Great Big Dog
A hermit gets mixed up with a promiscuous young lady.
What do you think would happen if a dedicated career hermit were suddenly to find himself the object of a lovely young lady's affections? To make the story more fun, let's say this young lady is – ahem – a bit more active in her love life than some people would consider proper. Her father just happens to be the mayor of their village, and he views her behavior as a "political embarrassment" that could cost him the next election.
All this adds up to a playfully-written story, sort-of-but-not-quite-a-parable, full of politicians plotting devious and underhanded schemes, a PR firm working feverishly to spin the heck out of the various scandals that result, a hermit whose spiritual journey goes terribly awry, and a girl who wishes people would just let her enjoy life in her own way.
The mysterious stranger took a couple more hits off the cigarette, slowly, making a point of showing his enjoyment. The hermit wanted to get the conversation over and done with so this guy would go the heck away, but apparently it was not to be.
"It's like this," the mysterious stranger finally said. "You know the mayor's daughter has her eye on you."
"And the rest of her, too, if she had her way."
"Yeah. That's just the point. You should."
"I should? What do you know about all this, anyway? Did she send you here?"
"Oh, no. No, she didn't. No one in the village has any interest in trying to get you two together. Even her own best friend thinks it's a misguided idea."
"I get it. You're just a figment of my imagination. I'm dreaming you."
"If that's the way you want to think about it, okay. It doesn't matter. I'm just coming here to offer you some food for thought. I hope you think about it, but the bottom line is that you should do whatever you want."
"Okay, then, what's the food for thought?"
"Go for it, man. Go for it. You owe it to yourself. You've been out here in the middle of nowhere for most of your life. You've been a good hermit."
"A daggone good hermit."
"Yes, a daggone good hermit. You deserve a little reward for all those years of being a good hermit."
"But being a good hermit is its own reward."
The mysterious stranger fixed a "you can't be serious" gaze on the hermit. It was a very strong gaze, so strong it actually pushed the hermit back a couple inches. "You deserve to indulge yourself, just a little bit," the mysterious stranger said.