Going off the rails

I've listened to preachers, I've listened to fools, I've watched all the dropouts, who make their own rules…

In 1982, Byron Preiss told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that:

The logic in determining the locations of the chests is not random. There is … an interlocking set of patterns.

Interlocking means: two or more things having parts that overlap or fit together. Could this overlap apply to lines in the verses?

If you haven’t read Fenix’s recent post about freedom, you should read it now. With freedom in mind, I took a fresh look at Verse 1. By fresh, I mean: assume we know nothing about Houston, about the 982 train, or have any other context outside of this verse. Say we're reading it for the first time, sight unseen.

I read the first 6 lines together, as one stanza:

Fortress north Cold as glass Friendship south Take your task To the number Nine eight two

The first thing that catches my eye is the line “take your task”. From the treasure poem on pg 34, we know that "A little digging is the task" (emphasis mine). If we read these six lines as a statement, we can interpret this section as saying "take your task", that is, "go do a little digging" at something called "the number nine eight two".

Next step, we need to figure out what this "number nine eight two" thing is... Can we use the other lines to help orient us to figure that out? Those first 3 lines seem like something that should set us up to take our task to the right place.

Let’s start with the first line, “Fortress north”. Two words, zero context. To add context, say we had caught on to some of the freedom thematic that Fenix describes in his post. We may have “the land of the free and the home of the brave” in the back of our minds. Few things represent the concept of American freedom more than the Star Spangled Banner.

Did you know that the Star Spangled Banner was originally titled “Defence of Fort M'Henry”? I wonder if they taught that in schools in the 60’s…? anyways… The namesake Baltimore based Fort McHenry played an important role in the War of 1812 (i.e. the second war of independence.. see: freedom).

Given its ties to the freedom theme, let’s suppose for a moment that Fort McHenry is our “Fortress north”.

Here’s where we come back to the interlocking idea. Can we use any of this to help us understand the next line, “Cold as glass”?

Fort McHenry gets us to the Star Spangled Banner, which is also known as the National Anthem. Anthem is a (crappy) novel by Ayn Rand that I had to read in high school. If we flip through that book in the library, we may find that pg 30 contains those same words:

On the ground there were long thin tracks of iron, but it was not iron; it felt smooth and cold as glass. We knelt, and we crawled forward, our hand groping along the iron line to see where it would lead. But there was an unbroken night ahead. Only the iron tracks glowed through it, straight and white, calling us to follow.

This quote is about railroad tracks. These first two lines tell us that we are looking for railroad tracks, but where are they?

The next line is: "Friendship south". Where can we find "Friendship" in the "south"? The answer to that could be the good ol' Friendship state of Texas. Friendship is Texas' state motto.

These 6 lines deconstruct down to a one really important piece of information:

"Go dig at railroad tracks in Texas".

With that information in hand, could you find the 982?

All aboard Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

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