There is the man in the sandwich board, Revelations in black on white, Fallen, fallen is Babylon. He seems standard-issue street prophet. Tall, thin, bearded, weatherbeaten.
But there, across the street, another man in another sandwich board. A competing philosophy? No, one morning I detour to that side of the street. Identical fonts, identical texts. This man is short and bald, wearing dark aviator sunglasses. He looks more like the driver of the getaway car than a street prophet. Or the man who calmly tells you why the goons are breaking your legs.
I'm oddly disappointed. A lone street crazy with his words of warning carried on his chest is human, full of pathos. But a franchise? How does that even work? They aren't asking for money. They have no literature to hand out. Only a scriptural warning, judgment raining down on the whorish Babylon of San Francisco.
Last week the man across the street was replaced by another short man, this one with brown hair and inoffensive eyes.
Today I see the tall man from the bus. He's conferring with the man in aviator shades. The brown-haired man across the street walks slowly. Is the man in sunglasses in charge? Is he paying the other two to carry his signs?
His face has the jowly, dissipated look of a cut-rate villain in a movie. The type who wears a heavy gold chain around his wrist, who gestures impatiently with his chin, whose smile is more horrible than his accustomed scowl.
But a man can't help his face.