00360108

After finding out which one, Dr. Mouse has him lay on a gurney ready to go deeper into the bowels of the place.

“All the way back, Mr. Johnston,” Nurse Porcupeople urged. “I have you.”

“Wheel him away,” said Mouse, studying the newest form and seeing it is good. Ready for delivery.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under **VIRTUAL, Nautilus, Upper Austra^, 0108, North, 0036

restored/inside

“Sorry about the hole, Mr. Johnston.”

“Please. Call me Albert,” insisted the tall, black clothed man sitting before him, seeing each other not quite eye to eye like before but getting there. He wanted to make sure he was up close and personal with the troubled man, try to soothe his rather frayed nerves. Yes, Albert had issues. He moved from behind the desk to here, perched before him like another one of his birds.

“I have to separate the wheat from the chaff,” he explained, gazing into his face from slightly above. “As you probably noticed, all I have out there waiting any more are dummies, complete idiots.” Mouse looked down, trying to phrase his frame of mind in a more polite way. “I don’t have time for that any more,” he said, deciding to end that way. Albert’s turn now.

“I… understand?”

“You’re a real life person in this afterlife sort of situation. I appreciate that. You are tall but you can become quite small. That proves you are human. More effective than picking out chimneys on a house or signs on a road. This is not the DMV if you see what I’m saying.”

“Understand… I?”

“Yes, I know how you feel, I certainly do.” Mouse rubbed his chin thoughtfully, as he sometimes does to impress a client, especially an important client like this. Albert was here to talk about the girl: he knew that. But which one?

(to be continued)

Leave a comment

Filed under **VIRTUAL, 0036, 0107, Nautilus, North, Upper Austra^

2nd crowd

He looked in on the proceedings with his 2 hats and his 2 perching birds, thinking: busy, good. That means the doctor, the practice is good. Here’s someone I can talk to and learn meaningful stuff from, this Mouse fellow. Never mind the failed Pooping Pigeons franchise, he follows. A bad businessman does not make for a bad something else.

He steps inside, jumps ahead of everyone else knowing they wouldn’t mind. He’s just that important.

The door was locked. The only way in, it appeared, was through this hole at the bottom. Luckily Albert brought his own Mouse costume, except his was a rat, small enough to get away with the deception and do the job. Mouse was just finishing up with another one, synchily enough. Rat named Map who use to be a member of a gang called Willard.

“Come in, big man,” he squeaked up to high-as-a-kite Albert. “If you can make it.”

“Oh I can,” he boomed down. Map Rat disappeared. Albert took his place.

(to be continued)

Leave a comment

Filed under **VIRTUAL, 0036, 0106, Nautilus, North, Upper Austra^

Darla loves black

“We have a location on the girl. Repeat. We have a location, over.”

“Roger that, Mission. Honing in… now.”

—–

It was the first meeting of the local Umbrella Club chapter, and not all were invited, namely: men.

And *especially* Albert, who could only view the proceedings from afar, say 200 meters. That’s as close as his ankle bracelet would allow, which was probably a good thing. He just wanted to check up on her, he rationalized about the spying, make sure she’s not up to any trouble. Or if she was, he wanted to know. And, he also thinks, I suppose *this* counts. Just like the case with Franklin, pheh.

He never got around to taking off his hat, which could explain why he’s here.

(to be continued)

Leave a comment

Filed under **VIRTUAL, 0036, 0105, Nautilus, Yd Island^

recentering

“We’re both tall for our species,” spoke Albert. Maybe we should bury the hatchet, get together. You’d have to have an operation of course. I’m not taking what you have down there currently.”

“You’re joking, right?” Sometimes it was hard for Franklin to tell.

“Of course.” Albert was somewhat reformed, having almost died over at Sporminore in the last photo-novel, 35 (period). He’s kind of seen the light. He returned his butterfly curtains from his formerly very special room to Curtis’ just the other day. I believe we have a photo of him doing so in the media library, along with some attached dialog…

Yes, here:


“You’ll have to trade them in.” “That’s fine.”

“So I come here looking for the Umbrella girl and instead find you. Under an umbrella.” He looked over, he looked up. “Explain.”

“We’re different people,” said Franklin. “I sit on the blue pillow, which represents positivity.”

“I resent that,” shot back Albert quickly. “*I* represent positivity… in the now.”

Franklin realized this was so. More memories kicked in. She was Shelley before, but also, behind that, Wheeler. She was Wheeler. She *is* Wheeler. She took him in, realizing she was sitting beside fellow core Baker Bloch instead of prevert Albert. Only the blackbird linked them together. And the hat(s).

“Take off your hat, Albert, and I’ll know that you speak the truth.” Could he?

(to be continued)

Leave a comment

Filed under **VIRTUAL, 0036, 0104, Nautilus, Perch-Mistletoe, Upper Austra^

in the most-least obvious place

“Oh, we’ve looked everywhere for Franklin. Franklin Hollow here. Hootin Holler just a holler away to the north. Nothing.”

“I’m sorry.”

“We’ll find her.”

“Absorption.”

“Yes.”

