Sammie Parr visits the Red Umbrella and has a hard time understanding.
“I do kind of like this piece,” she says to her devoted boyfriend of 4 years walking in from an adjacent room on the 3rd and last floor of the gallery, one Richmond Petersburg of Norfolk Virginia, out on leave from the navy.
“Art… like me.” She laughs at her mistake, perhaps a Fraudian slip. “I mean, *red* like me. The Art word.”
Richmond comes beside her and also studies from across the rail. He has an eye for detail. “Like the jigsaw piece as well, honey, the one at the top sort of holding the other 3 up.” He points. “The blue, the green, the yellow. It’s like they’re, I don’t know, being drug through the air. Airborn: yes, that’s it.”
Big nosed Achilles T. Pippins studying the next collage over suddenly sneezes and everyone in the gallery and more becomes infected. Stay safe out there!
Later in the hospital, Achilles sees this same collage “open up” for him (as best it could) and he is able to pass the red woman attracting his attention so much before right up. Higher goals he has now! The gates swing wide.
Devoted wife of 40 years Mary Pippins is inconsolable (*sniff*).
Sammie Parr and Richmond Petersburg are fine and have forgotten all about meeting schnozzle cursed Achilles in the gallery. “I like your red outfit,” he said before parting.
It didn’t work with Norm the Cashier — dead — but it might with Wendy, another blue square of Earth just over there.
In a dream tonight, she shed something red and he did too: his red tie. They were on a beach in the dream and he was the dreamer and it was his beach. He’d been there a while but Wendy had just arrived — in red. Red Stripe Beach: that was the name, or that became it after the pivotal event. It was all leading somewhere…
Barry woke up, his back aching again. Sleeping on his pink plastic couch won’t hack it long term. He needs a proper bed! First Norm’s couch at the flower shop that was destroyed by a fire week before last and now this nearby place with only a couch again to crash on. Norm let him stay in her bed some nights, but that was it. “Nothing over 50%,” she said. “We must remaining playing just a game and not let it become a philosophy or even religion. We are not a religion,” she ended, puzzling the younger Barry who only wanted the friendly, loving warmth of female companionship. She returned to her cash register with this proclamation and he returned to her couch. The final, fated visit by Amazonia for the 49×61 payment was still days and maybe weeks away. The number 17 comes to mind. He was out and about when it happened, just roaming the streets of Black Ice and wondering if Norm and he had any kind of future. Apparently not, now, although he’d heard the witch doctors down at the market could bring the formerly living back from the dead, a favorite cat or dog, or even a girlfriend or wife for the price. Which he didn’t have anyway — and that’s how Norm got in trouble in the *first* place. He sighs. “Oh well,” he speaks aloud and moves to the other room to write down his dreams per usual before making breakfast. Toasty-O’s, the story of his life.
In another dream, Barry sits across from a guy named Jack Danielsun at a Toasty-O shaped bar but knows his actual name is Dimmy, like a lightbulb. Not the brightest, he ascertained from the dull conversation. Just another unschooled punk. He spoke of bartending at Phantom Hill and how he got there in a row boat from the other side of the rather large island he lived on. Again: not the smartest. And probably schizophrenic on top of it all.
(to be continued?)
She hesitated in front of the golden phone. She just couldn’t go through with it. She picks up the receiver, dials the number, all of ’em, including the last one, the 1 that will put her in 0. Rings. Sandy answers.
“You’ve changed your mind,” he guessed correctly.
“Yeah, ahem. It’s a lot of money.”
“But… my friends need me over at the other set.” She glances their way again. King Winnifried Orange smiles back. Clown Renaldo O’Donnell, back turned to Wendy at the moment, smiles at him. There was a warm feeling all around. She’d never had better working mates. All were in costume, all were consummate professionals. She couldn’t leave “Burger Wars.” This was not even to mention (director) Chip Wassleboro! They were having an affair behind his 2 wive’s backs.
“Wendy,” stated character-actor Sandy Beech, straightforward if nervous. Uncharacteristic. The Twins were staring at him with murder in their eyes. “You *signed* — a *contract*; *they*” — and he turns again to dare to lock eyes with them for a second — “are not *amused* by this. I’m looking straight at them, Wendy. You don’t want to *cross* them. Do you know what I mean, do you understand what I’m saying? Put – on – the dress. The other one.”
