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Perception

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Chapter Seventeen.

Why are some days so much longer then others?

Amy’s lament.

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  Squatting close to the ground, my weight balanced on the balls of my feet, I peeled an orange as I watched Abraham preach once more to the new arrivals about camp rules and the consequences of not following them. To most, the rules were not a problem. Families and couples desperately searching for that elusive sense of community so many had lost drew the good people in while forcing the troublemakers out. Although there were naturally a few singles, many chose to banded together for convenience.

  Abraham’s deep reassuring voice turned his speech into a song. ‘Tolerance is the key. We’re not one color or another here. Not one religion or sex more dominate. We’re all in the same boat. We’re all starving. We’re all lost, but together we can find a way to...”

   White pant legs stepped front of me, blocking my view. Instead of acknowledging them, I simply shuffled to one side; a move they countered. Sighing deeply, I contemplated my options. One: Move again and continue playing the stupid game. Two: Kick them in the kneecap to teach them some respect. Or three: Look up. I was really tempted by option two, but rules are rules.

   Addressing those tempting white kneecaps I asked, “What do you want?”

   “You’re Amy right?”

   “Never heard of her.”

   “Annie then?”

   His voice was cold as he watched my headshake back and forth. “Very funny. Look, I need to find Immanuel. Have you seen him?”

    “Never heard of him either.”

    “Well he has heard of you and you match the description he gave me.”

   That got my attention. His body was in shadow when I looked up to glare at him, a stray beam of light highlighted his tall frame in a yellow glow. This effect of course was ruined when I stood up.

     He wasn’t as tall as I first thought, maybe only half a foot taller then my own five-six. His olive skin stood out in contrast against the white nurse’s uniform, complete with nameplate reading Alex Coppola. His black hair was longer then mine, coming to rest on his shoulders. From the nameplate and the size of his nose, I didn’t think I would be going out on a limb if I said he was Greek.

    “Tall guy, six two. Spiky black hair, stubble-”

    “Blue eyed, annoying as hell and a bit preachy?” I cut in.

    “Yes, that’s him. So do you know him.” His shoulders sagged with relief that I was finally playing along.

    “Nope, still doesn’t ring any bells.” Plopping a segment of orange in my mouth, I stood and started walking off. He followed of course. Why were people always following me?

    “Would ten dollars jog your memory?” He pulled out his wallet and started sorting though his notes.

   Hungry eyes tracked his progress.

   “It might have before you started flashing your wad around. Don’t you people have any sense of self preservation?” I wondered out loud.

   “You people? As in Ethnics?” he demanded as he thrust his wallet back into his side pocket.

   “No, you people as in wherever you and Idiot Boy come from.” Hell, people were touchy today.

   “So you do know him,” he cried in triumph.

   “Nope.” I stopped beside Paul’s tent and knocked on the tarp.

    “Go away!” came the frustrated reply.

   “Yo Packrat, I’m here to do business,” I called, turning so my back was hard against his tent to give me a clear view of my own.

    “Annie, is that you?”

    “No it’s the friggin’ Easter Bunny. Get out here now or I’m off.”

     Paul was a bit of a packrat, hence the name. He would go dumpster diving and fill his shopping cart full of treasure he would then trade for food. Two days ago, Petra had asked him to keep a couple of matted books aside for her. The agreed price was an apple, but I was hoping he would settle for a citrus fruit.

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Cast

Characteras Alias
Amy Mair........................also knownas Orphan Annie
Petra Mair.........................also knownas Little Lulu
Immanuel Jacobs..................also known as Jacobs
Tony Romano........................also knownas Roman
Alex Coppola.......................also knownas Gabe
Simon..............................also knownas Pieman
Joel...............................also knownas Vicar
Mark...............................also knownas Dino
Andrea............................also knownas Sookie

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