Friday, May 12, 2017

Another excerpt from The Hockey Heist

"But to get back to your question, Terry." Kip said. "Right after the Peace Corps, I didn't fly home. I got a job on a cruise ship in Dakar. Nothing fancy. Just washing dishes. Preparing food, you know. And then I somehow ended up in Spain. I met a girl there. We hiked the Camino de Santiago. Then there was Italy. The Dinaric mountains. Turkey... You get the idea."

"Now that really does sound exciting," Joe said. "Sure as hell puts Terry and I to shame. Looks like we got ourselves a bona fide vagabond hippie bum on our hands here."

Joe sniffed the air around Kip's shoulders. "Is that patchouli I smell?" he said.

Kip smirked and waved a middle finger at him.

"Youse guys took your own paths." Kip said. "Terry. No doubt you have more tied into your 401K than I can ever hope to achieve. There's something profitable about sticking at one job over the long haul. And Joe. Man. Teaching is a real calling. And bless you for dealing with other people's brats for a living.

"Sometimes, you know, when I'm out on some long trail, or freezing my ass off by the side of the road trying to get a hitch, I think about all the good people of the world like yourselves, indoors, warm and snug, surrounded by loved ones, financially secure, raising kids and stuff. And I wonder what the hell am I doing being a bum like this?"

"Well?" Terry said. "Why don't you settle down? Are you going to wander forever?"

"I've tried. Believe me." Kip said. "Had the chance to marry a really sweet girl. I don't know  if you can relate to this at all, but when I'm in any one place, any job, any town, for more than a few months, I just get antsy. It's like some kind of manic thing. If I don't keep moving... you know. It's like, remember that video game from back in the day? It had a roller ball controller, like Centipede, ya know. And you were a skateboarder and this big, booming voice would yell out, 'Skate or die!!' And if you were still for too long, this black cloud of flies or something would chase you around.

"That's kind of how it is with me." Kip said. And then he imitated the loud basso profundo of the old video game. "Wander or die!!"

Joe was topping off their mugs while Kip spoke. He raised his beer to initiate a toast. "Here's to the wanderers of the world," Joe said. "Not all who wander are lost, right? Here, here."

Kip raised his glass. "You just had to bust out a Tolkien quote, didn't you?"

"What, you've heard that one before?" Terry said.

The three clinked their glasses.

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