Dare thought about taking the money and leaving the country, maybe going to Maui or some other island, but in the end he stayed. He upgraded his apartment a little, went up half a notch on the standard of living chart, but other than that things stayed the same for him. He still ate mycoprotein out of a can, he still wore threadbare surplus military clothes from the last corporate war in Boca Raton, and he still did most of his shopping at Wal-Mart.
It was nearly a year later when events caught up with him. When there was a knock on his door during his usual sleeping hours of nine AM to eight PM.
He looked through the eyehole and saw something that chilled him to the very core. There, in the dark suit of a Yakuza vat-grown assassin, stood one of the clowns he had seen in the tanks. Hesitantly he opened the door, but left it chained.The Helix corporation moves to tie up a loose end named "Dare"."Mister Dare?!?!" Exclaimed the clown in a giggly voice.
"Uh," stalled Dare, reaching for his smasher pistol, "let me check in the other bedroom."
"Why golly, this is a one bedroom apartment according to my schematics," laughed the clown. "You MUST be mister Dare, and boy do I have something for you!"
Dare stepped back as the clown drew out a monoatomic katana. The blade glittered like a pie full of deadly cream filling and slashed through the chain holding the door closed. Dare reeled back, bring out the smasher pistol and firing wildly into the door frame.
The clown laughed loudly and charged forward, its weapon cocking back for a swing that would likely remove Dare's head completely. Dare fire again, the smasher pistol bucking in his hand as it released another deadly salvo. This time his aim was true, and the heavy wad of tungsten punched into the clown assassin's chest. To its credit, the clown's smile never faded as it vomited blood onto the carpet, its entrails spilling out at its feet. It collapsed laughing and spitting on the ground and Dare knew that now he had two organizations that considered him a loose end.
‘Toad coin?’ wondered the traveler as he examined the pebble. It did not look all that different from any other pebble, and certainly nothing like a coin. ‘What manner of coin has no head or tail, and bears no seal or flag? Who backs this toad coin, the toad bank? The toad treasury!?’ The traveler laughed, but the toads croaked sternly back at him.
Spending $10-15 a day on perishable organic dog food is not a sign of a decadent culture in terminal decline, it's actually real good and worth it.
No lifeguard on duty. Maze run at your own risk.
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