She knows she saw it. The sea had DEMO written all over it, like it was mocking her very existence.
But she can’t seem to recreate the vision.
Wait: there it is.
Is that woman nude over there? The owners said: no nudity. And… well, where is perpetual birthday boy Tropp? It’s not Allen Y. obviously. That’s Pine Ridge. The bastard. Going rogue on Baker and me and creating his own batch of lousy characters. Dollie — what the heck? And a *frog*? I’ve seen *him* before: Middletown, where he was called Brazilian Bill. I assume soon enough a puny, sickly apple tree will show up sprouting off some craggy rock or such. “Make it so,”
Treelor Tropp might say, and it would be. Why… do I keep writing thinking Treelor instead of Tropp? Another 2-n-1? 2 Hearts in One. The glue? She better get back to the lodge. Of course she’s not going to report *these* 2. It’s going to happen here. The rule is more a suggestion, perhaps, as long as you do it in a harmless, non-graphic way.
Now back to looking for a nice car for when I get back.
When she looked up again the couple were gone. In their place, Allen Y. and Archibald Duke sat around a nearby campfire. Dollie and Piper are probably luring somewhere nearby, Jennifer rationalized, hidden by the tall grass or something. Looks like the lodge came to me. Better go see what they’re up to. I suppose. Or… she could just walk the other way. She eyes the exit route. Nah, too easy to spot — can’t get away with it. So it’s be *friendly*, true to my name. A last name I might share with Allen Y. someday. If he’s so inclined. Could be an interesting story. Story within a story.
“S’up guys?” She spots Dollie hidden in the nearby grass. “And gal.”
“Did you know Johnny Appleseed supposedly planted his *last* apple tree right here in these mountains.” Allen Y. pointed back in the direction they came. “Said so in the lodge brochure. Probably really old and shriveled by this point, wouldn’t you guess. Let’s go take a look.”
Jennifer looked west. *Knew* it, she thought.
The mists move in…
We follow a logical pattern. She was not ill any longer, just thinking while peering out the window at the beautiful landscape. Trees. Flowers. But not much mist yet, for the name. And what was *her* name while she was here? Misty is an obvious choice. But Allen Y. seemed to indicate Jennifer. Jennifer M. Friend. From the Occident. Can I be *2* stone here? 2 stone in one bird?
She kept reading her book, trying to seem only 1/2 interested. She was more than that. “Um hum,” she nodded while turning a page. “Fascinating.”
I didn’t say anything fascinating, thought Allen Y. to himself. I was just reading off the lunch menu from that bulletin board over there. Is she even *listening* to me. But what a beauty, a lovely beauty (1/2 and 1/2). Laurie was her name. Wait, that was Piper’s wife. He would have to sneak it out of her. He spoke louder to be heard better. “I’m so glad you’re feeling better, Mrs…. Ms….” he urged again.
Wheeler feigned shaking off a daydream, probably involving a plotline in the book she pretented to read. She was also prepared to make up a story about the story if needed. Frogs to princes. “What was that?”
Allen Y. decided to admit he couldn’t remember her name. “Oh,” she said, trying to be put off a bit. What *was* her name here? Misty? No: too obvious. She’d go with Jennifer. She said the name aloud, adding the middle initial and last name on a second go.
“Ah yes. Now I remember. A lovely and beautiful name, Jennifer.”
“Thank you.” She was truly pleased he liked it. *She* liked it. Maybe they could be friends here in this small backwater of virtual reality. MISTY MO.
More than Friends. *Friends*.
It was time to go out there.
“Why don’t you and Tropp get away from it all. Make a sort of vacation out of it. Another 2 stone with one bird situation. You keep an eye on Pine Ridge and his *unsanctioned* new gang at MISTY MO and at the same time further your own storyline. We can book you in the same lodge with the rest of ’em.”
Wheeler Wilson pondered what Baker Bloch was offering here at the Table. She’d just explained how Tropp and she were now banned from Braynard’s Place where he was, in effect, born into this world in present form, boy to man style. But he admitted to her it was worth it. Yes it was.