January 12th, 2012
The SUV pulled into the driveway on eviction day as I sat in the garage on a plastic pail, the
only object left after a year and half of emptying out the house. In tears, I shook the hand of
the Realtor and took her inside for the inspection.
“I’m doing fifty to sixty of these a year now.” She tried to assuage me, forgetting to take the
mandatory pictures as I led her from room to room.
After the thumbs up, she got back in her SUV and phoned the lawyers in St. Paul and then
told me the promised ‘re-location’ fee was to be out in the mail that very day. After she left, I
walked around back and said goodbye to the squirrels, blue jays and crows, realizing that no
11th hour rescue occurred whatsoever with this one. None.
The house transformed into an equity amulet, a vacant caricature that took on an even more
deserted hue as I drove away. Having nowhere to go, I headed for the state park to book a
couple of nights for winter camping. The park ranger felt sorry for me and offered me free
firewood, so I was able to stay sufficiently warm and managed to set up camp and reflect on
what had happened without getting frostbitten.
Staring into the flames and listening to the ice crack on the lake, I recalled what I had failed to
tell the realtor, what really led up to the loss of the house in the first place. It was a different
kind of default, one she would not remotely understand, even with her mortgage calculator. It
involved me believing the lie that evil is an illusion, something within ourselves that we have
to work through by doing good karma. If I would have known the truth of the matter I wouldn’t
have set myself up for such a fall.
Eight years of elder care and a father who refused to get on the V.A. waiting list for a nursing
home that would have been totally paid for, for both he and his wife. An incompetent Human
Services bitch who told me if I got the house in my name I could keep it. Forced removal of
my mother when it was -35 below zero. Forced removal of my father who ended up in a cop
car and taken from ER to the nursing home where my mother was.
All because I believed a lie.
Laying under several blankets in my tent on a full moon night accented by yipping coyotes to
the west, I contemplated the contrary truth of the matter: that evil is real and what it took for
me to come to accept it. It nearly cost me everything. It nearly cost me my soul.
The next night, as I sat on my pail by the fire, I heard a disembodied voice tell me to put a
gold plated cross I had bought at Hurley's Religious supply store in Fargo directly upon the
coals. Without hesitation, I did so. Glowing red hot, it refused to melt, no matter how much I
blew on the coals and stoked the fire with kindling. The next day it was still intact, chain and
all, dangling from a log defiantly. As I put the charred evidence in my palm, the same voice
"You survived a trial by fire."
My survival pride was kept in check however in an icy kind of way. On Monday morning, my
car wouldn't turn over. I had cheated and used the heated seats to warm up a few times, thus
draining the battery. Flipping through contacts on my i-Phone, I tapped on one. After an hour
of waiting, Beth, my one lunged Indian friend came with her dog. Chewing me out as she
hobbled to get her jumper cables out of the trunk, she managed to get the Malibu to start. We
made quite a pair in the empty park that morning fighting with one another, while her pooch
cavorted in the snow. She asked me if I needed money after refusing my offer of buying her a
year pass to Minnesota State parks. Then she started to cry and asked me if I really did have
coyotes trained to bury me after I blew myself away with a .380 Taurus, west of Sunset Lake. I
apologized and told her I was a writer and never knew how my audience would respond to
something I've stated. She even called me afterward to tell me how hurt she was when I said
the thing about the coyotes. I was quite touched,since no one else seemed to care.
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