| There is an old legend that
when Lucifer and a third of the angels of heaven rebelled against God,
some of them realized their error and tried to repent. It was too
late and they had sealed their fates, so now they walk the earth as men
trying to do good as well as fallen angels can; hoping that God, in His
mercy, will not consign them to such a low place in Hell.
It is a rare thing to find a
man who has a natural affinity and empathy for people. Therefore,
it is even more inconceivable that such a man, if he does exist, would
spend the prime hours of the day seeking out those who are in pain.
Vincent Agellos is such a man.
Some say that he had once been
a Christian minister. Those who had heard this, would tell you that
he had gotten fed up with church politics and the hypocrisy he had fought
for so many years. He only wanted to do good. Instead, he ended up
feeling more like a referee than a representative of God.
Others had the impression that
he had probably been some kind of professional businessman.
His ability to cut to the heart of a matter led some to think that he might
even be a psychologist or a counselor of some kind. He had a natural
way of setting people at ease. In the medium of chat, that was a
Still others thought that perhaps
he was an artist or a musician. He loved music and had a penchant
for poetry. Furthermore, he always seemed to have a part of a song
or a quotation at the tip of his tongue to fit almost any situation.
At any rate, when it came to painting pictures with words, he was a natural.
Prettydoes: are you there, Soul
SoulToucher: hi, pretty lady <s>
Prettydoes: awe, you always make me feel so good
SoulToucher: Jenny, you are a beautiful person
SoulToucher: please tell me how the girl from Ohio is doing
Prettydoes: much better...she is making great progress
SoulToucher: did she find you and your friends
Prettydoes: yes...we are so excited...her name is Evie
SoulToucher: what's her prognosis
Prettydoes: she will need several more surgeries,
scarred but is expected to do well
SoulToucher: where there is life, there is hope <s>
Prettydoes: yes, you told me that the first time we met
SoulToucher: i remember <s>
Prettydoes: do you remember what else you said
SoulToucher: gee, Jen, i said a lot of things <s>
Prettydoes: you told me that tears are God's way of
washing away the pain...cleaning the windows
of our hearts so that we can see things more
you have a pretty good memory too <s>
Soul, i will never forget those first chats
with you...i was so down...you were there for me
SoulToucher: and now you are the one who is there for others
Prettydoes: thanks to you
SoulToucher: all i did was to help you understand that life
goes on for those who have a reason to live
it–you did the rest
Prettydoes: love you, soul man <tears>
SoulToucher: ditto, kiddo
They chatted for just a few minutes
more. Where once they had spent hours in conversation, now she would
just spend a few minutes with him. It's not that she didn't enjoy
their times together as much as she had before. Nothing could be
further from the truth. It had more to do with a mission that had been
Jenny had come across "SoulToucher"
quite by accident. He had a way about him. She was still new
to the internet and he had been kind enough to answer some of her questions.
As they continued to chat she found herself opening up to this kind stranger.
He encouraged her in the midst of her own tragedy and then affirmed her
desire to reach out to others like herself.
Jenny might not have been so
determined to find Danny Alvarez. She first sought out his opinion
of her idea. The "SoulToucher" had become her personal cheerleader.
At least, that was the way the ex-cheerleader perceived him.
Everyone seemed to see him in
a different light. That was his magic.
SoulToucher: Robert, do you think Byron was right?
Gentl2U: How so, soul?
SoulToucher: It seems to me that there are some men
who also view love as their "whole existence."
Gentl2U: Are you referring to
SoulToucher: Yes, I am.
Gentl2U: Well, then, you are
SoulToucher: I know–still miss her very much, don't you?
Gentl2U: It hurts like hell.
Bob, you and Becky had in a few short
years what some couples never experience
in a lifetime. You were the lucky ones. <s>
Gentl2U: If I know anything,
it is that. Yes.
Robert found solace in his chat
friend's comments. He knew that he could always depend upon Vincent's
ability to say the right thing when it was needed; to offer just the right
words of comfort. He was also the only one who knew Vincent's surname.
The "SoulToucher" had shared it with him as a way of being more personable
with this quiet young man who had lost the love of his life.
"Gentl2U" excused himself.
He had an e-mail to compose before he turned in for the night.
SoulToucher: Now, what are you two doing in here? <s>
Princess20: hi, soul
Queenie: well, hey there
toucher, how r u
SoulToucher: Fine, ladies, thank you.
Queenie: toucher, this
young gal just told me quite
an amazing story
SoulToucher: Would you like to tell me about it?
Princess 20: soul, do you remember when i told you
about that weird guy in the teen rooms
SoulToucher: Yes, the one who wanted you to meet him.
Princess20: it turns out he was some guy named
Queenie: how did you find
Princess20: the police did an investigation and
disks filled with chats he had with lots of girls
SoulToucher: Why the investigation?
Princess20: turns out he abducted some of them
Queenie: what happened
Princess20: one was rescued and two found dead
SoulToucher: How terrible!
Vincent had not always been a
sensitive man. The experiences of life have a way of softening the
heart. Neither one of the other chatters could see the tears slowly
rolling down his cheeks one by one. The pain of the loss of his own
daughter still haunted him.
