Center. 128/128: Rhodenwald. Roads Rhoads Rhodes. LIVES (2nd and 1st). Black Man… Men. Central Pumpkin.
“Pipersville,” Hucka Doobie chipped in.
“Pipersville,” Baker Bloch reinforced from the corner.
“Tell us about yourself — Elvis wasn’t it?”
“Black,” added Elvis, because he was. “Well, I liked books, no matter how dusty and boring. I’m a learned man. I enjoy truths over falsehoods. I don’t enjoy singing and dancing and womanizing as much as my white counterpart.” He turned the page, because he was reading and speaking at the same time. The word “white” had just been encountered. “That’s about all for now,” he said plainly.
Buster looked over at Bettie and raised his eyebrows. She knew what he was thinking and visa versa. This is Duncan again, playing some sort of trick on them. Or someone *through* Duncan playing a trick. But just because this was another black man…
Elvis Black changed. Duncan A. indeed.
“Do you know who I am yet?”
“The South was wrong, you know. Worshiping 2 dimensional cartoon people like Hatfield over 3 dimensional history and facts, no matter how dusty and boring.”
Bettie stopped swinging and looked over at still swinging Nancy, imagining a horn growing out the far side of her head for some reason. Then she attempted to synchronize with her again and soon they were side-by-side.
Bettie later brought the subject up to Buster, turning tiny herself in the meantime.
“I’m more focused on the sinks and Lemon vs. Lime.”
“Nancy says that’s related,” spoke Bettie across from him.
Buster sits up while looking in the distance. “Hold on. I think I see Duncan.”
But it was another Black Man. Duncan had been replaced.
But, across the *road*…
… the sim of Rhodenwald certainly still is, thank God.
The Zindra continent has been through a similar (North-South) war, pondered Grey Scale, leaving Chesteria behind for now. I can pattern my strategy after that. There’s even a direct character link between the two. Dixon 01. Or was it Dixon 02? Anyway, both are dead now. Or are they totally alive? One way to find out: visit the old homestead.
“Dixon? Dixon Klancaster?” she shouts back on the ground.
But both Dixons were indeed dead, having been one and the same. Snowwhite Well appears on the landing outside the squatter home, old and withered now. She’s basically turned into maw herself, mother of the two. But formerly: married to the two. It was complicated.
“Whatcha want? Tithes? You a tithe collector? I’ve gaven my fair share last month. Now, run along, tithe collector. Or do I have to sic my *chickens* on you. She turned toward Gander, the largest of the bunch. “Been a while since you’ve tasted human flesh, Gander eh? Fondness grows in absence they say, eh?”
“Listen,” bargained Grey Scale. “I don’t want any of your money.” Not yet, she tacks on for herself. “No I’m here to speak to Dixon.”
“The former warrior. The vet of the Trojan-Durexian Wars over on Zindra.”
“God *knows* I know where they were *fought*, foreigner. Everyone around here knows. We all lost peoples.”
“I’m sorry,” backed down Grey Scale. “I didn’t know…”
“Anyway. He’s dead. Dixon. Both of ’em. I married ’em. Shortly after the war. But the bees and their massive beehives got them in the end. Not a bayonet stinger, a *stinger* stinger. Irony perhaps — I’ve heard that word applied here anyhows.” She takes a better look at the grey figure standing proud below her. “You a woman of words, sister?” she inquires. “Maybe you can help me with some words I’m trying to read in a section of this here book. ‘Moby Prick.’ You may have heard of it.”
Grey Scale Kimball was up on the landing faster than a fly on wheels. A chance to analyze her favorite book with someone (!). But she quickly corrected elderly Snowwhite Well on something before entering. “It’s *chapters*, not sections. I should know, having read or attempted to read so many of the latter lately.”
“Fine with me, woman of words. Now — inside before the chickens peck at your tail feathers, hehe.” She swats Grey Scale on the behind and sends her reeling inside.
Geez, what a pathetic prop. Grey intestines look *nothing* like that.
On to the interesting subjects… just around the corner.
Ahh so. An actual living, breathing vein and artery person. Thanks to *us*. And then her sister, but without the internal circulating system. Sorry, Girl 01. The sister — Girl 02 — will have to remain on the ship. But *you*…
“I was a girl with long, spindly legs,” spoke Misty Felton to her new bestest friend Sep Felton back at the latter’s apartment (125 Wall Lane, Wallytown). They hadn’t determined a blood relation, if there was one to be found. To Sep, that left the door wide open to… experimentation.
“Interesting,” Sep replied. “I always imagine horses. It affects people different ways. So I take it you like the dance… oh, silly question; you were gyrating just as hard as I was during the heated moments. But not as hard as Molly, tee hee. A better question would be, what didn’t you like about the dance? Personally, I was a little disappointed that Molly was glitter-free by the end. But it’s a small criticism. How about you?”
