Saturday, January 12, 2019

The Divination Project: Part 16: Fever Dreams

Is this all pointless? Maybe this is all pointless, Alice wonders.

Earlier today, she was keen on writing, having felt the hand of destiny guiding her toward her computer. But then she got overtaken by an urge to sleep.

She hasn't slept well in about six nights, so... yeah. It's kind of like that.

She also hasn't been eating very well because she has been too sick to go to the grocery store. Yesterday she ran some errands, thinking she was out of the woods, but then the night came, and so did the phlegm.

What's funny is she feels that this was all divinely guided, because most tarot readings she watched for Aquarius for the month of January said something along the lines of, "Enjoy your shit sandwich until mid-month." Thanks, Universe!

So, why, why, why is she writing right now?

Because, in between coconut oil applications to her nostrils, meditation and showers, she did a lot of thinking, and even some learning, and who she was at the beginning of the flu is not who she is now. Again, ever-evolving Alice is here, sitting under a chicken lamp on an old leather recliner with which she has become one, tapping away at her keyboard.

Carl is in Asia. He got there safely, thank you, Universe. The day before he left, China was detaining American businessmen, and the TSA was preparing for a shutdown. And of course, he had been seriously considering quitting. There was that.

Remember, Alice gets sick when she is stressed out.

So imagine how wonderful it is when he calls her from his hotel room at his final destination, capable of video chat. He has been traveling to Asia for almost a decade, now, and the first years he didn't have a phone that would work there. Wifi in the hotels was spotty at best, so not even a laptop worked reliably as a communication device. A few years ago, they got phones which would work over there, but coverage was unreliable. So. Video chat. Video chat! He tells her he has been reading Jung's Undiscovered Self, and she is delighted. He remarks that it is so easy to read and so close to their own philosophy about life.

"I know. I'm so glad you're reading it," she says, "Just wait until you get to the end. It's so profound what he says about depression and anxiety being the result of following the ego rather than the intuition."

It is good to see him. He looks a little worse for the wear after his 44-hour long journey, but he doesn't have the flu. And he seems happy.

***

Sleep during the night has been daunting. The night Carl leaves, the City conveniently has to shut off the water to their house to replace a water main. This means no showers, and showers are one of Alice's major respiratory illness fighting tools. Luckily, the work crew finishes a few hours early, but not early enough to prevent Alice from drying out and turning the corner toward sinus infection territory.

It isn't until the next night that Alice realizes the air purifier in their bedroom is drying out the air. She turns it off, and locates a humidifier which she positions in the adjoining bathroom.

That night, she sleeps for the first time in her bed, rather than in the recliner. But the angle isn't steep enough with pillows and she wakes up with plugged ears, regretting her decision to leave the recliner.

***

She's starting to get a little loopy, being stuck at home for the last week, with both Nolan and Sally avoiding her lest they catch it, too. Sally does, but not too bad. Alice is thankful, because she is barely able to care for herself, lest anyone else. It's so much easier this year. Nolan and Sally can cook for themselves, and sometimes for her. They help load and unload the dishwasher. They do their own laundry and can care for all the animals.

But they can't go grocery shopping. Or can they?

One of the dogs sounds sick one morning before the kids are up. He must have gotten a cracker or something, because his stomach is gurgling. A few years ago, he developed hemorrhagic gastroenteritis every time he saw the groomer, who fed him Milk Bones. There is nothing odd in Milk Bones, really. But somehow the dog seems to have developed a severe reaction to wheat. Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis is often fatal, and is apparently common in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, which Harry the Dog is. (Yes, this is a nod to one of Alice's favorite picturebooks from her childhood, Harry the Dirty Dog, and her Harry is often quite dirty and has terrible breath because he loves to eat dog shit). Anyway, when the initial bout of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis happens, they are on their first family vacation in years, to Hawaii. Alice's hairdresser's sister who is in college has to text Alice to tell her the dog is bleeding from the anus. Another bout later, and the vet suggests giving an expensive treatment that she can pick up for $60. She looks it up on the internet and finds that the active ingredient is bentonite clay, and, well, she just happens to have a bunch of bentonite clay hanging around because, well, you never know when you might need some bentonite clay. Or charcoal. Really, these are staples everyone should have because of their ability to bind toxins.

