Chapter 6:  Angels, Men & Dudes
by Angel Rodriguez

       You know, if you meet me on the street, you’d type me as a strong twenty-something Latin-American woman- with-a-mission, with the drive to conquer the world and make her dreams come true.  I guess I sort of fit that bill, except the dreams I’m consumed in are never my own. 

       Every time I fall for a man, suddenly my inner compass melts, my bones turn to jelly, and I become a chameleon -- I turn into whoever and whatever I think he wants me to be.  His passions become my passions and it completely consumes me.

       I understand my problem.  I’ve tried to change.  But I’m just a passionate person, and every time I somehow convince myself that this is the ONE -- the right man and the right passion.  I know I’m really still young, not even close to thinking about thirty yet, but the way my life was going, it seemed before I knew it, I’d be a nutty old maid, still jumping from one man and one cause to the next.  I was just tired of that inevitable fate.  If I didn’t have my faith in a higher purpose for each of us, well, I don’t know how I’d go on some mornings. I mean, how much disappointment can a poor girl take? 

       That day in particular definitely started off as one of my all-time lowest.  Michael had just dumped me with no warning at all.  Until the moment he’d left, I was certain that it was the real thing.  My go-get-em, all-consuming passion had turned another one away -- from me and from his own cause.   I was starting to doubt all my convictions.  I was really getting tired of trying to SAVE everything and everyone, because inside, all I really honestly wanted was just for someone to save me.  That morning I had decided that I wouldn’t ever feel that way about anything again, until I discovered what my real passion was.

       Then I delivered that artichoke and bean-sprout pizza to Mister Peace, and instantly everything changed.  I suddenly felt passionate again, more passionate than ever, and it had nothing to do with a man this time. For the first time, I suppose.

       Not that Peace, er, um, Merle isn’t a man, of course, but I mean usually I’m attracted to the man long before I wrap myself up in his cause.  There definitely wasn’t an attraction when he opened that motel door.  All I saw was a balding middle-aged hippie in his boxer shorts, who had better give me a big tip after all he’d put me through.   Then I saw all that money, and suddenly it was like the world was full of infinite possibilities.  I was sure that my desire to change the world for the better was MY passion, and that money was my ticket to make it happen.  When Merle agreed to let me lead this quest to save the world, I knew never again would I be any man’s left shoe.  I was certain beyond a doubt that I was strong and ready and the One who could help make it happen. I felt in control, invincible, and sure of my destiny.

       Then ‘Peace’ came out of the bathroom after changing, and he was wearing a rainbow-colored robe and sandals and dark sunglasses, and I felt like the wind was knocked out of me.  Did this guy have all his marbles?   But you know, I took a deep breath and shrugged it off.  Even if he were crazy, there was this wonderful mission and he had the money to maybe make it happen.  If I could have a chance to be part of that dream -- to lead that dream -- he could wear whatever he wanted and call himself Merlin or Peace Dude or God Almighty.  It was fine by me.

       So we got to the peace rally and I was out there hollering with the best of them, and all the while Peace Dude was quiet, kind of just watching, waiting.  And then I looked over and he had this gleam in his eyes and before I knew it, he was up on the platform throwing money out at the crowd.  And they handed him the microphone and he started in like a preacher, laughing and singing and talking about peace on earth and how we can all make a better world, while he tossed out more money.  But no one listened.  They just pushed to get closer to the floating bills. As soon as he ran out of money, they really got ugly, and there was a whole lot of pushing and shoving, and there were police everywhere and ... well, next thing I knew I was watching them haul Peace and a bunch of others off in a police van.

       So I dashed back to the motel, grabbed plenty of cash and bailed them all out.  Merle was very quiet as we rode back to the motel in a cab.  “That didn’t go very well,” he sighed.

       “Dude, we need a plan,” I agreed.

       “Well, what do we do?”

       I’d been thinking hard about this ever since I saw all that money.  I had lots of ideas.  “We make a movie,” I blurted.  “It’ll get everybody excited about working together to create a better world.  These aliens come, see, and threaten to blow up the world unless we change our evil ways, and the whole world joins together to save us and...”

       Merle sighed.  “A movie’s good.  Changing the way people think is exactly what we have to do in order to change the world.  Somehow we have to convince everyone that ‘peace on earth’ is a goal that nations and individuals should be working toward.  If countries and companies and communities and ordinary people made all their decisions with ‘creating a better world’ in mind, it would really make this world a better place.  A movie’s a good start, but we need something bigger...”

       I had plenty more ideas.  “Okay... we need to get the idea of creating ‘peace on earth’ into all the media - TV, the movies, books, music...”

       “Now you’re talking...”  Merle smiled as he leaned back and closed his eyes.

       “We can set up some place where artists and writers and musicians from all around the world can come and create, and then we help market it and get out in the world... we’d have a peace factory.”  

       “PERFECT!” Merle was laughing.  “And I’ve got just the place in mind -- in Costa Rica there’s this sacred mountain, Mt. Rasur, and according to ancient myth, peace on earth is supposed to spread from there throughout the world.  The University for Peace is right there in the shadow of the mountain...   The perfect site for our creative arts peace factory."

       Definitely sounded like a promising idea.  “But...” I hesitated.  “There’s a million projects to make a better world out there already.  Heaven knows I’ve been part of too many of them.  We need some hook... something that ties them all together into one big movement, while at the same time giving people a goal they can work on together to achieve.  Something specific that they can get excited about and some way to mark our progress.”

