Sometimes the hero of the story was me, while at other times somebody else, simulacrum of a person who’d lived a more rural and self-reliant life, a life I sometimes wish I’d lived. We lived in San Francisco, in another century, probably the late nineteenth. We waved our farewells, me and my other self, and we crossed the country by rail to New York. I stayed in a hotel room with a former girlfriend. 'Wait,' said I, and went out on the town where fear stalked from nowhere, pursued me through the muddy streets. I dived into one of those Gilded Age gay bars just in time for some kind of police raid or violent assault, I cannot recall which. Big barnacle-souled Ned Land intervened, and we swung lefts and rights and slipped away. Thankfully, I found my way back to the hotel by dawn, where she waited still, someone else's child in tow. A family of humanoids had joined our cause, whatever that cause might have been. We sailed on ship back to Blighty and Dover.

A year, at least, passed before we returned. The ship crossed America on wide elevated aqueducts designed for that purpose. SanFran had grown both retrofuturistic and neoclassical by then, and sailing on wide elevated aqueducts the favoured method of public transit.

Several people, who have in reality passed, waited, lost friends and beloved family. We all became children again and danced dizzily around the suite.

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