The door to the bar was a decoy — sent visitors upstairs to another bar devoid of animations and life in general. Except for constantly humming Hurley. Let’s shorten it to Hummy. The bird.
“Where IS HE????” demanded the Heart Queen after teleporting up. The future was still the present, which means Guy was still successfully hiding in the past immediately below, purchased identity holding. Too bad she’d never learned to play croquet or things could have worked out differently for her. It could have relaxed her, taken her down a different path. And indeed, that’s the queen Fish Head and Guy knew (in the past). A kinder gentler one, a sympathetic sort.
“Have a Bloody Mary, Queen,” trilled the humming bird. “Let’s talk.”
The queen was surprised she could sit down despite the lack of animations. It didn’t bother Hummy, since he was a flier not a sitter. He expertly blended a tomato with celery and spice. He mixed in the liquor. It was ready.
One sip and she started to remember, heart of ice melting. She recalls Broken Heart. The spell was over.
She began to dance again.
“It’s good you changed shirts and came here, Guy. She won’t look here: too far in the past.”
He wanted to say that he didn’t change his shirt he merely added another one on top of the first but just thanked his lucky stars it worked anyway. Now he could talk openly about the Heart Queen with his old friend Fish Head, the one who he could depend on to give him directions when he got lost. Which was a *lot* here.
“Who is she?” he asked, heart still thumping from all the excitement.
“Goes by Helen.”
Helen, Guy pondered. Like Troy. Destroyer of Men.
“What happened to Feng Sui and Qi?”
“Gave up the store. Left town.” Guy knew Fish Head was talking about Store Zero, where it all started and revolved around and shite. Murderous past. Which was, again, present. But he had no real choice. He had to escape (!). Gunshots outside. He’ll have to get use to it, he figured.
“And the uncles?” Two more shots, then a scream. Then quiet (for a while).
“One remains.” But Fish Head didn’t reveal which one. Could be Jack. Could be John. He didn’t have the guts to open that door and find out — the body could be slumping right against it; spill into the establishment and cause a bloody mess he’d have to clean up. And he’d lost his mop, dangnit. Probably stolen (again!) by the Mopheads down in Ragtown, the bloody gang. Maybe them outside right now, causing all this commotion. The Heart Queen had hidden him but for how long? It was up to her to open the door — not him.
“I’d like an identity, please.”
He manifested in an apartment formerly occupied by sisters named Feng Sui and Qi. Was he sufficiently hidden?
No. “Who are you?” asked the lady in red who had just entered the room. He’d been caught!
“Catch anything George?!” Burt shouted over, trying not to be jealous. 2 fish to one already. 3 to 1 may be too hard to overcome! What will the missus think? Emasculation!
He goes back to visit poor Grandmama often but sees her seldom. Like today. He stumbles and bumbles and finally recognizes the Pipe Alley, as he calls it, with Doctor Diper at the end, waiting for another patient. Not him this time! He voices this out loud to Goldie beside him, who sometimes turns into Lead(ay). Alchemy, pheh. He’s *finished* with it. “Doctor doesn’t operate any more,” bubbles glistening Goldie back, good to go with gossip. “Broke — can’t be fixed most likely.” “How?” asked Guy Benjamin, a good guy for gossip as well. “Impotence?” “Hardly,” said back Goldie, gold scales showing a slight bit of gray now, transmutation beginning. Guy better get as much gossip as possible before the change. “So he still has his…” “Wiener? Yes.” Half gold half gray now. Time was ticking down, Gold(ie) cornered only a little longer. “Blackbird?” asks Guy. But it was too late. The gold had flown the coup, only dense Lead(ay) remaining who knew nothing about anything hardly. Guy would have to find answers himself. He approaches the good doctor from down the alley.
He got a little lost trying to find the prog rock museum on Rooster’s Peninsula. I guess he’s been confused ever since Kowloon and its twisting maze of streets and alleys. Never got over it. As he liked to say about Grandmama and Grandpapa there: often visited but seldom seen, pheh. And now Grandpapa is dead. Killed by Axis (but not during the war). Guy will get his revenge. Through “Lamb.”
