke."

("Tell him, 'It will be OK. The wood won't smoke.'")

"It's OK. The wood won't smoke."

("You're doing good," he said and took my hand and squeezed it hard.)

"You're nuts!" Jimmie said.

"Start a little one then. You'll see," I answered.

He deliberately picked up damp wood to make the fire. It lit immediately.

Sure enough, it didn't smoke.

"Man, who the fuck are you?"

"I am with your Brother."

There was fear in his eyes as he said, "And who would that be?"

At this point, a woman came out of the woods with a pot, a big stainless pot.

("Point to the thicket to your left and tell Jimmie to take the nuts from the pines, about a dozen of them. And answer his question.")

"The One Who sent me," I answered Jimmie and told him about the nuts as I pointed to my left. With only mild astonishment on his face, Jimmie did as I asked.

("Very good. Now, over to your right, see the group coming out of that little thicket? Tell them to go towards the beach until they see a large log with bees near it. Tell them the bees won't hurt them while they gather the honey.")

This one I had my doubts about, just like Jimmie and I had had about building that first fire. But I told them about the log and without hesitating they turned toward the beach and came back with a sack stuffed with honey comb.

I've forgotten how they got the water. I do remember tho' Jimmie and the woman with the pot and someone else cooking the stew. From somewhere someone got a shopping bag full of fresh bread.

In all about forty people came to the feast.

When it got dark, we all went down to the beach and sang until we began to grow hoarse and sleepy.

I woke up the next morning on the beach. It was a dog licking my face which did it. As I came to, I began to wonder if I had had a dream.

"No, it was real." I looked in the direction of the voice and saw him smiling at me. As he came towards me he said, "We're going someplace else today, but first let's find some breakfast." What happened next I'll tell about soon, God willing and the tsunamis don't get me.