Of Forests and Trees
"You cannot get where you're going from here. Get out of the forest, then you'll be able to make towards your destination."
Each time I saw the troupe he would say that. Perhaps we would perform before or afterwards, but the consistency was that the leader would approach me and say those words.
I loved our run-ins, which were often, yet sometimes not so. Our paths were always different, but they somehow intertwined. When I would meet up with the troupe, I would greet each one with a great hug, as if we'd not seen one another in years and they'd perform for me, and I would join in.
The performances were always unique, yet inspired. They were tragic, funny, sexy, serious. Some had a point, others were without. But each time we played together and each time we met up, the leader of the troupe would say his words with a more grave and serious tone.
"You hear me not. Your head is thick. Leave here to arrive there, that is the way you must go."
"That's not the way others take."
"But this way is yours, and it is the best way."
They left and I did not see them for some time. I was walking down a path that seemed very familiar to me when my heart grew light. I heard in the distance the sounds of wagon wheels and horse hooves and the raucous sounds of my troupe. I hurried a bit faster to meet them. When the leader's eyes fell upon me the horses stopped, the wagon creaked and my friends' suddenly silent voices echoed to their death in the woods around us.
The troupe leader suddenly flew into rage, "YOU'VE BEEN GOING NOWHERE. YOU'VE DONE NOTHING. YOU'VE HEARD ME NOT ONCE IN ALL THE TIME I'VE KNOWN YOU!"
He grabbed my hair in his fist and yanked me a dozen yards towards a particular path. My body flailed about like a rag doll beneath his suddenly immense power. He threw me down, and I rolled to a stop at the base of a large oak.
"GO THAT WAY. SEE US NOT AGAIN, FOR IF YOU SEE US BUT ONCE MORE YOU SHALL EVER BECOME ONE OF US."
"But why," I managed with a sob in my throat, "would that be so bad?"
He slowly walked towards me. His head leaned towards mine as a tear crawled slowly down his cheek. His breath warmed my ear as he spoke in the gentlest of whispers, "That is for you to find out one way or the other, it is not for me to tell you. Now go."
Never Met a Fish Taco I Didn't Like
Zipping through the cosmos with a fish taco in one hand and checking for radio signal with the other, I steer cautiously with my knees; interstellar transport veering to the starboard. As some tarter'n'cabbage falls down the crack between the cup-holder and my seat, I wonder about the glorious collection of food items stuck there. Some insect with an entrepreneurial spirit is starting an all-you-can-ingest buffet and some spider waits nearby for the easy prey of a recently-fattened fly.
I pass some 'roadkill' in the middle of space and it occurs to me that the term roadkill is hopelessly outdated. My knees jerk to the right to avoid the deceased creature. I recall in the Space Driving Guide that you shouldn't make such jerky movements at speeds in excess of Warp .25. Probably the cause of that roadkill.
I find a station that has something intelligible on it. Hotel California comes on and I begin snapping out the beat on my steering wheel (my fish taco now eaten), as the signal begins to waver and fade. The Eagles and some alien tongue (one of those bizarre sporting events perhaps?) compete hopelessly for my attention. I turn off the radio.
The phrase, "Such a lovely place," repeatedly bounds in my thoughts without end. I sigh to myself and look around at the scenery. The rings of some backwater planet, a gorgeous hick-moon and a tranquility that reminds me that everything really is alright in the universe even if nothing seems to be.
Originally from the northeast suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona, Robert Leach resides in an area of Los Angeles County, California, where sheep and goats graze on a hillside with lush grass less than 100 yards from freeway and over a dozen business parks.
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