10
Dec
09

Proselytized by drive-by

Fade in: Sunny morning, Brownstone and tree-lined street in Bedford Stuyvesant Brooklyn NY. On the corner, a group of 6, sharply dressed men and women are congregated. They are JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES. They huddle momentarily then split into two teams of three. One group crosses the street and, parallel to one another, both groups proceed up the block.  At the first homes they come to, they climb the steps and ring the bells.

Cut to: A man sleeping peacefully in his queen-sized cherry sleigh bed. This is LOCO.  He is mumbling gibberish in his sleep, smiling sardonically between breaths.

Camera Pulls back through the wall, a trick shot:  Reveals that Loco lives in the brownstone  to be visited next by the Witnesses. They climb his steps and ring his bell.

Camera returns to Loco’s bedroom, reverse trick shot, in time to see him startled awake by the bell. He glances at the clock…sees it’s early yet, and lays back down. Another ring of the bell jars him again. He rises.

Cut to Loco, bleary-eyed, opening the door, blinking at the sunlight pouring in. He rubs his eyes and opens them. In his face we can see he doesn’t so much know the people at his door as he knows what they’re about. And he isn’t thrilled.

JEHOVAH’S WITNESS: (Holding literature…a magazine with a message suggesting disaster approaches) We just wanted to know if we could interest you in some literature that can change your life.

Loco (Rubs his eyes, yawns): uh huh…

Witness: …we think everyone should know the truth and in that way they can know God Jehovah and salvation…

Loco: Does any of this require me spending any money, knocking on stranger’s doors or submitting to anybody’s God?

Witness: Well…you don’t get something for nothing in this world, now do you?

Loco (stops rubbing his eyes and stares at the speaker. He has heard something unexpected): I agree with that statement 100%.

Witness (smiling): I’m sure there are many things you would find agreeable if you’d only open your heart to…

Loco: Whoa! ok, the moment’s over…anyway, I’m already happy and I’m not in need of salvation at this time. Just a shower…and some toothpaste…and I could use some cream for my coffee cuz I’m fresh out. You wouldn’t have any cream on you, would you? I’ll let you in and have a chat over coffee if you have some cream on you.

Witness: Ummm…we should be going. Sorry to have disturbed you…

Loco- Sure you are. That’s the same thing I was told last week and the week before but you guys just keep doing it. What are you, hoping you might catch me off guard, weak and needy, and slip me some literature?

JEHOVAH’S WITNESS: No nothing like that sir, were just trying to spread the word to as many people as possible…Armageddon is coming. Time to repent.

Loco- Don’t you have a special list of people who just ain’t worth the effort? If you do, please put this house on that list. Trust me, I’m beyond redemption. Don’t make me have to prove it! Have a lovely day.

The door closes.

Fade to black.

Fade in: Caption: (6 years later, in Yokohama)

Overhead shot of a sunny afternoon in a park in Yokohama. Montage of various park scenes: many happy Japanese faces, teens playing baseball, some older folk  playing ground golf,  joggers chatting as they jog, dog walkers having a chat while their dogs frolic and lick one another, a man is feeding a hundred pigeons bread, a group of mothers are taking their respective children for a stroll in their strollers.

Camera pans across park, catching Japanese people in various activities, panning by a black man and several other Japanese people before freezing and panning back to the black man. He’s casually dressed, wearing jeans and a vest, smoking a cigar and drinking coffee from a can. It is LOCO again, older we can see in his greying whiskers and growing gut, and the grin he had as a younger man has become much more sardonic.

Cut to Loco’s POV: Kanji characters are appearing on the LED of a cellphone: Cars are passing by beyond it. One of these cars stops suddenly, audibly. The camera pans up to see the car reverse back to the entrance in front of Loco. Zoom in to see a white man hastily getting out of the car closing the door and coming towards the camera.

Cut to Loco’s face: wearing an expression of WTF!

Cut to approaching man’s face. Calm, nonthreatening, filled of inner peace and righteousness. He is GABRIEL. Pan down: He has a briefcase in one hand and what looks like a pamphlet in the other.

Gabriel: “So sorry to disturb you but can I interest you in some reading materials?”

loco laughs as if a funny joke had been told and it took him a moment to get it.

Gabriel: Sorry?

Loco: What, are you serious?

