I hike everyday. It is energizing and allows my spirit to open up to my surroundings. I am able to observe with the spirit’s eye and see universes beyond the physical reality of things. I am delighted to take photographs and collect artifacts like feathers and wood for use in recreating what I have seen in my imagination.
On my many wanderings I have come to find hidden and secluded places where almost no human ever ventures anymore. I am not talking about the wilderness, I am talking about within the city limits of San Francisco. Most of The City is a massive tangle of abutted structures, but not all. There are forsaken copses of trees and open spaces in this bustling cityscape. Some appear forgotten as the now condemned Berlinski’s Hardware that sits forlorn with its boarded-up windows next to a twenty-first century Home Depot. I used to frequent that old Hardware Store and it was way more interesting than Home Depot could ever dream of being.
My name is The Surest Sugar Maple. The Elders christened me with the namesake as a young child because of my propensity to take calculated risks that none of the other kids could wrap their wits around. I was the one that climbed the railroad trestle and tied the rope so we could fly out over the cliff and fall into the river. I hunted and snared the rattlesnakes that were fodder for our moccasins.
If I wasn’t sure about a dare or a challenge, I wouldn’t take it on until I had it figured out to where the odds were in my favor. I couldn’t be swayed but I could be bought. It served me well in Hollywood where I spent many years working with the likes of John Wayne, Fess Parker, and Jimmy Stewart. I was one of the Indians falling off horses, cliffs and bar stools. I have an abundance of physical wounds to show for it, but I am alive and a very rich man because of it.
I am also old, but I am not as decrepit as the cocky little teenagers think. They have begun to follow me at times and are over-confident, foolish and blind. Their bodies are full of fast food and drugs. They lack the power of observation. They only see an old man, they do not see beneath the surface where I am fleet as a gazelle when and if I need and want to be.
The Skinny One and The Vulture had been waiting to ambush me when I came out of the Wells Fargo on Biscayne Street. The Skinny One sidled up to me on my left while The Vulture nervously poked something implying a gun into my ribs.
“Gotcha old man,” The Skinny One hissed. He was their teenage lips, their fear and their bravado all mixed up into one. Of all the little gangsters that I had noticed he seemed like the one that was dangerous. “Just do as I say,” he said, “And maybe you’ll live to tell your chess playing Bros about shitting your pants down at the Wells Fargo.”
What he didn’t have was the gun. It was The Vulture that had the weapon in my ribs and I had since surmised that he had no business as a hoodlum. He was too sensitive, weak minded and a coward. Besides that, I had purposely bumped him with my elbow and there had been no weight behind the supposed weapon. It was either his finger or maybe a plastic water pistol.
They ushered me down Biscayne. An old man and a couple of teenagers out for a stroll. As they did so, I quickly concluded that I was probably in no real danger. That’s the luxury of having made a calculated risk, the odds are in your favor. When I added it up, one way or another they were destined to lose. They were high on adrenalin and probably cocaine. They were having visions of how they had already won.
To be continued.
Richard Rensberry, Author at QuickTurtle Books®