Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Ghost of John the Baptist

     The house squatted on Lexington like a big pink skull, leering blindly out of its dirty window eyes, and the kudzu crept up the sides like black cobwebs.  It was, of course, abandoned - empty for years, and doomed to be only irregularly inhabited by ghosts, rats, and drunks.   Behind the house, we were well on our way to being quite drunk ourselves, between the whiskey and wine and the full moon. 
     It was one of those nights, stiflingly hot and dead calm; far-off voices floated on the air, mingling with the crickets and the traffic.  We had been moseying back to my tent, nestled deep in a nearby kudzu patch, when I copped an earful of joyful singing from the back of the big pink skull.  Was that an Otis Redding song? Having most of a jug and no immediate plans, we followed the sound around back to investigate.  Four or five old guys, obviously well-lubricated themselves, huddled in a circle, bottles in the air, while one, gazing skyward, rasped “These Arms of Mine” out into space. We sat down in the dirt and joined in.  I noticed that another guy was singing to himself in Spanish, eyes closed, swaying on his seat.  Two others nodded their heads, stomped their feet, and swore.  Next to them sat John the Baptist.
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