Man On The Street Get A Big Surprise
by Michael Metz
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"'Red' MacPherson, ace reporter. Until next time when we ask people, 'If Chicken Little had been taller would everyone have believed her?'" After a brief pause Red says, "Cut." Red says to Brian, "Okay Brian, let's wrap this up and head back to the station."
The rays of sunshine march out of Oakland with the KMUC newsvan headed back to Salinus; gray clouds roll in. Red proceeds with a bitter banter he's been squawking about for almost a year since losing his job as an editor for the San Francisco Examiner.
That's where he picked up the name "Red" because he used so much red ink editing his reporters' stories; he was well respected though. Until he bumped heads with the owner of the paper over a controversial story "Red" chose to run. Afterwards "Red" got run out of town to an affiliate TV news station – KMUK.
The owner of the Examiner hired a psychologist to create "human interest" stories to keep "Red" busy. Next up was… "Chicken Little. What in the world! Who gives a flip about a chicken with an anxiety complex. I'm getting' tired of it, Brian.
"Aw, chill out, "Red". Look on the bright side. Chicken Little wasn't the only one who wasn't believed." This wasn't grabbing "Red's" attention as he rested his head in his right hand, elbow on the door. "The Son of God wasn't believed by many and His message was far more important."
"Brian, not again. Enough with the religion."
"Not religion 'Red', but…" in unison they both said, "relationship."
"Red" huffed and after a pause said, "Look, I appreciate the point-of-view on this but I don't know how much more of this senseless reporting I can take. It's driving me crazy."
The following week "Red" and Brian headed out in the dusky morning hourd to Hanford, CA for the story on Chicken Little ("Red" didn't get to choose where the interviews would be done). After checking in at a hotel "Red" decided to start at the local "General Store".
"'Red' MacPherson here with another hard-hitting, man-on-the-street interview. This week's topic - Chicken Little. And what better place to discover the truth about Chicken Little," Red pivots back, out of camera shot, sweeping his arm upward as he continues, "than out here. Big blue skies and open farm country."
The camera pans over to the "General Store". "Let's begin here where local farm families come to replenish their supplies." As Red approaches the store a somewhat plump woman in her 60's walks out carrying two bags of groceries. "Excuse me ma'am. 'Red MacPherson here, ace reporter. I have a question about – Chicken Little."
"Oh, well. I wasn't really expecting this. My hair's not proper, you understand."
"Nothing to worry about, ma'am. We'll gladly blur your face out and no one will be the wiser."
"Oh, well, go ahead."
"Thank you." One could almost hear the "swoosh" as Red brings up his 3x5 card and says, "If Chicken Little had been bigger do you think others would have believed her?"
The lady begins to giggle. Confusion develops on Red's face as the lady breaks into laughter. "You silly man." Her laughter subsides. "The others did believe Chicken Little." She starts to walk away.
Red turns, rubbing his forehead; he has sharp words for Brian, "Shut that thing off!" Realizing the sound of a guitar is coming from the porch, Red climbs the stairs; with Brian close behind.
Turning the corner of the porch Red sees a casually dressed barefoot man, twentysomething, feet propped on the railing. He makes eye contact as Red and Brian approach. "Hey there, cool dudes." He smiles.
His confidence shaken, Red's professional side urges him to press on with the assignment; he gives it another shot. "You know Chicken Little?"
"Not personally. But I know of her." The young man continues to strum while Red looks for words.
Hesitantly Red proceeds, "If Chicken Little had been bigger would others have believed her?"
Strumming, he replies, "No, it wouldn't matter." Hope expresses itself on Red's face. "Her character would have been the same; always fabricatin' stories, man." He continued strumming. "Besides, size wasn't the problem. The look on Red's face begged a response. "Foxy Loxy was the bad dude that ate them all."
Red decides the interview is over. "Come on, Brian." Making their way to the news van Red asks Brian the cameraman, "When you found this place on the map you sure it wasn't named Twilight Zone? Let's go find a farm."
Within a few minutes they were getting out of the van. A farmer was in the field harvesting crops.
Red notices a young girl of about 10 on the porch reading a book. The two walk towards the porch.
"Good afternoon, young lady."
Continuing to read, she says, "Good afternoon."
"May I ask you a couple questions of which you may know something about?"
"I'm not suppose to talk to strangers."
"Young lady. I'm no stranger. I'm "Red" MacPherson, ace reporter with KMUK."
She lifts her eyes just above the edge of the book seeing the van. After looking slightly to her left at Red, she returns to her reading. "Okay."
