Monday, 5 July 2010

The Midnight Preacher

Late October 1931

A chill autumn wind blows up the valley. A pair of scrawny crows caw in the deadwood. Dust bites in the eyes.

The San Antone overnighter grinds in at Dogtown.

A couple of minutes pass then the train pulls away. A red light and a blue light trail into the gloaming.

A solitary figure stands on the platform; nothing else remains.

The Reverend David Ignatius James stands stiff and sniffs the air.
He picks up his case.
It's battered and brown.
He pushes his flat-brimmed hat down.
It's battered and brown.
He pulls it down hard.
He makes to leave, then sees the stationmaster.
He's battered and brown.

The stationmaster clocks him. The stationmaster double-takes.

“Afternoon, Minister,” he says. The stationmaster tips his visor. The stationmaster walks on by.

The reverend stops. The reverend sets down his case. The reverend makes a half turn.

“God be with you, sir,” the reverend says. He says it slow. He bows his head.

The stationmaster stands, for a little while beguiled. He turns. He don’t see the man's eyes. He don't see the man's face.

“Ahh - and always with you,” the stationmaster mumbles, and gets on with his business, quite forgetting to check the man’s ticket.

The preacher picks up his case and stalks off the platform.

Crows take to the wing and wheel in the rancid sky.

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