Khephera and the ba of Ra inside
the solar disk.
Litany of Ra — KV 47.

The other day I took the casino van over to Idaho to buy cigarettes.
Besides the bus being 15 minutes late it was a good trip over and once I
got there and bought the smokes I killed the time until the van went
back to Spokane rather painlessly by having a couple of beers at the
casino bar.

When it was about time for the van back to arrive, I went outside and
stood in the waiting area. There were a number of people milling about,
waiting on the same van. I smoked the last cigarette I would get for
about an hour and paced back and forth a little, stretching my legs.

Among the people waiting on the van was a girl, maybe about 20, with
brown hair pulled back into a very short pony tail. She had on those type
of jeans that only come to just below the knee and a thick windbreaker.
But what really caught my attention was the backpack she was wearing. It
was much smaller than a normal backpack and was purple in color. It had
some writing on the back of it. I walked up a little closer to read the writing.
It turned out to be a Hannah Montana backpack, the type a young girl would
wear. I thought that odd, but to be honest I just sort of put it out of my

The van showed up and we all got on board. There was one couple on the
van who had a small boy of about seven. The driver told the couple that
he wouldn't be able to transport them with the boy unless he cleared it
with the Casino manager first. This was the same couple who had ridden
in with me on the way to the casino, and I went up and told the driver
that. But he said he had to call in anyway, and got on his cell phone.
Once it was cleared with the Casino office he turned to us and said that
it was a legal issue, having more to do with Spokane Transit Authority's
monopoly on bus service than anything else. We all agreed that STA just
went too far with stuff and that it was ridiculous, especially since STA
didn't even run any busses over to the casino in Idaho.

Back in my seat, the girl with the Hannah Montana backpack moved up
from the rear of the bus to the seat directly across from me. She commented
on the STA issue, saying how terrible it was. I agreed. That little bit of
introduction led to further conversation, and she went on to tell me that
she had come over with her husband, who worked at the casino, but she
was now heading back. Her husband would take a later bus when his shift
was over. She had come mainly to keep him company on the trip over.

She said that she had been trying to find a job in Spokane, but hadn't
been able to land one yet. "Yeah, things are tough" I said. I told her
about several people that I knew who had problems finding work even in
the usually open restaurant industry. She asked me what I did. I didn't
quite know what to tell her. So I just said that I ran a blog, Pat Maginess
Private Eye.

"You look like a private eye!" she said, smiling. If I had worn my fedora
on the trip I could probably have understood the statement. But I had my
old green fishing hat on. So I didn't really know why she would think that.
But it kinda made me happy anyway. We then went on to talk about our
dogs. And eventually about horses.

We finally introduced ourselves. The girl, lets call her Kathy, told me
that she wanted to get her G.E.D. Then she went on to say that she had a
couple places trying to help her with that. "I have problems with math"
she said, rather sadly. I told her that I had problems with math too.
"You're certainly not the only one. Just keep at it, I'm sure you'll get
it eventually. You look like a smart girl."

She brightened at that. "My I.Q. is 81!" she said. She said it as if it
might have been much worse, as if she was glad that it was that high.

The statement had hit me like a slug to the stomach. She went on to say
that with math she was only 3rd grade level.

As my character Pat Maginess said in one story, there are times when
finding things out can break your heart. I felt immensely sad. I knew
that I could tutor Kathy for several years, until my heart exploded, and
it would make no difference. She would never reach the level of G.E.D.
math. I didn't think that even a special education teacher could help
her. There was too much of a gap, too much to overcome.

We both went into our separate worlds again. Kathy stretched out, it
looked as if she was trying to sleep. That seemed like a good idea. But
I didn't think that I would be able to sleep. Too much was running
through me.

I looked out the window. The sky was completely overcast, a strange sky
composed of thin white and light gray striations. Shining behind it was
the sun, not shining in an opening in the clouds but literally shining
right through them. It appeared about fifty percent larger than normal.
It seemed very nebular, and yet in spite of that it was amazingly bright.

"The Eye of Ra" I whispered to myself.

I watched the sun for a good long while. It was at one moment on the
left side of the bus and then, as the road would bend, it would switch
to the right. And then it would go back to the left.

And after a bit, watching the mesmerizing sun go back and forth, my
sadness dissolved.