The Sitting Man

Under the shade of a lanky pin oak astride the Currituck Lighthouse Gift Shop in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, a paunchy, bearded man sits in a glossy green rocking chair, rocking. Back and forth, back and forth the bearded man rocks. Every day the man sits there, taking his place on the porch as though he were permanent, a God-appointed fixture not altogether different from the pin oak.

And for all anyone knows, he is. Most of the people who walk by him on their way into the gift shop pay him absolutely no attention. They have no reason to. As far as they’re concerned he’s just another tourist waiting wearily for his wife or daughter or son or ancient mother or catty tour group to finish paying for their postcards and coffee mugs so he can get up and meander peacefully back home.

Occasionally, however, the man will tip his hand. Instead of silently rocking, the man will suddenly start spewing bile, saying vile, unspeakable things to and about the people who traipse to and fro in front of him.

One day the bearded man will rock through a screaming summer squall, ignoring the drop in temperature. He will not bother to remove his sunglasses. No rain will touch him—the overhang of the gift shop porch will jut just far enough into the grounds to keep him dry. He will be the downfall of man. He will speak the words and the heavens will rain fire.