“Lost your girl, eh?” Like any good bartender, Furry Karl was trying to empathize with a treasured customer.
“Yeah,” said Roger Pine Ridge. “Literally.” Roger wished he had a joint to smoke instead of a Marlboro. He stated this desire to Karl.
“We’re working on (the marijuana) license,” Karl encouraged. “Should know by the end of the month. Town council voted on it yesterday. One problem is the flow of grass coming into the village. Some say it should naturally be from Hana Lei. Countering this, some say Jeogeot and the Gulf region, despite the escalating war there. Depends on which way you twist the ring, see.”
“Ah… the ring. And where is our precious ring presently?” Roger Pine Ridge was itching to use it himself and investigate these supposedly grass laden lands.
Karl reaches under the counter and pulls out a magically generated log sheet only he and several others can read. “Let’s see, according to this Rocky Racco presently has the ring. That’s my boss now, apparently.” Karl pauses here to shake his head but doesn’t say anything that will put him in jeopardy. He collects himself while pretending to have something in his eye, then looks down again at the log. “And he’s, um, in Jeogeot.” Karl blows out air. “With The Kidd.”
Actor Tom Casey was enjoying an outdoor bath at his Middletown house when he got the call from The Kidd. She ask him to set her tower up per usual and she would come over as quick as possible and sit in the chair. She also had a surprise for him tonight. His acting abilities were finally to be employed! Oh, and The Kidd wanted him to ring up Karoz in Chilbo.
“I’m glad you ditched those ridiculous pants, Karoz.”
“What are we looking at tonight?” He wanted to get on with it so that he could return to his meal of asparagus tips and potted mincemeat with Baker Blinker in Chilbo. The call from Casey came mid bite.
“Settle down, settle down,” Billie Jean Kidd encouraged. “Get into the role again. Middletown role. You’re not in Chilbo any more.” Karoz received the message. Billie understood that his Chilbo existence was real and that this was merely a dream. But was she right? He stared at the changing picture.
“No, that’s just us,” Billie then said, also looking. “Give me a moment.” She began to browse through past posts. “You have to watch the appearance of those mirror worlds, where you stare into yourself staring into yourself staring into yourself and so on. That came up with 11111 recently. 5 is usually the limit, but enough!” She’d found the appropriate picture. She zoomed in.
“This is what Roger Pine Ridge was staring at, Karoz, in a recent post. Through it he knew he was new and that Waters was old. I have a feeling he’s going to be listening to a lotta old time radio downloads of comedians Lum and Abner during his stay in Collagesity. Better get himself a nice audio system, because those files are not the best quality. I should know. He needs to listen carefully.”
Karoz looked at Waters on the map, at New. His attention was then drawn to Ogden and also Gaston to their right. He recognized the names. He recognized the *map*.
“David Bowie as Jeffrie Phillips sits on the Twin Peaks inspired couch,” Billie Jean Kidd continued, knowing what Karoz knew. “Alive and well. He is only pausing. Whitestar.”
Karoz turned and stared at Billie Jean Kidd. “Who are you?”
“You know full well who I am, Karoz. Will we contest for the future of Collagesity once more? A *tennis* match this time instead of a wrestling match? Only you can save Collagesity at any rate. You and Baker Blinker.”
“I… we don’t plan to fully return,” replied Karoz, hands on hips.
“One more on the map and we can talk about that. We just move directly east, to the eastern side of the county. Recognize *this*? It plugs directly into the other 5×5 here as well as the Wizard’s Cube for emphasis, which is also a “W” in this spot. My spot. This is what we need to explore, Karoz. Obvious, isn’t it?”
Casey the Alien wakes up inside Middletown proper.