53. Mitchlessly


Okay,  it is almost universally known in the coffee shop that Summit Nation meets on Thursday mornings at 8:30. Yes? Well, of course, yes!! And seeing that it has met as stated for the past three plus years, it is inconceivable that a regular observer/participant would not acknowledge this truth. Mitch, the young turk of Chambersburg’s new wave funkadelic no socks scene, expressed a heartfelt desire to be a member of the inner sanctum sanctorum not two months ago. He was fully vetted and given a seat at the table. He attended in earnest a time or two, played a little impoverished chess, and then moved on to other scenes. The problem is that Chambersburg is not big enough for a lot of scenes, and I just saw him making a new scene with an afternoon music group. Absolutely I confronted him. I worked him over like a dirty brass doorknob. It was not exactly the final scene from “A Boy Named Sue” where the pa and son fight it out in “the mud and the blood and the beer”. In fact, there was no resemblance between the two, but I like the reference. Closer to scolding a puppy. Anyway, his parting comment was “Go ahead, blog about it!”

He called my blog bluff. “What could I do? I got all choked up and threw down my gun, I called him pa and he called me son, and I came away with a different point of view.” Actually, I walked back to my office and began blogging. I’ll show him the error of his ways. It won’t be all dressy and dramatic like facebook bombing. No, I’m putting it out there mano y mano, plus my two failthful blog readers. I’m calling you out, Mitch.

Two days later.

I may have been too harsh with Mitch. Apparently he has gone missing and is feared kidnapped by mafia types. A ransom note demanding two jelly donuts was found at table one if we ever hope to see the Auburn Acolyte alive again. A fund has been set up to raise the necessary funds to meet the kidnappers’ demands. A jar with Mitch’s picture is glued down next to the  cash register. “Please Help!!! Mitch has been kidnapped and may be hurt. We cannot go to the police or he could wind up on Jeopardy. Last seen wearing a flannel shirt, an earring and a hardwood flame hairdo. No socks and skinny jeans that may be capris. Cloth shoes that are stylish. Your tips are appreciated.”  Now we’re looking at a crime scene. And all this could have been prevented.  If only Mitch had attended the Coffee Summit faithfully. I’ll never forgive him.

Guys like Mitch think they’re gonna live the high life forever. And forever turns out to be tomorrow in a cardboard box. He’s out there somewhere. We’re just not ready to call this a recovery mission yet.

Two weeks later.

It’s been fourteen days. We released a balloon with Mitch’s name on it (um, the marker ran dry after M I T, but it’s the thought, right?) in front of the shop. Unfortunately it got stuck in the crabapple tree and lodged there. We took it as a sign that Mitch has not crossed over yet. He may be stuck on a cosmic traffic circle between heaven and earth, having to serve his time of repentance in  a  constant left hand turn. It’s a little known factualism that NASCAR drivers who did not make the Chase in life, are condemned to this traffic circle for eternity or until they gain the pole position. It’s really frustrating to sort out who is leading and who is being lapped, when suddenly the pole position guy will be raptured and it all starts over again. These checkered flaggers are recycled back to earth as waiters in mime restaurants until they are purified seven times. It could be years before Mitch is released from this dizzying fate. And then what? How do you take orders from mimes? The balloon deflated and just sits there limp in the tree, M I T. And we have to explain to strangers that it’s a makeshift memorial to Mitch and not a freebie from the Massachusetts Instiitute of Technology. Truly tragic.

Two years later.

Unbelievably this morning at Coffee Summit a tall, thin vagabond in skinny jeans (possibly capris) and no socks shoved open the door to the coffee shop. He had a long red beard that flamed out from his thin face. His Willie Nelson length hair was bunched up in a hipster Rastafarian sock hat with the Jamaican flag colors woven in it. 34 inch finger nails dragged across the floor as he approached our table. He had a bizarrely familiar pair of eyes behind stylish glasses. Could it be?  From behind his chapped lips a voice that had not been heard in two years, said, “My name is Sue. How do you do? Now you’re gonna die.” The red bearded spectre reached out his Edward Scissorhand hands and reached for my neck. It was just our luck that his lengthy nails prevented him from grabbing anything inside of 39 inches,and as I was sitting with my back against the wall, I was in the safe zone. I knew then that it was Mitch because he attacked just like he played chess: hurting himself with each move. He thrust his long fingernailed hands at me only to be self-repulsed by their powerful recoil. Boing!

Ten Minutes Later.

After many thrusts and parries, whatever they are, Mitch lay exhausted on his back. It seemed like a dream when all the former barrista girls came out in long flowing white gowns to attend to him, to cut his hair, nails, deodorize, trim, mend, etc. In 28 minutes he was back to his former self, though his eyes were glazed over by the crust of wisdom. Through a fog I called to him, “MItch, I am your father.” Clarity lit a small fire in those tired traveler’s eyes. “Yes, Summit Master.”  He gave the signature half smile and was seated in his rightful place at the round table. The gears of the universe clicked once again and time moved forward without anyone ever mentioning the lost two years that went by in the blink of an eye.

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