Having purchased my Girl Scout Cookies from Monique Vasko, I allowed Buddy to guide us south on C Street towards the truck, where I felt like I was slipping through a busy dream state because of my medication.

From out of the Silver Queen stepped James Cleek and his lovely sister, dressed to the nines, ready for an 1870s early afternoon stroll. There, the three of us spoke for a few minutes before we excused ourselves.

“Hi, Mike!” I heard Jim say as a man, obviously of an Indigenous race, stepped up on the boardwalk to shake hands.

Intrigued by this man’s look, long, center-parted white hair, Elvis era glasses, tanned skin, and chiseled chin, I knew he was a warrior, shaman, or elder. I also knew I had to hear what he had to say.

So as Jim and his sister moved away, I introduced myself, saying, “So, you’re the Mike everyone speaks about.”

“No that one is in prison,” he said.

“I know,” I said, “But you’re the Mike they say that has a sense of humor and an opinion and that you can use both separately or together and with power.”

“That might be so,” Mike said. “I do remember when you said what needed to be said without worrying about whose feelings were gonna get hurt.”

“I remember that time, too,” I said.

“Perhaps we can sit down and talk of the old days,” he said.

“I’d enjoy that,” I said. “Anything else needing saying before we scoot?”

“Not really,” he said. “I do have an old piece of chewing gum, this chipped marble I found crossing the street jus’ now and a length of worn-out shoe leather.”

I accepted the three items before we shook hands and parted ways.

“Shaman,” I said to Buddy as I unlocked the passenger door of my truck, “But, I’m not sure if he knows it yet.”

I don’t remember driving home.


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