Hobo Love

fiction

We both enjoy riding the rails and don’t mind getting dirty in order to do it. Grime is part of train travel, especially at the boxcar level. Plenty of fresh air. Heading West, when the train gets to western Nebraska, nights can be chilly. Then all through Colorado, the altitude rises and even the days become cool. By the time we start snaking through the Rockies, it’s time to slide the door shut and wrap yourself in whatever blankets are at hand. Leave a slit open during the day so you can catch some of the scenery, because believe me, it’s worth catching.

Not many people hang their clothes outside to dry, now that machine dryers are ubiquitous. Few pies are left to cool on windowsills. Fortunately, thanks to cheap Chinese clothing, the world is overflowing with free used and sometimes even new garments, and church groups offer free lunches in church basements all over the place. You’ve just got to ask.

Compared to me, Greta is shy, so I’m the one who does the talking. I’m not the least bit embarrassed about our position. Many people look at us with envy. It was Helen Keller, born blind and deaf who said “The reason nobody has ever experienced Security is because it doesn’t exist. Life is either an exciting adventure or it is nothing.”

I’ve been able to see and hear since birth, but I stand with Helen. No use hedging your bet, this is all there is, so you might as well go for whatever interests you and forget about asking for permission. People fool themselves into thinking that if they ask the right person in a position of authority for help, it will get easier. It won’t. There is no one “above” you in any sense of the term.

We hobos enjoy a freedom that others deny themselves. We love our freedom, and that liberty sets us free to love, really love, ourselves and others. This is the essence and totality of hobo love.

Everyone likes the idea of freedom, but few are prepared to pay its price. With freedom comes responsibility and letting go of blame altogether. No excuses. Envy disappears when one takes charge of ones’ own life, and jealousy is replaced by admiration for those who have gone after what they wanted and gotten it.

SCUMBAG HUCKSTER

SCUMBAG HUCKSTER

He was always selling something and always closing the sale. You simply could not say “no” to him. He would refuse to listen to anything other than what he wanted to hear. He would change the subject, turn things around backwards, sideways, upside down, attack, pretend to concede, gaslight…whatever it took to ultimately get his way.

People who knew him crossed the street when they saw him coming. There were always new victims, marks, or as he called them “prospective customers.” The only solace people found was in realizing that they had a part in this, and the adage “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me” offered some comfort.

He was, on the other hand, extremely kind in public to his family members. He was just as ruthless in dealing with competitors and others outside his immediate circle. When he would play the piano, he displayed admirable musicianship and sensitivity. His performances of Chopin Nocturnes could bring a tear to your eye. If he saw you were moved, he would try to sell you the piano he was playing, inventing stories about it that would convince you this was a rare opportunity he was offering, the deal of a lifetime. The pedigree of this piano was enough to inspire a documentary film, and in fact one was in the offing already, made by some Polish company you’ve never heard of, but soon would. This piano should be in a museum! Hurry, act now. The window of opportunity is closing.

When he traveled, he did so with a fake service dog. He had a note from a psychiatrist prescribing the service dog that in his professional opinion should accompany his patient anywhere and everywhere. Oddly enough, he didn’t enjoy the company of animals. It simply delighted him to enjoy freedoms denied to others. He would lock the dog in his hotel room and let it shit on the bed. The maids could clean it up. If he raised a big enough fuss, he might be able to get management to refund him the price of the room.

FREE AT LAST

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His diary entry:

She meant nothing to me until I successfully ran away from her, and then she was all I could think about. Until I was free of her I blamed her for holding me back. As soon as I was free I was restless, unable to form a plan of action, and now I constantly find myself wondering what she is doing.

Her grip on me is positively demonic. It’s nothing she’s doing, of course, I’m the demon in this case, pretending that someone besides me is to blame. For all I know, she’s not even thinking about me most of the time. In fact, I’m almost sure she’s not, but that doesn’t make it any easier to forgive and forget.

What I’m waiting for is an apology. And for her to tearfully beg me to forgive her and then we can start afresh. No longer the needy wimp, I’ll be the man she always wanted me to be. Strong, self-assured, willing to take charge.

I’ve heard that I’m too late, that she’s already moved on, finding herself an alpha-male who also happens to be rich as well as athletic. I wish them well. No I don’t, I hope they die in a car crash and the sooner, the better. I can’t be big about this. I have to move on and stop thinking about it. It’s very hard to will yourself to not think about something.

Far easier to distract yourself by thinking about something your find interesting or delightful. In my case, that’s impossible, because I find nothing interests me except the desire to get her back so she can apologize and we can finally be happy.

Petty, vengeful, self-centered, demanding? You bet. I’m not proud of it, but it’s who I am. Again, if all it took was an act of will to change my fundamental nature, maybe I could try to focus all my energies and do it for less than a minute, but it wouldn’t last. I know myself. I would be back dwelling on her after than minute lapsed. Nothing would have changed.

Her diary entry:

Even though he hasn’t contacted me, I know he’s out there, waiting for me to give in to his infantile demands. I don’t want to be anyone’s Mommy, or Girlfriend. I don’t like most men, or want them around. A real man, yes, but there aren’t many of them. There are way too many babies whose feelings are easily hurt.

