Flash Fiction: The Welcome Agent

Like Heraclitus, the elderly clerk ran naked in the hills. He scrambled over boulders, climbed up cliffs and through clefts, and knelt at the edge of a scarp. His eyes followed a hawk's circling ascent into hot haze, and then its long drift down to the town, where it searched for rodents. Stimpole remembered the humans who lived there, and the fact of his job; he clenched his hands, scowled, and trembled. When his rage subsided he crawled onto the plateau and grazed on grass-shoots, lichen, and insects. At nightfall he rolled on his back; his mind wheeled with the planets and stars. At dawn he walked to town. He combed his sparse hair with his fingers and resumed his post at the travel counter. His smile was so broad, his manner so genial, that the morning's customers took no notice of the lizard on his brow, the egg-sack on his ear, or his unclothed condition as they filed smartly into the galaxy that whirled at the center of his chest.

By day David drives a small shuttle vehicle, which gives him regular opportunities for listening to others. Listening is what he does: as co-founder of Friends Along the Road, a social movement that provides sanctuary and caring support for those in grief, David tries to make his person a safe-zone so that others may feel comfortable talking, if they'd like, or just being themselves. Support of those in grief, writing, and body-surfing are the pursuits he most enjoys, and wherever he is, stories, poems, and essays thought bubble up his head. David also does some publishing. In 2018, he compiled, edited, contributed to, and published "Living with Grief: 36 Lessons from Life," an anthology of 31 authors who have suffered profound loss, and learned to not banish grief, but to live with it. The book is available on Amazon. Visit www.griefsanctuary.org for more info. It is David's hope to travel with his wife and cat as the FAR Mobile Sanctuary for Those in Grief, and to do lots of writing—and body-surfing—along the way.