There weren’t nothing special ‘bout me. Least ways not so you’d notice. I was born into a family of losers and then it was downhill all the way. I tried, I promise you, I really tried, but I just couldn’t seem to get on with anyone or anything.
I’m just going someway to explain why I am where I am. I’m on the streets – homeless, friendless and lifeless. Don’t think it couldn’t happen to you, ‘cause it could. It’s no more than a hop, skip and jump from successful businessman to a bum asking strangers for money. All I did was blink – okay, and probably made a few bad decisions along the way but people can’t make good ones all the time. It’s not possible, you’ve just got to learn to keep the number of mistakes to a minimum.
One night, I rock up to Sandro’s Café to see if there’s anything to eat. Sometimes he has an old cake or a stale pie that he’s going to tip out on to the streets and he puts it aside for me. That ain’t his real name by the way. Not Sandro, it’s Jimmy and he’s from the east of the city but he’s got a good heart and I think he can call himself whatever he damn well likes.
So I’m looking for Sandro and he’s nowhere. I calls out but I may as well have been shouting down a big black hole. Then I hear a kind of sobbing from the back room. I knocks. Nothing. I knock again. Still nothing.
So kind of brazen like, I open the door.
“He..lo..ho,” I shout and then I hear this sobbing in the corner. Seems that, Jimmy……sorry Sandor’s better half has left him for the guy who delivers the pizza toppings. Since I’ve been sleeping in the fresh air, I tend not to touch anyone anymore; it can lead to all sorts of problems. But I felt that the sobbing coming from Sandro was so deep that I had to put a hand on his shoulder and tell him that everything would be all right. Now here’s where it starts to get strange, there was a kind of warmth travelled from my hand to his body, and the warmer my hand got the brighter the room got.
The next thing I know Sandro is laughing and giggling like he’s swallowed dentist’s gas or something and I’m like..’whoa’. I mean what’s going on? Sandro gets up – says he’s feeling a million dollars and asks me if I would like some fresh cake for a change, and maybe some soup, if I feel like
If I feel like it? I haven’t eaten in two days, so yeh, I feel like it, all right. After a real good feed I go back to the park for a pleasant night’s sleep.
I wake in the morning to find some guy trying to rob me of my coat; one that I had found under a railway bridge when the owner of the coat, was out and about. So maybe there was a little karma coming back at me from the universe. He goes to hit me in the face when he sees that I’ve have woken up, so I grab his wrist and it happens again. There’s a surge of heat from my hand and this guy must be feeling it. He jumps back and shouts something like ‘holy sh…’ – well you know what I mean. Then a smile starts to give birth on his face and before you know it, the smile is taking over his face, like he’s just had a funny cigarette or something. I don’t want to go into details in case there are kids reading this, so lets just leave it at that.
The guy stands up, shouts ‘hallelujah’ , then kisses me on the cheek. He says he’s never felt so good in his life and gives me some money and tells me to keep the coat – my coat, well it sort of is my coat.
That afternoon, I pass Sandro’s café on the off-chance that he might still be in a good mood and there might be something to eat in it for me. I see that his café is really busy and he’s standing in the middle of the floor telling everyone something or other, so I hurry passed real quick.
“There he is, “ shouts Sandro. I look around and he standing outside the café with about 20 other people and they’re all looking at me.
“He’s a miracle worker. He’s the man who make miracles happen.”
I guess I panic and I start to run. Well you would, wouldn’t you?
As I’m running down Saffron Street, I start to ask myself how all of this could have happened. Did I bump my head? Was I visited by an alien or an angel? Have I always been this weird and never noticed?
Half way down, there’s a building or something and lots of people going in. Okay, so I never noticed that they were all in black but in I run, sit at the back and hope no one notices me.
It’s a funeral and I’m the only one there in a red coat. Then the wife or sister or mother or friend of the deceased comes in and shakes everyone by the hand. She looks at me and gets kind of upset that I haven’t put my hand out. Then she shakes it and I can feel the warmth seeping into her and then she starts smiling and laughing like she’s on some kind of drug.
It’s then that I realise that there’s a right time and place for a miracle (if that’s what’s happening to me) and this ain’t it. The woman is dancing and laughing all the way down the church and the whole congregation is looking at her, then back at me as if I gave her something.
It suddenly hits me what I should do next, I go around the whole church and shake everyone’s hand. Boy did that funeral turn into a party – they were all dancing in the aisles and I took this as a sign to make a quick exit out the back door.
I went back to my park bench just to hide out and take stock on what was happening. I felt that I would wake up at any moment and it would have all been a dream.
I decided that maybe I could use whatever this was for good before it ran out, so I went to a local children’s hospital with a few toys I had found here and there. They were clean, I washed them in a stream – I asked the nurse if it was okay to hand them out and she said it was all right. I gave the kids the toys to play with then shook each of their hands. Boy, they were smiling and laughing and were really happy. Maybe I did have something good to give after all.
I am the man who can make people happy.
Perhaps it was a virus or an illness, or a gift from the big man upstairs, whatever it was I didn’t want to look too close and maybe ruin it.
People started coming to the park, night and day, I’ve no idea how they found me, but they found me and wanted me to shake their hands. I would tell them it was 3am but that made no difference – they said that if I didn’t shake their hand then they’d jump off a bridge. Not all of them, but enough of them tried to blackmail me.
It’s funny how I was making all these people happy and no one really said ‘thank you’. Not that I was expecting it, but it’s as if people thought I had this gift and it was their right to have some of it. Perhaps that was true but I couldn’t make one particular person happy and that person was – me.
A journalist turned up offering me money to tell them my story, and although I did need the money I felt that wasn’t why I was given this gift – if that’s indeed what happened.
Then one day one of those talent contests, you know the ones, the type of TV show which makes people cry, asked if I was interested in entering. I would be famous they said, no one has a gift like yours, they said.
So on I went and people loved me at first. ‘An angel sent from heaven’ was how the Papers wrote about me and then the audience got bored, apparently making people happy wasn’t good television and I was booted off the show.
Then the gutter press ran a story about me, and how making people happy was likely to be an addiction and that I was nothing better than a drug dealer.
A drug dealer – I ask you?
As the man said on the television – being happy all the time was unnatural and that I was probably the same. I had to leave town and move on.
And now that’s what I do, I keep moving on all the time and wonder if anyone wants to know a man who can make people happy.
bobby stevenson 2017