Conversation Pieces XII: Opportunity
By: Wayne Brown
I ease my old pickup truck off the highway to a small country store and pull up to the gas pumps in the front. It’s time to fill one tank and empty another before I finish this last leg of my ride. I don’t stay in one spot for too long before my feet begin to itch to move on. There always seems to be trouble on the horizon. It seems to follow on my heels. I guess that’s why I tend to glance back over my shoulder frequently and see what’s behind me. Trouble has a way of sneaking up on a man.
Some folks would probably call me a drifter and I got no argument with that except that I generally know where I’m going, I just don’t know when I’m going most of the time. Like I say, trouble has a way of sneaking up on a man. But I got no roots so drifter probably covers a lot of what I am about. Got no family and I don’t need no friends. There are a lot of things I know nothing about but I am sure of those two. People complicate things and cause problems. At least that’s been my experience in this life.
I don’t have much in terms of material possessions to show for the fifty odd years that I have populated this earth. I tend to let things lie where I find them and most of the time stuff just gets left behind along with all its ties to another day and time in this life. I don’t get welded to anything that does not provide functionality in my life. That’s just the way it has always been for me least since I can remember. A change of clothes, a good pair of boots, a room for the night and a ride…that’s about all it takes for me. I see folks with a lot more but they don’t seem no happier than I am at this point in life.
I’ve worked at a little bit of everything over the years. Odd jobs here and there keep a little jingle in the pockets. When more than enough comes my way I put a little back for those days when little of nothin’ is all that I can find. It tends to balance out in the long run I have found. I am particular about what I do to earn money even if I have done different things. I don’t like a lot of people around and I don’t want to be bothered once I set my mind to the task. As I stated earlier, people complicate things and cause problems. I’d just soon they not be around if I can help it. I try to figure that in when I go looking for work.
I’m a pretty even keeled guy most of the time but I have my moments. Those moments normally come about when people come into the equation. They complicate things; start causing their little problems and the next thing you know, I find myself rather pissed off. Once I get in that mindset, it is difficult to let it go. I usually have to find some avenue of release and that causes me to look for ways to relieve the stress. I don’t like to talk about the opportunities but let’s just leave it alone by saying that when they arise, I am generally able to relieve the stresses which dumb-ass people have brought to my life.
Now you are likely beginning to understand why trouble seems to be on my trail most of the time. Wherever I go, it seems to follow; not that I’m looking for it but usually because people get involved and stir up my emotions which causes me to look for opportunity. Then trouble starts, clouds gather, and I move on before anyone notices that I have left. I like to come in quietly and leave quietly. I also don’t care to leave too much evidence that I was around…another reason to travel light.
People are problematic as I have mentioned. Me, I could get by a mighty long while without speaking a word to a soul and be just fine with it. But people can’t shut up and they seem to want to insert themselves into your life at every turn. Who are you? Where did you come from? Who do you know? The questions never stop. I guess they just cannot stand to have a person in their midst who is not obsessed with conversation and interactions of all sorts. People really piss me off. Hell, I get pissed off just thinking about how much they piss me off. You know what I mean?
So I drift a bit, work a bit, and generally try to keep mind my own business. People could learn a lot from me in that sense if I was willing to teach them…but I’m not. You see, if you get involved with people and stay that way long enough, sooner or later they ask you that one question that you just don’t want to answer. And once they get on that bone, they can’t seem to let it go. They’re like rabbits in that they keep circling back to the hole. I try to move on before things reach that level but there are times when I miss the call and have to deal with it. Those are also the times when I am driven most to find my opportunities.
I try to keep to myself. Things stay more in order that way but it’s not easy. I keep to the seedier side of the motel circuit and I shop in the little out of the way mom and pop type places…places where a man don’t get noticed much by folks. It seems folks in those places have other things on their mind. I can be invisible in most of those situations. It’s when I am working that usually run across someone who has an opinion or wants to talk and they just keep it up wanting to dig into my life and share their life with me. I don’t need and I try to avoid it. In the process they usually get their feelings hurt then they say something hurtful and attempt to hurt my feelings. Sometimes they do, sometimes they make me down right mad. Those are the times when I usually know that soon I will be moving on.
I’ve worked my way around most of Texas and some spots in New Mexico and Arizona. Finding work comes a little harder out there but there sure is a whole lot less nosey people about the places. I like working the oil patch when I can find it. The work is hard but it don’t give folks much time to run their mouth and ask questions. The money is pretty good too so I do just fine when I come upon oilfield work. In fact, that is where I am heading now…back to the oil patch for a while. I need to disappear for a bit and get into the wide open space away from folks and their prying ways.
If folks really got to know me, they’d say that I’m a bad man. Hell, if they really knew me, I would be locked up for a long, long time. Sometimes folks just don’t connect the dots. They miss the point. One day I quit working and move on. A day or two later, someone they know turns up missing from home and work. They never see them again most of the time. Seems like they just run off or somebody kidnapped them. They forget about that person and forget me as well. Their minds move to the next person and the next question they need so badly to ask.
There are many dark, lonely places in the woods. I find them almost everywhere I travel. Those out of the way places where few people frequent on any regular basis. Places where people can scream and cry for help to no avail. I have a knack for locating those. It is one of the first things I begin doing when I come to a town. I look for those places because I know that sooner or later people will upset me and I will need one of them. I have to look for them when I am at peace with the world; when my mind is focused on the detail of exactly what I want. I always find it. Others seldom do. When they do, my deeds are exposed and it causes quite a commotion. Normally I am long gone by that time and the trail is cold. That’s just the way it is.
Of course I remember. I remember each situation with all with great detail. I can recount every one of them from start to finish. I know where every grave is located. I know how many there are and what each one was wearing at the time. You see, I have an eye for detail. Some of them struggled; cried, begged…you know the usual stuff. But in the end, my face was the last one they saw. As I have said, I find a certain relief from the weight of the world in my opportunities. Some folks let stress build up on them and it eventually kills them. Me, I relieve it and then I move on. Now if you don’t mind, I’ll just pay for my gas and move on. Maybe I’ll see you around.
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