The Soupster has a candid conversation.
The Soupster came upon Frank at the stone benches behind the library.
“Shalom, Soupster,” said Frank, his low voice muffled even more by the flowered cotton mask he wore.
“What are you up to, Frank, on this fine morning, or at least, this tiny little break in the weather?”
“Not much,” said Frank. “Just recovering a bit from waking up in the middle of the night to watch a Zoom multi-media presentation from Hamburg.”
“Yup, although people were Zooming in from everywhere – Japan, Moldavia, even St. Petersburg. They wanted to hear the music and watch the mimes. I even danced a bit alone in my living room,” admitted Frank.
“Wow, Moldavia,” marveled the Soupster. “And here you are, in little Our Town. What is it about this spot, Frank?” he wondered.
“It’s like a kind of an outdoor church, Soupster. I mean, it’s peaceful, you have the ocean and the trees, and you’ve got wifi. What more does it take to make a church?” he chuckled.
“You look tired, though, Frank. Your eyes look tired.”
“Well, I am, kinda, Soupster. Though whether it’s because of my crazy hours, my crazy dreams, or my sporadic avoidance of red meat, I cannot say.”
“Tell me about your ‘crazy’ dreams, man,” said the Soupster.
“This most recent bout started with a book I’ve been reading whose main character was thought to be a ‘holy fool’ by some street people.”
“What the dickens is a ‘holy fool’?”
“Oh, it’s an old character – in the humanities, you could say, who tells truth to power yet manages to survive by playing the fool. Sometimes they hear voices. Other times, they announce the return of spring.”
“Oh, I think I have seen pictures of that last one,” said the Soupster. He scratched his head, then replaced his baseball cap. “I am picturing a guy wrapped in a bunch of leaves, with vines growing around his body and even out of his mouth?”
“Exactly,” said Frank. “The Green Man. Other times,” he continued thoughtfully, “the character can be physically modest, even awkward, gangly, stumbling around to make a joke. Or the opposite – physically agile and nimble, like a kind of Ninja. In fact, their whole performance or truth-telling is kind of Ninja-like.”
“Sometimes, they leave us gifts,” Frank said quietly, “and we may not even realize we’ve received a gift until after they are gone.
“Well, Frank, as me sainted Mam used to say,” said the Soupster in his best Irish accent, “the best gifts are those not known by the giver or the receiver.”
“You got that right, Soupster.”
And Frank closed his eyes, the better to feel the rays of the weak winter sun on his face.
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