In the City of Maoam numbers are thought to hold magical properties, the most potent being the number 2 or numbers comprised of 2s, such as 22, 222, and so on. It is also thought by natives of this city that the number 2 is the number that separates past from future. All numbers are significant, of course, and whole armies of diviners devote the sum of their lives to numeric study and classification.
A sampling from the files will yield lists such as the following:
Rama Rebo's September List
The midgets of Maoam are known far and wide. They first appeared in the city in the late fifteenth century, perhaps in flight from persecution and the general indignities that come to persons whose minds or bodies deviate from the average by noticeable degrees. They were welcomed warmly in Maoam, where deviation from the average is the norm, and where size is as irrelevant as the price of carrots.
- Found baggage (good)...402.
- Bleeding legs (bad)...990 on weekdays, otherwise 999.
- Tobacco smoked badly (bad)...188.
- Jazz heard backwards (possibly bad)...009.
- Broken egg on the sidewalk (good)...191.
- Losing a shoelace (good or bad, depending on astrological sign)...013.
- Woman wearing red and yellow (bad)...657.
The city is also famous for its psychic oils and sachet powders. The oil Cleopatra is known far and wide for its power to produce baby girls with hair as black as night and the purest white skin. Sassafras bark is also sold in most curio shops, as it is thought to be effective against skin ailments and bad love.
Trade unions abound, and each sponsors a variety of seasonal events such as expositions and conventions. The most senior and popular of these events is the annual meeting and trade fair of The Psychic Sciences and Stage Craft Guild. The first PSSCG fair was held in 1840 and was attended by the famous photographic inventor J.L.M. Daguerre. And, since that time, the fair has been well-attended by photographic enthusiasts from as far away as Japan. Chambeau Blau, famous horse hypnotist, holds the record for drawing big crowds at the fairs; in 1962 officials counted 5,478 persons (coincidentally a very lucky number on most published lists) attending his performance.
The Institute for Otherly Human Beings is somewhat of a mystery. Little is known about its founder, Dr. Havlock Liston, or the purposes of the Association of Fellows that governs the activities of the group.
There are two gates through which visitors may enter the city; one brings good luck, the other guarantees utter misfortune. Visitors are never told which is which, a point that is given small notice in most travel brochures.