Princess20: i think i knew one of them from a chat
Queenie: did you really?
Princess20: yes, her nickname was Sweet16
SoulToucher: How did you make the connection?
Princess20: he privately told me her real name
about where she lived and i remember that...
Princess20: she stopped coming to the room about
same time i decided to shake off that jerk
Queenie: i recall you asking
me what you should do
Princess20: do you know what is so scarey
SoulToucher: I can guess.
Princess20: if not for the warnings you two gave
me it could of been me
SoulToucher: "Early and provident fear is the
mother of safety."
Queenie: soul, who said
SoulToucher: Someone named Burke. <s>
Queenie: a very wise man
Princess20: you guys might have saved my life
SoulToucher: We only tried to advise you. You were the one
who ultimately made the right decision.
Call it humility. There
was nothing pretentious about him. He never took even the slightest
amount of credit for helping anyone. It wasn't in his nature.
Those who knew Vincent well
sensed his gentleness. That was true amongst those in the real world
as well as those who resided in Chatville. Still, no one had any
idea of the many lives that he had actually touched. As one who was
one of the first to discover the world of chat in it's infancy, he had
made contact with countless numbers of faceless nicknames. Unlike
the vast majority of chatters who preferred a certain room or two, he floated
through all of them, searching for those who needed the brush of an angel
As soon as he entered into a
chat, whether it was one person who was in hiding or a room filled to capacity,
he had a quirky way of communicating that caught the attention of others
and held it. He would be told as much from time to time. Interestingly
enough, he didn't really believe their comments. It was simply the way
he was, and he didn't consider himself as being either unique or special.
His affinity to attract others came natural to him. Mr. Agellos saw
himself as another chatter and nothing more.
Others saw him as their salvation.
SoulToucher: I was hoping that it would. <s>
PeterPan: Thanks for the idea.
SoulToucher: No need to thank me.
PeterPan: I wouldn't have thought of
SoulToucher: I take it that you and the Tink are happy again.
PeterPan: Soul, things between us are
better than ever.
PeterPan: The e-mail idea–Where did
you get it?
SoulToucher: Oh, I suppose it was something from my past.
PeterPan: Can you tell me about it?
SoulToucher: Suffice it to say that my experience
was much the same as your's.
PeterPan: Did your experience involve
SoulToucher: Yes, Peter, someone very special <s>
PeterPan: Tink says hi.
SoulToucher: Is she there now?
PeterPan: Yes...right beside me.
SoulToucher: Tink, who's your happy thought?
PeterPan: Soul, Tink says that I am
her happy thought.
SoulToucher: Somehow I thought that would be her answer.
PeterPan: She's my happy thought, too,
SoulToucher: Why don't you two go do some
shadow chasing. <s>
Loneliness was nothing new to
Vincent Agellos. He had been a solitary man for the better part of
his life. It wasn't that he wanted it that way. His personal
history had been one of broken trusts. A failed marriage had only
served to compound his fears
As much as he cared about
people (and he did), he had become reluctant to interact with them and
their needs. There were too many hurts that had piled up over the
years. Ultimately he was overwhelmed with the need to distance himself
from human contact. He had experienced more than his share of it.
As far as personal demons are concerned, he had several of his own to deal
His self-imposed exile finally
brought him the peace of mind that he had longed for. The income
he earned from filling vending machines in the early morning hours was
all he needed to keep body and soul together. It was by no means
an adequate means of employment for a man who had once worn expensive suits
and driven a new car every year. It would never have supported his
previous lifestyle or the woman he had divorced before walking away from
The final blow came only after
he realized how estranged from the important things of life he had become.
His awakening caused him to look around and admit to himself that he had
sold his soul by surrounding himself with people who really didn't care.
Everyone in his neatly packaged little world saw him as the answer man.
They depended upon him to provide them with all of the solutions to their
own problems. Even his own wife saw him more as a means to an end
than the man inside who needed the same basic things as any other human
being. In one final act of desperation he simply
walked away from everything. It was either that or give into the
horrendous pressures that were overwhelming him. The instinct
to survive saved his humanity from total extinction. No one could
tell him that it wasn't worth the sacrifice.
Vincent welcomed the loneliness.
He reveled in it.
The apartment he leased was
decent and modestly decorated. His only companion was a gray and
white cat that had strayed from it's home on a cold blustery day two winters
ago. He had heard it's cries as he was finishing up one of his vending
stops. The freezing animal was gently tucked inside his coat as he
made his way to the company van. Having never had his own pet before,
he took little Cindy home even though the apartment's management had a
policy against having animals. To a man who had burned out on his
own kind, the friendship of this little creature was all that he needed.
Most of his evenings were spent in front of the computer with the cat lying
on a pillow that had been placed next to it. He welcomed the sense
of calmness when she purred and cuddled up on his lap.
