00300608

“That’s not a bird,” old man Fred said, standing uncomfortably close to me, creepily close even. “That’s a *caricature* of a bird, like a cartoon.” He leans down and speaks to the cartoon directly. “Aren’t you Blackey!” as if the bird perched on my shoulder was hard of hearing. Quite the opposite! He’s scolded me many a time for talking too loud to him when he’s right there, not 6 inches from my mouth at any moment. What would he do to Fred now? Peck his eyes out? Finally fly away and never come back? What a fine mess that would put me in, because I’d have to go out and find a *proper* looking bird to take his spot. Because I doubt that such cartoon birds were still available — on the marketplace or anywhere else. Just like my dear old pops Spaced Ghost, the outfit of which was retired long ago. So: 1/2 of me. And probably the other half — originally Linden Boy Next Door in some version — as well. We’re all antiquated. Maybe we should *all* fly away somewhere over the rainbow or something. Wait: tried that already. Hucka D.’s White Place in De Skies; the equivalent. Yet here we are again, talking to Fred, listening to his criticisms of Blackey’s looks, and, by extension, mine. Yes, Blackey and me will never part ways. I’ll see to that. And Hucka’s back too, but more woman and less bee than ever. No antennae now, even.

And Tulsa is waiting on us, not Omaha. “How’d we get over here, Hucka?” I ask her across the way.

“Define ‘here’,” she replied, and ordered a salad with no lettuce and extra ketchup.

“You sir?”

“Just nuts,” I complained, and then they brought an assortment. Tasty! But it still didn’t answer my question. Hucka D. spooned a big bite of red looking salad into her mouth. STOP

GO Creepy Fred was gone. Hucka D. spooned a big heap of green salad into her mouth to my left. Omaha spilled coffee in my lap after I politely asked for it, ow ow ow! Point made. There was a reason we were there instead of here, I get it.

“I get it,” I said aloud to Hucka, still holding my groin.

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Filed under **VIRTUAL, 0030, 0608, Lower Austra^, Nautilus

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