Category Archives: 02

set

“She h’ain’t coming!” So shrill and trilling for a chicken, who usually wax eloquently when they have that talking device inserted down their throats. But Toothpick knew what happened; voice matches emotions of the moment. He figured Elberta ran off with that [delete name] boy Jimmy John Jones who she’s been going on about for months now. She’s bucking tradition in more ways that one. So she sent her messenger chick. The coward. He’d understand. He didn’t want to see her that way neither. This was his sister for God durn sake. His *twin*. He begins to think of running away himself. Maybe he’ll just follow her and Jimmy to wherever they went. That’ll teach ’em. He would have understood. He h’ain’t no looker like Jimmy. Everything will be safe and above board. He always liked Jimmy anyway. Despite the, um, well…

—–

“We’ll have to order you a new part from Black Ice. I think it’s down in the belt section.”

“No.”

“You’ll get use…”

Duncan Avocado kept shaking his head. He wasn’t going to budge on this. Pot-D can do whatever they like to him in return. Send him back to Dixie for all he cares. Then the memories flood back, the Slave-up vending machine, etc. Two months is a long *long* time down there (in Hell). He doesn’t want to relive that pain, even from a safe distance. He forces himself to come back to the present. He fondles his skeleton heart necklace, the one Buster gave him almost two years ago now. He reconsiders.

Buster Damm senses the change of heart and sweetens the package. “Elberta is a *looker*. You’ll get use to the hick ways. And they’re not really from the Deep South anyway, Mississippi and all. They’re from the very southern part of Black Ice where we use to have the Boos and Bogota…”

Duncan was nodding his head now. He’d given in. To whatever they had in mind. Mention of The River sealed it.

“No three word name. One, or, at best, two.” He spits in his hand. Buster spits in his. They shake.

Reality changes.

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Filed under **VIRTUAL, 0022, 0217, Apple's Orchard, Heterocera^^, NWES Island, VHC City^

rise

“*There*. I’ve finished. Now *you* can decide if this is her or not. I think it is.” He turns the easel with its charcoal pencil drawing toward Toothpick (Filbert). “Mind you this is from memory. But I have a good memory.”

“I remember that you have a good memory,” returns Toothpick in jest, taking a gander.

“It’s when I first saw her in the club,” he explains more upon seeing the puzzled look on his friend’s face. “Before she fully turned her back to me and I knew it was her. But this memory is stronger for some reason. Maybe I just didn’t want to identity the body with Aunt Fannie.”

Toothpick scratches his bald head. “I can’t tell, Mr. Z. Maybe if you’d make a picture of her actual *fannie*, hmm.”

“Yeah, I know. You can’t see the eyes in the back. But this is…”

“… what I remember, huh,” completed Toothpick for Mr. Z. After a moment, he turns away from the picture and stares out over the deck rails at the sea, chewing on his dangly straw and thinking of Elberta. His sister. Soon to be perhaps more. Soon he’d see her in positions like this if the family had their way. “Listen, um, Z, I have to head to the canal now. I’ll be back before sunrise, er, sunset.”

Mr. Z looks at the sea as well. “Beautiful time of the day here at Mercury Rising, yes. I’ll be waiting. I’ll try to make a better drawing before you get back.”

“You do that, hmph,” he says while half smiling. He gets up from the couch. Time to go meet the better half.

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Filed under **VIRTUAL, 0022, 0216, Neptune, NWES Island

suburb

Toothpick’s best friend from high school Mr. Z returns to his home of Meat City after extensive world travel. Note the masks on his pack representing every continent he’s visited. Fra- Fra- Francis tells him he’s can’t get in the club because he’s not a member but he says he just wants to use the phone and he won’t look at anything he isn’t suppose to. He remembers the pay phone from days gone by. He remembers (Fra- Fra-) Francis as well, the only black kid in his 5 child class who use to train ants to wage war in his playdough fort. Good days, good times. Francis remembers them too; he lets Mr. Z pass through after a stern warning. “Don’t look at the girls,” he requests almost under his breath. “They’ll remember. They’ll report me. Don’t look at them,” he repeats and then steps aside after a lengthy, glary stare. Mr. Z recalled that stare from his ant vs. wasp battles with Francis back in the days. The wasps never stood a chance. Mr. Z promises he won’t look at the girls. He knows something much worse than ants await if he does. Fra- Fra- Francis has evolved beyond his childhood times into something much more adult oriented.

—–

He couldn’t help himself. He glanced over while talking to Toothpick (aka Filbert — *not* to be confused with Filburt! (he’s different)) about his journey to the Eleph Trunk and finding Venus and Mars combined into one. “Oh God,” he then sputters into the receiver, “is that Aunt Fannie over there?” He looks away quickly but not fast enough. Aunt Fannie has eyes in the back as well. He recounts why she is so named as he hangs up the phone and scuttles out the door.

