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At 0900PDT, four new coordinates appeared on ilovebees.com. One was in Portland in the afternoon. I left the house to scout the area, meet with another Beekeeper, and receive the transmission that would occur.
As I near the site, I notice at the corner of Glisen and 22ND a building that seems uncommonly familiar. I stop, and it takes me a while to decide that it isn't a deja vu, but an actual memory. I stare at the blocky melted mushroom of a structure whose basement corners the sidewalk with what used perhaps be a storefront, and the two story large house above. And then it strikes me, I stayed two nights in that basement on a visit to Portland years ago. It was where the one-eared chef whom Lacy was dating had lived, with his terrarium full of walkingstick insects and vintage Playboy-centerfold jigsaw puzzles hung in the bathroom. It must be because it isn't raining that I couldn't identify the building.
Θ Θ Θ
I find the block of NW 23RD between Glisen and Hoyt. From Terraserver, I am expecting to find a parking lot and, hopefully, a payphone, but on the east side of the street is a rather new looking building that houses a cafe and an import gallery, with offices for lease above. In front of this urban monstrosity there is a man bucking with a guitar. He is located exactly where Terraserver pinned the coordinates. I know that there is a possibility of error as great as 100 feet. But this is odd, and there are only four coordinates today. I pace the block at 180 feet, and then case the storefronts from the opposite side of the street. Then I walk into the cafe to see if they have a pay phone. They don't, but the barista is cute and helpful, and refers me to the Plaid Pantry at the corner.
Outside the cafe, the busking musician is tuning, so I take the opportunity to chat with him. He is on the older end of middle aged, and sitting right on top of my coordinates. As there was no information from the two locations that should have rang earlier today, I begin to wonder at the possibility that today is not telephones, and maybe, in Portland, it's him.
How are you today? he notices me and is in first with a greeting.
Not bad, yourself?
Say, you wouldn't happen to have any idea when this building was built, would you?
No, I can't say I do. But maybe the same time as the one across the street.
I look up at the imprint in the adobe colored concrete of the facade of the building across the street: MCMXCVII. Nineteen ninety-seven? I suppose it could be.
Are you meeting someone here? He smiles.
Not quite, I was expecting to find a payphone here.
Is this a game, like a scavenger hunt? And did he smile as he asked?
Yeah. Have you heard of geocaching? It's like that. He smiles in response, so I think that he might be a geocacher. Do you know it, geocaching?
No. His smile was a false positive?
In geocaching, someone posts a set of coordinates online, and you try to find that location. Once you're there, you look around and try to find hints to a next location, and, eventually, a small cache. The game I'm in is like that, only the map I looked at showed a parking lot, and I expected to find a payphone there. He seems to take this all in.
There's a parking lot behind that building across the street. Maybe a phone there too. Or not.
Thanks. I'll check that out. You don't happen to know any songs about bees, do you? One last salvo to check if he's my contact.
Bees? No. I'm sure there are some in my songbook, but I don't know any. Genuine confusion, I'm topic-hopping too fast and flail.
Are you going to be here all afternoon?
I hope so.
Maybe I'll be back.
You know, this is one of those conversations that I think would make a lot more sense if I were high.
I smile back at him and drop a dollar in his guitar case. I laugh at myself as I head up the street to check out the Plaid Pantry.
At 1508PDT, a payphone rang. SpaceBass hooked up an induction microphone to the receiver and started recording, I picked it up. A voice from a reality that intersects ours asked me for her nickname. I identified her correctly, and a new audio file was posted on ilovebees.com. Information as to the current state-of-game is available at ilb.extrasonic.com/index.php/Main_Page.