Gabriel: Of course. (He presents the material to Loco. Loco glances at it and recognizes it immediately: Jehovah’s Witness magazine AWAKE!) There is information in here that can change…

Loco: Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute…Let me get this straight. You were driving along in your car when you came upon me standing here drinking coffee and smoking and you thought, “Now there’s a soul worth saving?  Or “a soul that needs saving”?

Gabriel: What, uhhh, something like that…I guess, yes.

Loco: Well, damn…I don’t know if I should feel flattered or insulted.

Gabriel: Neither.

Loco: You mean both.

Gabriel: No I mean neither. I see everyone the same way.

Loco: You must stop a lot, then.

Gabriel smiles. Loco glances at Gabriel’s car.

Loco: And, your cars idling, I see. Do you often proselytize by drive-by?

Gabriel guffaws.

Loco: Not very ecologically sound down under, are you guys?

Gabriel: I’m actually from New Zealand.

Loco: Sorry…down under the down under.

Gabriel: Haha…you’re funny. Anyway, the way I see it…

Watchtower building in Brooklyn

Loco: You don’t have to explain…I get it! You’ll take saving a soul over saving the ozone any day.

Gabriel: Haha, yeah, something like that.

Loco: I ain’t got no qualms with that. I think most of that global warming malarkey is a hoax anyway.

Gabriel: I don’t…well, anyway, would you like to check out our…

Loco: You’re  really a  Witness???

Gabriel: Yes I am.

Loco: I didn’t know there were Jehovah’s Witnesses in Japan.

Gabriel: There are many here. But how did you know I was one?

Loco: I’m from Brooklyn, New York.

Gabriel: Oh!

Loco: Have you ever been to the Watchtower building in Brooklyn?

Gabriel: Yeah, several times. New York is awesome.

Beat. Awkward pause.

Loco: Anyway, sorry to have wasted your gas and time but I’m a practicing agnostic and don’t really see much reason to change my views.

Gabriel: I see…well thanks for…

Loco: And, if you don’t mind a little constructive criticism…I wouldn’t make a practice of rolling up on people like that. Hell, I thought I was in an episode of Cops in Yokohama.

Gabriel: Sorry about that…

Loco: Do you roll up on Japanese people like that, too?

Gabriel: Sometimes, but…

Loco: They don’t respond well to that tactic, do they?

Gabriel: Haha. No, they don’t. You’re absolutely right about that. Almost gave a poor woman a heart attack once.

Loco: The last white man who rolled up on me like that had a badge, a gun and a scary disposition. You have none of those,   fortunately for me.

Gabriel: You’re funny.

Loco: I have my moments. But, seriously… there was an urgency in the way you did it…you must know that.

Gabriel: I didn’t mean to startle you. I just felt very strongly about doing it…you know, suddenly. Whenever I get an urge like that I feel like it’s divine intervention. That god filled me with the urgency.

Loco: Hmmm…Believe or not, I know exactly what you mean…and I’m a heathen. I get those urges all the time. I don’t always act on them, though. And, if I don’t, I often regret it afterward. I rarely regret acting on them, though.

Gabriel: Maybe god wanted us to meet.

Loco: Maybe He did at that, but I don’t think He necessarily had my soul in mind. Maybe he wanted me to  challenge your resolve.

Gabriel: I  guess that’s possible…He’s done that before.

Loco: He’s a mysterious one, ain’t He?

Gabriel: That He is.

Loco: Well, I’m sure we’re both up to the task so let’s just call it a stalemate and chalk it up to one of those mysteries that will either be resolved one day or on Judgment day.

Gabriel: That sounds good.

Loco: By the way, what’s your name?

Gabriel: It’s Gabriel.

Loco: Well, I’m Loco, and if you’re ever around here around this time, I’m usually in this park. I work at that school right there across the street.

Gabriel: It was really nice chatting with you, Mr. Loco, and I  just might take you up on that.

Loco (-;

“I can’t fathom that the things important to me are not important to other people and so I come off like a missionary, someone whose job it is to convert rather than listen.” David Sedaris


11 Responses to “Proselytized by drive-by”


  1. December 10, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    another awesome post, you had me laughing out loud in many parts especially when you said you felt like you were on an episode of Cops in Yokohama.

    Unfortunately there are also many “Witnesses” Jamaica, but after the first couple visits to my lair they learned that my soul wasn’t worth saving and gave up.

  2. 2 WC
    December 10, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    JW’s haven’t done the house-to-house thing here in quite a while… WAY too much bad blood. It got to the point that they actually realized they were destroying their ability to spread God’s word by the very tactics they were using to spread it.

