The Game Is On

As a young man I was fascinated by allegorical treatments of death, but not much threatened by them. It was only a movie, a novel, a poem. I was well-buffered by the actuary’s tables. But now I am in my mid-70s on a trail blazed with abandoned body parts.

There Were Men Everywhere

And here I was, so many years later, in the thick of homeless vagabonds fighting over turf. I wondered why I had felt compelled to find this place again. I’d been to many places twice, usually at my dad’s request, even spreading his ashes at Shiloh, a place he’d taken me as a child.

How to Burn Shit

Burning fecal matter is more difficult than it sounds. The stench is putrid and fetid and hits you when you first approach, making you retch. You have to endure it while you prep, and it’s even more belligerently unpleasant when set ablaze.

Wandering

When someone runs away, and it’s clear they're not coming back, after a while you stop wondering where it is they went. You realize how huge the world really is, how they could be anywhere—anywhere—and the simple act of looking seems futile.

Reality Check

I tried to deposit the checks, each cashing in at one-hundred and twenty-five dollars, a cool five hundred. Although this, of course, is simply the instant payout. I never did understand lump sums, an inheritance now awaited my command, when the only thing I’d asked for were the ashes.