I was standing on the end of the pier on a crisp morning, leaning against the half-petrified rail, watching gulls weave in and out of one another without ever getting anywhere– watching my breath roil into translucent clouds that caught the sun and held it for a moment, and then fizzled. In the background the gulls were rising and falling on the wind, their heads swiveling back and forth with the persistence of algorithms as they looked for possible sources of edible debris.
I was standing on the end of the pier, in a brooding mood, taking stock of everything I’d ever thought or known, getting about as far as those gulls, when the Messiah came up and leaned against the rail next to me. He was wearing a black watch cap, a Fear the Beard t-shirt, an unzipped black leather jacket, jeans, and a pair of weathered Vans.
He reached into his jacket pocket, pulled out a pack of Doublemint gum, and offered me a stick. I took one and then he took one, and then he put the pack back in his pocket.
Didn’t take you for a doublemint man, I said. Figured you for more of a Minty Mayhem kinda’ guy.
Then I unfolded the thin foil wrapper, pulled out the sheet of gum within and placed it into my mouth, folding it in half as I did so. He unwrapped his own stick of gum and then held it out for display for a moment, pinched between his thumb and fingertips, thinking.
He said one day I’d remember that creating a body to represent my interests in this plane was about as complex as going out and buying a pack of gum. When I remembered that, he said, things would fall into place pretty quick.
I tried to play it cool, but inside I felt like a hot air popper. Just like that? I said, snapping my fingers as casually as I could muster.
Just like that he replied, and he was gone.
I looked at the gulls and shook my head in bemusement, chewing my gum.
Then in my heart I heard his voice telling me it was my turn. And where exactly did I think he’d gone, anyway?
He told when I could answer that, things would fall into place pretty quick.