Hobbson looked past the trail of Missouri dust kicked up by Slim’s SUV to see his old friend Adnan sitting in the passenger seat. He wondered why this break with Adnan did not occur sooner, as their two worlds had been drifting apart over the past few months. The burden of unmeshed gears grinding on to a dystopia drained Adnan into a state where liberation from oneself had to be fought on a level of commonality, perhaps even triviality. Years of optimistic invention, exuberant aspiration, and architecturally exact schemes to provide pathways of enlightenment led to dingy hallways of race and rancor where battles, replayed over and over, are meant to cripple spirit, and eradicate hope. Adnan, and others, speculated the fragments of forever were born of dissatisfaction and that the grand scheme was to sow the seeds of discontent and then wait a few generations to see what rots on the vine, and what bears fruit. The road is forever, when the prod of racism is relentless, seamless, and abiding, striking its tentacles maniacally and sharpening its intent to ensure survival from one generation to the next…from one propped up pillar to the next. The busines of picking up the banner, holding it high for all to see has always been better suited for the young, but Adnan now felt a certain betrayal inside himself as his lights of enlightenment began to flicker and shadows of uncertain destines clouded his vision. He needed what no one could give and what he gave belonged to no one, just slivers of incoherent memories to a cause where fragments of forever just kept piling up.

Hobbson’s attempts to settle Adnan’s soul was a mis-firing canon, an alien rattling around in a brown man’s house where commonality and trivia described a drab day at the office. Hobbson simply could not reach to Adnan’s depth, as Adnan’s lifeline kept missing the mark it was intended for. Hobbson still possessed his mission and it was squeezed unconsciously into his fist and his fate, bring him forward to a place futile and fatal. As the last spec of dust disappeared, Hobbson turned to the west, looked at his watch and counted down the seconds until his spirit appeared at the road’s edge.

At first he didn’t recognize the horse, it was older, somewhat unkempt, and slow on its feet. But who among us, after twenty years, remains intact?


The gift, transformed into a curse, then rode on an indigent horse from tragic teenage trials through to early adulthood, never stopping long enough to see the cracked bricks below the feet or notice the domino effect of real possibilities collapsing around him, became a type of mantra that hung around his neck, like a medallion given to him by…a friend…a girl friend. Jack Sampson’s gift was music, and his curse was the highwire act the Coyote Apples lived on while on their way to shady tunnels where what you asked for was paid with promises unkept and dreams unfulfilled. The dream followed, is best pronounced by the accomplished so there can be no doubt to its authenticity, but the root of the dream escapes scrutiny, shuns publicity, and is pasted into the back ground as an afterthought, or no thought at all. The host, a sometimes hostile and negative conveyance of the dream, fails to mention the virtue of the common, those who build the roads or fix the plumbing. Sacrilegious to some, the daydream of unbridled environmentalism or global harmony or just enough food and shelter slapped on the TV tray as they watch Musk’s rocket reach for the stars, will mean singular dreams of individuals might be placed in jeopardy. If you can not dream a difficult dream, you can always run a marathon, launch a rocket, or hang a picture, so to speak.

Jack Sampson’s marathon was in its infancy when the other Coyote Apples exploded into a cauldron of drug abuse, laziness, and other forms of self destruction. Eventually lives were sorted out, dreams put on hold or altered or denied or laughed at. Jack joined the army and dreamt of a small farm, a few animals and was satisfied that Musk’s rockets would never touch him.



It was a crawl that seemed never ending, a loop going on forever, past the same birch trees and bracken fern, over the same lichen covered rocks and through soggy peat moss until he reached his final destination, an army surplus tent, its roof dotted with tears and holes offering little protection from the Pennsylvania rain. If he could twist his narrow life path so it formed a horseshoe, allowing him to see the direction he was taking, he might put aside the booze and drugs and opt for a less destructive path, but these horseshoes are given out infrequently and when they are, a large dose of smirk, arrogance and ego are encased within the gift. But youth or spirit or pieces of unspent logic would not allow him to examine his horseshoe, either because the stakes were constantly shifting making a ringer impossible or the stakes were too high and failure the dead ringer. His life, characterized by himself to see himself, was more suited  to the boomerang philosophy where the out going returned as the incoming, sometimes bring a providence, sometimes not.

While two of the Coyote Apples slept in the van, Brent sat in the tent, eyes fixed on the roof waiting for an accumulating rain drop to grow to a sufficient size as to drop straight down and strike the banjo skin producing a sound he was sure he could use at his next gig. The rains increased, the banjo thuds grew louder and Brent drifted into a peaceful sleep where his boomerang finally settled the Coyote Apple dust of fame and notoriety. In his departure, there would be no crawling or apologies or regrets, just a tall standing man still on the lookout for stray boomerangs or bent horseshoes…vet school perhaps.


It hit Little Mr. Deakins that if this was true, what other great wonders might be slipping past him. It all began when the duck and him were sitting on a log waiting for Mrs. B., Jackson, the horse, and the translucent man to catch up. The duck was describing what he saw in front of him and it wasn’t at all what he was seeing. Two interpretations of the same thing…profound, but in his own defense, he was a farm rooster and only now coming to grips with a much larger world.

When you tease out all the special interests, the entrenched positions, and the shrouded agenda you may very well be left with a ball that holds no air, no bounce, no elasticity. The interpretations are left to meander the ballfield where first base is reserved for the righteous, second base for the delinquent, third the opportunist until the field is full and diatribes are pronounced, positions fortified and the whole world goes home with their smug satisfaction tucked neatly under their arms, all the while wondering if they may have heard something said. Contained within these forts of certainties, the Leninists and Trotskyists have altered their name and purpose and are now a modern version of themselves, but the sheer madness and magnitude of the cause scares the hell out of the rest of us. And who are the rest of us? Little Mr. Deakins and duck might very well raise their hands at this point, but of course they have no hands.