“Another dream: I was at 23:23, the place *and* the time. This was the…”
“… beginning?” He’d heard this too. Male-female synthesis. “So we’re back to trying to track this 102 fellow. Or 102 girl.”
“Queer dream,” states the now black Chief in his bar by the blue swamp in the southwest corner of Paper-Soap. “Say the girl’s name is Atrophia?”
“That’s what she said. Blue hair. Blue as Heaven.” The visiting Aldebaronian glanced at his wrist. 4:20? Not on *his* watch.
Black Chief looks out the door of the small bar. “Rain now. Swamp will be getting pretty damp soon. Better rev up the dehumidifier, um, Stu. That *is* your name today, isn’t it?”
Stu Umbriel, who goes by many names since that cursed birthday party about 1 month back now where bodies began to merge together in queer ways, smiles and says it is so. “Today,” he reinforced. He moves around back to crank up the moisture removal device, which he knows the ins and outs of better than Chief, being a regular moisture producer himself. In fact: better take a leak behind the bar after I roll this baby out in the middle of the room, he thinks. He glances down. This blue blue baby. Blue? Center? Just like the (stranger’s) dream.
The rain gets harder. “Yelloo!” he exclaims behind the bar, getting wetter all the time.
“Thanks for serving me bottles, guys. I don’t care much for cans, because of the name and all. Pepi “Can” Kolya at your service. I say that so you can see me for who I am, like friends.” It was here they noticed the holes in the head, and why this dude probably just missed his flight out of here to a fantasyland of his choosing. The Lake will do that to you; lull you to sleep. This Starfish.
“‘Nother one, bud?” asked one or the other, take your pick.
“Nah, better amscray. Gotta catch a 5:15 outta here.”
“6:15, now,” said the one that didn’t talk before, the other bartender. They may have been twin brothers but they may not be as well: picks again.
“Whattt??” exclaimed Koyla. He’d been following the wrong time zone, which was the right time zone before crossing the Centalia Line. He liked to be conveniently late but 1+ hours won’t hack it. He’d have to reschedule.
“Another one bites the dust,” says Marion “Star” Harding to his Project Humboldt v1.4 CM plane, use to it. “Fantasy people, pheh.”
“I hear ya,” he imagined the plane saying back to him through his or her propeller.
He could look up from the Knowhere Gallery and see the big red NO on the hill, marking the namesake tor. Where it all began in this here photo-novel, 26 in a series of — I’ve lost count admittedly. 2? Mental note: cut down on the number of questions I ask myself in this here novel. But should I? Moving on…
The property with the Knowhere Gallery in Necrotee borders neighboring Yelloo sim to the north. In the Beatles’ inspired animated movie “Yellow Submarine”, a sculpture of a giant KNOW (word) early in the movie changes to a NOW and, finally, a NO, as letters are destroyed during the invasion of Pepperland by Blue Meanies, with the general idea being a shift from positive to negative vibes all around. Is that what happened here? Sorry: that’s what happened here, in Necrotee. Moving north to south. Here’s a picture of the full sim from above, “Know” gallery to the north, and the NO (part of NO FLY) to the south. Not much else in the sim.
“That’s all very fascinating,” she said, still beside me or around me somewhere. “But what of the red light that whisked little Alysha to… where was it? Angels Airport I guess? Where they apparently lose planes every once in a while? But somehow people still take said planes to their destination? Is that how this works?”
“Listen, W, I made a vow to my reader or readers that we’d cut back on the questions in this here blog.”
“And attached photo-novels,” she dutifully tacks on.
“Right. But: yes. I guess we have a general mystery laid out by now. Letters in Necrotee; the No Tor; red light–”
“It was a ship,” interrupted W. “Not a plane. Go to the ship.”
“Ahh. The ship that, let’s say, *kidnapped* little Alysha and took her to the airport somehow, still in Lower Austra but still pretty far away from here.”
“Airport,” she repeated. “Terminal.”
