Axis again worships Lu Ellen Hutchison (or Hutchinson) before entering his NWES coffee shop. Who is now his wife, at least last time he checked (Wednesday).
He enters the coffee shop proper…
… only to see two avatars sitting at his favorite table instead of the one he expected. The conversation already taking place was briefly interrupted.
“There he is,” whispered Man About Time to Tracy Austin. “Behind the column. It’s as if he doesn’t think we can *see*.”
They talked about many things that night, the two of them and then all three together when Axis finally came out of “hiding”. One by one (by one), they began to understand all revolved around Peter — after all, the only Variant at The Table who was never a Variant. Peter and “Lamb”. They vowed, 3 hands clasped together at the center of *this* table (standing, remorseful Axis from the side), that Grandpapa didn’t die in Vain. Because, of course, we already know he died in Kowloon. His “Lamb” will live on.
“I am pleased,” I can hear him say from that Great Elderly Center in the Sky, lost cane back in hand again.
“I can’t believe it,” Guy Benjamin exclaimed a little later to Grandmama after she broke the news. “Grandpapa’s dead!”
“Did in with his own cane,” she explained, her voice starting to waver. “The old fool.” She was inconsolable for months, maybe years. Axis had done a bad thing. A bad bad thing. We must reexamine the ultimate motives of his character in light of this horrendous act.
There was only one place to go.
“I can’t see, Fish Head. I had to borrow an old man’s cane just to get here. He’s laying back there in the alley — may want to tell the local authorities in an hour or two. Make it two… since I’m blind. Anyway, you better tell the Heart Queen that I’m going to have to abort the mission.”
Fish Head began mixing the booze in his hands again, eventually saying, “she’s not going to like it.”
“I know, I know,” Axis followed quickly. “Just tell her.” He points to his sightless, red eyes. “Not much choice.”
Fish Head retrieved a glass underneath the bar and poured the mixed drink in from the canister. He pushed the glass toward Axis. “Here. Drink this down. Then have a re-consider.”
Axis knew he wasn’t going to “have a re-consider” but took the drink anyway. Free booze was always a weakness. But Fish Head, of course, knew that already. “Go ahead,” he urged. Axis drank.
He woke up in a trench beneath the water. He wasn’t blind any longer — looked up and saw a spinny red, fabric-like thingie wielding scissors and knife in metal hands. Another doctor.
He knew he had been fixed up.
He stands up and makes his way through the trench back to the surface. Still in the service of the Heart Queen obviously.
I’m very close to the answer, Axis thinks while staring up.
He turns. Very close.
He buys the “white eye” offered on top of the old drum can for a linden dollar, wears, and instantly becomes blinded.