The omen


He might take me to some unknown location,
and zap out on me, and I’d become a statistic.

Tuesday 2015-03-31

This morning at Dunkin’ Donuts, about 8:45 I stood in line with my arms crossed behind my back, clenching a $5 bill in my left hand. It occurred to me that at McDonald’s, only 100 yards away, I’d never do that. If I did that at McDonald’s, someone would surely snatch the bill and run.

This thought proved to be an omen.

I believe the concrete, material future — like the location of an electron — exists only in terms of probabilities. This may happen, that may happen — there are infinite possibilities, each with its own probability, and these probabilities are continuously in flux due to sentient creatures’ (absolute) free will. God God-self does not know any fixed, concrete future. What the all-knowing God does know is all the infinite probabilities, and their flux.

When a given event attains adequate certainty, it becomes subject to premonition. That’s what happened this morning.

This afternoon at McDonald’s, I sat down with my coffee, and this guy sat down at the table with me. He looked familiar, but I couldn’t place him. Possibly a former neighbor from the shelter. He’s about 6’6″, clean-shaven, no glasses, cocoa-colored, and speaks with a speech impediment as if he’s missing part of his tongue. 55-ish. He would tell me his name is Mike Patterson.

He asked how I’ve been. He said he’s a major at Central Bookings. Hint: He always says that. He asked if I knew of Owings Mills. He said he likes to help people, and proceeded to describe this apartment he’s got available in Owings Mills. I could go out there with him and see it; and if I like it, move in at once. “No fee.”

He said he has a show on WBAL TV Sunday mornings where he shows his houses, and I could watch his show and see.

Only not this Sunday, as it’s Easter and he’ll be in church.

I said I can’t pay any rent. He answered that it’s free.

I couldn’t figure his game. How can a major at Central Bookings afford to give strangers one-bedroom apartments rent-free? Owings Mills is an upscale suburban district at the extreme end of the light rail, thirty miles from downtown.

He might take me to some unknown location and zap out on me, and I’d become a statistic.

I got my refill, and said I was stepping out for a smoke. He said he’d do the same. Outside, he asked me for a smoke. (He’s a major at Central Bookings?) Then he asked me for another. (Same question.) He pulled his pants back up off his ass. He said he was going to the bank to get cash, and would be back in twenty minutes. He’d give me $20 when he got back. But he needed a dollar to get there. I said I couldn’t help him with that. He walked off.

By now, I’d placed him. I’ve met this guy half a dozen times over the years. The first time was circa 1995. The last time was about eighteen months ago, at Dunkin’ Donuts. That time, I was outside on a smoke break, and he came up and said he needed $30 urgently to fill a prescription. But he had a $1000 winning lottery ticket. If I’d advance him $30 this morning, he’d pay me back $100 this afternoon.

I must tell shortly of certain recent events that left me outraged. Why this one didn’t, I don’t know.

Unless it was because of the omen.

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