A Three-Part Adventure,

Part I: In the Nomadic Way.

The NOMAD, originally of the RIO GRANDE valley, walked along the WILDFLOWER PATH, enjoying the lusty smell of the COASTAL WATER and the invigorating sounds of the MORNING SURF. Though perhaps it was COASTAL SURF he heard, the nomad couldn’t decide which. He was drinking a glass of CLARET and enjoying it. “This is one really good glass of claret, and I am enjoying it,” he thought. “Just the thing to wash down a meal of ROASTED CORN and MANGO.”

What a day, he continued, still reflecting to himself. The SEA, the BREAKERS, the SUN-BLEACHED BOARDWALK, dotted with such delightful BEACH CLAPBOARD shanties. The nomad was an artist, a painter, or as he preferred it, a painter who happened to be a nomad. Why look at that lush CLOVER PATCH, he thought, that DANDELION FIELD of sheer lushness, and that lush—

Someone approached, in a PICKUP TRUCK, interrupting the nomad’s pointless reverie. It was the TRAPPER.

The nomad waved to him ambivalently. Never any solitude. Never a moment’s peace. As the trapper swung his truck into the dandelions as if that were the only spot left to park, the nomad removed a piece of PARCHMENT from his pocket and jotted down a quick note to himself: “Time to move. Try the NILE or MEDITERRANEAN. VAIL maybe? Heard some good things about ALBUQUERQUE JUNCTION, like the SAHARA except with amenities.”

“Greetings, nomad,” the trapper said, giving him a few quick rabbit punches to the abdomen, for play.

“Hey you,” said the nomad, half-heartedly returning the punches, because that’s what was required, for play. “So good to see you.”

Instead of his customary EXPEDITION KHAKIS, the trapper was dressed in a TUXEDO, a SAFARI VEST, and a DRIVING CAP.

“You out for a BEACHSIDE DRIVE?” the nomad asked.

“Not really,” the trapper said. “Looking for a partner, actually, in the annual STEEPLECHASE.”

“The what?”

“Steeplechase. A several days-long TOURNAMENT of highly competitive and ritualized athletic events, including the SHOOTING RANGE. They hold it in the HUNTING FIELDS out behind the SARATOGA STABLES.”

“I’m not sure I know anybody who’s interested. Seeing as how I’m a nomad and thus nomadic, as they say, in nature, my ties to others, including friends and family, are quite tenuous, often changing in direct relation to the seasons, or in response to the overall population, mortality, and migratory patterns of whatever animal I happen to be hunting, such as GAZELLE or an ELEPHANT HERD.”

“To the winner goes a CHAMPION’S TROPHY. Did I mention that?”

The nomad was silent.

“Believe they also throw in some sort of TRIBAL POTTERY in cases of especially convincing VICTORY. Last year it was what they call MAASAI BRICK, whatever that is.”

“Like I said, with my nomadic lifestyle I really can’t keep friends, or even acquaintances.”

“Heard you yourself were available,” The trapper looked at the nomad out of the corner of his eyes. “Is that right?”

The nomad protested his ignorance of the Steeplechase.

“Come on, man, you’re killing me with your thoughtful indecision.” He clapped the nomad on the back. “What do you say? You and me? Okay? All settled then? You and me?”

“I guess,” the nomad said, already hating himself for agreeing to participate in the trapper’s asininity. “I have to stop by my seasonal lean-to first though. I think I may have left a TALLOW CANDLE burning. And I have to draw all the curtains. The candle will probably just extinguish of its own accord, but last summer a little BEESWAX number got out of control. Anyway, I’d simply go out of my mind if it damaged my KITCHEN CUPBOARD.”

They walked toward the trapper’s truck. “Which way to the lean-to, amigo?”

“Living in the nomadic way, I usually travel exclusively by POLARIS. So I’m afraid I get a wee bit disoriented during the day.”

“Regular driving instructions will do. Left, right, that sort of thing.”

“I’m worried about the SMOKE, I hope you understand. The smoke worries me more than the SUNFADE.”

“I hear you.”

- - -

NEXT: Part II: Traveling Men.