Faith Healing on the Sunset LTD
Trip Start Jul 11, 2010
32Trip End Aug 22, 2010
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Once you´re out of New Orleans, it gets really southern. I had a seat to myself until Beaumont, TX, where a guy who was really the spitting image of Cletus the slack-jawed yokal got on. I knew I was in for it when I saw his attempt to get into the seat, which was kind of a faceplant into headrest of the seat and then a role onto his side until he was looking at me. He stank of stale booze. ¨You don´t have to do any talkin,¨ he said with a blank look in his eye, ¨I´ll do the talkin for both of us.¨ Great.
He didn´t stay long, though. ¨I´m a getta beer,¨ he said, and then walked off to the lounge car. He was gone an hour or so, and then came back. This time he faceplanted right into my chest and roled off into his seat. He stank worse than before. I waited a little while, and then got out my hand sanitizer.
¨That´s a good idea, he said. You can get all kinds of sick on the train. Doesn´t matter for me though. I´m terminal. I can´t get any sicker.¨
Now what do you say when a complete stranger tells you they´re terminal? I just said ¨Wo.¨ The train conductor, who was passing by, had a much better answer, though. Now, I will try my best to recreate this exchange as accurately as possible.
¨What you need to do is go to this website, it´s called freshfireministries.org. There is this guy Todd Bentley. He lays hands on people and heals the sick.¨
¨Yeah?¨ said Cletus hopefully, then added more dejectedly ¨But I´m not a Christian.¨
¨Doesn´t matter. His faith will overpower your lack of faith.¨ Then the conductor widened his eyes and repeated himself, ¨His faith will overpower your lack of faith.¨
The conductor kneeled next to Cletus, ¨Now, Todd used to be a crack addict and an atheist but then he asked Jesus to give him the power to lay hands on people and heal the sick.¨ The conductor lowered his voice, ¨I have hepatitis.¨
Okay, this was getting a bit much for me. I felt like I was on the train to the leper colony (Texas?) I was getting skeezed out by everything around me. I started worrying about the Amtrak pillow that was between my head and the window.
¨One day I was watching Todd on TV and Todd looked right into the screen and stretched out his hand toward the camera,¨the conductor stretched out his hand slowly, ¨and said ´there is a man out their who is suffering from hepatitis in his liver.´ And I thought ´I have hepatitis in my liver.¨
¨And you were cured?¨ Cletus asked.
¨Well, I haven´t been to the doctor since then. But I went and saw Todd when he was in Houston, and he laid hands on me and it only cost 80 dollars. And the best part is, once you pay 80 dollars you´re a member and you can go back and let him lay hands on you again.¨
¨Yeah.¨ Cletus said, then added dejectedly, ¨But its too late for me, I´m terminal. Sclerosis. It´s too late even for a transplant.¨
¨It´s never too late with the power of the lord.¨
¨Hmm. You think so.¨
¨Absolutely, remember freshfireministries.org. . . I better get back to work.¨
¨I´m a getta beer,¨ Cletus announced. The conductor repeated, ¨It´s never too late with the power of the lord.¨
What motherfucker? How about you say, ¨How about not having another beer. You have sclerosis of the liver.¨ But no, it´s all about putting your faith in Todd.
Cletus turned to me as he got up, ¨That´s some good information. Freshfireministries.org¨
Yes. That happened. Welcome to Texas.