As time passes, I fear almost that I spend too much time with my dearest Natalie. While I have been here, the "future", for over two years, I have no definite plans to stay. If I can return home - god willing - to my own rightful time I would know it would be right, but what about her? Ludwig remains in Chicago to try to test to see if that is indeed possible, in the meantime, I occupy myself by spending up what little time I have left with Natalie...
Natalie: So, usually you're always gabbing about current events, but you've been pretty silent ever since that guy Julius showed up.
Me: After so much exposure to the television, you can only begin to tolerate it so much. I grow tired of the constant stream of commercials, mixed with the rather boring news. At first I thought it was all fascinating, I grew up without televisions, so just the aspect of moving pictures fascinated me enough. I've had other things on my mind.
Natalie: You grew up with no TV?
Me: It was a very simple life, I guess, in a very simple time. Regardless, there is no good news right now to merit discussion. Perhaps the only controversy is the port authorities being sold to Arabs. While people say they are a nation friendly to us, they are hardly an American colony, or a fellow state. We need not sell any of our property to the agents of a government, even if we continue to retain our own internal security, except to the space of diplomatic embassies and missions. Iran attempts to acquire the nuclear warheads, I doubt there is any nation, great or small, which doesn't want as many of these weapons as they can get... I do not see the surprise. Considering the killing potential history has shown for other conventional weapons, these nuclear stockpiles should not be our primary concern. We should be concerned about Iran no more than any other nation which has the military capacity, and tyranny, to do us damage. There is very little anyone can do, in this busy world of chattering voices, to dissent towards the popular opinion, making dissent feel that much more futile. You know, there used to be a time when anyone could speak on a great platform, on as little a turned over soapbox, to a great many people. But the world today went and got itself into one big damn hurry.
Natalie: Yeah well, I try not to focus too much on it. It'd drive you crazy, eventually, spending all your time thinking about it.
Me: I am still trying to write a letter to Congress, to inform them on these grave issues, perhaps they will still listen to the people.
Natalie: You can actually do that?
Me: Honestly... I don't know. It is worth an attempt.
Natalie: So, what are we doing today?
Me: I don't know, I have no plan of action at the moment.
Natalie: It's raining, not much to do but stay indoors. We could play more board games.
Me: Chess, perhaps? I was once a very good chess player, as a young man I would often play a good friend of mine, James, to a four hour game. The only fair equal I found was another old friend of mine, Benjamin. In fact, I was given many gifts of chess in my lifetime, I even had an ivory set. Not to be so bold, but I doubt you would be much of a contest.
Natalie: Well, I've played Chessmaster 9000 on "hard", I also did some multiplayer online when there was anybody around, so I'm not too shabby myself. I have the board version around here, on a glass checkerboard. Let's go get the pieces out and start playing!
Indeed, she was not "too shabby". At many points during the contest, she played me to a standstill, our single game lasting over 3 hours. We ordered food from the local pizzeria chef, who promptly ushered it to our door, to occupy our hungers. It is tempting to enjoy every long evening like this, but I fear I have told a mistruth to my dearest Natalie, in that I do have a plan of action, and it cannot entail the endless pursuit of personal amusements, as I am tempted to. Julius too, appears to have a plan...
Julius: "Agent N", or whatever his name is, usually disappears for a couple of months at a time. I don't know what he does, he must have other agendas to attend to. Usually this is a good time for me to get up and move, I can shake him for a while if I do. Perhaps I should head to Fermilab and see Ludwig, and he can explain things further.
Me: If you want to do so, may your journey be safe. It would certainly be easier to revive communications, with the message of your safety delivered in person. You may also be able to assist him in development of his project.
Julius: My only fear is that by going, I bring Ludwig deeper into this, and the Agent closer to his goals. I almost feel as if he's waiting for me to find Ludwig, to lead him to what he seeks. However, I've decided that now is the best time to decide to leave, as losing him rarely lasts very long. If I go now though, and he will come back after me, he'll start here. So I want you to be alert.
Me: Then let us here be your diversion.
Julius: Thank you, Thomas. Your help is a relief, I just want you to be safe. I'll leave tomorrow. I have $154 that should get me on a Greyhound to Chicago, from there I could contact a friend or two to hitch a ride into Batavia. I have some friends in Fermilab, it shouldn't be hard to find Ludwig there.
Me: Then my friend, godspeed.
Daniel, on the other hand, keeps his life on a steady trail. To where does the trail lead? I haven't a clue.
Daniel: Dude, Mardi Gras is still going on in the Big Easy! Man, if they aren't taking a break, then why should we?
Me: Mardi gras? Is this festival still a raucous and tawdry affair?
Daniel: Well, all you gotta know what that is, it's the biggest part-ay of the year. It's like, you wear these beads, right? Then like, you go downtown, and like, there are all these costumed gay people, and like, these drunk chicks flash you their boobs to get your beads. Then the really risqué babes, like, walk all around naked and shit, with hundreds of plastic beads... then ya like, wonder, how they GOT all those beads, y'know? It's so totally cool how slutty Christian babes get before Lent.
Me: No, I don't know. I don't think the point of lent is to get in as much sinning as you can before it starts.
Daniel: Well, you know, it's real cool and all, and stuff, and New Orleans has the biggest celebrations because obviously that's where it all started, and such. Yeah.
Me: I remember them celebrating it in Mobile, Alabama long before it ever went to New Orleans. It's one of those decadent French activities I never sought to associate myself with.
Daniel: Probably, yeah, those French are cool like that. Part-ayyyyy. You know, like the Fonz goin' to a "part-AYYYYYYY".
Daniel: Well, uh, I don't know of any parties or anything, but maybe I could go buy some brewskies and rent a good DVD, y'know, to kinda chill. Actually I'm not going to party, I'm just going to chill.
Me: Well, enjoy yourself "chilling".
Daniel: That I will dude, y'know, just my own personal part-AYYYYY.
your friend and servant.
- TH. Jefferson
Chess actually is a Jefferson favorite, he's played with a number of notable figures and friends, and it was a subject of gift-giving and receiving numerous times in his life. He played and beat James Madison on a regular basis, Benjamin Franklin turned out to be his equal, and according to Thomas Lee Shippen, he played Jefferson 5 hours and beat him 5 out of 7 times (Thomas Lee Shippen must've been Jefferson's Deep Blue). Jefferson owned an ivory set of chessmen, for his personal collection.
As for Mardi Gras, it's an old celebration that Jefferson would remember, and it hasn't changed much in nature over the years, besides becoming far more flagrant and outlandish. Mardi gras masked celebrations were outlawed during Jefferson's time (until 1827), and back then a lot of people objected to the mere act of dancing and music being a part of any public festival. Seeing the stupidity today by mardi gras participants, it's hard to blame anyone who thinks dancing like idiots in costumes should be illegal.