She was on the retracted boarding ramp, looking toward the capsule. She had forgotten who she was again, sun shining brightly above her. She had her wings once more; she was ready to go. All she had to do with extend this ramp across the gap and walk in and sit down and hit fire. FIRE! She was up in the air, heading to Mars Mars. The one dreamed about by Bradbury and Dick and all the rest, but without the time-slips, the Fraudian ones. “Baloney,” she muttered, thinking back to her encounter with Baker Blinker who had left the scene, given up on AB for a spell. What I mean is that she went back to Meaux for a spell, so that AB would remember again. She didn’t have much time; fire would have to be involved, just as it was for her alternate (so far) persona of Jeffrey Phillips. The plan for Baker Blinker, who is, of course, Wheeler, was to go back to Meaux, like I said, and make the new fire spell so that when AB entered the rocket and hit “fire”, she would — again — remember who she was (core). Would it be too late if so? Baker Blinker, I mean, Wheeler wasn’t sure. But when she
wrote thought it she knew that had to be the plan, canals be damned. A gap — AB *had* to remember. This was going from North to South, etc. etc. etc.
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“I’m having second thoughts, Wheeler, er, Hidi. Get it?: *second* thoughts.”
Wheeler/Hidi didn’t answer. She was engrossed in looking at the stars and wondering if Grandpa Cliffs ever dreamed of frying.
AB continued on. “There’s nothing much else on this island, this Mystery Island. Basically it all revolves around the rocketship. And this planetarium I suppose.”
“2 Saturns,” Hidi finally managed from her likewise prostrate position on the cushion, still staring up. “I recall…”
“No, that was a mistake, Hidi.”
“When you get there,” Hidi, the more hidden and “evil” one in the moment, said, “you’ll see two Saturns. A second Saturn will be visible. Malefic will be amplified.”
“Ridiculous,” AB doubled down. “It’s just Jupiter with wings. I mean, er, *rings*.” She looks over, exposed for a moment; chink in the (golden) armor.
Baker Bloch was not totally gone. He came back to help me with the Okinu glyphs. He was there after all, although he said it seemed a lifetime ago. “Pre-Hucka Doobie,” he offered while sitting across from me in the Table Room of the Blue Feather building, my home now in the heart of rebuilt Collagesity. “Explain Uniko,” I requested after hearing him talk about things not really relevant to the current plot for a while. That’s okay — he’s a lot more disconnected to the blog these days, so: understandable. I then listened with rapt attention.
15 minutes later I had most of the story. Okinu had been made over since the glyph days, with no glyphs found now. Maybe this was part of a cover-up, he speculated. He also theorized that the energy which created the glyphs in the first place was still present, and that led to the discussion of the archipelago shaped like the number 2. (Stands for) Our Second Lyfe obviously, but there was more.
The new, remade over Okinu sim had a default landing spot now on an island which lies partly in its northwest corner, the largest in said archipelago. In olden days, the sim was only water with no land atall. Certainly this upshoot was a mysterious island (Mystery Island, but part of the Misery Islands?), and one which contained yet another golden machine. I couldn’t help but make an instant connection. Here was Icarus, the rocket ship that would take me to not Mars, but someplace else. Somewhere inferior.
(to be continued)
Disguised as a woman, I went over to Marwood to chat with Jimbo/O’Jimbo a bit before the Big Trip about what might or could happen. Intrepid Rock came up early (and often), followed by Fisher’s Island. “Gap between,” spoke the former but also, impossibly, present agent of Pot-D and/or Pan-Z, given his death over a year ago in the Global Fire. “FRY is there” — he later said the word was all caps. “FRY is REALITY” — he said to spell reality out in caps as well when making this here blog post about our talk, because he knew that would happen too. I wondered about the connection between Fry and Fire, as in, “out of the frying pan and into the fire.” Had he escaped the fire through FRY, somehow? Did that make any sense?
I didn’t even have a name for the woman avatar I wore like a velvet glove on the golden robot’s hands we sat upon, and Jimbo/O’Jimbo didn’t ask. He wasn’t interested in a pickup line. He was doing something rather unspeakable to this big robot just before, so maybe he’s more into machines than people these days. But not old O’Jimbo in his pre-Jimbo, pre-death days. When I arrived several minutes before that, he was bouncing on a nearby trampoline while Drunk Dude stumbled and bumbled around down below. Sometimes the former was way up in the air while the latter lie crumpled on the ground. Frying pan and fire came to mind once more.
Suddenly Drunk Dude was up in the hand that Jimbo/O’Jimbo perched upon previously, talking about frying too close to fire. I knew where I had to go next.
I went over and talked to Elsa before I left about who was the best kisser she met this week. Tennessee came up; I *did* make an impression!
