The villagers came up ... and shuddered at the sight. There on the ground in front of them, at the sacrificial site, was a pile of ashes and the smoking remain of a charred post. With no delay or conversation, the villagers got about hammering a fresh post into the ground.
These villagers carried their maiden in what looked to be the village's best wagon. She herself was dressed in a dress that was basically white linen, but, even from my distance, I could see it had been elaborately worked. Sensibly, the villagers had tied the girl's arms tightly behind her and blindfolded her--even a most dedicated and obedient woman might lose her nerve at a time like this.
From my scouting point I could see that they helped her out of the wagon with great care, and, one-by-one, but quickly, they kissed her before they lead her to the new post. All this was good. This was no dreg-of-the-village, poxed whore they were bringing out for the sacrifice.
They lay out a rough blanket on the ground so the charcoal and ashes wouldn't sully her white dress. They coiled a rope gently around her neck, and tied that coil tightly to the post. Then they all beat a hasty retreat down the path ... within earshot, but out of sight. The sacrifice was in place: Would it be accepted?
It would. I moved into the cave, and I pulled the massive lever on my machine that was hidden just out of sight in it. The "Great Dragon" that lived inside the cave came to life. From within the cave smoke bellowed out, and roars and groans were heard. I rushed out ... there was much to do, and it had to be done quickly.
First off, I gagged the girl. I didn't bother with stuffing, I simply let the cloth sink deep between her teeth as I wrapped it around her head. Screams were OK, but an intelligible, "What are you doing here! Put me down you creep!" would spoil the moment for the villagers waiting just out of sight.
That done, I cut her loose from the post, hoisted her on my back, and carried her quickly into the cave. I dumped her unceremoniously next to the first girl, then hurried back out to oil-up and put fire to her blanket and the stake. I put a pile of ashes on the blanket first, just so there was no doubt about the girl's fate. The machine was rumbling its way to a climax. That done, I rushed back inside as the machine let out some huge groans and whistles that sounded something like unnatural screaming, put out a huge roar of flame, then it went silent.
A few minutes later a couple young villagers peered over the rise with great care, saw the smoking ruin, and were satisfied.
I went back to my ladies. The first girl I had already tied well. Now I retied the second just as thoroughly. Her arms were well-tied by the villagers, so I had only to regag her to keep her quiet, not just unintelligible, and tie her legs. I tied her ankles and knees, and those to the first girl's. I backed off to admire my handiwork.
So far, so ... Excellent! This year's crops had been bad, and these villagers seemed to be feeling that they should have done more to appease The Great Dragon last year.
In Roger’s words, “More than most people, I've ‘been there and done that.’ And, while I was doing it, I was taking notes.”
Roger is a careful observer of the human condition, technology, and history, and this is what he writes about. He was a soldier in Vietnam in the sixties, an engineering student at MIT in the seventies, and a personal-computer pioneer in the eighties. He has visited twenty countries and worked in five.
He has paid his dues, but he paid them in interesting ways.
• He never drove big rigs, but he drove the creation of the PC-LAN industry by working for Novell as it created that industry.
• He was never a waiter, but he served people as a computer store owner.
• He never “did time”, but he did talk personally to J. Edgar Hoover.
Other Fun Facts about Roger
• Helped engineer the Space Shuttle
• Climbed 4,000 meter peaks in the Colorado Rockies and bicycled from Boston to Minnesota
• Is a nephew of Margaret Bourke-White, photographer for Life magazine
• Has a commercial pilot's license with an IFR rating• Was one of the first hundred people to play Dungeons and Dragons