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“Ahem, I am looking for the purple girl,” Sandy Beech announced to the 2nd floor of the Great Marwood Tower in general, a duplicate of our Parisian Eiffel in scale if not in size. An older lady in a flowery black dress at the bakery counter turned to him and cleared her throat as well. “*Ahem*, young man.”

“Yes?” Sandy inquired. “You know something? I’m talking about the Blue Berry Girl,” he clarified. Of course he didn’t add that The Twins were looking for her. No one needs to know that here… none of these bots who, despite being unreal, still have eyes to see and ears to hear. They know things. He’s learned that down through the months existing in this place. And Marwood is thick with them. That’s their raison d’etre, apparently.

“I know something. But it, uhum, will cost (*cough*).” She took another deep drag of her Winston cigarette, her last. But she had a Marlboro pack ready in the top of her left white stocking, stretching it beyond needed elasticity. Oh well, she’d could always sell the damaged goods down at the Cub Run thrift shop in Apple’s Orchard (Apple’s Orchard?) for another carton or two; they weren’t particular about what they take in. Or maybe some sweets of some kind. Maybe rum cake — killing two birds with one stone as it were. Satisfying two vices at once. “Young man,” she prompted, ready to get the sale on. “Are you still there young man?”

“Of course I’m here,” Sandy shot back bitterly. Stupid bots, he thinks inwardly. Always questioning whether you’re real or not or here or not. I suppose it’s a defense mechanism built into their kind.

“I –“. But she broke down here and forgot what she was doing. The next carton beckoned. She pulled up the dress from her stockinged legs and retrieved. Sandy turned away, having seen enough old in his days of taking care of ma-ma and Aunty Jenn. Sandy gave up in that direction. He decided she was just leading him on.

“Like what you see?” The older woman then spoke toward bakery attendant Betty John Hammock and confidently declared, “he likes what he sees,” making her nod. Stupid bots.

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Filed under **VIRTUAL, 0021, 0512, Jeogeot^^, NWES Island

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