“Don’t kill me sir!” the puppet man pleaded vigorously in his high, wavering voice. “I’m an innocent! I haven’t done nothing wrong, done no one no harm!”
Charlie stares into the eyes of innocence, lowers the knife. He can’t do it. Charlie Banana begins untying Freedom Puppet.
“Get up. Here. Take the knife.”
“That trick was easier than I thought,” Freedom Puppet said while quickly cutting a circle around the center of Charlie Banana. “Eat your heart out Gene Kelly.”
At her Fruity Island house boat, Parasol goes to check the morning mail. “Ahh. A real heart instead of a puppet one.” Parasol sighs. “Poor Charlie Banana. We had a good run, though.”
“Looks like blue might win out after all.”
“So *you* were the Prince all along. This Ingo. Should’ve known by the name. Ingo… Ingor, your drummer.”
“And you have been the witch Hazel all along,” declared Col. Flagstaff from his log. “My ancient nemesis.”
“Perhaps not any more. Maybe moving forward from this centre spot we can be allies instead of axis. Depends if I can choose blue over red. It will be hard.”
“You should ditch Banana Boy to begin. Your yellow lover.”
“I need him still,” countered Parasol.
“Alright. Suit yourself.” Both knew this was a mistake, though.
Parasol looked at Col. Flagstaff. “You’ll have to remove the sphere to make a final decision. You can’t take that thing with you.”
“Sure about that?”
“Say they — we — were trying to get rid of you, huh?”
“Yeah. Implied I was a liability.”
“And you saw this in the cave.”
“Yeah. I was the fire in the center of it all. The observing fire.”
Charlie Banana knew that if he didn’t kill the puppet man soon Parasol would need his heart instead. Better move into action.
He could feel her hot, putrid breath against his neck. Death, Angel of. Head like a grapefruit. Or a basketball.
“Come on, Sam Bee. Time to take the plunge. She’ll be waiting here for us when it’s over.”
“You don’t know,” he hissed, gazes still locked. “You weren’t there, Duncan.”
“I was there,” Duncan reassured his friend. His war vet friend.
“We — almost — had them — by the BALLS.”
Parasol woke up, looked over at Charlie sitting heavily on the couch beside her. “You’ve changed.”
“Something’s happening,” he agreed.
Someone was about to enter the circle.
Parasol woke up again, Charlie still beside her.
“Duncan A. and Sam B. are about to enter the gorgeous gorge. I saw it in my dream.”
“Then I guess you’re gonna split, huh?”
“Not till Sundae.”
Parasol woke up.
After several hours of lounging and drinking, a man appears on the beach in front of Duncan and Sam as a sea monster’s fin manifests in the water behind him. They can’t help but notice the conjunction.
“That is a monster who has turned into a man,” Duncan says in a low voice to his war vet friend.
“Indeed,” Sam murmurs back.
But the two were just drunk and spouting relative nonsense. The man, who was actually The Mann, couldn’t see Duncan and Sam on their deck since he was in a different sim. He continued on down the beach past Matilda the snake, hoping to meet Da Womann before dusk. Shirley was her name. Or Ethel. Something.
Another satisfying meal for Duncan Avocado in one of his many Fruity Islands hangouts. No way he could eat it all. Dog friend Barney was currently barking at some ducks swimming in a pool backed by several waterfalls.
A snake named Matilda lay nearby, as full as Duncan from gorging on a stray duckling. Mother Wanda will be inconsolable for days until her next batch of quackers is born, when she completely forgets about the existence of Little Arnold as babies Pete, Jim Bob, Orange, Tan, Smokey, Lila, and Bertie absorb all of her time.
Recent mother Abbey tells Matilda to stay away from her own brood, and emphasizes that there’s plump, juicy frogs and lizards over in the far corner of the pool. Jack the Mallard just wants to make love to either Wanda or Abbey again. It’s that time for him.
Trojan-Durexian War vet Sam Bee, watching Barney, Wanda, Abbey, Jack and Matilda in turn, has taken up fishing. But also, friend Duncan notices, drinking, a not deadly combination but one to perhaps worry about for later. Better get him into his gorgeous gorge as soon as possible. But Big Island is so peaceful. He wouldn’t mind popping open another brewskie himself. And, in fact, does so.
Life death is good.
“I think there’s a fly in my beer, Baker Bloch. So catch me up more. What’s happening in town? *Who’s* in town… now? I saw Roger Pine Ridge staring at me from his perch up Old Cannon Road. Who else?”
“No time tonight unfortunately, Baker Blinker. We must return to Parasol.”
“I’m glad you enjoy my company, Charlie. I enjoy yours as well.”
“You know, don’t you?” Charlie began suspecting for some reason during the climax.
“Hmmm, about Bandit Boy? About how you betrayed your supposed good friend Roger Pine Ridge and then changed forms after Cyberpaperdoll left you in turn to try to make amends? Do I know about the stolen Rainbow Sphere and the fame and fortune that goes along with it? Yes. I do.” She turns and stares at him squarely. “And there’s not a gosh darn thing you can do about it.” She blinks her red-blue eyes innocently.
“I see.” He avoids her stare in turn, looks at his feet, his hands. Gazes at the horizon while in thought. “Are… you going to tell.. on me?” he then manages. He liked Collagesity. He wasn’t ready to leave yet.
“I have a deal for you, double faced boy. There’s a puppet in town that I want killed. Cut his heart out and bring it to me. Then we’ll talk.”
Silence, then Parasol tacked on: “It’s only a puppet after all. A *doll*.”