The newest anomaly of Rhodenwald is gone as of sometime in the last 24 hours. A temporary madness.
Maybe that kind of madness will also pass for the country as a whole. But I don’t have my hopes way up.
“Uh herm, you’re showing a bit of an ankle there, New Nun.”
“No, Duncan, it’s just that I can’t hate this place. I *should*. But love is here. So much hate in the world.”
“Like the couple in the park,” Duncan Avocado in the wicker chair beside her said, referring to earlier conversation.
He looked up from the bare ankle. “And the cross?” he spoke. “And the crucifix?”
“Yes, they will always be in hand. A second life must be prepared.” She pauses again.
“*Is* this a second life, a second chance?”
“I cannot say there is not love here,” she finalized, looking across the road at yet another symbol of red hate. Dixie seems to surround this oasis of Rhodenwald, a Meat City all around. We’ll have to talk about it further.
Later, they’re joined by New Nun and perhaps some others. “New Nun,” the male Baker declares after her arrival, “you hold the cross and the crucifix in your hand at once and thus you are valuable to this here current photo-novel, 21 in a series of 20. Wait — what number are we on now?” New Nun shrugs. Duncan Avocado answers more philosophically. “We are beyond Collagesity and the number 20. We are Sunklands through and through now, the true archive. Collagesity became too — bloated.”
“Bloated?” responds Baker, truly puzzled in the current picture.
Or was it worry.
Duncan, who cannot express facial features since he is a mesh creature, elaborates. “Your original version of a virtual village, Pietmond, was also perhaps your best, or at least best balanced. You had artists coming in from the outside and having their own galleries. Yours was only one of a number. Then the new wave of collages came for you starting in, 2013? (Baker nods). Parallel to this came the new galleries, Power Tower, Falmouth, the largest of them all, followed by the Red Umbrella followed by Boos. Before you had 100 collages in 6 series, a well rounded and contained quantity: Art 10×10 I believe you named it (Baker nods). Then another wave hit, the second — stronger and deadlier. Beware the second wave.”
Baker understood now. Before it was Kenneth Rougeau, Melodie Darwin, Mike Casey, Stegocat, Max Ernst, Baker Bloch, Julie Sadler, and others. Afterwards it was just Baker. The second wave changed it all. Forever.
The United States of Our America is definitely in some kind of Civil War now, and I’m definitely on right, but just in the picture below. I’m a card carrying leftist. How did we become so polarized and broken? We politicize *mask wearing.* *Mask* – *wearing*. Ugh. But we must carry on, divided but somehow still united, and face the true enemies head first, rising fascism disguised as anti-socialism being one. I side with Rhodenwald (right) instead of what’s across the road.
It’s why Duncan has no desire for Baker Bloch to rent from Life Properties also across the road at the old Rhode Gallery site he sits in front of here, pheh.
“Don’t you dare,” he tells him. “Don’t you bloody dare.”
Duncan’s a sucker for Linden trees, but he better get back on the trail. He’s going to recommend that Pot-D doesn’t rent (from *Life* properties) the old Rhode Gallery land next to that crazy Dixie chick. Now follow this: the Rhode Gallery that was directly across the *road*… from the sim of *Rhode*nwald. But it all seemed chance, as people put it. A random alignment of no consequence. Pot-D knew better. That’s why he’s on the payroll, at least for the moment. Next month: we’ll see. He’s always on call, though, back at his home still in VHC City, raising up Boy George to be the adult man he will become. He’ll grow into my shoes, thinks Duncan here. He will be a fine replacement one day. Duncan has a really hard time believing he’s 61 himself, graying hair on the temples. Back to the center, though. He can dream away his little dreamy thoughts in VHC City during his off times.
Hmm, nothing seems to have changed that much. The Baby Trump blimp is still present. The park seems the same, sans the pumpkins — not in season yet. Let’s certainly don’t rush Fall! Duncan is of course curious if a man or couple named Black still own a good chunk of property here, including the park if he remembers correctly from last year when he first visited.
Yes he remembers this nice walk too. But no sign of the Blacks, although one of the two might remain, surname changed. Did they split up in the meantime? And, he couldn’t help himself: does this leave room for *me*?
Other end of the path: what appeared to be another anomaly.
Yes it was. The circumstances that caused the reported one last year — and got Pot-D excited about Rhodenwald in the first place — are still present. He better get back to the group.
Duncan Avocado crashes out of Our Second Lyfe. The anomaly was just too strong.
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.
The Rhode Gallery is no more in the Omega continent’s Meat City
Former Fenfarg neighbors (w/ “swastika windows”)
But, across the *road*…
… the sim of Rhodenwald certainly still is, thank God.
“I know who you are.”
“They’ll really and truly send you up the river for this one if you don’t cooperate, Duncan. Pin the murders on you one by one. Go down the list, create justifications. Is that what you really want?”
“Of course not. I didn’t kill Ruby!”
“Keep it down, keep it down,” he implored in his cool, grunge voice. “That one we can remake through the leg. Legs are like 11, but, taken apart, 1 apiece. Cloning abilities. But the 12th? Gone.”
“I know — pipe it down. You didn’t do it. Well… that’s the price you pay for being a member of that silly Pot-D. People can use you against your will. You wake up in jail, you wake up in a mortuary, you wake up on a beach, you wake up inside a whale’s mouth. No rhyme nor reason for it. But now there’s a reason. And that’s what *we’re* here for. Pan-Z. Horizontal and vertical are the only directions that will counter diagonal. The Straight is a subsection of The Cross. This is where they meet: this tree lined lane and then the island just beyond. It’s the Mason-Dixon Line all over again. Are you ready to cross into Dixie?”
Duncan glanced over through the cracked rear window of the bus stop. “I do like tree lined roads, granted.”
“Good. Then it’s settled. When you see me again, I won’t look like this.” Then he was gone; winked out.
Duncan thought back to the terrible, horrible revelations Colonel Flagstaff just spoke about on the border of Harrietsville and Arkendale — where The Straight and The Cross supposedly link energies with each other. He could be the 13th. He could be pinned for it all. He could be in the pen forever and ever. He must sign the new contract with a blood filled pen or else: pencil him gone as well.