“You and I are the important ones to talk together. Please. Sit opposite me. Tell me what’s happening in Collagesity. Of course I can see some of it from my blue palace here. But tell me more. What’s over those green, green hills? How much power can I grant Carrcassonnee and not expect it to backfire on me? How do I *govern*? Advise please, Baker Bloch.”
“Why don’t you tell me what you know and then I’ll attempt to fill in the gaps. Attempt, I said there. We’re just starting this up.”
“Good advise already. We obviously must separate restricted and unrestricted. Restricted is my blue palace here. Done.” She makes a check gesture on the table in front of her. “Dammit, Curled, where’s my notebook. I requested a notebook.”
“Sorry mum,” says the giant light bulb topped Curled Paper to her side, not putting down his book. “I’ll run up to the Bodega market.”
“No, no, you just keep sitting there and reading, I suppose. I want to see more of the town changes anyway so I’ll go up there after our meeting.” She composes herself; shoulders relaxed. “So… that’s building the wall, as Carrcassonnee recommended before her untimely, um, shrinking.”
“I would agree you must make a private and a public appearance,” Baker responds.
“You’re several lines behind, Baker Bloch. Please keep up.” She stands. “*Now*. Let me just go over to my chart…”
“Curled Paper! No chart either? I asked this room to be prepared for my meeting with Baker Bloch. A very important meeting I might add, because this is the beginning. I gave you a list. Not a long list. We need to shape up…” She didn’t add the “ship out” part to this, attempting to curtail her anger at least a little. No one likes a total despot. Or a total bitch, she then thinks.
“And what’s this trash bag.”
“I was attempting to tidy up the room a bit,” replies Curled. “All the construction mess, you know. I guess I forgot about my list in the confusion. It won’t happen again mum.” But he still didn’t put down his book.
“It smells weird,” Wheeler says. She unties the bag and peers inside, reeling back from the escaping odor. “My God Curled Paper. Is that your… brother??”
15 minutes later, Wheeler was still sitting silent in her chair, pondering what just transpired. Curled Paper then returned to the table after properly disposing of the trash bag and its contents. She didn’t talk to him. She stared at Baker Bloch, finger to mouth. Finally, she was able to let it pass and restarted the conversation with Baker. “So about this… DAMMMIT!” Hummie the hummingbird had flown in from the open door to Perch, droningly introducing itself as it darted from corner to corner. Baker got up and attempted to shoo it back out into Perch.
Success. Baker sits down again. Were they ever going to get to the important stuff this evening? he thinks. He watches as Wheeler rolls her eyes. Curled Paper has picked back up his book and started reading again, but with the title subtly changed. Baker decides to break the ice.
“Winesap,” he says, indicating Curled Paper. “It looms large.” Just like his brother use to, Baker realizes. Another block.