Rain had come, dampening my prospects of exploration both figuratively and literally. Dampness does not dissuade me, personally, but the camera doesn't like it, and people demand pictures.
The thought had occurred to me that I might just take pictures from earlier and use them in a current entry. However, it seemed dishonest, and I only partake in the utmost of honest, direct journalism as I get to the beating heart of truth. Usually, I discover that it's just some kids with a burning steel drum beating on it with their scavenged crutches, but sometimes it is the tattle-tale heart. Of truth.
It was in this overcast mood and weather that I ventured to the local branch of a nefarious global conspiracy - the Mississippi Humanist Association. Humanism. The mere word itself conjures up terrifying phantoms in the overwrought imagination. Secular folk, gathering in dark lairs, hiding their foul plots behind disarmingly unsophisticated websites, shady concepts such as "public service" and a general lack of diabolism.
Finding the secret lair was difficult, given the high-tech nature of the security that these secularists deployed. There was a lock, and a door, and a secret knock. Well, it was a knock.
"Greetings!" They greeted me at the door in their entirely nonreligious apparel. My keen senses immediately scented a weird odor, some exotic narcotic, perhaps?
"There's hummus." The ringleader said. "And pita chips. They're baked."
Baked! I scowled at this hideous affront to my tastes.
"What's the primary pernicious plan?" I asked.
"Well, we're working on a blood drive." The ringleader said.
"Blood! Blood!" I howled, eyes wide with this brief taste of the global power these Humanists undoubtedly wielded. "Rivers of blood! Geysers! Sanguine waterfalls submerging the faithful!"
The woman next to me gave pause, clearly astonished by my innate grasp of their fiendish and ungodly plot.
"We got a few pints last time, and we learned to coordinate it so that people who give blood regularly aren't locked out because they gave too recently. Are you alright?"
"Yes, I, just, uh..." I offered everyone beers from inside the sleeve of my robe. This went over well.
"So, uh, what other malevolent masterpieces are in the pipeline?" I asked, sipping my beer. I was drinking directly from the can.
"Oh, the Adopt-A-Highway thing. That's almost done." Another woman spoke up, referencing papers I can only assume were written in blood, though it would have had to have been blood inserted into the cartridge of an inkjet printer. I imagined that task to be incredibly difficult. "The only thing left is..."
"The mind controlling sign technology?" I asked. They stared at me with growing concern. "Hacking into traffic signals to cause red-asphalt style carnage?"
"The sixty-seven dollars for a highway sign..." The ringleader said, trailing off as though, at any moment, I might start making sense.
"Why are you wearing a robe?" One of the women asked.
"I thought we wore robes?" I tested this explanation out, and found that even with my own bias, it was unacceptable. No one else, for instance, was wearing a robe, even though we were in a fairly sporty apartment, the sort of apartment one might well wear a bathrobe in.
"Are you some sort of spy?" No one asked. I may have asked it to myself, but despite the fact that no one asked it, I felt the urge to respond.
"My religion is my own business! I've fallen into too many rivers and that means I'm baptized!" I shouted, recalling the smattering of insane justifications the jabbering old Seventh Day Adventist had blathered at me while trying to drown me back in 2007.
"The River knows all! Listen to it!" I yelled, heading for the door. "You'll never take me alive, thought-police!" I grappled wildly with the uncooperative doorknob (undoubtedly designed as some sort of Humanist Plot) before throwing the door open.
"Wait!" The woman behind me cried. "Did you bring a science book? We're trying to help a local science classroom build a library!"
I threw down my weatherbeaten copy of Charles Ellet Jr's "Report of the Overflows of the Delta of the Mississippi River" like so much chaff and fled into the night.
Before long, I reached the river, my concealed kayak and supplies in position. Jackson was forfeit. I headed down my beloved River towards the Gulf of Mexico, with not a doubt in my mind that the humanist hounds were nipping at my wake.