I stopped. Running is tiring. Plus it gets boring sometimes. I hoped Father Shovel wouldn't mind me running off with his kid. He had another one. He probably wouldn't miss my trowel. I was getting closer to my woods, the Black Forest, the land of ghosts. So far real people had been scarce. Or least scarce enough that I felt alone most of the time. I didn't always sleep there. Sometimes I slept at other peoples places. Not as often as I used to. It was like every year I got older the kindness of strangers, and the strange, receded. I felt old when I was nineteen.
I took the path off the road about a half mile before the McDonald's. It wasn't really a path as much as where trees had been cleared for a sewer line a long time ago. Maybe ten years or so. I don't know. Weird pipes stuck up in a few places and let out stinky air. There were raised concrete domeish things with metal manhole covers on top every once in a while. They were good for sitting on.
I kept some stuff in plastic bags that I hid under a fallen oak right off this path. The trash bags were black and once you threw some leaves and sticks on them they were invisible. So invisible that I couldn't find them one time when I was really drunk. I ended up sleeping on the ground and woke up freezing. It took me damn near a week to find them. Boy I was blowing snot for awhile after that.
I kept a tarp, well a part of a tarp, some blankets, a plastic flute that I was going to learn to play really well. I liked the flute. I pictured myself sitting in the woods playing it and making magic good ghosts come out. Maybe little green cookie elves that would bring me food. Some books and papers. One had a really cool design that someone had drawn. The other was a shopping list and a phone number. It was written by a woman. This I knew. I liked looking at it an imagining things. Little plays in my head. Plays that had her...she never had the same face. Usually it was whoever I had seen in the parking lot or maybe going into McDonald's or getting gas.
She was always pretty with clean straight hair. She had a job doing something important. Not real important. Even in my dreams I knew not to go to far as to make then unbelievable to myself. Something good. A job where people said "Hi" to her and she went to meetings. I knew meetings were important. I had been to a few and my life always changed after a Meeting.
She would have an apartment and I would have the list. I would be going shopping for us. I would bring it home and she would be waiting and happy. She would talk to me. It would be like cable TV except there wouldn't be badness. Sometimes I would be important too. I would have really nice sunglasses, my tooth wouldn't hurt, and no one could hurt me.