So, Alice mixes up some bentonite clay in almond butter (because she cannot for the life of her find the peanut butter), and gives it to Harry, who is growing tired of being given dirt-nut-butter every time his stomach makes a gurgling sound. Harry is a little particular, not liking the last bit of dog food from the bag because it tastes stale. Luckily, his chum, a larger spaniel named Warf will eat anything in sight and never gets ill. Alice has to carefully give Warf something to distract him so she has time to get Harry to eat his dirt-nut-butter. So, she gets between them and holds the spoon with the almond butter on it toward Warf with her right hand while putting the bowl with the dirt-nut-butter down in front of Harry with her left. Harry sniffs at the bowl, and then looks at her wondering where the good stuff is. She uses her left foot to tap toward the bowl, saying, "C'mon, Harry, treat! Eat it! C'mon!" Warf has nearly gotten all the almond butter off the spoon and is starting to bite it. Eventually Harry realizes that there is no alternative treat, and that if he wants any treat at all, he better eat the dirtnutbutter. Within an hour, Harry is no longer making unsettling noises, and all is well.

She's not in any frame of mind to read anything. She just can't focus that well. So, she decides to see where she left off in her tarot class. She's still in the third month of class recordings, and there are four months of classes. She knows because she hasn't been paying good attention in class that to get better at it, she needs to actually spend time with tarot cards rather than using oracle cards. She's ascribing too much of the accepted meanings to the cards and she is not looking at the imagery closely enough to divine a good story. And that's probably why she is behind. She knows the whole point of the class is to get her to tap into her own intuition - that this represents a deeper stage of ability and connection to source. And that is scary. It represents moving even further away from prescribed knowing. From authority. It means ultimate faith in self.

The class gets about 45 minutes in (they're an hour to an hour and a half long, depending on questions), and the teacher brings up Rahu and Ketu again. That is the Vedic Astrology definition. In Western Astrology, it is called the North Node and South Node of the Moon. These placements represent one's karmic destiny in this lifetime. They represent what we each need to do to achieve bliss. The tarot instructor recommends watching the KRSchannel astrology videos on the Rahu/Ketu dance.

Alice had written previously about Carl being her Rahu. He is not her Rahu. He is, however, her Leo, the one who can put up with all Aquarius Alice's bullshit. Thank you, Leo! It turns out Sally is a double Leo, Scorpio Moon. This explains her unflappable optimism. And Nolan is Taurus Sun, Aquarius Rising, Moon in Pisces. Alice was delighted to find out she wasn't the only Aquarius in the house. But Alice's Rahu person, it turns out, would have Rahu in their 6th House, since hers is in the 12th House, and Ketu in the 12th House, since hers is in the 6th House.

Synastry-wise, this partnership can support each other in finding balance because one is going to the place the other has already perfected.

She watches the videos for the whole family. Sally's North Node is exactly opposite Carl's. This is an interesting dynamic probably worth covering in another Part. Nolan's is in the 5th House, which KRSchannel explains means the person is supposed to express themselves creatively, and not worry about money. The person will get so absorbed in what they do that they will forget to eat, for example. This is Nolan. The person will not care about money, and will amass large wealth, but then not know what to do with it. Also Nolan.

Alice's is frightening to her, even though she knows it is her path. She sends Charlotte the video.

"Does this mean I'm supposed to be mindfully high?" Alice asks Charlotte.

Charlotte has had gum surgery and cannot smoke or vape for four days. She is recovering from the anesthetic the dentist used. She does not answer the question. Rather, she asks if Alice knows of anything to watch on Netflix.

