Seymour was a small green frog who used to appear on the second floor balcony of Spence Manor, where I lived before I moved into the Hermitage. I was surprised the first time I saw him, but apparently frogs are better climbers than you might think. I kept cigars on the balcony, and whenever I saw Seymour I would light one and puff on it while I spoke to him.
Okay before we even get started, you need to know that I am not going to adopt Cheech, Cheech being the dog you see in the photo. This is not going to be one of those stories where a cute dog thaws a lonely man’s heart and the two become best friends. That’s a great story, but it’s not this story. I wish I could give you that story, but I can’t.
On paper there is no way Sam and I should be friends. Not that there is something inherent in our personalities that would prevent friendship. It’s just that, outside of La Mancha, there is no way Sam and I would ever have connected.
La Mancha, like every magical kingdom, needs its Fairy Folk. Elves, Sprites, Brownies, Nymphs, Pixies, and Leprechauns. These magical beings live among us but belong to another world, an older one that existed before science exploded our myths and drove the darkness from our land.
I met Dan last year when I arrived in La Mancha, and I immediately noticed how gorgeous he is. He’s one of the beautiful people. He just is. But his nickname comes from the way he dresses. Every day, so it seems to me, is a costume party for Fancy Dan.
I have found solitude to be beautiful and terrible, uplifting and overwhelming, nurturing and destroying, a source of joy and of pain. There is a heaviness to solitude when it comes rolling at you low and hard and constant. When it is every night. When your life has called you to it and you must obey. When you long for human contact but there is none to be found.
Few people know there is a secret entrance into La Mancha from beyond the Western Wild Lands. The old road behind the Lost Boys drops sharply downhill and then turns, ending at a chained gate. Beyond the gate is some sort of beatnik community, as best I can tell. Roxi lives out there somewhere. And I’m guessing so do the people who play the drums at night.
Roxi works on the landscaping in La Mancha. I met her months ago and we talk sometimes when I come across her and her dog Elijah working in the flower beds. But I never really saw Roxi until the big freeze.
It was a Friday night, as I recall, when reports arrived at the Fang & Feather about a gang of young men smoking pot and hanging around in the darkness near Pabellón Valioso.