Chatty again, Misty thought. But with that nice, pleasant tone. Still probably makes up for it. Yes, it turns out that Molly’s routine involves *one*, count ’em, one dance throughout, but with many variations of themes tried. On and on the music went, a combination of Pink Floyd’s “On the Run” and Judy Garland’s theme song “Over the Rainbow,” as Sep explained. Being from 1920, Misty wasn’t familiar with either. Combined title: “OTR” of course. Born to be mashed up, as Sep also said.
“I can’t think of anything,” Misty offered to Sep’s question, hoping to switch the subject back to the spindly legged girl. And the sister. What *were* their names? It was right on the tip of her tongue.
Just when she was thinking this, Sep leaned over the counter separating them and pecked a kiss on the lips fronting said tongue. It took her breath away. But it wasn’t unpleasant. On the contrary… “You know I may be your great grandmother or something,” she said to put some distance between them again.
“Nope,” spoke Sep. “We ruled all that out. We called mom… we traced our ancestry back 4 generations. Thanks to Uncle Bert as well. (The name) Sep’s just a coincidence.”
Hmm, pondered Misty. She decided to reintroduce the subject bothering her more than anything. She was a little irritated that Sep had skipped over it so quickly. It seemed super important to her. Horses… why did the music invoke horses for her? She decided to say this aloud, then work back to the girl. Sex, or whatever’s coming up, could wait. “Why horses?”
“I’ve always liked them. In a past life I imagine myself being a horse. Tricksy. And with Capricorn my stud lover. We’d gallop the fields to the Misty Mountain, where the lighted ones are found, the beings who lead us down to the big head Brainard in the valley beyond. Altona.”
“That quite a fantasy you have going there,” opined Misty with a slight laugh and shake of the head. Misty Mountain? she then thought. Why *my* name? Again she decided to vocalize her internalizations. “Coincidence about the Misty Mountain?”
“Oh… didn’t think about that. Yes: coincidence. Chance — again.” But suddenly Sep knew that Misty and herself couldn’t be a couple. Because something *had* happened beyond that mountain; down in the valley. She was remembering this now — lingering effects of The Dance. They had both been *absorbed.* Assimilated… yes, that was the word she was looking for.
Misty was thinking the same word at the same time. And realizing the same thing about the couple part. Their minds were synchronized now. Because, actually, they had one mind.
That of Brainard.
They stood there for a while, just staring at each other. The 2 “heroes” had gone elsewhere. It was only the girls now.
Already in costume, Molly Lustrous walked into the bar and took her customary violet latex seat at the base of the stage. Queen of The Dance at night. But by day?: humble, naive Natali Woodhull, counter attendant at a rival bar in town on the other side of the wall. The California part as opposed to this dry, desert Nevada (according to California).
“15 minutes late,” bar owner Natsu Lemon called from in back. “That’ll be taken off your wages.”
“You don’t *pay* me enough to show up on time,” Molly replied in a rough hewed voice, showing both age and wisdom. “I make my real money from my *customers*, thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” the owner replied sardonically. They often played these roles before the dancing commenced. Where Molly showed her *real* value. Yes, Missus Lemon would certainly pay Molly more if she knew she would quit. But she also knew that Molly loved doing her craft, and this was the best venue in town for that. More tips for certain. And Natsu allowed some, er, experimentation in form.
“Hi Molly!” Sep Felton then cheerfully called over. “Can’t wait to see the act again tonight.” She walked toward the violet sofa; Misty followed her, still stunned from the revelation. We’re not in Second Life any longer! “Molly, this is Misty. Misty: Molly.”
“Pleased to greet you.” Molly stuck out a glitter covered hand. Misty grasped and shook it. Some of the glint came off on her own hand, which Molly noticed. “Sorry about that. Gotta get some better glitter — more sticky.” She turned her head back to Missus Lemon at the counter. “If *someone* would *pay* me more,” which the bar owner just waved off with an, “Oh, you.”
Dirk Jeter then showed up. Tom Sprout. Derek John Toms and his cousin Billy Budd Grant from out of town. But not out of Orient, importantly. Then Stacy Augman, Pretty Pat Puffcake, Jimmy the Geek, Orange U. Glad, and finally the mayor himself, Struddledoo Lemony Pie Chittles the Third. “Quite a crowd,” Molly whispered to herself while looking around. She seemed to do her best work with more people in the room. More energy, she surmised.
Misty and Sep wedged in between Batty Man and Superduper Guy on the couch, who had also slipped in again from the back door. “Smoking a fag,” whispered Sep to Misty in explanation. “*Anything* goes here.”
Clapping. Molly took the stage, a wonder of shine and glamour. Whistles. This would be a good night for her.
The audio began booming out of the speakers to each side. Clapping grew louder as the motions started, the gyrating. Molly was in superb form.
Misty suddenly remembered the ship.