    That hasn’t stopped other churches, though. I had a woman come knocking and I stopped her and pointed to the ‘no soliciting’ sign on our door. She claimed she wasn’t and I told her she needed to buy a dictionary. She actually continued to argue for a while before I finally showed rage and got her to leave. Seriously, did she think that pissing me off would help convert me? She’d have been a lot smarter to apologize and leave, hoping someone else could pick up where she failed.

  3. December 10, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    A “Witness” came to my School last year and tried his luck. I asked him if i could ask a question before he started his delivery and he obliged.
    (As mentioned before I studied theology and found it to be one of the most interesting classes ever because to have “faith” is to believe which is not very receptive to asking questions since that implies non belief so I was free to roam where “believers’ may not tread since I was studying and man….my questions had questions. The politics behind the creation of the Bible itself could fill a blog with a years worth of content…but anyway..)

    I asked what does “the Christ” mean? It’s not Jesus’ last name right?
    He mumbled and looked surprised and came up shockingly..or not..empty. I advised him that only 144,000(?) (that’s what the JW’s say right?) were getting into the pearly gates and I think California alone had more than enough active members to fill up Heaven while he’s stuck in Japan pimpin’ tickets to a sold out show.

    F.Y.I
    The “Christ” is basically that which is anointed to _____. It’s supposedly rooted in Hebrew meaning messiah but that overlooks the fact that the Hebrews don’t view him as a prophet or the Messiah and the Bible is a mess of miss translated texts. It is more likely Greek in origin.. to mean something or someone blessed with oils and anointed with the power to_____. So basically Jesus was the chosen one who was blessed with oil and given the power to____.
    It’s not Jesus Christ.
    It’s Jesus the Christ. It’s a title.

    I go with the Koran’s depiction of Jesus …at this point in life anyway😉

    If they ever get that one right i gotz another one for that ass😉

  4. 4 Mythirdeye
    December 11, 2009 at 3:08 am

    If you’re looking for good info about the history of religion and the characters involved, may I suggest Acharya S. or Jordan Maxwell. Christ comes from the Latin Christos, meaning “oil”. Thats where crisco oil gets the name, not suprisingly. It has to do with ancient fertiliy worship and semen believe it or not. Interesting stuff! but enough of that

    Great post Loco. I’m new to your site but I gotta say I’m hooked, your prose is delightful and always cheers me up/inspires me to keep hittn the nihongo and keep following my dream. We have much in common- raised in NY,same type of hood, early heartbreak, hopeless romantic, etc. And I really understand what you mean by really high highs and low lows, and a tendency to overthink everything… but you should never view it as a weakness. what’s the old saying…

    “It’s no measure of sanity to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

    Be happy that life moves you and you can feel and think and cry and truly experience it. It’s a shame how many people are locked behind social stigmas, class, and the dumbest things like what color we are. We all came from the same mitochondrial eve right? Well, to the point:

    The Jehova’s Witnesses are a prime example of things that keep me up at night. It’s beutiful to see so many people working together towards a common goal, then a smack in the face when you find out it’s for all the wrong reasons. Death. Fear-mongering. Why can’t people work towards feeding and housing the world? Why can’t we work together on things that we all have in common, like the need for clean air,water, and arable land? Shit like that really bothers me. Today people are brought up in a competition based free for all, where we think of how different we are as opposed to how we are all one.

    Sorry if I blew up your comment section Loco! It’s my first post and I’m all fired up today. Thank you for doin what you do, and keep at it. You’re a real inspiration to us who have the dream of seeing the world and finding where we really belong
    -G

  5. December 11, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    “Christ comes from the Latin Christos, meaning “oil””

    Which came from the older language Greek
    Khristós (Χριστός) meaning the “anointed one”

    *****
    According to Michael Ventris and his decipherment of Linear B, we know that Greek was spoken well before 1000 B. C. We can be sure that Latin existed only a bit before 700 B. C. (The traditional date for the founding of Rome is 753 B. C.)
    *****

    I aint sorry for blowin’ up the comment section. Your lucky LOCO. You got smart people reading and commenting on your site.

    • December 11, 2009 at 12:35 pm

      Chris man you took the words right outta my mouth. I am lucky as hell. Thank you for continuing to support me and drop jewels!
      Mythirdeye, welcome to the fray, and what an entrance!!! Thank you for the long and thoughtful comment! Feel free to blow up my comments any time. You got carte blanche in these parts.
      WC- I feel you. Thanks for the shout
      Jama-san, glad to entertain. is it good enough for a soc? make it so!
      Bad boys bad boys whatchagonnado?

