She told me to shut the door if I was going to make those kind of rude noises. I hadn’t realized anyone else was here; concluded all of these so-called people were actually bots — unreal avatars. Filler. But she spoke to me while I smoked on the toilet. I was trying to purge myself of Tennessee so I could get back to Elsie outside but here was something different, a real “flesh and blood” type who I might talk to and get actual information from about what was going on in town. Like the old days; pre-bots. The bots, true, saw everything, but they were programmed to move certain places, complete certain gestures. Unless this was a really advanced model from, say, Ohio, there was no way she could speak to me like that. She could hear my noises, she could tell I hadn’t shut the door. I had to go find out who this lady of the darkness was. Maybe my head could override my hips for a change.
I suddenly recognized her while she continued to eat. “Oh. You’re that Oz lady, the one with the puppets. I saw one of your shows.” I saw the *beginning* of one of your shows, he thinks, until distracted by baubles as usual. Not Elsie in that case but another. I think her name was Gertrude.
“What do you know… of Oz? What does *anybody* know of Oz?” She slurped her noodles again, another type of rude noise. Tit for tat. Definitely not a bot.
Then the drunk outside joined us and things got really interesting.
Soon we had quite the crowd and I lit another fag, taking it all in. Chatting! Actual chatting. About Seven. Turns out Bimbo, formerly O’Bimbo, and Jimbo, formerly O’Jimbo were brother and sister, some say twins. Some say: one and the same.
I crouch down like a monkey and wait for the rabbit.
Suddenly I was back at war, like in childhood. “Hold your fire!” she called over.
Jimbo, formerly O’Jimbo, was a Pan-Z or at least Pot-D contact in town but he ran away from me when I started quizzing him about Seven. Interesting — maybe he’s just scared of the still rampant virus going on around Our First and Second Lyves, even though I turned my head while talking and made sure I sneezed into my elbow that one time.
Last I saw of him he was riding a pegasus. I stopped following…
Later on, I remembered that he had been dead for at least a year, no fear of virus needed.
I stopped again when I saw static being displayed in a store front. I got so excited my head started vibrating a bit. A change was happening.
It was all quite red and V-shaped over here in this corner of the parcel. I decided to sit for a spell on a small turf of Linden terrain poking up through the pavement to regain my bearings. The static had thrown me off. Must be a Kentucky model.
Across the way, a drunk was stumbling while a raccoon closed his or her eyes. Neither had mail to post.
Ahh, the virus itself. I could kick it like a football clean outta here, all the way to the coast, the ocean. But I decided to save my strength for something else I spied in the distance.
Ahh, Elsie. Where have you been my whole life?
But then I got slapped when I used too much Tennessee.
“I will withdraw the monkey in me,” she said while standing on the edge. “Crime rates *will* go down in this here Collagesity, 25 in a series of 1.” Who is she to be so small yet so wise?
I still have a definite presence in NWES City over on the Jeogeot continent, just diminished. We’ll see how that develops.
“Dear, can we go to the temple… now?”
“Not yet. I’m still trying on shoes.”
Ray’s well deserved pizza should be arriving any minute. He’s forgotten who he is again.
And static. Glorious static.