Seeing no sense in haggling nor otherwise prolonging our interaction with the truck driver turned diamond vendor, my traveling companion and I accept the handfuls of diamonds that he’s shoved up to our faces, and sign on a clipboard where he’s got the financing plan all laid out. We’re in it now for a certain amount per month, for a great number of years. Then the dealer gets back in his truck, which looks less like a barn parked here in the city than it did last night, parked by the water in the countryside. He peels off, and my companion and I face the morning, newly rich in gems while also, of course, deep in a new and unforeseen debt, unlikely though it seems that the addresses we provided on that clipboard will ever catch up with us in any place of our actual waking or sleeping residence. We begin to walk the streets, looking for a breakfast of anything that might calm and fortify us. We’ve decided privately to remain the people that the diamond-dealer thought we were — the two buyers, that is — lacking, as we do, any positive other sense of who we might be to contradict this. But the strain of this ruse soon proves too much for my companion, and he flickers and winks away. Now he’s gone. I myself start to feel a little unsteady on my feet, pixelated and wavy like a character in a video game, watching myself walk from a vantage just above my shoulders, my eyes focused on the middle of my back where the wings would begin were I an angel. From this remove, and in the quiet left in my companion’s wake, I see something that I hadn’t seen before, which is that this city we traveled so far to reach is in fact Dodge City, the same city that I departed from more than a month ago, if, indeed, I ever departed at all. It’s the same place, alright, but everything looks more spread out, like a mathematical size transformation has been performed, or the distance between molecules has been multiplied. My steps feel longer and steeper than I remember them having felt, and soon I have to sit down on a bench. A vendor comes by pushing a cart and, as the cart goes along, a park gets drawn up behind him. So now I’m sitting in the park, eating a hot donut and looking at birds leaping from tree to tree with video game flourishes nestled in the arcs of their complex motion. Across the way, through some ivy, I can see the window of my room, and try and fail to remember when I slept there last. I’d like to sleep there now. I see a poster nailed to a tree with just the name Barry Dalton printed on it, and frayed tags on the bottom that say either Barry or Dalton, but not both, and have no phone numbers nor other information. Many have been ripped off. I rip one too, a Dalton, and start walking. As the day wears on, I make my way to the familiar street that houses the Wayfarer’s Tavern — looking giant, with the size transformation still in potent effect — and push my way in through the dusty saloon doors and make my way to a table in the back. I order a drink with a few of my diamonds, and study the paper I tore from the sheet, waiting until something about it strikes me in such a way that the next step begins to loom on my horizon, which, for now, is blank and clear, shipless, nothing if not pacific.

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