“108 30 0 31901 105518″ June 30, 2006

Sakyotr Povich Malovsky was slowly losing his mind. In some sense, one might take this literally, since he would dash around the streets in his hills-to-spills neighborhood, wondering what had happened to his head; it wasn’t in a vice grip, but it certainly wasn’t in plain sight or yielding quickly to his queries.

To aid his search, he wrote. In many ways, that was his avocation too. He had come to the hills-to-spills neighborhood to complete two tasks he had begun two years prior. The first, yet again, involved writing. The second too, but writing was just a final means to an end in that one. However, now, with the first task behind him, and the second looming and losing him much sleep, he was engaging in what turned out to be an equivalently numbered third task.

To this third task he devoted several notebooks, and wrote with his favorite pencils. He had not graduated to the now commonplace mechanicals. The industrial revolution was still a fresh memory in the minds of all. It was evident that it was over when the academics begun positing all its benefits in their conferences (in which little knowledge was ever conferred) and their journals too. So in his notebooks he wrote. Few of his marks ever made any sense, even to him, but he strove on nonetheless, in the hope that he would chance upon his mind, bag it, and take it home. Never happened.

What did happen, was that one day, the Catvichs waltzed in, picked up all his notebooks, and exited. He watched in disbelief (but not horror) as his notebooks were taken away to be copied. The Catvich’s had recently graduated from using manual scribes for copying (since the case of 2003-S-045), to using the recently invented Xerograph. They might even write a “paper” about it. Sayotr shook his head and tapped his head with his pencil. It was marked “108 30 0 31901 105518 non-photo-blue”, and made a pleaseant wood-to-head sound.

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 steal compass, drive north, disappear...