Duncan was often very busy with his Pot-D assignments, letting George explore VHC City and its environs on his own. Lone stipulation from Duncan, basically: stay within The Sphere. George had worked out the geodesic dimensions very well down through the years now. Tronesisia and her computer mind had help in the olden days, before the coming of rain. Now it always seemed to rain, for example, in the PCH Forest (partly within The Sphere) owned by Clare Nova, one of the 4 famous Nova siblings — the Supernovas they were called; again back in the day. George had met Clare but not a lot. She gave him permission to wander around the PCH Forest, the structures within. One thing (stipulation again): don’t eat of the fruit from the tree in the center of the woods. We know where this comes from.
George often wondered what *exactly* is that tree in the center of the woods. There were many trees here, and none seemed more central than the other, at least at the beginning. He knew The Diagonal ran through the forest. If only Mistress Clare was around more to query, he lamented.
Charlie, however, was always around. The Banana.
“Fruit at the center of the woods,” he pondered with the 13 year old one evening outside the main house. “No idea.”
George couldn’t see what was sitting in front of his very eyes.
Past the pond and along a path that followed Wine Creek he went until he came to a grove of beech trees. There he built a fire against the side of a log and sat down at the end of the log to think.
Ward George had to escape art but Tennessee was all around, ready to embarrass him and make him turn red (as an apple) at every turn. Through his late night research, he knew about “Flapper” and a promise not fulfilled of artistic success, perhaps the point of it all. He was using his magnifying glass of a brain to focus on sewers and monsters therein and the death of Allen Martin who was actually a Martian (green hair in back giving it away, like a Conrad Bain). He had to find the beech grove, a place of sanctuary.
“Martin is alive,” he’d heard Duncan say while talking about the old days in good ol’ VHC City, before the coming of the… hotel? Anyway, it all started/revolved around that Black Hole of a structure created by Pitch Darkly. 97/97/97: triple number. If only the powers of VHC City back in the days had listened to his warning about the coming of The Diagonal that would link the whole continent, southwest to northeast, so powerful that its rather malevolent energy, or what turned out to be so, had to be counterbalanced by a second sw-ne line called Heart. Heart balances Head, like in a Hand (Health). But it was all suppose to happen like this most likely, George had also determined with his own head. But where, and who, was heart?
“No way out this way,” gruffed Suisan the pyramid shaped hat wearing fish butcher without turning around, bloodied cleaver at rest for now. George would have to turn back out of Kentucky back to Tennessee.
“Kay,” he said simply in response. The smell of chopped fish was overbearing.
“Found it!” he cried.
(to be continued)
” He wanted to show us one of our ancestors,” tiny Buster Damm explained to his fellow (sometimes) tiny wife Bettie about the latest Venus of Willendorf find.
He stood directly on The Diagonal in the corner of a VHC City gallery, famous for such. A boy of 10, then 13, then back to 10, then over and over the process continues, perhaps until infinity. Unless Duncan finds a cure for the boy’s ail, pluck him out of the cycle.
He had seen too much for his youthful days thanks to living in the city. Interior becomes Exterior. Eve holds the apple and the snake. Hissing of Summer. Buster knows.
“Fish tacos again?”
“Oh *George*.” But Duncan knew his ward was right and that they had become stuck in a rut in this here VHC City, famed for its gallery and music scene. They needed a vacation.
(to be continued)