After taking a quick look around, even though I can tell by the dogs relaxed nature that nothing is within earshot of my home, I turn back to my porch and reach for the chain around my neck that holds the key to my locked door.
Fitting the rusted sliver of metal into the worn-out lock it clips open, and I hang it on its latch. Grabbing my bag and walking through the door, I place it next to the sink and begin removing my four jugs and other supplies, for the moment placing the note out of my mind.
The four jugs of Local 88 I immediately placed in my comfort cabinet. The matches go in their tin above the stove, and the candles well placed on the shelf above the sink. My tobacco retires to its burlap sack that sits in the corner next to my bed.
I replace my revolver back into its makeshift leather holster that’s attached to the underside of my bed, for quick grasping if necessary, why you might do so could escape you but then again you might know all too well. I then reach above my bed and retrieve my rifle that rests on the two wooden pegs that rest within the wall. A few shells in my pocket, my pipe, and some tobacco, my tin cup, a jug of Walter’s special and out the door I go.
Heading back into town at a brisk pace the breath of excitement and curiosity escaped his mouth. What will Joseph make of his new news? Will his mind reel from anger until it is overcome by desire? The tired man knew he was doing the right thing and only wished he did not have to play this game of charades to bring the information to light. But, he had been warned for too many years to forget that if he let the truth slip from his lips he would pay dearly. The first card had been played, and now he would stand on the outskirts to see what his next move should be. He would guide Joseph as much as his fear would let him.
Off to the right of my porch is my river rock ringed fire pit, some hardened creek stone, mostly local clay sedimentary rocks that have been broken off by the water and gravity, a powerful combination, I lugged up one long day when the whiskey got me going fairly good. Now this pit is not randomly dug and placed, this opening to that hell fire that produces those swaying beauties of ever changing light, for this pit is nicely situated near a good sized pine stump I left after cutting it’s better half down to use for my cabin, my bed frame to be exact. And after a few rubbings with a chisel in the center and the side that faces the fire pit it makes one heck of a resting spot to enjoy the dancing flames of hell, even though it’s not nearly as comfortable as that moss covered maple tree forty-five minutes into my walk on the wolfs and my path, but still worthy of a long sit.
With the fire going with an encouraging might, I grab my rifle, load it and fill my first full cup of Local 88. Sitting and waiting for the dogs to let me in on anything they hear. They’re not too close, but within the firelight expanse.
With the note in my hand, I read it over and over trying to get its meaning its essence. I’m completely stumped and confused as to what the author intended to mean by his or her words. Why the vagueness of the meaning? If this person knows anything about my father’s whereabouts why not just confront me and reveal their knowledge, unless, they were themselves a conspirator in the disappearance of my father. This thought burns deep and unleashes a flood of possible suspects. Who could it be? Can I trust anyone now, do I dare? Should they all pay, or do I have the patience to weed out the lone perpetrator? Either way someone will pay with their life.
Some of the dogs are comfortably curled up and half asleep, some cleaning themselves the best they can, and Top and Snout sitting closer than all the others stand looking directly into the fire as if in complete, what’s that word again—awe.
It always amazes me how a dog can do what it wants but still keep its surroundings at a comfort level that would keep even God guessing why.
If the ignorant bastard is crazy enough to come back tonight; he’ll die tonight a deliberately painful death as I slowly drain every inch of life from him.
I love a good clear night where I can see the constellations made from scattered suns that we clump together as recognizable shapes that could still be burning bright or could have died millions of years ago and we’re still glimpsing the light it gave off as if watching the past in the present.
Dead light still burning bright. A dead night still turning.
Infinity, that’s a hard one to wrap the mind around. I can look at my fire blazing and remember starting it—its beginning. I will also see it give off its last effort and fade away—its death, but infinity has no beginning, and no end.
Only way I know how to begin to understand infinity—no beginning, no end—is that there’s always a middle. Maybe we think in the middle. I think we live in the middle. Maybe that’s why society is so confused and all mighty in its mirrored image.
Imagine picking up a book and beginning to read the pages half way through; you can guess what happened before and why the characters are doing what they’re doing at that point but just as you begin to understand the book is taken away. No beginning, no ending; just guessing from what little of the middle you’ve learned from those characters. That’s all life is, a random string of guesses rolled into a short amount of time.
What made them who they are?—no beginning.
What will become of them?—no end.
I wish my jug were like that, the no end part at least, although I like the beginning and middle part.
Resting nicely and feeling the whiskey make its way through my system, I feel that welcoming comfort coming on, helping me regain my calm from that dead man’s note.
I can slowly begin to tell that’s it going to be one of those nights where a man reminisces about the time he’s been lucky enough to go through and all the experiences that have been wedged in his mind. One of those nights where time stands still and your mind is in a state of frozen animation. What will my thoughts sculpt tonight in the few hours the burning embers continue on along their sole purpose in this world?
The first memory branches from the pipe in my hand. A well-aged brown piece that has seen a good deal of use ever since it had been carefully crafted. It’s not the best money can buy, however, it’s worth all the money in every bank this country has because I made it for myself out of a single piece of oak—not an easy task with such a hard wood. I even carved a vine design that wraps its way around the stem and onto the bowl itself where a few wilted leaves hold place.
People call all types of objects beautiful, but this pipe is the mold that cast the very word itself. My father would have been proud of such craftsmanship; he would have said I get my artistic tendencies from my mother.
I miss my mother, and I miss my father. I wish I could find him or at least learn what happened to him. As for my mother, at least I can visit her when I choose, a sense of closer and peace.
I remember the first day he took me out hunting, of course, he wouldn’t let me carry a gun, but I got to go none the less. I did get to carry his shotgun for a little while, damn I felt lucky and free.
I think that first trip to the wild was his way of trying to teach me how to stay quiet and keep my eyes and ears aware of anything and everything. But, most of all I think he was teaching me patience, how to sit in one spot and just take in the surroundings. A busy mind misses every opportunity in the wilderness he used to say. He was full of those country wisdoms that most brushed off as nonsense until you would truly give them some thought.
He could put more meaning in five words that most could in five pages. A talent to be sure, a talent that wasn’t passed along to me.