"He's dead. Same as everything else around here."
"Hate to hear it. Would things be better if he were alive?"
"If he were alive and well, yeah. But the way it was with him that never was very likely."
"Him being alive and well. He worked coal. He was damn good at it but it wasn't appreciated."
"He had connections, your dad."
"Yeah, people he trusted more than anything else."
"It's always like that, people with money."
Lon looked up. "I was sort of a poet."
"Ever write anything? I mean on paper?"
"No. Nothing on paper, Carolton. I was more of what you'd call a singing poet."
Carolton frowned. "That's just a singer."
"Yeah, that's just it. I was a singer. But I was a poet, too."
"Sure you were, Lon."
Lon and Carolton walked several more blocks. They stopped side by side at the railroad tracks. There each of them wondered how you did it. Crossed the tracks, I mean. Neither Lon nor Carolton were afraid of trains but sometimes they walked in a way that suggested they were. So they just stuck there are the tracks waiting for something to happen. Nothing did. Nothing came. Nothing for days and days. They stood there for the better part of a month and nothing came. It was a big black downpour when finally a light appeared. That was better than nothing and they went across.
What was on the other side was a pile of junk. It was pretty weighty junk, too. The kind you see in a scrapyard, only it was piled ten miles high like newspapers in a vending machine. I kind of hoped Lon and Carolton would make something of it. They didn't though. Why not? Because when you encounter a pile of scrap you just keep walking. There they were on the other side of the tracks with nothing better to say than, "Sure we did it." Finally they went on walking. They had done a good impersonation of nothing in particular by the time they were done.
What exactly is this supposed to be like. That's what Lon had on his mind the whole time. Nothing in particular would have been Carolton's reply, but he didn't reply because nothing was ever asked. It was a thrilling story. They crossed railroad tracks and encountered towers of metal. Then they went on. It should have been different than it was but nothing really enlightening could happen in such a situation. For my part I wish there had been more to it, but there really wasn't.