“Picturetown, huh?” He glanced back at his prospective new customer, unable to see the holes in his head from this angle. Well, he *does* take the flights that no one else will cover, including flying to imaginary countries, counties, and cities if needed. Last week it was Oz. Week before: Wonderland. One of the Alices wanted to go home to visit a sick aunt who might or might not be on her deathbed, hard to tell. But she had to find out. Then before that: he couldn’t recall. Maybe Texarkana. “Sure, I’ll do it,” he said, not wanting to delay his reply any longer, wanting to exude confidence that he could get the job done. He’s checked all the maps in the meantime. No Picturetown in Canada or anywhere else in the world. But he’ll get him there. All he needs is the coordinates, and he can get them from Chuck and his special computer tapped into the Lemon World, the one no one is suppose to know about. Chuck connects him to the fantasy lands, and for that he gets a hefty wage in *real* money, not that fake green crap they peddle at, say, Oz. Rubles, someone tried to hand him the other day after a flight to Borneo. “No rubles,” he said in return. “*Real* money,” and he kept his hand out until actual, metal coins were laid in it, signifying a completed sales transaction. Paper money doesn’t hack it for our Marion “Star” Harding, former ace pilot in the World Wide Web War, version 2.0. Since then they’d come out with 3.0 and he was back at his desk, back to being a private pilot specializing in the weird and even profane, like sneaking the elf hookers out of Santaland and back to Easter Isle where they belong. Bunnies, he thought here. Nothing but bunnies. “5:15 tomorrow okay for you?” he asked the prospective customer, working with numbers on his computer at the same time he thought all this other stuff.
“Tom!! Over here!!”
“That’s not your brother, dear,” offered his mom. “That’s a woman.”
“Tomm!!” Peter insisted.
“Pipe down, son,” hissed the father. “I’m on the phone.”
From her heart shaped seat in front of the cafe, Alysha heard it all. She was trying to read her red book, which she’d already read a number of times, perhaps 8. She was finished eating (her pie). She remembered a red light, then nothing for a while. Then here. With the red book. And the red pie. She became impatient. She skipped 10 pages ahead to mention of High Fidelity before her, as if highlighted. What did that mean?
“Tommmmm!!” More distant now than before but that’s because we are hearing from the perspective of the girl. It was really louder up close and personal — Peter was very convinced, and his mother was even trying to pry his hands from his cheeks now, but they were as if stuck. Who’s Tom? Alysha wondered. A sister? Strange thought, she realized (“Tooooooommmmmm!”). Tom is not a boy’s name. But on the other hand, *she’s* a Tom, as in a tom boy. She could do anything a boy could and she does.
Across the terminal, and directly in line with the calls, Jen Saunders realized that flight 451 had taken off without a plane. “No plane, no plane!” she panicked. Future passengers milling about started looking at her, paying attention. “No — no –” She was out of breath. She began running, here and there. She ran toward Alysha, knocking into her, spilling the book. She got up with no concern for the girl, as if she’d just tripped on air. “No plane,” she started again. “No plane!” She was heading straight for the boy. “Toooooommmmmmmmmm!!” he called one last time.
On a break, Fern rolled the prophecy cubes and then wondered who Tessa was.
She better get back to her shift at the cafe…
“I wish I had better news about the twins,” Fern Stalin later exclaimed to Lichen Roosevelt at the Yalta Bar and Grill down more in the innards of Castle Town. Actually, where we saw Barry De Boy last, taking up pen and paper for the first time and setting down his palette and paintbrush. Actually: both; he’s both an artist and a writer. Just like me. We return to the present conversation…
“All in this spell book?” Lichen exclaims back, surprised at the results of the equation. Q, she thinks. Barry knew all along.
One of the twins walks in. I wish I could say it was the right one but I’m not sure.
Actually I am.
Carolin saw her approaching the hill from the road. “Up here Tessa!” she called from the designated meeting spot, sacred in the long game. Cow Hill. The Man About Time finally made it. And Tessa’s old cave friend Carolin, whose circumstances we haven’t really delved into yet, with only one post devoted to her so far. Here’s where that changes: novel 24. (Wheeler thinks) we need a new (important) female character, and Carolin is a good fit, helping to fill out the overall macro-picture a little bit more. One novel at a time. One post, one section, one novel. When will it end? What is at the end of *that* particular road? Another too deep mystery with ban lines all around? Let’s see what Carolin adds to the now very big equation, with a large blackboard needed to contain.
Ahh: appropriate. A big blackboard.
