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A rat scurried across the floor in front of red clad Greg Odgen. Mouse tried to ignore it but couldn’t. Anything bigger than himself, if only in name, spooked him. But it was safe here; that was the point. No one came down to this place beneath what they called the mayor’s house.

Norris spoke up. “You promised me information about the Red Room, and a “Return”. I haven’t seen the Red Room yet, not hair nor hide. The Red Room,” he insisted in his deadpan way. Face bleached out to disguise who he really was (mayor?), this man had observed a lot in his day from this couch and that couch; seen dancers come and go; seen prison schematics but couldn’t talk about them; observed maps of strange, unknown places — other ones — and memorized them as well. He had *information*. But the Red Room remained off limits. He wanted to know why. Casey One Hole was still tracking him down. He figured he’d go to the end of the galaxy to do so if needed, the far corners of space itself. This means even Muff wouldn’t hide him forever, disattached to Bermingham as it were. “I have the WIS map; I’ll trade you the Red Room for WIS.”

Mouse knew this wouldn’t fly, as a bat ran into the back of his chair and became like a rat, scurrying around once more with radar momentarily lost. He pondered again the palindrome nature of that word: radar. He thought of Norris hiding on Muff. Wouldn’t fly.

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Filed under **VIRTUAL, 0028, 0511, Paper Soap

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