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#1  Steven Lyle Jordan 07-29-2008, 01:16 PM
Dear Diary:

Today, I quit my job, for reasons very personal which I will not discuss. I laid it out to the boss, too... pounded on his desk and everything. Stormed out before he could say a word.

So I drove home. I was so frustrated, I knew I needed to get away. The other day I was just looking at a trip to Wales, just some peace and quiet. That's what I needed now, to forget that awful job. This awful city. That awful hearse I just passed, so symbolic of the crazy world I'm in. So when I got home, I pulled out a suitcase, and started to pack.

But...

I don't know if I stood up too fast, or had too light a breakfast, not enough sleep, or what... because all of a sudden, I got dizzy. I tried to get to the window, to get some air, but before I could open the sash, I just passed out.

When I awoke, I noticed the lighting in my room was... off. I thought maybe a storm was coming, the way clouds will sometimes give off strange light. So I went to the window to see what was up.

Here's where it gets weird: It was not my street outside. Nothing outside looked familiar! It was like someone had moved my house, lock, stock and barrel, to some odd-looking... English village. Actually, it looked a bit like the pictures of Wales in my travel brochure. Was I already on my vacation, and then fallen asleep and somehow forgotten the trip itself?

No... I looked around inside the window. This was my room! This was my house! WTF?!?

I decided to look around outside. The front door didn't wait for me to reach it, it actually opened for me. Even more weirded-out than before, I went out. No, this couldn't be Wales... it was a strange place, looking like a Disneyland set. Where was I? How did I get here?

What was going on?
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#2  slayda 07-29-2008, 01:29 PM
Hey, no fair. I was supposed to be the next retiree.
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#3  Steven Lyle Jordan 07-29-2008, 01:55 PM
I wasn't planning on retiring... just resting up and doing something else! Didn't plan on this stoopid head-trip...
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#4  pshrynk 07-29-2008, 02:03 PM
There was a funny odor in the air. Somehting like that last time I went to the zoo... memories flooded my cortex, bypassing the hypothalamus and straight to cognition. It smelled like... PANDAS!
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#5  Steven Lyle Jordan 07-29-2008, 02:27 PM
Whoa... whut the..?

Tell me that wasn't a panda that just brushed behind me! He's heading for that stand of bamboo (and exactly what is a stand of bamboo doing in Wales? That stuff will grow anywhere...)

Strange: The panda glanced back at me, and the patches around its eyes are unusual. The right patch looks like the number four, and the left patch looks like a number eight.

Say, there are pandas all over the place. Sitting in the grass... walking around in groups. That one's riding a penny-farthing (how in the world did he get up there?). Each one has different black markings around its eyes, and they all look like numbers! There's a twenty-one... there, a sixty-three... there, a nineteen... and there's one with a patch between the eyes as well, making him... two-thirty-two...

Two-thirty-two... I wonder how many pandas there are around here?...
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#6  pshrynk 07-29-2008, 02:34 PM
Numbers. It always comes down to numbers. Four hundred twenty pandas, so far. That means something... But what?
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#7  RickyMaveety 07-29-2008, 02:48 PM
Quote pshrynk
Numbers. It always comes down to numbers. Four hundred twenty pandas, so far. That means something... But what?
So true ... so true. It's 102 degrees outside, I have 480 pounds of kitty litter to unpack from the car, in addition there are 72 cases of cat food to unpack and stock, and 60 pounds of dry food. I am hoping that when I pass out (and it isn't a matter of "if" ... only "when") I will awake to find I'm standing in the land of pandas with a cool breeze blowing at my back watching a few ride by on their pennyfarthings.
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#8  pshrynk 07-29-2008, 02:49 PM
419... 420... There. My evil plan is in motion...
image »
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#9  Steven Lyle Jordan 07-29-2008, 03:09 PM
I decided to worry about that some other time. Right then, I just wanted to get out of here.

I hailed a taxi... well, really, it was a golf cart, and (Great Googally-moogally) it was being driven by a panda. I told it to drive me to the nearest town. It regarded me with big, impassive eyes, and pointed at a sign on the dash that said "local only."

I said, "Take me as far as you can."

It drove me about a mile, stopped, and held out a paw... like it wanted to be paid or something! When I just stared back, the panda grunted, and stared straight ahead like I wasn't there anymore.

I got out, and panda-taxi drove off. I walked along the road, but it ended in a grove of trees just a few yards down... dead end. I turned around, picked a fork, and started walking. But the roads twisted and turned, and before I knew it, I was back at the door to my own "home."

At this point, I couldn't see any point to wandering around, so I went back inside (the door opened for me, again. Did it do that for everybody?). I poked around the house, only now able to see the things in it that were different from my real home... how did I not see those differences before?

A phone rang, an electronic bee-beep that was startling in the silence of the house. I just stared at it for a minute, but it did not stop ringing, so I picked it up... partially out of curiosity, and partially to stop that electronic racket. Once I had the phone in my hand, I did what came naturally. "Hello?"

"Please see me at house number 2. The green dome."

"The what?" I asked, perplexed. "Who is this?"

But they had hung up.

It is hard to describe my feelings at that point. Part of me just wanted to stay there, and wait for this whole dream to end. Part of me wanted to just run for the hills. But part of me wanted to know what the heck was going on, where was I, and why did all the pandas have numbers on their faces.

And part of me wondered if it had anything to do with that disputed bill from Comcast last month.

Nevertheless, I finally decided to get some answers. I had just received an invitation to house number 2. Time to find out who's there, and what they want.
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#10  RickyMaveety 07-29-2008, 03:14 PM
Whatever you do .... don't go in the water!! There's a big bubble thingie out there ...

And, please say "hi" to March of 12 if you see him/her/it/them.
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