Four: October 30, 2012
Gyra and Dansel sat patiently while the owner of that shack retold his favorite memory, from just before the Near-Revolution of October, 2010. There was tea for them, but it was cold. And the old man’s version of cookies was something spewed dust when he pried open the seal on that package.
But what was more spellbinding than his story, about so many people–their own age–having come down to Washington, DC before the Beltway Walls went up, before the Fed-diss-pass m ade it impossible for Washingtonians who needed to, to get out. This crazy ‘Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear’ they’d always heard about but never been really told–TOLD–about, you know. It was the rare joy of someone so vulnerable welcoming them, in these times, that made the whole thing spark. Even though they’d carried a shotgun to defend themselves in these times, eventhough Gyra was more than off in her way and couldn’t stop asking strange questions, the old man was glad to answer, to smile slightly, to hope. And when his fingers flared open, at the mention of thousands upon thousands of people having come from all over the country to indulge being so powerfully silly for good reasons…
Well, Gyra might have had a heart attack, she was so glad to hear that DC was still a place for funny folks.
“Funny-farm folks, do you mean.” Dansel barked his laughter. But then, when the old man spoke about the Redskins and how they were even winning at the time, well it was their almost-winning version, Dansel Darrons sang out with Gyra, ‘that such a DC coulda’ never really been!’
“But it was, you know.” the old man smiled around a hole in his teeth. “It really was.”
“Why did they ever build walls, to keep us out then, if we was makin’ so much progress Mister Stimpson?”
“If we were making progress–corrected Dansel.”
“There you New Uniontown folks go again, thinkin’ in terms of the past bein’ the penultimate. How bad were things really, back then? How bad are things, really, right now? It’s always bad, in a way. But, it’s what you do with it.”
Dansel sat back when he was offered a pipe like their new friend Mister Stimpson and clarified, for the lady. Not that Gyra was a lady, but it seemed to be everybody’s nice way of saying that she had ‘a condition’ and needed compassion. “My dear Gyra, it fell on deaf ears. Halloween partying ran late and then we didn’t vote in the right congresspeople. Oh, well DC folks were doing their version of voting too, of course. We always do.”
“Nope, we didn’t vote in no people.” Shrugged gray-headed old Stimpson. “The folks who went it, by the people who didn’t care to vote at all–you know, but default on those who did vote?”
Both young folks exchanged befuddled looks.
“You’re young. It’s alright to be silly, if that helps to get the point across, when life’s a joy anyway and people want to feel good–they long for goodness, I think. It’s not that they’re lazy. But don’t go getting so excited you forget to do something about the big stuff, if you get the chance. It’s your world now. Silly but smart–and that’s what play is anyways. A chance to test your strength, for the fight. So it’s okay to use your brash energy, just fuel it into the right damned engine! Now that you’ve heard me, where in the world are you two going with such an old rifle and her dressed like that?! Your Daddy or whomever know you two are lost out here like this?”
That was when both Gyra and Dansel realized that they could have been going somewhere. There was no reason to stop.
Dansel answered, “Say, is that your boat tethered out there? It’s been a real long time since either of us, well, you know…” because Gyra was getting very excitable and very intense too, trying to fake not being so on the verge of wild-happy, “Uh… we might want to see the rest of DC again, why not? The old man did say to take a few days off. So, you ferry people across the Anacostia?”
“You beat me to it.” smiled Stimpson. “I meant to end this story with an assertion that folks who care, go out into the world and do something about all their caring… for a fee? Hey now, I need to earn my livin’ too…”
Gyra squealed that it was just in time for Halloween, and skipped on her black lace-all-the-way-up boots out of the house. Though, it was real easy to see the boat tethered to an old dock just beyond Old Stimpson’s back door. Dansel apologized and went to go fetch her.
“My was that a hideous dress!” Exclaimed Stimpson after they’d gone, for he’d been holding it in for the entire glad exchange. “That can’t have been the very DC flag on ‘er could it? I don’t ever remember it bein’ so moth-eaten and unkempt. Blech.”