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Filed under **VIRTUAL, 0022, 0215, Meat City, NWES Island

Consignment (split the difference)

“We’ll figure it out, Axis, er, Tropp. Umm.” He was truly stuck in the middle and 1/2 and 1/2 (sorry!).

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Filed under **VIRTUAL, 0022, 0214, Hana Lei^^

Treeler

It was a short vacation for Hidi but meaningful. She reconnected with her past: bruisers Delbert, Filburt and the rest. But she was back now in The City, and boyfriend-husband Axis and she had had a wonderful evening just staying in the room and, afterwards, strolling down the westward facing beach in the morning and enjoying a beautiful, forced sunset over the ocean waves.

No, he preferred to go by Opp now. Tropp, actually. True Opp — 1/2 and 1/2 (dang!). And she: well, we’ll get to that soon enough. She created him in effect, a reversed Adam to her Eve. The Apple had been, um, turned inside out.

Anyway, she’d learned something at the beach. A Mercury capsule like astronaut John Glenn use to pilot bobs all abandoned and shite out in Neptune’s Bay, but then when you walk just north past the Neptune sim you reach a property called Mercury Rising, like the sun was rising on the couple at the point where she discovered this coincidence. If it is coincidence. And all those celestial bodies (!): Sun, Mercury, Neptune. Tropp sometimes quips she has a celestial body, ha. Not last night — that would be too weird or obvious I suppose — but sometimes still.

She needs to check her horoscope to see if something is resonant there. Let’s see, Mercury rising. That’s easy. And the sun with it, but also in forced opposition to it (forced sunset instead of natural sunrise to enhance the effect of the walk). And Neptune in the, er, adjacent sim — that must be a neighboring zodiac sign.

She thinks back to an astrologer (name?) who told Hidi about what she felt at the time was a forced association between her birth horoscope and the positions of towns in an Ohio county bordering the Great Black Swamp back in the days. Importantly, Neptune is the only town that is named in the association. The rest of the planet-towns are, or were, inferred. She has the notes somewhere in her filing cabinet downstairs in her actual apartment. This is just a room she and Opp used. For reunion purposes. She decides to check out and head home. Actually, that’s just a figure of speech, for the place has been locked up for weeks. Hidi and Tropp just like the view of the beach and beyond from that large, paneled window; the couple is big on scenery and enhancing it in ways they can if possible. Forced sunrise here, forced full moon there, extra lighting in a darkened alley, so on. But Mercury rising… she must go back to that beach to scout out the place. The owner said in his property description that visitors are welcome. No forcing action there at least.

She lathers sunscreen over her oh so pale face and hands and heads out.

—–

Ahh yes. The Mercury capsule is labelled a *hideout* by the owner. Just like she had been hiding out over in Gaston and just returned. She sits only a bit beyond the border of Neptune on a sand dune in Mercury Rising and thinks about Ohio. Then when she recrosses into Neptune from Mercury Rising she is able to sit in the abandoned capsule. Interesting. Another true hideout (!). True Opp, true hideout. Hidi.

A map charting celestial bodies on a pillow inside; the whole thing is owned by a person from Consignment. Consignment shop! The plot thickens as they say. Better gather up Tropp and hand over there. If this capsule is truly cursed he needs to be in on it.

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Filed under **VIRTUAL, 0022, 0213, Neptune, NWES Island

Fun Fun Town

“Been a while since you’ve been here Hidi. Who you hiding away from now?”

“Oh, the same.”

“Where’d you like to go today? I believe the trailer park is new since you last stayed with us.” Zack Black himself lived in the trailer park now, the residents of which complain all the time about his loud playing of Firesign Theater and The Residents. Eyeballed beings both.

“That sounds good. To begin.” Off they went.

—–

—–

“Helloooo boys. Seen any dead hookers lately?”

“Hidi Widi, as I breathe and stink.”

“Delbert,” she addressed the stockier bruiser who just talked. “Filburt”, she said to the other. “Smells like a hot piece of coal in here.”

“Yeah, mom’s cooking up some rust for din din,” spat out Delbert.

“*Your* mum,” corrected Filburt. “*My* great great grandmum.” He turned to Hidi. “We both look the same age, yeah? We ain’t.” Filburt was very vain about his youthful looks and trimmer waist.

“How old are you?” Hidi was truly curious. She guessed 60 but it could be 20 the way he talked.

“40.” Split the difference, yeah. She should have bet him on it.

“Forty-*two*,” also answered the other: Delbert. The stockier one with a beard that would make alternate Spock envious. But people round here wouldn’t understand that reference, since Star Trek wasn’t invented until sometime in the 1800’s. In contrast, Star Wars was all the rage, with 16 talkie movies so far to follow the 7 silent ones. The ones no one talks about any more. Charlie Chaplin as Yoyo (or Dada) and Buster Keaton as Chewbacco. Mary Pickford as Princess Leida, the role that made her famous for a while. Until she opened her mouth for the camera and tin came out instead of gold. She was great to look at but that voice. Gene Emmett Kelly the dancing clown dumped her for another with a golden voice to match at least a silver look. Not quite Pickford but close enough. And no tin or lead spewing from her lips.

