No one really wants to be a Moses, not even Moses. He was shy and hesitant to lead the Israelites out of Egyptian slavery. He even asked God if his older brother Aaron could do the talking; be his mouthpiece. Who can blame him? But what can you do? It’s unavoidable. Shit happens and then you hear a voice. You either listen or miss the train.
I wonder if Moses made love to a bottle before bed or hooked up with Ezekiel and scored whatever it was that inspired a four winged chariot vision a few books later. Jerusalem whiskey can only do so much. But then again, it did wonders for Damon Maskins; the booze and vision that is.
He was 17 when he moved out of his parent’s house. I think he was driven to dangerous extremes because other kids picked at his rotting carcass like scavengers. They were too afraid to live their own life or didn’t really know how or lacked the courage to try so they coat tailed Damon instead.
Damon played the drums, listened to April Wine and loved Mickey Tettleton. He also slept on a hammock and drank whiskey in the afternoon. None of this stopped him from rolling strat-o-matic baseball dice with us every winter.
Damon moved in with his band members. There were girls there, but when we arrived, they got the hell out of dodge saying…”shit, it’s the paper baseball people.” We were already sorting through cards and too concerned about lefty on lefty matchups to care about girls.
We were a sanctuary to Damon. We never wanted anything from him; only to fill out his lineup card and roll some dice. I think hard work was Damon’s greatest and only vision. Nose to the grindstone day after day. Never stopping with yesterday water off his back. Band practice, bartender, three whiskeys, hanging with with the band for band talk, three more whiskeys, sleep, do it all over again. Strat-o-matic baseball.
Maybe that’s why he loved Tettleton so much. The guy walked over 100 times during five different seasons, hit a home run every 20 or so at bats and squatted in the dirt blocking balls for nine innings. Catchers wear the uniforms of great warriors. Tettleton was a centaur.
I tracked Damon down a few years ago. He was still tending bar and playing in his band. He immediately recognized me. My face doesn’t change that much. He leaned over the rail and looked long and hard into my eyes. I didn’t flinch; had nothing to hide. He finished his shift and we talked for a long while; dropped hundreds of baseball names, discussed the Brewers starting pitching and drank and drank some more.
The situation was addictive for both of us; a pleasant escape from all the useless expectations. He had to work tomorrow and I had to be back at work the following week.
There was never any promise land for Damon or if there was, it was far away from the klingons and their need to be entertained. There was never any promise land for Moses either He never stepped foot in Israel. Seems kind of ironic or something since he was the big star of the old testament, but then again it doesn’t seem ironic at all.
There’s always so much more work to be done.