And I guess that leaves Man About Time out of the picture currently since his seat has been taken. He missed again! On with the show…
“Daaaanger,” Edwin the ghost moaned in warning. But Halloween Jack had to find out what lie ahead. The cold, the *contrast*, irresistibly drew him in.
Jack hesitated just beyond where the drab ground turned white, making his shoes wet.
What are these particles of light falling from the sky? He lets one alight on his skeletal tongue. Delicious! Frozen water, melting in the mouth almost upon touch. The ground is composed of these, he realizes. No melt this time! He tries to watch it build up around a nearby evergreen tree but doesn’t have the patience. So much to see! He marches forward, moistened feet be damned.
What’s this? A fellow sentient being? Made of the same ice?? “Hellooo!”
“Howdy!” the snowman cheerfully replied, indeed alive during the season. “Welcome to Christmas! Or thereabouts,” he tacks on. Jack smiled broadly. Sally is going to *love* it here, he thinks.
Soon they were together listening to Snowmanster play a selection of her favorite holiday tunes.
“Oewa, we have to get ready to move into the big city. Like ‘Green Acres’ except in reverse. Are you ready?”
Oewa couldn’t answer properly, being just a simple cat and not one of those talky ones like you can purchase in the city down in Black Ice. Or so he’s heard.
“Guess I might take this chance to fix my teeth, hmm.” He moves the straw around his mouth anxiously, feeling all the holes now.
Again? thinks the cat that can’t say it aloud, at least to humans. Maybe she can get one of those talky tubes she heard they sell down at the Black Ice market. Frenchy told her this. Frenchy knows stuff. Frenchy is a bird but not one of the tasty ones. Frenchy is a fowl parrot. What a mouth! “G-d d-mn m-ther f-cker you can get a tube down there,” he said upon hearing her plan piggybacking on her master Toothpick’s plan to get new teeth to go along with his new apartment. 50 lindens a month! How did he get such a great deal? And with only one neighbor, albeit living right on top of him. Someone called MAT.
“When you stare at me like that, I don’t know *what* you’re thinking, mm mm mm. We better start packing.”
(to be continued)
New Nun opens the attachment.
I do declare I believe that woman needs a cross and a crucifix to hold!, she thought, staring at the silhouetted figure and its dangerous curves.
She woke up in the middle of the night with a realization. The maid was still trying to move the dead body out of the room to no avail. Perhaps she was attempting to be too quiet about it. I know who the motel receptionist is, Yoko Ona thought while staring up at the ceiling long crack in the ceiling: Cindy A.! This is where I met her and also started interacting with the others of the traitorous A.Team. Todd I believe. And Jim! Who could forget Jim and his maths. Figures began forming in her mind with this. All the numbers again (1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0). She decided she needed a middle of the night martini for further pondering. And so as not to disturb the maid and her duties, she tip toed out of the room, silently shutting the door behind her in search of a bar.
To move beyond 02 and especially 03, she knew she’d have to get by the security guard known locally as Big Black Smoke — learned that from the maid. She, in a whisper of a voice, had warned her about the corruption existing at the motel after dusting the bathroom for the 3rd time. 3 again. A.Team with three members. She’s getting closer! She runs smack into Big Black Smoke while spacing out about 3. “Morning misses,” he spoke, not fazed in the least. “Out for your morning walks again?” Plural, she realized. He thinks *I* am 3. And he’d been moved in front of motel door 03 with the collision for further emphasis. Heartsdale was certainly trying to talk to the famous widow of a woman! She walks further into the town proper and its beating Null Heart after affirming Big Black Smoke’s guess.
(to be continued)
Gene Kelley, Mr. Fix It of town, waited patiently beside his new work for Marsha “Pink” Krakow to finish her stress relieving ride on the big white bunny in the playground behind the Black Elephant pub.
But then she passed it right by without comment on her way back in. Time for a bit more practice today! She’s calculated that she can be up to 10 minutes late for supper and not get *that* reprimanded. She’s timed it all out. Led Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks” and The Who’s “The Real Me” coming up!
“Afternoon, Gene,” she offered while barely glancing sideways, absorbed in her thoughts of drumming glory.
“Afternoon, er, *Marsha*,” he returned, staring at her as she walked to the side door of the pub and re-entered.
“It’s an *eleph*ant,” he called to her just out of earshot now. “Trunk removal,” he added weakly, summarizing the rather long story about its concept.
I wondered how long the assimilation would last. “That’s a beautiful tune,” I spoke down to rapidly strumming Tronesisia. “What is it?”
“What do you think?”
I recognized the tune. “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway,” title song for the album. Keyboard to L-harp. Marvelous.
It has begun (the guitar kicked in).