I'm new to this
and learning as I go.
I'm introduced to "Frank" -
as good a name as any -
who says he was a hoodlum in L.A..
He wasn't, that's for sure.
He had a business, doing well,
a large house and a limousine,
a wife, two daughters
and a dog he walked on Sundays.
"If he asks to talk in private,
don't go with him," I'm warned.
"Don't go with anyone.
Don't go alone. One of us goes too."
We talk a bit, then I move on.
I have to talk to Chap.
I talk, he listens
then he gets his meal.
That's the deal. It worries me a bit.
I can't quite work out why.
Chap doesn't mind the talk.
In fact, he welcomes it.
It's the listening that bugs.
He tells me - he tells everyone -
"Imagine all the Bibles in the world
would disappear at once.
I could replace them all -
Perhaps he could.
No one ever caught him out, I'm told.
On any subject he can quote a text
that's apt and accurate - King James -
well known or not.
No one knows his story,
only that he's sleeping out
and has been since forever.
We don't talk Bible. Weather, health
and holidays - he'd like to go
to Brighton for the Easter.
Kip beneath the pier. Might do...
But Frank it is who worries them.
He's new. Five weeks. No more.
The crucial time.
Much longer and he'll not go back.
For him it's now or never -
that's what all the statistics say.
The moon petals the sea. Rose petals the sea. Stone sea. Stone petals. Rose petals of stone. Stone rising before me. Sea moves. How moves...
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