One Reply to “3.27.2014 Journal Prompt”

  1. He was from out of town. A city guy that had lost his way. He stopped on the road at the end of our street and he asked if we could give him a drink of water to slake his dry thirst. He made a uncommon fuss of the place where he was, saying it was like real, you know, and genuine. He shook my hand and he said it was really good to meet me and he said I had a honest face. He even held the water up as something special, said it was purer then city water and cool and it tasted of clouds.

    He pretended like he was nobody. Said he was just someone passing through but he didn’t know where he was going on to. That’s what I mean when I say he’d lost his way. See, there aint no place you could be going and pass through here, no place at all. We’re out of the way. Bank robbers and fugitives from the law, they once holed up here and some stayed and were never found.

    He wanted to know if there was a motel somewhere near, a place he could wash up and get a bed and rest for the night. We all laughed. Aint no motel shit anywhere near where we are. Fuck, we don’t even have a bar and the shop is just the front room of Wilbur’s house and he had it shelved and a truck brings in flour and vegetables and oil regular as once a month, and maybe cloth to make women’s dresses, and leather to make shoes. Aint no motel for a hundred miles I reckon.

    He pulled out a fistful of notes and he held them up like an offering. Maisy, and she’s got grandkids of her own and she don’t want for nothing, and she ups and says he can stay in the shack at the back of her house. She said it is clean enough if he don’t mind the smell of loam and dry leaves.

    He ate supper with us and he said it was the best darned food he’d ever eaten – said darned like it was his word and it weren’t – and he said how the food reminded him of his Mamie and her cooking. He was full of it, you know. It was just cornbread and stew and grits we were eating, but he said it was honest. Again with the honest.

    After supper he picked up his six string and he played for us, like he was giving us something back for the hospitality we’d extended to him, and he sang songs we knew and some we didn’t. And when he was singing, it was like he was one of us, and it was the only time he was.

    Clipper started tapping on the lid of a old biscuit tin, his fingers skipping and running, and Papa Jones took out his harmonica and was blowing like a train, and Maisie fetched some of the best hooch she was keeping for a special occasion. We made a night of it and all the houses in the street kept their lights on and there was dancing and singing till the sun was thinking of coming up.

    See, though he pretended he was nobody, we knew different. Fuck, if I din’t have some of his records in my collection, ordered through a catalogue and delivered to Wilbur’s store one sunbright morning. And I had pictures of him on my wall, cut from out of magazines, and I wasn’t the only one. We never said though. We let him be ordinary and lost for a couple of days and we let him think he could be one of us.

    He holed up in Maisie’s shack from that Monday night to a Thursday morning and we heard him making new songs, playing them over and over and polishing them like Minto polished his shoes before church, and hearing those new songs we nodded to one another and we all of us knew.

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