arrival 02

“Philip! Come here!”

—–

“She said her name was Edwardston. I figured that was code for something.” Billy Jean Kidd had an opinion but bit her tongue for a change. “She said she was waiting for spring to arrive in Rosehaven before properly returning. I told her the snow’s melting, melting, melting as we speak — shouldn’t be long. She said she had to wait until it was good and gone because she didn’t like snow one bite. ‘One bite’, she said. Not ‘one bit’.”

“A byte is 8 bits,” offered Philip to one side. “I learned that in my computer science class.”

“The one you failed. Speeding through your assignments all the time and not paying attention to what you were doing.”

“How about you?” Philip countered to his old school chum Marion. “Always high. Always slow… to learn.”

“Admittedly it was a blur. The whole school thing… but — anyway — getting back on subject, Edwardston said she knew all about the Oracle.” He paused here.

“Well?” urged Billy Jean Kidd on the other side, finally showing her impatience again. They had a 15 minute window here at the Vineyard cafe to talk about something serious, very serious, in as clear a way as possible. And it was 5:36 now. They were 6 minutes in — almost halfway into this theoretical space. Rainbow space. BJK indicated their time limit to the others.

“Aww, that’s just something you made up,” insisted Philip to her left. “It’s not like at 5:45 I’m going to get up, go to one corner, pull out my dime bag of cocaine, line it up neatly on the table, and then take a straw and sniff, sniff, sniff — very quickly.” Philip imagined how pleasant this would be, and the resulting state.

“Yes you will,” states Marion plainly. “You always do. 15 minutes after sweets. Always the same story.”

“5:39 now,” issues BJK, pointing to the watch still not on her wrist.

“Anyway,” continues Marion. “She said the tiger pictures were placed at the end of the tale on purpose. And then — get this — she said she came from *between* the two of them.”

“What’s that mean?” inquired BJK.

“I asked the same thing to Edwardston and she didn’t respond. Instead she got up: ‘Walk with me,’ she said. There was another part to explore. The large balcony was just the beginning of the end, she said. ‘Walk with me,’ she repeated.”

“5:42, now,” implored BJK, sneaking a glance at Philip. His forehead had begun to perspire. So little time left!

“We rounded a corner of the large room and entered another one, with a window facing the opposite direction — toward the north instead of the south, I believe. A man named Pat sat on a couch surrounded by cats.”

Philip gets up from the table.

“Time’s up,” BJK declared, throwing her hands in the air.

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