This celestial traveler is a story teller. Sit and listen.

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He kicked down the dusty road, stopping often to admire the beauty of nature; scrubby mesquite trees, robust cactus flowers, an occasional startled jack rabbit. Ever so often he removed his battered hat to wipe at the sweat beading upon his brow.

It was a hot day in West Texas. Everything green was weltering beneath the onslaught of Earth's gigantic summer sun.

White clouds drifted across the blue sky, high and aloof. They didn't care how man fared on the face of the planet below. In a way they were gods, drifting and forever drifting through the heavens without thought or worry one. How nice it would be to live the life of a cloud.

Sam sighed and pulled his hat back into place. Then he shifted his burden about his shoulders and started off down the road again at a steady pace.

The satchel hanging beneath his armpit was filled with precious things. Sam patted his cargo, reassured himself everything was alright.

He had a long, long way to go.

With slanted eyes he gazed out over the arid hills, admiring the random way creeks meandered through the tiny valleys and left little trails of green wherever they went. He admired the slope of the hills and tried to imagine them as they once were millions of years ago; tall, jagged limestone reefs towering above the floor of an inland sea that had once covered much of Texas.

At his feet, littering the roadway in the form of gravel, were millions of ancient shells, petrified reminders of the bountiful marine life that had once filled these valleys. Now humankind dominated the planet.

Just now there was a rumble from behind, disturbing Sam's wandering thoughts and setting him to look over his shoulder. It was an old, dented red Ford truck, driven as though by demons down the rough dirt road.

It hurt the Wayfarer's ears to hear such a racket. He fancied he could sense each squeaky bolt and nut, could feel each jangling component rasping against the soft tissues of his mind.

A huge cloud of dust followed the vehicle down the road, drifting out over the ripening fields of hay and maize like tiny, man-made clouds. The Wayfarer watched the truck approach with the slitted eyes of a wary feline. He moved slowly to one side of the street to stand in the meager shade of a mesquite, and leaned against a barbed wire fence post.

As it roared past, a fat man in the bed of the truck threw something at Sam and shouted, "Get a car, asshole!" laughing.

The dust cleared and Sam looked at his feet. A full, ice cold can of beer lay there in the sun, condensing moisture from the hot air.

Sam stooped and retrieved the can from the ground, clearing the soil away from its mouth. After waiting for its contents to settle, he pulled the tab and drained the can with several, long gulps. AHHHHHH, he sighed, belching.

"Thanks, guys," he said to himself, "I really needed that."

Squinting against the harsh sunlight and the swirling dust, Sam tried to get a glimpse of his benefactors, but they had vanished. The Wayfarer was left alone again.

Up ahead he could see one of his many destinations. A short walk carried him there, and he stopped to look at the mailbox mounted on a post near the fence gate.

Between rusted bullet holes, Sam could discern that the name Elisiah Rhodes had been printed on the box. The gate wasn't locked, and even if it had been, the wire fence was in such poor shape he could have climbed through easily enough.

Just the same he called out, "Hello in there!" These farmer types nearly always kept a shotgun at hand, and they nearly always hated trespassers.

"Hello in there!" he called again.

After several minutes a tattered, rusted screen door popped open on a tiny house, which was nestled at the end of the drive amid a variety of shade trees. A fat old man dressed in overalls with no shirt stepped into the sunlight. He shaded his eyes with his hand for a moment, and peered down at Sam standing before the gate.

"Who is ya?" called the old man.

"My name is Samuel!" He smiled.

"What you want?"

"Just a moment of your time, is all." The Wayfarer waited patiently for the rancher's reply.

"Well come on up, then."

With that the old man turned back inside his house and let the screen door bang shut on its protesting spring. The echoes of the sound bounced from hilltop to hilltop.

Placing one stained leather boot in front of the other, he shifted his hat further back on his head, trying to appear as friendly as possible, and started through the gate, up the driveway. Sam could tell from the numerous cow pies that the man ran quite a herd on his small place. He wondered how one old man found the strength to care for so many animals.

He stepped up to the front door and paused. When the old man didn't immediately greet him, Sam knocked.

"Well come on in!" shouted the man gruffly from the shadows of his lair. "You already been invited, ain't ya?"

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