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Supernatural, Part Six: The Terrorist
The word homeless conjures a specific set of images and conditions: exposure to the elements, exposure to predators, chaos, addiction, insanity, etc. I have learned to be choosy about who I tell about my stint because the reflexive response is sympathy and, sometimes, scorn – as if it was something over which I had no control.
The helpless victim persona is one which I try to avoid whenever possible.
Once I had a previously unnoticed yellow stain on my white shirt and one of my fellow volunteers pointed it out. I cooked and eat a lot of chicken, so I figured out quickly that it was chicken grease and said so.
“Oh okay. Figured you didn’t want reminders of the time you were on the street.”
My eyes narrowed. “I was never on the street.”
“I was just kidding. It’s just a figure of speech.”
I put my hands on my hips.
“Let me tell you something: when I knew I would be homeless, I had choices. I am not an addict and had many places to go, mostly out of state. Both friends and family. I asked God what He wanted me to do. Right at that time, my pastor was asking the congregation to stay in California and help build the church. So, I had my answer.
“My requests from God: that I would not have to live on the street, that I would have a clean, dry, warm, safe place to sleep, bath, etc. and that I would not be hungry.
“God granted me all of those things, but you’ll notice the first request.”
“That you wouldn't be on the street.”
“Yes. So, if someone says that I was on the street, I’m not going to be silent. I will not let anyone slander our Lord. I don’t care if you are just kidding.
“Are we clear?”
He was duly chastened. “Crystal.”
No, I was never on the street. But I did have to share a dorm room with a servant of the Enemy. I’m certain that she was sent to keep me motivated to get out. It worked,
After her post-dream silent treatment, one of the first things my new roommate said to me was “your family has rejected you.” I found out later that this was a line from the movie The Exorcist.
She epitomized neatness. In fact, her neatness was downright pathological. Every speck of dust was scrutinized, bewailed and always my fault. I couldn’t even take a dump without it being some national crisis.
The nights were worse.
From about her fourth night there, I was awakened from a sound sleep by a yelling, female voice. Typically, it went something like this:
“Stop knocking on the walls! Stop knocking! God, why did you put me in a room with a crazy woman?” At first, I was nonplussed, of course, and tried to reason with her.
“I was not knocking on the walls. I was asleep.”
“You’re lying! You knock on the walls and your devices make noise and you slap your feet on the floor when you get out of bed! (sic)”
“None of that is true,” I said.
I would put both of my devices on Airplane Mode after 10PM, then turned one off and plug my headset in the other, which makes sound impossible. I was diligent about this for a month and a half. And the only reason I knew what she was talking about when she referred to “slapping feet on the floor” is that I witnessed her do this: sitting on the bed, raising her feet up high and slapping them on the floor. Not only have I never done something so ridiculous, but I am also too tall to do this without injuring my lower limbs. She is several inches shorter than I am and could do this pretty easily. It was comical to watch.
There was more.
“And stop pointing your hands toward my bed! I’ve seen the electricity bolts come out of your hands!”
Whoa! Remembering my dream, I put two and two together.
I figured out that the entity that came in with her had tried to possess me but could not. It then proceeded to throw a fit for the rest of my time in that room.
Incidents like the one above happened about four times a week in three months. More than once, I told her that her problem was spiritual. I told her that the noises she hears at night are probably the Holy Spirit called her to Christ, and if she says ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ they will probably stop.
Her response: “I can’t believe that anyone in the 21 st century believes in that peasant superstition.”
I said: “I guess that means ‘no.’”
The worst days were Thursdays. I served at my church each Thursday and had no car at the time. So, I had to get up early enough to take the first bus for the hour-long ride: 345AM. She flipped out every time.
“Get out, you nasty bitch!”
“Oh, Francine, God bless you. I hope you have a blessed day.”
“Fuck off and stop talking to me. It’s four in the morning and I’m trying to sleep!” I pointed out that she started the conversation.
“You know, Francine, if you accepted Christ, you’ll be able to recognize your delusions for what they are.”
“Fuck off and die!”
“You first, sweetheart.” I couldn’t help it
I usually got in the last word out of the door, but I hated having my spirit so disturbed going to serve God. So, I formulated a plan for the upcoming week.
On the following Wednesday night, I answered my church’s phones from 12AM to 9AM. Simply, I didn’t feel like dealing with the Thursday morning version of the demon.
Francine was not there when I left the room; a fact which turned out better than I expected.
When I returned the next day, I walked into the room, very tired and intending to lie down for a bit. I had barely taken off my jacket when she burst into the room with a strange look on her face.
“What are you doing here?” she asked in a shocked voice.
“I live here.” I said sarcastically.
“I thought something had happened to you.”
“Why would you think that?” I already knew why.
“Because you didn’t come back last night.” She was going to say more but held her tongue for a change.
“Well, I decided to work at my church all night so you wouldn’t be disturbed when I got up.”
She was so sure something bad had happened to me that she had opened my footlocker, dug under my dirty clothes, and pulled out the laptop. She had also gone into my closet and pulled out my old dead phones. She had taken all three, wrapped them up in plastic, and left them on top of the refrigerator—she said she did it for my family.
She got out of there quickly and I laid on my bed and laughed my ass off.
Weirdly, she poured out all my cleaning products.
We were expressly forbidden to touch each other's personal items. So, before I could turn her in, she bought me new bedding. We talked civilly and discovered that the insects from outside were all over her, though they didn’t get on me that much. She also bought clothing protectors and insecticide. She even gave me money for laundry, and we called it a bribe.
She was much nicer after she found out that her dark powers didn’t work on me, but I still wanted to move. The counsellors didn’t want to allow it, but I went over their heads with 16 pages of Francine’s transgressions, along with times, and dates. So, in my final few months of homelessness, I lived with two much nicer older women who actually took their medication and slept like bricks.
A few days before I moved from the facility into my apartment, I happened to walk by the old room and I saw Francine looking out of the window, still like a stone. I waved, but she didn’t see me, and I wondered if she was standing vigil for the culprit that knocked on the windows.