tales of wandering among wonders ...

tale # 1: Alien Encounters, first contact

“It is said” the beggar pointed out to Rufus, “that we are not our minds.  We are not the incessant buzz of thought, and sound, and pain of body.”

The beggar paused, glanced up at the overcast sky, appearing to be wondering whether his present, and forthcoming, blasphemies would cause lightening to strike him.  He had had many conversations with Death, always one-sided of course, Death was a coward after all.  Sneaks up on you and then ... drags you kicking and screaming into the Mouth of the Mystery, for consumption by laughing stars, after which there would likely be another gravity-bound regurgitation.

Rufus just sat there, watching out for lice that might seek to make the jump from the beggar’s clothes to his own.  After a bit the beggar, seeing no coin appear in his bowl, spoke again.

“It is also said” - this time there was in the beggar’s tone of voice something sad - “that We are Everything.  Many times this great wisdom has been spoken to these ears.”

The beggar paused.  Rufus felt an itch where his sandaled feet were perhaps too near to contamination.  Having little else to do, since the beggar was not speaking, Rufus tried to recall the two: “It is said”s , and noticed that for all their wisdom, they seemed completely contradictory.

Rufus’s eyes widened a bit at that thought.  The beggar, who was very good at observing without being seen as observing, reached down and pushed his bowl toward Rufus just ever so slowly, and slightly.  Speech by gesture: another art the beggar studied.

Rufus reached into his backpack, adorned with its collection of brightly colored travel stickers, and brought out his wallet.  For some odd reason, he put the whole wallet in the begging bowl, or as much as would fit.  It was a large wallet. 

There was an agreeable silence, while wind rustled some nearby objects <dust, a couple of leaves, one stone bell shifted slightly against another>.

The beggar reached down, took the wallet and laid all its contents in the dust between them, picking them up one at a time, and reading their meaning as if they were sacred runes of Rufus’s soul.  He rearranged them into piles.

A sexually oriented sanitary device, still in its original wrapper, was laid along side an old lottery ticket, at which point the beggar said: “dreamer”.

Cards with pictures and/or numbers on them claimed their own arrangement, in a kind of rectangle or box.  Workplace and student IDs, only one of which was presently useful, and credit cards formed the sides, , while the drivers license and medical marijuana card were set on top of each other, followed by: “sensible”. 

There was also a pile of debris, bits of “things”, even a paper clip all on its lonesome.  The beggar moved these objects around in the dirt, in a kind of spiral, muttering: “found-object art”, to himself.

Last was money: paper and coins.  The beggar made several arrangements, changing what was in the piles, all the while muttering about exchange rates, and necessary gratuities.

“Rufus” says the beggar, picking up and reading his name on the no longer valid student card from MIT.  “is it your intention to give all of this to me?”

Short pause: “Yes”.

The beggar: “Okay.  Now mine.  Good.  May I read your future from your cards?”


“You and I are going on a journey.  You came here looking for wisdom, and yet this card <laying it in the dust> tells me that you know science; and this card <laying another along side the first>, says you are religious, does it not?”

Rufus looked down at the two student cards.  One for MIT, and the other for The Harvard Divinity School.

“Plus”, said the beggar, “Your credit cards are basically useless to me without you along, so there’s that.  Then there is the fact that you are now basically like me, a beggar.  Perhaps we can go somewhere together.

Rufus: “Who decides where we go?  I gave you my stuff, not my self.” 

“Hmmm”, said the beggar.  He then took the two ID cards and laid them on top of the spiral of debris.

“I have been studying, for too long to remember, the arts of life. Years ago, when I wandered in your land, on the West Coast of America in the times of the Summer of Love,  I hitchhiked everywhere.  Even sewed a sign I could unfurl and hold up to passing cars.  It said: “With the Wind”.”

“Does not science make a god of random chance?  I see you do not disagree.  My answer to your question is that we let random chance decide.  We do not choose.  We wait to be chosen.” 

The beggar gather up his things, as well as the gifts, into the shoulder bag he wore.  Stood and walked away.  Rufus ran after. 

“Where are we going?”

“I’m heeding a call of nature.  I have no fucking clue where you are going.”