“I think green means go, Lou.”
“And no Inky Man to deal with this time.”
While on the continent, he had to go see if it was still there. It was: the Bridge of Entrapment.
He recreated the scene. He was beyond the fear now. Being dead and all.
Elephants across the island at the end of it. Elephants are a symbol of hope. They cannot entrap him now. He need not dwell on the past. He is free.
Neighboring Vilania and its Safe Hub is something to be holding in mind as well. We know the link to the hidden village (of Utah?): VILA. Only 2, and this is 1 of the 2. Or actually 2 of 2. A man drove an impossibly small car between the 2 last year. Actually several men, but one turned from green to red and became useless, more out-of-focus landscape all about. Utah (Utah!). Mirror Lake Highway. Kamas to Samak. And so it goes.
The couple of Rhodenwald were in the other VILA yesterday as well. Inside a Dark Mountain, the one feared by Christians there too, and perhaps rightly so. Like Hitgal’s pal Sangria. Like Uncle Zach’s nephew Domino. A black community, in constant fear of their lives. So we brought them here, or Jacob I. did, I suppose we have to clarify. With his big, 3rd eye. It was revealed under his straw chapeau and all happened. The Joint Joint became a locus of energy. And it, too, is still there, with a direct portal from NWES City, of all places. Rhino. Speaking of which…
There is no fairer than thee
So I will return
To have more of my fun
“Look Baker Bloch. I’m Edward Swift. From Ruby.”
“Nice one, Wheeler. Soooo… you’re still the head honcho around here I’m taking it. Or so you claim.”
“But me too.”
“Right. We must clarify *core*. There’s only 8 chairs around this Table, but there are 10 cores.”
“Maybe we can discard two. As was done before… over in Nascera.”
“Maybe. So let’s start. Let’s bring them all in here.”
“Sitting by my side now is Tropp, formerly Opp formerly Campbell Opine.” She takes a gander at him. “My my, you’re looking good today in your birthday hat Mr. Tropp.”
“Care to tell us about yourself… for the reader or readers?”
“I was born Campbell Opine, an Mmmmmm (blue). But I grew beyond my toyhood beginnings. That’s about it.”
“Speaking of which, let’s bring in the next core. Grassy Noll. Now this isn’t Grassy Noll — nor Salad Bar Jack for that matter — but we’re going to call him that. Like I am Wheeler but not Wheeler, see?”
Tropp nods. Baker replies: “But not me.”
So here’s Grassy. That’s your cousin, Tropp.”
“I know. Hi Grassy.”
“Hi cuz. My you’ve grown since I last saw you!”
“So Grassy. My good friend who I bummed around Iris with last year. Tell us about yourself. What you’ve been up to?”
“Still in Iris, Wheeler. I wrote you. You never wrote back.” Grassy makes a pouty face.
“Yes, sorry about that. I’ve been running around here and there. Trying to keep up with Baker.”
“That’s alright. I know you’re busy, Wheeler… Bill. But I want you to come see me (!).”
“I will Grassy. Very soon. And thanks for remaining such a good friend.”
“You’re welcome. And Tropp or Campbell or whatever you go by now… you come as well.”
“Oh I will. Thanks as well.”
“Goodbye Grassy,” spoke Wheeler in parting. “We’ll be seeing you soon.”
“Yes, goodbye my cousin,” added Tropp. “I have grown beyond you and toydom in general but that’s still my roots, and you are my anchor there.”
“Good to know,” answered Grassy, not quite knowing how to take that. Nevertheless, a tear forms in his eye. It is time for him to return to Iris, understanding that friend and family haven’t forgotten about him. He will catch up with them soon. He’s been busy as well!
“Next we have Spongeberg. Spongeberg the Destroyer,” Wheeler enlarged. “Hi Spongeberg.”
“Hello. I never mentioned, to you or others, that my home of Mystenopolis over on the Nautilus continent has been erased. One section remains though… and I checked tonight real quick since I’m not inworld very much at all any more. Thanks for rezzing me and inviting me back to the Table.”
“You’re welcome. Sorry about Mystenopolis. I suppose I didn’t know. And the giant Jesus statue?”