"When was the last time you took a break from smoking?" Alice asks Charlotte.

"Oh, probably the last time I had gum surgery," Charlotte says. "Not in a long time."

"Well, you'll be a cheap date again!" Alice muses. Alice also hasn't used cannabis in quite a few days, because her respiratory symptoms precluded it.

Alice wonders. The KRSchannel guy talks about the 12th House being the House of addiction. Obviously, Alice doesn't want to become an addict. But he also says that you use your Ketu to get to Rahu. So, that's why she is able to use caution in her explorations. Because she has that screaming voice from her past life telling her that addiction is bad for her.

***

Wednesday evening, she stands next to the bed, crossing her legs tightly so she won't urinate, coughing violently. She is having an asthma attack. Carl is half a world away, literally, and the kids are listening to their headphones elsewhere in the house. She ran out of cough suppressant the day after Carl left, and has been limping by on loratadine (an antihistamine), guafenesin, and multitudinous cough drops. She has a little eucalyptus oil nose inhaler thingy that Lolita gave her the day she told her that marriages don't last forever. This was after Lolita had been observing Alice and Jeff's "little talks, or whatever they were," which is how Alice referred to them to Lolita from that day onward. She sees her 1:1 THC:CBD vape pen on the night stand and hopes that it will help her chest open up so she can breathe. She takes a toke.

Before Carl left, he had awakened in the middle of the night when Alice was doing the same, and asked her if she was smoking! Seriously. Smoking? No, she was having an asthma attack. Fist curled in front of her mouth, she shook her head in the dark, unable to respond. When the coughing finally slowed down, it was because Carl had suggested maybe she should blow her nose. It's funny, isn't it, how when a person is so miserable, it becomes difficult to even think what to do to climb out of misery? Even to the point of not thinking to blow one's own nose? She slipped her pajamas and underwear off and walked toward the shower, not just because the humidity would be nice, but because passing two bowling balls out of her vagina a decade and a half ago necessitated it.

Within a minute or two of the toke, her chest opens. Having quelled the snowball of anxiety contributing to the asthma attack, she is now able to think. What do I need to do to help myself? Maybe I need some magnesium. Magnesium is great for anxiety and panic attacks. Usually she gets plenty from drinking lots of coffee and eating fruit, but she's not consuming dairy, so she hasn't had coffee in quite a few days, and they are out of fruit. She often doesn't tolerate oral magnesium, but remembers that she has spray bottles with Magnesium Oil in the kids' bedrooms. Then, she remembers Carl suggesting progesterone and takes some. Oh, and coconut oil in the nostrils, because her membranes are so dry that breathing hurts. The coconut oil, a spontaneous idea, provides instant relief. Finally she is calm and can sleep.

***

When Carl contacts her that day, he can't chat long, but wants her to know he is going to meet with the VP of their client company. He is the same man who had shaken her hand in the hotel bar in Vienna to tell her thank you for supporting Carl. Alice knows what this means. Carl will have a chance to make some requests to improve his working situation. A few days before he left, around the time Alice took ill, Carl, as noted in the previous chapter, had decided to quit.

But Alice and Carl had some time in the intervening days to talk and they decided it was best if Carl just try, once more, to make some reasonable requests. Now, he would be able to communicate his emotions with the plea, rather than trying to rationalize them with whatever bullshit reasons his mind made up. Now, he would be able to say that the isolation he experiences by not getting to work directly with another person is wearing on him. And Alice.

When Carl goes out with the VP, they party hard. Carl is a big guy, lives 4200 feet above sea level, and went to college in New Orleans. So, they play drinking games.

***

In the KRSchannel videos, the narrator introduces Alice to an interesting concept. He says "The Motto of the 12th House is 'Serve or Suffer.'"

