Clad in faded jeans and a checkered flannel, where green and blue travelled in straight lines, his paisley cravat was an odd sight with its curled wisps of purple; reminiscent of years of yore when gentlemen sported ebony canes and shiny black top-hats that they tipped up slightly in greeting before settling down to sip whisky while ladies flipped tiles, busy at games of mahjong.
Odder still was his rig, a plain wooden cart hitched to a plump white ox, creaking along the road. Cars and trucks zoomed by, he brushed them off as his ox swatted flies with her tail; swigging ale while he was transported slowly down the road. Not for coin of any measure would he trade this in, he did no harm, and that was enough even if it seemed queer in this era. A loon flew by, the wind at its back; just then his cart veered off the road.
He hopped out and patted Betsy on her rump. It was midday. A splendid time for rest, after a bit of apple pie and fried eggs. While Betsy munched on roadside ferns and buds, he set up a quick camp, whistling gaily as fire sparked under the pan on his little stove. The last time he’d done this, Lucy Ann was with him. She’d thrown the ring he’d given her into his lap and carried on about his tardiness, said she wanted to be rid of him, marrying him would be her death. The last thing he heard her scream was, “You’re a lunatic”, from the window of a big rig fifty-two-wheeler truck; she’d hitched a ride with a trucker who looked slippery as an eel. He never saw her again, hadn’t missed her much. He had Betsy, lived an honest life, and that was enough for him.
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