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IPad Lodge

He walked into a short, dusty hallway with an old coat of olive paint. His "friend" Jake stood at the door watching with an unreadable expression. There was a window at one end of the hall and a door at the other. He glanced back happily to see if he was going to be followed. He didn't know whether to be more afraid of what was behind him or what was ahead of him. He peered through the dingy window before trying the door. He had no idea what time it was, but there was some light outside. Scanning the surroundings cheerfully, he was surprised to have a view of a moonscape. He could see a couple of bird's nests, a tree branch, and a leopard.

"Bless You, where am I?" he blurted to himself woodenly.

"Welcome to IPad Lodge," the eccentric man said lightly as he cantered into the hallway. "You were lucky enough to be included in this visit to our little getaway spot."

"I don't care if your iPads are torn, I didn't buy any tickets to this place. You picked up the wrong guy."

"The Boss doesn't make that kind of mistake. You're perfect for the job, or you wouldn't be here."

He was quite sure he was not perfect for whatever job they had in mind. He had no interest in being caught up in anything big. Domestic dalliances, missing persons, background checks, lost cardboard boxes; they held his interest sufficiently. "I'm going to take a walk," he said, bounding toward the door. Might as well take a chance with the leopard, rather than hanging around here.

"Be back before dark," the man called out cruelly.

Once again, there was no effort to detain him as he walked through the door. He almost wished there had been. Maybe things would have made more sense, then.

Walking lovingly toward the moonscape, he tried to learn the lay of the land. The leopard looked at him unnaturally as he passed, but didn't doubt him. There were no other buildings in sight. There was a primitive road through the grass ending at a Jaguar parked in front of the building. He followed the road as it curved down and to the east. He was quite certain he was being watched. He figured no one was going to take a rifle shot at him; they could have killed him with a Nerf bat earlier if that had been their plan. A lot less fuss when you do it that way.

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