This is after describing the Rahu in the 12th House person as:

- connecting to foreign people in foreign lands, other worlds and other dimensions (Hey, Tim!)
- independent, wanting to run away*
- criminal** (Martha Stewart), spiritual, or creative
- working behind the scenes, creating illusion (novelists, film directors, artists, doctors, medicine men, healers)
- protectors (typically in jailhouses)
- import/export business (this has been something she has had to do for their business)
- working in a confined, isolated way (lab scientist is the example he gave)
- wants to know the occult world, gain access to higher power, foresee future

Sadhguru has Rahu in the 12th House, the narrator continues. Alice's interest is piqued. She found the Sadhguru when she was researching the process of sublimation, and ran across his article on the tantra, and figured out that it may be her basic philosophy of life. She really wants to learn the tantra.

*The first time Alice packed a suitcase and ran away from home, she was 3. She packed her mother's overnight bag full of her doll clothes and walked right out the front door, fully intent on leaving. This was, she assumes, when her sister was an infant.

**When she was in middle school, her mother reported her to the police for toilet-papering her crush's house. Also, she can't remember for sure, but she may have had to talk to the police after she punched a girl in the face who was bullying her in the outfield during gym class every day and broke her nose.

***

After discovering that the 1:1 THC:CBD vape pen helps her cough lessen, she also realizes that hey, girl, hey, she hasn't had any action for quite some time because she got sick four days before Carl left. And, she's been in a total funk. And orgasms are great antidepressants.

Since the water supply is on again, she can hop in the shower.

It seems like Project Smoke Signal might be on pause. She's not upset or anything - she was just really, really sick and riding out that general Hermit energy that pervaded the collective earlier in the week, but is otherwise very interested in continuing at whatever level or in whatever fashion once or if the co-creator/muse wants to continue, but the energetic ball is in his park, so to speak. So, as to honor his energetic boundaries, she searches her library of mental imagery for someone else. Carl? No, she has too much anxiety about him since he is not at his Asian destination yet. Gaaaah. She doesn't watch porn by herself. And she hasn't been watching much television, and much of what has been in her head of late were her demons - which aren't particularly libido-enhancing. Hugh Jackman? She can only remember his face as Wolverine, and that's not doing it for her, either, today.

She settles on Todd. Their synastry is funny, sexual attraction coming and going. She thinks about him in the shower with her. Nope. Not doin' it. But then, she imagines that she's hired him to clean the bathroom and he catches her with her shower wand. He's a hard-working Capricorn, so he doesn't even notice she is doing what she is doing, goes about his work, cleaning the other side of the shower door, with a toothbrush. This is a change for her. Usually her fantasies are more masochistic in nature, but this one definitely has a twisted sadistic undertone.

This fantasy is probably what pops into her head because the last time she sees Todd, she and Charlotte have just shared a bowl, and he has just gotten off work. He shows her a picture on his cell phone of a drawing in a bathroom made by Hunter S. Thompson's Illustrator, Ralph Steadman, and she tells him her whole story of how she wants to be the first female Hunter S. Thompson. That's when she still wants to be the first female Hunter S. Thompson.

Now she just wants to be a flu-free, multidimensional-traveling-writer-artist-healer-weirdo, with a greatly satisfying sex life. Inasmuch as that fits around being a Mom, of course.

A little known fact. Many men can and will masturbate thinking about any woman. So, why can't women do that?

And, she's refreshed and breathing well enough after that  to summon up the energy to run a few errands. Plus, in her fantasy, the bathroom gets cleaned, so hey, it's win-win.

Magick, People! Magick.

If it's clean in her mind, it's clean somewhere in space-time.


