Deal 1356: Not frog dinner

expected fresh frog
got fried chicken for dinner
the frogs protest march


Deal 1343

The smart aren’t immune to the calls from the Dreams. The calls reach anywhere, and draw in anyone.

I reached for the first door, and tripped. So much for a quiet, stealthy entry. I found myself tumbling down a slope in the company of a growing mass of tumbleweed. The silence that enveloped everything was eerie. For at least ten minutes there was nothing but the occasional crunch of a weed after a particularly bad landing.

When the worlds stopped spinning, I attempted to stand, but was too enmeshed in the tangle to move far. It took a fair bit of patience and some borrowed tools to separate me from the pile.

As I lay there, barely scratched and hardly bruised, I could hear frogs singing in the distance and a chicken scratching around nearby.

Suddenly I also knew that my tux was ruined.


Deal 1321: Dancehall

The door dropped me into the woods. Not necessarily unusual, but not where I wanted to be. As I make my way towards where I hoped my destination lies, I find myself dodging over and under dead trees, and trying to stay on what seems to be a game trail.

Then the first frog passes me. It is going flat out, making long, low hops that cover a lot of ground, fast. Then a second frog. And a third. That one pauses on a log to say something, but I can’t understand it. It leaps away before I can ask, soon to be replaced by numbers four, five, and six. Each in turn pauses and say something, but between the forest noises and the panic settling in, I understand none of them.

The game trail leads to a crack in a rock face. I see no choice, so I step in. Now I’m out of the woods, but still lost. A steady stream of frogs is changing before my eyes into a stream of chickens. I’m afraid to look too close, lest I discover that the individual frogs are becoming individual chickens. The chickens are still muttering, and it is resolving into music. I briefly envy their easy musicality, then remember that they are chickens.

I follow them down the trail into an old dance hall, where they cluster near the stage where they somehow find instruments and assemble as a dance band. The band leader has a familiar looking bushy tail, but is also blowing his heart out on a hunting horn.

Losing myself in the music, drift around the room, eventually finding myself at the window.

A surge in the crowd behind me knocks me out the window. I would ordinarily expect an abrupt defenestration from a dance hall to be much more traumatic. But I merely fall about ten feet and land lightly in my bed.

Shrugging, I roll over and go back to sleep.


Deal 1316: Corridors.

This time the quest to discover a door was more difficult, but I finally accomplished it in the man-made catacombs below a college. There it was, shimmering in the dust and dim light, on the other side of a particularly narrow point. I might have left a few fibers behind getting past, but I reached it.

Unusually, this door was not locked.

It opened into the back of a courtroom. If I hadn’t been in the dusty sub-sub-sub-basement tunnels under a physics lab, that might have discouraged me. There was a trial in progress, so I was as quiet as possible as I slipped in and closed the door behind me.

As it shut, it blended back into the grain of the wood paneled walls, and vanished.

Wherever I was, I was stuck there now. Luckily, it had placed me at a relatively inconspicuous corner of the room, and all attention was focused on the witness box where a hapless hedgehog was being reduced to tears under cross examination. I swiftly moved across the back of the room to the entrance, and escaped.

That door opened on to the expected corridor, but there was something about it that didn’t fit with the court I had just left behind. After a moment, I placed it. To my left, it ended in a window with a view of a barren plane, with no visible horizon. To my left, it extended further than I could see, with a slight curve. Upwards.

I sat down on a handy bench and dug into my pack, to find my glasses.

With their help, the view seemed different. The window was looking at the face of many hectares of farmland, that did indeed curve upwards. The corridor curved as well, and on closer inspection seemed to also have a twist in it. The window had not been opened in a long time, but it yielded to a little rattling after dropping a little oil on its hinges.

I stepped out onto the ledge, then with my pack secured, tipped forward and stepped off into the sky above the farmlands, spreading the wings concealed between my sleeves and body for lift. After falling a short distance to get up airspeed, the wings snapped all the way open and I was able to glide away mostly under control.

Looking back is never advised, but I had to do it. The building extended off into the distance, mostly featureless and unremarkable. The window I had stepped out of was one of many aligned vertically up the center of the narrow end of the building, one of many. It was a long ways down to the crops below.

Fortunately, my wings were sufficient to hold me aloft. If they failed, I was going to become a smear on that landscape, much like Frogger after jumping the wrong way gets smeared by the traffic.

I blinked.

The traffic ahead was as thick as usual, extending towards the space where the horizon was supposed to be. We were in the second lane of about eight, moving at a great pace, in a rush to go somewhere. Despite being only a few feet away from the other vehicles, we were careening along at breakneck speed.

Now I didn’t dare blink.

But I did.

And found myself back in the dusty depths under the college, realizing that the shining light at the end of the tunnel was a flashlight in the hands of a security guard, who apparently hadn’t spotted me yet. I turned into a crossing passage and settled down to wait for him to pass before I made my escape from his domain.