The Cobra Effect, by Hardscrabble Farmer

Hardscrabble Farmer is a throwback to an American archetype: the self-reliant individual. From Hardscrabble Farmer at

Last night I dreamed that I was at the local supermarket. The weather was dark and overcast and there was a cold drizzle falling as I walked across the parking lot. As I got closer to the entrance I saw my neighbor, an elderly woman I have known almost as long as I have lived here standing outside of the doors, waiting to go in. Something compelled me to go to her and as I came up behind her I reached out and took her hand in mine, gently, like you would hold a baby chick.

Her hand instinctively clasped mine tighter and as she turned to look up at me her wrinkled face lit up. We stood there for an instant looking at each other and both of us broke into smiles to see one another again and almost before I could sense what was happening, she pulled me towards her and embraced me with her frail arms and I hugged her back, the two of us under a slate gray sky, damp from the rain. Even now, half an hour after waking I can remember what she felt like, her body shuddering with relief at some human contact.

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