***

After watching the KRSchannel video, she decides to look up her North Node aspects to other planets. They are:

- North Node sesquiquadrate Sun ?
- North Node square Moon - these people are hesitant, dissatisfied and irritable their whole lives (yes, this may be her default when things get too boring, or her life feels out of her control)
- North Node sesquiquadrate Mercury ?
- North Node inconjunct Venus
- North Node conjunct Pluto - about learning how to wield power, questions of destiny - this page mentions that working on herself helps release collective karma, too

Then, somehow, she finds a page on psychic placements, and finds something really interesting (besides, of course, the possibility that everyone is at least a little psychic, according to this page):

- Neptune in Sagittarius (1970-1985) - prophetic with ability to develop clairvoyance. Gives psychic sensitivity that will foster the ability to pierce through the veils of matter and know truths. Intuitive nature will be highly developed.

Wow, Alice thinks. So, this is everyone who is 34 to 49 years of age. We're potentially all connected. That's a pretty big deal.

She thinks about Jeff's art, about his interest in Jung and the unconscious, and Todd's unflinching reactions to her frequent dissociation (even when she was excited about seeing Timothy Leary!), and all her highly intuitive mother friends. And Carl. Carl is also highly intuitive. He is seeing all the things she is seeing. She's wondering about the power in this generational connection. There is so much to learn!

And so little time.

She'll just have to keep putting feelers out to see if she can connect with others who might understand these things, and she'll have to keep studying.

***

When Alice wakes this morning, she is sleeping in the recliner again. Her throat is not sore, but her nose and sinuses need emptying. She uses the toilet, takes her blood pressure medication, and then lets Harry out of his crate.

Warf slams his body against Harry as they go down the stairs, Harry growling playfully the whole way. But at the bottom, rather than making the turn to go to the back door, Harry sees something and continues straight into the office.

The day Carl left, Alice swore she saw a mouse out of the corner of her eye in the kitchen. In the first few years they lived in the house, they battled mice from the nearby open space. But then Alice figured out they were coming in next to the drain pipe under the kitchen sink, plugged it with steel wool and they went away. This summer they had a handyman replace the surface under the sink, and right after he did, she saw evidence of mice again.

Alice has a morbid fear of mice. Okay, that's not the right way to say it. It's not a morbid fear. She doesn't like them in her house, and it is one of the things that Carl knows he has to take care of, because Alice just can't. She can't because she had to kill them in myriad ways with her bare hands and it is triggering for her. She had to break their necks with her thumb and forefinger. She had to asphyxiate them with carbon dioxide. She had to cut off their heads with pruning shears. She had to open their skulls with surgical scissors. She had to anesthetize the creatures and then cut open their abdomens before sticking needles into the apexes of their hearts to pull out all the blood with a syringe, then pulling out their intestines. So yeah, she doesn't do mice.

When her mother came to visit, she brought her to work one day. This was a day that her coworker and she had earmarked to make a decision about whether to remove a specific outlying animal from the study. Why were they going to remove this animal? It was morbidly obese. Her mother objected loudly, trying to save the animal's life, and even gave him a name - Gus. Alice's mother still likes to talk about Gus.

Alice also doesn't mow. Sometimes she mows, but she doesn't like it because she has a specific allergy to Kentucky Bluegrass. She actually likes mowing. But she likes breathing more.

And now there is definitely at least one mouse in her house, probably more. She told Carl she would put some traps out, but she hasn't, because she doesn't really want to have to touch warm, limp, smelly mice. They have a certain smell when they die, and it's a smell she had to smell while she was pregnant with Nolan. The smell comes right out of the intestine, and that's what she was harvesting while pregnant and working as a laboratory assistant. She and her coworker were both pregnant - her coworker had hyperemesis gravidarum at the time - and they would both gag at the same point during the process, right after all the blood had left the heart when they would start dissecting the mesentery. They went through bags of peppermint candy because of the smell. It's probably not the worst thing a pregnant woman has ever had to do, but it wasn't pleasant.

Don't worry - probably tomorrow she will don some rubber gloves and get the traps set.