  6. 7 vikki
    December 11, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    WHAT HAVE YOU GOT BETTER, THEY HAVE A WORLD WIDE ORGANIZATION RAN ON ONLY CONTRABUTIONS THAT NO ONE KNOWS WHO GIVES WHAT THEY PRINT MILLIONS OF BIBLES AND BOOKS WITH VERY INFORMATIVE INFORMATION, PLUS THEY DON’T GO TO WAR OR FIGHT FOR ANY GOVERNMENT ON EARTH BUT THEY WILL DIE FOR EACH OTHER NO MATTER THEIR RACE OR TRIBE, THEY HAVE A WHOLE OFFICE THAT ARRANGES FOR EMERGENCY SITUATIONS, LIKE NEW ORLEANS THEY PROTECTED THEIR PEOPLE THEY MADE SURE THEY WERE NOT IN THE STADIUM BUT IN A SAFE HOME OF ONE OF THEIR BROTHERS OR SISTERS, THEN FOR THE NEXT FEW YEARS WITNESSES CAME FROM ALL AROUND THE WORLD TO REBUILD THEIR BROTHERS HOMES SO THEY HAD HOMES AT THEIR OWN COST AND MOST TOOK THEIR VACATION TIME AND WHOLE FAMILIES WENT AND HELPED REBUILD ALL THEIR HOMES AND THAT IS JUST ONE EXAMPLE, WHEN A SOMETHING HAPPENS LIKE WHAT HAPPENED IN ROWANDA OR GERMANY WE DID NOT GET INVOLVED INSTEAD WE PROTECTED EACH OTHER EVEN AT IF IT MEANS PUTTING OUR LIVES ON THE LINE. BUT YOU KEEP FOCUSING ON “OIL” BECAUSE IF AFTER ALL WHEN JESUS SAID “YOU WILL KNOW MY PEOPLE BY THE LOVE THEY HAVE AMONGST THEMSELVES” I’M SURE HE MEANT TO FOCUSE ON EVERY WORD THAT WAY YOU CAN FIND FAULT IN EVERYTHING THERE BY BEING FREE TO DO WHATEVER YOU WANT WITHOUT FEARING ANY CONSEQUINCES FOR YOUR ACTIONS, THATS THE TYPE OF THINGS JESUS WAS ALL ABOUT, FINDING FAULT IN THAT SORT OF THING AS APPOSED TO ADULTRY, FORNICATION OR KILLING BECAUSE SOME GOVERNMENT SAYS SO OR SOME OTHER LEADER,AND HE ALWAYS PREACHED TO PRAY FOR MANS GOVERNMENT TO FIX THINGS NOT HIS FATHER IN HEAVEN…OH WAIT…

    • December 11, 2009 at 2:43 pm

      Hi Vikki,
      in the future, please refrain from using all caps…
      thanks for the shout

  7. December 11, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    “BUT YOU KEEP FOCUSING ON “OIL””

    Vikki, I in no way meant to insult anyone other that the ill informed undereducated salesman that came to my door. My mother would come down from heaven and smack me around something fierce if I ever did. If you felt insulted by me it was not my will.
    Was Jesus the Messiah? (Christianity)
    Was Jesus a prophet a messenger of God? (Islam)
    Was Jesus neither? (Judaism)

    My personal belief is his depiction in the Qur’an.
    Yours is for you and I wasn’t messin’ with that in anyway.
    My socratic way of thinking dooms me to maybe never accept anything totally, but that’s between me and God and i hope he gives me points for trying to use the brain he gave me to the best of it’s ability.

    Peace Vikki and Have a Merry Christmas.

  8. 10 chottom
    December 12, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    Wow – I have visits from Jehovah witnesses almost every month. Sometimes they stop me (especially when I am with my family) on the street and give me their booklets. I don’t know – may be Kobe is a special place!?


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Copyright © 2010 Loco in Yokohama / All Rights Reserved

Please know that this blog is my original writing and may not be reproduced in any way without the expressed written permission of the author (that's me!) Thanks!

Words I love…

Everybody is a star
I can feel it when you shine on me
I love you for who you are
Not the one you feel you need to be
Ever catch a falling star
Ain't no stopping 'til it's in the ground
Everybody is a star
One big circle going round and round

Words by: Sly Stone

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