“Dutch has appeared to me several times in reality. None in dreams. That’s kind of odd in itself.”
“Maybe,” returns Baker Bloch. He was nursing a bottle of Honey Brown lager. Old Mabel was trying out the bar’s green tea and finding it acceptable. Rhoda was subbing in for an under-the-weather Furry Karl tonight, which was surprising to Baker. “Rhoda?” he said, drawing the cyan ovoid flattie toward him.
“Yes sir. What’ll it be?”
“No, I’m fine with my lager still. I’m just wondering.” He paused, thinking about how to put it, and then just blurting the idea out. “I… I though you were dead.”
“No sir. Just working in another town. Bennington… ever heard of it?”
“Through Furry Karl, yeah. But weren’t you kind of, um, merged with the ballerina and Starbucaneer and then killed by that airplane crashing into the latter’s establishment about 3 months back?”
Rhoda thought hard. He did remember dying now. Several times. Many times. “I’ve been shot, stabbed, burned, crushed. Yes, I now recall that part of my existence. It all started back in Bennington with my head being sliced in two by Old Kent. You know, the shark. The thing with the fin on his back. The one who has trouble walking around on land. Has to slide and all.”
“Yes,” replies Baker. “I remember Old Kent. So you’re…” He paused again.
Rhoda helped him out once more. “I’m also peculiar because I’m a true flattie in reality and also here in this Second Lyfe of yours. Unlike, say, your Tin S. Man, your Spongebob or, um, well Furry Karl, although he doesn’t have fur in the real world.” Rhoda thought of a better example. “And like, say, Lisa Simpson.”
Baker thought back to how many other “12 Oz Mouse” characters had appeared in Collagesity, and how they compared to Rhoda’s appearance in same. There’s Old Kent, obviously, although he’s more actual shark-like here. Then Carrcassonee herself claims to be Fitz Mouse, the star of the show. And she says that her Spider is another incarnation of Fitz’s sidekick Skillet, although Spider is a chihuahua and Skillet is a squirrel. He thought. Baker then just posed the question to Rhoda.
“You remember Fitz Mouse, Skillet, and others at the, er, Cardboard City?” Baker took another sip of lager.
“Bennington, yeah,” replied Rhoda, who had begun moving away from Baker and Old Mabel but then returned.
“Well, if you’ll excuse me,” Old Mabel said. “I’ve got to run over to the Bodega market across the way and get some bread before I return home.” In truth, she was getting a little frustrated by Baker’s lack of focus tonight. She had important things to mull over about Dutch before starting to dream tonight, which was inevitable. Could she truly pass through the eastern gates of her home later tonight in dreams and find out what Dutch had been calling a “secret society”?
“Alright Old Mabel,” responded Baker. I’ll walk you home afterwards.” He again noticed the headphones around her neck. “How’s the Beetles listening going?”
Old Mabel was glad to have the attention shift back to her. “Fine, fine. I’m up to ‘Walls and Bridges’ now in my circumnavigation of John Lennon’s solo material. “Then it’ll be back to ‘Plastic Ono Band’ for another pass. Per your recommendation I skipped over the Ono tainted ‘Some Time in New York,’ despite the flattie recently appearing in the Blue Feather having that t-shirt.”
“The New York City t-shirt, yeah,” clarifies Baker. He was there when the Mykall Skall flattie appeared basically out of nowhere, matching the manifestation of Lennon and the rest of the Beetles walking Abbey Road on the wall into the Table Room. “Lennon knows about us.”
“I *know*,” states Old Mabel, getting excited about that idea again.
Rhoda had moved away now. Talk about Bennington and his fellow citizens could wait for another night. Plus: how to even explain it all? “Anything else for you bud?” he asked the back of Curled Paper’s Heineken loving nephew Raymond while passing by. No answer. “Guess not.” Rhoda continued gliding toward the far corner of the bar to start locking up for the night.