As they were nearing the Roberta city limits, Old Man Peal suddenly farted. It was a loud, long, and extremely stinky fart, like someone would make after drinking too much beer all weekend. It stunk to high heaven!
“Good God!”, Mike said, gagging as he pulled into a nearby convenience store parking lot. “It smells like a dead cow in here. Something must have crawled up your ass and died!”
“Cheap beer and shitty driving are a deadly combination,” said Peal.
“I’ll agree with ‘shitty’ all right,” Mike said, getting out of the car. “Now stay right here this time. Don’t go wandering off again, okay?”
Peal nodded his head and smiled.
Mike walked into the store, bought a candy bar and an energy drink, then stretching as he went sauntered back to the car. When he looked in the window, of course Peal wasn’t there.
Although it was unnerving, Peal’s disappearance didn’t bother him this time as much as it did the first time. He walked back to the store, and calmly asked the clerk if he had seen an old black man wandering about outside. The clerk shook his head no. Stupid Peal! Mike made a quick trip to the men’s room, then decided to just forget about the old guy.
The truth of it was, Mike was beginning to think that Peal didn’t exist at all, and was simply a figment of his imagination, or a hallucination of some sort. It was like he was reading a novel, and one of the characters was so vivid that he actually began to exist, at least in Mike’s mind. Or maybe he was beginning to go crazy?
Like I’ve said, I’ve never met Peal myself, but I know he does exist, because other folks than Mike have told me they have met him. I can’t explain his actions here, and probably Mike is leaving out a few details that would help it all make sense. Or maybe not. I don’t know. Life can’t always be explained rationally. Maybe the simple things, the basic “hows” of physics, (which I always HATED!), can be explained and crammed into one complicated formula or other, but the “whys” of life are always beyond explanation. Of at least I think so.
Why did Lee Ann dump me for a jerk who lived in Mauk? Why did Mike say he never met a person, or heard of a person even, named Lee Ann who lived in Mauk the entire time he was there? Did he really think I made her up?
When he got back to the car after a long pee he saw a note taped on the dashboard which read:
“Carolina Bath House, Macon. One Block off Gray Highway, halfway down the hill towards town from the Walmart. Go to the back parking lot.”
Oh shit!, thought Mike as he read the note. The dirty old man wants me to meet him at a Macon massage parlors. He sighed heavily, and got into the car.