Episode 4 “Psych” – Beta Shred #7

Circling True North – A Dystopian Serial Novel

As I near the central desk, glowing faces of two staff members come into view. Slouched in their chairs, heads appear disembodied, hovering like fluorescent blue balloons just above the counter, emphasized by the dark backdrop of the unlit nurse’s station behind them. Eyes fixed to the screens in front of them, concentrating on whatever tasks they are performing, they do not immediately register my presence.

I could slit their throats before either of them knew what happened.

My step falters with the horrific thought, but I do not stop. A meaningless observation any assiduous mind might make, in flux and adjusting to the new safety and security of a new society, rising from anarchy and ashes – that which was the norm of old. Carry over of combat-ready postures, personal operations security and conflict awareness, is perfectly normal. It will take time to change thoughts ingrained for survival – won’t it? These two are young with resilient minds like switches – trained in the student corps – and have already adjusted.

“Can we help you, Ms. Somerville?”

I stop at the counter, leaning against the cool marble, and attempt to appear casual. Give them what I hope is a friendly flash of teeth and not a feral sneer. I really should practice in a mirror.

Two sets of eyes peer at me from androgenous faces, striking in their near identicality. Name tags read – LES and LEE. Dressed in standard issue grey Health Corps scrubs – same as mine. Haircuts, facial features, body structure – even their expressions of helpful concern – are enough one might mistake them as replicas, or droids, though I know they are not.

Hello Friends,

I hope you have enjoyed a a pleasant weekend. Here in Idaho, the whether has been sublime. Low 60’sF, with sunshine and just a few clouds, the past few days – unusually warm, but so lovely!

If you have been wondering about what to do with your pumpkins lately, how about toasting up the seeds for a snack treat? You can also use the pumpkin meat to make pumpkin mash for homemade pumpkin pie, which I have only recently discovered is very simple.

Here are a couple of tricks I have learned recently. (proud of me learning something new! 😋

  1. For tasty baked pumpkin seeds, dig them out of the pumpkin, rinse them off completely, then boil for about 12 minutes. Drain and lay them out on parment paper to thoroughly dry (turn from time to time). Lay them out on a cookie sheet sprinkle with your preferred seasoning and back for about 40 minutes. Presto!
  2. For pumpkin mash, chop up the pumpkin into chunks and removed the outer rind. Place pieces on a baking sheet, dab with olive oil and bake for about 45 minutes or until nice and tender. Put pieces in the food processor and blend until smooth. Takes about two cups wor to make a pie (so, I hear – I haven’t made one yet!), bag up your mash in freezer bags until you are ready to use. Last in the freezer for up to one year. Voila!

Take care of yourself this week and hug someone you love!


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