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Deal 894: Watching

As the roar of the pub brawl rose, it seemed as if a bubble of calm formed around me. It was as if the noise of the melee just slipped past me without noticing.

Only a short while earlier, it all started as a typical night in the pub.

The knights were at their usual table, comparing the lengths of their swords.

The cutpurses were trying to be inconspicuous as long as the knights were still sober.

The bard was only on his second beer, so his songs were not up to his peak abilities.

The barmaids were delivering steins of luke-warm beer as fast as they could draw them.

And then it happened.

Someone said something unforgivable. I never heard what, who said it, or to whom.

The first punch might have gone unremarked, if it weren’t made with a fist full of darts. The second punch included a barstool. The current occupant of the stool objected to being used as a blunt instrument, and started to speak their mind, somewhat bluntly. And without any concern for how many factions were in the room.

Me, I did the only thing I could do. I sat here and watched. You might say, it is what I do. I’m a watcher. But not much of a listener, since me head is entirely filled with cotton wool. I didn’t see it begin, but I had a front row seat as it flashed from a simple spat over honor to a full-scale brawl.

I am what I am, and it is my fate to simply watch.

And watch, as that lantern comes right at me.

And watch, as the lamp oil splashes and sets my stuffing on fire.

I guess it was my fate to be involved after all.

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Deal 893: The game of axes and seats

I admit I cut an odd figure as I stroll the streets looking for the best spot, dressed in morning coat, topper, and all the usual trimmings of the gentleman off to the opera. But the garb isn’t the most striking part; that would be the very large axe strapped to my back.

Finally, I find the right spot. Room to work, and yet also cozy enough to draw people’s attention. And a steady flow of foot traffic that seems willing to look around and notice the sights rather than just plow ahead as if on a deadline.

I slowly unstrap my axe, while turning in a circle and catching the eyes of a few passerby. I’m doing my best to radiate charisma, to draw attention without speaking a word. What I’m here to do today will work best if I never say a word. I unsling my axe, complete my turn, and plant its head on the ground, keeping a good grip on the end if the handle.

Without saying a word, I draw my feet up, and pose with legs crossed at a comfortable height.

I then nod to the passerby who noticed, sweep my hat off, and set it on the ground in front of me, before freezing in place.

And so the game of wills begins. The longer I can hold people’s attention, the larger the coin they are likely to drop in the hat. Of course, this pose is not held without any effort at all. So the third player in the game is my own endurance. The passerby think they are contributing out of their own free will, but the secret is that when they acknowledge the performance, they’ve already lost that battle. They are obligated to contribute something to my well-being.

After an hour or two, it is time to change my locale, seek different marks. So with some care I reverse the sequence of movements that left me seated in midair. and am free to shoulder my axe and walk away.

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Deal 892: Bruce’s new gig

Sometime last year he quit alcohol.
It was a crutch he no longer
Needed. High society
did not understand but
then he didn’t care.
Black tuxedo,
black cars, black
cave, black
BATS
became
his fate. Fate
he thought at first
would be short-lived. Now
he stands athwart his fate.
Welcomes it to his hidden life.
Does his duty to all Gotham
City. For he has become Batman!

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Deal 891: Rapunzel’s lament

Sunk in despair
princess au pair
let down her hair
suitors beware

prince called in vain
doves cried in pain
the purplest train
washed out by rain

sit by her sill
wish at her well
walk o’er yon hill
say “Hi, I’m Gill”

“Hi Gill, I’m Nell”
Climb to my bell
mount with a yell
“Oh, no!” he fell.

long time to wait
yearning to sate
getting so late
stuck here by fate.