Our hardy traveller has decided to cast his lot with the invisible cowboy, but first a trip to the store…
“Hey, Dusty, I don’t know where we’re going, but I would REALLY appreciate getting out of this plastic monstrosity," I let him know. “As you know too well, I got nothing. NUTTIN’ LEFT after that trip through the SANI-FLUSH!!"
“Sure buddy! What do you want? Brooks Brothers? LL Bean? Salvation Army?”
“I don’t think you’re getting it yet, Dusty. A few hours ago I had my car, three credit cards, $450 in cash and an EZ Pass. Now, look at me, all of it GONE!”
“If you don’t mind, pardner, I’d rather not look too close right now,” he answers, with a side-long glance at my crinkly dipes. “We’ll get you back in high cotton in no time. And, as for money, y’all won’t be seeing that stuff no more.”
“But, but, but….” I mutter.
“Why you newbies all the same? Scared o’ your own shadows all the time? Like the song says,
There’s a million ways
To get things done.
There’s a million ways
To make things work out.
"You got a lot to learn, my friend, but I have confidence in you. I think you got a good attitude. Keep you on the up and up, side of things,” he smiles. “Or at least look that way,” he adds with a grin.
“C’mon buddy, we got work to do before the sun goes down."
It’s only now that I begin to focus on where we are, trudging slightly downhill on a gravelly road. There are patches of grass here and there that I jump to like frogs on lily pads. Spectacular cliffs loom up on all sides. My palms sweat when I think back to earlier today, all alone traversing cliffs like those, just hoping to stay alive.
No other people in sight, so perhaps I have escaped the clutches of the Shady Way Home. Temporarily, at least. The road twists like crazy though, so I can’t see much either forward or back, beside the massive rock formations.
Suddenly, a familiar voice, “Not far now, good buddy.”
Damn. It’s so easy to forget that guy. You think being invisible might have anything to do with it? Then again, I also just forgot what I m doing on this god-forsaken footpath. OK, OK, now it comes back I got it, I got it! Me and Dusty on a shopping trip. I got it! And, around the next bend is a mini shopping center or whatever you’d call a strip mall scaled down to a dirt crossroads out in the boonies with no one around.
“Welcome to Pilgrim Village. Course nobody around here calls it that. They mostly just call it Pill-Ville on account of it’s the biggest drug store in three days walk. Oh heavens, you must of lost all your meds on that cliff, too. What can I get for you? Start with an economy bucket of Aricept maybe? Or are you up to Memantine? If I remember right Pill-Ville had a good sale on those two not long ago."
“Dusty, I don’t want to disappoint you, but I don’t take any meds. Oh, wait! Will the Pill-Ville have any Band-Aids? I think my feet will appreciate them tomorrow after this hike. I’m pretty beat right now if I think about it.”
“OK, bud. How’s if I go down to the Pill and pick up what we need. Y’all stay up here, better, stay behind that big rock there, and I’ll meet you back up here. I haven’t forgotten that sunset. Fifteen-twenty minute walk, and we’ll be there. Curl up and git some shuteye if y’all want. I’ll be back in a flash…Joke, son…..heh, heh.”
Lord, Lord, what a day! I want to follow Dusty’s progress down to the Pill, until I remember there’s nothing to see. And, he was warning me about staying out of sight behind the boulder, right? His suggestion of a nap makes more and more sense as the minutes drag away. Maybe I’ll just rest my eyes……