“Hello, Tom? I’ve arrived. And there’s a sprite already here, just like you said there would be.”
“Hold on.” He removes the phone from his ear, looks over. “Honey, what’s your name?”
“Morgan,” she said in an ordinary enough voice for a part plant person. He raises the phone again.
“Morgan, she said.”
“And that’s what brought me here, to the tree, to the *mutants*,” he said to John the Mind Reader still sitting opposite him in the present, drinking his coffee, still enjoying the beans. “Spill some more,” he requested, leaning back, carefully sipping at this tilted angle. Sometimes just the mention of the word triggers the event, he knew. The others finally arrived, the lot of ’em, crammed altogether in a lime green truck with Dude on the side and
Chevy Dodge on the back. Joker and Jester, Jethro and Bauer, Doug and Clyde (formerly Tin Tin and Clubby). Paired troublemakers all. Liars to the hilt. They say caffeine makes you so if unchecked by alcohol. And there hasn’t been a (wal)drop of beer wine liquor in this levee type of place since January. And then: Jackson Bloch riding tailgate, the strangest of them all.
But where was Ted? all began to murmur as they took their usual seats in the establishment set up near the lip of the Great Fissure or Fracture, your pick. “Right here,” micronized Ted said unseen in the center of it all, tightly clutched by his new master.
(to be continued)