“Pitch, I’d like you to meet Jessica — put your hand back, sweetie, he’ll shake it in a moment — and this here is Phillip Linden. You know about my creator now. Well, Phillip kind of created this *whole thing* we’re in, this Second Lyfe of ours.”
“Cool,” Pitch replied. “Nice to meet you Jessica, Phillip.”
“Phillip runs a bar now,” continues Mary. “Just for laughs and giggles, you know. Something to do when he’s not away creating worlds. Like now apparently, haha.” She turned toward him to emphasize his “away” status at the time.
“We should go sometime,” suggests Mary, then winks at him. “To the bar, I mean.”
“What about *Steven*?” Was Mary asking him on a date despite what he knows?
“I knew you were going to say that.”
“You and I, Pitch,” said Mary to her pale counterpart. “We’re the real deal.” She turned to Philip and shouted. “Hey in there! Hey Phillip! What time does your bar open!?” Everyone in the building turned and stared.
Philip woke up from his away status, looked around. “Um, what was that, er, Mary?”
“I said!” Then she lowered her voice, realizing there was no need to shout any longer. “I *said*… what time does Gene Autry open?”
“The bar, silly. Your bar. Just over there in the corner of the sim. Above the ride. On the second floor of the freebies shop.” She turned back to Pitch, took his hand. “Here, let’s just head on over, sweetie. Phillip’s there already. I should know.”
“You see, Pitch darling. *This* is where it all happens. A philosopher’s corner. A veritable cornucopia of ideas and inventions. Why, just last week Phillip suggested the idea of a cubic moon for Second Life with equilateral gravity on all six sides. Not flat like this place. And I think that’s where it’s all headed, Pitch. Diagonal. Because diagonal leads beyond. Have you ever moved in a diagonal sugar?”
Pitch didn’t really know what Mary was babbling on about. A young black man who had been sitting on the opposite side of the room suddenly moved toward the bar toting a large, green lime between his hands. Not saying anything, he placed it on the counter, then exited via the stairs down to the lower floor.
Phillip became fully awake again, looked at Mary, looked at the big lime. “A lime is called a linden in Britain.”
“Who *was* that shadowy figure?” he begged.
And so it began.