WHAT IT IS
He threw four pairs of socks in the suitcase, then another pair. Eight underwear, some jeans and shorts and enough t-shirts to outfit a small army. His vinyl garment bag contained two suites, four dress shirts and a sports jacket and was ready hanging on a hook on the back of the door. Before closing his suitcase, he read the obituary one more time and placed it on top of his clothes.
The path CO Micheals’ college buddy took was much different than his own. After graduating together, Seth grew disinterested in his chosen field and immersed himself in vegetarianism, veganism and finally freeganism. Through occasional correspondence, Micheals saw in Seth a man driven by guilt, motivated by hope and emboldened to act on moral principles of animal rights, human rights and the protection of all things needing refuge. In his private thoughts, Micheals would flirt uneasily with the words ‘spiral down’ to describe Seth’s life, but Micheals was indeed arrested by Seth’s lonely journey to the outer edges of conventional society. Micheals struggled to reconcile Seth’s personal righteousness and what it meant in the larger context. Was he the pioneering trailblazer, showing an old generation where the exits were located, while laying foundation upon which others would follow?
Seth died in the Mark Twain National Forest. He lived alone in a school bus at the edge of the forest and foraged daily for fronds, nuts and mushrooms. It was a hard life when it ended.
WHAT IT IS NOT
Tiny ditched the van, ran a quarter mile into Cormier’s swamp and buried himself with cypress branches and cattails. He slowed his heart as the cool muddy water soaked into his clothes and he could feel himself sinking into the bayou. He did not panic, there would be plenty of time for that if Mauls found him.
Tiny dropped off the pails of insecticide at the airport and headed back to New Orleans. His drive back was interrupted by a maniacal Mauls driving his Harley and pointing at Tiny to pull over. Nothing good would come of this, Tiny thought, so he ran Mauls off the road into the ditch. Tiny thought this would solve his problem but looking at his side mirror he could see a pissed off Mauls getting back on his bike, and the chase was now on for real.
As he laid stone still, Tiny stared at the reddish mushroom, his Hiroshima if the look on Maul’s face was any indication. The swamp was silent, only a lone goldfinch’s song penetrated the air, the sweet song swirling among the tree branches before drifting into the distance. The silence was broken. Tiny recognized the unusual sound of Maul’s hurting weapon, an enormous pipe wrench that swung like a pendulum, striking and scratching the surface of the ground as he came closer to where Tiny lay.
This time Tiny did panic: he scrambled from his shallow grave but before he could achieve any traction Mauls was all over him. With the notorious wrench high above Tiny’s head, Mauls was struck from behind by Leo Barnard’s white cane and Cathy Jennings’s well chosen rock.