Character Four - DARYL
I don’t talk much. Think a lot though. About things I see. And not just with my eyes. I get what some people call visions. I call ‘em hunches. It’s like I can see the future. A little hazy but good enough.
Like one night Hank and me was goin’ through a dumpster behind a Burger King. It was awful dark in there. Hank was ready to give up lookin’ ‘cause we couldn’t see much let alone find anything. So I told him not to give up. I had this hunch we’d find a couple of half-eaten Whopper if we kept diggin’. So we did and we found the Whoppers. Ate ‘em sittin’ right there inside the dumpster.
Hank was impressed. He said I must be pre-sy-ant. I asked him what that meant and he said it was like having second sight. I told ‘em I call ‘em hunches but maybe I am pre-sy-ant if that’s what havin’ hunches means.
I thought about it and hunches is sorta seein’ things like you would if you was in a real dark place. Like in an abandoned house with the windows all boarded up. You squint around and sometimes spot a window that’s got a hole in one of its board so a little ring of light gets through from outside. So you can make a few things out. That’s how a hunch starts.
So you crawl over and look out through the hole and check out where the light’s comin’ from. It looks like a different world when you look at it through a light hole like that. There’s more to it than you usually thought. That’s what a hunch is. Like that. Seein’ different things than usual. Seein’ what’s gonna happen. Or might happen. Or could happen So that’s what I think of a lot. My hunches. Things I see like that. Thing is, I get hunches almost any time day or night. When I first got ‘em I thought I was freakin’ out. Then I realized things I seen in my hunches really did happen afterwards. Sometimes.
So I started thinkin’ about all that. It made havin’ hunches a spooky thing. But I liked havin’ ‘em, too. In fact, sometimes, to help ‘em happen, I make a little circle out of my fingers, like that hole in the boarded up window where the light comes through. Then hold that finger hole up to my eye like you did when you were a little kids
I look through that finger hole at things to see if a hunch would come about what I’m lookin’ at. Sound’s weird, I know. But doin’ it helps focus the light. Only when people see me doin’ it, they think I’m bonkers. Even more than they are, or everyone is, particularly when no one’s lookin’, you know?
Anyway, havin’ these hunches, I thought maybe was a special gift God gave me and I was supposed to do somethin’ with it, like bein’ a priest or somethin’. I tried that out by goin’ and helpin’ a church where a friend of mine’s uncle was some kind of bishop or somethin' like that, he called himself. But the guy turned me off by actin’ better than anybody else.
Plus people didn’t like it much when I’d make my finger hole and look at ‘em through it. They didn’t get that I was just tryin’ to get up a hunch about ‘em, see ‘em in a different light. Anyhow, a lot of ‘em didn’t like my hunches about ‘em or what could happen for ‘em, like they didn’t want nothin’ different to happen that what was happenin’. So I wish’d ‘em good luck and God bless ‘em and left off thinkin’ about bein’ a priest or clergy and wearing one of them stiff white collars. I figured those collars musta choked off blood to their brain, bein’ how they acted. At least the ones I met.
But I didn’t leave off thinkin’ about God. ‘Cause I was pretty sure my hunches were a gift from God. Especially the light that’s part of a hunch comes from God. So when I heard Maude talkin’ about seein’ Hank’s face by the light of his cigarette the other night, my ears perked right up. I figured God had somethin’ to do with that. That maybe I was somethin’ like them wisemen in the Bible story of Jesus bein’ born.
When I told Maude and Hank and Lil that, they commenced callin’ me Wisey ‘cause I was so set on the specialness of the light. Like the star them wisemen was set on followin’ in the Christmas story. Thing is, I didn’t mind ‘em callin’ me Wisey. Actually, I liked it.
It don’t matter how I come to be homeless and more or less end up with Hank and Maude and Lil. Upshot of it is that when I was workin’, I kept makin’ my little finger hole to look at things and people like my bosses took it wrong. So I’d end up losin’ my job. I guess they thought I was even stranger than they were. Finally, I was homeless.
But now whenever I look through a finger hole like this, see, or talk about hunches, people don’t pay no mind since that’s the sort of stuff homeless guys do. So I like it when Maude and them call me Wisey. I think they do it ‘cause they got a little light to see by, too.
Anyway, after Hank told Maude his story that night, and me and Lil listened in from the shadows, we all walked over here to this Bed and Breakfast to see if Hank’s lost kid, Maggie, comes back again. Now here’s the thing. Since we got here, I been thinkin’ and lookin’ at things through my finger hole. And I got this hunch.
