center star

“Kolya *does* rule this land. It’s as if it all takes place in his rain damaged head.”

“Upper part,” elaborates [delete name]. “The lower still belongs to bottles.”

“Okay,” I responded, happy for the half.


“I need to get out of here, sir. I’ve tried air, I’ve tried water. I’ve even tried land.”

The old man chuckled. “You’re a funny one, Kolya. Drinking from a bottle. Talking about *leaving* here, heh. Why would anyone want to exit such peace and harmony? You’ve seen the waterfall that rules us all. We’re all under the umbrellas under the rainbow, safe and sound. Mama’s home. Good cook’n.” Marvin Baggy licks his lips and pats his belly satisfactorily here, then kicks his feet out, props them against the white porch railing of the ranger tower that has become a popular hangout for the old and feeble. Someone further north — or perhaps east — told Kolya he could get answers here. Maybe they were pulling a prank on him, especially since they told him to make sure to drink out of a bottle down there (or over there) and not a can. “That’ll give you away,” the man said to him, or perhaps it was a woman. A tomboy, yes, that was it, a grown up tomboy, Asian in race if not complexion, which was instead red.

“Ahh, I feel sorry for ya, stranger,” admitted the geezer on the porch of the tower, waiting for the others to show up. Bingo night tonight, and afterwards some kind of rave I’m sure. Always is. Sometimes the young’n’s (as they call them; some: whippersnappers) down at the bar have to complain about the noise and the lateness of it. Ahh, yes. Salty Bobs’ a sleepy place in comparison, full of stoners taking naps and druggies shooting craps. Dice are not that noisy if covered with fuzz, which they always are soas not to wake the stoners. Originally designed to dangle from the rear view mirror of your car, the ornaments have moved inside and reacquired their original purpose, shrunk down a bit in the process.

“Someone’s coming down from the old house, Nick,” spoke Gotham on the couch, probably already stoned out of his mind and thus the lack of a joint or bong. “I can *feel* it.” He lifts his arms in the air while still reclining, much like a clairvoyant does just before channeling a spirit hovering somewhere nearby, ready to enter the body. Gotham’s own body starts convulsing. It worked! He quietens down; he stares glazy eyed at the roof of the establishment, ignoring the sea barnacles and peering directly into the great beyond.

Nick Barton looks over, notices the grey in his beard. “Isn’t it about time you moved up the hill to the old folk’s place and livened up a bit? You’ll turn into a corpse just laying there like that!” Nick flushes and turns toward the crappers on the other side, emitting a small “sorry” for shouting.

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