Life in the hermit hovel

You’ve heard of the Hermit Kingdom, land of a dictator, well, I live in the hermit hovel, an old bungalow with a cat and countless mice, who under threat of death by cat, mostly stay in their hermit holes within the hermit hovel.

I am not a dictator, I’m an affable loner, formerly a gregarious husband and man about town. It’s a different story now. Few people, in fact nobody seeks admittance to the hermit hovel, except once in a while the handyman who comes around when something breaks and we have a beer together but most of the time I don’t call him and I try and fix it myself or just deal with it.

In my brief sorties into the outside world, I drive to the liquor store and the convenience store, conveniently avoiding the supermarket, and then I drive back home where I looked after my wife when she fell ill and was at her bedside when she left the planet and went to another— I don’t know where she went, another planet, a kingdom maybe, I don’t know, I kind of doubt she went anywhere, but you never know, even if you think you know.

I live in a limbo of hopeless hope, or perhaps it’s hopeful hopelessness. I didn’t choose to live this way, especially not live my last years this way but that’s the way it went and there’s nothing I can do about it.

After nearly two years of the hermit life I was getting psyched up to go out and seek companionship, not a new lady, just some friends maybe, go back to the bar my wife and I used to go to, it’s only a mile down the road so you can have a few drinks and still drive home safely or walk home if you get plastered.

But covid had a different plan. We’re all in the same boat there so I’m not going to complain about that. I’m not really complaining about anything, except that I’m out of beer and it’s two o’clock in the morning and I’ll have to wait seven hours to go out and get some more.

One of the things I’ve discovered during my hermitage, besides the stark charm of Japanese poetry and the comforting presence of a cat, is that a breakfast of bacon and eggs tastes even better with beer. I’ll just stay here until I’m old and broke.

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Billy, the Silver Surfer and a girl named Sue


I haven’t heard from my wife in 17 months — 17 months and 11 hours as of this writing to be exact. I call her name, I try to summon her spirit. Not a peep, not a hint of a presence. I crawl into the crawlspace looking for her ghost, I look in the liquor cabinet, the closets, under the bed, all I see under the bed is the cat who gives me a look that says, You is crazy, Cat God. She thinks I’m the Cat God like people think God is the God God.

I don’t want to get into that, all I know is I don’t know where my wife is. For answers I pray in my own way which is not so much praying as sending out fervent psychic energy reaching from heaven to oblivion. I even engaged the Silver Surfer to look for her but so far he has come up empty.

I need more time, he told me. There are more than two trillion galaxies in the universe.

In other words, I said, she could be anywhere.

Or nowhere, he said.

What do you mean?

Oblivion, my friend.

But what about the indestructible atoms that make up the human body and the mind? They’ve got to end up somewhere.

That scientific theory may have been overstated, said the Silver Surfer.

I need something, man. My friend and spiritual advisor Renata de Dios tells me to have faith in God, that my wife is in Heaven — Renata’s words, not mine.

Listen, I’m out there, dude, and I’ve yet to see any evidence of God, but that doesn’t mean your wife’s not somewhere in those two trillion galaxies. 

That’s what I’m counting on, because if the God of Love that Renata de Dios believes in does exist, he sure as hell’s got it in for me. He has taken everyone in my family. My wife was all I had left. And he had to take her too.

All I can tell you, man, is don’t give up hope. If you give up hope, you’re dead. Now, hand me a shot of that whiskey you’re drinking and I’ll be on my way.

You’re a good friend, Silver Surfer.

I try. Get some sleep, Billy, you look beat.

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Hitching a ride on the road to God


He was a hitchhiker man

Year unknown somewhere back when

All his family was all dead

He had no money no bread.

He was walking for hours

Looking at wildflowers.

Chevy pickup pulls over

Pretty woman leans over

Where are you going Bud?

I’m trying to get to God.

Get in friend I know the way.

Damn, he says, my lucky day!

She sees something in his hand

She’s alone in a bad land—

It looks like some kind of knife

She hits the gas to save her life

Knocking him back on the road.

Life again is a heavy load.

Shaken, dazed and at a loss

In his hand a simple cross.