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The Abysmal Dismal Mr. Boomerang

Long ago I recall reading in a newspaper or a magazine the bizarre tale of a man who lived in a cave outside the city of San Antonio. The unfortunate man’s name was Bumrún (pronounced Boomraan) but his few acquaintances called him Mr. Boomerang. Surrendering to the life of a troglodyte is strange in itself. Yet more outlandish were the causes of his situation. One Fall day, Mr. Boomerang absented himself from his wife on the pretense to traverse the world, and, by some obscurely premeditated plan had occupied this cave, which was situated mere miles from his home. Events of infidelity and disharmony among matrimonial partners are not rare, and yet this singular tale has telling indications of a notion many of us feel to be of a universal nature. In his cave, and while daily espying his domicile, the days turned to months and months to twenty years; but then, as mysteriously as had been his disappearance, long after his estate was settled, funerary events gone from the memory of the community, and the condolence letters to the widowed Mrs. Boomerang yellowed, he entered the door, quietly, as from a week’s absence, and became a loving spouse till the end of his days.

This story strangely affected my intellect. Mr. Boomerang was not the sort of man to go down in history as worthy of study. He was of the class that men and women interact with daily and forget hourly. Were his friends asked who among them would perform rituals today to be forgotten tomorrow, they would have listed Boomerang. Assuming, of course his persona would sustain its impression on their minds with enough intensity to animate their lips with his name. Nevertheless, this oddity of human experience did occur, and without a shadow of a reason.

This outline is all that I remember. It has played strongly on my own consciousness. Its absurdity is one we would fain hear in some tabloid and mutter aloud to our neighbor, “I would never act in such a way!” Yet, secretly, in the hidden recesses of our hearts, we feel some morbid kinship to the man and his cave. Then we gather our senses and repeat to our own satisfaction “Not me! Surely another may act such. But not I!” Whenever any personage heavily grips the mind, time is well spent in contemplation. Trust in reading this brief exposition of the Abysmal Dismal Mr. Boomerang, that I have done such thinking. Or, to those more serious men of the mind, I proffer this outline for your own intellectual furnace. Know that what follows will certainly unravel the mystery of Mr. Boomerang’s self-banishment and return, and like a belt around a man’s belly, will be a nice moral cinched up tidily in the final sentence. All well forged thoughts have their practicality, and every peculiar action its thesis.

What sort of man was Boomerang? We are free now to shape him in our own manner and use his name. He was a meager middling man. One of those individuals who coasted casually through his twenties without distinction. He had a mildly thinning fur of hair atop his oval cranium. His legs were too skinny for his torso, only to be outdone by his arms. His nickname, Boomerang, stuck at a young age, and came not so much from mispronouncing his moniker as extraction from his temperament. Most strikingly, it was in his manner of conversing. He would open some speech on a topic quite emphatically, with vim and vigor, and then he drifted off, fading for many moments, only to return to some unrelated topic even more emphatically than he began. By all appearances he loved his wife, at least in the way of the mediocre. There was a slight intensity at the outset, which quickly cooled in marriage, like throwing a teacup of warm water into a cold bath. His heart, however, was neither depraved nor wandering. He was the sort to settle, due to a general sluggishness in his character. He believed himself an intellectual. His mind daily distracted itself in long and lazy musings that tended to no purpose, and that had no endurance to achieve a goal; imagination was not among his gifts and his thoughts seldom intense enough to grasp hold of words. His friendships were as light-hearted as his romances. Though the few who knew him would ever dream him capable of acting as he did, it was only his wife of his bosom who—had someone asked her—would have hesitated. After ten years matrimony, she had become familiar with a quirk in his nature. One she did not analyze, perhaps from fear, perhaps from her own laziness. This behavior was a peculiar sort of vanity. In a perverse manner, not unlike a mischievous young boy, Mr. Boomerang enjoyed the keeping of petty secrets; ones that would bear not a moment's interest should they have been revealed. During her temporary widowhood, and when most strongly accosted by her memories, she would often recall the little strangeness in the good man. This strangeness was left undefined, and so, perhaps, it was nonexistent.

Let us watch as Mr. Boomerang says goodbye to his wife. On an early October night, he begins to gather his things. For all the years he has known his lady, he has spoken of traveling, of seeing the world, but she never minded his talk. True, the couple travelled together once, perchance twice, but they lived abroad as they lived within the confines of their tidy home. Though they were vacationing on the Seine, the trappings of their San Antonio existence surrounded the couple. To travel without purpose is to be shot into space to float till death. Yet, every winter, Boomerang grandly announced to his wife that as soon as the snow thawed, he would fill his pack and escape these walls for the greatest adventure of his life; and by summer it was forgotten. He assured Mrs. Boomerang that this time was different. He would travel the world with only what could be carried in his rucksack. Thus he approached his wife, sack filled with clothes, some pots and pans, and an old audio device. Mr. Boomerang explained his imminent departure without mentioning for how long he would be gone or in which way he was headed. He assured her not to expect him before twenty days, maybe thirty. Grown familiar with his antics, the good wife knows not to ask questions, and so merely gives an inquisitive look. She assumes he is ven