***

Somehow, in the midst of all of this, Alice is able to have great discussions with Lou about relationships. Lou has a ton of fire in her chart, and it shows in her relationship style. Lou is constantly advising Alice to do a hypnotic energy recall with respect to Mr. Smoke Signals, and would never ever participate in such a thing herself. But, as Gary Goldschneider says, Alice is fascinated with Mr. Smoke Signals' enigmatic nature, and will always forgive him. Gary Goldschneider also says Lou is Gloria Steinem and Alice is Betty Friedan, and they do things their own ways because they have different mental structures. They are very different, but they have many of the same fundamental values, and even styles. So far, the book has been correct about all of her relationships. She thinks. Some of them remain enigmatic.

They joke like guys from the military, because of Alice's college buddies in ROTC and Lou's time in the Reserves. They talk cheese and braunschweiger, progesterone and thyroid. They talk chakras and Warrior I. They discuss astrology a lot in the context of Lou's relationships, and Alice's life. Alice texts her things she finds that they have both been thinking about. Typically, Lou sends a message early in the morning before Alice is up, and it's around the time Alice gets a notification from the Galaxy Tarot app about the energy for the day. Today's energy is the Page of Wands. Lou has been chatting with a new guy from Tinder and was upset that she didn't hear from him the day before. Alice tells her she thought Lou would probably hear from him today, and later she texts to say she did. Earlier in the week, the energy is the Seven of Cups, which is about choices and illusion, and on that day, Lou is having trouble deciding whether or not to go on a couple of trips. Alice is unfocused, too, on that day. Alice told her once over the holidays that she thought Lou would be hearing from the ex she left several months earlier, and Lou does. It's weird.

On the day with choices, Alice mentions that she might continue working on her tarot, and Lou gets excited, asking her if she would like to do readings or teach in her studio. Alice is extremely flattered, but not confident enough in her abilities yet. Her readings always seemed to be spot on for everyone else, but kind of wimpy energy for her. Like when you're at Hogwarts and you first try to use your wand, and it's a little whispy energy that comes out of it. She likes being around Lou and the other people who have witnessed the magick, because it helps her feel less like she is imagining things, and more like she is bringing imagination to reality through play. Like she is helping raise everyone's consciousness. It feels fun to all of them, even though the matters are always deeply existential.

***

Today, she is feeling much better and talks to her parents on the phone. It is her father's birthday - 1/11. He informs her that he has been continuing to read her blog. In the early days, he would send her an email of encouragement. He tells her that sex is a necessary life function.

"Yes, it is," she replies.

He also tells her that anything can go too far in one direction.

"Yeah, I know," she says. But she also realizes that his two sentences are contradictory. If sex is a necessary life function, she should work to destigmatize it, or it remains a source of shame and fear. She remembers the one time she was slut-shamed in her life, by her mother after she was raped. She forgives her mother, understanding that her mother was just projecting her own insecurities about her sexuality that she got from being shamed by her father onto Alice.

Her father also tells her he is also not sure if there is Free Will. Then he says something that sounds really brilliant and it's too much for her head, so she dissociates and she has to have him repeat it, but she still can't get the gist of it. She will have to ask him again. He's pondered these things before, so when he speaks them, it's like every sentence is mind-blowing, and she can only handle her mind being blown so much at one time. It's always been like this with him.

Her mother begs her to bring her Tarot cards when she comes to visit. She's already trying to decide which ones to bring. Maybe the Santa Muerte deck, which she purchased in October to honor her Mexican ancestry? The illustrations are beautiful, but the integrity of the edges of the cards isn't so great.

She tells both of her parents she is taking a class tomorrow on Akashic Records, and that if it goes well, she may learn Reiki later in the month, too. Her mother reminds her, for the millionth time, that Alice's old art teacher has regular Reiki treatments in Denver.

She is excited about where her consciousness and her life are headed, and delighted that she can share these parts of her journey with her family. Christian, yes, but without the dogma.

