The fog was so dense it was like a cloud had descended to obscure the world. Everything was reduced to wisps of light and dark and the ubiquitous fog between. The drip, drip, drip of condensation from the tips of tree branches kept the cobblestone paths slick. Occasionally the glow of a neon sign would herald a shop of some sort but it soon faded as you wandered on aimlessly.
The fog dissolved the most cheerful, resolute attitude and turned it into a homogenous gray blob of apathy. It had been like this for days, weeks probably. Relentlessly, without a moments respite. Occasionally there was a buzzing overhead as if an entire hive of bees was flying in formation overhead. Aside from that there was an eerie silence permeating the entire area.
I first noticed a feeling of being watched. I looked around but saw no one or nothing watching. But the feeling persisted so I hid behind the next large tree I saw. Moments later, a strange creature emerged from the fog. It looked a little bit like a very long dachshund until you started counting legs. The thing was like a canine centipede. It must have had two dozen legs in all.
It came creeping to of the fog, nose to the ground and feet pounding. It followed my trail until it realized that I had gotten off the beaten track. It looked up but by the time its front end stopped and saw me hiding behind the tree. The rest of its legs hadn’t gotten the message and kept coming. It ended up in a writhing heap in front of my ersatz hiding place. I laughed in spite of myself and the poor thing finally got its feet back under it and scurried back into the fog from whence it came.
This in no way prepared me for what happened next. Sitting on a park bench behind me was a tall man in a white suit with a top hat. He was smoking a cigarette stuffed into a long holder but from the smell it wasn’t tobacco he was smoking.
I started to say something to him but he just put a finger to his lips and nodded his head no. He indicated the bench next to where he was sitting as if to invite me to sit with him. I thought about it for a moment and then had a seat. He clapped his hands three times and a troupe of little men about two feet tall came running and tumbling into the clearing in front of us. They were dressed in dark gray suede suits with black shirts under them. They were perfectly proportioned, just scaled down by a third.
Next, from out of nowhere they produced florescent yellow balls and were juggling among themselves while still tumbling and doing various acrobatics. They stood on each other’s shoulders making towers three high and continued juggling. This went on for fifteen minutes until all of a sudden, they all ran off single file into the mist.
I couldn’t help but applause and the man in the top hat joined in. Then he stood up, tipped his hat at me and turned around three times and faded away.
I never figured out where any of them came from or went to for that matter. I go back to the area every spring in the hope of seeing them again. But some things are pure magic. They happen once and then never again. You have to live in the moment and appreciate every one of life’s little miracles.
Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.