Author’s Note: This short story was written in 2010 or 2011, and is dedicated to my friend F.S.B. The story is titled “Ecce Homo: A Calling.” Because of its length, I’m only going to give you the first part. I will try to post the next part of the story during each week of Lent — so six parts in all, ideally. I hope today’s first part is enough to get you interested and hooked for next time!
Ecce Homo: A Calling
Amid the shouting and the rumpus of the neighborhood, there was one place on the block that was quiet: the bus stop. It was a cold, cloudy Saturday night in a quaint, little town – that also happened to be home to a college and its 20,000-some undergraduate students. So, needless to say, any Saturday night was chaotic.
Yet, somewhere between the rolling thunderheads above and the maddening festivities all around, the bus stop remained untouched – except for one man. His features were average and really not worth describing. The only thing extraordinary about him was that he was a middle-aged man in a neighborhood of college apartment complexes. He was wearing a coat and hat and must have paid close attention to the weather forecasts, for he carried an umbrella. He had been sitting at the bus-stop bench for quite a while, and even though many buses had come and gone, he had always insisted, “Don’t worry. I’m waiting for another.”
Just a little before midnight, a college student walked out from one of the apartment complexes and sat down on the bench, as far away from the man as he possibly could.
He was an “average Joe” of a college student, with his t-shirt, jeans, and hoodie. There were dark circles under his bloodshot eyes. It was clear by his swagger and demeanor that he was highly intoxicated, and judging from the way he couldn’t handle his liquor, he was most likely freshman – in his studies and in his decision-making. He took his smart phone out of his pocket by habit, but the battery had already died.
He was mad – mad at his friends, mad at his life, mad at the weather (for it was turning cold), and mad at God for putting him in this humiliating situation.
Really, though, he was mad at himself, though he wouldn’t admit to it out loud.
“Hey, man,” the student addressed the man at the other end, “You know what time it is?”
The man didn’t hesitate, but told him immediately, “Yes. It is 11:48.”
The student put his hands on his face and pulled them down his cheeks. He began swearing, but the man stopped him thus:
“Excuse me, son. Can I help you?”
End of Part 1. Check back next week for Part 2. (Keep reading the blog in the meantime, though.)