Open 2022 Vasant Stories - Clinton Siegle


Wandering for food and good books
By Clinton Siegle


I like to wander. It is how adventures begin. I was new to the city of Columbus. And? I was looking for a place to eat. Nowadays I look to find the biggest person around and ask him or her what is the best place to eat at. Why? Big people eat at places that have something special about them. The person I asked today was smaller than I would ask about where to eat. However, the style and outfit worn made me want to see what type of other people would hang around him.

While I was wandering, I met him at a bookstore of sorts. The Magical Portal to the Mind or something like that. And we were both in search of a new edition of a series of books published there. Not here, of course. No, I doubt this reality will see the likes of that author for some time now. We discussed politics, time travel, and other ideas. Then I was hungry, and I asked a question.

My question? What was the best place to eat nearby? And his reply?

Depends if you can find it or not. It is movable. I thought of a cool mobile cafe on wheels. I expressed this, and he laughed. No, he said. Not on wheels, but it is a mystery. Sometimes I find it right where I last ate it. And other times? Other times it is elsewhere.

The location description of the restaurant is called Cafe Shi. Was interesting. He said it was a spirit bar cafe restaurant run by a very special person.

Why was I given this information? Let’s be honest when I wander I look different from you or anyone you know looks like. I am small. I am big. I am me. And when I desire to be interesting, I can be one of the most interesting people in the world you could meet.

That’s the reason why I got an invitation to Cafe Shi. You could understand the stakes of a spirit bar. A place where people come and go. However, their dreams are like fairy tales there.

For once you get into the place. Realizing the owner enjoys stories as much or more than you do, and listens to you. She will listen to your story. You might never want to leave. Which is problematic for those who have to work in the real world. For? Well, as the man was saying, the restaurant moves. And where it will take you are to different places and times that the owner has listened to in yours or someone else’s story.

To those who do not wander. The tale sounds like a fairy tale. To those who wander or get lost on purpose to see what they can see? Well, it is how I ended up at a bookstore where books that do not exist show up from time to time.

With an invitation to Cafe Shi in hand. Meaning I was given a bookmark with the words invented by. Invited by if I had known whom I was talking to at that moment in time? I would have had him sign my books and anything else. His signature elsewhere was worth a bit of coin, even alive in those days. However, we were never introduced until much later.

I got to the spot he suggested I might find the restaurant at. Only not to find it. Seemed rather a let down. However, there was a bar there that several large biker members were entering, so I wandered into the place to see what type of food was there. Upon entering the place, the back of the bikers confronted me with the backs of the three bikers standing still clenching their fists.

Weird. Why are they not going in? They all seemed to look at a boy in the place. Me? I was hungry, so I pushed them and sat down at a table. The bar had nothing I wanted to watch.

The waitress came over and seemed rather nervous. Me? I was hungry so I ordered the house special. Meantime the drama of the bikers was interesting to watch. They ran away when the boy or man child got up. I was happy I was still not standing behind them because I think they would have trampled me down in their haste to get out of there.

The man-child came over to where I got seated. Now I was interested. He introduced himself and asked if he could sit with me?

I wanted to read a book which I had on the table, but I also was interested in hearing what was going on. So, I laid my book aside and said sure. The conversation went along with books, politics, and a small discussion about food. Meaning? I asked if I had ordered correctly or if they had run out of food because our conversation turned into a rather lengthy discussion about an author of the book I was reading.

He smiled, waved his hand, and the waitress magically appeared with my food. I asked what about him? He smiled and ordered blood wine. Kind of spooky? Sure. However, I was hungry and if you realize something when I look at food. And you? Well, most people step back in realization I might just eat them too.

Anyway, over the meal, the conversation continued about the latest book and how time travel was possible along with alternative realities.

Then something strange happened upon me mentioning I was going to Cafe Shi and somehow ended up here. The child man asked to see the invite? And I showed him. He smiled upon seeing that and laughed. Now, I am not into describing laughter however, his laughter would make you either love him or fear him. Me? I was eating, so I didn’t care.

He then introduced himself yet again. However, this time as the shadow boy. I laughed at that. Shadow boy? Are you dead or Peter Pan I asked? He smiled and said, “Have you heard of me?

Now? Let’s be honest in my wanderings. I have had drinks with the fae king in the valley of Caracoto Bolivia. I have drunk wine with dimensional travelers at the houses of many more people than you could imagine. Dimensional travelers or demons depend on how you want to describe people, I suppose?

That I was having a conversation with Peter Pan or death did not surprise me. What I wanted to be honest was a good house wine. I asked which I should order and the shadow boy smiled and ordered for me. Why? To be honest, I do not drink wine that well anymore and I like sweet wines. However, where I came from, the English rules of thumb were that you eat sweet treats during Halloween, while workers in the fields pick beets, while sweeting. Meaning? Mandela told me this or Sketcher told me that I took too long to travel and would not know of an excellent wine unless someone brought it to me.

Upon finishing the discussion about the book. Which if I recall correctly Richard Burton travels to parallel realities or listening into the real Kamasutra. We drank and talked about other realities for a time.

Evidently death too gets hungry and in my wandering attempt to reach Cafe Shi. I had taken a detour to a place in time where evidently bad people eat. And? If confronted by death I suppose died. And? Well, this is a ghost story after all.


Am I alive now or walking in the shadow of death who can personally tell?


Clinton Siegle residing in Bolivia grew up in Lame Deer, Montana on the Cheyenne reservation. He is writing poems in the dark due to his eyesight and other disabilities. His translation of Ayer es Pasado became a short film which was viewed at six festivals.


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