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“So as you can see, Billie, we’ve had a bit of excitement in town since you’ve been gone. But it’s all cleaned up now. Your tower scrubbed up nicely. The only thing damaged was a couple of house plants which were dying or dead anyway. And, oh yeah, this is where Kolya had his head damaged.”

“I was wondering where that happened,” she replied in her child’s voice from the chair, this youth that was not young atall. “The encounter with God.”

“We should have never erected that giant golden *cow* in the middle of town, Billie, and you know it. We have been frowned upon.”

“Claudette is there for a reason.”

“*This* reason?” Mr. Babyface questioned, wondering if the idolatry had come to this. Fire.

“God must show himself,” she reckoned. “Or else…”

“… all be damned, yeah I get it.” Mr. Babyface didn’t get it but he didn’t want to seem stupid (again!) in front of the precocious child. So prescient. I’m sure she saw all this coming and that’s why she was away at the time. And she probably also spared me, he rationalized, by organizing that rant rave by my nephew that afternoon. It was all in the book, all in the pattern. The Oracle book and/or pattern.

“How was your comedy show, by the by?” he decided to deviate.

“How was yours?” She knew it wouldn’t be as good. She had chosen the freshest act and left him with the leftovers.

“You know,” he said. “A nephew is a nephew and needs support.”

“Nepotism, yes. I enjoy a Skippy Bittman too but only as an act of an act, a step beyond; meta–.”

Skippy Bittman? “*Anyway*, I suppose you know Marion Star Harding was here as well.”

“I had a feeling.” She didn’t see this! Time was changing again, infinite becoming finite as inflammable separated from flammable. She could see the edge of the plane but not beyond. And the beyond was becoming here, plain and simple. Marion Star Harding. Not since Rose Heaven, for him and Phillip Strevor both. Maybe Phillip is around as well, she rationalized, perhaps down at the church cemetery trying to cover himself up with dirt. It would fit.

(to be continued?)

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Filed under **VIRTUAL, 0027, 0413, Lower Austra^, Nautilus^^

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