We’re still in the future…
It is the day after Christmas.
Rabbit calls Murdoc, “Hey, I’m bringing the big red, white, and blue train back home. I’m thinking I’ll stop and grab some beers and then if the cold in the garage isn’t too much, we tip a few. How’s that sound brother?” Rabbit is a locomotive engineer, one of the last down on Sparrows Point.
Murdoc is sitting in the parking lot of the Food Lion (roar!), the only grocery store out here on the end of the world, were time blends into the black water and nothing and everything makes sense.
“Alrighty Rabbit. Let me get my shit and I’ll meet you in a few. You need anything?” This is what they do. If someone else is making a run, they offer to pony up and get them what they might need. Momma Joe picks up dog treats for Rabbit. Rabbit picks up country ham for Funeral Ken. Some Sunday’s at the bar, the exchange outside in the parking lot would make you wonder just what the hell is going on. You have to be there, be inside, to understand.
Murdoc knew he was a part of the “family” when he was asked to step outside and found himself on the receiving end of a dozen fresh brown eggs and a box of Bisquix.
“Here ya go honey” Mamma Joe smiles, “We take care of our own.”
So Murdoc is sitting in the parking lot of the Food Lion (roar!). Rabbit asks for nothing, “All good, just come on over.”
Murdoc chimes back, “10-4”. It’s that simple.
The sky is beginning to change, dramatically. Two weather fronts have converged over Sparrows Point and if you were a weaker soul, you would think it was the end of the world. Gray and white, mottled blue hidden behind the blackest of fast tearing clouds on the heaviest and almost unimaginable winds. A couple leaving the Food Lion (roar!) comments, as the look up, “Damn maybe it is the end of days?” Two days have passed that the locals describe as “fuckin’
New England dumpin’ in
our back yard. They need to keep it to
themselves.” It’s gray, white, heavy
fog, snow, sleet and cold rain. It’s too
early in the season for this kind of nonsense.
The road into the Fort, along Todd’s Farm is flooded deep. Bauers Farm is under as well, and is again a water park. And the wind howls, and as the tide comes in
they all hunker down and ride it out.
Sane, normal people would run to higher ground. But these natives know and understand what
they’re up against. “Shee-at Murdoc, It’s only time to go when you have to wade out
or steal a neighbor’s boat. And you
never do that. Someone will always give
you a ride, as long as you’re family.” Millers Island
So Murdoc leaves the Food Lion (roar!) after picking up what he needs to get by and heads out the
Forest Road towards Rabbits. It is less than two miles, but in the winds
and rain and fog, it might as well be the South Pole. Along his drive he has to stop and let a
small group of deer amble across the road.
Lucero is playing…
It is all so purrfect, the deer, the fog, and the song. He knows where he has been and knows damn well where he is going. But something beautiful gave him pause asked him to stop. And as he sat in the strange white glow of the fog, he thought of her, his love so very far away. She would have loved this, strong delicate, dark beasts of the land emerging from clouds of white with diligent, slow purpose. They had no need to run or dart into shadows this night. It was us who needed to be afraid.
In an effort of good gesture, Murdoc kills his head and fog lights, only the yellow running lights on top of the truck glow, soft. The road has gone really dark now, but the white echo light of the fog seems to still illuminate everything. It is as if Murdoc and the deer are trapped inside the softest of clouds, He wanted to step outside and lie down upon the white ether, curl up with the dark creatures of the forest and be one.
But the song ended.
And just as he found himself jaded and back, just before he hit the lights and brought machinery and man back into being…
Two small, white speckled does emerged from the scrub, danced in the fog, chased and played with one another across the road and then out into field, out into the hidden expanse of Todd’s Farm. It is late in the season for such new things to emerge, to survive.
Murdoc sits, in the slow easy cadence of his diesel rumble, lights out, on a lonely road that leads to the end of the world. He waits, patiently; to make sure that all the beautiful and innocent things have found their way across.
When he is certain that all is well, he turns his heavy beast, his diesel fueled soul, out across the night and heads towards Rabbits.
“What took you so long Murdoc?”
"Everyone knows there ain’t no deer here. Hasn’t been since the Bauers hunted them out years ago. You’re seeing things in the fog.” Rabbit looks at Murdoc, raises his hands like a man aiming a rifle, and winks. “Deer, huh?”
“Yuppers. But what the fuck do I know?”
Rabbit get’s up from his chair in the garage and get’s a couple of beers from the fridge. As he hands Murdoc his, he also, by some well practiced trick of slight of hand, hands him a picture. It’s old, but still within their time. It is a picture of a buck, a big buck, twelve points, and it is standing in the clear morning light, right about where Murdoc saw his phantoms in the fog.
“Ain’t no deer here Murdoc.” Big smile.
Murdoc smiles back and replies, “Rightly so.” He winks back at Rabbit.
Rabbit speaks, “And that’s why you’re family.”
Murdoc turns his head to the side and down and, stops. “Hey Rab, you’re alright.”
Rabbit replies, “I know, you just need to know that you’re alright too. The cold and fog has a way of messin’ with peoples minds. You’re alright brother.”
And when all is well and good, Murdoc heads out into the heavy fog; towards his place on the even ender, edge of the world.
“You’re alright brother,”
These are the words he remembers…
As he pushes the door open to his cold dark, lonely, home.
“You’re alright brother.”