So there they were sitting out on the front porch late that evening, when the holy ghost came over him. Kneeling down on the front walk, he gathered the loose sage, lit a match and made a protective circle around it with both hands. Pressing his face into the circle he blew, like some crazed fool smoking a buried pipe.
The beautiful young things on the porch looked on, wide-eyed with amazement, as if a strange public t.v. documentary was unfolding before their very eyes. Handsome bud talking to them stopped his come on routine when he noticed their attention diverting.
Then it was he reached under and scooped up the burning sage, and brought it up before the two lovers seated before his tiny altar, gently blowing the smoke into their faces. They breathed in deeply and the girl began to chant in foreign tongues. drunk on the spirit, she rose to her feet and started to sing "amazing grace, how sweet the sound", pulling her lover up and holding him close.
The girls on the porch clicked their heels nervously and went inside, in search of cold beverages and relief from the spectacle, handsome bud following closely on their heels. This was when he went to the hollowed-out tree and lit the candles, the glow coursing out like a beacon in the night.
The two lovers blessed him and moved into the darkness, a portent of things to come. It was then his vision appeared, peripherally she stood in the half-light, faded red t-shirt encompassing her profile. "The Real Thing" it read, and before the next heartbeat he knew the course his life would take.
Later that night 4:15 am, he was lying in bed in the dark, and one of the beautiful girls peered into the room saying "hey, me and John gotta head back to Houston, can you do us a favor?" Five minutes later, he was standing at an ATM, dazed and confused, taking out $500 and handing it over for an artwork. Somewhere in his stupor the thought occurred to him that this was not a rational decision, but it was good to be done with it, the senselessness of beauty and the valuing of worldly goods. He knew that part of his life was through.
The beautiful people took the cash, and faded into the night. He knew that somewhere she was awake and watching over him, la Morenita, the t-shirt now swinging from a hanger. He walked back to the front porch, to where the smoke from last night's rites had left a smudge on the walk and sat. Watching the first light of morning break over the horizon, the hint of a smile upon his face. A thirst had come over him.