He was a simple man, short in stature and easily overlooked. Dressed to kill as a street urchin in a dark and faded track jacket, some stone washed jeans dated 1988 and tilted backwards on his round little head was an old ball cap that read Penske in washed out letters. He came in and out of the kitschy, southern coffee shop briskly kindly telling everyone he saw to "be safe tonight, you hear?" he spoke to me and i smiled. he smiled back with a crooked, toothless grin and said "i've missed you". as he wandered back out into the cold night it was hard not to notice his glasses. they were well worn and forced to stay together with large pieces of masking tape, leaving little room for his dark, beady eyes to peer out from behind them. Just enough of each lense was left un-taped to see that he did indeed have a sparkle in his eye.
We set up our gear, ate some delicious vegetarian food, drank some fresh-squeezed limeade and began playing the set to a mostly empty room. A quiet chess game of three men; two, young shop keepers were busy behind the counter making lattes and quesadillas, and one other headphone clad man at his laptop became our audience. During the middle of our second song, the beady eyes behind the masking tape came in and stood cheering so loudly that the headphones came off and the chess game took a pause. As he rooted through his 1988 stone washed pockets he yelled: "You guys are gonna make it BIG! You hear me? You're gonna hit it! Hit it BIG! You're gonna be Big. You're gonna make it. And I got yer back, you hear? I ain't gonna let anyone do anything to stop it. The big times!" He got close to me on stage and motioned for me to open my hands. He dropped a crumpled dollar bill and some coins into my hand as he said "Here's my beer money, hunny". I smiled and asked him his name. We dedicated our next song to him.
This one goes out to Benny. (it was Miss America)
He loved it. The man with the headphones kept them off and made a phone call to a friend to come see the rest of our show. The girls behind the counter came out from working for a bit, and another girl who had been biking came in for a hot tea. Benny loved the rest of the show and cheered incessantly after each song. More people came in and by the end of the show, we actually sold some cd's and made some friends. As we all packed up our gear, Luke had a talk with Benny and asked him what he thought heaven was like. With a glimmer in his eye he answered sharp as a knife "It's a whole lot better than this place. Trust me, man".
Later we sat outside and talked a bit more with Benny. He informed us that he used to live in the Bronx and was apart of the Bloods gang. But that now he just wants to help people out and keep the streets of Savannah safe. "But I tell you guys, if anyone were to mess with you. I got yer back, you hear me? I'd mess up anyone that tried to mess with you guys.....in the name of the Bloods."
He didn't fool me.....I knew exactly what he meat....the blood of the Lamb that is. My dear friends, Benny is one of the many guardian angels sent to this earth to be safety patrols and prophets to those who choose to do the work of the Lord, and see His kingdom come.
Benny's got our back. He'll take on anyone in the name of the Blood.