I was in downtown Cincinnati on a Sunday night (1:30 AM) November 2000, with my brother after leaving a 24 hr. Kinko's with a rush PowerPoint slides
handout job for a sudden 10 AM tradeshow presentation he'd just been handed, and there was no one on the street, no side streets or alleys between
that Kinko's and the hotel we were heading to. Wide open walkway and street, and nowhere a person could slip off into. This description of the area -
for 40 yards in every direction - is important to what happened next.
A very tall black man, using crutches to walk with his one remaining leg, moved quickly up to where my brother and I were standing (in front of the
Kinko's) in a well lighted area that features (as I already stated) no alleys or openings between buildings or side streets or parked cars or any
large objects of any kind - very wide open, well lit urban downtown area. He was very intense and he focused squarely on me, ignoring the fact that my
brother was even there, and started talking in a very impassioned manner with a very heavy accent, which I could not understand at all. His face was
scarred in a ritual manner, which made me think that he was African. The missing leg immediately reminded me of some of the news stories I'd read
years before about machete attacks, which also made me think that he was African. What I couldn't figure out is where he'd suddenly come from, and
what he wanted from me.
For the next few minutes he railed on about something that I couldn't understand, and he was getting more and more worked up as he went. I was
starting to get worried because the man was easily 6'6" or taller, and very wiry and large-handed. Even with one leg, he could easy do plenty of
damage if he decided to, so I started looking to see if there was any escape if he suddenly lost it. Nothing but open sidewalk and street for a half
city block in any direction.
He kept talking rapidly and emotionally, and focusing completely on me as if I had something to do with whatever he was concerned about, but the truth
is that I had no idea what he was talking about. I just couldn't get past his accent and broken English, and the fact that he was talking so fast and
in such a hyper-excited manner didn't help the situation. I must've looked like a deer in the headlights to him - that is, it he'd been thinking about
anything other than getting all of whatever he had to tell me out of his mouth.
Suddenly, my brother reached out and handed the guy a $20 bill. He stopped, and seemed to notice him for the first time since "walking" up to us. He
took the money and looked back at me with a puzzled look. I looked at him and then at my brother - I didn't know what to do, and hadn't opened my
mouth throughout the entire episode. I, then, looked down at the ground and took a deep breath, trying to figure out what to do. When I looked up, the
man was completely gone.
I looked at my brother and asked where the guy went. He didn't answer me, but told me that we had to get back to the hotel. For the short walk back,
and for the rest of that week, I kept grilling my brother about that one-legged man, but he kept giving me vague answers that have never been
satisfactory. He said that he didn't see the guy leave, but he didn't even try to deal with the fact that the guy literally evaporated from the very
wide open area we were standing in without either of us seeing (even) which way he headed when he left.
To this day, I have no idea what the man wanted from me, why he was so intensely focused on me, why he was so upset, and where he came from and how he
got out of that open area (on crutches) to amazingly fast. I don't think he was an angel or a prophet or an alien or any of that, but the entire
episode sure as hell was mysterious.
edit on 11/6/2012 by NorEaster because: (no reason given)