He needed to think. He needed to breathe. He needed to move. He needed to act. He needed to remember. He needed to get his fingers working. He needed to rent some time on a wet net yesterday. Five.

The count was always (?) disorienting. He reached for his heartbeat, wrapped himself in its timing. Four.

It was strong, fast, slow, recognizable. He could live with it. Three.

“Bring back big bags of bold bricks, brother.” “Bring back big bags –” Two.

“bags of bring bold.” No. “Bring back big bags of bold bricks, brother.” One.

Fingers still groggy, he jammed both hands on the stick and forced his eyes to where the light would be. Flash.

It worked. It always works, just like parachutes always open.