Day 50: The Solex Guy

Gane stood back from the clearcrete wall and the nerve-vibrating edge of oblivion. He was on deck for the next slide over to the ah’Taconschienteen spike. He had purposefully fasted since early the day before yesterday. His hunger drown out any nausea and focused his attention enough to stave off the worst of his vertigo. Chabe, a long dead technomonk, taught him that particular hres within a month of Gane taking vows. Gane had never been to ah’Taconschientee well fed.

His proper title was Solexcorp Technician – Prim. But the Tacons, and everyone else, just called him “The Solex Guy”.

While Gane’s bimonthly trips to the ah’Taconscienteen spike kept him lean of body and broad of billfold, they rolled tidal on his spirit. No hres he instantiated dampened his fluctuating emotions. Gane was certain the problem lay with the nature of his visits not the frequency or timing. One month wasn’t down and the next up. One trip wasn’t down and the next up. He could probably handle that–novitiate hres or even just alcohol could handle that. His problem was that his appointments bounced out to the extremes multiple time each trip. The best he could tell was that it matter where the solex was that he was blessing.

Higher up the spike things were brighter, bluer. Lower down he had to intone the blessing with greater ferocity to get the same effect. Lower down it smelled. Brine. Refuse–human and other. Lower down it was brown.

His visits were never timed to start at one end and work to the other. That might have helped. He wasn’t sure if top to bottom or the reverse would be more pleasing. He did think that gradual was the way to go. On this visit he’d been able to force a few of the appointments to different times. He’d wanted to go bottom to top, but even before he’d gotten the calendaring girl to swap a few around they were trending downward.

The light breeze off the ocean reversed. Cool salty air became the succulent sent of barbecued lamb in an instant. Gane’s mouth watered and he inhaled deeply. The cheenwood smoke mixed with the near burnt aroma of meat made him close his eyes and forget his fear of heights. Involuntarily he reached for the coins in his pocket and took a step toward the nearest vendor.

Hunger simultaneously propelled him forward and questioned his earlier decision to fast. The flavor of berry pepper in his nostrils suggested that this time his nausea was cured. He could eat this trip with no problem.

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“Free sample,” the veteran vendor called out. The old man deftly sliced a bite sized morsel from the end of a cooling skewer and thrust it in Gane’s direction. When Gane didn’t respond the vendor quickly switched to Taconese, “Quee quee!”

Not wanting to be rude and balancing the likelihood of one piece of meat crashing his hres he accepted it. He hoped he didn’t look ravenous gulping it down. But then he felt even more compelled to purchase the remainder of the skewer. Rather than eat it, he held it in front of him like an unmade decision till it was cold.

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