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Other Duties as Assigned

by Rudi Dornemann

Leon, Leon. Don't think we're surprised--we knew you were a thief when we hired you. That's obvious: it's why we hired you. We thought if we gave you enough of a challenge, you’d stay straight.

What? It wasn't enough, reverse pick-pocketing the objects we gave you into the pockets and purses of the marks we chose? What's surprising is that you stole so much.

I mean, what were you going to do with all that stuff? A book of matches. A compass whose every direction is south. A wind-up toy mouse. A rose made out of silk, with a different phone number stitched on each petal. What does any of it mean to you?

It can't ever mean as much as it would to the dreamers. I mean, having something bubble up from their subconscious, heavy with psychological baggage that they can feel but could never explain, and then to have that just show up in their waking life. Show up like it's something they've had all along and just forgot; that's got to be something.

Even if you don't believe the brochure the sisterhood gives us when we're hired, all that stuff about thinning the wall between the waking world and dreaming, you've got to admit, it's pretty cool. When the fabricator opens, the steam clears, and you see what’s in there, and you wonder what it is, what it means--yeah, I said I could understand the stealing. But the project is so much cooler. We can all agree with the sisters on that. You agreed, too, when you signed their contract.

The contract you broke.

So I'm here to remind you about the fine print of said contract. If you want to be a thief, that's what we'll use you for. No, you don't get to take the dream objects back. No, no, no--pinching pocketbooks isn't how we fund this operation.

Where are you going? Where do you think? The twilight realms. The unconscious.

How do you think we get the dream objects in the first place? Someone's got to feed them into the unfabricator on that side so the fabricator on this side can work.

Someone's got to steal the things in the first place. Right at the moment of waking.

Their waking--the target's. Not yours. Did you read the contract at all, Leon?

You won't be waking.

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