After an exhausting three-day search through the streets of Las Vegas, Prophet Morgan finally ran across Jimmy the Runt (that’s what folks called him), who tried to explain in an animated and often-squeaky voice what had happened to Jubal Carlos.
Matthew had contacted Prophet and asked him to go to Vegas, locate Jubal and keep him in a safe place until Matthew could join them and make the proposal to Mr. Carlos about what certainly might be the bravest and most bizarre promotion in the history of mankind.
It was not an elaborate ruse, but rather, a performance art piece, presenting Jubal Carlos as Jesus–in character, personality, mannerisms and speech. That was the idea.
So Prophet Morgan was sent to locate Jubal, only to discover that he was nowhere to be found. After Jimmy the Runt nervously offered his rendition of the events that had brought about the disappearance, which only left Prophet Morgan with more questions than answers, the Prophet decided to go a little deeper into the honeycomb of the homeless community.
There he met an old Indian chief named Plato. The street folks called him Plato because they thought he possessed great wisdom (and because he insisted that was his name). Plato was just the opposite of Jimmy the Runt. He was slow of speech, overly thoughtful, and unwilling to change his pace for anyone, especially Prophet Morgan, who apparently resembled some of the early settlers who had stolen his people’s land. After three-and-a-half hours of interrogation, Chief Plato finally came out with it.
“They have arrested young Jubal and taken him to jail.”
Prophet Morgan squinted. It seemed completely unlikely. Jubal was well known up and down the Strip, and unless he had gunned down a showgirl outside the Golden Nugget, he probably was not going to find himself in trouble with the law.
But just to make sure, Prophet Morgan headed down to the Clark County Jail, and was able to confirm that there was a Jubal Carlos being held prisoner. He not only was in jail, but had already been tried, convicted and sentenced to spend thirty days there, courtesy of the county.
It was all too odd–and when Prophet Morgan demanded to see Jubal, he was told that unless he was an attorney or had clearance from the federal government, there would be no possibility of making contact.
“What was he convicted of?” demanded Prophet.
A policeman in his late forties, who had obviously forgotten how to smile two decades ago, looked down at the arrest orders and said, “Not that it’s any of your business, but Mr. Carlos was arrested for second degree disturbing of the peace.”
Morgan frowned. “What is second degree disturbing of the peace?”
The cop, without missing a beat, replied, “It’s one degree more serious than first degree disturbing of the peace.”
Prophet Morgan smiled, hoping it was a joke, as the cop stared at him without moving a whisker on his 1973 mustache.
Prophet Morgan left the Clark County Jail and called Matthew, giving him the status. Matthew swore in four languages, three of which he did not know. He hung up the phone and he took the first plane to Las Vegas. Arriving in town, he immediately took a taxi to the Clark County Jail, where he, too, had the pleasure of meeting the Mustachioed Quiet Man, clad in Baker’s Brown.
As Matthew was trying to convince the constable of his need to meet with Jubal Carlos, he glanced down at the file on the desk and noticed that written across it in large letters was the word, “PRIORITY.”
Pointing at the file, he asked, “Is that Jubal Carlos’s file?”
The cop fired back, “It’s none of your damn business, but yes.”
Matthew giggled because even though it wasn’t his business, he still got a reply. He continued, “Why is ‘priority’ written on the file? And while you’re at it, answer another question. What is second degree disturbing of the peace?”
The policeman opened a book, thumbed a few pages and came to Statute 469-374-8. He read from Paragraph Three: “Any individual who engages in any activity which causes the disruption of the common good shall be arrested and pay a fine of $264 and spend thirty days in jail.”
Matthew shook his head. “That’s the weirdest damn thing I’ve ever heard in my life.”
The cop half whispered, “It’s from 1954. Vegas was weird back then. There were a lot of gangsters running around town, carousing and shootin’ their guns off at night. The good folks of the community wanted to make sure they had some law to protect them from the hooligans.”
“Hooligans,” repeated Matthew. “Have you met Jubal Carlos?”
“I have not had the pleasure.” At this point, the cop turned on his heel and walked away. Matthew thought he was going to retrieve another document, so he waited for a few minutes, but the stoic law enforcement officer never returned.
Matthew wasn’t sure what to do. He didn’t have enough legal training to know whether a writ of Habeas Corpus could be rendered, since Jubal was already convicted.
So figuring that Mr. Carlos could be no more than three or four rooms away, he ran through the police station screaming at the top of his lungs, “Jubal! Jubal!”
Actually he was fairly astounded at how long he was able to continue the rampage before he was tackled and thrown to the ground by two burly cops.
Still, they would not throw him into the common clink, where he could be united with Jubal. Desperate and not willing to wait, he shoved one of the policemen, who fell over a trash can, landed against a computer, which knocked over a desk and spilled over to a nearby secretary, who was innocently watching but suddenly found herself tipped over in her chair, unceremoniously landing on the floor. She squealed like a family of mice.
The original cop, who had been watching the strange scene from a distance, ambled over to Matthew and said, “You are under arrest.”
Matthew took a deep breath and replied, “It’s about goddamn time.”
Published by Jonathan Cring