Monday, July 13, 2015
Walking The Lowly Highley Way
Aaron Three-Shirts, so deprived of oxygen that he barely clung to consciousness, ran up to his raggedy friends. "Our stuff! Our stuff! It's all gone! Someone raided our camp and took all our stuff!"
"No!" cried Paste-Smeller Luke. "Oh goddammit, no!"
"It's true," Aaron said, bent over with hands on knees, breathing hard. "All gone."
"Not again," sighed Lowly Highley. "That's the third time this month, and I had almost two hundred bucks in that old bean can - but it'll be alright..."
"Yeah, it's-- hold on. What'd you say, Lowly?"
"I said it's the third time this month..."
"Not that part," growled Luke, "the part about what was in the bean can."
"Oh. I had about a hundred ninety-five dollars saved up, and it was in that rusty ol' can," Lowly sighed. "Oh well, at least we didn't get beat up, this time."
"Which brings us to the part of what you first said that *I* want to talk about," said Aaron Three-Shirts. "That business about, 'it'll be alright.'"
"What about it?" Lowly asked.
"I'm just wonderin' how you figure anything's gonna be alright - ever."
Lowly Highley tilted his head at Aaron and Luke. "What do you mean?"
"Well," Luke said, "we been out here since the big crash - that's goin' on four years, now. How come no matter what happens to us - no matter how desperate and dirty and sick and poor and lowly our lives get - you still got that positive outlook?"
"Yeah, Lowly," Aaron added, catching his breath, "how can you be so sanguine in the face of this never-ending shit-storm?"
"'Sanguine?'" Luke said, looking askance at his fellow hobo.
"Don't judge me, you bum."
Lowly Highly looked at the ground and began to shake his head slowly. He had tried to explain it to them many times, over the past four years of homeless, stricken wandering. How else could he say it? His childhood had been one of freezing deprivation in Halifax. His adolescence and teen years had been spent in an orphanage of horrors, where he prayed for death. He started his twenties in the mud, blood, and damnation that was the trenches of France in the Great War, and ended them in a nightmare-addled, poor, hungry, homeless dust bowl.
Since then, he had wandered like his brethren, worked when he could, suffered and struggled and survived. He was a dead man walking, but he harbored a strange certainty. He knew that he'd seen the worst of his days, so whatever happened next was surely gravy, by comparison.
He smiled at his trudging companions. "It's gonna be alright, brothers. It just is. That's all."
And we're back! As are my buddies at STUDIO 30-PLUS, whose prompt this week was "sanguine." I had to remind you (and myself) that there were hopeful hoboes.