Today I used the bus stop in front of the San Jose Arena, now called the 'Compaq Center' because Compaq can bribe the city of San Jose just as well as the owners of the Sharks did to get the arena built. I don't normally use this stop, but the cops wouldn't let me cross to the one I usually use.
Today, as during most events in spring and summer, the Jesus freaks are in front of the arena. They look and dress like fraternity jocks. They come in a pair, sometimes with a spotter, wielding large banners and exhorting people over bullhorns to trust in Jesus, because sinners will go to Hell and everybody's a sinner until they trust in Jesus, ergo everybody's going to Hell. Pretty hard for the ordinary sinner to follow unless someone's pronouncing it on a PA and wielding signs that say 'God Hates Sin.' Figure it out, people! The Jesus freaks know everybody present is going to Hell because the WWF is in town.
"See, this is what they do to you," says a man a few feet away from the Christians. He is well-dressed, but for the fact that his right sleeve has been torn open. He flaps the dangling fabric at the Christians in an accusing manner. Apparently he antagonized the ministers of Christ to the point where they attacked him and tore his clothes. The message is clear: trust in Jesus or we'll fuck you up. For the time being they would not be distracted: "Trust in Jesus!"
I walk through their midst. I am a freak in black clothes, with magenta prickvixen hair and impenetrable round-lensed sunglasses. I have three days' growth of beard and vestigial breasts. I am far beyond the ilk even of the wrestling fans who surround us. I wait for the Christians to say something to me about my immortal soul, but all the fight has gone out of them and oddly I am allowed to pass unmolested. Could it be that I'm already saved? I find a shady spot and wait for the bus.
The Christians are coming my way. This isn't their style; they usually stick to the main entrance instead of patrolling the sidewalk. Some part of me is disappointed whenever they fail to preach at me, and yet I don't know what I will say in response to their fairy stories... I am clever but my snappy response mechanism is rusted shut from disuse. But no, they're not here to minister, they're leaving, going back to their slogan-covered truck. The cops have moved them along... or else they don't wish to share a street corner with the man they've just assaulted.
The taller one is wearing a hat which says 'REPENT PERVERT.' After a moment I realize with furtive, smirking pride that they mean me. It's better than nothing. As they walk by I hear one of them console the other. "You know, I know you could have punched him..."