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“”What’s wrong, honey? (no answer) Oh dear, are you channeling again? (no answer) Is it… the triangles?”

She sat there all glassy eyed for a while like 2 marbles were planted in her head in place of eyes. Then…

—–

“What you cooking today Eddy?!” shouted the runny man, passing by.

“Hot dogs!” he called back. “But made with veggie stew!”

“Cool! Catch you later, then!” Tom shouted, his voice receding in the distance as he headed toward the far corner of the strange, green square pool that centered the apartment complex they both lived in, this Paradise Town as it liked to call itself. The pool begs to differ, because it also has a name, usually unspoken. Tried to be forgotten.

—–

Common denominator: umbrellas.

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00330117

1st (singing): “I’m getting married today, today. I’m getting married…”

2nd (joining in): “I’m getting married today, today. I’m getting married…”

All together: “WE”RE GETTING MARRIED TODAY, TODAY. WE’RE GETTING MARRIED…”

STOP

GO.

Marillia walked out of the mirror to help Denisce. “Oooooo,” she exclaimed, “I can’t *decide* (squeal). The green dress looks oh so *yummy*. But the RED.”

Marillia didn’t tell Denisce the actual colors were aqua and pink. Marillia needed a sale today to probably keep her job. Because marriages were far apart in this here Towerboro, known for its division instead of addition, subtraction instead of multiplication. Yet the figures keep spinning, the numbers keep changing. Her boss Wallace D’ass figures sales have to turn around, law of averages. Love over hate, joy over competition. Substitute bartender Doris might know. If she could pry herself away from the constant soccer and rugby tugs-of-war. Dafney might figure it out. If she could stop thinking of herself and go with a different color.

“Ooooooo. Can’t choose!!” The wedding was called off. To save the business, Marillia married her boss instead. The dick.

—–

Suddenly — just like that — the war was over, and sunshine and happiness returned to formerly dark and dank Towerboro. Vet and alternate substitute bartender Walter Hotdog walks out of apt. 15 looking for his phone so he could tell Doris he loves her.

Mary texts battle scarred Dennis to say she forgives him for Abbie and says she’ll try that thing in the bedroom he wants to do and she’ll even buy the toys for him on the way back from work. Toys, pheh. Crowding in again, but in a good way this time. Jenny tells medal bedecked Builie that she understands now 2 plus 2 equals 4 instead of 5, and that 6×9 will never equal 42.

And Dafney… Dafney…

But let’s move to Charlotte.

“Will you… marry me Charlotte?”

“Is Charlotte a first class hooker?” she answers retired captain-colonel Kurt rhetorically, Dodgey history finally put behind.

Addition: It *was* reconstituted George she married. Who needs clothes when you got each other (*smooch*)!

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00330116

The next day, Dafney met new bestie Jem for a celebratory birthday breakfast at Ted’s Sweet Shop next to the open market. Both had turned 42, years for Dafney and weeks for Jem, since she was a simulacrum, with a much shorter life expectancy than true humans. Thus the strong desire to see the world and not stay in a dead end bookkeeping job in Dodgey City before it’s too late. Plus the lurid cartoons based on her of course that we’re not suppose to talk about or see, orders of her doctor-therapist.

“How’s Jim?” Dafney began the serious talk after the meal was over, flapjacks for Jem and mustard over easy for the yellow one, a canary today, a freebird. She’s heard that 42 is the year you learn about everything and anything, with no more “mine over here” and “yours over there.” Everything blends, everything rotates around each other, like 6 is the opposite side of 9, the same figure. She’ll start with Jem — they will be as one today.

“Jem’s fine,” Jem speaks in the third person about herself. “I’m here aren’t I? Eating breakfast with you. I probably have 60 good days left for me.”

“No — *Jim*,” insisted Dafney. The Brown one. Like I’m yellow.

“I don’t know about Jim, but *John* can go to hell for all I care (!)” He was the one who published the cartoons. Jim is his twin brother. John is spelled with an L, Jim with an A. Both stand for nothing, which is of course the opposite of everything. They suck in life just as much as Dafney exudes it, Jem thinks here, glad for their friendship.

“I’m… sorry.” Dafney begins to cry. Or is it laugh. She searches for the phone again, determined to call Redbird or text Bluebird to see which one.

(to be continued)

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00330115

Some say the name Dafney originates from Daffodil, others from Daffy Duck of Bugs Bunny fame. All because of her love of yellow, as in scarves, as in pocketbooks, as in hair. She’s dated both Redbird (Smith) and Bluebird (Jones) in the past. Now she prefers neutral — yellow in her case — although Redbird will still call her up to tell one of his patented, on-the-spot off-color jokes that always makes her laugh. Bluebird: so serious in contrast, a true philosopher/metaphysician. He prefers keeping in touch with writing, notes scattered here and there through town in places he knows she’ll frequent. Texts too; often makes her cry they’re so deep. Dafney is hard to forgot, hard to get out of your mind once she’s in there. If only she could find a phone in her glaringly yellow pocketbook, a pen and pad perhaps, to communicate back her love for the two, even though she must remain in-between and unavailable. Like many single women her age, she’s holding out for The One. 41 today. 42 tomorrow. Everything cannot be known.

George is here if you need him, ma’am. A safety net. Still looking for his clothes.

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00330114

Cardinal decided to quit her job in the wine selling business and instead work for her brother Redbird making sandwiches more in the heart of the village, turning her chronic sour expression not sweet but at least neutral. Sometimes she could crack a smile now, like when Redbird made one of those off-color jokes. No color — that was the key. Let’s listen in…

“Alright, Little Jack. Time to choose. White meat or red meat?”