I had my assignment, I had my links. Time to leave the magical Outer Maebaleia isle of Meaux where I learned all about quartz rock and the advantages and disadvantages of letting it be the center from Fern, who is Charlene the Punk in the future. Or in the past if you look the other direction from center. Time to visit other, similar if smaller outer isles, armed with my similar if smaller stash of spells and perhaps curses now. Time to begin to grow up. Magic is real.
“Get it?” she asked. “It’s (a) trapped *rock*, then a picture full of rocks, a rotating one. Rocks.” She held out her hand which was balled into a fist. “Now you try,” she requested while snickering. Let’s see, I thought, rock beats scissors? Or was it paper — no, paper covers rock. Which one would I choose? Do I let her win, or lose. “The paper is one,” she says into my mind, short term product (curse?) of another spell. “The rock is zero, and the scissors are two.” She molds her still outstretched hand into the appropriate symbols while saying this. “Who do you know that is a 102?” Me, I realized. “What about the quartz?” I tried to deflect, but which led directly back to rock.
She asked me to wait outside until she could clean the place up a bit but when I finally got to go in I initially judged she was instead just messing it up more — to irritate me, perhaps, or just to demonstrate that she was hard at work over here on the outer islands in this witch house. No time for tidiness with so many spells to perform (!), one of which — *which* — apparently brought me here. She said she and her “mates” (fellow witches) bought into the quartz business on a tip from Lisa the Vegetarian who they knew from the Omega continent. “And where are Lichen, Wendy?” I queried after finally being invited in. “Warm your hands first,” she demanded, and after I protested that I was just fine in terms of temperature, she turned around from casting her latest spell and indicated the fire. “Just do it,” she said, so I did and then I realized my hands *were* cold, my whole body, and it had been so all my life. Only now was I truly warm, truly alive even. She asked, “better?”, and I replied, “yeah… h-how did you do that?” “Oh you don’t know the half of it, the half of the *half* of the half. You are merely an apprentice,” and I realized she was speaking truth. This from my warm vantage point now. She was not an irritation any longer. She was a sage, she was a source of all knowledge, a conduit. Just like she had always been. Except I didn’t realize it. Until now.
I suddenly became cold again. I went back to the fire, knelt down and warmed once more. “It only lasts about 5 minutes or so,” she said about the latest spell. “I’m still perfecting it, but: pretty good, eh?” Fern Stalin turned all knowing, all seeing. Pretty good indeed.
Later (or was it earlier?) he was looking at a portrait in one of the city galleries and recognized what he thought were the models. “Wheeler,” he muttered aloud, seeing the Triune that would always rule him. If he didn’t have Collagesity. He *must* hold onto Collagesity. He’ll get the crime spree under control. April Mae Flowers, yes, accomplished the actual homicides, he tried to assure himself. Didn’t work. He knew there were at least 5 active criminals in town (because of the fingerprince), despite only 3 registered residents so far. Danny, who tried to kill *him*, was, true, cleaning out his trailer, getting ready for banishment to… somewhere, Jeffrie Phillips hadn’t decided. Some place that has a lot of broken bathrooms, he he he. Or maybe where they all *worked*, ha ha ha, so he won’t have anything to do. Yes, Hell can be a place of complete, utter boredom too, he realized in the moment. So can Heaven — Heaven and Hell both… which means probably neither exists.
He must think of religion more. There are currently at least 3 active churches in town, or will be — they’re *built* is what I mean. Rezzed. There’s, obviously, the Temple of TILE, and Man About Town — MAT — certainly hasn’t given up on reactivating the old Collagesity ruling deity Carrcassonnee still up on the 3rd floor there, especially since (her replacement) Wheeler seems to be out of the picture. But all he can get out of her still is, “Iiiiiiiiii,” which may mean an uncompleted sentence about herself or maybe the “eye” that dominates her appearance. The eye is broke, he remembers — MAT told him that. That’s the 7th beyond the “unconscious” 6 prims of the body. That is the paradox of the 7 and the 6, the Sepisexton Enigma he termed it at another time. Wacky ol’ MAT, Jeffrie thinks. He’ll always be between one thing or another because of his non-fixed, variable nature. And he’ll probably never get Carrcassonnee to utter anything again except that one word, that one letter perhaps.
He looks again at the picture in the gallery and out of his thoughts. He decides (this must be later, then) that he’ll talk Charlene the Punk out of coming to Collagesity, if she hasn’t already decided herself. She has her business here, and can serve omelettes and other breakfast items in an untimely fashion. No doubt the local residents are use to such lags — heck, they may not even think about them much anymore. Like a fish living in water.
What he could even do is drop mention of Bad Kitten/Zado, Elsa, Darlene, and probably another one or two or three he isn’t thinking about. That’ll keep her here, he assumes. But he can always visit. Often. As often as all the others will allow.