“Crap it is not,” Master Adoy replied. “A sign it is.”
“Of what?” I asked.
The tiny sensei shrugged.
“Where did you find this card?” I took it and turned it around in my hand.
“On a dead body.”
“Wishes she does. Murder it was.”
“Cut down in her prime she was. Literally. With an ax.”
“That’s ghastly,” I said.
“Then drowned in a river she was.”
“Then skinned alive.”
“Alive? I thought she had already drowned?”
“Then chopped into pieces of equal length, width, and height.”
“This keeps going,” I said to myself.
“Then nailed together into the shape of a table the pieces of her were.”
“Wait, was this ‘body’ a tree?”
“Rightly you have guessed.”
“Oh, because you made it sound like…”
“Tragic it was.”
“Understand this symbol do you?” he asked then and pointed to the card again.
I gave him my initial impression that it looked like the combination of a penguin, a Greek Φ (PHI), and a chocolate chip cookie.
“Not a cookie. The emotional state upon eating said cookie that produced is.”
“The feeling of the cookie it is.”
“But what does it all add up to?” I asked and handed the card back to him.
“The marking of The Divine Proportion, an ancient mathematical society, the Φ (PHI) signifies. Their hidden observatory in Antarctica the penguin suggests. The cookie-feeling a mystery is.”
“That once solved all the world’s questions does answer.”
Just then, I saw behind the sensei a man in a sharkskin suit, the very same man who had been following me earlier that morning. He slid his hand into his suit jacket and withdrew a tree ax.
“Adoy!” I shouted and pointed at the ax.
“Run you must!” He pressed the card into my hands. “The Divine Proportion you must find–and the mystery answer!”
I took off full speed in the opposite direction, sprinting until my legs were fire and my lungs were magma and my heart was the surface of the sun and my mind was the center of a thousand stars melding together inside one of those waffle irons that keeps getting hotter if you forget to unplug it and then when you do go to unplug it your forearm grazes against the side and gives you the worst arm burn you’ve ever had.
Then I stopped running because no one was chasing me. I stood perfectly still. The only thing racing was my mind. What did it all mean? And how was I going to get to Antarctica?
No sooner had the thought entered my mind than I saw it: my answer and my salvation.
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