SAVED “in 3 tenses”

SAVED “in 3 tenses”

(Excerpts From My First Book–THE SALVATION JOURNEY)

Hurley was a fat guy. When I say ‘fat’ I mean he has this avoirdupois—a kind of blubber. He has an excess bodily weight. Of all his problem, the major one is the fact that everybody thinks he is a goon. They address him like he’s gone nuts. Not because he was that fat, but because he seems not to know that a fool at forty is a fool forever—actually, I meant to say fourteen, not forty. And here is twenty six years old Hurley. He doesn’t seem to be mindful of responsibilities now knocking pretty hard on his door.

He was actually admitted in a psychiatric clinic once where he met Leonard, another psychi-atric patient. As we will get to see soon, Leonard is going to become the best thing that ever happened to Hurley, or the worst—depending on how you want to see it. Hurley never be-lieved that anything was wrong with him—or so I suppose—so he believes he shouldn’t be admitted in a psychiatric home.

But at least for the first time, he did something with some cacoethes (passion). If only the thing made sense afterall. Gambling? Or gaming? Or what do you call trying to win a lottery by guessing the six numbers for a weekly draw? But somehow, I really don’t know how, but somehow, he got what he wanted. He miraculously won the lottery. ‘Miraculously’. I hope that’s the right word.

He was seated glued to the TV set doing what he knows how to do best. He’s either watching a G-string ‘mujere’ like his mum will say, or watching the weekly draws for the lottery. Those two, ostensibly, are his favourites. And on this particular day, it was the latter that he was up for. And just like a dream, Hurley watched his five numbers being the lucky numbers for the week with the mega jackpot number of 42, just tallying with his! As luck will have it. Yeah luck. I suppose that’s a better word for this case than a ‘miracle’. Remember – luck can be good…or bad. And for a synonym, try the likes of destiny, fate, fortune, lot, chance etc.

What matters anyway is that he won. A lottery worth a hundred and fourteen million dollars. Next thing you see is a panel of reporters waiting to interview the lucky fella in his apartment. It’s been sixteen weeks without a winner. But that’s history now. Someone has broken the jinx. The ‘lucky’ guy Hurley. One of the reporters asked “How did you get those numbers?” And Hurley’s response was that “they just sort of came”. Indeed they just kind of came. (I wonder how myself).

He introduced his family members on request from another reporter. Apparently, he was liv-ing with his mum, his grandpa, his brother and his sister-in-law. But right there, while he was giving a preconceived spending plan to the newsmen, his grandpa, Albuerto, fell down and died. I surmise that was the end of the interview.

Next thing, Hurley was riding a yellow hummer. What do you expect? Really, if it were to be you, what will you do with about 114 million dollars? (Really, you can get a piece of paper and right down how you will spend it—and be serious about it ’cause one thing I’ve learned recently is that there is power in wishes—and who knows, you could be holding a cheque of such an amount very soon?!)

So Hurley bought a house for his mum. And while they drove to the site of the ‘surprise’ like he called it for his mum, he recapitulated what has happened ever since he won the lottery. From the loss of his grandpa to the loss of Father Arguilla – their parish priest (they were Catholic). It happened during the funeral of his grandpa. Right there at the boneyard, there was a lightening that struck the priest dead. And thereafter, his sister-in-law left his brother for another man. And now, while he blindfolded his mum to gradually unveil the surprise, the poor old woman fell off a trough and broke her ankle. As if that was not enough, even the ‘surprise’—the house—was already on fire. And as he was still beholding that stupefied, he was beleaguered by cops and arrested for drugs. It took some days in the German cell before the cops realised that they collared the wrong person. Lots of other bad things happened, like one of his companies getting burnt down and a number of people dying in the incident; a storm hitting one of the companies in which he is a major stock holder. Many bad things.

And then, he came to a conclusion that he was under a whammy. Maybe some sort of a curse. Maybe he was never created to win a lottery, he thought to himself. But really, how did he manage to get those six bloody numbers right? He remembered where he got those numbers from. From Leonard, his friend in the asylum. Leo has been repeating those numbers for God knows how long. That’s all he kept on saying all his days, actually years, in the asylum. So Hurley thought it wise to go and ask him how he came about those cursed numbers. Contrary to Hurley’s expectation of not really getting anything from the visit (since Leonard hasn’t really spoken to anybody reasonably for years except for mumbling those numbers over and over again), he got a lead from the visit. Leonard told him of how a friend of his by the name Sam Tooney heard those numbers in a town in Australia. Hurley had no choice than to trace Sam Tooney to Australia. He really wanted to know how those numbers came about.

When he got to the isolated residence of the Tooneys in a sort of desert in a town in Sydney, Australia, he met Sam’s wife, but he learnt that Sam’s dead. He’s been dead for four years. It turned out that Sam and Leonard were both formerly in the U.S. Navy and one night, like many other nights, they were in a ‘Listening Post’ to monitor long wave transmissions com-ing out of the pacific. A very boring job, he called it since there was always nothing to listen to eventually. Ho-hum and irksome until one night, when according to Sam’s wife, about 16 years ago, the dyad heard a voice repeating those numbers. Then the next day, at a fair in Karlgoolie, Sam used those numbers to win a wally’s money. The man had a jar filled to the brim with beans and was willing to offer 50 grand for whoever can guess how many beans were in the jar. Sam used the numbers and got it. On their way home, Sam had an accident in which his wife lost one of her legs but the man was unscathed. Subsequently, many terrible things were happening to people around Sam but not to Sam himself. To put everything to a stop, four years ago, Sam put a shot gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. But that was after lots and lots of bad stuffs had happened.

So Hurley boarded a flight back to LA having gotten the info he wanted in Australia. But un-fortunately, he never got back home. His plane suffered a crash and he found himself in a jungle, close to an Island amongst forty something other survivors. And day after day, while they hopefully awaited a rescue team, they kept wandering and journeying through the mys-terious jungle, and they kept on discovering that they were—simply put—lost. But in the midst of their predicament, it was this same Hurley of a guy that did all he could to make a home out of the mysterious jungle by setting up a golf course for his lost fellows to have something to keep their minds off their predicament. They were all lost. Very lost. And that was actually the title of the movie from which I culled Hurley’s story—LOST (Season 1).

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Salvation is an odyssey. It’s a long journey. Ask Hurley, and he will tell you that salvation is the journey from the mysterious Island back to his house in Los Angeles (with everything thing back to normal—no more bad things happening to people around him). And sincerely, that’s not going to be an easy journey. The term “Salvation” is a great inclusive word of the Gospel. In a way, the term gathers into itself all the redemptive acts and processes. So salva-tion is like a journey through Justification City, plying the Redemption Highway somewhere at Atonement Boulevard in Sanctification District in the Charabanc of Forgiveness with the steering held tightly in the grip of Grace, the great driver, to the Haven of Glorification.

The well-worn word “salvation” starts from a double metaphorical meaning. Alternately in the scriptures, the word is used as meaning being healed and being made safe. Ask Hurley, and he will tell you the same thing that salvation has two definitions—being healed (from his psychosis and psychopathy) and being made safe (back in his home in Los Angeles with a permanent stop to the bad things that were happening)….

Culled from The Salvation Journey (c) Ola Joseph Kolawole 2010

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