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Short Story: "Symbolism and Intent" (4th in a series)

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Derek Boa's pace slowed as Bartholdi's Fountain came into view from the sidewalk along Independence Ave SW in the Capital District. He hadn't met Richard yet, and only had Gisella's breathless description of him to go on. Between the people passing in front of him, he scanned the area, looking for, as Gisella had put it, a 'Gary Cooper type', if the actor had been a few inches short of 6 foot, and spent his time playing soccer.

Fortunately, he didn't have to check everyone's profile, because a guy in a blue warmup jacket was staring at him, and waving a half-wrapped candy bar in the air. As Derek started towards him, the man took a bite and stuffed the rest in his pocket.

"You're Derek, aren't you."

It was a statement. If this was Richard, he had a bit of an Aussie twang. Boa shrugged. "Yeah. I guess the ladies told you what I look like, huh?"

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"Not really. Didn't need to. I just have a knack, a gift, you could say."

Richard had suggested they meet for a lunch chat by the fountain, and each was carrying a bag. The longest open area along the low wall surrounding Bartholdi's wedding cake of a cast-iron fountain was off to the left, so they wandered over while making small talk. Once the formalities were dispensed with, Derek gestured back towards the sidewalk he'd entered from.

"So what's with this knack you've got?"

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He took a bite of his sandwich. "Variation on psychometry, really. Tell yourself you can sense something, and after a bit you can. People use it for all sorts of stuff. Finding water, missing keys. I'm better with people, myself."

Derek looked askance. "You just told yourself you could pick me out, and then did it. Like magic."

"Worked, didn't it?"

"Listen, a friend of mine in Seattle is into magic. It's his religion, I guess."

Richard downed some water from the bottle on his belt-clip. "Wiccan?"

"I think so, yeah."

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"I'm more of an independent. Don't go by the book, or anything like that. So, for instance, that psychometry I just did. All you need is to decide what you want to do -- your intent, and figure some way to represent it to yourself -- a symbol. For pegging you, I used the feel of snakeskin. All the rest is just details."

Derek winced at the overused joke, and looked around for an exit. "Symbols," he muttered.

"Sure. The world's full of them."

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Ever since I learned to speak binary on a DIGIAC 3080 training computer, I've been involved with tech in one way or another, but there was always another part of me off exploring ideas and writing about them. Halfway to a BS in Space Technology at (more...)

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