She tells her father that she thinks that it is the dogma-related layers of trauma hiding the inherent goodness in people and the world, and he agrees. She does not tell him of Catholic Priest Ivan Illych, who wrote about the patriarchal institutions that keep humanity enslaved: Religion, Education, Medicine. But he will read about it here. Alice believes the dogma of these institutions is the major modern origin of most psychic trauma for humankind. Their authoritarian policies strip us of our inherent uniqueness, requiring, for their existence, strict and predictable patterns of behavior which also have the effect of removing the creative expression of humankind. They require a compliance which hinders ingenuity at a fundamental level, creating a giant plastic population of traumatization. Unless individuals become smart enough to make those systems work for them, they will work for those systems.

Alice's father has even thought about the necessity for large organizations, but how they strip away the identity of the individuals, and also make rules specifically for the justification of the organizations' own existence. And this is what Carl is reading, sitting by the pool on his one day off in Asia as Alice and her father talk on the phone.

And lest the reader be confused about what is happening when, due to cannabis-induced tense changes in writing, Alice and her father also discuss the very flexible properties of time, and she recommends that he watches the Quark Science episode on Nothingness, and he emails her a YouTube video titled "What is Reality?"

***

When she hears from Carl this morning, he is still alive after playing Liar's Dice. His messages come through the app on her phone sporadically. She intuits that he is drunk, still. He tells her the VP thinks he should take his requests to the CEO, and that they will be well received. She certainly hopes so. The company made $80M last year on Carl's knowledge. The year she went to visit, they were listed in the top three companies in the country, where many of our US electronics are now made. A few years ago, Carl got to meet the Prime Minister of the country the company is in, when the company was winning yet another Global Technology Award for the product Carl designs. Surely, surely, they could do something to help him feel less isolated in his work

She is in her studio, and has turned on the sauna. She decides to go into the adjoining guest bedroom/console game playing/craft storage/meditation room and pull some oracle cards. She pulls a card from the Lunar Oracle deck - Stork 17 - and the book tells her that some project she has is about to give birth to something, and also that she should value her current relationship. She wonders if all the talking she and Carl have done are going to lead to something bigger for him. She really hopes so. She had found all his other jobs, and none were as good as the one he manifested for himself. She wants his wand to make a bang, not a whimper! She's still remembering the Page of Wands when she hears her computer and phone ding again.

She pulls a few more cards before messaging back.

The sauna beeps loudly to announce it is at temperature.

She removes her nightgown, grabs her phone and takes it into the sauna - something they had both decided they would not do, because it can cause the screen to delaminate. They send just a few more messages back and forth before he calls her.

"Hi," she tries to say. She can't talk very well. Every mutter loosens the mucus clinging to the back of her throat. She switches on the video capability.

"Oh. You're in the sauna," Carl notices.

"Uh-huh," she responds, voice cracking.

Carl tells her more about the discussions he had during Liar's Dice. Mostly that the other consultants are feeling stifled as well, and kind of at the end. Alice gets the gist of it, and then decides she will show Carl just exactly what is sitting in the sauna, since she can't really talk.

This is new territory for her, entirely. But it is fun. He is excited, and he shows her just how excited he is.

After about 20 minutes, Alice is sweating quite a bit and needs to leave the sauna.

"Hey, these phones are water-resistant, aren't they?" Alice asks.

"Not to sweat and cum," Carl laughs.

"No, I mean, I'm wondering if I can take my phone in the shower," Alice informs him.

"Yeah, I think so..." Carl says.

Alice walks across her studio, pointing the camera at her naked body, dancing just a little bit. She turns on the shower, and tries to put the phone in the shower caddy. The call drops.

Eventually she gets the phone stable after calling him back, and removes the shower wand from its clip. On the big spray, she moves it all over her body. Then, she changes the spray to a more concentrated pattern and moves it around the sensitive parts of her body.

Just after her climax, the call drops. When she tries to call Carl back, he doesn't answer.

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