“What’s up, boss. I’m back, as you see.” Stumpy wanted MAT (Man About Time) to comment on his return, ask him what he’s been up to. Man About Time didn’t even know the formerly headless man went missing.
“That’s what I’m trying to tell you, hoss. He’s gone. So is Moe. I’m *back*.”
MAT tried to recall the bartender’s name. “You were… missing something.”
“My *head* is all. You almost didn’t hire me for the job because of it. Then Gotham came along and I became a head, almost the opposite. But then it all balanced out, thanks to the red, the wine. Red and blue coordinated. I’m back.”
“That… doesn’t make any sense.” Mild but to the point.
Stumpy began to wax philosophically, inspired by the pot dreams. “Life is a 3d movie, both red and blue. Stereoscop-ic. The trick is to see them *together*, make everything real around you. It’s tricky, yeah, but it’s worth it in the end. I’m 3d, you’re 3d. The bar is 3d. The new trailer park just over the street edge in front of the store is 3d…”
“Ahh yes, thanks. That’s what I came in for. I wanted to ask about renting a trailer, er, Stimpy. From Jim K. Polk.” The Man About Time then remembered he had already rented the trailer, already paid the last month’s rent, already cleaned out the premises and came here to find Stumpy back on the job. It’s like the Karl/Moe intermediate period never existed. He looked around the room. Another head should be here besides Stumpy’s and my own, he thought. But it was hit out of the ballpark, bruised and battered somewhere far over a left field fence.
Man About Time was worried about flipping around time because he was now the logical candidate to replace Baker Bloch once the blog protagonist moved on to the White Palace, which already might have occurred. Now that fellow candidate Jeffrie Phillips has left town with that cryptozoologist who hangs out down at Spunky’s. Where was Spunky anyway? I recall 2 people of that name in town, one small, red, and with horns. The other…”
“I see you’re still confused about time,” Stumpy spoke up, seeing the glazed look in MAT’s eyes.
“H-how long have you been back?” MAT managed.
“Just got back. Ask me where I’ve been. Buy a returned employee a drink why don’t you. I’ll buy you one and we’ll call it even.”
But then Stumpy forgot all about the experience in the Green Yarn sim as well, and his gig there. Gigi was always at the bar, but he doesn’t recall that either. He had the unfortunately experience of going into the 1898 room and falling asleep, replacing Jeffrie in the bed — another replacement for him. Stumpy stares at MAT, MAT stares at Stumpy. They suddenly realize one is as much of a mess as the other, unable to replace anybody, anywhere, any*thing*.
(to be continued)