Pete and I sat on my front porch at 3:30 a.m., wrapped up in our own little world of cigarette smoke and conversation. Lit only by streetlights and doused in the complete silence that is my neighborhood, we talked about our futures. Suddenly, as if we both sensed it, we glanced down the street and noticed something was a bit out of place — dozens of people were walking down Main St.

In Milltown, it’s rare to see anyone out past dark; not because it’s dangerous, but because the town just dies when the sun goes down. Our interest then, with these late-night walkers, was understandably piqued. Pete wondered if it might be a roving gang of hoodlums, and the fear of unruly teens sent a chill down my spine.

Pete was in sandals and I was in my socks, but we decided to chase the group and find out exactly what was going on. As we neared Main St. and the bulk of the marchers passed by us, we saw that the group of 30 or so was being accompanied by a few cars and trucks, driving slowly with their flashers on. The marchers wore reflective vests and carried glow sticks. A lagging member jogged to catch up, and I was able to intercept him and his friend.

“Where are you guys going?” I shouted from about 50 feet behind. “To Washington,” the man replied, “New Jersey.” He had a noticeable Hispanic accent and I could tell he was confused by my presence. Pete ditched his sandals in front of an auto mechanic and continued the chase barefoot. “Are you protesting something?” I asked, and the man chuckled. “No, for church!” he yelled back, and sped up to catch the rest of the group.

It seemed like we were falling behind, and we had given up some hope of getting a more solid answer. Then we saw that a truck, about the size of a small moving van, had pulled over. We approached the driver on the sidewalk. As we got close, he zippered his pants up — apparently, he had pulled over to relieve himself in the bushes.

“They are marching 46 miles, to Washington, New Jersey,” the man said through a heavy accent. “It’s for church.” He said that they had been marching since 2 p.m. the previous day. Like the other men, he couldn’t really explain exactly why they were marching. Pete asked, “Are you raising money?” and the man let out a laugh. After a few more questions failing to return real responses, the man drove off and Pete and I started back to my house.

After all that chasing — socked and barefooted — and our failed attempts at interviews, we only had more questions. But our chance had passed, and we had been laughed at enough for one night. As we made our way back down Harrison Ave., we theorized exactly what they were marching for, but it’s probably a better story if we never actually find out.

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