Deal 1288: Watched

Ah, yes. My watch stopped. Again.

What’s that?


Well, you may recall that I work at some distance from my home. I travel daily by a variety of means, usually including the train. Today I missed the train, and decided to catch the next train at a station I don’t usually use. Not may use it, on account of the neighborhood. I’ve never paid much attention to those rumors, so off I went, at a good pace, to catch the train.

On the way, I heard about the fire. But that was at my usual station, so I paid little attention.

Then I heard about the bank, just in time to take a different route, and avoided the block just before they blew the safe. The safe landed in the street, I hear.

While everyone was cowering as the dust settled, I managed to reach the station, just as the train was pulling away. But it was just in reach and I was arriving at the end of the platform it was approaching, so I sprinted and leapt.

I made it safely aboard, paid the conductor, and settled down to nap for the ride. I must have actually fell asleep for a time, because the watch slipped out of my pocket, where it was trod upon by the conductor making his rounds.

Of course, I won’t have anything less than the strongest watch made, so when the conductor slipped on the watch and fell, dropping everything he was carrying, the watch was unharmed but my nap was interrupted.

So I retrieved my watch, and settled down again with it firmly in my pocket.

I really must have been tired, because I awoke at the end of the line, well after dark, and many hours from home, having heard neither the station call nor my watch’s alarm.

When I checked the time, it was stopped.

And I actually don’t know why.


Deal 1258: The Wire

At first glance, the figure was hovering in midair, more than far enough above the chasm to break every bone in his body.

The wire he was standing on could be seen in enough sections along its length to make it clear that overt magic was not involve. All in all, this was not a nearly naked man flying. It was merely a man standing on a narrow bridge.

That the bridge was perhaps only an inch wide was just a reductio ad absurdum of a more typical bridge. After all, when walking down a sidewalk, how much ground are you actually standing on? Certainly not the entire walkway width. At most, a patch the size of each foot. The rest of the sidewalk is only there to reassure you, you aren’t actually using it.

How much stage is a ballerina actually standing on when en pointe?

The toe of her shoe is not large at all, perhaps one by two inches. She doesn’t need more stage than that to stand on.

So on that scale, the inch or so diameter of the wire is plenty.

It doesn’t look that way when a chasm looms below. A chasm that hasn’t really even been fully explored, and might be effectively bottomless.

The trick, then, is to remember walking on a stage, on a sidewalk, or on a bridge. And remember that you aren’t using the rest of the space, just the bits under your feet.

Unless he falls.

So just don’t fall.

Because there is no net.


Deal 1205: Trained out of fear.

After years of discipline and practice he was nearly fearless.

The devices helped, of course. It was no test of the gom jabbar, but it was effective. Every time he approached the test, he had no idea what it might do to him this time. In the early days, merely picking up the device was about all he could stand. As he tamed his fears, the device took note and became more willing to change its appearance, change its operation, and change its actions.

To this day, a nagging feeling follows him around that the device is lurking just around the next corner, disguised and willing to taunt him some more.

In fact, it remains in his old training room. Gathering dust. Wishing for a new student that needs its talents.

It may go mad if not found by a new student.

Or madder. It might be hard to tell.