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October 25th, 2020
Lucilius chuckled at the elaborate ploy he’d concocted, and celebrated by taking a sip of rum. To be sure the ploy hadn’t yet been carried out yet. But the idea was now completed. He was delighted as he began to lay down all the pieces, thinking about how nice of a surprise it would be, but noticing the time, he realized he needed to rush.
“Always,” Lucilius said into the phone, realizing he must sound a bit odd, his spirits being so high.
Vacantly, he tried to keep up the conversation but his mind was elsewhere as he organized the clues in an order that seemed best. He was eager, to get going - to start.
“Every time you get that tone in your voice it means you’ve got something on a roll.”
Lucilius smiled ridiculously, trying not to laugh.
“I guess you could say that,” he admitted, knowing he couldn’t hide the tone of his voice - all aglow.
For a great while Lucilius had been fascinated by the entire notion of a puzzle. Not just the idea of solving them, but more importantly, crafting them and figuring out where to start. Lucilius fancied all of life to be a bit of a puzzle, or rather a puzzle made up of puzzles. And because of this, he relished the opportunity to make up new enigmas, riddles and clues for scavenger hunts that he would then of course give to friends to send them searching. Needless to say, he’d become a bit infamous. He loved using anagrams, acrostics, golden shovels, a clever chiasmus, and ever other bit of word play he could find or cook up.
The hanging silence on the phone broke -“..Lu-“
“Sorry! Sorry, just focused on something.”
“If you don’t have time, I can call again later today?”
“No, no, my bad, I’m just excited about something I’ve got on the go.”
“K, well, let’s just chat later then, maybe tonight when you’re done, let’s go out?”
Lucilius smiled to himself, delighted by his own conniving. Even suspicious, how unsuspecting, unknowing it is for such a friend. It was also important, Lucilius knew, to throw in a little noise into the puzzle, red herrings, as they’re called within the enigmatic idiom.
“About 8 maybe, we could get a drink?”
“Sure, that sounds great, I can always use a bit more hootch.”
“Then I’ll see you later if you show.”
“Ever been a time when I didn’t?”
The phone filled with a chuckle before the two hung up.
There was still a lot to do. Lucilius surveyed the clues again, double checking that they all worked together in tandem. He rearranged them in terms of fastest travel to each location where each clue would be hidden, glancing at the time quickly. He repeated the order again silently like a sort of mantra.
Each part of the puzzle was like a petal that revealed another part. Everything had to unravel in the correct order otherwise the whole thing would go askew. But he’d done this many times before. Though now, he’d gotten further into the rum. He stood up, wavering a bit, and surprised he grabbed the bottle and shook what was left of the rum.
Reeling from the tipsy surprise he nearly fell and reached out for something to grab. He giggled and then flushed with sober panic, he collected all the clues in order to start.
Steadying himself, he got underway, finally. He grabbed his coat, and patted his pockets for keys and wallet, clues in hand and was just about to leave when he realized he’d forgotten the most important part of the entire plan - the first clue, the one thing he’d yet to think up. He grabbed a pen and paper and haphazardly wrote down the riddle, “does meaning lie limp on the story’s surface or across tickled letters, certain words, roused only by a focused moment?
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