You’d never guess by looking at me now, but I used to be footloose and fancy free. Free to the point that people thought I was feral and untamable. And then it all changed. I straightened up and got right with the world, and now I am a good little slave to the groupthink that drives the world. Don’t rock the boat is my new motto.
I was up to my usual shenanigans when I met him. A tall dark and quiet stranger, well dressed, and looking slightly out of place.
Rather a lot out of place now that I think about it.
He gave the impression that he was more present than even the rocks, trees, and front porches of the neighborhood. I could never tell you what he really looked like, there is just a blur left where any memory of his face ought to be.
But he was a handsome devil.
He called me by name, too.
We had never met before, and he knew my name as if it was written on my face.
Which it might as well have been. I had a full tribal tat covering the left side of my head. I had run out of money when it reached the bridge of my nose. Since it hurt like hell, I had never quite found the time to spend any of my money on finishing it. Everyone called me Quart since my giant white face looked like a typical first quarter moon. It made about as much sense as my real name, so I went with it. After all, when the crowd names you, you usually don’t get much of a say. So if they name you something you can live with, its usually best to just let it ride.
But the stranger knew my real name was Monroe. Monroe Apollo Eagle, to be complete. Not that anyone would presume to call me that, aside from my Momma, of course.
He came around every few days for a while. Then suggested I might find him here and there if I was interested. Never said what I might be interested in, of course. Naturally I wasn’t interested.
And yet, a day or two later I found myself wandering away from my usual haunts.
Must have found him. My memory is just a blur. More a collection of impressions. They tell me that I wandered away from the hood for several months. I don’t believe them. But it is true that I’m not the same person now.
I just don’t remember the process.
I correct people who call me Quart. I don’t while the days away gambling on street corners for petty cash. I have a nice place of my own, and a job of some sort.
I’m a little unclear on the job part.
I go somewhere every day, then come home later. Sometimes with a paycheck.
Where I go and what happens there is also lost in a fog.
Some from the old gang tried to question me.
I broke their arms. Apparently more changed than just my name. I broke their arms in several places.
But I don’t really remember that either.
I do remember something shiny. And eyes. And a calm voice. But never what the voice said, or what shade the eyes are, or what the shiny thing is.
I get up. Dress nice. Drive somewhere that fades away when I get there. Stay there. I presume I have coworkers. I don’t know that either.
But I’m out of trouble.