Walking Man 8

I seen the man, seen the man walking. When I go to town, I seen the man. When I look out my window, out down toward the highway, I seen the man. Sometimes, when I seen the man, I call out. "Walking man," I call, "Where you walking to today? Down by the river, out under the overpass? Up into town, out by the hills? Where you gonna walk today, walking man?"

And the man, he just say, "Today, I'm going to walk."

After a while, the job I got in town, not much of a job really, but a job, it dries up when they close the plant. After a while, my girl, she move out, say I ain't got no future but a bottle. After a while, the landlord, he come knocking on my door, and we all know what the landlord got to say, 'cause it all he ever got to say. And after a while, I think, well, maybe it's time for me to up and take a walk myself.

I seen the walking man, and I said, "Walking man, you a man of the world. I'm fixin' to leave, and I figured I'd ask you, maybe where you think a man like me should go."

And the walking man, he tip his hat to me, and he say to me (and maybe you seen this coming), "Today, I think you should walk."

So I walk. Maybe not like walking man walk, but I walk. And I ride in boxcars, and so I seen Kansas City, seen the rows of juke joints and cathouses out so far as the eye can see. And I ride on boats, working on them boats, so I seen the Gulf, and I seen the ocean, and I even seen China, once, ain't never thought I'd go and see China, but I seen it. And then the war come, and in the war, I get to walk some more, more then I thought I ever could, but maybe not more than the walking man, and I seen Italy and even France too, ain't never thought I'd see those places neither, but there you go. And after the war, I ride another boat, not workin' on it this time, back home, and after that, I ride a train, but not in no boxcar, and then, I'm home.

After all that, I got a little money saved up, maybe not a lot, but a lot back home, and I ain't got no need for no landlord no more. And I ain't got no need for workin' no plant neither, I got me my little barbershop, out on the corner of Main. And my girl, she figure, maybe I got me a little bit of a future after all.

You probably askin', "What about that walking man?"

Yeah, I seen him once more. He come into my place, right before closing time, sit down for a shave, like not a year passed. And after I give the man his shave and close up, we both head outside, and the walking man, he start off in one direction, and I start off in the other. As he head off, the walking man turn round over his shoulder, and he says, "So how about you? Where are you walking to today?"

And I says, "Me, I'm jus' walkin' home."

And we smile, and we tip our hats to one another, and we walk.

Walking Man 10