“How about the duplicate? The giant faun… opposite in nature. The great duality.”
“I’m not sure.”
“Well, I’ll pop over there myself sometime soon and see for myself, since you’ve so kindly reminded me of it.”
“Goodbye, Wheeler. Nice to see you again. Nice to meet you Tropp. You two guys have fun in Collagesity. It’s a great place and I’m glad I didn’t destroy it several years back. But, just to warn, I leave open that option, and there’s not a darn tooten thing you can do about it.”
Tropp laughed at this, but Spongeberg kept a straight face. Wheeler stared at him. In ways Spongeberg’s power goes beyond hers. If he desires to destroy Collagesity, indeed he can. She must keep him on her good side. “Anything to add here?” Wheeler calls over to the silent Baker Bloch.”
“Nah. Good to see you as well, Spongeberg.”
“So long,” he said to all.
“Let’s see,” started Wheeler again. “Next I suppose we should bring in Roger Pine Ridge. He has elevated himself through hard work to become a core member of our Table.
“Welcome Roger Pine Ridge.”
“Happy to be here.”
“Tell us about yourself.”
“I started out as rough and gruff Biker Mann, consort to Cyberpaperdoll. We lived here right in Collagesity in one of the SoSo Mall apartments. Great view down Old Cannon Road into the woods. Many a night I’ve stared down into the trees smoking my special cigarettes and seeing various creatures emerge from them… or imagined they did. Giants, dwarfs, robots, elves, candy people, holiday figures… you name it.”
“Bandits?” asked Wheeler sneakily.
“Never mind that. Bad joke. So Cyberpaperdoll left you for another man. Tell us about that.”
“I think you just did. Bandit Boy.”
“Right. So I did. And, let’s see, you yourself are a bandit. Stole something very important from Collagesity a while back. Care to tell us about *that*?” She meant the Rainbow Sphere.
“Nah, probably should go.” Roger Pine Ridge understood this invitation to be a trap now. “Tata,” he said in parting.
“We have one more for tonight, Baker Bloch and Tropp. Looks like Lockfry Resident. But who is *he* — at the core? Let’s see.”
“I don’t think we’ve met you before sir… ma’am.”
“No,” the ambiguous being replies. “I don’t know who I am.”
The bridge is derezzing behind me. No time. No time!
It’s my worst nightmare.
“He should’ve stayed, you know. We would have gotten him some linden plants around here. He didn’t even ask.”
“Shush, Jeffrie. I’m reading. The book is being written again.”
Of course the treasure is here, fools, escaped prisoner Casey One Hole thought from his perch while staring toward the simulation. One comes with a snowy peak, one doesn’t, duhh. And now it’s all mine to find since the Klancaster Dixons are out of the picture.
He peers upwards. Hmmm, snowy from a distance, but even higher up close. Artificial rock on top.
And between the decoy treasure and this peak is that treehouse over there — an actual house in a tree. Perhaps that’s where it is. Simple as that.
“I don’t *need* the treasure,” he says to himself while descending toward it. “But I certainly *want* it.”
It seemed like the only form left for her. Back to the drawing board after this. She rehearsed the ending wedding in her head. Takes place on this very spot.
“Do you take Dixon for your newly minted husband, to honor and obey until derezzing do you part?”
“I now pronounce you cousin, er, *husband* and wife.” She pictures the crowd laughing with this little “mistake”, purposely inserted into the vows by Reverend Jimmy Buffee, a long time Snowwhite admirer and a bit jealous of the proceedings. Both Dixons were her cousins, true, but soon one would be more. And Aunt Emerald soon to be the mother-in-law, whichever. Maw.
“You may kiss the dazzling bride.”
Snowwhite kisses the air in front of her. Several fluttering birds, some yellow, some more mutely colored, look on. She imagines them, as a group, holding up the wedding dress train behind her as she walks north through the green meadow to these two central trees and her husband-to-be, with the even more central sakura weeping cherry just behind, almost as brilliant white as herself and about as tall.
Life is good in the centre of it all.
“Okay, I’m just going to start with the red and work from there. Hold *still*, please.”
“Sorry. I was just trying to unstick my arm from this skirt.”
