And it’s movement.  Time is measured that way.  But what if you don’t move?  Don’t move long enough and people consider you dead.  And time slows down.  It slows down to the infinite.  Move fast enough and it’s like you never age.  At least to the observer standing still—to the dead.  For they’ve gone deep—still waters run deep.  And you know them by their smell—their stagnant smell.  Just as you know shallow waters by the noise they make.  David stopped.  He stopped in his tracks while the wino kept moving.  And in that moment, that moment it took the wino to pause and stop too—a deal was made.  An old deal.  An old deal David had made long before—in Mississippi—in that ride he took at the crossroads.  And I can speak of it because I heard his voice at my own crossroads, when I heard those first recordings of him waiting for a train in the American Bottom.  David knew the deal.  He had always known it.  This old wino didn’t need to tell him a story for him to relate to it, and it’s when you deny the deal that you lose.  Only when you acknowledge it do you have the chance to win.  This chance your grace.  Your chance to know your evil, and rather than being afraid you make a move.  A move that makes time begin again, and the observer, the observer in the deal—frozen.  They are frozen as they always were, hoping you will freeze, and go deep…  But that is their reality.  Their knowledge of time, and what’s funny is you can pass them by—you can run by them in your race—and while they’re here you’re there, at another corner.  And that’s when you know.  You know they were always strangers.  It’s only when you stop do you have time to make friends.  Only when you stop is the deal lost.  You stop to start, and that’s what David did.  He stopped to make this wino, his new best friend, stop.  And when David started moving again he was leading the way, even if the wino knew where they were going.  And that’s how you win the deal—that deal with the Devil.  That deal David made long ago in Mississippi.  It’s that chance you take.  With how you know time ends, and what grace is.

“Sounds like you don’t want to hear it.”

“No…  I want to hear it.  I want to hear your story.  I just had to get my bearings.  Tell me.  Tell me about this man I might wonder about.  Being in his shoes…”

And David meets him at the corner.  The corner where the wino stopped, waiting for him.  They begin walking again—side by side.  But now the wino is hesitant.  You can tell in how he starts the story.  They’re near Rampart now—the northern border of the French Quarter.  Near the square where the slaves had once gathered.  It’s that hesitance that starts every story, and it’s in the teller, in that inner moment where you begin, where you garner your strength, and you ask yourself—you ask yourself how deep you want to go, how deep your listener will take it…

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