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!