Category Archives: 0024
Back in her own camping spot in the caves, just up the tracks from Carolin’s, Tessa was reading a biography of 19th Century German composer Robert Schumann before turning in, and had reached the part where the author was discussing his first major work called “Papillons”, which means butterflies. Tessa recalls the dream again with the snow-as-butterflies, her *last* at Green Yarn, pheh. Kicked out! Just because Jeffrie Phillips slept too long in the 1898 room with his safe, comforting tv static. “This is not a homeless shelter!” she could hear the owner or owners of the sim say upon seeing him in bed. “Banned! And the girl with you.” Another biographer I am, she thinks here. The story of the Blue Rose Thorn.
Oh well, Tessa considers. It’s not too awfully bad in the caves if you have some good books to read to pass the time. And good friends — like Carolin. Too bad about Mabel. Tessa tries not to think back to that awful day in early May when… but she couldn’t help herself. Let them eat cake: she’ll never forget. Mabel saw the passageway and she didn’t. Then: gone. Darn heartless dummies!
Tessa wakes up at 2:01 am with an epiphany. “Q”, she whispers, open Schumann book still in hand. “Curly Q. The island down the tracks!” She couldn’t wait to tell Carolin; morning was too late.
Groggy Carolin didn’t think much of the idea at first but when checking Santa’s list on the blackboard the next day came to understand the significance of it all. We’re going back to New York, she thinks while packing her knapsack for the journey. I’m going… home.
“Carolin?” She turns. “Carolin!!??”
“We’ll have to stay in the caves tonight, Tessa. They’re having some kind of party over on Crow Island in the treehouse.”
“But… I need a new home! I’ve been kicked out of Heaven!”
“That wasn’t heaven, that Green Yarn. Change the name, change the attitude. They don’t deserve you.”
“I’m *not* staying in these caves again. Cold!” Tessa shivers here exagerratedly in her sleeveless shirt.
“It’s not forever.” Carolin stares down the tracks, wishing she saw a ballerina figure instead of a heartless dummy.
Then she was gone.
“*Two* Beetles instead of 3 down the road now, Mr. Archer.”
Peet Archer considered requesting, “Peet please,” again, but decided against it. Toddles had somehow shrunk down to her “normal” diminutive size during the trip into the heart of this fine Canadian hamlet, warm on an early spring day. “Who have we lost this time?”
“Lennon, it appears. Must be the same, yes, as Lemon. The lemon tree went missing from Springfeld, Mr. Archer. Shelbyvale stole.” Toddles needed to rest her wee mouth again. She put her thoughts into Archer’s brain, as she did sometimes when this happened.
“So *what* is the equivalent to Shelbyvale for our Picturetown here?” he said. They both peered down the alley with Mary York at the increasingly diminutive skateboarder, almost out of sight now. Might as well say he’s gone. There: he’s gone.
“All blocked up, Mr. Archer. Someone has sealed off the passage to the interior, ‘X’ed it out in effect.”
“We didn’t come soon enough,” he said for her. “We better check the 102 alley for changes as well.”
“Hi Tessa!” Carolin called from above while waving. “Ready to go back in the cave?”
Was she ready? Then she remembered the blackboard, the missing center of the equation. Q. Someone named Q.
She recites what she knows in her head. She is on Crow Island at End of Time. Crow Mountain is above her, the Climax. Meditating Freddie — yes. Bakersworks. They are in a Baker B. work. But… someone is missing. Man – About – T…
“Time,” Carolin finished for her later at the blackboard, writing out three identical numbers in a row, the number of the beast from The Bible. “Now… if we extend this infinitely, what do we have? We have a *7*. So we might as well say it with a 7 instead of a 6 for that third. 667,” she finalized, and wrote it on the board. “Who is…”
“Sepisexton,” Tessa answers, getting smarter all the time, and she was pretty sharp from the beginning. She recalled the capital of Olive, the one before Tin separated and became its own principality, the 7 from the 6. Boy we are really ranging far and wide in time now. But I sometimes write that as far and yd. The man comes out from behind the curtain (4th wall). He is a Woo Woo. He believes in ghosts, cracker jacks, and cereal circles with a prize inside. Q.
“Q.” Carolin points. Red Point. Buick. Boss who is green like Bixby. Canada. They are traveling across the frozen Heartland, trying to reach…”
And that’s the one thing she couldn’t remember that Man of Time did. We are done now.
“Wheeler will be my downfall, um…”
“*I’m* Wheeler,” spoke the person across from him, not wearing a red dress but we’ll assume she’ll be in one soon enough. At the Red Dress Diner. In New Eden. Probably.
“Right, right, I remember now. Like a wheel. 12:37.” He looks at his left shoulder. No spark. He was up too high.
“Man About Time,” spoke Wendy/Wheeler, saying the correct name the first time ’round. “Do you (even) know where you are?” She stared at him, red hair if not red dress. Very red.
“Downfall,” MAT muttered, noticing the same. “I’m MacDonald. I did something to the Ind– indigenous people of this great land.” Now: red on my hands, he realized. Blood on my face, yech.
“We’re not in Canada,” measured out Wendy/Wheeler. “That’s Toddles and Peet Archer, traveling across (its) frozen Heartland, waiting for a chance. And now they have it. The wife said, ‘pick a town, pick *one* town’. And so Picton it is. But after the Green Yard, er, Yarn in the middle of town…”
“Picturetown,” MAT recalled. “I remember that much.”
“Don’t forget it. Because it won’t change back.”
MAT then saw too much at the crossing. Twins — he had picked the wrong one to converse with today. Someone had warned him about the wrong dress. The one without blood. Without blame?
“End of Time,” Wendy/Wheeler said after the moment, about the place they were in. “We have crossed over.”
MAT looked past his left shoulder at the askew windows of the treehouse they sat in, remembering that too. A spark of memory. 12:37. Dinner time.
But Wendy/Wheeler couldn’t cook worth shite. Fast food hamburgers it was again.