Entry #4 - A Beginning To An End
I only remembered the name of the place I was setting out to find, because I had taken the initiative to write it on my hand in blue ink. When you need to make certain you remember an important piece of information, such as what to buy at the store, where you parked your car, or names of lost civilizations, you should always write it on your hand in blue ink. It helps you to remember, and the blue makes sure it’s less likely to smear off in case of moisture.
As I stumbled my way down the street and around the corner, I had the strong sense that someone was following me. I’m fairly certain this feeling was brought about by the fact that I could see that someone was following me. I decided to confront him, but not yet. I had to be sure.
I took an immediate sudden turn into an alley, narrowly missing the alley and smacking face first into a brick wall. Just as I had expected and kind of weirdly hoped, the suspect walked right into my back. He was following my every move.
“Hey watch where you’re going, buddy,” I shouted quite crossly at the stranger.
“I think I could say the same to you, mister,” came a low rumbling voice from under the hat… He was wearing a hat. “You walked us straight into a wall.”
This was when I decided to get rough. “Well, if you hadn’t been following me…”
“Hey, what I do with my time is none of your concern.” He was right. What a person does with their time should be of no concern to other people. It was the way of the world, and it was as it should be. I felt I should apologize at once.
“I’m sorry, mister, uh....” In the shuffle, I had forgotten to ask the man his name. I had forgotten to give mine. Perhaps we should exchange insurance information. That’s the sort of thing you do when you get into a rear-end collision, I believe. Sure, normally automobiles are involved, occasionally bicycles… At least one time, an elephant was involved. I saw it with my very own eyes… Yet then again, my eyesight never was very good… The elephant was hard to miss though. Where was I? Oh right, introductions. “Look, my name is Richard Flint, and I’m an unemployed professional. Perhaps you’ve heard of me.”
“Oh, I’ve heard of you alright,” said the man in the hat. “But not from your place of lack of business.” Where else would someone know me from? Perhaps he’d seen my play. “You’re looking for Tawlanok, am I right?” He was.
“You are,” I replied.
“Well what would you say if I told you I could help you find it?”
I blinked very rapidly, mostly trying to get the eyelash out of my eye. It worked. I resumed blinking normally. “I would say that you’re likely full of bull donkey.” I’m not sure what a bull donkey was, but I wasn’t in the mood for profanity at that precise moment. “If you knew how to find it, you’d have found it already and it would no longer be lost, thus rendering my current and newfound search for the lost civilization completely pointless… in which case, I shouldn’t need your assistance whatsoever, so you offering it to me would also be pointless.”
The man was taken back a little and taken front a lot. “Your circular logic impresses me.” It impressed me as well, but I decided against stating it aloud as he had done. Instead, I simply stood there feeling very intelligent and quick-witted while the man also stood silently saying nothing. I'll tell you, it was a lot better than loudly saying nothing, as many people often do… Although I will admit that it was far more awkward, and after an hour or two it made me feel incredibly uncomfortable, so I decided it was time I spoke up.
“Listen here.” I wasn't sure where else he would listen, but I've heard people say that before, and it always seems to get my attention. “You seem like an eccentric enough guy, what with your hat and all, and you seem pretty interested in finding Tawlanok same as me…”
“I, same as I.”
“Absolutely, you and me are the same… so how's about you tag along on my journey, for it is destined to be a fantastic quest at that!” I wanted to end my pitch with a bit of a flourish at the end. I dug back into my Shakespearean days and all the acting skills I had acquired, and I rounded the whole thing out with a grand hand gesture, complete with a pompous look on my face as us thespians are wont to do.
The man just gave a simple shrug and said “Yeah sure. I don't see why not.”
I chose to believe that the overwhelming grandeur of my performance had stunned him into a sort of dry shock, unlike those wet kinds that you hear about so often, and that his lackadaisical response was merely due to his feeble mind being unable to process how marvelous an actor I am.
I didn’t exactly know where to begin, and I’m fairly certain neither did he, but we weren’t about to let that bring us down. As any good explorer will tell you, the best way to start exploring is to find a place to start exploring and just go from there. Actually, it’s practically impossible to get them to stop telling you things like that. You don’t even have to ask, they’ll just keep telling, whether you want to hear it or not. Sometimes the only thing to do in that situation is to walk away.
That is also what I decided to do in that exact moment.
I walked away so exactly and so momentously that it caused quite a stir. People all over were looking and pointing and talking about how well I was walking away that it stopped traffic. Well, to be more accurate, I stopped traffic. I stood in the middle of the road and kept traffic from going anywhere.
If I couldn’t go anywhere, neither could they. These cars weren’t going to move until I had decided on a starting point for my great adventure.
A bowling alley seemed the most obvious choice, partly because it was right there in front of me, flashing its obnoxious neon sign-lights in my face.
Ignoring all the honking and profanity and beverage cups being thrown my way, I made my way across the rest of the street, making a few other peoples’ ways across as I went. It’s only polite to think about the needs of others every now and then, but mostly now.
Once inside the bowling alley, I turned around and went immediately back outside to make sure I was in the right establishment and hadn’t missed or something like that. When entering a building, it’s always a good idea to take a moment to verify that you are where you want to be… in case someone asks.
The moment I set foot back inside, I forgot why I was there. So, I rented out some shoes and decided to play a couple rounds.
I’m not very good at golf.
After much arguing, fighting, and crying with the management of the bowling alley, and agreement was made. I was to pay seventy-five of my hardly-earned money, and in exchange, I was to never set foot in that bowling alley ever again. I decided to be the better man and extend that courtesy to every other bowling alley I came across.
“Go the extra mile,” I told myself. So I began walking.
I’m not entirely sure how far a mile is, but I think that it’s something along the lines of three city blocks. At least, that’s the conclusion I came to when I saw that shady bar after walking for three blocks. It was dark and not very well lit on the inside either. I went inside. That’s how I know.
TO BE CONTINUED...
Read the gathering adventure HERE!