The Only Three Hobos in Boulder

“Who are you?”

“I am just a man.”

The long-trunked, dark-skinned man who the gruff guy with anger in his eyes called Cisco pleaded for more of an explanation with childlike inquisitiveness in his glistening eyes. You know how when a kid’ll ask you something you know you shouldn’t tell them the real answer to, like to preserve their innocence or for some or other noble reason? That’s how he looked at me. Like he couldn’t buy the answer I gave him when he asked who I was and instead just looked down to the tattered book he carried with him as if he had just made some kind of spiritual discovery. I have to say I was kind of enjoying this whole messianic treatment, if that’s what it was. But then he asked me to read out of that second or third-hand Bible on account of his not knowing how to. He pointed to these verses and you could tell he knew what they sounded like but he needed an intermediary to jolt them into existence, into his ears. Into his soul. We sat there on the curb of this gas station, man, some puddles of rainwater filmed over by that black-rainbow ripple surrounding us, and I read off the black and red words from a book in the New Testament, that tattered book. While I read my eyes pooled up and from behind his bloodshot eyes, I witnessed the affect on this man. Cisco wept. By now he thought he was first witness to the second coming. He thought a shaggy-haired, olive-skinned kid, lanky and lean, carrying an old knapsack and a hand-carved walking stick in Boulder, Colorado was Christ reincarnate.

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