Before I saw him, I had read this scientific study. It said the major determinant of whether people stop to help a stranger is whether they are late. That made sense to me.
Then he appeared and began to speak in that hypnotic voice:
Where I come from, there are no beings like you. Let me explain.
People who care always stop to help, no matter how late they are.
There are no dogs in shelters or people who have no shelter because everyone lives in harmony.
We never need police or military because people always talk it out.
The purpose of life is to support others where I come from.
We are not wise and we all know it and there is no need for a judge because we are humble.
As Abraham did, everyone in our community shares their bounty. There are no strangers for long.
We bow to 'the other' and prepare sumptuous meals because God has blessed us.
Do not try and look behind my mask, because there is no mask I hide behind, the stranger explained.
Does all this sound like miracles? We are not automatons. We have freedom, but always pair it with a healthy dose of responsibility. That was the way things ran like a well-oiled machine.
You are human, so this may sound angelic to you. We, too, are made of stardust. As you do, we have bright red blood coursing through our bodies. One difference is our community is always there for us and always willing to stop and help. This is the grist that we make the bread of our lives from.
Do you have any questions?
Where is God from, I asked.
He is around, we know. We are and have gratitude. We are the second.
I found this disconcerting, I thought to myself, and tried not to show it to this being.
He told me that he knew I thought of him as a trickster, a devil, or a malign. He continued, "do not fear," for we have no desire to destroy. We are here to prove to you what is possible. He told me that with a transfusion we could become like them. All we had to do was ask.
I was still worried and my mind raced. Is it possible to have immortals who have a physical presence? They had breath but needed no oxygen, the stranger told me. They existed to testify and let us know what is possible. Peace can happen if you ask.
Ask and you must be answered he said.
I asked him how I would remain human if I became like them. I asked if they ever had ungraceful or violent thoughts. I wanted to know if he knew evil.
He explained that they knew evil, greed, fear, anxiety, loss, danger, and non-existence. In the same way a dog can only bark, we chose love, peace, giving, survival, and charity.
God told them that pure humans are not a mistake. He told me we have our purpose. He pointed out to me that humans have total freedom and that we do too.
As he informed us before, these creatures felt a sense of responsibility not to harm others. They felt the true need for community. He told me all we needed to do was have faith and ask for the tranfusion into their community. But we could also say no for now and that would be Okay.
So I knew there was a catch. As soon as he said just ask, now he says have faith. I had never taken anything on faith. Science taught me we did not need faith. We could search for evidence. So I asked him what evidence he could give me. I told him that you can read my mind but I cannot read yours. So show me how I can believe you and I will ask.
The creature began to become transparent as if a water cloud and mist and non-existence. I must be hallucinating because it is awfully hot today. I am not ready to believe that there were beings that spoke of Abraham like he was their brother.
I immediately ran inside the air-conditioned home and began gulping lemonade. I shouted to my wife upstairs because I felt ill enough to go to a doctor.
Then I told her what the man/creature talked to me about where he is from. She told me that I should consider seeing a mental health professional.
But I said after drinking the lemonade I felt fine. Shelly wanted to know if I was pulling her leg. I told her no, that what I saw seemed real. She, as a scientist, did not believe me.
While the whoosh of this being caused her to jump, she avoided colliding with it. He looked different but sounded the same. There are people where he came from who, no matter how late they are, always stop to help.
She told him to stop, that she knew he must be using mirrors or holograms or some new kind of science. But he told her no and asked if she would shake his hand. She did shake his hand. Then the hand dissolved before her.
She wondered now if we were both hallucinating. There was something in the water or the air.
She asked me what I saw and I told her: A dusky-colored man with a squarish face and dark black eyes like coal. He was in a blue suit with decorative rhinestones, a red derby, and dyed pink hair. I also told her he spoke with a southern drawl. Oh yeah, and he had rainbow-colored shoes and a yellow mustache.
We thought about what he was offering us and all Earthlings. She told me she would wait for him to come back. Before she would allow him to transfuse her he needed to explain what the downsides were. There had to be some downsides. There always is. Then she could make a list with the pluses and the minuses.
She and I began debating if she should tell anyone else. We wondered if there was something immoral about achieving so much with so little effort. We both thought it was too easy and there must be a catch. But how could we figure out what the catches could be?
We talked until late in the morning about what we should do if the being showed up again. What issue should we address? If someone claims to be a servant of God, how do you prove it and demonstrate it? At one point, I asked Shelly if we should have a nightcap. We decided we should have our usual vegan Bloody Mary.
Soon after that, we both nodded off while watching the late show with James Cordon. He had two great guests but I have to admit after the third drink the walls began to wobble and I blacked out.
The next morning we arose from opposite-facing couches in the living room. We washed the dishes together. She ran the water and poured soap in the sink. Then she ran the water and handed everything to me and I dried the glasses and placed them back in the cabinet.
After that, we sat and had avocado toast with Italian seasoned tomatoes. Then smothered in cashew cheese with feta flavor. Then a large slug of freshly squeezed orange juice to wash it all down. Everything seemed normal.
But a disembodied voice said, where I come from we are never too late to help someone. It was so shocking we both dropped our forks. The voice asked us if we had any questions. I asked when we could meet God before we had faith and asked for the transfusion so we could be like them.
The voice responded with a gentle hmm. It said I guess you are not ready. It is simple.
I asked him if we would still be human and still have total freedom. He replied that we would have total freedom. We would feel human and we would have freedom with responsibility.
The voice continued and said we would be like them. We would always want to help someone even if we were late. We told the voice that we would think about it. The voice said call out when you are ready to ask.
The next morning my wife told me there is no way that she was going to tell anyone else this crazy story. I said ditto.