I began looking at things from every angle possible, and that’s when the trouble started. Things began turning in circles and dancing bears sprang out of nowhere doing back flips and old memories tumbled down like hail.

My probing all possible angles got detected of course, a sure sign of someone trying to make an escape, and there was an interrogation, not of me but of my six neighbors across the alley—four Mormons, an escaped convict and a defrocked priest, packed into a two-bedroom bungalow.

I felt bad about it, realizing that the Grid Scanners had pinpointed the wrong house by the width of an alley, but I held my tongue and acted normal, putting the garbage out on Thursday and blowing the horn and waving at the house when I drove off to work in the morning, as if there was a good wife in there looking out at me thru the blinds of the living room window and waving back; as if I hadn’t offed them all over the years, all three wives, and stacked them in the pantry.

I wasn’t surprised when after a few weeks the escaped convict and the defrocked priest returned, looking a little the worse for wear, but the Mormons never showed up again. This was the direction the world was heading in, and after the close call with the Grid Scanners, I decided to change tactics. I began wearing a Seahawks jersey and bought a Cocker Spaniel that came with a leash and a month’s supply of Science Diet dog food. I quit my job, got on Facebook, and began writing letters to Zen monks.

Only one monk replied, and it wasn’t a letter exactly. He sent me a smiley-face drawn in pencil on the back of a beer coaster.

I saw this as a sign to hit the road.

I began riding Amtrak all over the country, wearing my Seahawks jersey and carrying my Cocker Spaniel in a special cage, trying not to think about what might happen next.

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