Reverend Rhyme

A young man with a patchy beard stopped his white station wagon for the reverend.

“Want a lift, man?” said the young man. He didn’t meet the reverend’s eyes, instead peering farsightedly over the reverend’s left shoulder. The reverend nodded, because he did want a lift. The day was hot, and growing hotter, and he had miles to go before he slept. The young man scratched his beard, lifted his eyebrows hopefully. “Gas money?”

The reverend said solemnly, “I can pay you in chocolate and poetry and some light from eternity.”

The young man whistled between his teeth. “Good enough. Pop the hatch and ramble on in.”

The reverend folded himself into the blue upholstery of the car. Chemical cinnamon scent swamped him, set him coughing. The young man jerked the car into gear and bumped along the shoulder until he was at highway speed. He watched the reverend from the corner of his eye.

“Each exile dreams,” said the reverend, and gave half of a candy bar to the young man. “Of the roads that never knew him.” He ate the other half himself. “Or the mountains unclimbed, the faceless locals.”

“Neat,” said the young man.