The usual Sunday shelling had finally stopped, the merchants appearing like magic with their brooms and dustpans to sweep up the rubble and broken glass. Not that there was much left of the latter–the first casualty of war may be truth, but the second is surely windows.
We strolled through the square and almost tripped over an unexploded 105mm shell smoking in its crater. Wordlessly, Chaim snatched me by the collar and ran us toward the massive stone archway, the heat of the explosion lifting us and propelling us forward until we reached the safety of the archway.
I ain’t against work when I can get it, long as it’s temporary. I can’t stick in a place for long. I get the itch. First time I jumped a freight was the first time I ever felt alive. I wasn’t running from nothing. My home life wasn’t exactly what you saw on TV, but it wasn’t monstrous. I still keep in touch with them, at least with Ma. I show up Christmas or Easter some years, if it’s convenient.
This life has changed in the years I done it. Less opportunity. You see them old-time hobo movies or read the stories and think you know a thing or two. The hobo code and all that. But it ain’t like that now. It’s more serious, and more dangerous. I never let on that I’m a woman, now. Learned that lesson hard.
When it stops suiting me, I guess I’ll quit.
Written as a contribution to Transient | The Daily Challenge
“¿Es este coche que se envían? ¿Cuál es el nombre del barco?”
“I don’t speak no Spanish,” I say in a wide southern accent. “Hoblas Englisee.”
“You car. It goes on the ship? What is the ship?”
“Well sir, you see, it ain’t my car.” I holler and slur the words as though I was drunk. “It’s my boss’s car, you understand? He told me in no uncertain terms to get my goddamned ass down here ASAP.”
I smile at the guard in a confused, tentative way.
He obviously follows none of this. “What is the ship?” he asks again.
Become one with the night. Allow the darkness to inhabit you.
Hand over hand to the roof, the knife in your belt. Silent as a cat, as an insect.
Noiseless, shapeless. You will not assume your true form until the decisive moment.
The third of six windows down. Spread your weight as you crawl. Haste is your enemy.
When this time comes, you will be as an arrow in the air. Hard. Sharp. Sure.
Hold your breath as you wait. The night sounds surround and cloak you. Even the blue moonlight cannot reveal your true shape.
Calm certainty guides you.
Dr. Soul had seen it coming. The legalization heyday had been brief and glorious, but he always had a secret feeling it couldn’t last. The trend had swept four states, starting with Colorado. That was why he moved there. Then came the federal crackdown, the troops, the gulags. It was worse than before, especially when they started executing dealers.
But all the stress made business boom. People needed to get their smoke on. And they had gotten used to the best, strains like Cinderella and Boysenberry Sigh. If he grew it, they would come.
Dr. Soul needed to go underground.