That belt is giving me strange dreams, she thinks after waking up and recalling. Must stop using it so much.
She goes to check on Toddles. “Toddles?” Not in the bedroom, not under the covers. “Land sake’s child.” She calls downstairs. “Are you down in the kitchen!?” She descends the stairs — not there. She searches the entire house. Her precious precocious grandchild is gone! The belt did something to her that night. Broke through the drugs that Toddles had carefully and stealthily dispensed into her bedtime toddy, as was common. The belt doesn’t want Toddles to succeed in her mission of growing up way too soon so that she can save the world, several worlds in fact. All Orange.
If she wasn’t so worried about Toddles, Alice Farrowheart would have noted that the belt was gold instead of steely grey in the dreams, and wondered what that meant. It too is growing in power. A face off (to the death?) is probably in the works.
“Grounded!” I say. “GROUNDED. And gimme those drugs you use to doctor my toddy. You’ll grow up to be a heroin addict or worse and put me in an early grave, Toddles.” Alice Farrowheart, her dear dear “Granny,” couldn’t stop shaking her head; the belt did this, the psychic toddler realized. Alice F. held out her hands. “DRUGS,” she demanded. “I want to see what you’ve come up with in that wee evil noggin of yours.” Toddles produced 2 pills, one red and one blue, from the pocket on her baby jumper. “Take them,” she said. It wasn’t a request. It was an order. Time to pull out the big guns, hypnosis and not what. Toddles had collected a bag full by now.
“Where were you Toddles? I was looking all over for you. I was worried!”
“Just getting some milk for me and Whimpers (cat).”
“Aww,” Grammy let off. “That’s so *sweet*.”
“Phew. That was close!” she admitted to milk sipping Whimpers after Grammy puttered off back to bed.
“Oh no, Toddles. Those are much too big for you. Let’s go over there to the children’s section if your heart’s set on new shoes today.”
“I want *those*,” she demanded, quite unlike the kind, precocious, precious little thing we’re accustomed to in this here blog and accompanying photo-novel. She knew what they were. A one way ticket out of here. “*Those*,” she reinforced, holding her point. Holding, holding…
“Land sake’s, child. You’ll never be able to walk back across town with those things on.”
“I’ll manage.” She’ll grow into them soon enough.
“I wonder where that Bigfoot picture is at the Consignment sim, Hucka? Instead: mermaids at the same spot. And everything else seems to have shifted around as well — windmill in front instead of back, and so on. It’s like a parallel version of itself.
She stares out from the hot pink bed to the spinning Ferris wheel, wishing she could fly. And soon she will. Hideout no more.
“I’m coming Tropp.”
Mission failed, The Man separates from the Ant again, probably becoming The Mann with that extra “n” in the process. He finds himself on the east coast of Pickle 02, the green one, staring out at the sea. He wonders why he’s here, then spots it. Humpback whale sighting.
“This must be New York,” he says about the Pickle he’s on, but also probably the other one too, since they are opposite sides of the same thing most likely.
He looks and looks but only the one sighting. And a brief, happy song.
“In looking at them, Hucka D., it seems the green one is the only pickle. One Pickle, then, not two.”
“No, both are Pickles. Both have the Squishy Pickle restaurants. The sand colored one in fact has two, which makes up for the (flimsy) shape in my humble estimation.”
“Takes two to know,” ventures Baker Bloch.
“Suppose. (pause) Let’s get this over with, then.”
Baker merges the pictures before them.
“A jumbled mess,” offers Baker. “And probably a copyright infringement as well.”
“From the future.”
Baker Bloch stares. “Adam and Eve, pheh.” He sighs. “The Mann was right in stepping away from all this. Where is The Mann anyway?”
“Maybe that’s next.”