*Lost Things and People Too"
He rode the rails, traveling in his meandering manner from one side of the continent to the other. And it’s not because he lacks the wherewithal to live in a place that did not move, such as a home or an apartment, but because there was an undeniable part of his soul that yearned to always be moving.
"A free spirit, aye, always a free spirit and always shall be.” He grinned and hopped down from the under-carriage of the train and acknowledged a friendly greeting of a fellow hobo who had shared his empty car for the duration of the trip. “Take care!
“So long!” he called back and continued to wave in the man’s general direction until at least he disappeared from view.
Turning around he continued on his way, thinking as he did so:
“It just might be that I cannot put down deep roots. However, once in a while, unexpectedly like iron is drawn to a magnet: some place, or person, or even an entire village will summon me and I will stay for a spell here or there.”
The first snow of the season was falling, carpeting the ground in a white mantle and making the trees glistening with a slivery-white frost that almost looked like a delicate filigree. The homes and shops along the main drag of the village had all been decorated for the holidays and it lit the place up. He heard music, and music had always spoken to him in both words and more so, in harmony.
Such were his thoughts as he entered the sleepy village somewhere between the border of Iowa and Indiana. To the inquiring glances of the innkeeper where he finally stops for the evening, he gives his name as Patrick.
It’s not his true name, but somewhere along the way throughout his travels his true, this man of many names and many places, ceased to matter much to him.
He has a little money saved up: enough to cover his meal and as for his room and board, he pays for them through his tales of places both far away and nearby. Tonight it is the story of having seen for himself the largest ball of twine somewhere south, in Kansas, in a town whose only claim to fine is that gigantic ball of twine.
He’d felt tempted to use his magic to unravel the gigantic ball and count just how many strings it had been made from, but quenched the urge before he could act upon it. It was tempting, yes, but way too conspicious,and perhaps even potentially dangerous to use magic just to satisfy his own curioustiy.
“And we all know what curiousity does to numerous felines, my friends? Do we not?”
It seems to suffice and the questioning, well-meaning or otherwise stop and as he is clomping up the steps to the third floor to his room he wonders sometimes if this time, this time he might put down some roots.
In his travels he has met and befriended other hobos, decent chaps who pay for their keep my taking odd jobs during the season as farm-hands or day laborers, or wherever t they can a job that will pay them.
That isn’t for him; he prefers to employ his talents in a stranger and perhaps harder to define way. Nestled inside of the rucksack that he carried with him like a talisman is an object to be found also in the tales that he spins to a wide-eyed audience, old and young alike; a musical instrument. It is a pan-pipe to be precise. But this is no ordinary musical instrument, for it is magic.
“In this day and age, “he muttered aloud, mostly to himself; for at the late hour of the evening, there was hardly anyone else around, or if they were, they were all fast asleep.
“I am firmly convinced that people still need to believe in magic, if not for them, but for the sake of the wider human imagination. I suppose that one could very well argue that magic has and always will exist. And I don’t mean the kind that you see on stage, with its sleight of hand and legerdemain smoke and mirrors. I mean the Real kind of magic.”
He paused with his left foot resting on a lower step and his right foot just on the rim of the third floor landing and he tossed his head back and let out a burst of spontaneous laughter. He’d been feeling a bit weedy and worn out of late, and even if these kind citizens of Warmo were not aware of it not, should something untoward and unexplained occur in this sleepy little village of theirs. This time, mind you, only this time he might handle the situation pro bono.”
It was only later as he lay down on the ben with the comforter pulled up to his chin, that in all his time, and after a century or two one did have a tendency to stop counting the years, that if word got around that he’d do something for free his reputation would irrevocably tarnished.
He yawned and rolled over, thumping the pillow with a clenched fist and finding the accommodations mighty fine,; definitely no complaints in that department. On the heels of his previous thought. “Still, would it hurt so very much to do so?
He thought back to the time he’d spent roaming around the towns and cities of the Old World, mainly Germany, before the Wall came down and the east and the west became one. He’d been called in to deal with unexplained phenomena in a sleepy little town called Hamelin.
Back then he had’d been rather new in to his magic, having not had time to learn and memorize the stories or even how the give and take of a deal quite worked out in terms of compensation.
He winced in remembrance, yes; it had been at least more than a century ago. Still, it hurt.
Since then, he’d perfected his magic, the art of the deal, learning to deal more fairly with those with whom he came into contact, too be less aloof; in a word less a nameless vagabond who was only in it for what he could get out of it.
Even as sleep crept up on him, he thought, “Everything changes, even me. And this is a good thing. Yes, a very good thing.”