Afterwards, Baker Bloch, in whatever guise he’s in at the moment, thinks that he needs to set up extra protection around Shelley, convince her of her supreme long term worth, her *extraordinary* nature. He didn’t think Franklin could emerge back out of her but also might be wrong. Small chance, but there. Roberts cannot be underestimated.

—–

meanwhile, in *Fordham*:

“You stay here with me and play backwards-forwards guitar, Franklin. Us greenies gotta stick together. Right Unch?” she calls up, then pretends to hear a, “right Apples,” from the tree behind her in place of “mere” leaf rustling.

Leave a comment

Filed under **VIRTUAL, 0036, 0103, Bellisaria, Collagesity Fordham, Lower Austra^, Nautilus

Wildest West

“You know it’s not a nice place over there,” she said in her wise voice about the “town” across the water, this Dodgey City where we’ve just seen our now familiar friend Jem — Gemilly Johnston (or Johnson).

“What’s your story, then?” I asked down to the Grandma type figure in her old fashioned clothes, cane clutched to breast as she lay on a colorful towel at the beach house rental. She’s thinking about it. “Missing file?”

Instead of answering me directly, she said: “It’s good you’re back on Nautilus. It’s even better you’re back on the mainland, off that island — even though it technically is part of the continent.” She stared over again. Hard to read her emotions from this distance. Sad? Worried? Angry? Perhaps a mix of a number of these.

“About the file,” I insisted.

Leave a comment

Filed under **VIRTUAL, 0036, 0102, Nautilus, North, Wild West

Jem’s World

“Well, my name is Gemilly Johnston — Jem for short — and these are the books I’ll be keeping up with (!).”

So cheerful that first week, she says, reviewing her introductory video, whiskey sour in hand as usual when looking at this type of stuff. So many videos in her collection now. But this was one of the clean ones, before the dirt and grime of the city, this Dodgey City, became fully evident, thanks to John. *Not* Jim.

“I live about 1500 meters up in a nice house with a beautiful perpetual sunset, right on the beach. See? (she indicates a hand, an arm). I’m already working up a tan (!).”

If I could go back and kill her — myself — I would, thinks Jem here, wanting to wipe that ridiculous smile off her face with a rag of acid. OK, maybe Texas Pete.

“The house is owned by John L. Brown, who is also my boss, who is also my, ahem…”

Boyfriend? thought present Jem. Fat chance.

“… cousin,” past Jem completed her sentence.

Wait, is that possible? present Jem thought. She reversed the video, started over. At 2:32: “cousin” again. She doesn’t remember saying that. Plus it wasn’t true (!!).

—–

But John L. Brown for one knew it was and changed the wording yesterday after also slyly suggesting she take a day off for mental health reasons and look at old videos from the archive to soothe her nerves, especially recommending — or starting with — the one she’s viewing right this moment. Jem eventually figured this out as well as she continued to sip (or at least try to contain it to a sip) on one of her whiskey sours and ponder and ponder. Cousin — that aspect conveniently forgotten, conveniently wiped from memory, just like she was trying to wipe the happiness and naivety from her past self’s face back then in her imagination. She imagines someone standing behind her, looking at her as if on a video, trying to wipe something from *her*.

“John L. Brown,” she muttered with Texas Pete, add a little Oklahoma from beyond the screen. She turned (toward the camera?). Time for my close up.

Leave a comment

Filed under **VIRTUAL, 0036, 0101, Nautilus, Wild West

00350707

It was at the end and not the beginning but the marriage finally came through.

“Do you have a problem with this?” Newt ask in a low voice as the I do’s were being said. “Speak now, you know.”

“Why would I have any problems with this?” said Wheeler back. “Shelley would just run around with other men behind his back if she married George. This way she’ll be happy. Or at least have a chance to be.”

“Do you, Shelley, take Lemont slash Arthur…”

“And there’s always Liz,” whispered Newt.

“Yes.”

“Should we end there? Again?”

“Why not.”

“You may kiss the bride.”

END OF “SUNKLANDS 2022 LATER”!

Leave a comment

Filed under **VIRTUAL, 0035, 0707, Nautilus, North

00350706

“So, Residents of Paradise Lost, we, Shelley and I, head back to Omaha, which is in Oklahoma after all!”

“You’ll never make it!” shouted Fern below, reunited with Lichen since the latter was finished with her horse subplot. Poor Liz. “Wrong state, buddy!” she clarified.

But Abbey Abdominator, the Grey who was also several other people of this town, as in an actor playing multiple roles in the same film,* knew exactly how this thing worked… and ended. “So long everyone!” he said as the balloon rose into the sky and he expertly maneuvered it due north, soon enough dwindling to a point and gone as the few townspeople gathered on the rooftop at the launching pad kept staring….

Shelley snapped awake, pulling away from The Void, The Emptiness. Arthur, she immediately thought. I’ve got to tell Arthur!

—–

*SEE: Harry/Jerry, MessiaenSphere, Wizard Wells, Big Boy, Billy Bloodsworth, others

Leave a comment

Filed under **VIRTUAL, 0035, 0706, Nautilus, Omega^^, Southern