Oh boy, Cardinal thought, here we go again.

On top of everything, the boy had to have a little whine before deciding.

“That baby need a corking!” her dough rolling brother expressed over his shoulder in the middle of it, breaking the spell. Good ol’ Redbird, she thought while grinning. White it is.

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Thirteenville

The infamous talking rooster of Towerboro, an obvious tourist attraction. Currently owned by Wanda Debbie Pritchard. Prichard? Must be a last name. We’ll determine a first name soon enough for the purveyor of the lone antique store of town, another monopoly.

Jack doesn’t like the rooster. Jack heard it says his name. “Jack son special,” he crowed to elaborate just afterwards.

“He he,” his father laughed, “that’s *us* son. I’mmm Jack, and you’rree Jack, see? (he points to the respective parties here). Jack’s son, ha ha.”

“And you certainly *are* special, young man,” wife Debbie Wanda Prichard (Prichard again?), added while pecking his cheek with a couple of quick kisses. The rooster leaned forward, seeming to want to peck Jack Jr.’s cheek as well. “Special,” he clucked to reiterate.

—–

“Show’s over, Prichard,” said the purveyor at 5 o’clock while setting down his cage on the floor and opening the door. “Time to go home.”

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00330112

Second Life rebirth. I’ve heard about this — the return of Philip Linden. If only this guy would stop screaming at the TV every time someone kicks a little ball around a field I could concentrate.

“Can I take this outside?” Edward Daigle indicates the paper.

“No. Have to read it here,” replies Doris, who’s running the bar tonight in place of Debbie. Soccer is her thing and soccer you’ll enjoy here while she’s working. No Masterpiece Theater for her, no basketball or any other sport either, although when the Olympics are on she’ll sometimes switch over to rugby, which currently only features women’s matches. “Rugby is similar to football,” she’ll rationalize to the attendees at the time. “Women need support too.” But the support only lasts until the next soccer game of any gender variety revs up, which always takes precedence. Good to have your priorities straight.

“When is this… *sport* over with?”

Doris checks the clock behind her. “10,” she answers. “8 now. Quite a wait for a read.” She takes a better look at the rugged, broad shouldered man in front of her; leans in closer. “Tell you what, buy me a drink at 10:05 and afterwards I’ll find you a nice, quiet place to skim your newspaper.” She picks up one edge of the paper and expertly flips through all 20 individual pages in a split second, like it was a deck of cards. Talent. The woman has talent with her fingers, Edward thinks here.

While Edward mulls the offer over and the possibilities involved, the man on his right side starts pointing to the screen, saying in a non-shouty voice, “Blackjack.”

“Blackjack,” he repeats, still pointing. Doris is mixing another drink for the actual shouty man. Great, he’ll probably just get more boisterous now, Edward ponders, as he screams at another kick or something.

“Wrong sport,” Edward says to the pointy, non-shouty customer.

“Blackjack.”

Doris glances at the screen while still shaking her drink. “What are you saying, Donald? Do you want to switch to cards? You know we can’t do that here. That’s a Debbie thing.”

“Blackjack,” he says in the same tone of voice, no higher no lower. Debbie keeps looking at the TV, trying to figure out what he wants or what he’s thinking. She knows Donald is a special case. Highly psychic, some say. Most say, “plain nuts”, but a good number of people in town, a growing number at that, respect his talent for numbers especially. If he, for example, says there’s 12 frames to that queer animation continually playing over in the Towerboro Record Store, then that’s how many frames there are. Stranger named Daniel found that out just the other day. Car careened over a cliff into Thirteenville next door just afterwards — bloody mess. So if Donald says this is 21 then Donald is most likely on to something.

“Blackjack.” Edward thinks of cards, of the paper, of the flipping. Doris realizes there are 21 players on the field, not the regulation 22. Blackjack. A whistle sounds from the referee.

“Blackjack,” he says over the call.

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00330111

“It was the only place I felt really safe in all of Dodgey City: Charlotte’s dust filled attic with the telescope that she often pointed to the Moon, Mars and other heavenly bodies to also escape the stardust glitter all around.”

“Stardust,” said the doctor, now a therapist. “Interesting term. Can you elaborate further?”

—–

“They made… *cartoons* out of me. It was awful.” The sobbing began again. The doctor-therapist offered her another kleenex from the second box used today. “They thought it was *funny* (sob sob sob, blow nose, sob sob, sniff).”

“There there,” said the dr.-therapist. “Take your time.”

“I — (sniff sniff) don’t *want* to go back.”

“No one’s sending you back, Jem. Take your time,” she or he emphasized again. Probably a she… because of the nature of the events that took place there.

“Those cartoons you spoke about,” she started carefully once more. “Did you…”

“*NO*,” stated Jem firmly, guessing what the doctor-therapist was going to ask, an almost prescient moment. And perhaps it was.

The doctor-therapist decided not to bring John L. Brown of the Browns into the picture today. She looks up at the clock, pretends the session is over even though it is 12 till the hour. “That better be it for today. You can take that box home with you.”

“Thank you,” BLOOWWW.

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GO halfsies

“Gentlemen, I was wondering today if you could talk about what happened in A54?”

“Wellll,” started the first under the A. “Fiiiiiiinnne,” the other said to end.

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frame count

“Lemme start again, heh. One two free fo five… wait, lemme…”

“It’s *13*,” I spoke down, having determined this long ago. “You keep saying 12 — at best. You keep saying that and you’re *dead*. You understand??”

He starts again with a laugh and a snicker and a hiccup. In his drunkenness he decides not to even try this time. “Oooonnnee, he he.”

“Just stop.” STOP

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