I had always been told that “home is where the heart is” – and, so, why I was driving around the country that summer morning made perfect sense. You see, my heart wasn’t bound to any particular place. If anything, it was scattered piecemeal across twenty different states, and the more I traveled the more pieces I left behind. I had been on the road for an awfully long time, and couldn’t really see myself settling down any place until they put me in the ground.

For all the lack of comforts that the nomadic lifestyle offered, it had a certain appeal – a freedom that I couldn’t find anywhere else. It grew on me, to tell you the truth, kind of like strong black coffee. Saying goodbyes always got easier, so did avoiding commitments, and, somewhere along the dotted white lines, I began to feel like I belonged everywhere and nowhere all at the same time.

After about ten years of wandering, every place I’d visit began to have a common lethargic feel – people were always settling into similar routines. They’d all babble about the weather, try to convince me, along with themselves, that their jobs weren’t “so bad” and give me play-by-plays of their kids’ lives.

As for me, I didn’t have any kids and my “routine” was too unordinary to capture anyone’s attention without making them feel a little bit uncomfortable. It wasn’t that I led such an exciting life, it’s just that it was too different for most people – they didn’t care to understand it, so there wasn’t much sense in discussing it. The end result of their discomfort and disinterest, is that I talked an awful lot about the weather of wherever I happened to be.

This was probably a good thing, because in reality, though my “job” wasn’t too exciting, it was not exactly on the straight-and-narrow. Not having to talk about it probably saved me more than a few friendships. (On that note, I never could sympathize with the common Joe’s unquestioning reverence for the law.)

How I make a living doesn’t really fit in to this little exposé of mine, and, in actuality, I’d rather not tell you – I don’t want it to change the way you hear what else I have to say. And, what else, you may wonder, do I have to say…

In all honesty, I guess I’m not sure exactly even what I thought I had to say in the first place. I suppose that I wanted for this blurb to be about the advantages of living on the road – something like a modern plug for the fact that a “rolling stone gathers no moss.” I wanted to make an argument for getting out and seeing the country, embracing change, and welcoming new experiences.

But, now, now that I’ve just seen the projected gas prices for this summer, I think you’d be better off with one of those stay-cation adventures everyone else keeps talking about. That, and I suppose it’s as good a time as ever to let you know that I’m in the market for a used Prius.

all that he needed to know

“I’ve all that I need know… right here, in hand. Under my arm it travels… just… as… planned,” the little man, Dwain, practically skipped as he sang his song. Of course, with all of his melodious racket, he was bound to attract attention.

“And, what, tell me sir, is that?”  Dwain heard from within the woods.

“And who… tell me sir, are you?” Dwain asked into the woods.

“Someone very interested in what you have beneath your arm,” the shadows between the trees replied, “Call me Doubtful”.

“Sir Doubtful… what I have here, you’ll certainly not understand. The words can be understood, only under the lite touch of a hand.”

“Lies will get you nowhere, boy,” Mr. Doubtful spoke, “now let me see that special book you’re carrying, so that I can decide for myself if I find it intelligible.”

Nervous, then, Dwain ran down the trail he was on for several minutes. When he could run no more, he sat on the trail in silence. His eyes darted about him, his ears strained to hear the voice of Doubtful. Sweat trickled down his brow and into his eyes. They stung.

It was then that he noticed the forest was simply too quiet. Aside from his breathing, he couldn’t hear a thing – no wind rustled the trees, no birds sang aloud, and not a leaf nor a branch cracked in the distance. It was as though the entire forest was dead.

Then the whisper came again, but more harshly, “If the book has all the answers, everything one needs to know, then I must see it – NOW!”

Something slammed into Dwain and knocked him to the ground. It only took him a few seconds to get back on his feet, but even that was too long. The book was gone.

In the distance, Dwain could hear the rustling of pages, like someone was thumbing through his book. But the sound wouldn’t stay still, it danced around him and left him disoriented.

Right as he was about to scream with rage, he heard his book flying at his face. He closed his eye just in time for the impact, and smiled as he took the blow.

The forest was quiet again. Dwain ran until he was home. He put the book beneath his pillow and began to wash for supper.

taking ice cream from a child

I had woken up that morning only to find myself exceptionally hungry. Naturally, I walked to the kitchen, which was but a few feet away, and opened the fridge to partake of its contents. It was a fleeting attempt at satiation, because there was nothing edible inside of the stainless steel excuse for a food box. The pantry was likewise lacking. My stomach kicked me swiftly and I headed for the door. My slippers shuffled along the carpet, but failed to remind me that I ought to have changed before going to the grocery store. So, I stumbled along, a robed man on a mission – like a superhero in an awful movie about breakfast. Only, it was noon, and I had forgotten my wallet because I was too busy thinking about lunch.

I was resolved to find sustenance, and soon. My stomach was throwing a downright miserable tantrum. And then I saw the kid, with a waffle cone and four scoops of chocolate-chip peppermint ice cream. Even my stomach paused in astonishment. This was it, my chance to feel replete – to subside the monster within. I bolted towards the child, and with all the grace a guy in his robe can muster, I swooped down and snatched the cone from the child. It let out a terrible shriek, but I was already a block away.

I dove behind a large fence and partook of the stolen goods. The minty-green coolness of the ice cream, coupled with the chocolaty-crunch of the chocolate chips, made me completely forget how ashamed I ought to have been for robbing a child of his happiness. I had only eaten three scoops when my stomach began to throw another fit. Too much ice cream on a hot day usually turns out to be a bad idea. Apparently, that day was no exception. I threw the last scoop into the grass, propped myself up just enough to fall back over to the other side of the fence, and proceeded to crawl home.

It was an embarrassing day. A few blocks had never felt so far away. I pushed open the door of my apartment, collapsed on the floor, and slept off the spoiled stomach.

When I woke up, I felt great. I fancied myself a regular hero for saving that child from a horrible stomach ache.