“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.
“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*.”
“I have 9 linden dollars to my name, Charlie. We need to go back to Rodentia and gamble again. I won last time!”
“You also *lost*,” Roger Pine Ridge’s new Collagesity roommate Charlie Banana reminded and reprimanded. Both loved smokes, and that’s how they “accidentally” met. Rodentia speak-easy.
“Now… let’s talk about Parasol.”
She thought the new thing on the tracks looked like a ballerina but knew it wasn’t. This one was without heart.
“Oh hey guys. Already time for another fairy watch?”
“Don’t touch it, don’t touch it,” they implored.
“Oh I know.”
They didn’t know what to do with him after he just appeared out of nowhere in the heart of Collagesity. Right in the ballerina. He seemed to like popcorn, but kept feeding the little heads attached to his body instead of his own head. He claimed to be from a place called The Great Fracture. On one side: him (he explained). On the other: Nevermind or Nevermore, names which he exchanged freely. Then to the right a person called Hidi or Heidi or Hayden (something) — again when we asked to clarify the spelling it never came. The “direction left” he couldn’t talk about yet. That would remain a “stalwart mystery” as he put it in his tinny, warbling voice.
“I can’t get these dal garn chips open, Bauer. I’m just going to have to bites through the bag.”
‘Hoomer. Hoooomer. It is I. Carrcassonne. Come to take you back. You come back, I come back.”