I complained about my lemonade getting stale, being procured the night before. I asked her if I could go back to, let’s see, Underclaw, and get a fresh one. But: no time. Tonight I had to find out what made this ship tick, what was the driving force.
I opened a door but the wrong one. I quickly shut it before the vacuum of space consumed the whole vessel. Losing only a little oxygen and pressure, I was able to breath and walk still. Recovered, I tried other doors.
And then there he was. In the back eating turtle soup and taking a break from driving, blue as FLY. Should’ve known.
I went back and sat across from him, trying to gauge his moral compass. The soup just turned out to be a turtle, a pet he carried with him most places and most flights. Turns out, additionally, it acted as his moral compass. Right now it was pointed south.
I asked him if he had any fresh lemonade. The southward pointing turtle manifested one from her mind, even skewing it toward my favored hand.
(to be continued)
“I’m tired of being a Menace, Grandpa.”
“Grumpy, please,” insisted the octogenarian soaking beside him.
“Right. You’re sure they didn’t see me.”
“No one can see you. Now.”
“No one takes heed of me any more. I’m *ever-present* you could say. And I never do no talking. Being naked all the time has its advantages. No one takes you really seriously.”
Mick looked over, noted the substantial package Grumpy was obviously protecting from harm. Star in his days, he thought. Still thinks he can make a comeback in that industry; still able to keep it up for 20 or so minutes at a time. With aid from the red and blue pills. “I’ve chosen a disguise,” he says over to his one and only true, non-goofy friend in the world, now that the wife has passed away. But he doesn’t like to think about the farming accident with the tiger and the grenade down in Bellisaria. “The doctor has arranged it. He will be known later on as… the Doctor of Mouse, and then, maybe, perhaps, simply become Dr. Mouse. He will do it. He has assured me it will work.”
Grumpy Grandpa thinks back to the days when they were trying to talk him into an operation to change a body part. Too big, they exclaimed to him, catching him in the shower with it one day. Perhaps his mother, perhaps a brother — but word got around. Drew has a big package, everyone found out. The girls at the school started taking more notice of him, a lot more notice. The boys respectfully bowed their heads now when he was around, instead of taunting him with jeers about his weight and such. He had found his niche, even though he didn’t know it at the time. No more residing between a rock and a hard place.
Mick brought him out of the past. “They’ll start with the head; get rid of all the black. Just like Bendy: you know Bendy, the attendant up at the gate house.”
“No.” But Drew “Grumpy” Cleveland, aka Grandpa Cliffs, knew all about Bendy and what went right and also what went wrong with *that* operation. Disguises all around in this here Castle Town of Southern Omega.
It started in earnest on that first night Tessa saw snow flying. She turned her small head round and round, taking in the wonder of it.
Wheeler seemed to have kind of ended her travels. Now was the time to focus on the meaning of Cow as a whole. Her own half-brother!
She looked up to him, giant for a day.
Meanwhile, at 181 181 Rosehaven Thornwood:
“Peet Archer must have missed the big amethyst cluster because of that blocking tree.” She walks over.
“Quite pretty, and right on The Diagonal of the sim (188, 188).” But Wheeler/Hidi can’t stare directly at it, distracted by the eerie mist all around. Better get back to the Blue Feather for a reset.
At the top of Slot Mountain, Phillip’s head becomes bigger, anticipating a screw.
Sorry, but that’s just what he was thinking. The important thing: the mastermind behind Our Second Lyfe is here on the island; the slit acted as an attractor.
“I remember you. That Jeogeot art thing.”
“Yeah,” I replied beside him. “We’re back.” I took a breath and looked down into the slot. It all started here, I remember. On this island.
“I died (!).”
His head got big again. He jumped into the slot, trying it out. Didn’t work. He jumped back up. “I so want to get this *over* with.”
“There’s only one way and you know it,” I spoke. “Begin again.”
He jumped back down. He couldn’t help himself. Longer this time. I realized what he was. Back he comes, head diminished. But the whole process is slowing down up here. “When *does* it start?” he asks at the lip. “I mean: life itself. I’m down there but I’m not down there. I’m up here as well.”
