A Place in the Sky
As I was sitting on the bench, I checked my watch. I had about thirty minutes, and my bus would pull up, then. An old man with a newspaper walked up beside me and sat down on the bench. “Where are you headed?” I asked; why would he care if I spoke? He was about to talk anyway. “My friends call me Mr. Herund,” said the man holding out his hand. At the age of ten, I figured I could give the old man a firm handshake.
I shook the man’s hand with a nice grip and said, “My name is Mike, and I am on my way to Kentucky.” “Me, too,” said Mr. Herund, grimly. “You sound somewhat sad,” I said, “Why?” “Well,” said Mr. Herund, “I am going to visit my deceased mother.” “Oh,” I said, thinking, “My aunt’s place is going to be at least funner than that.” I decided to try to bring joy to Mr. Herund.
“Where could you go, if you could go anywhere, and what would it look like?” I asked Mr. Herund. “That is a dangerous question to ask me,” said Mr. Herund. “Why?” I asked, and he said, “I am an avid reader and private independent editor and book critic. I can blow a living man’s mind like a blond on 4th st, and I just finished reading Austin Tappan Wright’s “Islandia”. The book contained a fictional continent in our real world named Karain. “Wow,” I asked, “What is ‘Karain’ like?”
“Well,” said Mr. Herund, “I could tell you all about it, that I would visit it if I found it to be ‘accommodable’, however it would not be as fun as asking you what you think your dream continent would look like.” “Mine?” I asked. “I think mine would be a whole lot like Australia, with a tropical jungle and shaped like South America. I would live high up in huge trees with tree-house communities and large hammocks for summertime napping. The birds would be vivid in color, the trees bulging with the water of life, and its rivers full of meaty fish. I would hunt game and fish; I would write with the inks of plants for the enjoyment of others.”
“You have a pretty nice place to go to, alter-ed world wise,” said the old man, “Have you ever considered writing a book to describe a story there?” “I have now, Mr. Herund,” I said, and the bus pulled up right in front of us, coming to a noisy halt. We both boarded the bus and exchanged addresses – he was sure to make for an intelligibly enjoyable pen pal.