Tim came from Flat Rock, the closest you could get to God’s country without being annihilated or saved. He grew there, and grew up one summer night over in Hendersonville in the back of the doctor’s debutante daughter’s Sedan de Ville. A year or two later he went downhill all the way to the coast. ‘From mad to bad,’ said his Aunt Cora.
He found work in an advertising agency. His meager frame gained pounds, his accent gained patina and his vocabulary learned that ‘patina’ had nothing to do with knees. Meeting what he perceived as client needs was what he thought he did, and he enjoyed getting paid for not working. Tim defined working as farming, or spreading dirt with a shovel making a new country road. He hoped never to work again.
One thing led to its precedent and he decided to stop going in circles. He moved on, first to Tallahassee and then to New York and then to Iowa for ten minutes for a plane change then to San Diego. Pointless after all these set-tos he capitalized on his emptiness of spirit and enrolled in seminary. Fourteen hundred papers and four years later he emerged with a flair for name dropping the many monikers of Ultimate Personages and with the semantically rich yet oxymoronic degree ‘B. S. in Theosophy.’
Taking orders at a fast-food restaurant in Des Moines while waiting for the call to take orders, Tim was held up one night by a band of spiritually gaunt club ladies demanding extra salad dressing for the French fries.
‘Epiphany!’ Tim cried.
‘No, Tiffany is my husband’s sister,’ the largest lady replied. ‘I’m Cecilia, and Mrs. Johnson to you. Now where are those fries?’
‘Blessed be the blinded, for now I see,’ shouted Tim inconsequentially, irrelevantly, and in rapture. He slathered salad dressing over the fries until each serving was smooth. He told the night manager, ‘Here, you can have the honor of bringing this to Table Seven. Keep the tips. I am throwing in the trowel.’
Tim left the restraints of the restaurant and reason wrapped up in rapture, sure he had seen his destiny. Rats and the usual raptors in the trees surrounding the parking lot rapped about his departure. Mysteries moved dark matter in hysterical sways. Tim’s car would not start so he startled it himself. Mangroves drove him, and his loafers bred till all he had were loaves. He felt supremely happy, and grumpy, then snapped out of it before they slugged him.
Down the highway and up the dells he trudged. Eschewing Brazil nuts and escargots and emphatic fruits and esoteric eateries, Tim trudged and drudged, dredging up old menus to sustain him in his travail. Indulging in Intellect Lite by the bottle he bustled from country to state, stopping only in one of exhaustion to picnic one more time in France at an Aire of Little Importance, and once in Idaho to change astral planes.
Finally he Arrived. He raced a snail up Aunt Cora’s driveway coming in a distant second too late and proud as Judy.
‘Surely, “Punch,”’ Aunt Cora emended Tim in a hail of mellifluous plethoric punctuation.
‘Don’t mind if I do,’ answered Tim, draining the not quite proffered iced glass before she could wrest it back. ‘Now that I am here, and now that I have seen the Light where once I was heavily into foreign cuisine and faraway cooking, could I please, please Aunt Cora, have one more of your heavenly light and genteelly well-bred white bread mayonnaise sandwiches?’
And he did.