The cult of following bo.., p.1
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       The Cult of Following, Book Two, p.1

          
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The Cult of Following, Book Two
Percy's Progress

  The Cult of Following

  Book Two

  Barbara Jaques

  Editor: Moz Walls

  Copy Editor: Lydia Davis

  Cover: Ed Knox

  Formatting: Elizabeth Freeman

  First edition published April 2017

  Copyright © 2017 Barbara Jaques

  Table of Contents

  1. FIVE CARD FLUSH

  2. PERCY

  3. THE DISCUSSION GROUP

  4. POOLSIDE

  5. FUELLED BY HAM CHIM PENG

  6. TONIGHT'S TOPIC

  7. HAW PAR VILLA. AGAIN

  8. CULTIVATING

  9. SUNGEI BULOH

  10. TRUDY

  11. PATTING THE EXPATRIATE

  12. NORM

  13. CREATIVITY

  14. EYE OF THE DAY

  15. JOYANN'S DOGGY DELIGHTS

  16. HESTER'S CREATIVITY

  17. A MEN

  18. WHEN THE BLANKET IS LONG ENOUGH

  19. FOREVER YOUNG

  20. UNTIL DEATH

  21. AND THEN THERE WERE MANY

  22. SAVE ME

  23. THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

  24. PARTISAN

  25. THE TEMPLE ROOM

  26. PERCY

  27. JOYANN MEETS THE BOY

  28. ART'S SISTER

  29. CRAYFISH TAKES ON CRAB

  30. THANK GOD

  EPILOGUE. THE BIGGEST MIRACLE

  ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  SPECIAL THANKS

  1. FIVE CARD FLUSH

  Percy Field sighed. What was apparent to everyone was that he was bored of Norm asking them all to repeat the rules. ‘We’re not placing bets,’ he said for the fourth time, ‘just winning hands.’

  ‘But what about the dealer? What does the dealer do?’

  ‘Everyone is dealt a hand of seven cards, and after that, the game begins.’

  Norman Sullivan’s focus shifted from studying the remainder of the pack in his hand, to meeting his hero’s weary gaze. ‘So it’s the same for the dealer?’ he asked, shuffling his chair closer to the table and away from the edge of the swimming pool. Though it was after dark, two young families were playing a game that occasionally sent plumes of water everywhere.

  ‘Precisely what I am saying, Norm; it’s the same for the dealer. You deal, just as you have, then you join the game like any other player.’ Scowling now, Percy’s sour gaze briefly visited the faces of others sitting around the table, shadowy in the low light.

  ‘That’s it?’

  ‘For Christ’s sake, yes! Exactly like life, Norm, a random deal then off you go. Except life is harder than Rummy.’

  ‘You’re saying that life’s a game and a tough one?’

  The frown deepened.

  Norm watched as Percy began organising his cards into some kind of order. ‘Is that what you’re saying, Percy?’ he pressed.

  Without raising his gaze, Percy responded to Norm’s repeated question with barely a grunt.

  ‘I like that,’ Norm declared, brightly, ‘we’re dealt a random hand and have to make the most of it.’

  Percy silently slipped his cards into different positions, within the fan pinched between his fingers, visibly assessing and reassessing his hand.

  Norm enjoyed the pleasant sensation flooding across his chest, as if the warm hands of the God he had always loved were caressing him. He considered that in his own morose way, Percy so often picked truth from circumstance, drawing metaphors that helped others rationalise the difficulties of life. He did it succinctly and with total confidence, Norm felt, brushing aside the frivolity of discussion. At that moment, with good friends gathered around the lovely pool that served his welcoming condo, playing cards – something he never dreamed he ever would – Norm felt change leaning upon him like never before.

  While he’d been thinking, the game had begun and his turn had come.

  ‘Norm,’ Percy prompted.

  ‘Hmm?’

  Percy nodded to Norm’s hand.

  ‘Oh. Oh, hang on. One more moment. I haven’t worked out what to put down… so I need… what was it? Oh, I have it. A five card flush?’

  ‘That is the wrong game, Norman,’ came the patient voice of Joyann Tan. ‘We have moved on to something simpler.’ She smiled kindly, pretty brown eyes twinkling. ‘Perhaps if we take a short break, to refresh our glasses or use your bathroom, you might permit me to explain it again for you? Okay?’

  Norm nodded in agreement, ‘But I feel a fool,’ he said, dully, ‘it’s probably very straightforward.’

  ‘It is,’ interjected Percy.

  Joyann admonished him, ‘Percy, anything is straightforward once you know how.’

  Without replying, Percy left the table and stretched his legs, reaching for a wine bottle as he did so.

  Norm remained seated, waiting for Joyann to begin, wondering if it was the Singaporean way to offer such gentle patience, or simply the person she was.

  ‘May I look at your cards?’ she asked. ‘That way I might better demonstrate my meaning.’ She paused thoughtfully. ‘Actually, no; we can use mine, then you will be able to play your own cards as you see fit.’
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