To See The Wizard
(5th Avenue and Central Park – Photos by Joe)
On my dry lips was a name, one I didn’t want to utter or even think. I was afraid I might expose the being who sat blissfully on a park bench two blocks up on the 5th Avenue perimeter of Central Park.
I scooted down the sidewalk adjacent to the park, knowing that all about were various creatures and *wisps of energy tweaked by his presence, but knew not who, what, or where he was. Earlier that evening Benny, “the cigar store Indian,” had sent me up 5th Avenue to meet him. He had wanted me to see the positive side of the supernatural and thought meeting this being would help me.
I hoped Benny, who was a blithe homeless man, didn’t wander far from where I had left him in Grand Army Plaza. I couldn’t wait to talk to him in secrecy about my conversation with the sagacious entity.
Weeks ago Benny had me talk with a man who was once a famous magician. His name was Ehrie and he had tried to show me how “to disappear,” which would help me deal with the paranormal—especially the aforementioned demons. Mostly, Ehrie had said that I needed to be quiet—mind, body, and soul. You can read about that whole episode, which began with: Nowhere To Run.
All I know is that I definitely need to learn how to slip out of sight the next time those demons set their propeller-like eyes on muah.
And I’ve always known that my problem is I’m loud in every veritable sense. To begin with, like many New Yorkers my conversational voice can go from a whisper to a scream inside a word. Also, if I’m not grooving to some tunes on my i-Pod while perambulating the city streets, I’m strutting with my head high and a gaze that “sees nothing yet catches everything.” People notice the strut, while preternatural beings sense I have an eye for them. Benny’s told me that even a miserable old ghost, shut away in a closet, can be aware if someone out in the street has the gift of sight.
Given how I broadcast my every thought, as I waltzed down 5th that evening, I felt proud that my head was clear, even if I couldn’t contain my excitement over the meeting. It was like someone thrummed strings at the very core of my being and the vibrations lofted soothingly through my flesh.
As far as who I had met, let’s just say he was a wizard. And he had not only changed my outlook on the paranormal, but he changed the way I see the world.
(The Plaza Hotel from Grand Army Plaza)
With Grand Army Plaza in sight, I started to feel safe enough away from the wizard so as to consider him. I gazed vacantly at the gilt though-badly-peeling General Sherman statue. He’s on horseback with a woman in a toga waving a fern in front of him. The wizard’s lightly-accented voice played in my head, and his puff of white hair and shaggy dog face floated in my mind’s eye.
In retrospect, knowing I had pointed out some things that enlightened him was titillating. Because if there ever was a man close to “all-knowing,” it would be the wizard.
I spotted the slight figure of the cigar store Indian still in the plaza. He stood on the fringe of a crowd that watched a break dancer work his leg-flung magic.
Benny met me with a beaming, closed mouth smiled. “So, what did you see?” he said, his lips out of sync with his words.
“A wizard!” I cried with a laugh, too excited to consider there might be something out of the ordinary occurring.
“It’s safe. Tell me his name,” Benny said, his voice still out of sync, though now his tanned face had a look of concern.
Since he had sent me to see the wizard, I was surprised he didn’t know his name. When I spoke it, a black shadow moved over Benny’s face, and he flagged his hands. “Where?” he asked, though I couldn’t hear the rest of what he said.
I was hesitant with a reply until Benny gave a muttered cry. “Seventy-third,” I blurted. “He was on a bench, just like you said!”
The cigar store Indian’s brow rose, and his mouth opened in shock. It was only then did I begin to understand that it had probably been a demon who had asked me the questions in Benny’s voice. But it was too late.
A half-dozen black shadows peeled up from the ground and sailed up 5th Avenue. They quickly came together, only to vanish into a murky, tall skinny being that clambered over the Central Park wall. A moment later, as if information was relayed from the shadows, the being fled uptown.
Most of the people on the sidewalk were tourists. Only a few batted an eye as the being zipped by them.
“We have to warn Einstein!” Benny said, his voice finally in accordance with his lips. He started up the street with notable speed.
It was all I could do to keep up with the old homeless man. I could hardly consider the danger I had heaped upon the ghost of one of the greatest men to ever walk the face of the Earth–who at that very moment was still at work in the afterlife, pondering the theory of everything . . .
Here are all the posts in this series: Episode Thirty-One – August 2010
* See: We Are Knowing