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Monday, November 26, 2007


Jack Calb had a reputation for being a hard-nosed TV interviewer. He liked to ask incisive questions. His broadcast from New York City was the most popular talk show format on the air. Johnny was getting a little too full of himself again. It was a recipe for disaster. Johnny wasn’t worried; he was carrying the ‘word’. He was the Messenger, and now forty million people were going to hear what he had to say. The television interview started off with simple introductions, but quickly shifted into fast forward. People would be talking about it for a long time. They had certainly gotten the ‘word’, and the ‘word’ was, “ The old Johnny is back.”

“So Johnny, you seem to have a checkered past: part charlatan, sometimes sex maniac, part time saint, would be Prophet, and reborn Messenger -- which is it,” Jack Calb asked?

“I’d guess I’d have to say all of the above Jack. I’m a sinner you know. Most of us are. Few of us are perfect. Can you say that you are?”

“Don’t worry about me Johnny. This interview is about you.”

“I worry about everyone Jack, I care. I care about everyone. We all have to if we want to find redemption.”

I’m glad you mentioned redemption Johnny. Can you promise it to our audience? Do you speak to God?”

“I speak to him all the time Mr. Calb. That doesn’t mean he speaks to me.”

“Well Johnny if he doesn’t speak to you, how can you claim to be the Messenger? How can you claim to have the ‘word’?”

“Because I believe I do. I feel it in my heart. My ‘words’ are what I believe the Almighty would want me to say. Who are you to question my motives or my ‘words’? Do you have a better message than one of kindness and caring? Are you the final authority on deciding what’s right and what’s wrong? Do you have the ‘word’?”

“I get to ask the questions on this show Johnny, you are supposed to supply the answers. Let’s stop being evasive shall we? Answer the questions.”

“If I have answers, I always give them. If I have questions I always ask them. That way people know what I know and what I don’t know. I don’t claim to have all the answers. That’s why I’m searching for redemption. I think that’s why we all are. We want to hear the answers to our questions. We want to feel secure. We want a better future and something to hope for. We want salvation.”

Jack Calb cut him off saying, “This is not the place to give a lecture or a sermon Johnny. This is my turf you’re on now.”

Johnny turned red in the face and said, “This is God’s turf Jack, and don’t you forget it. I’m here to spread the ‘word’. Can anybody hear me? I’m here to help all the people care. Can anyone hear me? I’m here to help you find redemption. Can anyone here me? It’s meant for me to be here and deliver the ‘word’. I’m the Messenger. Can anyone hear me? Listen people, I bring you the ‘word’.”

Johnny’s face was turning purple and his gestures became more flagrantly frantic. He looked like a man possessed.

Jack Calb realized he was losing control of the interview and possibly the audience. He started to lose it himself. “Don’t preach to me you quack,” he said. You’re just an over sexed maniac who plays with himself. You’re a phony with a bunch of cliché messages. You’re not worth listening to.

At this point someone in the audience shouted out, “Don’t listen to that bum Johnny. We hear you. We believe. With this the whole audience started chanting, “We hear you. We believe.” They repeated this over and over again, and they wouldn’t stop. Lights started flashing off and on in apartment buildings all over the City in agreement. Remember this was the same place that Johnny helped bring back to life. Here the people loved him. Cabs started honking their horns in the street; they had been listening to the interview on the radio. People rushed out of bars to shout in the street, “We hear you. We believe.” It sounded like the whole town was roaring their approval of Johnny the Messenger, and the ‘word’ he was here to deliver. Johnny was overwhelmed.

Jack Calb turned ghostly white and started to sputter and choke. He was finished. The studio tried to cut to a commercial, but members of the audience took over the control room and continued the live on air broadcast. Station security police were helpless in their attempts to quell the roaring, raging crowd.

Finally the President of the Network rushed on stage and on air told Jack Calb he was a disgrace and fired him on the spot on national TV. He turned to Johnny and begged him, “Please try and bring this crowd under control. We’re listening. We all hear you. We all believe in you.”

Johnny turned to the milling crowd of true believers and said, “ I hear you too. If more people were listening to what you had to say we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in now. It may be a cliché to say this, but so is life in many cases. What we have to do is to learn to be kind and caring. To offer our friendship even to the Jack Calbs of this world, even to the media moguls that try through propaganda to control our thinking. We must be kind, but no one says we have to be suicidal. We the people have to take control of our own destiny. We have to have a media and press that truly represents our interests. I never advocate violence, but I do suggest this: Until these media influence peddlers start listening to us, and start telling us what we need to hear, I suggest you stop reading their papers and magazines, stop listening to their TV talk shows, stop letting them think we are falling for their thinly disguised prejudiced points of view. If we stand together they can’t stop us. Now please go home quietly. A silent boycott will do more to change things than all the ranting and raving in the world. Thank you for listening. I love you. I need you. I need you to care. With this Johnny left the stage to a thunderous ovation, then the crowd quietly and silently went home to exercise their prerogative. They were boycotting to a man or woman, and so were the vast majority of the people of the City. The masses were speaking silently, and their voice was being heard. The same effect was felt throughout the Country.

All branches of the media were shortly in desperate straights. No one was watching, no one was listening, and no one was reading their garbage anymore. Their advertising revenues went down. They were in jeopardy of financial collapse. They appealed to Johnny for help. He said, “Don’t look to me for help, I’m just a Messenger. If I were you I would go to the people. They are the ones you need to please.”

Finally the media got the message. They elected representatives of the people to their boards and gave them the authority to supervise and question programming decisions. The public seemed satisfied, and went back to watching and listening and reading. But this time the subject matter was what they were interested in; what they wanted to hear.

When Johnny was confronted on the street with the dynamic effect he had on the people, the City, the Country, and it’s financial condition, he said, “The people have spoken, and they didn’t even have to say a word. I am the Messenger. I do the talking around here.”

He certainly does replied the crowd that had gathered to witness the impromptu interview.“ We are listening Johnny. We hear you. We believe.”

Johnny’s fame was restored. His faith was intact. His virtue now virtually unassailable and everything was almost perfect. Except it never really is. God always has the last ‘word’. It seems he had a lot more to say to Johnny, and it started with, Juniors coming home.

1 comment:

  1. Love the premise of this, Arthur! And great witing!! The title helps me make my deicison about whether Johnny is the charaltan or not! :-)

    You may have mentioned on your site, but if so, I missed it. Is this work published yet? I'd love to get a copy.