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Conversation Pieces XII: Opportunity

Updated on April 21, 2014

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.

© Copyright WBrown2011. All Rights Reserved.


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    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @Poolgranma....GREAT! WB

    • Poohgranma profile image

      Poohgranma 6 years ago from On the edge

      You were right. I did enjoy "Henry's Last Letter" a great deal!

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @Poohgranma...Thank you! You might enjoy the entire series, "Conversation Pieces". There are 12 vignettes in the series now including this last one, not related but all written from a mind's eye of a different personality type. I also recommend that you read "Henry's Last Letter" if you have done so already. I think you would find that one interest. WB

    • Poohgranma profile image

      Poohgranma 6 years ago from On the edge

      This was such a compelling read. I did not see that coming at all, which of course it what you wanted. You are such a fine writer and stretching your talent this way is proving to be very beneficial to you and to us lucky readers!

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @saddlerider1...I suppose that is the intriguing thing for me about Steven King...he can write of such dark and gory things. His advice is to write what you know best...that leaves me wondering about him! LOL! As ships in the night, we pass closer than we know to the evils of this world and miss them because they look so much like us on the outside. That is what I want to portray here...normal outside...twisted inside. There is a part of me which believes that these types really buy into their own all makes sense to them. There was a line in a John Prine song which talked about a man who lived more in his own head than in life...maybe that's the case here. Thanks for the good words, Ken. WB

    • saddlerider1 profile image

      saddlerider1 6 years ago

      My man you up to it again, huh. Can't get enough of your split personalities, he he...I know whenever you put yourself in that state, you can become so twisted and that my friend is a true sign of a very gifted and versatile writer. I have read similar twists of yours and each time you have such a punch to the character, make him sound and look so dam real.

      I would hate to be the one to piss you off and find myself in some shallow grave in the back woods, he he.....Great write Wayne, you had the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @drbj...LOL! Thank you Doc! Glad I can put a fire under you with this one! WB

      @Silver Poet....Oh you are so right if only I can capture them...some are very, very difficult. Perhaps you should read, "Henry's Last Letter" from my collection. WB

    • Silver Poet profile image

      Silver Poet 6 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer

      Wayne: Running out of personalities? Are you sure? There are so many!

      Good writing.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      You ain't gonna see me around. Not if I can help it. I know who you are and I seen what you done. And if you try anything funny, I'll tell. Git outta here and do your dirty deeds in some other place, Jack the Ripper-man.

      You do have the knack, Wayne, of setting up a scene and delivering a stealthy punch. Rated up of course.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @MartieCoetser....This makes an even dozen of the various personalities that I have attempted...I am actually running out of them! LOL! Glad I could create that mental imagery. I think we all come in closer contact than we ever know with some of these people. It's probably good that we don't know it. Thanks much! WB

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 6 years ago from South Africa

      Goodness, I'm frozen with fear. The video surely belongs to this story. Well Wayne, they say to catch a criminal, you must be able to think like one. You could have been a successful FBI-agent. Fortunately we are not always what we think. Thumbs up, as always.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @Hypenbird...Hope you will read all twelve in the series starting with "Conversation Pieces." WB

      @attemptedhumor...I like to attempt to insert myself into the mind of other personality types. Sometimes their irrational logic which justifies their actions tends to be circular in its reasoning and repeats itself. That's an indication to the reader that the bolts aren't torqued to spec. Glad you came to terms with it. There are 11 other installments in the series starting with "Conversation Pieces". WB

      @TimBryce...You must have a new format! LOL! Thanks Tim...still working on that recording equipment when I get a chance. WB

      @The Frog Prince...Yes, Frogman, I will try to uphold the highest standards but will accept free beer in trade for lowering them! LOL! WB

      @breakfastpop...There are people out there just like that Poppy...just waiting for the right twig to snap. I love getting into their head and letting them out for a bit! LOL! WB

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 6 years ago

      I felt like I was reading a summary of a new Patterson novel. If you'll excuse me Wayne, I have to lock my door. Up and awesome!

    • The Frog Prince profile image

      The Frog Prince 6 years ago from Arlington, TX

      Masterful writing Wayne. If I ever read your Hub and that wasn't so I'd have to ride out to Texas, have a beer or two so we could talk. LOL

      The Frog

    • profile image

      TimBryce 6 years ago


      Now we've got to get you back on the podcast.

      All the Best,


    • attemptedhumour profile image

      attemptedhumour 6 years ago from Australia

      Hi Wayne, i thought this was a bit poorly written to start with, as there was a lot of repetition. Then gradually as it unfolded it began to make more and more sense, concerning this mystery man, until the real sting began to appear. This was a brilliant physiological thriller, even more so because this person got into the depths of my mind without a name, or any distinguishing features. He also never left the gas station. Ten out of ten buddy.

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      Okay now I am calling Criminals Minds AND Law and Order. This is really scary and you can drift far away from Arkansas where I live (right). Great job writing this chilling tale Wayne Brown.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @mkrandhawa...You might want to read the entire series starting with "Conversation Pieces"...they are not related but follow some of the same lines. Thanks much. WB

      @marellen...This is part of my series of attempting to insert myself into the minds of other personality's a bit difficult but fun to write. WB

      @ameliejan...Thank you! WB

      @dahoglund...It's that old dark side coming out again, DA. Hang in there! LOL! WB

      @Truckstop Sally...It's not me but if it scared you a little bit, then my skills as a writer are improving. There's nothing like getting into the head of other personalities and trying to put down on paper they way they reason, the logic they apply which drives their motivations. It is complex and very interesting don't you think? WB

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 6 years ago

      Yikes! Now my heart is beating fast! And you might know where I live. The video is even weird. Eyes, noise . . . And opportunity -- usually means something positive.

      I do like the lines: 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. Great visual and analogy.

      OK. I'm not really worried! Just impressed, as always!

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      It is creepy.

    • ameliejan profile image

      ameliejan 6 years ago from Alicante, Spain

      great hub!

    • profile image

      marellen 6 years ago

      Wayne....thats a scary one.....goose bumps...

    • mkrandhawa profile image

      mkrandhawa 6 years ago from India

      great hub vote up