After thinking for months that my so called brother William was off down in the Carolinas with Missy Hoolihan (or Hooligan) and the Tall Animal Review, I got an email, saying he was in Hollywood, California, living on the Universal Studios lot, in a trailer which used to belong to Gweneth Paltrow's cousin or brother.
Willy is....or was, so he says, working as a chicken wrangler for those old-time farm-yard scenes you've got to have in every pre-twentieth century movie. He had use of a laptop with free Univeral internet; the cousin had left him a fridge full of diet Pepsi (which Willy complained about) and there would always be a nineteenth century drama filming on the lot.... and paying way more money than he has any use for.
That was a few weeks ago. I doubt he is there now. He's essentially too rural a stray for that life....and given his freedom with the truth....he might not have been there at any point, might have actually emailed me from the doublewide home of a waitress in Chisom, West Carolina.
Nope.... I don't know where he was or where he's gone. And as a matter of fact, I don't know where he came from either....not before the day back in Natural Bridge when I was about six years old, and he appeared in the family garden with our dog Binker.
Binker was part Spitz and part Border Collie, a former stray herself. She must have brought him home with her. I remember the scene very well, because I have remembered it so often: William standing there in the garden with his hand on Binker, seeming, because of his preternaturally short legs, to be a normal, though raggedy boy, standing in a hole up to his knees.
Right away I disliked this feral intruder, even if the dog had brought him home. Especially because My dog brought him home. Nobody wants to be displaced in his own home or his dog's affections.
When my mom and dad tried to bring the dirty boy in, I tried, and failed, to hold the door shut from inside, so I ran upstairs and hid in a closet while Mom and Dad took the nameless William to the bathroom and tried to wash the stink off him. They didn't quite manage to get all the stink off him, but he eventually got a name, and I would have to share my dog and my and bedrooms with him. It helped that he preferred to spend most nights either in the bathtub, or outdoors somewhere.
When I got to be ten or twelve he would disappear for days or even weeks at a time.....and then after we let him go off to stay with Aunt Sammy in Florida.... it was very easy to forget he ever existed.
So it was always a little uncomfortable for me and the family when he reappeared.