San Francisco, California. December 2nd, 1973
Okay, we have our omnipotent view again and we’re looking down from the clouds at a foggy San Francisco Bay. We zoom down through the gray to the Embarcadero trainyards. It’s still 1972 about a week later. The day after Bertram almost killed that cop there was a flood in Bakersfield. It hardly ever rains there, but that day, it poured, turning Pierce Road (renamed in 1998 to Buck Owens Boulevard) into a river. The police were so busy that Bertram was able to escape without any problem.
We see two hobos sitting in the gravel yard leaning up against a utility shack. Both of them are waiting for a particular train to jump. One is going to Las Vegas, Nevada, the other is going to Mexico City, Mexico.
“You know you should really get that looked at, man,” a good looking man says in a Boston accent. He wears a threadbare Navy peacoat and has gray at his temples under a black watch cap. He’s pointing at the younger man’s shoulder.
The second hobo wears black rimmed glasses, dirty slacks, and a blood-stained cardigan sweater. The wound has turned green over the past three days, and flies buzz around his head and shoulders. The hole has become bigger from the huge man’s constant itching on the ride up from Bakersfield to Fresno, then Fresno to San Fran. “The crow told me not to ask for help. He said when I found the Mother, she would heal it, and it would help her believe in herself. Only then can I be a whole man.”
The older hobo lowers his head solemnly for a moment then breaks out in a big smile. “Wow, man, you know you really are a mysterious cat. You know, I have a friend I was staying with, he and his wife would help you. They live near Chinatown, by Alder Avenue. They’re nice people.”
“No, thank you. I’m on a mission. I cannot waste any time tending to myself.” The second man says as he leans back against the siding of the train yard shack.
“Crazy, man, a mission, eh? Yeah, well, I can respect that. I’m on sort of a mission myself.”
The second man lifts his eyebrow, almost offended.
The older man goes on undaunted, “I look up at a blue sky, at perfect lost… purity-”
“What kind of mission do you have then?” Bertram asks impatiently with eyes angry behind his black rimmed glasses.
“What mission?” Asks the older man. “I can’t believe I’m telling you this. I haven’t told anyone since it happened, but there is something about you, man. I faked my own about three years ago, now. It was all too much. I had lost my sister, I was taking care of my paralyzed mother, my daughter wouldn’t speak to me, my best friend died, and I got into a bar fight. It all just added up. I walked away from fame and fortune, not to mention my third attempt at love. I just needed to have insane conversations with the mad ones, man, to catch the puffs floating by from Oakland to-”
“I’m sure that’s very nice.” Bertram interrupts again as he finds the strength to stand. “But my mission comes from God Himself!”
Bertram looms over the lost transient. He holds up two fingers. “I am to find two men. The first thing I must do is find the Doctor, the Doctor that I will find by crossing the desert and entering into the very heart of sin, the modern day Gomorrah. I will find him, then lose him, but I must not be faint of heart. I cannot let any obstacle stand in my way and I must not feel pain. The crow told me I will find him in the desert sands. Together the Doctor and I will travel a great distance to find the Lost Prophet. I must save him from himself, and bring him home to the new Holy Land, and through him we will receive the blessed virgin.”
“Wow, man, that’s great. So who is this prophet?”
“He is the Lost Prophet. He has seen the evils of man first hand, but doesn’t like to talk about it.”
“He was injured in the war with the Vietnamese and lost his mind and his faith, but he will raise the next messiah.”
Bertram continues to talk as though the other man said nothing. “But I fear it may be too much for me. I will be met with many trials, and I must not let myself fall into temptation and kill again. I will succeed because that is my mission given to me from the All Mighty Father of Creation Himself.”
“That’s incredible, man.” The older hobo gets up and throws his sack over his shoulder. “I hope that you go out and do what you need to do. It looks like my train is about ready to leave. Good luck.”