By John Thomas Tuft

Aimee the Prophet drove around in a big Crown Victoria, an old police cruiser that still had the searchlight mounted outside the driver’s window and the nudge bars on the front bumper. She was particularly fond of a McDonald’s breakfast sandwich, the McGriddle with bacon, egg and cheese sandwiched between two syrup infused pancakes, as evidenced by the countless wrappers that littered the front seat. The back seat was stacked high with cheap paperback books, everything from Zane Grey to Agatha Christie to Eugenia Price to James Patterson’s latest attempt to appear relevant. And every February and March, if you were lucky enough to be around when she opened the trunk, you would find it absolutely stuffed with Girl Scout cookies. Aimee the Prophet called them “food for the angels” and she spent her days looking for the angels who were “flagging in their efforts or thinking of falling.” The work of a prophet is ill-defined at best.

What made Aimee a prophet was the old GI Joe walkie talkie mounted on the dashboard, a 1984 mobile field unit, tightly bound to the dashboard with an acre of gray duct tape. Every so often, on any given day, it would crackle to life with the callsign “This is Sunrise. Come in. Over and out.” And Aimee the Prophet would take the mouthpiece and respond, “I will be the Wind. Go ahead, Sunrise. Over and out.” She claimed that this is how she received her instructions on where next to patrol and find those who needed to know about Sunrise and the message from Sunrise particularly for them, and them alone. About remaining to be angels who don’t give up hope or encouraging those getting close to taking The Fall. Such is the work of a prophet.

Needless to say, Aimee the Prophet had her detractors. Perhaps it was the car, maybe it was the way she looked. It’s not every day that you see a 68-year-old five-foot and one-half inch figure getting out of an old Crown Vic, dressed head to toe in a crimson and burgundy organdy pantsuit, separated by a broad traffic-cone-orange sash, an oversized Smokey Bear hat on her head with overdyed jet black hair stuffed up underneath the brim. On her feet she wore a pair of mottled green crocs over white tube socks. And to complete the ensemble, she had an official Star Wars plastic lightsaber thrust into the sash. Most people laughed at her but Aimee the Prophet was undeterred. She answered only to Sunrise, the voice on the walkie talkie.

It was Valentine’s Day when Aimee the Prophet got the fateful call. She had just paid at the drive thru for her two McGriddle sandwiches and soft drink breakfast when the GI Joe walkie talkie scratched to life. The McDonald’s worker, 17-year-old Esther, said that she heard the call. “A voice said, ‘this is Sunrise. Are you ready?’ And the lady in the messy car and loud clothes said, ‘I will be the wind. Over and out.’ And I thought, that’s weird. Use your cellphone, for pete’s sake! I missed the rest of it because the lady drove off, without her change, so my drawer didn’t balance, which is so unfair!” The rest of the story is pieced together from eyewitness accounts and the report by the state police.

Guy Frommes at the gas station picked up the tale. “A car came in for gas. Guy was acting real suspicious like. In a hurry. I thought I heard a noise in the trunk but didn’t think nothin’ of it. He kept telling me to hurry up and all. Then when I was putting the hose back on the pump, I seen this little Valentine card come sliding out from under the trunk lid. You know, like those kind kids give out in school. So, I went to ask the guy what’s up? But he peeled out and took off. I yelled to Earl to call the cops. But before he could, this old cop car comes busting past, with a little lady in a Smokey Bear hat shaking her fist and blinking the search light like a maniac! Never seen nothing like it!”

Corporal Roger Peters of the State Patrol picks up the story in his report. “I arrived on scene on the bridge over Peace River on route 68. It appears that the Crown Vic pushed the suspect’s vehicle into the railing with the nudge bar, springing the trunk and freeing Freddie Banks, the 10-year-old victim. Suspect was discovered tied to the railing with a plastic lightsaber and some kind of orange sash. I tried to locate the driver of the Crown Vic, but was unable to do so. I did locate a green croc shoe at the west side of the bridge but I found no other evidence of what happened to the driver.”

Freddie Banks completes the tale. “After the car wrecked, I jumped out. I saw the little lady in red going for the bad guy, but I wasn’t scared. Next thing I know, he’s all tied up and she’s giving me this old hat.” He touches the brim of the big Smokey Bear and continues, “Then she whispered in my ear and started walking. Next time I looked, she was gone.” He shrugged. “Trooper Peters ripped that GI Joe thing off the dashboard and showed it to me. Some old toy, I guess. When he turned it over, I could see it didn’t even have batteries in it.” His eyes get a funny look in them. “But then it made a weird noise and a voice said, ‘This is Sunrise. Is anybody there?’” Freddie smiled. “I knew what to do. I took the microphone and pushed the button and said, ‘I will be the Wind. Over and out.’”

Words are magic and writers are wizards.