Here's a little something that I wrote this week when given the challenge to complete 500 words on the subject of widdendream. Immediately attracted to the word itself I did some research on it, and it brought to mind a bum I had seen walking a New Hampshire city sidewalk recently. A warm summer day, I remember noticing him wearing many heavy items of clothing, but was most struck by how he held a book up to his face. Not in front of his face, but right on and shielding his face, from what only he knew. This is what I imagined it might be...
Jim’s Daily Widdendream
By Tammi j Truax
James was walking up the sidewalk at a considerable clip, though he was heavily weighed down by his multiple layers of clothing and his back pack filled to the brim and with quite a few tied on attachments. Tied on in the style of an old time hobo. But he wasn't old and he wasn't a hobo. He was a scientist, in search of answers. An anthropologist to be specific. He studied people and places. Sometimes he did. When he had a chance to stake out an observation area. Right now though, it was travel time. Travel time was determined by the sun and the relative heat it gave off. It was unwise (and unpleasant) to travel when you were wearing every item of clothing that you own and it becomes hot outside. He would walk awhile (actually 1759 additional steps) once he became overheated to benefit from the detoxifying sweat bath that resulted and its medicinal properties. But then encampment must take place. Taking 1760 steps or more would tragically disrupt the ratio of travel to camp time and disturb all scientific findings for the entire day and night. This was an indisputable scientific fact well documented in his journals. His journals were his most prized and valuable possession and most of his day and most of his energy went into safeguarding them. They were his life's work, and many people, corporations and governments alike, were out to get them and take credit for his discoveries. They were sealed in a plastic bag which he kept in the left side pocket of his cargo pants where they were closest to his heart. He kept one journal, which he called The Placebo, out most of the time. It was a dummy journal though occasionally when pressed for time and / or in a place where the real journals could not be revealed, he would make a quick first draft note of a discovery in it which he would transfer later when he got to do so safely at camp. Usually, though strictly for security purposes, he would only record the new finding in the form of a diagram which he would transcribe later. The other function (Jim, liked all of his possessions to multitask) of the placebo book was that it served as his mask. It was important to be fully covered while traveling and he wore a hat and a hoodie pulled well around his head. But he had to travel with the book held up right under his chin and covering all of his face except his eyes, much like an Afghani woman’s burqua. He knew people assumed he was a farsighted reading-walker which was fine with him. He didn't want to hurt their feelings and divulge that he saw them all as dirty specimens of a dying pathological city. Mostly though, the placebo was needed to conceal his identity because people were looking for him. He imagined he looked just like the lone ranger, handsome and debonair, and rode on.
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