"If Chicken Little had been bigger do you think she would have been so easily deceived by…"
"Foxy Loxy? No." Without lifting her eyes she continues, "Her brain would have been bigger."
Pondering the point, Red continues, "Chicken Little believed the sky was falling…"
"So why is the sky blue? Easy. That's the way God wanted it."
Red muttered, "Twilight Zone." Flashing a smile he thanks the girl and motioned for Brian to get ready to leave. Red drifts over to a near-by tree. Sitting with his back against solid oak he ponders the events of the day when something drops on his head. An acorn sat in his lap. Looking up he sees a squirrel perched above him. Red wasn't sure, but he thought he saw the squirrel smiling at him.
Red looked down, breaking his stare of the smiling squirrel, picking up the acorn. He attempted to contemplate the seed as something symbolic of this afternoons interviews.
"Hey, 'Red', it's time for lunch; let's go. Brian yelled from the news van.
"I'll just sit here for a while. Come back when you're done with lunch." Red continued to twirl the acorn stem in his fingers as he muttered, "In a nutshell. A nutcase – me or these people."
Before his next deep, philosophical, contemplative thought he heard a cracking noise from overhead. As he caught a glimpse of the smiling squirrel suddenly everything went – black.
Red was aware of his own presence, but was unable to see anything. It was black as being in a pot of coffee. He also became aware of his aloneness. He became cold – very cold.
In a flash, a bright light shone – but it didn't blind Red. A comforting warmth enveloped him like a fluffy comforter. He couldn't determine what he was standing on. Searching for what supported him, he became puzzled by the realization - he was not casting a shadow. He paused, becoming aware of a sense of security he hadn't felt since…since; his mother's womb!
From behind him Red heard a soft voice that carried so much authority the sound of his name caused him to turn around. Before him stood two figures. Glory shone more brightly than what already existed, yet Red was not blinded.
"The Lamb of God." Came softly across his lips as he bowed down. At that moment Jesus seemed to fade away.
The other figure remained saying, "Do not bow to me. Rise. My name is Helper. I'm a messenger of God."
Red stood up still making an effort to comprehend these events.
"From the LORD, 'Reginald David MacPherson, you are to turn from your sinful ways, out of blackness. Use the talents the I have given you for My glory.'"
Silence in heaven for five minutes.
"The LORD has a work for you to do. What say you?"
Red found it strange he didn't say yes immediately. Something was battling within him – but it finally came out, "Y -Yes, I will change my ways." As quick as the brightness came – it was gone; again it was black. This time not feeling alone. Not feeling cold. In fact, he detected a slight breeze brushing across his face. The sound of a vehicle…the door shutting…footsteps.
"Hey 'Red'. I brought back a grilled chicken sandwich. These thing were good and….What happened to you?" Brian knelt down gently placing his hand on Red's jaw to get a better look at the laceration on Red's head. Blood had trickled down the side of Red's head, but the injury appeared to cause mostly a good-sized knot on the head. "Don't move! I'll get the first-aid kit."
County hospitals are always busy. So it wasn't till later in the afternoon that Brian and Red were headed back to their hotel room. Red asked, "You really believe all that stuff about Jesus that you've been tellin' me?"
That wasn't really how Red wanted that to come out, but it was foreign that Red would initiate a conversation about Jesus. Brian affirmed the question and Red proceeded to share his encounter. Brian had to pull the van over because of his excitement.
That evening Red and Brian entered the diner. As Red Looked around, he saw the woman whom he'd interviewed that morning. A "voice" whispered in his ear, "She needs encouragement." Red didn't "hear" the voice.
While waiting for their order, Red found himself glancing at the woman, something drew his attention to her. It wasn't a physical attraction, as she was almost twice his age. Then he thought he heard a whisper, "She needs encouragement."
"Excuse me, Brian." Red went over to the woman's table. "Excuse me, ma'am. May I speak with you just a moment?"
"You're that rude fella I spoke with this mornin'." She didn't look pleased. "You have somethin' you wantin' to know about 'Goosey Lucy'?" She popped out a chuckle.
"I want to apologize about that. I'd like to properly introduce myself." Red extended a hand. "Reggie MacPherson." Extending her hand she said, "Betty MacDonald." An odd moment of silence occurred then Betty said, "Don't go there."
Reggie smiled, sat down, and began asking sincere questions about the community, farming, and Betty's granddaughter; who was able to finish other people's sentences.
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