The New Pietmond layout is now satisfying to the ever perfectionist Baker Bloch. He can rest. But what’s the next step beyond surface perfection? What lies *inside* now?
Art. Simple answer.
What of MapS?
Personal note: Talk to Knock about new book called Raydium. “It was taken, but that’s what I wanted to call it, yeah.” “Thank, Ray… er Knock, for being here tonight.” “Briefly, though. That giant bee warned me to not keep you up too late.” “Haha, Knock,” I replied. He looked thinner tonight. Turning imaginary? “So can you tell us about the garage band, Knock?” Knock knocked down another beer. Furry Carl promptly served up another one. “Merry fucking Xmas have a beer,” came the usual rejoinder from him. In fact, it was always hovering over his head in white text. I wondered if F. Carl secretly moved about after we left him, you know, sort of just cleaning the bar a bit. I think he had to. And what of Knock himself? He said he lived in the top floor of the Hobo Squat, recently converted to the Stairs Gallery Annex as a whole. The top floor remains undeveloped for now, and that’s where Knock has chosen to stay. “Have you explored any of the local landscape?” I asked him, sipping on red wine myself imported from Smelly’s Bar just down the way. Knock didn’t answer, but I knew he hadn’t… just like I hadn’t since my return to Pietmond and Otaki Gorge over a month ago. “Is Sunklands dead?” I asked Knock. He was busy sipping his beer, staring into space, perhaps thinking about another rock opera, or one already composed. “You need to listen to me more, baker b. Sorry, Baker Bloch, hehe.” He turned to me, smiling broadly. Gappily.
“This fusion with Z…” I attempted to continue. But Knock was gone, and only Furry Carl left. So I talked to him, which was basically talking to myself. But… well, no, I think Knock was actually there in a manner. F. Carl did not respond, or made the usual response… the only response. “Merry fucking Xmas have a beer.” And that seemed a good thing to do, if I sipped. “So Carl… can I call you Carl? Heck, silly question, I can call you anything I want.” “Merry fucking Xmas have a beer.” F. Carl stared back in his ever-belligerent way, fur hair springing out of his head. Not bald anymore! “Merry fucking Xmas have a beer.” “So Carl, let’s call you Karl with a K, so Karl, Z and Knock are fused in Pumpkintwisters.” “Merry fucking Xmas have a beer.” “Yeah, Karl, I have a beer, I just got one thank you.” “Merry fucking Xmas have a beer.” “Okay I just need to stop staring above your head. So Karl.” “Yeah?” “Haha! That was just me!” “No it wasn’t!” “Karl?” I stared at him. The text was still hovering but he was also speaking. I probably needed to call it a night. “Do you like your beer mofo?” And then the laugh, the Karl laugh. Like a rusty coffee grinder… something. Oh yeah, I remembered Karl might be an Ancient (!) He started to clean Knock’s empty beer mug left behind. He didn’t wash it, just rubbed it out a bit. “Karl, that’s quite unhygienic,” I said to him. Then the laugh again, like he could give a rat’s ass. Or couldn’t give a rat’s ass. I remembered a picture of a lazy rat was just outside, on the wall of Home Orange. “I’m up and out of bed, what more do you want?” was the statement I think he made on this wall. The rat and Karl… quite a neighborhood here! “Do you know the rat on the wall outside, Karl? After all, this is a Hole in the Wall, one of the franchise of bars.” He just laughed, longer this time, like a rusty coffee grinder stuck on grind. Er… “Holy Moly!” He then said after a pause. Then he repeated it. “Holy Moly!” But his expression really hadn’t changed from before; no surprise. “What are you surprised about?” I ask him. “Holy Moly!” I turned around and to the door. Knock walked in again. “I forgot my pocketbook with my Pietmond Plus credit card. Did you see it Karl? Did you *steal* it?” Then the laugh again from Karl. “Karl, don’t give me that evil laugh. Just hand it over.” And he did. And he laughed again. “Enjoying your talk with Karl, baker b.?” He grinned at me. “Suppose, Knock. It was… unexpected!” Knock didn’t laugh, just grinned. Karl laughed, however. They both stared at me. “He hasn’t told me about Z.” But Knock was gone.