Updated: Nov 13, 2020
At 6am this man ambled up to me as I was waking from a cold night on the streets in downtown Tucson. “I got to get closer to you so you can hear me,” he said. I was sitting on my cot, a true luxury when one sleeps on the street.
Instinctively, I wanted to stand up and move away from him. I didn’t. Instead I pointed my camera and began filming. He put his hand on my shoulder and talked. He did not look into my face. Warily I listened.
“People ain’t gonna understand” he said. “They can hear me but they can’t understand me. We are ghosts and that is exactly true.”
Part of me was alarmed another part of me to curious to stop him. I wanted him to finish. It felt as if I were getting a special message. It also felt like the Twilight zone.
“I’m gonna try to get closer cause I got to touch you to get this through,” he said, still looking at the street as it stretched out of sight.
Putting his hand on my shoulder he said, “I am the devil, that is the screwy part.”
I had to get confirmation. so I asked “You the devil”?
Yea,” he said adding that “The devil is the spirit of God without the substance.”
Still looking away he asked me “You know what I mean?” I told him I did know he meant, but it was to early for me to really comprehend. I slept badly in the cold night next to the noisy Tucson street. I agreed with him so he would leave. I wanted to eat and get warm.
He finished with “Exactly what we always thought” then slowly moved away walking toward the street he had been staring down.
Even now, as I relieve this encounter I am unsettled. The far fetched side of me says he was in fact the Devil and I had an encounter. Just the thought of this experience bothers and amazes me. And I will always wonder. “Maybe he was God, maybe just crazy or a messenger from a parallel universe.”
This part of the documentary really has nothing to do with homelessness other than I was on the streets when it happened. I spent a lot of time in that area and never saw him again. The others around me said nothing about him. I didn’t ask either.
It was a very strange encounter, one I will never forget. I sometimes think I should go looking for him. But maybe that is what it was all about.