Allen Martin was almost at the point where he turned right to get to his upstairs apartment when he spotted them on the bench ahead. Always curious about visitors to his adopted town, he checked their profiles. Wheeler Wilson and Musician Resident: somehow familiar. Checking further, he also sees groups they are members of that he knows about — Blue Feather Gallery in particular. Although it’s not his typical policy, he decides to introduce himself.

He walks down the steep set of stairs to the road and saunters up. True to his name, Musician Resident (The Musician) was producing music, namely playing what might be a Bob Dylan song to Allen Martin’s admittedly rather untrained ears. He sits down on the curb next to him and listens in, like the other avatar on the bench — this Wheeler Wilson — seems to be doing as well.

The old man starts grooving to the lyrics.

Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV
And you think you’re so clever and classless and free
But you’re still fucking peasants as far as I can see
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be
There’s room at the top they’re telling you still
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill
If you want to be like the folks on the hill
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be
If you want to be a hero well just follow me
If you want to be a hero well just follow me

Allen Martin dares to applaud at the end. Wilson Wheeler emits a few claps of her own. “That was marvelous,” the old man offered. “Is that a Dylan?”

“Yeah,” replies The Musician acidly. “Thomas. Dylan Thomas. He stayed in that very hotel down this street; wrote some of the best folk lyrics ever penned. Dylan Thomas was the man in his day. Even moreso than Thomas Mann.”

“Oh stop it,” urges Wheeler, hitting him on the shoulder with her hand. “The guy’s just trying to be friendly.” She speaks to the stranger. “That was a Lennon song, um, Martin I see. Allen Martin — interesting name. Seems familiar.”

“I was just thinking the same about your name. We seem to have some groups in common. Blue Feather Gallery in particular. You guys aren’t from Collagesity by chance are you?”

Wheeler doesn’t answer immediately, perhaps disappointed that Allen Martin hadn’t recognize her. “You could say that,” she finally managed.

“Which part? I was from the North. Until the land was sold. Had to pull up stakes again. I’ve stopped here in my travels several times.” He wipes his brow with his hand. “Let’s see I suppose this is about my 5th layover in VHC City. Not Town, mind you. That’s how you spot strangers. That all came from an error in a promotional pamplet about 7 years back. Yes, the printer is dead now. Unusual circumstances. Some say he still haunts the berg, whispering lies into impressionable ears and brains. But I wander…”

“Yes,” The Musician says plainly. He turns to Wheeler. “We should probably go.”

“Hold on, hold on,” Wheeler says. “You use to run the gas station up on Robin Lane. I remember you now. You had a dog.”

“Well, I have a *son* named Doogie. Close to doggie. But less obedient.” He smiles.

“No, I distinctly remember a pet.”

“Oh, you mean *Aspinwall.* Still got the little feller. And I still run a gas station, just here in VHC City. For now.” He looks at their rumpled, rather dirty clothing. “You sure you guys are doing okay here? Do you need some help? Us Collagesity alums should stick together.” He’s guessed their situation.

“We’re fine,” The Musician snaps back.

“What are you offering?” Wheeler follows immediately afterwards. She knew they couldn’t stay here much longer without help. The vampires were moving in.

Vampire moving in.

“Well, if you’re talking about living arrangements, I have not one but three apartments rented in town right now. You could crash in the lower one for a while if you need. I rented three so I would have lots of prims to work with at the station. Seems like every time Doogie walks onto the premises, there goes 7 prims right there.”

“I don’t get it,” The Musician says to him, and turns to Wheeler and states the same.

“He’s got a son who’s composed of 7 prims,” explains Wheeler. “Obvious. Okay, we’ll take a look. Thanks very much!” Wheeler runs up and kisses him on the cheek. “And just so you know,” she then whispers in his ear, “I use to *own* Collagesity. Keep that in mind when dealing with me. I’m a controller.” She takes his hand. “Now let’s look at that apartment.”

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