Day 10 – The Bum

The priest’s chameleon licked its swiveling eye. “So you’re saying that you’re the Son of God,” the priest chuckled as he loosened his collar. “And why should I believe you?”

“Why wouldn’t you? Don’t you believe professionally?” asked the shaggy, disheveled man standing in the rectory. It was long past the time others would be in need of the church’s services, so the priest was unlikely to be interrupted in his dialogue with this audacious and, frankly, blasphemous homeless man.

“For me to believe in something, it must have merit. What evidence supports your claim?”

The dirty man grinned, “Don’t I look like Him?” The priest hoped, observing the hirsute man yank at his ample beard, the movement inside wasn’t the fleas he knew it to be. “I got the beard and long hair and everything. Sandals!” He pointed.

The priest sighed. “Do you think your appearance so convincing, when it is identical to so many who lurk outside our doors?”

“Well, probably not, since there’s good evidence that a historical Jesus would actually have had short hair and possibly no beard.”

“Are you so knowledgeable on the Gospel? If so, what signs portended your arrival? Why should you have returned here, today?”

“‘Neither the day, nor the hour,’ isn’t it said?”

“It is also said that even Satan himself knows Holy Scripture.”

“Do you think I’m Satan?”

“I think you a charlatan, preying on the goodwill of good people, hoping to leech from them what you are not able to earn yourself.”

With a swiftness almost impossible to predict, the shaggy man darted forward, pressing the priest’s face with his hands. “Didn’t I tell you to treat every person you come in contact with as if he were me? Didn’t I? But here I see you have.” The priest hoped that his face blanching, if noticed, might be attributed to experiencing the man’s stench at such close proximity.

And then just as quickly, the priest found himself released. “Naw, I’m just messin’ with you. I really am just a bum. Spare a few coins for the road?”

“Get the hell out,” the priest growled, wiping his cheeks. The chameleon’s eye followed the itinerant’s departure.

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