She was about as far away from a cowgirl as you could get. But Marion Star Harding, cowboy for life, thought he was falling for this punk of a gal with her Mohawk haircut and razor blade eyeglasses and matching belt. She hadn’t even disclosed her last name yet; only went by Heidi. He tried to dig it out of her, and then dig it out of the internet. No go. Heidi plain and simple she was. For now: maybe later, he thought happily, she would be Heidi Harding, maybe even add a star in the middle for good luck. Heidi Star Harding. Sounds good. Maybe no need to know the maiden name. Or a married name if she had a previous husband. Turns out she had 4, with a 5th on the way.
“Cut!” the actor/director cried while standing up and getting out of character. “Great guys. See you tomorrow at 9.”
During the night, Harry returns to the spacecraft, is able to enter the sphere, and then returns to the Habitat. The next day, the crew discovers a series of numeric-encoded messages appearing on the computer screens; the crew is able to decipher them and comes to believe they are speaking to “Jerry”, an alien intelligence from the sphere. They find Jerry is able to see and hear everything that happens on the Habitat.
We enter something different. On the western limits of Fieldon IL we find this welcome sign, indicating a rough population figure for the town at 300. Strange and neat thing, though: the church property just beside the sign is *300* W Locust St. (see upper right part of snapshot for property details). The 30 mph speed limit also seems to highlight the doubled 300.
In the same panoramic shot and on the other side of the road, we have another highway sign stating that Route 100 is 3 miles away, 100 x 3 being yet another 300.
This *field* on the very edge of Fieldon is part of the 300 property.
Welcome to the sphere.
“I will withdraw the monkey in me,” she said while standing on the edge. “Crime rates *will* go down in this here Collagesity, 25 in a series of 1.” Who is she to be so small yet so wise?
I still have a definite presence in NWES City over on the Jeogeot continent, just diminished. We’ll see how that develops.
“Dear, can we go to the temple… now?”
“Not yet. I’m still trying on shoes.”
Ray’s well deserved pizza should be arriving any minute. He’s forgotten who he is again.
And static. Glorious static.
It all started again with the formation of Thornwood. Thornwood exists: I exist, the Rose be damned. But that was the problem. I couldn’t find the roses again because of the thorns. This was an existential dilemma. Rosehaven also did not exist now. Instead: Rose Heaven. Witch Hazel *must* be suppressed (!). She could destroy this queendom-kingdom with a single, steely glance of those evil, dead white eyes. Powerful.
I clutch my Philip Linden doll even tighter. I miss my daddy, *sigh*.
“Don’t you think,” I can hear Tessa in my head (if not in reality, at least currently), “that the truth lies in the ruined village now partially in Thornwood?” I realized this was just me reflecting back to me, but it helped.
The background sound of static. I knew I was back in Room 1898, sleeping in that oh so comfy bed of ours. Tilists — always with the static at night. I wake up (let’s say). Who is beside me? Charlene the Punk? Probably not — (she was) several girls ago. Probably that girl Gigi who hangs around the bar all the time. Just like me. Whatever’s handy at the moment. But I mustn’t wake up, must dream a little longer. I unclutch the doll pillow and turn its face toward me. “What would Philip Linden do?” I ask it. Slot Mountain! came the answer in my own enlarged skull. I hadn’t thought of that slitted peak and attached haunted castle in a long time. Not since…
Time is all mixed up for me now. I know I’m dreaming but it’s even worse than that, because when I wake up, it will still be all wonky, like Willa. Hey, I could use that (expression) in my memoirs: Wonky like Willa. Slip in some more comments about chocolate and sweets in general to balance things out. Maybe delete that section about arsenic; too much of a downer, like the barbiturate section I eliminated previously. But here I am, wasting precious dream time on my memoir planning. I try to see who is in the bed with me. I’m clutching my Philip doll again, still in the dream.
Behind me, the square piece of land representing Illyria slides up and Thornwood appears in the gap, but brown instead of white like the others. Winter hasn’t come yet, at least not here in the yarn shop. Yarn Shop! Rosehaven? How did I get here?
Wormholes. Must — control — the — wormholes.
I can’t see Green at all now.
“It certainly is a big monument Hucka Doobie.” It had just come into sight, around the bend of the road as they reached the heart of this tiny West Virginia village.
“Well… he wanted it to stick out.” She crosses her arms again. She didn’t really want to be here. With Baker. But he needed spiritual guidance and she is a spirit and she is assigned, pheh. So in the car with him again, traveling toward Lilly’s obelisk in the skies. Herman wanted it this way. Big. Bigger than his. Love: he truly loved his vampire wife as much as a collaged together munster with another’s heart could.
