The schedule they sent us told us to arrive by 7:30am. The first entry read, "7:30-9:45: Conference Center, Evergreen Room: H.R. paperwork, uniform sizing and scavenger hunt."

Scavenger hunt? I thought. Really?

The lady from H.R. kept things moving. She had glasses and a big voice. She directed her deputies well. They ran the paperwork session like a smooth machine. Forms to fill out. Copies of our IDs. Blood draw. Many things to sign.

They fitted us for our uniforms. It's not like I wasn't expecting it, having seen photos, but there was still something about the plush antlers and the blinking lights that I found disconcerting.

"Has everyone completed their paperwork?" she asked. The tables in the Evergreen Room were circular, and she was standing just behind me. There were two pretty girls and a heavyset man at the table with me. Around the room, more tables, many other people. A few nods here and there, but no one spoke. Paperwork complete.

"Excellent," she said. "Now is the time for the scavenging hunt."

I turned around in my chair. "Don't you mean scavenger?" I asked.

"Scavenging," she affirmed, her voice growing louder and more shrill. "You are to bring me a squirrel carcass, any sort of dead bird, and a smashed roadkill raccoon."

In my peripheral vision, I saw heads turning, people silently asking through flickering eye contact: Did I just hear what I thought I heard?

"Umm," I said.

She held her right hand up, index finger extended. "Bring them to me, my vultures," she cried. "You are proud, proud vultures!"

This is going to be a very, very weird job.

The Plot Thickens

After I published yesterday's piece, it occurred to me that it might be dangerously simplistic to assume that all three shirts were stolen by the same person/force. Why couldn't it have gone like this: the Salsa jersey, which disappeared several years before the other two, I simply lost. (No idea how, but still.) And then my stalker took the grey tech tee. And then the house spirit, which witnessed both the taking of the t-shirt and, later, the ensuing "Am I going insane?" confusion it engendered in me, found the whole thing delightful and made the Ibex shirt disappear.

Beware conclusions that are overly simplistic is the takeaway here.

Insomnia (III): Ghosts and Spirits

I do not fear these quiet early morning hours anymore (right now, the clock shows a number that should only be seen in the afternoon) but it is not to say that this past week-and-a-half, awake after four-and-a-half hours sleep every night, has not been frustrating. It's so hard to not ask, "Why am I up?" hunting for answers that don't come. I don't feel anything unusual when I wake up and can't get back to sleep. I'm just up.

Though this morning when I woke up it was a little different. I … kind of remember. An energy shift, maybe? Something happened. If I could just catch it. But as soon as I am awake enough to feel it and do something about it, I'm awake. I can't bring my conscious self to bear on the problem without being conscious.

Could it be that the exorcism of the three basement demons did not entirely do the job? Could what I felt be a ghost of their malevolent power?

There's a lot going on. Things got set into motion. I find myself in a space of uncertainty, of change, of movement. What spirits swirl in the below-consciousness wake?