Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 25

Where’s the man you were with?

He died.

Was that your father?

Yes. He was my papa.

I’m sorry.

I don’t know what to do.

I think you should come with me.


Are you one of the good guys?


The man pulled back the hood from his face. His hair was long and matted. He looked at the sky. As if there were anything to be seen. He looked at the boy. Yeah, he said. I’m one of the good guys. Why don’t you put the pistol away?

I’m not supposed to let anyone take the pistol. No matter what.

I don’t want your pistol. I just don’t want you pointing it at me.


Where’s your stuff?

We don’t have much stuff.

Have you got a sleeping bag?


What have you got? Some blankets?

My papa’s wrapped in them.

Show me.

The boy didn’t move. The man watched him. He squatted on one knee and swung the shotgun up from under his arm and stood it in the road and leaned on the fore-stock. The shotgun shells in the loops of the bandolier were handloaded and the ends sealed with candle wax. He smelled of woodsmoke. Look, he said You got two choices here. There was some discussion about whether to even come after you at all. You can stay here with your papa and die or you can go with me. If you stay you need to keep out of the road. I don’t know how you made it this far. But you should go with me.You’ll be all right.

How do I know you’re one of the good guys?


You don’t. You’ll have to take a shot.


Are you carrying the fire?


Am I what?


Carrying the fire?


You’re kinda weirded out, aren’t you?




Just a little.




That’s okay.


So are you?


What, carrying the fire?




Yeah. We are.

Do you have any kids?

We do.

Do you have a little boy?

We have a little boy and we have a little girl.

How old is he?

He’s about your age. Maybe a little older.

And you didn’t eat them.


You don’t eat people.

No. We don’t eat people.

And I can go with you?

Yes. You can.

Okay then.



The Road

Cormac McCarthy         2006


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