“I told you to always shut the door behind you when you come in here, Philip.”
“Oh… sorry.” Philip Strevor touches the treehouse door and closes it. He looks back at Marion Harding, at the ring.
“Why can’t Heidi join us?”
“You know why, Philip. She’s a distraction to you. We need to *focus*. It’s time to start deciding what to do with this… core.”
“Is it?” Philip began asking, then hesitated. “I mean, is it really the source of all? Our Second Lyfe itself?”
“Beyond,” answered Marion religiously. “Beyond Second Lyfe. Beyond even Virtual Reality.”
“But… Virtual Reality is *everything*,” Philip protested. “There’s *nothing* beyond. No life could exist in the void.”
“There’s the users,” Marion explained. “The ones in heaven looking down on us and controlling us like puppets.” He leaned forward more, green ring growingly glowing in the fire light. “I want to cut the strings, Philip. I want out.” But, again, he thinks of the Horizons-Spica fishing shack and settles back in his seat, intensity diminished.”
“How, er, did it escape obliteration in the Ichelus volcano again? It’s like that book over there: ‘Lord of the Rings.'” Philip pointed to Marion’s right from his angle. “Caucasian Tommy Brade threw the ring into the volcano, thereby destroying them both.”
Marion blew out air. “Listen, Philip. You did an excellent job of sleuthing about the ring on the illegal interwebs feed out in Minkowski. The dark skies allowing you to connect to the Corsican east coast satellite. Brilliant.”
“Booker’s widow played a big role in that. Give credit where credit is due, I always say.”
“Nice. But we’re not bound to any one path of manifestation. We’re taking different strands and weaving a rope — something different and new. Take Casey One Hole stuck over there in the Gaston-Berry Police Station jail. In ‘Twin Peaks’ his double, this Dopple Coop, was released from Yankton Prison to continue his murderous ways. Casey One Hole will, however, remain in his cell, keys thrown away. Actor Tom Casey didn’t expect this. He expected his role to be larger. He won’t be paid the sum of money he desired. That’s where Anorexia comes into play, and ‘Pumpkintwisters.’ Poodle Doo too.”
“Man this is making my head hurt,” responds Philip. “Any Asprind around here?”
“Aspirin?” Marion alters. “We won’t need any aspirin where we’re going Philip. Because we won’t have any heads.” He stared at Philip, letting the acute declaration suck in the air all around them.
Heidi Hunt Ives suddenly bursts into the treehouse, breaching the vacuum.
“I’m booored. Are you *grown ups* finished with your big boy talk? Let’s go get ice cream. Rey Wisa has a special running until 10 o’clock. 3 triple dip cones for the price of 2. Let’s go! I’m booored,” she reinforces.