Photo Credits: KIYOMI WATSON / AGGIE
Should I even talk to him?
I walked by the Memorial Union last week and it was completely different. COVID-19 cleared out the campus. Except for one guy.
I walked past with my groceries, and the MU Preacher was still there — an icon of UC Davis. He held a bible in his left hand. His right hand alternated between jabbing at the sky and stroking his beard. His voice echoed unchallenged across the Quad. He really didn’t know the campus was empty.
“And from on high, the wicked shall receive their just rewards! In college, you must think of life and its values. These values you sow now will be those you reap later!” He shouted.
As I approached, his shouting got louder.
“You there! What will you do when your groceries cannot fill you any longer? When you cannot quench your soul’s hunger with an apple or a pear?”
I mumbled something under my breath. His eyes narrowed and his head snapped in my direction.
“WHAT WAS THAT, YOUNG MAN?” I bit my tongue. I don’t wanna get in a fight. What if he beat me up?
“OUT WITH IT, CHILD,” he roared at me and my bag of produce. I lost my cool.
“NO ONE IS HERE ON CAMPUS OLD MAN.” S**t. I’m really gonna get it now. I gripped my bag of groceries closer to me. If I’m going to get my a*s beat, I can still save a pear or two from bruising. I brace for impact.
But no strike comes. No yelling. I look up to see his glassy stare is gone. He’s looking around the Quad.
“Everyone’s…” His eyes dart back and forth across campus. “Gone…” From deep within his chest, he starts shaking. “Everyone’s gone! Everyone’s GONE! EVERYONE’S GONE!” His head tilts downward.
“I’m FREE!” he shouts. His signature hat explodes into stardust. His clothes change color. What were once a grey coat and blue jeans have become bright red, orange and yellow swirls in a cloak he now wears. His long beard is still intact.
“You’ve set me free, boy!” he says, slapping me on the back. His eyes are wild with happiness.
“Because of a curse, I was doomed to preach here as long as there were students to hassle! Now, with no students on campus, I’m free!” He lights a cigar and inhales deeply.
“H-hey,” I stutter. “Aren’t preachers not supposed to s-smoke?”
“That preacher s**t was all part of the curse, my boy!” He produces a flask from his cloak and begins drinking heavily. He offers it to me and I nervously decline.
“Say, you wanna hit up a casino? A young man like yourself has gotta know where we can hit a place like that!”
“I don’t think that I—”
“Better yet, we’ll just fly there ourselves!” He bends his legs and straightens his hips.
“E-X-C-E-L-S-I-O-R!” he cries, and he explodes into the sky toward Sacramento, leaving a rainbow in his wake.
I sat there, gazing in awe. Then, one by one I picked up my fruits and put them in my bag. I walked home.
That week, I wrote my column at the Aggie on grain subsidies in South Africa. I mean, c’mon. Who would believe this other s**t?
Written by: Matthew Simons — firstname.lastname@example.org
(This article is humor and/or satire, and its content is purely fictional. The story and the names of “sources” are fictionalized.)