Even before it came into view, she could hear it tinkling in the distance. Little bits of metal rubbing against each other like a wind chime on steroids.
Next came the plodding clip-clops of the old cart horse. That old horse would have lost to a snail in a race, but he could trudge on through the worst blizzard or cross the deepest river. Steady as he goes.
Then came the creak of the wheels singing like the soprano section of St. Luke’s Oratory filling in the gaps while the driver bellowed out an old spiritual in a smooth baritone.
“‘Zekiel saw de wheel of time” he sang then hummed the next line, then sang, “Ev’ry spoke was human kind” then hummed some more, “Way up yonder on de mountain top” and “My Lord an’ de chariot stop”
Next thing she knew the old tinker’s cart turned the corner and ambled its way into life passing the parked cars and SUVs like a turtle passes a sleeping rabbit. The cart had once been painted in bright hues, but the paint had faded and cracked decades ago. On the side you could still make out the stylized letters of a by-gone era: “The Miracle Man”.
The driver had withered and cracked with the paint. He wore a sparse straw hat on his head and threadbare, denim overalls on top of a red shirt.
The old cart horse plodded on till they came in sight of a particular cul-de-sac. The cart horse stopped and the driver shaded his eyes to watch. A young man, with a straw hat and threadbare overalls, walked up to a little girl who’d watched the cart amble up the street. Her mouth was still open and her hand was still frozen over a pink daisy she’d been drawing, when the young man spoke. “You know the Carlsons?”
“Oh, yes,” she said. “I’m Betty Carlson.”
“Well, Betty, is your pappy at home?” the young man asked. “I’d like to speak wid him.”
“Just tell him Highbrook is a cheat and a scoundrel, and he shouldn’t have nothing to do with him no more.”
“Ok…” the girl said, keeping a leery eye on the young man as she went into the house.
When Mr. Carlson came out to see who was asking about Mr. Highbrook, the young man, the horse, the cart, and the driver were nowhere to be found.
To Be Continued…