Chapter 5: Midnight at the Oasis

It’s a good thing I grabbed my clothes before heading for my first day at work, seeing as I had a fortune in frogs sitting in my pockets, but I apparently didn’t need them. It turns out there’s a dress code there, and I’m not sure I’m completely comfortable with it.

We Are the Sultans of Sweat

The company’s called “Sahara Social,” and they’ve got this whole desert caliphate vibe going on with their marketing materials, and it extends to the clothes their employees (or at least the new interns who don’t have enough pull yet to have any say in the matter) wear around the office. Being the lowest of the low guys on the totem pole, I had no choice but to wrap that turban around my head and pretend to like it. While I detest it as a fashion statement, I do have to admit that it might be handy for my next frog outing, as I’m sure I could stash at least a couple of them on my head.

In the time that’s passed since my first day at Sahara, I’ve managed to save up enough to buy myself my first luxury-slash-necessity: a new bed. Well, it’s not exactly new; I picked it up previously owned from a guy selling it on Craig’s List, but it’s a bed. Now I’ll be able to sleep at night and wake up not covered in ant bites, neither of which I was able to do when I was attempting to sleep on the grass.

Pillows and Everything

It wasn’t long before the neighbors caught on that there was once again someone living on the old Rex homestead, and I’m sure they strongly disapprove of their new neighbor. They wouldn’t tell me to my face, of course; everyone in Del Sol Valley seems far too shallow and fake to be honest about a thing like that, but the repeated visits from the police asking me to prove that I have a documented right to sleep on this patch of grass tell me that someone’s complaining. There’s no reason for a cop car to come up the road leading to my plot unless someone rich is complaining about an alleged squatter.

Some of the neighbors have been brave enough to drop by for a visit. I suppose, for them, it’s like taking a safari, watching the wildlife in its native habitat. Their condescending attitude is always a bit off-putting, but at least some of them bring me food, which I appreciate. It’s a long way to a grocery store and Uber Eats has been refusing to deliver here since they keep finding nothing at my address but an old bed and a curly-haired homeless guy.

Look, Thurston, the Beast is Waving

It seems there’s really only one solution to the twin problems of waking up with gawking neighbors at the foot of my bed, and not having a visible address where someone can drop food: I’m going to need to put a roof over my head. Fortunately, I was able to get some lumber delivered without having to lug it up the hill on my back, and I’ve just begun construction. I’m sure my new DIY home won’t be much to look at; the closest I’ve ever come to construction was a Lego set. I also don’t have a lot of time, since the weather reports are mentioning a strong storm on the way. So I’m sure it’ll be a complete train wreck of a house, but the last thing I want is for my new used mattress to get soggy.

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