Any syrupy ideas I might have had about jail were quickly erased when the door banged shut to my holding cell. The five young men who sat on the bolted down metal benches, which lined both sides of the cell, followed me with their dark eyes as I sat down in the far right corner. A stainless steel toilet without a lid and a sink stood in the middle of the back wall. No privacy here, I thought.
“Hey, old white man, what terrible crime have you committed that the police would lock you up with five MS-13 homies charged with murder?” asked a young man covered with tattoos and wearing a white tank top.
My ears perked up with the mention of MS-13, also known as the Mara Salvatrucha. It’s the most violent gang in the United States with its members known for their cruel murders and merciless revenge.
“I preached the gospel of Jesus Christ to the LGBT parade watchers down in the Castro District. Some became angry and kicked me around like an old football. I was charged with a hate crime.”
“Did you fight back, old man?” asked a short young man with teardrops tattooed under both eyes.
“No, of course, not,” I replied.
The five laughed and slapped each other on the back as if my words were the funniest ones ever spoken.
“Old man, that is so hilarious!” said the biggest youth with a large scar on his neck. “You preach the gospel to gays and lesbians. Then they beat and kick the crap out of you, but you don’t fight back. And you’re the one who gets charged with a hate crime. We MS-13 homies understand that type of justice. So, what happened to the gays who did this to you?”
I shrugged. “I don’t know, but I pray that God won’t hold their actions against them.”
The same youth leaned toward me. “Do you really think God cares about gays and lesbians?”
“Yes, and not only that, He cares and loves you, too.”
“Old white man, now you’ve gone too far.”
The five leaned back and closed their eyes, ignoring my presence.
I sat there, checking myself out. My broken nose hurt. My ribs were sore and all of the other bruises added to my suffering. Yet, in the midst of my pain, I wanted to jump and shout and praise God because He counted me worthy to suffer for His name.
“Lord,” I prayed softly, “thanks for giving a seventy-one year old geezer, like me, a second chance to be a part of the action and not allowing me to retire from Your kingdom work. And Lord, use me even more in the days ahead.”
The Lord reminded me of this prayer often in the days following it.
(A new sequel to my eBook, Unhitched Geezer.)
(Continued in Part 3…if you’re interested, the full series to date may be seen here.)