“Gentlemen, I was wondering today if you could talk about what happened in A54?”
“Wellll,” started the first under the A. “Fiiiiiiinnne,” the other said to end.
“Tell me about the tree, W.”
“This is it!”
“Ah, yes. I see: TILE again.”
“Of the modern?”
“Another gallery on Nautilus, W. A new one. Left leaning,” he added, looking at the inworld map.
“This is me.”
After visiting Blue-Yellow and attempting to watch his sun rise, I hop on a passing trolley and head downtown…
… soon reaching THE Cave. Or at least A Cave.
It strikes me that it would be wrong to keep calling this character Axis-Windmill in a town created by an actual German. So we’re going to go with a new one. Not reverting to Windmill Man — too easy. Bronze John looks on, trying to gauge, trying to help. He was so successful with the Beatles with an A naming.
The Beatles are such archetypes, penetrating many synchronicity systems.
All bands can be related to them. For example, Pink Floyd are the psychedelic Beatles, Firesign Theatre are the comic Beatles, and The Residents are the bizarro Beatles. Frank Zappa with his Mothers strongly reacted to them; the Rolling Stones…
I was told by fortuneteller Esmerelda a while back that the answers lie in a cave. In the related collage, cacophony musician Charles Ives pokes his head out sideways, wondering if he’ll have anything left to say. He’s sorry about Cowell, he speaks through the entrance, the mouth. He’s sorry about Connecticut and Danbury and the clashing of bands. Connecticut forgives, but he’ll have to make them laugh, make them suckers instead of seekers, and get small in the exchange. Thimble Islands’ General Tom Thumb might know, if he’s paying attention. Misery becomes Mystery (up to date).
I wonder about New York’s Central Park in the Dark, and the Unanswered Question. I think back to the Amazon jungle and the Indian who becomes a Spaceman, search fulfilled; “aliens” found — this would represent the end of the 4th. Concord (Sonata)… maybe that’s next. Oh, and Karl finding the waterfall (Rainbow) and reading the scrapbook and discovering a new ending, leading him to set aside the old life and the attached house and move on. I thought about Charles Ives today in perusing my table of tiles, wondering if I’ll get the chance to tell anyone about it besides the wife and a best friend. It’s pretty remarkable.
Here is where I’ll be reborn, or at least acquire a new name.
“Who are you?”
“Helmet Newton?” he or she answers as a question.
“You know, she really is the complete package, brother Jer, this Lena Horned.”
“I hear you brother Ben. I hear *her*.”
They listen to the completion of “The Ballad of Stormy Daniels,” preparing for their pitch. Come with us, they’ll tell her. Come back to the capital of all of the South, not just the Deep South. Help us make the South great again, that’s what they’ll say.
“Thank you (applause whistles applause). Thank you very much (applause applause applause).”
Hank Graphite rode into town yesterday’s tomorrow for this important meeting and brought his ghost gorilla for protection — just in case. “Take me drunk I’m home,” he recites upon turning around and facing his competitors again, the “Lost Boys”. “Hadn’t heard that one.”
Ted 02 sat at the bar taking it all in. He’d been here before. Omega continent comes to mind, bartender himself.
He’d said that before as well. Many times.
“Gimme a Bud… bud.” Familiar too.
The establishment exploded.
Often while waiting on one of his fantasyland clients to show or not show up, Marion Star Harding revisits the past through these series of pictures along the southern wall of his Southern Cross Airport hanger. Flying Cowboy, my first plane, he ruminates here. Star meant a different thing back in those days before the coming of newspapers and accompanying coffees and cigarettes. Simpler times, where the only reading occurred when you were perusing the assembly instructions for the latest flight device you’d just purchased.
Speaking of which: his still uncompleted bi-plane. Didn’t come with any paperwork. “I’ll finish it one day,” he speaks aloud to his completed plane just behind, thanking the Gods again that at least the old Flying Cowboys gang chipped in to help him finish that one. Else: no business! No flying fantasy people *anywhere*.
He then moves to the southwest corner of his hanger to check progress on that crazy, upward spiraling road his neighbors are building. Not much accomplished since last week, which puzzles him since he doesn’t know about the whole young’n vs. oldie war they’re going through right now.
Back to coffee cigarette and paper at his desk.
He knew exactly where he was, this Dub, as he gave his name. Nautilus. He wore the virtual continent like a crown from his position. He told me so in no uncertain terms. “My parents are *dead*.” I knew I was dealing with a jokester and his parents were probably inside the terminal, perhaps starting to look for him even now. Most likely they had an argument, a disagreement, maybe over the inability for the stubborn boy to get sweets or a soda just before a flight. He wasn’t going to come down from his perch on the barrel pallet anytime soon. I’d figured that out as well.
Oh look, there’s Mr. Piper again, making yet another one of those mysterious calls in an even more secluded spot now. Dub, as he put it, is not his kid. That would be Cory and Eckert inside, and also I suppose Austin in a way, since he hangs around the others so much. But Austin properly lives just up the street with his actual mom and dad, Dr. and Mrs. Arnold Read, in a two story brownstone. We haven’t met him yet in our story. Or have we?
