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
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
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”,
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
The beggar gather up his things, as well as the gifts,
into the shoulder bag he wore. Stood and walked away. Rufus
“Where are we going?”
“I’m heeding a call of nature. I have
no fucking clue where you are going.”