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Chapter I III
#1
Chapter 1

III.

“Wha’s this…?” Rab asked, taking the messily shuffled batch of papers, held together with little more than a paper clip andn what looked alarmingly like a dried fish gut.

“I dunno Rabbie. You were favourite, regardless of… wha’ happened an’ all.” Jack took a bullet from a pocket of his suit, tapped out some Colombian fishscale onto the back of his hand, and took it up is nose with no thought to it, as if he was dusting a poppy seed off a napkin. “I haven’ae read it. Thought it would not be right, being that he wanted yous to have it an’ all.”

Rab nodded in appreciation, feeling true human warmth for the first time in what had perhaps been years. He looked at the heirloom for a few moments, ran his hands around it and wondered what it represented; the clear symbolism, the gesture, none of that could be ignored. Jack looked at Rab and wondered if it was appropriate. He asked, "Rab, pal, listen, you’ve been…”

“Aye, aye… I know. We’ll talk about it later.”

“No, no. We need to talk now. It’s important – New York are asking about Miami, and the story that you’re walking the Appalachian trail is not completely convincing them… given that it’s winter and all. And that you hate walking. And you hate America. I need…”

“Aye, I know. I know. It’s not… not acceptable on anyone. But I’ve got to… to… find something man. You can fool the whole world some o’ the time, and some o’ the world all the time, bu’ fooling the whole world all the time isnae is easy. The whole world includes yoursel’ is the problem there.”

Jack just looked at Rab, and wondered why his younger brother had demons. If the world wanted realistic killing simulations, then that was what the world wanted, and they were lucky for being smart enough to know how to do it. And nothing was being killed, was the main thing. Which made logic, compared to a company that, say actually slaughtered millions of cows each year. Although a good hamburger was a very welcome treat of course. He wondered for a brief moment about simulations where you got to run a country, and wondered if it was possible to get all the dangerous idiots to play that game rather than actually run countries. He then noted that that was pretty much exactly what they had been doing on his island for several hundred years, and probably why there were so good at the whole game business.

***

Rab stood up, a few whiskies heavy, and walked to the window with the book, if he could call it that. That last link to his father weighed heavy in both mass and his mind. He wondered for a brief second, whether there was any actual difference to the two. The Last Book. Why would you call it that? What would that mean? The last book that his father his wrote? The last book ever?He decided the former made more sense. He would have to read it, of course; and as this occurred to him, he saw Katrika walk up to his front door.
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