       Merle sat up and gasped, “ONE DAY IN PEACE” he yelled.  The taxi driver was startled and swerved a little more than usual.

       Then he told me all about the campaign he and a whole lot of others were working on for January 1, 2000, and how far they came without any money at all.  “We’ll concentrate on one mantra: ‘ONE DAY IN PEACE, JANUARY 1’ and people can get their cities and states and countries involved.  And every night in the news they’ll show more lights on the map as new places get involved, and they’ll share inspiring stories about how people are changing their lives and their communities for the better by joining in to work for humanity’s first day of peace ever, one day at a time.  And every year ‘One Day In Peace, January 1’ will be bigger and bigger!”

       It sounded interesting.   What better New Year’s resolution could the world make each year than trying to live in peace.  But I wasn’t totally convinced.  “The One Day In Peace angle is a great one, and it’ll get people motivated, but what we’re talking about is much bigger than a once-in-a-year event...” I said slowly as an idea grew in my mind.  Merle could practically see it growing in my eyes. 

       “We’re talking about a whole movement here,” I continued.  “There’s so much going on out there that no one knows about.  If we can connect the dots somehow, people will see that they’re not alone in their efforts to make a better world.  And the media will see the acts of kindness going on all around us are not random -- they’re part of a wonderful movement -- a PEACE ON EARTH MOVEMENT.”

       “I love it!” Merle exclaimed. 

       My mind was racing a mile a minute. "Probably would be better to call it the BETTER WORLD MOVEMENT though, since, no offense, but lots of people get bent out of shape when you talk about 'peace on earth."

       Merle nodded reflectively. "You've got a point," he agreed reluctantly. "But I still think 'One Day In Peace' should be a primary focus of the movement, but we'll talk more about it... We’ve got to get Artie Taylor back into this -- he was my right arm, way back when.” 

       He was really excited.  Except he had no idea where this Arthur Taylor was now.  Truth be told, I wasn’t very impressed with the stories about how Artie as King Arthur and Merle as Merlin would make fools of themselves on stage for peace.  And besides, I was his right arm now.

       I moved closer so the driver couldn’t hear me through the bullet-proof window separating us and him. “Look, we’ll pack up all the money, and set up our ‘peace factory’, and we’ll use it to promote a new ‘better world movement’ and ‘one day in peace’ and then once we’re set up and running we’ll look for your King Arthur.”

       Merle nodded in agreement.  “This is great!” he laughed, thundering a few too many decibels louder than my ears could take.  The taxi driver couldn’t take it either, even through the bullet-proof shield, because he really swerved now and I went flying into Merle.

       Ouch.  We must have bumped heads, and I lay there on top of him for a good minute or two before I realized what I was doing.  My heart started to pound. Embarrassed, I sprang up and belatedly pulled my seat belt on.  I felt a huge awkward moment hanging over us, but Merle didn’t even seem to notice.  I sighed and wondered what was going on inside me.  I recognized those embarrassed jitters all too well. Was I starting to fall for him now?  Or was that bump on the head just throwing my judgment off? 

       It must have been the bump on the head.  How else can I explain how I agreed to what we were about to do next?

       We quickly packed all the money up when we got back to the motel, and within an hour we were on a plane heading for Los Angeles and then on to Costa Rica.  Now, if you know me, you know I hate to fly. I just hate being up there so far up off the ground. I leave that to my angels. So, how did I find myself early the next morning holding on to Merle for dear life as I’m falling out of the sky.

       “Isn’t this great!” Merle laughed as we started to drift apart.  Up above, my brightly colored parachute was just barely keeping me from plummeting to the ground, and in the distance the airplane faded away.

       I shook my head in disbelief, feeling the bump on my head still slightly throbbing.  It was as if I’d just awakened to find myself in a falling-nightmare. “Peace Dude, weren’t we just in that nice cab in Miami?” I moaned.  “How did you talk me into this?”

       Merle’s smile just got wider.  “Isn’t Costa Rica beautiful!” 

       The sky and the mountains and trees might very well have been beautiful, but I kept my eyes tightly shut and starting praying.  “Where are my angels when I need them,” I muttered.

       All of the sudden I was panic-stricken.  “But wait, where’s all the money!” I gasped.  I certainly wouldn’t want to be stuck in this dream without the money.

       Merle chuckled and pointed just slightly below us at three separate parachutes, each with a dozen duffel bags attached.  “Don’t worry... be happy!”  Then he really got  excited.  “Look, Angel, that’s Mount Rasur,” he laughed.  “And there’s the University for Peace over there.”  Over there is exactly where the wind was bringing us.  I swallowed, wondering what it was exactly I’d gotten myself into, and I began to wish I’d agreed to look for King Arthur first.

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Table of Contents | Preface | Ch 1

| Ch 2 | Ch 3 | Ch 4 |
Ch 5 | Ch 6 | Ch 7 | Ch 8 | Ch 9 |Ch 10 | Ch 11 |
Ch 12 | Ch 13 | Ch 14 | Ch 15 | Ch 16 | Ch 17 |
Ch 18 | Ch 19 | Ch 20 | Ch 21 | Ch 22 | Ch 23 |
Ch 24 | Ch 25 | Ch 26 | Ch 27 | Ch 28 | Ch 29

A Novel about creating humanity's first day of peace
Robert Alan Silverstein

The People For Peace Project

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May Peace Prevail On Earth