She stood on
the same corner downtown every day. She was in
her fifties, stout, stern and attached to a
homeless cart full of crap in her left hand and a
sign in her right hand that said LEGALIZE
SHEEP. An unrelenting determination for her demented
cause shone through her skin, which had turned
red and crinkled from long days in the wind and
sun. She held the sign high so that all the
people passing by could see it, but I always felt
that I was the only one who noticed her and her
sign. Maybe because she melded with the block,
like a light post or a mail box.
I wondered if
her cause started as something else. Something
more normal. Even logical. Maybe the sign
originally said Stop the Slaughter of
Sheep and later became twisted into
LEGALIZE SHEEP. Or maybe it
never made any sense and she was just a protester
without a logical cause.
I walked by
her every morning and night for two and a half
years and then one day she wasn't there. The
first day she was missing I figured she wasn't
feeling good and decided to take the day off.
Then two days passed, and still no sign of her.
Then three days, four days, five days, one week,
two weeks. I started to worry. I searched the
little downtown and even asked some other local
homeless and store keepers if they'd seen her. No
one saw her or even knew who I was talking about.
Finally, I gave up.
Then one day,
I saw her cart on some defunct railroad tracks
near the downtown, and her sign only a few feet
away. The sun faded the letters but I could still
see them. I looked around as far as my eyes could
see but the lady wasn't around. I was pretty sure
she was lying dead somewhere. Unnoticed,
invisible. I hoped she died in peace, thinking
that, because of her perseverance and fortitude,
someday her dream would be realized. Sheep would