It was the first meeting of their TILE discussion group, yet without a name. Mr. Z, with continentally constituted backpack per usual, then his prettier brother also named Mr. Z. Let’s call him Zimmy. And then, thirdly but not lastly, as people like to say, a scowling cousin called — let’s go with Olive Oylslick, not to be confused with Owley Oilstick over in Constitution who works a bread stand. No relation atall between them except a common 5th grade kindergarten teacher named Ed. Or was it Ralph. Anyway, to the meeting…
The lights had to be dimmed because TILE was not an officially recognized religion or philosophy or even game in this particular part of The City. One of the reasons the discussion group was formed was to help change all that, bring TILE out in the open.
“Minute taker anyone?” Mr. Z offered to start the proceedings. Owly, I mean, Olive raised her hand. She knew she had the only handwriting anyone could decipher amongst their group. Her favorite push pencil magically appeared in it. She had that power; another advantage. A writing pad popped into existence in the other one. She glared in the direction of the Z’s, waiting for them to open their big fat mouths again and produce things to write about. She was patient, but not of a mental kind. Not any more. She manifested two pills in her mouth and swallowed, one red and one blue. That way her size stayed the same.
With this, Phyllis also manifested on the far end of the room beside the purple stripes of the TILE flag they had collaged together just last night: the last member, the one Olive forgot she even invited to the group. Met her at a chilly Denver airport on a snowy April day in July. Chile Colorado. And she had Ralph or Ed for a 5th grade kindergarten teacher too. Anyhoot, she’s here — and I suppose this is the real Owley. So Phyllis, not Owley, complete with bread and a little milk to wash it down with to show she cares.
“Some of these colors will have to be removed,” she declares while looking sideways, making Olive begin to scribble.
40 minutes later, she had the minutes to the meeting. Trouble is, her cousins, the Z’s, hadn’t even said a thing while watching her slash away at the notepad with the push pencil, clicking it every couple of minutes to produce new graphite as the old wore away. She just dictated what Phyllis was telling her. No one else saw or heard Phyllis. No one else knew she existed. It was all in the pills. But they *had* their manifesto. Olive looked up, realized what was going on. She’d been in a trance for quite a while. She looked at her cousins, Zimmy and the other one who only goes by Mister. “You can go home now,” she gruffly declares. “I’ll email you the typed results tonight.”