Kate McCoy tries to find the unicorn where she saw it in the bushes.
A sudden call from the house in that scary, shrill voice, so familiar. “Katy! Katy Kidd! Come help your mother get out of bed and take her shower!”
“Very nice. This will do.”
“I get it, Magus Ellen,” Sidechick Corea shouted from below. “The rat tales are the 2 in the pictures, the first and last of the post. But the *same* rat tale. That of Reginald’s.”
Ellen walks out to the front stairs. “What was that, my friend?” But Ellen heard well what he said. No need to voice it, true, but no harm done. Here at least.
He listened patiently while Sidechick repeated his observations. Then: “Good, good.” He stares back inside the treehouse… “We’re almost ready up here.”… and then toward the cave mouth.
“What are you doing out there silly?” speaks Burrb through the window pane at his wife. “You’re 15 minutes late — can you hear me?” Mable nods. “You’re 15 minutes late,” he repeats.
“I was trying to find the diary,” her muffled voice sounds from outside.
“The dairy?” he playfully replies and smiles. “Down the road and to your right.” But Mable wasn’t in the mood for games and just indicates the book with the hand in her hand and goes around to the front door to enter.
30 minutes later, Mabel had spilled the wine about Mid Hazel, Karoz Blogger, Precious Snowflake, and the Ohno sim in general.
Buurb demanded a field trip.
But they weren’t going to ascend that hill to the haunted Palmer Lodge in the middle of the night.
Oh no (sorry).
“There’s no other choice in the matter, Broken Heart,” Jacob called from his chair. “We’re going to have to go to Stonethwaite and that is that.”
“I know,” replied his bone cat friend, positioned in front of the next two collages of the series here. “I’m already packed up (compacted). We’ll have to figure out a way to erase the two beds, though.”
“I’m on it.”
“Bucket of nails,” requests Wilson to Terry. “And make it bloody.”
“Ahem,” intercedes Baker Bloch. “Not open yet, Wilson. Sorry.”
“Yeah, sorry,” echoes Terry. He tries to size up his new potential customer, but can’t quite make out what’s the deal-i-o. Baker helps.
“So you’re a man again,” he states to Wilson.
“Yeah. A pretty man. Let me show you. You haven’t seen yet.”
“Just a glimpse at the police station. How’s Burt the Cop doing?”
“Brutus?” replies Wilson. “Prostitute problems as usual. Gaston’s filled with them, even choking on them. Berries. Cherry, Raspberry, Blueberry. Lemon. Yes, Berry is fully intertwined with Gaston. You knew Lemon on Mars didn’t you?”
“I did,” states Baker, thinking back fondly to his stay in futuristic INSCO. “Have you seen her? She ran around with Sugar then, but wasn’t a prostitute (like her) at the time. Circumstances must have changed. Science is getting tough to swallow for many.”
“I’m not sure she’s really a whore there,” says Wilson. “She could be undercover. Brutus hinted at so much. Purple Gang. Burt Lake Band. Crooked.”
“Oden, then,” responds Baker.
“Yeah. Have you seen him?”
“Maybe a glimpse as well at Morrison. Rockabilly Cafe. But we’re done filming there.” He pauses. “And you haven’t shown me the new face yet.”
“That’s way too pretty, man,” Baker offers. “For a man. How about a scar? What do you think Terry?”
That same day, Wheeler and Buster also visited the Moai Shinto shrine next door to the tea house, complete with its own station along the SLRR. Wheeler didn’t understand what was going on inside, however. Easter Island head? What’s that got to do with Japanese culture? The fronting terra-cotta warrior statue was no good for information.
I tried to help her out by googling “Moai Shinto”, but only came up with links about this same virtual temple. I narrowed the search down to Shinto, and understood now, through the associated wikipedia article, this is, “the ethnic religion of Japan that focuses on ritual practices to be carried out diligently, to establish a connection between present-day Japan and its ancient past.” It is actually the largest religion of Japan, practiced by 80 percent of its population according to the article. I’d just forgotten this well known fact, and Wheeler through me. But what of the Easter Island head? I didn’t find a direct connection, but turns out that the word “moai” means statue.
The hypersensitive Buster, already rattled by leaf spectres, fainted upon seeing the incongruous giant yellow head. Poor Buster.
Allen Martin had started on his 4th glass of Pinot Noir, by Wheeler’s counting. It was time to lay the cards on the table.
“We know about the underground, Allen.”
“Ooh,” he says, retracting from his wine glass as if he’s suddenly seen a gnat floating in it.
“We know about the murder.” The gnat had turned into a fly. “We know about your *son*.” The fly had phoned up his friends centipede and cockroach to join him for a dip. Martin was sitting back, eyes riveted to Wheeler’s. The 4th glass would not be drunk tonight.
“Do tell!” he said icily.
Meanwhile, The Musician had gotten lost in the labyrinthian streets of VHC City looking for a store selling guitar strings. Surely with all the concerts this place puts on there’s a music shop around here somewhere, he rationalized. He then wandered back into his safe plaza by accident, let’s say. He knew no such shop existed in the immediate area. Yet he couldn’t resist. The Dr. Who pinball machine beckoned.
Two hours later, he sat exhausted on the bar’s couch, seeming to stare out at the red doors while actually thinking about all the moves he could have made to transform from Doctor Who #4 (Tom Baker) to Doctor Who #5 (Peter Davison). He could have hit the target bank more before the time ran out, charging up the Transmat. On and on the deliberations went.
While his head was spinning with dreams of pinball wizardry, Wheeler and Allen Martin walked by the bar heading north, unaware of his presence.
He waited about a half minute, then peeked out the door of the bar in that direction. They were going into [delete name]. Now he’d been in that building a number of times, but only on the ground floor, playing with the computer console there. He’d found valuable information about Muff-Bermingham though the free interwebs feed shortly after their arrival in town, indicating the planet had influence in this particular area. Surprising!
The Musician crossed the plaza, hiding behind a stair post.
No indication they were on the first floor, nor used the stairs to access the 2 upper floors. They couldn’t simply disappear into thin air. Could they? The Musician counted 10 Mississippis and moved forward again. At the center of the ground floor he turned and first thought of the oddity about the Sipvicious advertisement on the floor.
Uberpunk Sid Vicious had famously stayed in the town’s huge hotel. His girlfriend had died there. Yet this ad didn’t seem to have anything to do with the proximity of the hotel. One more mystery to mark down in an ever growing leger of wierdness.
He heard voices: Allen’s and Wheeler’s, seeming to issue up from below. He walked toward the stairs, noticing that they led downward as well as upward. A hitherto unknown about basement, hmm. “A giant ant?”
But that was just the first and mildest surprise.
“He said he had to see for himself,” Wheeler spoke upon noticing The Musician approach with dropped mouth. “And… I suppose we need to catch up. OD, meet The Musician. Musician, well, this is OD.”
“Wel-come,” it said.