Dooly and I went to town today and from the looks of things I’m guessing something is up. Everyone seemed to be talking about banks and the stock market in a very serious tone. Harry, the hardware guy, uncharacteristically had his 9” BW TV (that sits behind the cash register) tuned to CNN and there were graphs and pictures of Wall Street on the screen. Deep down there was something that made me want to hear bad things about banks and Wall Street. Perhaps those cheating souls with their artificially inflated wallets were beginning to crumble. Before I came to the woods I sold my house and I have a good deal of money from that sale. It is safely deposited in the bank of Sealy Posturpedic. I get no interest on the deposit, but with the money I save on fees, penalties and sevice charges, I feel like I come out way ahead. (and the customer service is excellent.) One of the reasons I moved to the woods was to keep banks out of my life . I was determined to buy my six-pound maul with maple handle and get out of town before I knew what was going on. When I got to register I put my finger to my lips and stopped Harry before he told me what the news was about. He smiled and took my money. Dooly seemed excited about coming to town so I took him across the street to what is sort of a park and let him explore. Poor Dooly had been staring at me back at the cabin. He’d sit right in front of me and stare. It’s hard to read Vonnegut when an animal is staring. It had been two months since we had been off the mountain, I had fallen into a daily routine that varied little and I guess he was trying to tell me that he had a little cabin fever. I lit up a Swisher Sweet Double Barrel Run Cigar and sat down under a tree on this beautiful Fall day and watched the World go by as Dooly sniffed his way down to the river. From my vantage point I could see most of the town’s commerce. Directly across the street was the Bank. The Library is just to the right to the bank and set back a little. Still moving to the right was the Volunteer Fire Department, Sheriff’s office and finally the combination grocery/ hardware/feed and seed. Down around the corner to my left was the Exxon, which, contrary to most of the rest of the World, still employs a mechanic. This guy will work on anything from a lawn mower to a BMW. Aside from a Taco Bell, what else would a person ever need? The Library door opened and I saw Irene come out. She looked directly at me and I waved. She gave me a little nod and went directly to the Bank. A short time later she came out of the bank with a man in a tie and they walked down to the Exxon. Those two came out with the owner and walked back to the sheriff’s office. The sheriff came out, looked in my direction, and the four walked to the Grocery/hardware/feed and seed. This was curious. Sure enough, Irene, the man in a tie, the Exxon owner, the sheriff, Harry and Mrs. Taylor came out the hardware and were walking straight towards me. If they had guns strapped to their waists and Stetson hats I might have thought it was a posse. I was pretty sure it was ok to be smoking a Swisher Sweet Double Barrel Rum cigar under this particular tree, and I didn’t recall being in violation of any local, state or federal laws. At least they were smiling. Irene spoke first as they came within about 15 feet, “Don’t get up”. I didn’t. “This is our town council…Earle Ruben from the Exxon, Frank Wood from the bank, Sheriff Bell, and I think you know the rest.” How nice, I thought, they were here to officially welcome Dooly and me into the community. “We have a question for you.” Irene said, “Frank’s daughter is attending community college down in Charleston and she’s taking some media courses. She was home the other night and Frank was telling her about you, how you became frustrated and moved to the woods and all. She thought your story would be one that people might identify with in these crazy times.” Irene moved her hands up like she was reading a headline in an imaginary newspaper. “Frustrated Florida Man Moves To West Virginia Woods To Find Simplicity And Solitude.” “ As a project for her classes she wants to promote you, and, in turn, get some publicity for our town. She’d start with some local papers and TV and eventually go National. As soon as the election is over they’ll be looking for stories.” I didn’t know what to say. After a short silence I suggested a good Big Foot sighting might get the town some better publicity. I didn’t want people to know who I was or where I lived. “Why don’t we all have a little lunch and talk about it”, Irene suggested. “I made a pie last night”, she added. We ate pie and talked and I finally agreed only if my identity and the location of my cabin remained secret. I excused myself to go and check on Dooly and as I was walking out I could hear them talking about postcards, tee shirts, fresh paint and new landscaping. Oh Lord, what have I done. Damn that pie. I found Dooly covered in mud and sound asleep under my truck. At least his visit to town seemed to have been a pleasant one. By the way, I was just kidding about the Taco Bell.
6 hours ago