Image

Deal 1099: Expedition

In another day and age, great plans were afoot and an expedition mounted to a wheat field.

The whole family packed in, kids, dogs, and even the cat. They had miles to go over some of the roughest terrain the region had to offer, followed by more miles of the flattest and least interesting terrain available for miles around.

Then, they had to pick their site with an eye for the weather. Watching the skies, moving a few miles at a time, placing bets on where the clouds would break and the skies would open up. And still leaving enough time to unload and set up, because their mission had a definite deadline. The Sun and Moon take orders from no mortals, after all.

The fallow wheat field was crunchy under foot in the cold winter’s morning. Frost was visible nearly everywhere, as the sun had only just risen. Unpacking was swift, although the dogs and cat chose to supervise from the relative warmth of the car. Which, in all honesty, likely made the process easier.

Crisp winter morning air, patchy blue skies, and no chance of weather more adverse than a stray cloud on the horizon. Circumstances could hardly have been better. The farmer was certainly ignorant of our borrowing his field, but with the crops long since harvested and planting months away, he had little cause for complaint.

The eclipse, for that was indeed the purpose of the trip, was magnificent.

The choice of a wheat field held another unexpected advantage.

Others had paid dearly for lodgings in town, with a group viewing from a parking lot. Their experience of the deepest eclipse was disturbed when all the streetlights came on. No one bothers to light the fields.

A lifetime’s interest in how things work was fanned into flames by that expedition.

Other eclipses followed, but that first one will always be special.

Image

Deal 1071: Walk a Line

Popularity is fickle. The line between popular success and failure can sometimes be so thin as to barely exist at all. Sometimes all that is required is to be seen in the right light.

But beware.

For pop failure can be just as fickle. Earning success on your merits, no matter how great, can be reversed entirely by the fickle hand of popularity over something as meaningless as the color of the coat you wore last year.

And so the much more difficult line to walk is to balance the instant success against the instant failure, and find the happy middle ground. You miss out on the wild mobs of adoring fans. You also miss out on the inevitable fall.

Image

Deal 1063: Double Nonnet for a bang

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
while praying
the fuse
snip
it’s 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!

Image

Deal 1032: Real or not?

Sydney was the most sure about anything since he landed in this strange world. The girl sitting with him was somehow also the dragon that had blocked his travels and invited him to meet her in the garden for tea. There was tea. There was an unexpected lack of dragon. He could do the math. He could also tell that there was definitely a wrong way to broach the subject.

“I’m Sydney, and I’m sure you know that already. The tea is welcome.”

Gwen nodded. He might be off to a good start. “It is, especially on a pleasant day.”

She wasn’t going to admit anything quickly, that was clear. He looked around at the formal garden, but was drawn back to her eyes. There was an aura about them. About her, really. If he looked closer, the aura extended off into the distance and developed wings and a tail. He’d never noticed that effect before. He counted to three in his head. “I really have no idea what is going on here. I’m seeing things I never could see back home. I’m doing things that I’ve never done. I’m worried a little that I’m enjoying it too much and that if offered a way home I might turn away from it.”

“Do you have friends and family who are wondering where you are?”

“Not too many. Just a few online connections, but not many that I’d ever met in real life.”

She frowned a moment. “Is this real now?”

“I don’t know.” He paused, lost in thought. “I thought I did at first. I assumed the whole thing was some sort of technological trick that I’d unwittingly got involved in. But I’m less sure of that now.”

She smiled. “If it helps, I’m reasonably sure this is real.”

She puffed her cigar and sipped her tea.

“It helps. Thanks.”

“Well isn’t this cozy” croaked the frog.

Sydney jumped. Gwen blew a smoke ring that settled around the errant trickster and began to shrink to grip it. The frog leapt out just in the nick of time, glared at them, and hopped off to vanish under a rose-bush.