But first a little “Foxtrot”.
He ponders the doors in front of him and what they block inside. Although this isn’t the prog rock museum, it still seems relevant. “Chamber of 32 Doors.” He always seems to ultimately be thinking in terms of “Lamb”.
He was back in Bellisaria tonight spying on the Stars. They were dancing with one another, and also dancing with one other. Checking profile now…
She has the same name as my wife(!). Baba. Or Babaa in the wife’s case. And me? I am Grandpapa.
Now where is my no good grandson?
He’s forgotten he’s been dead for well over a year. Killed by Axis, but not during the war.
Then they were gone. And he was too. We’ll catch up with him later.
I must get down the continent to confer with Jeffrey Phillips and partner Man About Time concerning the future of Collagesity. But I already see the writing in the cards. It won’t last. Collagesity is a place laden with collages, of course, but isn’t a proper archive. It’s where Baker Bloch *made* the collages, or helped inspire them as he hung each one individually in its gallery upon creation. That way he could better see the evolution of the series. But (this kind of) buck stops with the newest series called Picturetown. This is a *different* Jasper, not Illinois but Iowa. And this leads us to (the) Nautilus (continent) as a whole. We have our centering. But this centering could occur *anywhere* on the continent now. It doesn’t have to be between the two roads 13 and 14. It could be here — at Rooster’s Peninsula. Certainly there’s more neighbors around to give me energy.
The dancer, he remembers. The fox on the run. Jasper itself. Must see if she’s still there. But that’s the siren’s call again. The dancer who is the world.
I suppose I should go see if those curtains are still there on the slopes of Roost Peak. Could it spell curtains for… me? It brings me back to confusion on what exactly is the body, the neck and the body and the head attached to it. Maybe Stumpy could help (again), since he was able to reattach his own some time back. But first: curtains.
Not there now.
I think I’m going to like this peninsula. A lot.
Boy my neck has sure been bothering me lately. Must be the lingering effects of Kolya and his trip to Anastasia, the damned place. Controller my big old ass. Papers piling up, pheh. Always sleepy, constantly nodding off. (Alysha) needs to come *here* and try what she does there. Wouldn’t make it.
But Windmill Man, actual name still being processed, knows that he loves her nevertheless, just like Kolya. Even moreso, since he can see the future clearer. He is the ONE. He is the whitehead in da woods. 1 year and 3 months. He can do it. The diagonal linking East and West will be fulfilled, reality connected to another reality inside it, with one blending into ANOTHER. Love, most likely. Death too, if not bodily. But what, exactly, *is* the body. The neck’s calmed down now. He recalls something about Jasper.
These ruins hold stories. And so close to his castle too. Just up the ridge.
I *just* missed a performance of the Rolling Joints at this here local bar, but the owner, one Greg Ogden (*not* Oden, he insisted; and only the 1 “g” in the first name and not 2 as well) assured me they would return. In the meantime, he assuaged, we have their many records to enjoy, including the essential double album “Pricky Fingers/Let Them Bleed”, which he’s about to play here after removing the 2 discs of wax from their sleeves. “Gotta get in the right mood,” he says while standing pretty still, trying not to sway to the 1st track (“Hearts of Spades”) that he already hears in his head. He’s trying to clear it. The sound should be immediate and impactful with no echo.
Later I found out that Greg use to be called Rooster by the locals on account of his red hair and sometimes red outfit. It made me wonder.
“You know that’s (*yawn*), my castle up there, Hoppy (stretches arms). This place is soo relaxing.”
Windmill Man, named to be changed soon, realizes he has a lot of time to learn the ins and outs of this here Rooster’s Peninsula, since he plans to stay a while. Does this mean the end of Fordham’s Collagesity down in Lower Austra? Could be. He must confer with town leader Jeffrey Phillips and right hand man Man About Time soon. Couple of weeks. But first…
… the Prog Rock museum down at the neck of the peninsula, and where Shelley (daughter?) recently woke up Jacob I. and allowed him to return. The sleeper has awoken; Roost Never Sleeps.