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Deal 1222: Hobo’s Vision

I am an adventurer. I ride the rails, evade the law, and live free and rough. As long as there is another train on the horizon, I will always have hope. Hope that around the next big bend there is a place where I can find another stone for my soup pot. Hope that the next town will have work that needs doing, means to pay, and the willingness to hire day labor without references. Hope that I find a place to rest my weary feet at the end of the day.

For as long as I have hope, I need fear nothing.

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Deal 1208: Little’s Bête Noire

The rumors spread quickly through the barnyard.

There was a new dog. He was going to require training before he was useful.

Ms Little was not happy. She had just got the last one calmed down after that whole sky incident. And now, a new one.

She really hoped the new dog hadn’t yet heard the stories.

Stories always grow in the telling,

Maybe it really belongs to the neighbors over on the Baskerville estate?

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Deal 1196: This one time, at Band Camp…

The first few practices of the new year were always the worst. It gets easier, but they don’t seem to know that at the start. At least most years I can expect that they have not been swimming with their instruments, or some similar mishap.

Most years.

Apparently not this year.

My first clue was the tuba case full of tuna fish. Close in some sense, but also extremely misfiled according to every other sense brought to the problem.

With that for context, the flute cases with frogs, or the large smear of dried blood all over the drums didn’t seem entirely unexpected.

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Deal 1087: Wet but not dead

fear of death adds spice
to a life well lived although
fear must be groundless

Joe watched the water rise, and for a moment was nearly as nervous as the audience. It was ever thus. The essence of the trick was that there was no trick: he really did escape from the shackles, chains, and cuffs. Or he could do it that way if he was a fool. Joe was no fool.

By the time the water reached his knees, his hands were free. Not that the audience could tell, he knew it was important that they believe him trapped and certain to die.

Hence the dramatic music, the curtain shielding him from view in his “final moments”, and all the other trappings for the stage.

His favorite ending to the escape was to hop out of the water as soon as he was hidden from view, then settle down with a newspaper in the cheap seats to wait while a shadow puppet show plays out of his apparent drowning. At the peak of the frenzy, as the audience is screaming for someone to do something, a pin spot focused on the tank from behind would suddenly reveal that the tank was empty.

The curtain would drop to reveal that there was nothing left in the tank but a pile of chains at the bottom and a few fish swimming in circles.

Joe enjoyed listening to the stunned realization sweeping across the audience that he hadn’t died in front of them. Did he vanish? Did he become a fish? Was anything what it seemed?

Joe stepped forwards, dropping the coat and newspaper that had concealed him from casual discovery, and accepted the applause that he was due.