Monday, October 30, 2006


“Wait, wait, wait. Wait just a minute, here,” the kid says. Jarred, he’s called. You know him: university dropout, wannabe artist, a real player. He’s figuring this whole thing out, this life, this grand enigma. Yes, he’s figuring it all out, and can’t help but to share it with the world. He’s got ideas and wants everyone else to know – and everyone else just can’t wait for him to stop talking.

“What’s all this got to do with Hunter?” he asks. “You’ve been hanging around here for over a month telling these…these ghost stories.”

There’re nods of dumb agreement from the other drunks listening nearby. Murmurs of endorsement. A couple of encouraging “Yeahs.” One of the regulars, Clive, waves his hand, mumbling, dismissing the whole affair, and gets up to take his regular spot at the bar. Leon and Gus fall into arguing over who’s going to buy the next round, but Marty’s much too nimble for them, surreptitiously slipping an order to the waitress while they bicker.

“You come around here saying that you’ve met him,” Jarred persists, “that you know where Hunter is, but all you do is talk and talk about weird shit that nobody cares about.”

Every once in awhile, someone feels the need to address the elephant in the room. Every once in awhile, some brave, tactless, or just plain stupid person decides that he or she needs to point out the obvious. In this case, I can’t decide which category Jarred falls into, so I try a little deflection.

“I thought you were moving to Latvia?” I ask, drawing laughter from the other guys. “Not that I’m eager for you to go or anything, Jarred, but you were supposed to leave last week weren’t you?”

“I had to move my flight back,” he says.

“Money or girl trouble?” I ask.

Jarred looks a little nonplussed, but answers anyway. “Girl,” he says, before adding, “but I really don’t see how this has anything to do with what I asked.”

So I can rule out stupid as an option, leaving behind only brave or tactless – and my gut’s telling me it’s the latter. I remove my Panama hat, placing it atop the table, and I scratch a little at my beard. I’m thinking of what to say, of how much I should reveal. A good storyteller is one who knows just the right time to tip his hand – and how much.

“I never said that I know Hunter,” I say at last.

“But all that talk of pirates…” Leon says, looking a little puzzled, a little disappointed.

“That’s what it was,” Jarred says. “Talk. A story. Nothing more.”

I can’t help but to laugh. “It was a story, to be sure,” I chuckle, “but the stories I tell are not those of fiction. I never said that I know Hunter; I said that I know of Hunter. He’s a brave man, a courageous man. A man courageous enough to seek what is obscured by shadow. Courageous enough to pull back that curtain, to reveal what is hidden from the eyes of most others. Courageous enough to go out and find the answers for himself in the darkest of corners.”

All the eyes in the room are on me now, all the ears in tune to my voice. Glasses are raised halfway to lips, unable to go further. There is silence when I pause, and it is the eagerness in this silence which keeps me, as a storyteller, going.

“Me,” I say, “I come here as a raconteur. I come here with a little flashlight poking into the shadows, its beam of light falling on the nasty and horrible, the strange and wonderful, the believable and unbelievable things found within. I reveal these things to you, and you then decide for yourselves what to make of them.”

More silence for a moment.

“Any questions?” I ask, raising my eyebrows.

“Just one,” a more subdued Jarred says. “All of this, then – it’s all in some way connected to Hunter?”

“Yes,” I say, “it’s all connected to Hunter. Everything is. Everything and everyone on this earth is connected – remove the blinders and you’ll see. Dots will start to connect. Patterns will begin to form in the chaos. We are, all of us, pieces of this puzzle. We are, all of us, born with the ability to see the whole picture – but only if we want to. And only if we are then brave enough.”

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