By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
Now let's back up a little bit, back to the night after the initial meeting with the man who slid down the wall in a Scottsdale art gallery.
"I locked myself in my bedroom, and I started studying that thing. And I saw demons come out of it. And the more I studied it, the more Picasso started talking to me," says David. "He started telling me about this picture.
"There's stuff in this painting that is going to come out in the End Times, when Jesus comes again. I could give you numbers down to the year when Christ is going to return. If you read the Bible, you know that there's an elite few that Jesus says He will give true knowledge of Scriptures, just to help out things."
David says he really hasn't gone to church much since he was 14 or 15 and describes himself as "a regular old Joe." It is also David's belief that he is a "direct descendant of Jesus Christ."
"It's hard for someone in this almost 21st century to perceive all this," he says. "Modern Christianity, the way we know it, is so wrong. You have no idea.
"When Jesus Christ returns, He'll be in a spaceship," explains David, who says this information comes from God. "I could show you in the Bible ten places of Him entering a ship in a desert place and the disciples following Him on foot.
"That's why the government has covered up so much. The government, the United Nations, the League of Nations--it's inevitable that they are the antichrist. Look at the world; it can't go on that much further. And I'm one of the ones that was picked in the End Times."
There is, of course, more. Though David is all out of cigarettes at this point, he carries on.
"The painting tells Picasso's death, if you add the numbers up, the day and month and year, it's the day he died [actually, it's off by a year. The artist passed on in 1973; the date of the painting--11+8+55--adds up to 74]. He's also telling--this is what I've been told," David says, eyes directed to a heavenward source, "was he had a little black thing going with the dark side which he couldn't tell nobody, so he did it through his interpretation of paint. . . . His hand was being manipulated by black sources while he was drawing. But God was over on Satan again, because if you turn the picture upside down, there's the face of Christ.
"Also, before the war, Picasso knew that the Nazis were going to come through Europe [and steal art] so Picasso and Matisse and some of the others he would hang out with went through and bought up as much of the old stuff as they could and hid it from the Nazis. After the war, for some reason, they decided not to tell anybody where it was."
David alleges there is a map of Europe in the painting (which, by the way, he believes was originally done over a work by Goya). The map reveals the locations of these invaluable caches of art. There are forces at work, he tells me, to prevent this information from surfacing, forces in "the underground art world."
And, if you thought it was safe to begin breathing again, wait another second. For David claims there is one more thing that can be found in this mother of a painting.
"It tells all the people that were in Picasso's satanic circle, the high-level government officials that were in his circle. It'd be like finding out that President Clinton is going out on weekends cutting the heads off chickens. You wouldn't want that to get around."
So David, Debbie, Daryle and another couple loaded up their unique Dumpster find and headed off to Dallas. On the way, there was plenty of time to mull things over, plenty of time for something to happen. Which it did.
"We did a lot of talking," Debbie says, "and everything that David had said happened: It was going to be a long, drawn-out ordeal, we were going to lose everything we had, everyone was going to ridicule us and they'd think we would be off our rocker. And that we were going to have a hard time making people understand, or even listen to us with an open mind. And David said we might lose some of us on the trip."
I wasn't sure what that meant. Turns out that David's best friend, his "fishin' buddy," became the casualty.
"He was driving," Debbie reveals, "and the exact instant he saw what the picture showed when you turn it upside down, he lost his mind. The exact second, there wasn't even a breath between. We had to leave him in Amarillo after a long, half-day experience of drawing guns; he thoroughly believes to this day that our trip was to take him out and kill him so Pam [his woman] and Daryle could be together. And Pam and Daryle had just met that day."