“Art,” I said. “Takes time. Building the proper receptacle.”
“A mountain, a castle,” he ritually pronounced.
He tries again, yet more successful.
“I don’t get it Elberta. How come you turned out so nice and I came out so… *bad*?”
“Aww, it’s just the place we’re from, Filbert (= Toothpick),” she spoke prettily. Everything about her was dainty and proper. No Southern slur to her voice, even though, like her brother Filbert/Toothpick, she was originally from the deep South. She downed chicken after chicken just like the rest of ’em, but never licking and smacking her fingers. Put her overalls on one suspender at a time, but with demure and grace. No shirts for anyone — she couldn’t get away from that. Just pants, and overalls if you’re lucky. You get one pair and then when you wear those out that’s it, unless someone dies in the family and you inherit theirs. There’s been rumors of murders just because of this. And then you have to make sure another sibling or cousin or something hasn’t been pushed out of a womb and grown up fast enough in front of you to earn theirs right on the spot, before the grave dirt’s hardened and the mourning flowers wilted. Wild flowers we’re talking about here, because no one from their parts can afford the shop ones. Like city lady Norm the Cashier’s exotic blend of Amazonia specimens over in the Black Ice district. No south of the border for them. They’ll never move beyond the front part of the palindrome involving Panama.
So here they sit in front of a dividing canal, one man and one plan. A canal going nowhere — Elberta had detected there was no flow to the current early on, but still came to fish here. If only for the beer and the company of her brother. Here, down in this sunken channel of rock and cement, she could escape the stares of the others. The ogles of the ogres she likes to think of it. “We are a pair,” she said, leaning over toward him and elegantly handing him the empty, with the understanding that he’d stand up, open the box cooler, and give her a full one in return. He was obedient, but yet he was also a slave again. A slave to tradition. Brothers usually marry their sisters in the deep South culture, with twins no exception. Usually. He counted the days and weeks in his mind. 17. Just enough to get settled into the new temple with the new avatar God and make arrangements. He was hoping their parents would actually go out and buy him a new pair of overalls for the wedding but we’ll see. Usually doesn’t happen that way; usually someone has to die as stated. Uncle Luther has the flu, Filbert can’t help but think here. He imagines another funeral before the wedding with freshly donned dungarees.
“I’d say it’s from the future,” studying Jim B. answered Baker Bloch about the revolving head in a jar. “Connected to Cassandra and its own head in a jar, of course. Something about dad…”
“And *root* beer,” he furthered, looking at the 6-pack on the table with the head. “Not beer beer. So something not involving alcohol. I’d say this man was an alcoholic on the wagon. Perhaps that is the thing which did him in.”
“Isn’t Anderson called Blacks?” Baker Bloch called from the back, nearer the video feed. He was checking.
“How would I know?” answered Jim B., who preferred the surname Brown himself. “But if it is, and you should probably know…”
She stands at a crossroads outside the motel. David A.B. and Linda Halsey are still talking in the lighted patio outside the lobby. They would be doing this as long as the motel itself existed, she realized. She stares toward the mysteriously highlighted red-blue-green gate to the east (sky-sea-land). She’s *been* here before, she realizes while studying it and almost being hit by a right turning, beat up station wagon with Illinois license plates in the process. BDR529. Not quite all the numbers but getting there.
“Where there are churches there must be liquor stores,” she remarks confidently while walking between two. She goes in a direction no Yoko has ever gone before, messing with the patterns.
“So this is what you do all the time, Baker B.?” asked observing Marty at Collagesity’s Blue Feather Table Room.
“Pretty much,” admitted the male baker version to the famous composer/musician variant.
“W-where is she going? She’s just heading off in a random direction.”
“Not random,” spoke Baker Bloch. “Hopefully.”
“What is this place?” Marty further queried.
“Heartsdale. It’s in title.” Baker looked over, confident in his randomness. “She’s been here before,” he added. “Or *I* have.”
“And this has — something to do with John.”
“Absolutely,” I crowed. “Bakersworks,” I said to end.