Halo in the ring

The Messiah Stumps for President

By Alex Horvath

(From the Pacific Sun, “Overheard”, March 1994)
A press release arrived in the office last week from the first announced candidate for the 1996 presidential election. Amazingly, it was from an old Bolinas neighbor of mine, Neil (The Messiah!) Brandt. As some of your may remember from earlier stories in the Pacific Sun, it was Neil who discovered that Mt. Tam is actually hollow and was being used by man-eating Venusians as a hangar for their spaceships.
Now Neil has given up his Venusian connections and is focusing on songwriting, his duties as the Messiah and the upcoming presidential campaign. It seemed like a good time to catch up with this potential world leader.
Neil, 47, left his funky place in Bolinas years ago. Now his world headquarters are located in a Leave It to Beaver neighborhood in Novato.  As I made my way up the front walk, I was momentarily taken aback by all the signs of suburbia. There were Neighborhood Watch and American flag stickers on The Messiah’s front door, a 1990 black Plymouth Laser in the drive and a pool out back.
Neil answered the door in a T-shirt, jeans and socks and appeared a bit timid for a presidential candidate. What hit me first was a blast of heat – Neil had the furnace cranked up to 95 degrees – and an overpowering odor of cats and cat food.
Before our interview, Neil suggested a tour of what could someday be the Western Whitehouse. There was a lot to see. Each room resembled a crowded hobby store or maybe the staging area of a flea market. Neil’s collection ranges from happy faces to hundreds of video tapes. The tapes are categorized by subject: aliens, natural catastrophes, the media and so on. Also noteworthy were 20 Alf dolls lying against a couch, a dozen Little Mermaids that were part of a fish tank/crystal city exhibit, and several King Tut heads in the Pyramid Room.
Given that relationships with women have been a problem for several recent presidential candidates, I asked Neil how he was doing in that regard. He said he’s been too busy to create a successful dating program, but he’s doing his best through personal ads in the Sun and other papers.
So Neil, at what point do you tell your date that you are The Messiah? “I hold off on that,” said Neil. “It’s not as romantic as telling her you once wrote a song for Robert Plante.”
Neil explained that he did write a song for Robert Plante and that his current patriotic ditty titled “Born to America.” Neil sent tapes of the song to Senators Robert Dole and Jesse Helms, who mailed back nice reviews. The most enthusiastic reception came from the folks at the National Rifle Association. They said, and Neil showed me the letter, “We all enjoyed listening to your song, ‘Born to America.’ The song’s message is one that gun owners can be proud of.”
Neil’s plans for the campaign are solid. There is the Neil “Heal” Deal (healthcare), NEILAW (Nationally Enforced Internal Law), and my personal favorite, Parade Aid. This is where cities and counties put on a parade once a month of bachelors and bachelorettes hoping to find suitable mates.
Neil’s chat about flying saucers and his Messiah role slide past easily in the Bay Area. But what about when his campaign hits, say, Texas? Will he still talk about saucers and crystal cities?
No, sir. Neil may be unusual but he’s not stupid. “I wouldn’t do that. I would talk about things I know they want to hear about, like crime.”  

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