Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York
"You know, that story you told me last night of that friend of yours who you thought was possessed reminds me of that movie, THE DEVIL'S ADVOCATE. You know, that one where Keanu Reeves starts seeing the demons in people's faces," a guy I work with said as we stood in the shadows of the darkened lobby of the hotel where we worked.
"Yeah, that guy was possessd. I have no doubt about it. He was speaking in a dead language, in tongues. They're all around us in this fuckin' place too. Look at em'. We're surrounded. I see em'. This place is a carnival of greed, lust, vanity. Jesus, it gives me the fuckin' creeps."
My buddy showed up the next day from Oklahoma. He appeared in the swarming sea of people in Penn Station.
"Shit it's hot down here," he said as we descended into steaming subway. A train ground to a halt in front of us. The doors opened and we piled in. "This place is the devil's town man," I said as we sat down in the somber lifeless train, "Look at everyone. They look they're on fuckin' train to hell." He looked at them, then at me as though trying to decide if I'd gone crazy.
"You're losing it buddy," he said as we ate lunch at a cafe around the corner from my apartment in Williamsburg, sweat beading on our skin. "Yeah, maybe. Or maybe I'm seein' the truth." "Maybe, buddy. Then I guess if there's a devil, then there's a God too. You think God's talkin' to ya?" "Exactly. I'm seein' the signs, man. But it only happens when I'm sober, if I'm payin' attention, seeking. See, when I first got up here I was drinkin'. I was occluded." "Did you just say occluded?" "Yeah. And now that I'm sober I feel like I'm seeing things for what they are again." "Yeah, you're losin' it." "No. I'm seein' the fuckin' truth, man." "Okay. So then, you're sayin' this city is hell." "Maybe. A type of hell, I guess. And that's why I can't drink anymore. Because it keeps me occluded, lost in the darkness, headed for hell man! Fuck that place. I had a glimpse of it the other day when I was in the dry sauna at the gym. It just flashed through my mind that that was what hell was like, eternally burning hot. Thirst without water. Jesus, I got outta there quick. It shook me up." "Alright then," he said laughing, "Maybe you needa get outta here then." "Yeah, I've thought about it. Marfa, Texas. If it presents itself. For now this is where I'm supposed to be for some reason." "Marfa is God's country huh?" "Maybe?"
I put my sunglasses on as we exited the cafe into the sun. The top of an ad painted on the side of a six story building ahead read, 'Hell is waiting.' The rest of the ad was obscured by another building. "You see," I said pointing up the sign? "That's the kind of shit I'm talking about!" We stopped on the corner. People passed oblivious to us. He looked up at the ad and laughed. "Don't you think that's a little strange," I asked? "Yeah, sort of." "To me, that means Hell is waiting if I keep drinking and stay in the darkness." "That's up for interpretation." "Sure, but the point is that's how I feel that sign just spoke tome to let me know that what I was just talking about with you was real. Faith's a personal thing, man." "Alright. I'll give ya that. So you're not drinkin'." The sun beat down on us. "You've heard that saying, that the true believer's will see the signs," I asked? "Yeah." "Well I believe, and I'm seein' the signs." "It's an ad!" He said laughing. "Yeah, but it's also a sign!" He laughed again. "You know I think that's how God communicates. I mean, if He just appeared when you asked for a sign, it'd be too easy to believe. There'd be no faith involved." "Okay. Makes sense." "So, I think that's how He reveals Himself to believers if they're consciously seeking, is through the signs that are all around us. Most of the time signs are simply background noise and nothing more. But if you're seeking, asking to be shown the way, then you look up and a sign is speaking to whatever you're struggling with, then I think that's God revealing Himself. I mean, what better way! We're inundated with the fucking things. You see?" "I guess. I think this city might've cracked you though too."
The next day I took him to see the hotel where I work. "That place is creepy," he said afterward on the stained sidewalk in the balmy heat walking toward the subway, "It reminds me of that movie THE DEVILS ADVOCATE."
That's like the coolest fuckin' thing I've ever read in my life