He recognized her immediately upon entering his pizza parlor, despite the black and white checkerboard makeup. Wheeler. She, of course, knew him as well. Knew he was *dead*: killed by a monster way back in VHC City in the olden days, before the coming of Mud and the parallel need for Soap. He took off his crown. He dared to sit down, confront her.
“H-how?” she uttered about his resurrection. I mean, she’d seen enough of them in the meanwhile but still — a bit of shock. He was stone cold dead laying on the floor when she found him. Heart attack. Couldn’t reach the pills in time. Surprise crocogator appearance through a thought-of solid wall did him in. They’d walked through the Fate Gate together, even, she escorting him to the afterlife. This is what he told her; she wasn’t physically there at the time; left when she found the body; alerted the authorities; cried her eyes out way into the night, The Musician, her other boyfriend at the time, seething on the other side of the bed, green with jealousy. She loved *him* more than *me*, he thought, although she was still with him, didn’t run wee wee wee all the way back to Collagesity like a broken piggie, even though she had supreme power there and not in VHC City. And now — The Musician was long back in the rear mirror, yielding to Axis and Opp both, take your pick. And now her new husband, she as Wendy Wilson Wheeler that is. Not really Wheeler any longer. All the old avatars had packed it up and moved to the White Palace, as Hucka Doobie liked to put it. But really: storage. Old yields to new. Continually.
“Jeffrey — Phillips?” Old Man Allen Martin, the resurrected one, didn’t like the sound of it. Then again, he wouldn’t like the sound of any of Wheeler’s lovers past himself. “How many down the road from me (and The Musician)?”
“4 — something like that. It’s complicated.”
“I bet it is.” He blew out air. “Well, yeah, I *died*. But then Soap cleaned me up, wiped away all the grime of a dirty grave. Plenty of Suds and Bubbles did the trick.”
“They *are* uplifting,” opined Wheeler, having caught the vaunted dancing troupe’s act in Collagesity 02 not long ago, Peter Ladd on his soapbox between them. The contrast of talent almost balanced out to mediocre but not quite. Skippy Bittman.