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Deal 1130 Preview

Again the River:
On a puddle of pale yellow (#ffffb3) are dealt
prince, Baseness, teddy bear, Plurality, and hobo

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Deal 1121: Desert, just.

Now is a terrible time to discover you don’t like the great outdoors. I know we’re up to something big, and it involves spending a lot of time away from basic comforts of the city. You don’t really appreciate things like running water and reliable electricity until you don’t have them at hand.

And we don’t. The manifesto-writing shack we have here is bear-proof. But the only electricity we have comes from a portable generator. And don’t get me started on the network connection. A cell-phone acting as a hotspot hardly counts as network, after all. But it is barely enough to keep abreast of the rumors back home.

The big black bird that is hanging around is beginning to creep me out. I keep expecting it to croak at me and demand water. Or demand that I roll over and die. Something. It hangs around and stares. Phil doesn’t seem to mind, just goes on about it being inevitable that something would turn up to watch us. But it makes me feel like we’re puppets in the hands of some force greater than us. Not comforting.

And it should be.

If we were puppets, we would not be responsible for the decision we must make. A decision that drove us out into the middle of nowhere to work so that the consequences of an error would only cover ourselves.

Ourselves.

There’s Phil. Hard working, hardly the evil genius type.

Then there’s me. Ursus Domsticus. Your common teddy bear.

Ok, not quite so common as all that. Phil isn’t quite aware of what I really am. And I aim to keep it that way.

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Deal 1017: Hitchhiker’s log excerpt

Day 1017, probably

That infernal beeping has started again. Somewhere in this house, a smoke alarm or something like it wants feeding. But the damn thing just goes “peep” once every five to ten minutes. It’s just enough noise to tell you something is wrong, but not enough noise to let you locate the origin of the sound, and spaced too far apart for anyone to remain attentive and hear a second alert with enough presence of mind to find it. It is going to either drive me insane, or run its battery out completely and go silent forever.

I’m hoping for the latter, and betting in the former.

Either way, I’ve added a note to the growing report that whoever finds me may or may not bother to read. The very report that you might be reading right now. If “you” exist, that is.

If I stop believing that “you” exist, then I will be sufficiently free of sanity to believe anything at all in short order.

So I choose to believe that updating this note is worth my time and effort.

It has to be.

Or I’ve wasted so much time.

I say this is day 1017, but I’m not absolutely certain of that. I don’t have an easy way to tell the passage of time, so I’ve been counting days as times between sleeps. My clocks never worked well, and as you would expect given where I’m sitting, I don’t really have windows or a view that tells me much at all.

I’ve tried asking the bear if he knows what time it is, but he is concentrating on the problem of getting us out of here, and doesn’t answer.

The chickens aren’t any help, either. They just sit around and mutter to themselves most of the time. Occasionally one lays me some breakfast. Of course, the chickens have become fiercely protective, and I usually have to go in disguise to collect eggs without suffering from another beating at the talons of their rooster.

I can tell I’m slowly going mad no matter what else I do. I play chess, but HAL keeps beating me. I watch old flat movies, but I’ve forgotten so much from before, that too many of them make no sense. It is becoming difficult to tell fact from fiction. Did some joker back home name my computer HAL on purpose? Should that worry me? What aren’t they telling me?

Am I sounding paranoid again? Probably time to go check the chickens for breakfast.

I’m pretty sure that when I’m sleeping, HAL or one of his unnamed friends taps my thoughts and rewrites my dreams. I don’t know why they do this. But I’m increasingly sure they do.

So I try not to think about it.

I try to remain sane.

I try to not care so much about where I am going, or what will happen when I get there.

I have my bindle, I’m aboard my car, and there’s little I can do until the ride stops rolling.

Until then, I can talk to the bear, play chess with HAL, watch a movie, or chase another chicken.

Or sleep.

And watch my sanity leach away into the darkness.