A nightmare of sorts has startled me awake. I’ve been cooking just long enough to see where this one was going.
In it, I found myself a contestant. The pantry is understocked, but that is hardly a surprise. I am required to use one emu egg, a jar of pickles, and a three-pound slice of dry aged beef rib eye, complete with two bones on.
Did I mention that this is the dessert round. And my competition is Alton Brown?
I think I was going to bake some sort of sweet beef and pickle pie when I scared myself awake. I have no idea what Alton was going to do.
Now I want to go back to sleep to see how it turned out!
if it blows we blew it completely
“boom” is the last thing we would hear
“cut the blue wire” so they say
there is no blue wire here
every wire is red
logic says cut
I’m not dead
I am lucky
we are all lucky
that i picked a red wire
among seven just like it
we will hear “boom” some other year
it did not blow so we succeeded!
The illusion was very good this time, I could easily forget it was all a sham. Table games, the distant calls of slot machines, the steady sound of the house draining wallets over thousands of square feet, with me at a table near the center. I’m dressed to at least an eight, in a properly tailored suit. One hint at the illusion is that the actual game I’m playing seems to change every time I let my attention wander, but not the depth of the pile of chips before me. It continues to dwindle steadily, no matter what scheme I try.
But my winning streak hasn’t changed. I continue to win exactly often enough to keep me seated at the table. No win is large enough to be memorable to anyone. To a third party, like that indescribable lady at the next table, I must appear to be part of the scenery. She is definitely not part of the scenery. She is the reason I’m here tonight at all.
At first I thought my mission was to overhear the critical bit of information that would cause the downfall of a kingdom. Then I realized that was silly, no one was going to reveal anything that critical in a casino and even if they did, there would be no attribution attached that could be used to verify the story.
Then I came to realize the truth. No single fact will do. But the mystery and shuffle brought on by a kidnapping would be another thing entirely.
Sydney’s frustration was mounting. The exercise was described as simple. All he really had to do was get from one side of the garden to the other. But the garden kept changing shape, and occasionally he’d turn a corner and find himself in another part entirely. Solving a maze without a view from the outside is hard enough. But solving it when the maze is constantly changing and is not simply connected is even harder. He knew that if he could only calm down and focus, his growing ability to draw on his sword’s powers would assist. But that is always easier to say than to do. And his score on the exercise will include the time spent as well, so he needed to hurry up and solve the maze. The more he stews about his dilemma, the worse it gets, of course.
He’s currently in a spot with a politely bubbling fountain at the center, and a continuous ring of hedge around the edge. There’s no sign of where he stepped in, and the dry flagstones are not showing any footprints. There are stone benches on four sides of the fountain, each offering a similar view of the fountain and the hedge beyond.
He drops onto one of the benches, and considers his next move. He forces himself to close his eyes and clear his mind, then draws the sword and lays it across his lap where he can see reflections in its blade.
The reflection of the fountain is subtly wrong. He shifts a little, and realizes that the reflection of the far wall is also wrong. Wrong in the sense that it differs from the reality he perceives with his eyes. Which may not be a surprise, lots of things he’s meeting now that Gwen is training him hide differences between perception and reality.
In the reflection he sees a cat walk nonchalantly into the fountain area, take a drink, and walk out again.