All You Got In This World

On my way north

I stop in to a town called Wilits, CA for a burger and a shake

okay 2 shakes

the girl at the cash register

looks at me like I’m wrong in the head

when I ask her ’bout the town’s story

so I change the subject

“I’m on my way to Fort Bragg to visit my cousin

he’s got a rickety boat,” I tell her

“We’re gonna take it out

on one o’ the lakes over there

Lake Cleone, it’s called

little sonofabitch

go fishin for bass and trout…

it really is a hunk o’ junk.”

I think I’m bein nice

I ain’t cussin at her or nothin’

well not much anyway

Just then

I see across the street an old timer

pushing a wheelchair with his wife in it

rigged up behind the lady’s chair is an attached dolly like thing containing 7 or 8 plastic bags of clothes and other worldly possessions

the man has one hand on the chair

with the other hand, he’s carrying

a big fuckin’ cross

I’m talkin’ two 3 by 7 slabs of wood

fastened to each other

and finished a dark brown, real perfect, you know?

For 20 minutes I watch these 2 walkin around under the ugly sun

The man takes one break in that time

the two of them sitting in the shade

not sayin nothin’ to each other

“Who are those folks?” I say to the lady

“How should I know?” she says, like I’m bothering her

“Lemme get 2 bottles of coke,” I say, and then charge across the street, my arms high in the air.

Two minutes later, I’m marching over there where they’re sittin in the shade

I hand the man a bottle, but I notice that the woman is sleeping now

“You folks thirsty?” I ask him.

“Thank you kindly son,” the man says

“Are you a follower of Jesus Christ?”

“Well, now I aint got time for a sermon, old timer. ”

“Do you go to church?”

“Not in a while. when I was a boy my mom would take me on Sunday.”

“But now?”

“Now I go fishing”

“you oughta go back son, He’s waiting for you”

“I been in the penitentiary two times now. I’m not sure he wants to see me”

“he wants to see everyone.”

Just then my cousin calls on my phone

he’s tellin me to speed my ass up

or else he’s leaving without me

“Well I gotta go folks.”

“Think about what I said,” says the man.

And suddenly, I can’t help myself.

“I’m gonna come clean with you. I don’t even believe in Him anymore.  I’s just being a nice guy. I figured you were thirsty and all.”

“God is with you, wherever you’re going boy,” he says. And then we’re starin’ at each other for a few seconds, neither of us sayin nothing.

Then I just “okay” him, smile and walk off, to cross the street.

I been around people like this my whole life.

Everybody thinkin their way is the way.

I’m a people person though

I talk to a lot o’ people

Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, even Buddhists

Anyone willing ta talk

I give them an ear

Some wanna show you the light

And then you gotta smile and nod a lot

and steer them clear of their belief

but it can be hard

especially when that’s all you got in this world.

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7 thoughts on “All You Got In This World

  1. Miranda Stone says:

    I love how strongly the narrator’s voice comes through in this piece, Ian. Very well done!

  2. Thats the secret find something which you believe in,no matter what.
    Thank you for this post

  3. Taylor Eaton says:

    You’ve got a really nice, concise way of writing a tight piece of narrative. Keep it up!

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