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:
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
“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
“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
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 ran after.
“Where are we going?”
“I’m heeding a call of nature. I have no
fucking clue where you are going.”