I settled in, found the pipe, some tobacco, and lit-up. The smoke rings changed the atmosphere in the cabin, to a foreboding mystery. I picked up one of the ancient volumes and tried to read it, but it was like I was in Kindergarten again—that helpless feeling when you can’t read reoccurring three-letter words in the English language. So, I decided to drive down the mountain in my Jeep Wrangler to visit the general store. The drop-off nearly made me wet my pants.
The little store was one of those family-owned mini-marts. When I went in, a little bell jingled. A beautiful woman walked out from behind the bread. She wore a white dress that went down to her ankles with a blue top. Her blonde hair, brown eyes, and perfect skin gave her a wholesome look.
“Can I help you?” She asked.
“Yes, well, maybe, no. I’m new here, and just trying to acquaint myself with my surroundings.”
“Oh, I understand,” she said. My name’s Jessica.”
“Nice to meet you, Jessica. My name’s Andy.”
“You’re not very old,” she said. What do you do?”
“Well, I fancy myself to be a poet, so, I’m living off my savings until I go broke.”
“That doesn’t sound like much of a plan,” she said.
“Well, I’ve had a plan my whole life, but it hasn’t made me happy, so I’ve decided to stop planning and start living.”
“Would you like me to show you around?”
“I’d like that. Is there much to see?”
“You have no idea. Most of the people here, got old. The ones who are still alive are like you—poets and prospectors, selling gold to people on the road, so they don’t have to transact business in the usual way. Jacob—that’s the man you bought the cabin from, had a curious obsession with wisdom. You know those strange men, who call themselves philosophers, and say ‘I am so wise.’ They’re mostly drunks and fools, but occasionally you listen to one who might be the real deal, and Jacob was. He was a nice man, a religious man who couldn’t find the answers in his religion, so he looked elsewhere. He wandered lonely paths he cut for himself, and began to write his own books. His family was worried, but he got younger up here. Perhaps, the air we breathe changes us, just like the foods we eat, and the books we consume.”
“I hear that. What are you doing here?”
“I want to find a good man, have a big family, and spend my life loving the people closest to me.”
“You sound like no woman I ever met.”
“What does a woman sound like?”
“I can’t make the sound—kinda like grating nails on chalkboard. It takes years of Marxist education and feminist indoctrination to make the sound, and by their mid-thirties, women want to get married, but they don’t want to be wives—they don’t know how. A husband is like a golden trophy they hide in the corner of their house.”
“That sounds awful.”
“It is. The worst horrors are the most common.”
“I guess the mountains have protected me from that. Would you like to know a secret?”
“Sure, I would!” I said.
“Well, I can’t tell you. I have to show you.”
To be continued…