Rory drove from the Stonewall Jackson shrine feeling like a samurai. His vision was greater than any textbook could ever print. He could not get the old Studebaker to Smithfield fast enough. Rory arrived as the golden glow of the afternoon sun signaled his arrival to Virginia’s lost souls. He did not know who he would meet, but with Morris Day singing, “Ain’t a Damn Thing Changed,” Rory was sure he would not be disappointed.
Standing across the street from the Smithfield Meat Packing Plant was Ralph Morecock, a social misfit with hidden goodness, who was an institution from Rory’s youth. Ralph was a cross between Archie Bunker and George Jefferson, conservative white guy wanting minorities to ’move on up.’ He was crass, once playing verbal Jai alai with a kid who mowed grass for him. Ralph suggested the kid take his scrotum in for a gynecological exam. Years later, he would help that same kid, now a young man, get into college.
Rory stopped outside of the plant and rolled the window down.
“Thanks for stopping,” said Ralph.
“I didn’t have a choice,” said Rory.
Ralph opened the door and got into the truck. The engine went dead.
“Don’t worry, it will start when we are done. We are supposed to meet here. I think it has something to do with “accomplishments and challenges.”
Rory thought about what Ralph just said. This man of the past had come back and for all that he accomplished when he was alive, he must have been facing challenges on the other side.
“Ralph, you know you were never sophisticated.”
“I was honest.”
“Liar,” said Rory. “Why are you here?”
“This country needs to be fixed. Taxpayers can’t survive. Immigration is ruining the culture. Some patriotic resident needs to stand up for what is right. I’m here to help you fulfill your destiny.”
The words settled on Rory like one hundred pounds of feathers, soft and heavy.
“Alright Ralph, but I’m guessing we are supposed to help each other,” said Rory, “so here is what you are going to do for me. Your generation fought to keep the races segregated. Your generation deemed our race ‘superior.’ You knew better, though. You knew we are equal and that good people are good and bad ones are bad. You also know immigration and taxes are used by haters as divisive issues.”
Ralph said, “Studying for your urinalysis paid off.”
Rory shook his head and continued, “You need to be true to your spirit. Be the man who knew what was right and start convincing all those dead racists to let go of their hatred so the present can stop fighting ghosts. Right here, right now, in front of a responsible operation with the best ham in the world, vow to do your part.”
Ralph shook Rory’s hand and ventured back to wherever to work at changing the bad energy of the past.
The Studebaker started and Rory drove for the next part of his journey.