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Something Else Stephen Ramey Arthur had handcuffed himself to a bridge again, bushy orange beard providing a bright contrast to its sky blue metal. This time it was the Mill Street, that old truss on the edge of town that greeted visitors coming from the west. I remember finding a travel brochure along the river touting Mill Street as a fitting welcome to our historic village. Someone had scribbled "Rust, Holes, Ugliness, Me," in the margin. It had the appearance of a shorthand shopping list, and I would have chuckled at the image of some poor soul shopping in WalMart for those ingredients had the red ink not reminded me of blood. "Come down," I said to Arthur. He had climbed a slanting beam, closed one cuff around his wrist, strung the connecting chain through the higher truss joint, and fixed the remaining cuff to his other arm. If he slipped, he would hang above the river like a slab of beef. "Can't," he said. "No key." "Where's the key, Arthur?" He angled his face toward the water. "Down there." Did you throw it, or drop it? "Have you got a spare in your locker?" Arthur lived at the City Shelter, and all of his possessions were in a footlocker beneath his cot. He shook his head. "No turning back this time, Sallygal. They'll have to leave the bridge or take me with her." A smile appeared within his beard. My frustration with Arthur thawed, and I was suddenly recalling that fine spring day when he showed me how to hear the voices of the dead. You press your right ear to the stone, see, Sallygal? The Ida Nadi. It's best to do this under a full moon, but I can show you now. I knelt, stealing a glance at the name etched in the headstone-forgive me for intruding David Bunch--and listened as intently as I knew how. Arthur had come out of a dark time after the brutal winter, and I was more than willing to participate if it meant I would see his smile again.

Hark issue one, april 2014  
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