He had rediscovered his affection
for kids, too.
howdy there soul dude
SoulToucher: Why, Jeff, how are you, man?
just fine sir <s>
SoulToucher: Have you been behaving yourself?
now why would i want to go and do that for
SoulToucher: <s> How's school these days?
great! i just made the basketball team
SoulToucher: Wonderful! I'm proud of you.
trouble is i won't be able to stay up late as much
to play with the ole computer
SoulToucher: Your mom should be happy about that. <g>
i hear you, sir
SoulToucher: Jeff, you're going to be a goodball player.
i hope so, sir
There was a time when he could
justify not having any children of his own. In his previous life,
Mr. Agellos was too busy for such things. At least, that is what
he told himself. When his daughter was born, she might as well of
been born into a single parent home. Her mother raised her while
her father lived the life of an insatiable workaholic. The prom night
auto accident ended any chance he would ever have to make it up to her.
Now it was one of the biggest regrets of his life. He had discovered
too late his natural affinity for children.
Jeffrey's "tttex" had successfully
pulled the wool over everyone else's eyes but not "SoulToucher."
Vincent had picked his ruse out immediately and managed to get him to admit
his age rather quickly. The young teenager enjoyed chatting with
the "soul dude." His father had also been killed in an auto accident
that same year. Vincent had become somewhat of an internet surrogate
father to him. It's just another example of the many
ways people connect in Chatville.
SoulToucher: So, sue me. <g>
ALawyer: hi, soul!
SoulToucher: Well, when's the big day?
ALawyer: June 12
ALawyer: couldn't be happier <S>
SoulToucher: Melissa must be very happy too.
ALawyer: yes, very much so
SoulToucher: Is it going to be a big wedding?
ALawyer: not real big–at the courthouse...
ALawyer: our families and friends and her
kindergarten class <s>
SoulToucher: Sounds really nice, Alex.
ALawyer: her Aunt Sally is going to be the
matron of honor
SoulToucher: Fine, but don't get the two of them
confused this time. Okay?
ALawyer: lol – you got that right!!!
Vincent's experience had been similar.
He had wondered into a chat room where music was discussed. It wasn't
a very well attended room but those in it seemed to be very astute regarding
the topic at hand. Someone had brought up an example of a popular
composition that successfully blended country and classical music together.
The two artists who performed the duet were from two completely different
mediums of music and yet they were able to blend their musical styles together
quite nicely. Vincent was not only familiar with the particular piece,
but it was one of his favorites. He was even able to quote one of
the lines that they were having trouble remembering. It was also
one of her favorites.
At first, he thought she was
an elderly woman. It soon became apparent that the "WidowLady" was
obviously a committed music lover. She was wonderfully adept in discussing
all the various forms including obscure artists that some of the others
were completely unaware of.
Vincent was blown away when
he mentioned that, as a boy, he would sit with his father and listen to
Mario Lansa's "Donkey Serenade." She immediately recognized it and
quoted the chorus back to everyone in the room.
After the third or fourth time
he ran across her (he couldn't remember which), he asked her if it would
be permissible for him to send an e-mail her way. She immediately
responded with a "yes" and they began to correspond with each other on
a regular basis.
Ann became his best friend.
Although he had many friends
and acquaintances on the internet, it was the "WidowLady" whom he sought
out in the early evening hours.
Vincent had asked her at one
point about her nickname. In the next e-mail she wrote him a very
long and touching account of her marriage and the loss of her husband due
to alcoholism. His response was one of comfort and sympathy.
It was at that point that their connection was made. The following
e-mails and chats only served to draw them closer together.
When Ann told him that she was
flying to California to visit with some family members he was elated.
She would be staying a little more than a hundred miles down the coast
line and he could drive it within a few hours. He was even more excited
when she agreed to meet him as long as her cousin could accompany her.
Vincent couldn't have been happier to oblige her. Two weekends later
It was one of those bright
sunlit days as the ocean waves hit up against the rocky shoals of the coastline.
The little seaside town was within ear shot of the pounding surf.
Inside the restaurant entrance, the sign on the tripod announced a seafood
buffet including the specials for the day. Ann and her cousin, Lisa,
were waiting for him on the bench in the front foyer just as they had agreed.
There was no doubt in cousin
Lisa's mind that these two people were smitten with each other. Early
on in their conversations around the table she decided to take a back seat.
It all seemed so strange to her. Ann and Vincent seemed like they
had been friends forever and yet this was the first time they had ever
looked upon each other. She also noticed that her cousin and the
nice gentleman seated across from her couldn't stop looking at each other
now that they were in each other's sight. She smiled to herself thinking
that she might as well have been the waitress. At least that way,
she could have asked if everything was okay with them once in awhile.
The hour luncheon turned into
three hours and also an exchange of phone numbers.
Over the next few months, Ann's
attentions had an amazing effect on Vincent. He began to come out
of his cocoon. What emerged was a new man who had finally conquered
his inner battles. He was ready to rejoin the human race again.
The vending company had asked
him to come to work in the main office. He agreed, but made sure
that they would not require him to work in the evenings or on weekends.
Not only was that important for his semi-weekly visits with Ann but also
because of his need to minister to his internet flock. They were
his business now and his influence in their lives gave him a deep sense
of fulfillment. Helping them to be in harmony with their own
lives had become his music.
Vincent Agellos does exist.
This has been his story.
In a place called "Chatville"
a fallen angel has found a way to redeem himself.