Allen Y. decided that the whole gang of his selves should meet afterwards to discuss Treelor, Tropp, a lot of things actually. Facelight remained off. Facelight doesn’t work in a Gang of Selves photo. He decided today that Archibald Duke should speak his first words. “I’ve seen you in The Waste, Archie — can I call you Archie?” No answer (yet). “I’ll call you Archie, then. But I remember you lurking around the Throne of Bauer or the Bauer Throne — whatever — maybe even sitting on it. Yeah, I remember you perched under the ruined purple or black parasol.”
“Black”, spoke Archie, his first word.
Allen Y. nodded approvingly. “Good. Good first word, good one.” But Allen Y. then clearly remembered that the umbrella in question was purple. This was instead an opening into something deeper. A sea with mysterious bottom-writing. Something about demons.
“Black,” Archie repeated.
No other mention of Bauer was spoken that day.