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This is the gentleman who has burnt down a few establishments in our fair town.

I think I met this guy last...April?

Zach and I used to hang out at the Green Muse and draw. I would wander off and looked for a place to smoke. The Green Muse had a really cool and unusual patio, especially for a strip-mall coffeeshop. It was multilevelled and wood-paneled, and had a nice canvas awning. Directly behind it was Gillis Park; between the two there was a wooden fence and a narrow concrete trench, of the kind they usually have behind convenience stores in hilly towns; about as deep as your waste, wide as your arm.

So I was walking around Gillis Park, exploring and smoking. And I looked down into the trench, because I'm curious about stuff and all. And then I walked out of the tiny grove of trees that grew up in the park beside the trench, and I heard someone cursing. And cursing and cursing. Gradually I realized they were cursing at me.

There's a picnic table under some live oak trees and on that table is a little guy in a windbreaker who is just yelling at me and cussing me out in fairly foul and incomprehensible language. I was worried for a second, because I thought he was going to attack me. So I got out of there, he didn't follow me. I went back around and looked over the wall, and he was still cussing. All the little kids playing soccer stayed well away from him. He just sat on that picnic table, hands in his pockets, fuming and spitting.

"What's the problem?" I thought. "It's a nice day and he's just gotta sit there and make people uncomfortable? Why's he gotta ruin the park for everybody?"

Well, now I know the answer. He was trying to warn us.

Since he saw me come out of the ditch behind the Green Muse, he probably thought I had emerged from one of the tunnels and I guess I looked more like an undercover FEMA agent to him than an escapee, so he gave it to me both guns.

It's interesting how he mapped the internal decay of his mind onto his surroundings. I wonder how he chose that park; maybe it reminded him of something in his youth, something that he wanted to tell us but didn't know how.

Come to think of it, the last time I was at the Green Muse, or the next to last, we heard him yelling over the patio walls. He was very well known in the area so I guess my experiences were not unique.

It's too bad, I guess. It's not like nobody could have seen his eventual explosion coming. It would have been cheaper to hospitalize him than to rebuild the businesses and keep him in prison, sure, but that's only if the hospitalization actually helps him, or at least keeps him harmless. What's the difference between a prison and an involuntary commitment to a psychiatric institution? Intention, I guess.

In COMPLETELY unrelated news, I finished a drawing that has been sitting on my desktop since last year, when the Israelis attacked the aid convoy:


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