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Deal 1239: The darker the better

Beer is the magical drink that created civilization. Fermenting grain makes water safer to drink. Finding enough grain to ferment drove agriculture. Tending the grain made it more practical to remain in one place year round. Brewing also encouraged cultivation of yeast, and certainly lead to reliably leavened breads. Bread and beer lubricated many social gatherings, to such an extent that “breaking bread” is still a metaphor in use today.

Tea, on the other hand, only appears after beer and bread are established. It is often seen alongside silly dainty sandwiches with the crust cut off.

Don’t get on the tea bandwagon.

Stick to the originals. Beer and bread.

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Deal 1206: Teahouse

He sipped the fragrant tea and let his mind wander.

There was a time when he couldn’t have let it go far. But he’d come a long way in his practice of tea shop meditation. He found it easier each time to let go of the present and wander more freely in other times. The past came easiest for him, as it does for most aspirants. Learning to trigger memories of future events is a more advanced skill, one that might come with time and practice.

He sipped the tea, and remembered.

He remembered a child that was always careful to get the last cookie. A young man that easily manipulated circumstances to get the better seat in class, the better seat on the train, and the first pick of the box of kittens.

Wait. That bit about the kittens wasn’t actually his own experience. He never had a kitten, it was always dogs. Wasn’t it?

He sipped the tea.

He sipped the tea and wandered into the cloudy corners of his mind.

No, he never had a kitten.

But there were fish. Endless fish. Fish with large, lidless eyes staring at him while he did his homework. Watching him as he read. Staring at him as he slept. Everywhere he looked there were fish watching.

He took a deep breath, and sipped his tea.

Eyes. There were always eyes.

And occasionally a tentacle.

He dropped the cup and hurried out of the shop. Perhaps a walk through Ipswitch would clear his mind without calling attention of any old ones…

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Deal 1156: Why?

Every evening she walked right to the edge, then turned back to her comfortable home.

The edge called to her, tempted her, taunted her.

The edge whispered things to her, things that in the sunlight were clearly lies, but at night sounded different.

And yet, every evening she walked back to the edge.

Perhaps she was testing her resolve?

Perhaps she couldn’t see that the whispers were seeking to betray her?

Whatever she was thinking, we may never know.

Last night, the call was too much for her resolve, too much for her to deny.

She walked right up to the edge, under the rail, and beyond.

Beyond the yellow line.

Beyond the other side.

And disappeared into the darkness, never to be seen again.

Tonight, her daughter walked to the edge for the first time.

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Deal 1153: Mirror

The mirror is a curse, of course. But it is a mild one.

I carry it with the rest of my stage supplies, and check my makeup before I go on. Having done that, the glamour remains for at least a few hours, and my set is always a success.

With it, I’m memorable. Better than that, I have fans, and a decent chance at a recording contract.

Without it, I’m not so sure.

I could always abandon it. I suspect that is how I came to possess it, actually. It’s previous owner abandoned it, and it arranged to be found by a suitable new owner.

Because while I may pretend to have free will, with that mirror in the picture, free will is nothing but an illusion.

Don’t get me wrong, it is an illusion I’m happy to preserve for now. But as sure as there’s tea in that pot, I can’t keep it forever.