She resisted scratching her bare shoulder again. Still bleeding, ouch!
“I guess she’d be in Pennsylvania by this point, Hucka.”
“Guess so.” They traveled onward, northward, passing the monument as it cast a huge shadow over their diminutive car.
“I’m telling you, Owens. That handle was *broken* last night when I woke up. Now — it’s okay! I’m not lying to you, though. And I’m *not* crazy.”
“I didn’t say you were,” replied the calm, cool chef-inspector. “I’m just trying to get the facts. So — you woke up when the door slammed. This was when the other Sandy — in the dream — left the store — sans bikini bottom.”
“It was her tail and her little purple skirt, but I guess you could say ‘correct’ to that. I can’t recall her wearing anything else. When the cold, naked air blew in through the door when I went downstairs after I awoke I knew that she was the same: cold; naked; out *there*. The door slammed again, then. The handle was *broken*. Someone *broke* it. The dream was real!”
“Calm down, sir. Calm down. You said the door slammed in your dream and you awoke. Then you said the door slammed again after you awoke. But then you said Sandy — the other one, the dream one — *slammed* her tail and skirt down on the table between male bastards — think that was your words again — Renaldo O’Donnell and King Orange, saying they could have them. Strange you remember such specific names for a dream, Sandy Beech.” Then chef-inspector Keat Owens considered that *this* was a dream, and not the first time. It all started with the remembering of Spongebub. “But this could be the door slamming again,” he completed his analysis. “Except you didn’t awake just then, only with the subsequent slamming.”
Sandy pondered this. Two realities were superimposing themselves on top of each other, inadvertently (perhaps) creating chaos and confusion. He simply didn’t know; he simply couldn’t understand. In the moment.
(to be continued)
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.
“It’s gonna take a while for the (new) city over there to settle down and become stabilized. An active owner doesn’t really help as well. Unless…”
“… she becomes an ally for the cause,” Baker Bloch playing the role of Ditch Parkly finishes, but then adds: “Probably not going to happen.”
“Nah,” Wheeler quickly agrees to that last part.
After a pause, Baker spoke back to Wheeler while looking over his shoulder: “I wonder what we did to those BoShek castle people over there to piss them off?”
Wheeler sighs without directly answering this time. “Everything seems to be closing up for us in this Southwest location,” she states plainly, about ready to move on and forget all about this section of the continent. A refocusing on Urqhart or thereabouts seems a logical choice, given Collagesity is there now. Focus on who’s in *that* town and what they’re doing and what they’ve been up to. She pitches this to Baker/Ditch.
“I’m worried Hucka Doobie,” spoke Baker Bloch to what was obviously his closest confidant these days, with Baker Blinker over the hill and far far away back in Chilbo with Karoz. He points to the newspaper with the missing piece.
“This plot is more full of holes than a Swiss Cheese Mountain in Ant Town.”
Hucka Doobie looks over at him with, love? She is more aware every day that he is the one. The chiseled face, the sloping debonair hat that originally came from a Rhinestone Cowboy. The leftover traits from his father Spaced Ghost, including the power bands and the, well, she’s heard rumors anyway.
“Listen to that music from the gramophone,” she said, trying to distract. “It’s called — ‘Melancholy’. Originally etched on a 4×4 magic square but in 1961 committed to a round piece of wax and released to the world. 365 singers for 365 days. And those *bells*…” She listens again, lost in a trance. Nap time, like when you meditate but can’t shut off your thoughts.
“It’s very nice, Hucka Doobie,” Baker spoke plainly in his announcer-like voice, just made for a tv or radio show. Just like his dad. “But we have *problems*.”
Hucka Doobie looked at him again. No love in his eyes for her. She knew the rumors to be false, perhaps started by Wheeler herself, the *bitch*. No, she must think peace and love and happiness thoughts. Like the Tibetans she’s been so engrossed in lately. That music — so soothing. She’s almost cutting the z’s again — but, *no*, she must stay alert. She stares at Baker Bloch once more. No reciprocation — yes, that’s what she was thinking about. Then the bells start…
15 minutes later, Baker Bloch was staring at her through the hole in the paper when she awoke. “*Now*?” he queried.
Unlike the others, Sister Martha Lamb’s feet were about to touch ground. The imaginary dragon behind her issued a final roar of disapproval before fading out of existence. Dream becomes reality. “You may pass,” the gatekeeper gruffed when seeing soles to stone, and she crossed the threshold into Southwest Castle,
hell heaven bent on finding the royal child and bringing her home to her true flock.
“Not *you* Strummy,” he then joked to the man now behind her whose legs remain embedded up to his calves.