I returned to the boy. “Come on back inside, Austin,” I tried with some confidence. “Your parents are getting worried.”
“Dad?” he exclaimed. “He’s right over there. Behind that truck making another one of those mysterious calls he does.” He shakes his head with this but doesn’t explain. He’s hiding something. I’d now figured out his dad requested he follow him outside in order to keep an eye out on him. And also probably because he was being rowdy or uncooperative in some way, as we’ve already gone over a bit. He needed a bit of fresh air and so did, um, would this be Arnold then? No: Jonathan Piper, a used car salesman from Winchly. Trying to seal the deal on a lime colored X 1/9 that his wife didn’t want and thought was a waste of money for a family soon to put two boys through college. But his used car buddies insisted it was a steal at 5,000. What they also meant in a double entendre was that the car was stolen. By… one of them I presume. Karl. Or Ralph. Maybe Whiskey Boy George, the grease monkey. Maybe Phil. Or even Burt. Point is, Mr. Jonathan Piper should stick to selling cars at this time instead of buying them, since he has a perfectly serviceable ’82 Dodge Darty sitting in his driveway back home, or so his wife thinks. “200,000 is the new 100,000,” she says about the mileage, which Jonathan thinks is high but she doesn’t. “400,000 is high,” she continues in this vein. “300,000: ehhh,” she wavers, thinking of the line between middle aged and old for an auto. Mrs. Jonathan Piper doesn’t really understand cars. But she understands people, and her husband is going through a middle age crisis, having just reached 40 himself. She’d seen this before with lime colored objects, and here she thinks back to dear old Uncle Bert (not to be confused with Burt, the manager of Auto World of western Winchly) and his penchant for fruit when he turned 39. “Lime is the new lemon,” she could hear him say through his puckered mouth as if it was only yesterday.
Turns out it was all an elaborate ruse. Jonathan Piper came back inside after the call but Dub — his real name as it turns out — didn’t follow him. Later he sat next to the real Austin, a boy about 3 years older, but they had nothing to say to each other, being strangers. Dub had had his way, sweets and a soda in his belly now. Jenck and Nicki Lavosier were softies at heart and tended to spoil their bratty child after caving to his whims.
“Flight 451 to Dehli, New Dehli, and thereabouts now boarding,” came the announcement over the intercom. The Lavosiers were about to embark on a trip they’d never forget.
(to be continued?)
“So next up on the agenda, Wheeler, is the ditch. How’s progress going (on that)?”
“The Ditch is fine, the Ditch is good. But it’s just that: a Ditch.”
“We’ll call it ‘The Ditch’ for now, then.”
“Good, fine.” (pause)
“I guess you’re wondering about Wanda,” he said in the awkward silence.
“Er, Wildthing… to you.”
“Oh: her. Well *we* can handle that.”
“Meaning you and your avatars. The witches.”
“Doesn’t have to be a witch. But we can certainly defeat such an adversary: we’ve done it time and time again now. The only thing they have up on us is veracity, but even that tends to be… photoshopped up.”
“I know what you mean.”
“So… are you back on the team? Are you sold on Our Second Lyfe again?”
“Listen… Wheeler.” He doesn’t directly answer but he knows he is. Wildthing is just a temporary fling. He will return to Charlene, he will return to Lois. Anything Wheeler throws up he can handle. As they can handle him.
After the meeting with Wheeler at the Blue Feather, he decides to go visit Danny and talk about the issues of his leadership.
“Man About Time is too flighty. He isn’t fixed enough, Danny. He wouldn’t make an effective leader. But yet, he seems to be my second in charge now — naturally slotted into that role. So if anything happens to me…”
“Yes.” Danny understood what needed to be done. And Jeffrie Phillips knew he would attempt to do the dastardly deed. He was ready. Danny was about to be exiled from Collagesity once more. But who would take *his* place? Baker Bloch? Wouldn’t that be weird.
Since Danny’s was the 3rd attempted homicide already in the newly reborn town, along with 2 successful ones, leader Jeffrey Phillips decides he better open up a police station underneath the Power Tower Gallery, right beside the town pool which may later become the town dump — undecided.
Which happens to be the location they found the 3rd body in the evening of that same day.
Looks like someone’s ready for their close up.
“Just a minute, Tessa, I’m watching Gigi (pause). Okay, she’s gone. Go ahead.”
“I’m trying to *simplify*, Stumpy. I’m trying to become punkish, I guess you could put it.”
“Like being stuck on the 4th side of a mid-70s art rock concept album, yeah. I get it.”
“‘What would Peter do?’ And that kind of thing.”
“Yeah, yeah, I have some advice for you. I’m a good bartender like that.” He shifts from bartender pose 3 to bartender pose 2 to better explain.
“Yeah, what is it?”
“Sorry. Just raising my elbows out from inside the counter. Right. Here’s my advice.”
(to be continued)