New angle

“Back already eh? Been clowned, huh?”

“It’s going away,” Wheeler clarified to Chuckles Greentop. “Somewhat.”

“You learned to keep your mouth shut about the Underworld, hehe.”

“Suppose so.”

“You want (more) information.”

“Yes. Are you OD?”

Greentop answered Wheeler’s question with an invitation. “Walk with me down the tracks and I’ll speak what I know. You understand there are ears here and ears are in hears. Petty looms; Doogie Martin will not fully return for a while, perhaps a long while. But first: walk. I want to show you some other fishing holes. I want to encourage you to take up angling as much as I can.”

—–

“See, I’ve already got one,” Chuckles happily exclaimed at the next fishing hole, about 200 meters south of the first.”

“Must admit it’s pretty. And relaxing!”

“And no ears to hears. 10 minutes more here and I’ll show you the next.”

Wheeler was in no hurry. “Take your time. I’m good.”

—–

“Just wanted to show you this upper pool to the same flow. Right under the railroad. I’ve found that maggots work best here. Different bait for different pools, see. It’s an art and a science both. Little of both. I call it Phenix Pool because it sometimes dries up completely but then comes back after a rain.”

“Makes sense I guess,” agrees Wheeler.

—–

They move about 150 meters south of that, still just off the railroad tracks.

“Check *this* out. Beautiful, no?”

“‘Tis nice,” coos Wheeler.

“And your clown face is about gone already. Let me take a look.”

“Yes, much better. One more watering hole should do it. But first — another upper pool.”

—–

“You just relax back there Wheeler. I’m reeling them in from the other side. Reeling reeling reeling. Wee!”

—–

“This is as far south as I usually go,” explains Chuckles Greentop, still reeling them in. “Linden land between the two tracks, see; worms work best here. Bigger perch, but fewer and further apart.”

“So it’s about all perch you catch. In any of the pools we visited.”

“Perch is the name of the game, yeah. Good eating too if you’re into that kind of thing. I’m a strict vegetarian myself.”

“Interesting.”

“And… your nose is back to normal. Good as new.” Chuckles pauses. “Sure you want to go back into that place? You could just keep running south. Run run run, all the way back to Collagesity. That’s where you have control.”

“I know.”

“Why go back?”

“Musician,” Wheeler says plainly. “And now… Allen. Above ground for the first, below for the latter.”

“So you’ll have to choose in that way as well.”

“Suppose. I can’t give up either right now.”

“I want to plant a name in your brain, then. Keep a lookout for it.” Chuckles stopped here and cast her rod again into deeper water. She looked up in the sky, gauging the sun’s progression as it sank to the west. “Nightfall in about 1 hour. You either go back now or keep running.”

“You said you had a name to give me,” Wheeler urged.

“Oh right.” But then Chuckles looked up into the sky and forgot what she promised again.

“Are you okay?” Wheeler took a closer look. “Oh dear. Transference.”

Wheeler would have to find her own way again.

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