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Deal 1030: Eight Lies

As he walked along the path, Sydney began to whistle as it seemed like that sort of path. It wound gently among the hills and through the darkest centers of several woodlots. But it never vanished, and Syd was content enough with that.

As he came around a hill, he found a stream draining from a boggy patch, and a familiar looking frog sitting on a log.

“See, I told you not to trust anything I said,” it croaked.

“Now what? Didn’t I just watch you get eaten?”

“Perhaps. Or perhaps not. Not everything you see is as it appears. Call that your third lesson.”

“I thought you said the third was going to be about my goal.”

“It is. Expect me to lie. But plan for the possibility that I’m being truthful. I tell you truly that I will tell you eight lies. You’ve already heard at least one.”

With that, the frog leapt into the stream and swam away. Oddly, the frog’s return calmed Sydney down a little. Perhaps it was because something he encountered had returned. Aside from the worrying repetition of the loop, he hadn’t seen anything else more than once. The frog had also offered advice. Bad advice, of course, but still. Advice.

He drew the calm around him like a cloak, and attempted to wear it like armor. He had a hunch that he was going to need armor to survive this place.

If he wasn’t careful, he was going to wish for something useless like an impulsive hobo.

Still, even a hobo would be some company.

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Deal 1003: Race day

At the track, I always bet on the nose. It seems disrespectful to assume that anyone wants to do anything other than win. The race for second is substantially more unpredictable, and never mind at all about the race for third. Not that I won’t occasionally protect my investment with smaller bets. But I only care about the bet to win.

They ran well today, despite the troubles. Something odd was happening out of view of the paying customers. Something hateful and ugly. It had everyone on edge. But on edge is often a good thing, so I doubled my usual investment.

Then they found that vagrant. In two places. It is never a good thing to find parts of an intruder on both sides of the track. That implies that security was way off their game. Or perhaps someone spiked their coffee again. And if someone is spiking the coffee, regulars start to worry about what else might have been spiked, and if it was just slipping a Mickey to security, or if something more serious might be going on.

But that vagrant was found in two pieces. So something a lot sharper than just a little rat poison was involved there.

But the games must go on. I’ve got an investment here, and the house doesn’t like to return bets. Much safer to assume that the situation is under control, that the event was an anomaly, and that things can proceed as usual. A few well placed hints and incentives will keep the gentlemen in blue out of the way, and avoid too many delays.

If they are causing troubles, whisper in the Mayor’s ear, and let him get the guard dogs to back down for an hour or two. It won’t hurt the dead guy too much to wait.

Or perhaps open a window and offer odds on the cause of death?

Nah, that would be more disrespectful than always betting on show.

Finally, they calmed everyone down and readied the main event. My favorite is running in the middle, but with an unfamiliar jockey. And there’s that other shoe that has been waiting to drop. That was no vagrant torn in pieces. That was my investment!

It all went downhill from there.

And now the gentlemen in blue seem to think I might be interesting to talk to too.

I’m gonna need some strong storytelling to get clear of this one.