Sunday, 24 July 2011

#SampleSunday – 24th July 2011

Something from The Invisible Hand. Still in editing mode with this but should be done soon.


Some food and another couple of beers and it was time to find the latrines. They were in a large building against the wall, the end result leeching under the walls and down to the lake to feed the fish. There are worse systems. There may even have been a pipe acting as a sewer. I didn't recall any stink as I walked beside the lake and I'm sure I would have noticed. Buckets of water and sponges on sticks and a fussy old man keeping everything clean and working hard at it. The latrines hadn't been built with this many people in mind. There were queues. I gave him a coin, not having any bits on me, and didn't resent the paying of it even slightly.

"You need help here, old man. Hire some lads."

He eyed me through the one without a cataract in it, his chin wobbly due to lack of teeth. "Young'ns don't know nuthi' of't, soor."

He was dressed in near rags, but clean. Of hair, like teeth, he'd none left, but his arms were bare and covered in tattoos and very old scars.

Gods, I thought. He'd been a warrior once. What a way to end up. How in the name of all the mythical hells had he managed it?

"We'll need to make the place bigger," I told him. "Get some help."

He chewed on the thought disdainfully and didn't answer before turning away with further wrinkling of his face that I took to be a scowl of negation. People were waiting. I was in the way. And, let's face it, latrines just aren't the place to hang around and have a chat, especially with a senile old git who cleaned them for a living. Then a thought struck me and I opened my mouth. "Old man!"

"Soor?" He turned from where he'd started cleaning my sponge.

"Who bought the sponges?"

"Who bought 'em? I bought 'em. They're mine!" He was suddenly quivering with rage. "Mine, do ya hear me?"

The stick he was waving was moderately clean by then, so it could have been worse.

"Git outa 'ere! I got a spear in the corner and I knows howta use it an all..."

I got. It wasn't the spear that concerned me, it was the other sponges, the not quite so clean ones. And the fact that I'd asked such a pointless question. It had just struck me that they looked new and the sea was maybe eight hundred miles away and the cost... someone was making money and it seemed odd that it would be a toothless old man who cleaned latrines for a living. And a native of Darklake by his accent. Doubtless deemed harmless by Meran and his centurions when the place was taken. But then there was that spear in the corner that he knew how to use. Odd. Or maybe I was drunker than I thought I was. Still, I'd eaten. How drunk could I be?

I dismissed the matter from my mind, not as easily as I'd have liked. I had other things to deal with. Things I had been putting off. Anista had mentioned a priest and I decided it was time to find him and deal with him.

But perhaps a change of clothes first.


Monday, 18 July 2011

Making Decisions

Lately I have been having difficulty making decisions. This is not something I am accustomed to. I put it down to age and experience. More honestly, I have no idea why this is happening. To help you see what kind of thing I'm having difficulty with, I'll cite an example.

For a few months I have been piggy-backing on someone else's internet connection. It was a perfectly equitable arrangement. I'm not planning to stay where I'm living for any significant amount of time; not making a home or settling down or anything like that. I paid a buck and got connected, someone else got the bill and had the responsibility. Perfect.

Not perfect now. My friend moved on. Connection gone. I have no internet. Right now I am in a bar and plugged into their connection. I'm having a drink because that's what you do in bars. I can't be here too long or I'll have many drinks, and when not in company that can only be a bad thing.

So, should I get a connection at 'home?' No, I don't want that; I don't want to commit to a contract and the installation charges are excessive, in my opinion. I don't want any of the other things they are trying to sell me, including a phone line for a non-existent phone. Like most people in this wonderful modern age, I have a mobile for the phone thing.

How about a dongle/mobile connection? Well, I'm in two minds about that as well. I'm not in favour of contracts - I don't plan to stay in this country for a full year, for one reason - which leaves a pay as you go option. My first thought was and is, how do I monitor cost? How do I know what I'm getting for my money? And I can't tell - they don't measure it in time spent on line, I'd have to monitor the situation over time. And then, when I do leave the country the item purchased (all be it for a mere twenty bucks) would be all but useless. I have flashcards, so the fact that it doubles as such doesn't cut any ice with me.

It's been a couple of weeks. No internet except in a bar. I cycle through the above over and again but so far I have made no decision; at least, no decision that I have acted on.

I'm having problems making decisions, do you see?