“Let it go. It’s fine. Your skirt’s just poofing out too much for the animation. I’ve already worked it into the picture. Just calm down.”
“I should be telling *you* that.” She let him paint in peace for a while. She watched him exchange red for yellow, then yellow for blue. The tube of Winsor and Newton Permanent Green had been left behind in Middletown. This wasn’t an oil painting.
“How… how long are we going to stay here with your hick family, ex of mine?” she finally said to break the silence. Blue was done. She stared at his quickly drying brush. “I suppose Mr. Babyface is long overdue for being oiled up, haha.”
“Aunt Emerald asked me here for the wedding. She said it shouldn’t be long before we know which Dixon was involved. I thought it would be a good excuse to get away from you-know-who.”
“Mr. Green,” Supergal Flo said, nodding, thinking of the monster.
“Yeah. And reconnect with you for a bit. Aunt Emerald insisted. She said, be sure to bring that red, yellow, and blue gal of yours. So we’re throwing her off, along with the others. Best they don’t know about Gregg with the extra ‘g’, see. The rogue relation.”
“Good idea. So… we’re trapped here.”
“Until the wedding, yeah. Snowwhite will choose soon enough, though.”
Interesting he’s never painted his sister, Supergal Flo realized about her ex as he cleaned his brush. All gleaming white with no color atall. What’s the point, I suppose.
“Let me see.”
“God help our user Baker B. to finish up part 06 of this Collagesity graphic novel. God help Dixon Too find Dixon One and bring him home safe from the mountain darkness. God help Brother Oden’s possession and make it easier on him by intense — intensi-fying his artistic talents. And last (Snowwhite Well stares over), God help Aunt Emerald to find the courage to carry on despite over*whelming* odds.” Snowflake Well unclasps her hands, proudly rises from the prayer ottoman. “And that’s it, teehee.” She curtsies sweetly with this.
“Please,” a studying Emerald insists. “Call me Maw. One of my boys — maybe both my boys — will soon be your husband, with one or both of their seeds insides ya.”
“I can feel it,” suddenly gasps Snowwhite Well. “From the future!”
“Nice. This town can do that to ya. Horrible urban planning with the split down the middle and all. But there’s advantages to schizophrenia. Don’t do my Dixons no wrong.”
“Maw,” she reinforced. “I can *feel* it.” She rubs her belly, even lifts her top a bit. “Right here in my navel.” She circles her stomach with an index finger. “Is — is it still there? I can’t see in this light.”
“Yes, it’s there,” coos Emerald, not a lesbian but still admiring. “Snowwhite, I’m not sure how Dixon One *ever* left you here with that thing glinting far and wide. He must be blind toward it.”
“And now… Dixon Too must follow. Reborn Duncan must be found and returned to his rightful place. Dixie.”
“Better quarantine you two lovebirds a bit before the departure.”
“And lower your top back.”
Klancaster. Whence he came from. The dirt, the grime. He must cleanse himself in this mountain environment. Forget about Snowwhite Well. Forget about Dixon Too, Maw, Cousin Odie, the rest.
No, this was not the snow peaked mountain of treasure lore he’s on. (Dixon walks across the stone patio.) But he’s *close*. He can feel it. Maybe even that far summit over there hidden behind the tall pines?
*Linden* trees. And in such profusion. He’s never seen so many in one place. He must go check it out!
So thick you can’t see what’s inside. And the property’s banned.
Oh well, Dixon thinks. Moving on.
“One down, one to go, Young Duncan. Hold on.”
“It’s not that one, Dixon Too. Too low, you see. No snowy peak.”
“Stop calling me ‘Too.’ *You’re* the ‘Too'”
“How about just Dixon again,” he compromised. “We call each other Dixon from now on. We’ll deal with the One and Too when other people are around.”
“Agreed, er, Dixon. But… we’ve already done this. Our entire lives.”
“Agreed,” the other repeats.
“She says she’ll sleep with you. You have that to look forward to.”
“Maybe I don’t want to sleep with her,” the other countered, making his doppleganger laugh. The other then laughed with him.
“Good one, *’Too’*.”
Alone again, he surveys the world he comes from.
“What a load of crap.”