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weekly (Another Night…) – 10

4

Manadan’s hand lightly traced the outer wall as they walked down the carved stone stairs that led first to the armory and then to the cells.

“No sleep again last night, then.”

Manadan sucked sharply at his teeth. “What of it?”

Gupti rolled his eyes. “Nevermind.”

“Don’t do that.”

“What?”

“Roll your eyes. It’s very rude to use visual cues when communicating with someone who has lost his sight.”

Gupti shook his head slightly. “Just because you can hear me sigh or exhale or whatever it is I just did, doesn’t mean I rolled my eyes.”

Manadan raised his cane slightly in acknowledgement. “True,” he turned his head slightly, “but, in point of fact, you did.”

“Prove it.” It was a small risk, but worth taking. The more Manadan talked, the sooner he shed his hairshirt, and the easier he was to deal with. On the other hand, Manadan sometimes tightened up, guessing Gupti’s actual intent.

“Proof you say?”

Gupti smiled thankfully, but kept it inside.

“You, more than most every other creature in this ignorant open grave, know better than to demand such a thing. Despite the unsurprisingly common perception of most unenlightened peoples, which is to say, by virtue of my extensive early travels, all but the most nearly infinitessimally small numbers of genuinely wise and learned individuals, logical proof is, similarly unsurprisingly, practically unique in occurrence.”

“Why is this? Have you learned nothing from our time together? Have I not sought to teach you, to lift you from your darkened views, blinded as you were by the simple reach of your limited exposures previous to our engagement, here? Come, now!”

Reaching the bottom of the stairs, Gupti slowed slightly as he turned, letting Manadan use him as a reference. The monologue, however, looked to be far more than he’d bargained for. “I wasn’t looking for a history–”

Manadan slapped Gupti’s leg with the steel reinforced tip of his cane. “You weren’t looking! Precisely so!”

The strike stung slightly, but Gupti let it pass, as he always did.

“I said ‘unsurprisingly’ before,” Manadan rolled onward, “in reference to the perceptions of the vast populations of so-called civilized peoples whose lives depend, sadly, upon this doomed rock we call home.

“I say it is unsurprising that so many should be so easily fooled, because they want to be so easily fooled. There is no other viable rationale for such large scale ignorance. Most people assume that what they see is real, and yet,” he lifted one pointed finger abruptly, “they are not truly looking.”

“A pair of horse-drawn carts carrying food collide in the middle of a busy intersection. Eyewitnesses abound, and all saw the same event, so the resulting account from each onlooker should be the same, neh?”

Gupti didn’t bother trying to answer.

“Untrue! Invariably, and I do mean invariably, the lay of blame, the order of events, fah!, even the time of day, will vary among them, often wildly. Indeed, this can be seen in no greater a number than two separate observers of a single incident, provided they are unfamiliar with each other.”

He paused for a moment, murmuring to himself and the wall, and Gupti waited patiently.

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