Or maybe it’s more than one hunch. Maybe it’s a bunch of hunches that run together into one big hunch. Like in the story of Jesus’ birth, the parts about the angels and shepherds and those old wisey’s and Mary and Joseph and the baby all run together. And that off the track innkeeper guy, and mean old Herod making it hard for everybody.
Anyway, my first hunch was that Maggie is gonna come back to the B&B all right, but not for quite a while. Seein’ it that way, I began pokin’ around this place. Went out back. They built a new woodshed out there, right up next to the bigass house. It’s brick.
But the old woodshed one is still there further back. They got a padlock on it, but I got a hair pin so gettin’ in wasn’t no trick. They keep the lawn mower in there and some garden stuff. I could tell no one had been in it since way last summer. So imagine my shock when, sorta over to one side, I see this log settin’ up with a little sea shell on it, just like Hank said he found a few years ago. Seems someone else had a hair pin, too, and snuck in the shed and left that sea shell like that.
Who would do that but Maggie? My hunch was right. If Maggie had come back that recent, she wouldn’t be comin’ back again right away. But leavin’ that sign and hopin’ somehow Hank would find it showed she’d keep comin’ back sometime. When I showed Hank and Lil and Maude the sea shell, they saw it that way, too.
Second hunch was when I look at the B&B through my finger hole like this, and focused the light, I kept seein’ a “For Sale” sign on it. The sign’s not up yet, but I’m pretty sure it will be soon enough.
Then the big hunch come to me. It began with me rememberin’ Hank tellin’ us his story about how he gave his wife the B&B as part of the divorce deal and how she sold it and made a pile since she had no sense about how to run it.
So I’m thinkin’ that since he did that when he was feelin’ bad, maybe he could go back and try gettin’ back from her half of what she sold it for. I'm seein' maybe a lawyer could help ‘im do that.
I brought it up to Hank, and he asked why would he do such a thing? I told ‘em I had this hunch the B&B was gonna get sold again and he could buy it back. Now that’s a bigger hunch than the one about those Whoppers in a dumpster but Hank looked at me without blinkin’ for a minute. Then he asked me why he should even think of doin’ that.
Which brings me to my third and biggest hunch which is the rut buster. I told Hank he could buy the B&B and we could run it as a shelter for homeless. Word would get out about it. Maggie would hear about it. She’d see it as a sign. And she’d be sure to come back again sooner than otherwise. That’s what I told ‘im. Him and Lil and Maude. Every one of ‘em got all excited about my hunch and called me Wisey all the more.
So every night for the last four night we been huddlin’ in the old woodshed behind the B&B, thinkin’ together about my hunch. Hank says when he tells his ex-wife about it, she’ll most likely help ‘im without ‘im goin’ a lawyer. Seein’ as it’s a way to find their daughter Maggie.
There’s lots to think about when we buy the B&B. Like how we’ll pay the bills. Stuff like that. There’s lots to think about. When someone starts thinkin’ it’s all too hard to do, Hank just says, “Remember Wisey’s hunch about the Whoppers. Keep diggin’” So that’s what we do. Keep diggin’ for our homeless shelter. We know Maggie ‘ll come soon. That’s what the sign of the sea shell means. Like a star she’s following so as to come back here to us.
Plus I’m teachin’ Hank and Lil and Maude how to look at things through a finger hole to see things in the better light. They doin’ it all right but I gotta admit, they do look a little weird when they do. And funny thing is, they say they see things, well, better that way, focused like, without it bein’ all cluttered up the ways things can get lookin’ at ‘em unfocused like and still missin’ them.
Like I said, they call me Wisey all the time now, Lil and Hank and Maude. So I keep thinkin’ and sayin to ‘em stuff about that story, you know, how the wise men went home from the manger a different way? You see, what I think, or see through my finger hole, is that the star that got them to the stable and Jesus, got them back home, too. See what I’m saying? Nobody says nothin’ about that.
But I have a hunch it was the star led them back a different way. Or some light like that. Maybe some little light like Hank’s cigarette. Or Lil’s baby Zach. Or a hunch like a light hole in a boarded up window of an abandoned house. It’s enough light to see by. Enough to follow into the world in a different way, like. I think the wise men had that kind of light. I think that light is Jesus. Same light we have.
That’s my last hunch about this. When I make a finger hole like this, and hold up to my eye, I can see the light comin’ from Jesus. I can. I mean, I really can. It’s like the finger hole is a sort of manger like. That there’s the light Hank and Lil and Maude and me are following now. When you look at it like that, the world really is a different place. I mean, try it. Actually try it. Try being a little, you know, different, crazy like, what old Hank calls pre-cy-ant, like me.