If Johnny Cash Had a Beard

The man came around sometime after 8pm. He was dressed all in black and he was on foot. His truck had cheated on him a mile down the road. His stomach was full of vegetables and tortillas. He climbed the fence in the dark and the hounds, having been on a constant state of release, put their cards face down on the table and attacked with the vigor of Vick laced in veal.

They caught his scent- beer, dirt and onion. They stopped and growled. He walked the line.

I turned on the light, called off the dogs and told Anthony to come inside. He sat and drank beer. I stood and continued with the labors of my domestic duties. I also drank beer.

Anthony has been an oasis for me in the desert, a wonderwall if you will, and soon his train will sail. We drank our beers, he read a text and I folded socks and sheets. The time had come to talk of many things: of shoes, and ships, and sealing-wax, of cabbages and kings- and why the sea is boiling hot, and whether pigs have wings.

Atticus heard his arrival and came to investigate. They bumped fists and Atticus said, “Asa lama lakum.”

He hugged Anthony and said goodnight. He bumped his fist again and said, “respect.” Then he went back to bed.

These are the teachings of Anthony. Peace be upon you.

He was gone by 10. I walked him to the gate and opened it for him. The dogs did not look up from their poker game. The laundry was folded and the boys were in bed. He had places to go and I had work to do. He walked down the drive and a car appeared to transport him someplace else. Someplace different.

I went inside and looked at my counter. Anthony was here.

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