Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Dugout Dick

NOTE: A bit more for the Hermit. Every hermit needs another hermit to despise.

Pick and shovel.

Pick and shovel.

Pick and shovel.

“Built my dugouts all with a pick and a shovel,” he said. “No dynamite. No drills. No cutters. And certainly no high-powered lasers.”

I grew tired of the frazzled hair, the greasy hats, the smells and the voice.

The voice.

Speech full of eeees and arrrs, kind of a mix between Walter Brennan and Dorothy’s Scarecrow. When he is not strumming the guitar or wheezing his loose teeth into his harmonica, he is talking, constantly talking, running his white face with his grubby black hands.

“Came here from Michigan, jumped a freight train in Nebraska, got here and there was nothing to build a house with but rocks, so I built a house of rocks. Sometimes I stacked ‘em. Sometimes I found some that fit together like a big ol’ jigsaw puzzle. Ya see I make my own shoes. I make them out of ol’ rubber tires, shingle nails, and . . . old shoes.”

I came to know there’s a fine line between making your own shoes and nailing rubber onto some old shoes and saying you make your own shoes.

The smells, one grows used to. They blend together like fine teas with other odors of my own sweat and the ancient dust and rock and ichors I melt to make my refuges. But when I work with the laser, above the whine and the explosion of sublimating rock, I hear the voice. And the ears never tune out. Unlike the nose, which can be ignored. The ears always listen and latch on to the annoying sounds and deliver them to the brain where the hatred and resentment begins to fester.

Don't be surprised. Every hermit needs another hermit to despise.


Always the sideshow.

One does not expect a garrulous hermit. Then again, Dugout Dick is no hermit. He’s an entrepreneur, hermiting it up for the yobs who come to gbawp at him living in holes in the sides of a rough-cut mountain. Hermits do not sell cassette tapes of their wheezy singing, nor rent out their vacant dugouts to the curious for the night. They do not spin impossible yarns about ghost girlfriends just to keep the yokels interested so they’ll rent a room or drop something in the begging bowl, so to say.

A true hermit, with his greasy, wild hair, dirt-stained hands and reedy voice, says go away.

I suppose that is why I have selected Iapetus. It is rare indeed for me to have anyone to say go away to. And if they don’t go away, I walk away from the transmitter or computer. I don’t shut it off; true hermits want to let those they shun know they’re being shunned.

Dugout Dick, however, won’t take a hint.

He will not go away.

Fortunately, he favors the kilometer-high cliffs at Engelier, and I have since abandoned the refuge I built there. It is for him and his ghostly bride-who-never-was.

And for his damn pick and shovel.

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