“Sure, hypothetically, but I know who you are. They can call you Chris or Justin or Ferguson or Cap or Captain or Christ or whatever, I know who you are.”


“Hypothetically? No, I know who you are.”

“If you knew me, really knew me, I do not suppose I would have anything to fear. If you actually knew who I was you would have the greatest reverence for me...or the greatest fear...or both. Actually, I have no idea how you’d behave. I don’t know me.”

“I just want to know why you would leave everything behind to work at a...a coffee shop. You disappeared. You left and the only thing your family would say was you were gone and they did not know if you were coming back.”

“Of what you speak, the specifics of the man you confuse me with, I cannot answer, but if you are asking me hypothetically why I as that man might do what you suggest you believe he has done, I might be able to answer...hypothetically.”

“Sure, hypothetically. Why did you abandon your comfortable life — hypothetically?”

“Putting myself into the mind of the stranger, it would seem like an absurd path, on the surface. Who leaves the perfect life for the promise of nothing, especially when you ‘have it all’? It would seem to be a difficult question.

“I had everything. My children were grown, at least out of the house, so there was freedom of time. The wife was stunning, beautiful, and on occasion very loving. Businesses were sold. Nice house paid for. A vineyard. Investment accounts with various brokers. Bank accounts were flush. I could borrow more money than most of my neighbors could earn in a lifetime with the mark of an ‘X’ by my overpriced pen. I wanted for nothing.”

“That’s what I...what some of us understand. You had everything! You were the man and your wife was a fucking MILF!”

“Is she no longer?”

“Man, she did not take your leaving well. I don’t know what you were bringing, but that bitch fell apart after...”

“Hey, hey, hey, no need to address her in that way.”

“Sorry. Your MILF fell apart after you left. The rumor was you left her broke when you bailed, then we found out you left her loaded, but it was you she wanted or something, ‘cause that bi... She was broke broken. She went out with guys ‘cause she looked good, but she trashed them all. Rich and poor, smooth and slow, they couldn’t measure.”

“You don’t know how that breaks my heart. I never wanted to hurt her, but I couldn’t... I couldn’t... She was too comfortable in the life we built to throw it all away, which is understandable.”

“But why’d you?”

I didn’t.”

“Riiiiight. Hypothetically?”

[Pause. Long pause. Surrendering sigh.] “Life is meant for living, not existing. My nature is to taste the sweet nectar of life’s sweet runny juices.”

“I don’t know whatcha mean.”

“The challenge of life is to start with nothing and become something. Once you have something, something more is easy to acquire, but that going from nothing journey is so fucking unbelievable. It is not even the getting something, it is the coming from nothing and conquering with the deck stacked against you. The more and more comfortable life becomes the more I longed for nothing. I knew I had to make a change when I started to dream of being homeless while shopping for an exquisite bottle of wine with an absurd price. And I knew it was not much different than a good bottle I could find at 1% the price. I was trying to buy the feeling of living, of being alive, and that cannot be bought. A pricey bottle of wine?! Stupid. Adult grape juice, not the edge of living.”

“So you left to be poor?”

“Basically. I wanted to start again and see where the journey took me.”

“But your kids? Your lady? It was kinda fucked up what you did to them.”

“I did my best to explain. I would have resented them if I had stayed and that resentment would have turned into nasty bitterness. I know they will never really fully understand what I did, but it was the only way. I miss them. I miss them a lot. All of them.”

“They’re all doing really well. You’re one of them high achievin’ families.”

“Give their mother credit for that. She knew how to make people a success. Look at me now. When I was with her, I owned it all.”

“Yeah, but you just said you chose this.”

“I did and I would again. I do not know how to put a value on feeling completely alive. When you are comfortable, you are on the brink of death.”

“Give me some of that death.”

“There is not a rich guy I know...knew that would not love to live your life for a short while, but only if they didn’t have to give up their stuff. That was where I was different, I never cared about the stuff, I never defined myself by the stuff, didn’t worry if I could make it again. It really is about the journey. If you reach the destination, it’s over. I feared I was reaching the destination so I went to start all over again.”


“Anywhere, it makes no difference.”

“You’re a trip, man. You’re a trip.”

“That was hypothetical. I don’t know who you’re talking about.”

“It’s cool, your secret is safe with me.”

“Secrets are never safe...ever.”

“Yeah, but I ain’t sayin’ shit. I know nothin’.”

“However true, if you knew me you would pray to God that we both forgot this encounter. You should know, I still protect my family. I may not be seen there, but I own the shadows.”

“Dude, your secret is safe. Seriously, I don’t even know who you are. The guy you remind me of was older, bit outta shape, soft.”

“Yeah, I hear comfort and security will do that to a man.”

“Not you, man, you lookin’ good.”

“I don’t play in that field, [wink] move along.”

“Peace, brutha.”

“Let’s hope.”

Secrets — only what they are called when they get out.