Mad Tom Winter: Gray Man part 1 - Inventory

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'Tis poor mad Tom...

Madman and beggar too...

Alack, sir, he is mad!

(William Shakespeare, King Lear)






I offer this story with affection and love

to the people who shape my dailiness,

in gratitude for the places that nurture our common life.





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"You're the mighty hunter alright," he said, scooping the mouse's mortal coil into a bucket by the door. It was a mystery to Maurice why his dinky, timid dachshund had suddenly taken to hunting small mammals.

Samson wagged his pointy tail and lifted his ears.

The meaty squish of a dead mouse under the sole of his size-thirteen boot had become a familiar sensation to Maurice; this was the third time since last Tuesday that he'd stepped out his door onto the remains of a rodent. He contemplated Samson, proudly stretched to his full diminutive magnitude, his long back-half vibrating with the glory of the moment.

"Come on then," he said curtly and headed for the barn.

The mismatched pair crunched across the frozen grass and past the frozen vegetable garden, the little dog galloping to keep pace with the big handyman's left heel, both chuffing white fog like frozen locomotives. Man and dog rounded the corner and paused to take stock of the morning.

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