He studied his hands while they waited on their food. “I think I’ll keep these for a while, Wheeler. I can play the guitar real good with them, frets included.”
“Call me by my real name,” she purred from across the table.
“Wendy,” he acquiesced, staring into her eyes. The scars around them were disconcerting but they were suppose to be. He could look beyond. He wondered about the 2 eyes becoming something else. Pools. Vortexes. He looked away, just in time. Back to the hands…
“The tune was called–”
“I know what the tune was called,” she interrupted. She smiled. The location brightened considerably, he staring down all the time. If he had a watch on the wrists of his new hands it would be…”
But you know.
I thought I recognized you… *mother*. Now talk before my finger gets itchy.”
“Talk to Cory. Talk to Cory!” she defended herself, panicking to get out of the crosshairs.
She meant Austin of course. Austin knew everything, or at least a whole whole lot. Enough to survive any firing of questions.
Or was it Eckert. Peter?
Knowing mother most likely had an aunt or two packed away in her back pocket, Dinner Girl called for reinforcements, which meant W since no one else really wanted the job, none of the other cores that is. Plus she wanted to buy some clothes from the freebie stall this particular realtor of the lower central northeast sector of Corsica had set up ’round back, maybe a summer dress or a pair of sandals or a straw hat. Something that started with an S to go along with the hissing of summer snakes. So I guess we’re dealing with a Joanie.
Make that Hidi.
Dinner Girl covered her while she went around the corner to shop. Play before work, she always said.
As she perused the contents of a box full of swimsuits, red tie donned Jefferson Thomas studied her intently, wondering if she was a member of Pot-D or Pan-Z or perhaps both. Like himself.
“You there!” Dinner Girl called over, spotting the threat. “Back away from the hamburger girl!” Mother took the chance to hightail it out of here herself but was gunned down in crosswalk, a distraction that allowed JT to escape with the girl. Like they had it planned all along; sacrifice for the greater good and all.
15 hours later, a rose holding bride posed for a picture outside the house across the road, just wedded again to the late great Jeffrey Phillips. “It was the only way to bring him back,” she lamented later to a broken-hearted Kolya back in Nautilus or thereabouts, his lemonade gone stale again.
I was there. Up on Grandpa Cliffs. He didn’t like it as much tonight. I was a Bad Kitten.
She laughs with 4 vowels and skips the 5th.
Her feet got twisted up and she was somewhere else. Astronaut AB; First Woman. Hidi(ng) no more.
I knew what needed to be done.
I had lost a toe. I had lost a hand. My knee was totally banged up, perhaps beyond repair. I was bleeding out. The Former Soviet Union looked on, hopeless to help. I lie in the middle of a swamp with no easy access, none at all.
Little Oakley Annie stood above me, towering for the moment; Giant for a day. In my dying vision I imagined her removing her face to reveal a man’s inside, with a mouthful of gold capped teeth. I remember the teeth vividly, because that’s the first thing I saw when I entered Heaven. A person smiling, with the teeth whiting out. It was the former wife of the mayor of Swamp Fox, greeting me at the gate. I was home.
Grassy produces his gifts: 1st, an Iris lantern representing the sim Sunklands Institute just left and Grassy’s home still. “I miss you over there!” he adds while shedding a tear or three from his wonky eyes with black, ping pong ball type pupils darting all over the place.
“Well, we’ll miss you Grassy. But you can come over here to visit any time you wish. You and Roger Pine Ridge both.”
“Roger,” Grassy uttered, as if he’d forgotten about his remaining Iris neighbor for a long time. He hadn’t invited him over for months. Must rectify that asap. They had to talk about Sunklands leaving. NWES in general. Should *they* leave? Nahhh, Grassy the green Mmmmmm thinks here. We’ll hold down the fort. Baker and Wheeler will most likely tire of NWES and return to the heart of it all, the closest place where Lindens and non-Lindens, their users, actually coordinated and cooperated with each other. Until it all fell apart with Jeogeot. *Here*. “Um, sure, Baker Bloch. We’ll come visit.” He included Roger because he knew Roger would be there too. Because, deep down, as has already been stated in that last post, they are one and the same. Grassy has no neighbor except himself. But he likes to pretend. Those kind of toy avatars are heavy into fantasy overall, hence the popularity of the 15 minute cinemas dotting the their base metropolis of Hermania over in Herman Park — one around every corner, it seems. Fellow toy avatars Mossmen don’t like the cinemas, and prefer to deal with the real world, plus the 15 minute films are ideal for the Mmmmmm’s much shorter attention span. Mossmen and Mmmmmm’s are opposites in that way. And so much more. Back to the meeting…
“And an Iris dance pad,” he says while producing his 2nd and last gift from his inventory while still proudly holding out his 1st. “Got it free on the marketplace. How serendipitous (with the M&M)!” It was a bigger word Grassy liked to throw around a lot in public now, replacing “accidental”. Grassy was starting to believe that all life was meaningful, at least for toys. He wasn’t sure about the humans.
