The sun was sinking low behind Overlook as he set out to walk back to Woodstock.
He’d spent the day helping Joshua over in Bearsville’s fixing some pipe or other. Didn’t matter what it was, it was money and that’s all that mattered.
Like all the roads in the Catskills, there’s no sidewalk, so you just kept yourself alive by jumping from side to side. It was probably best to do it drunk, that way you didn’t worry.
Climie was humming some Bluegrass tune and trying to pretend that the coming dark wasn’t making him a little crazy. Some of those guys just sped out of town as if the cops were chasing them. I mean, they couldn’t see anyone, especially a kid in a dirty old pair of dungarees heading home.
He lived in Glasco road just past where The Family lived; a kind of house that took in all lost souls who found their way to it.
He would always run past The Family on account of all the stories he’d heard, but truth be told they were just folks like himself who needed a little hand to get back up, standing.
Climie must have been on the edge of Tinker Street when an old wagon slowed down. Now either it was someone lost, or someone he knew, or someone wanting something that he wasn’t prepared to hand over.
“Heading into town?” The driver asked.
Climie nodded and said nothing.
Did he know this guy? Climie was sure he’d seen the guy’s face around. He still had to get through town and out the other side to hit the Glasco road. So he thought what the hell and jumped in the wagon.
Climie looked at the man.
“Something bothering you man?” Asked the driver.
“Do I know you?” Said Climie.
“Does anyone, know anyone,” was the man’s reply and then he gave a little giggle.
“Sure I do, you sometimes talk to that red-Indian guy who sits on the store’s steps, where the Trailways bus pulls in. Ain’t you him?”
“He ain’t no red-Indian,” said the man. ”But he’s my good friend.”
“You live here?” Climie asked him.
“Does anyone really live anywhere?” said the man.
Climie looked at him as if he might be just a chord or two short of a tune.
“I can see it in your eyes, you think I’m crazy, don’t you?”
Climie dropped his face.
“That’s all I needed to know. I ain’t crazy, I’m just me.”
“So what do you do?” Climie asked.
“I am, what some people would call, a troubadour.”
“A whatma dour?”
“I sing songs for a livin’,” then the man grinned.
“Over at the Woodstock pub?”
“Not for a long time,” said the man. “Not for a long, long time.”
“So where you sing now?”
“Just about anywhere on this old rock. Anywhere they’ll have me.”
“You any good?” Asked Climie.
“I survive, where are you heading?”
“Been there long?”
Climie shook his head and told how they had to come down from Buffalo on account of his mom getting a job looking after one of Woodstock’s writers.
“Well I’ll be, I know your mom. Sweet little thing with bright blonde hair.”
Climie smiled, ‘cause that’s how he would have described his mom, too.
“You at school?” Asked the man.
“Over in Boiceville,” added the man. “Sure I know it.”
Then the man slowed the wagon down at the bottom of Glasco road.
“Going to drop you here, young ‘un, on account I got to visit my friend - or as you call him the red-Indian. If you see him sitting on the steps again, just say ‘Hi’. His name’s Albert and mine’s Bob.”
And with that Climie was out of the cab and running up Glasco and pleased that he hadn’t had to pass The Family.
bobby stevenson 2014