If there’s nothing in it for me, why should I play their game? Last thing I need is some guy expecting me to make him feel good about himself. If you don’t like yourself, leave me alone. Having two of us not like you isn’t going to make you feel any better.

A lot of this current crop of whiners are writing blogs about their “inner life.” They like to talk a lot about spirituality. They remind me of those people who have been to therapy and are now searching for “intimacy.” Give me a break. Get a job that wears you out so you sleep well at night and drop the search for intimacy.

 

 

Acrid Smoke

 

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Nobody needs to know the truth about what happened here. They wouldn’t believe it even if we told them. Dead people were walking and talking and now they’re gone. That’s all we have to admit. Why they came back from the dead and what they were trying to accomplish is anybody’s guess. We don’t have to get all caught up in making sense of it, or explaining it to people who want to be argumentative. Lots of people get off on being contrary. That doesn’t mean we have a problem. It means they enjoy being difficult and pretending to be more intelligent than us. They aren’t.

The dead people smelled bad. It wasn’t that rotting flesh dead animal by the side of the road dumpster behind a fast food restaurant smell. It was an acrid, smoky odor that surrounded them even if the wind were blowing.

They also whined a lot. You found yourself just wanting to slap them, except you were afraid their head might fly off if you did, so you just tried to change the subject and hopefully they would forget their griping. They all seemed to want someone to fix them, to give them justice, to make them alive once more. Nobody could. They knew that, and knowing it just made them whine all the more.

A lot of us became unnerved by their sudden appearance. Now that they’re gone, we’re doing our best to get back to business as usual. Some people claim the smell hasn’t really vanished. On a humid day, you can still detect that acrid, smoky scent.

My brother is a scientist, and works at the nearby observatory the FBI closed last week. He says he can’t disclose what he knows, but insists that the dead being resurrected is somehow linked to solar flares. Beyond that he won’t say any more. He sold all his stocks and put the house on the market, even though he has no plans to move away. Even though he didn’t say so directly, I got the impression that no place is safe. Nowhere is better than here.

He’s not upset at all about the resurgence of the dead. He’s more worried about bubbles bursting, the stock market, housing prices, the value of the dollar itself. In fact, most people aren’t really that concerned about what happened. “Shit happens,” they say and move on with their lives. The thing most people found irritating was the condescending attitude the walking corpses had when they spoke to us.

It was like they were school teachers or snotty professors. Their leader was a very short woman, probably under four feet tall, who spoke as if we were all not very bright school children.

Around them we became dull and inattentive. In some ways they seemed to have more life in them than we had in us.

Sodomites with Attitude

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My older sister was not a nice person. Being mean earned her a certain amount of respect, and both men and women were afraid of crossing her. She would make you pay for any challenge or disrespect. Oddly enough, men found that alluring. She had more boyfriends than any one woman could use.

When she smiled, which was almost never, she could be attractive. When she looked at you like she wanted to dissect you, which was most of the time, she left an impression. She was without a doubt a featured player in nightmares all over town.

At first, no one would believe she was my sister. I am passive to a fault, meek and humble. My major failing is that I’m too nice a guy. But I have limits. I can snap, and have in the past. Those people in South America were threatening us. Even though I couldn’t understand what they were saying, I could sense their vehemence.

If she had been along on that trip, I probably could have restrained myself. But she wasn’t. It was just me and my niece and nephew, and somebody needed to protect them. Anyway, that’s the past. There were no consequences, at least for us. We have moved on.

I’ve been told that I’m quick to point out the flaws in others, but slow to do so in myself. That’s probably right. I can tell you that my sister is a player, a manipulator, but I probably do the same only in my own perhaps more subtle way. I could have been a salesman if I’d wanted to work, but I have never wanted to do so. Thank God our parents left us a substantial inheritance!

We are sodomites and proud of it. Although we don’t choose conflict, we are surrounded by those who want to judge us. Some want to save us, others merely choose to condemn. No matter how hard you try, you will never convince us to change. We don’t try to change you, so why do you try to change us? Are you so unsure of your convictions that you need us to agree with you?

Yesterday, a big man came to our house and began to pound on the front door. We watched him through the curtains and waited for him to go away. He pounded for ten minutes at least. Maybe fifteen. After he left we were nervous and whispered among ourselves. Would he come back? Would he bring others with him? We have a video surveillance camera that recorded him if we needed to give it to the police, but in our experience we are better off leaving the police out of our affairs. They do not favor Sodomites.

Our parents practiced an antique religion, full of oppressive ritual and pointless sacrifice. When I think of all the innocent birds and reptiles who shed blood to allow my parents and their friends to feel they were supplicating evil spirits I feel nothing but shame. Fortunately, when they passed their religion passed with them. They called themselves “The Old Believers of the Dolorous Path.” Somewhere on YouTube there is a low quality video of one of their ceremonies. You can clearly hear the howling of frightened animals and the weeping of children mixed with the gruff chanting of the elders. It is a dark video, with splashes of red illuminated by candlelight.