“Thank you Grassy.”
“Indeed, thank you,” added Wheeler.
Curled Paper Gordie Down to finish. Meeting adjourned. Time to find them apples and maybe an orange to spare. Banana? Not in this case. Mae West would not be glad to see him.
Officer Ken and Officer Barney behind her talk like the fire that destroyed the Amazon fueled Flower Shop over in Black Ice was a tragedy. Instead, Lt. Jodie Tanner thought: cleansing. People — citizens — have to learn to pay their tithe, earn their right to be in this here NWES City. The City — only one now. Might as well be the walled city of Carcasonnne, hu hu, she laughed inwardly, additionally musing that a wall might be good; keep out the riffraff. The canal blocking Apple’s Orchard — the “Least East”– from Neptune here just isn’t hacking it. The man who had that plan wasn’t thinking things through. Superdude? She can never remember his name, but just recalls he could eat his suppers like there was no tomorrow. She’ll check the 4 sim database as soon as she can.
Synchromystically-like, Dinner Girl shows up just then at the station, wondering what she can blow up next. Of course, gun carrying was legal throughout The City, even the most massive of weapons. Reborn Dr. Rabbid Baumbeer III, now a bat-bunny as a result, drove up in his batty-mobile, intending to ask if the Black Ice fire was a joke or a riddle.
Lt. Tanner took it all in stride; happy about the hubbub, even. Neptune, hmm. Always things going on here. The center for sure.
(to be continued?)
“What’s that, Spot (Spot!)? Something out in the water?”
“Better go take a look.”
“Come on, boy. Come on! (whistling: phw phw phw!). Okay, be that way scardy pants.”
“Wmpr Wmpr Wmpr.”
“Oh I’ll be all right.” [Gus] rows out to the Shallows.
“Hmmm. Nothing out here but a couple of green leaves and that green thing over there that’s been here forever. Better go get Spot to a dog doctor. He’s seeing things!”
“I *told* you the Shallows was a bad idea for a tree,” he-she whispered sideways out of his-her mouth over to she-he.
“Oh shut up, you. Sounds like he’s going away.”
“Sometimes I don’t know where the blues begin and end, Esmerelda.”
Remaining silent, she stares out at the rocking and rolling boats as well. He’s obviously concerned about the waxing and waning Oesso logo on his chest, she thinks. Instability! The threat of re-absorption into the machinery. But she knows it also probably won’t happen. This was a test, after all. “Do that thing you do to the gas emblem,” requested the head honcho with her all white eyes spanning the universe itself but in a bad way. “See what happens; see if he has any weakness that we can exploit.” Nothing of significance spotted so far. He seems destined to leave again. “We can’t trap him,” she imagines saying to a displeased Mid-Hazel, dreading the rest of the day.
The Oesso logo remains stable now. He returns his attention to the table and the map upon it. “Any-way. Here it is, what you witches have been looking for. Mountainsburg to the west, Formosa — the LOST island — kind of to the north, Kate to the east. And a Little Rock in the middle, just enough to eventually get us out of New
York Orleans.” He then looks at the Cat-Witch’s colorful wafer cookies just beyond, wondering why the south pales in comparison. Further away than the rest from his angle? A symbol of Oesso itself? *Cat-Witch* is to the south, he reminds himself. The whole lot of ’em.
Esmerelda studies the map of Arkansas carefully, looking at the handwritten parts. Peter Oesso can’t cheat at this game because he doesn’t know how — yet. Best to strike a deal early before his presumptive ascent. “Sold,” she says. “You can have the girl.”
“Great.” He stares out again. “Now can you make at least *one* of these boats stop rocking so I can get the heck out of here??”
“A Queer Creek is also a Strange Creek, Hucka Doobie.”
“Indeed.” How many more times would the bee-person appear to Baker Bloch, like the Gazoo to the Flintstones? As many times as he needed, Hucka realized. *She* was the one in error for wanting to have a relationship. She should have put that behind her long ago, when she was a man. But: here we are. *She’d* fight the urges.
Hucka Doobie then suggested they go down the Rabbit Hole again…
Buildings. Not fitting perfectly together unlike me — the perfection. I must make all this right.
I remove my perfection to attempt to fit in better with this strange, queer place but feel I am only a shell of what I was. I disappear.
“I’m not sure I’m going back to this Bena, Mary. I was laughed at in the bar! And — I miss you.”
Pitch’s wife Mary, as usual around any body of water, was reeling reeling reeling them in. Perch always. It was the only fish around.
“If you don’t go back,” she explained patiently, “then you’ll never find out what happened. Keep close to Rebl. She’ll guide you through.”
“How about — *you*? Can you come as well? It’s the same house we have — had in Collagesity. Still have, except it lays empty there.” He picked at the laces of his boots. “Just like here.”
“We must choose Pitch Darling.”
Darkly, though Pitch, then realized who he was talking to. And he knew what the choosing meant. Collagesity or Corsica? It could come down to that.
Mary suddenly switched over to the other side for more action.