There’s a man on the corner who keeps forgetting he’s saved. He’s one of the three cradling signs at the intersection of Sixth and Colorado, the same spot every day this summer, out to catch the midday crowd and dressed in tucked polos and dark pants, God knows why. Every day sweat stains branch designs downward from their armpits, calligraphy for the callous swelter, and every day the same, his sign waving in a drunken sway of faith from left hand to right, thin sheeting sharpied in black messages and stapled to two-by-fours. Of course, the messages bled through in the writing, God’s word reading reverse for those they don’t face – pedestrians, mostly, those not moving in the streets themselves. The three don’t seem to care. They wear earphones and stare at feet.
But the one – there is one, always one who forgets or seems to, at least. He has black, greasy hair and a paunch leaning perilously over his crotch, its encroaching flesh always kept raised, just barely, by the waist edge of his t-shirt. He is the odd one. The other two know what they’re doing – they rotate their signs, just barely, with the passing cars, those they know are looking. They maximize the results. This guy, though – this guy never seems to know which direction to point his sign. First the street, then backwards. First backwards, then the street. God, and God in reverse, shifting with the breeze that catches His message like a sail because he doesn’t seem to care too much about holding his strength either way anyway. The sign seems just another weight to hold. A toning exercise for the fat and repentant.
They rarely speak to one another. Once or twice, on the hottest days, the tallest of the three says something hushed beneath the crowd, something to which the others nod in silence, and then they cross Colorado to the other side of Sixth, where the awnings pitch wider, and huddle closely to the rind of shade hugging the suite of offices there. Even then, though, even with his back to the bank of windows behind him this guy evinces only a passing interest in what it was he’s dragged himself into the streets to do. Sign still in unsteady rotation – bored, doing God’s work.