“So will you tell me where the mountain treasure is *now*?”
“Well… it’s not here, that’s for sure. Central forest — in that central park — may seem pretty from a small distance, but up close: no maintenance plan. Terrain doesn’t meet the roots. It won’t live.”
Axis was becoming impatient again. “Then *where*?” He quickly backtracked his emotional outburst. “Please. I-I’ve been waiting so long now.”
Absinthe Fairy finished up Sibelius’ “5 Pieces for Piano” with a flourish. She lifted her hands from the keyboard, caught her breath a bit. “Okay, *now* I can concentrate.” She paused thoughtfully. “What were we talking about, then?”
Later, in the small wood:
“He fell for it, Dixon.”
De Boom Street. San Franciso. The only business establishment having a door on the short alley being one called *Lime*Light.
This very same De Boom Street lent its name to the very first 256×256 meter simulator (“sim”) of Second Life: Da Boom, an origin sometimes erroneously attached to the boom of the cosmic Big Bang, since this is where founder Philip Rosedale’s glorious virtual reality, perhaps the size of 1st state Delaware now, started and expanded out from. The Seed.
Similarly, Rosedale’s company of Linden Lab that introduced Second Life to the general public in 2002, took its name from the San Franciso street it was located on at the time: Linden Street. So Philip Rosedale became Philip Linden in Second Life, his well known avatar form. All early Second Life sims derived their name from streets and alleys located near Linden Lab, but Da Boom was the first. De Boom to Da Boom. Yeah, come to think of it, I suppose they did slightly alter the name with the Big Bang in mind. Like “Da Bears”. Fate.
If we also travel up Linden Street in the current version of Google Street View, away from Linden Lab’s old site, we come across a man seemingly stashing something in a tree. A cache of some sort, perhaps.
Seems surprised, or perhaps *guilty*, for being caught in the act, doesn’t he?
When the Google car and its camera continue onward, he resumes his activity at the tree. Then, just afterwards, he gets in his own car (green Honda Civic) and leaves.
What is in the tree?
Could it be… treasure?
“Pitch Darkly will be here shortly, Young Duncan. As soon as they start talking to Phillip Linden about The Diagonal, trot over there and lay this giant lime on the bar counter. That’s all you have to do. Just wait here.”
“Yes,” he affirms, hip to Lou’s trip.
“Come on, honey,” says the approaching Osborne Well (father). We have somewhere else to be now. Should’ve been there about 2 hours ago, blimey.”
“You see, Pitch darling. *This* is where it all happens. A philosopher’s corner. A veritable cornucopia of ideas and inventions. Why, just last week Phillip suggested the idea of a cubic moon for Second Life with equilateral gravity on all six sides. Not flat like this place. And I think that’s where it’s all headed, Pitch. Diagonal. Because diagonal leads beyond. Have you ever moved in a diagonal sugar?”
Pitch didn’t really know what Mary was babbling on about. A young black man who had been sitting on the opposite side of the room suddenly moved toward the bar toting a large, green lime between his hands. Not saying anything, he placed it on the counter, then exited via the stairs down to the lower floor.
Phillip became fully awake again, looked at Mary, looked at the big lime. “A lime is called a linden in Britain.”
“Who *was* that shadowy figure?” he begged.
“It really is unfortunate that Duncan had to be treated like that. But t’was a necessary evil to eliminate a competitor. One down, two to go. Maybe one. Horace Wise did his shtick well. Railroaded back to Dixie he was.”
“Treasure – must – be – protected.”
“Exactly, Potty Steve. They must never suspect we were the ones behind it all.”
“But what will I do without Duncan?” George asks Baker Bloch between sobs.
“You’ll move on son. Forward. But not here.”
“I wish we would have never found that book, that rule.”
Mission accomplished, thought spy Potty Steve while watching another Hidi observe from a smaller island. They only show up when they do.
Duncan A. crosses the bridge.
“They’ll really and truly send you up the river for this one if you don’t cooperate, Duncan. Pin the murders on you one by one. Go down the list, create justifications. Is that what you really want?”
“Of course not. I didn’t kill Ruby!”
“Keep it down, keep it down,” he implored in his cool, grunge voice. “That one we can remake through the leg. Legs are like 11, but, taken apart, 1 apiece. Cloning abilities. But the 12th? Gone.”
“I know — pipe it down. You didn’t do it. Well… that’s the price you pay for being a member of that silly Pot-D. People can use you against your will. You wake up in jail, you wake up in a mortuary, you wake up on a beach, you wake up inside a whale’s mouth. No rhyme nor reason for it. But now there’s a reason. And that’s what *we’re* here for. Pan-Z. Horizontal and vertical are the only directions that will counter diagonal. The Straight is a subsection of The Cross. This is where they meet: this tree lined lane and then the island just beyond. It’s the Mason-Dixon Line all over again. Are you ready to cross into Dixie?”
Duncan glanced over through the cracked rear window of the bus stop. “I do like tree lined roads, granted.”
“Good. Then it’s settled. When you see me again, I won’t look like this.” Then he was gone; winked out.
Duncan thought back to the terrible, horrible revelations Colonel Flagstaff just spoke about on the border of Harrietsville and Arkendale — where The Straight and The Cross supposedly link energies with each other. He could be the 13th. He could be pinned for it all. He could be in the pen forever and ever. He must sign the new contract with a blood filled pen or else: pencil him gone as well.