Things seemed pretty much back to normal in the Hole in the Wall after the Big Rain. Karoz was sitting at his usual spot at the end of the bar playing his card game. A totally intact Furry Karl tended the bar. But there had been changes. Oh yes.
“Karl, what happened to Devil Dave’s trailer outside? It wasn’t there when I walked down from the market.”
Furry Karl glanced out the door. “Oh yeah, I haven’t noticed. Didn’t hear anything last night. But maybe, don’t you think, he’s *gone* gone. Left the scene.”
“I was just getting kind of use to him being here.”
“Oh you weren’t around that horrible night when the rain peaked, Karoz,” responded Karl. “I thought I was going to get eaten alive!”
“But you’re here, and your whole Karl,” reassured Karoz. “How about the New Guy? His name is Dave too, claims Baker Blinker. Don’t you think…”
“He came in here late last night,” interrupted Furry Karl. “Said he had just finished a book by this guy Blood Curdling, and it kept mentioning my name.”
“Well, did he guess?”
“He knows. That’s obvious.” Furry Karl paused, wondering if he should tell Karoz what’s on his mind. “He talked about the Tinbaby.”
“The what?” Karoz hadn’t read
Blood Curdling’s Furry Karl’s book.
Furry Karl described the Tinbaby, to Karoz, as a green tinted robot with an exterior beating heart and a spike on top of his head. Actually there is no green tint: that’s just the reflection from the many trees in the Rubi Woods. Tinbaby is made of tin and is colored so. And the exterior heart is just a symbolic one made of plastic. Carrcassonnee knows this being as Dr. Blood, a larger, more grown up version. Dr. Blood can walk about the town freely, but Tinbaby is limited to the 8×5 dimensions of the woods. Furry Karl has seen the smaller entity numerous times. He describes it as a monster.
“Doesn’t sound all that bad, Karl,” says Karoz. “I mean, how tall did you say this thing was?”
“4 feet, maybe 5 sitting down.” Furry Karl was exaggerating for the sake of a tall tale.
“When do you see him? Or is it a her?”
“Monsters don’t necessarily have a sex,” came the answer. “I suppose he (or she) uses that spike on top of his head to gorge things, like a unicorn horn.”
“Unicorn, eh?” Karoz responded. “Is this *new* Dave, this, what does he like to be called?”
Furry Karl didn’t know.
“Anyway, is he still crashing at Baker Blinker’s sometimes?” Karoz eyed Furry Karl keenly.
“I think he lives in Orange Home (at the end of Cannon Street).”
“But,” continued Karl, “he was up all night last night at Baker Blinker’s reading that book.”
On cue, Bogota (Dave) walks into the bar and sits down in front of Furry Karl, at the same seat he had the night he first revealed himself. Karl begins to get ansey again. Bogota turns to Karoz.
“Karoz, I’m not going to ask Karl because I know he doesn’t want to go, but I thought you might help me. I need a witness.”
“What’s going on, er…”
“I’ve found the center of the woods, Karl”, Bogota answered simply. “I know a way out… another way. One I didn’t really expect.”
“You’ve found the — center — of the woods?” Karl repeated back.