(to be continued?)

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Filed under **VIRTUAL, 0022, 0212, Gaston^^

x’s and o’s

Goodbye Ant Castle at the end of Eleph’s Trunk. I feel like I hardly knew ya.

The only related castle remaining on The Trunk is Harrison Ford Jett’s, whose enhancing apples were recently mentioned in relation to a city crime. The City now. But was he suspected perpetrator or victim in a series of 4? And is he truly a man or a woman? Perhaps it doesn’t matter; let’s go with it doesn’t matter.

“Sure you can stay with me, Ant. Until you get your 6 feet back on the ground.”

“Thanxxxx!”

—–

That taken care of, let’s move back to The City and the Happy Travels Travel Agency…

“Hellloooo. I’m ready to go on vacation. Hide away again.” It was typical of Hidi to do so; in her genes, one could say. Speaking of which…

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Filed under **VIRTUAL, 0022, 0211, Apple's Orchard, Corsica^^, Gaston^^, Northwest, NWES Island

Hello

“Oh I am so *full*, Dinner Girl. But I’m still going to have a piece of Mama Ruby’s pie.”

“You’re a pig, that’s what you are.”

“Oh stop it.”

“Can’t we just *chat* for a while? Without all the eating?”

He looked at her. “I’m Supper Man,” he declared levelly. “That’s what I do. Every meal is supper for me. And all times in-between.” He keeps holding his stomach, pondering what kind of pie he wants. Oh, he’ll go ahead and order the apple and cherry both. One for each. Except Dinner Girl, ho ho, hates both apples and cherries. More for me, oh well. He laughs inwardly again. Dinner Girl catches the wry smile.

“You’re thinking about food again. Aren’t you?” Why was she surprised.

He decides to spring it. Tonight’s the night at last. “I have a proposition for you.”

“Ohhh?” Dinner Girl was sweating now, even faint feeling.

“I want you to take my name. I want you to become Supper Girl instead of Dinner.”

Joy! She can’t wait to tell Mama Ruby when she brings the pies. Let the engagement party begin!

—–

In a different part of town, Dali realizes the pig is a boar is a rhino and changes accordingly. Professor Art points to what parallels the CB Dylan Dresser. “The being at the center of the universe will arrive just… *there*.” Aloha climbs into the picture and assumes the shape of a muse to prepare.

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Filed under **VIRTUAL, 0022, 0210, Apple's Orchard, Black Ice, NWES Island

hunger games 02

“We can pin whatever we want to on you — *thug*. We can pin, let’s see (he looked at the sign in the distance), the Candy Stripper murders down at the hospital. Bad one there — had to haul in all the personnel at St. Marys *and* the strip club over there to solve that one. And it still ain’t solved!”

“Stop torturing me, Burt. You know I’m only in here for the food.” He would laugh except he couldn’t. More mesh. His voice was like charcoal in a BBQ pit: deep and smoky.

“Let’s see…” Burt pondered more grand theft larcenies, manslaughters, but especially murders. “How ’bout the PIG killings.”

“But… that’s you, Burt. You’re… a pig.”

“Yeah. 4 men, all in their 20s through 60s. All between 4’5 and 6’3. All Caucasians or African-Americans or robots. Or none of the above — imaginary I mean there. One was see-through as I recall. And he wore a see-through blouse; very revealing. Apples a bouncing.” He thought back to when Harrison Ford Jett came into the station, all bouncy and see-through. He revealed a lot. The murder of Johnsons Howard was solved largely to his efforts. Then he took the apples out from underneath the shirt and went away. Burt remains disillusioned to this day.

“What’s the point of this?” Thug Jamison Restaurant was getting tired. He’d eaten a lot since he was locked up for jaywalking last Tuesday. The fullness made him sleepy. Of course he broke the law on purpose just so he could eat Mama Ruby Tanner’s home cooking, yum. Right in front of Burt. He knew he’d be booked on the spot. He had nowhere else to go, no place good to eat. “And could you bring my bed back? I’m going to have a lie down while you keep running your mouth.”

“Oh I haven’t even *started* with you,” Burt admitted. His mind scanned an overhead view of the city for more crime locations. Yes, one of ’em or maybe even several of ’em would fit Mr. Restaurant perfectly, he he. Ones we can’t solve otherwise.

(to be continued?)

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Filed under **VIRTUAL, 0022, 0209, Neptune, NWES Island

nothing to see here move along

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Filed under **VIRTUAL, 0022, 0208, Europe