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Last month, Mr. Bunker had walked the long, golden walk into town for a coke.  The wind ruffled the gravel dirt that had lightly touched his shoes as he walked along an old country road.

There was something to be said about living in a small town.  Mr. Bunker would walk past a field of daisies, and see nothing but weeds.  Slowly, the blazing hot sky would open the daisies up for the world to see, and the first time he saw them daisies, he was walking down a sharp hill.  Five minutes later, the deep quiet would start with him for the first time. 

            After that, some days, the quietness started when he ate his morning breakfast: eggs over easy, rye toast, no butter, and coffee with a little cream.  It was a clear feeling of being alone in a small town before the sun had completely rose, before the paper boy delivered the news, and before the sound of a car starting could be heard next door.

There was something to be said about building homes on old country roads.  There would be one or two per road, so the neighbors had to depend on each other, but that was not the case for him.  He would only have to listen to the wind curve to the direction of his home to know when the cars were moving, and when they weren’t.   When those cars weren’t moving, people were inside, and he was out. 

            He had remembered that morning a little bunny rabbit jumping across the front lawn, a bunch of grass blades moving back and forth.  That summer when it was blazing hot, and the leaves had already grown slowly on the branches, the country road had seemed so big, and he had been so small. 

            Then far away, a train would begin its long, morning whistle—the piercing sound, reminiscent of a solitary pursuit of jacks or something else he could not remember.  He’d never forgotten that day the young girl waved at him out of the train window, her lame pigtails rocked the red wind.  The brown circles beneath her eyes fell boyish and scared down to a lame face, but he was naked to the look in her eye.

            A trickle of pee fell down his legs, for his brain had caught up with the rest of him, less he completely go blind.  An ant made its way up his leg, and was half-way to the blonde man-hairs on his stomach, before it smelled the pee, and turned around.  The pee, however, tinkled down the leg, and killed the ant, all without the man even knowing.

            Many crop fields passed by as Mr. Bunker made his way to the town’s center.  Some days, those crops nodded toward him, the same nods that came from the town’s black churchfolk.  The slow-dying crops lit the sky with a fiery, reddish glow, careful not to wake the Scarecrow sleeping on the wooden pole.  Like a clock without hands, it stared back at him, unable to move.  He wondered what it was like to have to stand in the same spot, day after day.  Once, he thought he saw the ghost of an elderly black man cursing at himself, and humping against the pole, but since it was raining, he figured he was wrong.

            If one lived on that farm, they might think Mr. Bunker’s only friend was that Scarecrow because looking out through a kitchen window, that was the only time that one heard him speak.  At night sometimes he would come and watch the Scarecrow burn itself to simmers and then in the morning it would become whole again.  And as if reading his thoughts the Ghost in the Wind would be there too.

            All those years, he had known what other people said and felt, but that summer of ’84 was the first time that he had begun to feel it to.  It had started at the

balls of feet and traveled upward.  The feeling had made the hairs on his legs stand, and his toes curl.  It had made his knees buckle, and made his thighs feel special because the feeling took the longest to move from his thighs to his upper body.

            At the foot of the feeling was his heart, pure and simple.  Toward the toes of the feeling was the ripple of skin in his private parts.  A single drip of him fell to the ground in order for the natural order of things to consider and receive.  The Ghost in the Wind thought she might go to him, and let him know that he saved her by crying out because that allowed Mother Earth to make her whole again, instead of just a spirit, but his pain was her pain, so she went back to the forest behind the barn and waited.

            The town of Monroe, Michigan did not have many blacks, and that was fine with Mr. Bunker.  He liked it better that way—He could keep to himself, and the town people avoided him also.  They noticed that he did not breathe when he was around others.  Pain would take hold, making it easier to pretend not to exist, making it easier for his companions to be animals instead of people.

            Little by little, Mr. Bunker understood the importance of being imaginary.  The journey took him to that place where one could go, and then tiptoe back.  Made it easier for him to touch himself, and then sing his own lullaby, and then become like the wet light, become like the sad song, become like the Ghost in the Wind.

            It all started with the feeling.  The only time that the sight of it was worse than the smell was the result of where and why it had come around.  This feeling brought with it the sound of crickets, all loud and elevated like the highest octave of a woman’s voice.  Removed from the scorn of society, she’d forced the finger back down the throat again, convinced that if she kept going, eventually she’d reach the heart of the problem.  Not until that streak of green-orange mess fell in a slender line down her brown leg and she had to rinse herself blue, that she realized that she had to pray that God would take away her sight, and so he did.

            Snaps of twigs invited Mr. Bunker back from the dust that threatened to close his eyes.  Now there were long periods of solitude spent questioning the Immortal Presence, the voiceless beauty of flowers, and the birds outside.  This is where it all began.  One hand reached up, and grabbed a curl.  The fingers wrapped around it until it was no longer curly, but straight.  Pain would take hold for a minute, the eyes would water and quake, then the breathing would begin out through the nose, and into the mouth, and back out again.  Wisps of air would cry out to the world, and the process started all over again. 

            Mr. Bunker woke up again, but the only thing around was the darken

woods.  In his loneliness, he turned to the one thing that would comfort him in times like these: Cecil.  Cecil had been around as long as the l-shaped incident that had shaped the young boy’s mind, and made him the man he was.

            Mr. Bunker would always call on Cecil to make the needles fall off the fir tree, and completed the voyage into the wonderful sounds of his grandmother’s old wax cylinder record: It was played on an Edison Home Model B.  The family had stopped playing the phonograph years before he was born on October 24, 1929 and it was just collecting dust on his grandmother’s employer’s table. 

His grandmother had stolen one from her employers twenty years prior to him being born, only to lose interest in it as soon as she brought it home.  The phonograph was much more valuable before that incident.  After the dark fingers had twisted themselves around the fireside style horn, it had been taken out into the rain, and almost damaged by the drop of that phonograph from those dark fingers in the wet, shade-dark night.