After rewarding and successful careers in widow bilking, candy stealing, and puppy punting, Bobby served for a time in the peas corps. That last one was an accident of not paying attention. He thought he was joining the Peace Corp and instead found himself shacked up with migrant farm workers harvesting tiny vegetables.
It wasn’t until the winter of ’83 when the migrants were snowed in and forced to eat a three-legged transient in order to survive that Bobby began an introspective journey that led him to the summits of average-height mountains, through semi-arid deserts, and across relatively narrow oceans, that he discovered that the word introspection didn’t mean what he thought it did. So, he sat down on a heavily trafficked thoroughfare in Bangalore, India and thought about things for a while.
Affluent Indians with high-tech jobs often offered to lend him assistance and kindly left him with enough Rupees to buy fried-bug sandwiches and used apple cores. His hair grew long, and his beard turned scraggly. His clothes wore thin. Puny parasitic insects befriended him in one-sided relationships.
Then one day, a dark-skinned man with dreadlocks and a New Jersey accent came and squatted beside Bobby on the road and asked him what he was doing among the beggars and stray animals. Bobby told him that he was on a journey of the mind and was searching for a direction in a life that seemed to have no meaning.
Dreadlock Man laughed and laughed.
Bobby asked, “Why are you laughing?”
Dreadlock Man said, “You’re a writer, you idiot. Stop sitting on a curb doing nothing and go write something.” Then he smiled and walked away.
After sitting on the curb begging for Rupees for another thirteen years while his head told him that Dreadlock’s prediction made no sense, Bobby couldn’t overcome the contrary certainty in his heart that Dreadlock Man had spoken true. He had to be right. Bobby realized, he had to write.
So, he did.
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