“I can’t do it, Sandy,” Wendy reiterates, knowing this must remain a Wendy City and not progress beyond. Her left white stocking was drooping annoyingly down her thigh. $19.19 she paid for them. And they hadn’t even lasted beyond the month. What was the name of that store? Oh right. Cub Run. The place she accidentally met Sandy again that day the 1st hurricane was forecast. Then taking the cursed money and donning the bloodied dress at the elevation of the second beyond tropical storm. Because this was not just a Wendy City but also a Second City. Second Lyfe City. *The* City. She knew it all ended here, the 1 into the 0. She might as well be Wend-… Wend-… oh, she couldn’t do it; what was she thinking. Of course she’ll take the money. King Orange looked over again — another smile. She smiled back but weaker this time, breaking down. The Twins were just too strong a force to reckon with.
“Thank *Gods*,” Sandy exclaimed while slamming down the receiver and getting the results he wanted.
(to be continued?)
First he was on the floor.
Then he was stuck in the eleva-toor.
I wish Alo Bama would make up his mind.
Whether he was in front. Or behind.
Complete loss of red. Black Elephant confronted full on.
“I know what you are. I know why I’m here!”
“You’re just going to have to admit it, Speck. This *doesn’t* depend on logic. Synchronicity instead.”
“Now get the meter stick out and let’s measure the distance between these two tables. If it’s the same as over in [Denshore] then I’ll sh-t my pants…”
“… but not be surprised,” finishes Speck. “That is logical.” Speck imagines seeing the face of God, like he did in that first movie. Beauty. So much beauty. He’s lucky to ever get his mind back after that.
“Hold it right there gentleman!”
“Oh rats,” Speck exclaimed.
“Hold on, hold on, Speck,” the Cpt. says, putting his hand out. “I’ll handle this.” He moves forward toward the new figure. “Luke Pickard, this is *our* planet, our Corsican continent. Get your own elephant continent to explore and conquer!”
Pickard glances right toward the red eyed elephant, proclaiming: “Eleph? Eleph’s a mere prop. What you’re looking for is a *real* elephant, one with Ants crawling from his trunk.”
“Explain,” the Cpt. quickly returned. Pickard moves forward to join them as in a triangle. “Let me take over and I’ll show you.” He edges closer to Speck than the Cpt. Everyone understands the game now.
The Cpt. draws his phaser and rushes over to Speck. “Never!”
Duncan Avocado was wandering around the various stairs, tunnels, beaches of The Rot, thinking he’ll never be able to figure out The Waste. Huge! And dangerous.
While ruminating this, he spots what appears to be a face in the rocks at the top of a nearby, ruined tower. I’m not one to focus on seeing faces in random patterns (pareidolia), but I thought I would note this one, especially since it seems to represent a *particular* face to me. That of Richard Milhous Nixon, our 37th president who resigned in disgrace in 1973 and was known, through the infamous Watergate Scandal, for his trickery and deception. A nickname became Tricky Dicky.
I’ve highlighted the face a little through black outline to the right. He even appears to have a little horn sticking out of his forehead, marking him as the Great Deceiver. Compare with here (hint: Nixon’s conspicuous nose is, cartoon-like, exaggerated in the rocks):
In his new book One Man Against the World, Tim Weiner explores some of the questions surrounding the presidency of Richard Nixon, pictured above in the Oval Office on Feb. 19, 1970.
Duncan also thinks back to the 13 billiard ball he found fronting a Southern residence of The Great Fissure, just beyond its lip. Or I guess, since we’re talking about the South, we better call it the Great Fracture or face ramifications.
Note the horns again in the “hell’ sign above the horseshoe framed pool ball.
This could be the home of Fracture biased Jed Campton, then, but Duncan couldn’t tell. There was no one inside. Duncan had a hard time tracking anyone down in this sim, and considered himself lucky that there were weekly meetings of residents at the Last Drop where he could *eaves*drop on local gossip. The Gossipers they called them back in Jackson Bloch’s day. Before the erasure of East-West. He understood that part too, thanks to Gabriel’s dream.
(to be continued)
He was on the other edge of Cloudmont now, waiting for Doris with ruler in hand. Doris was late. Doris didn’t deserve much sympathy.
But he soon tired of this role (as well) and moved further away from the Purden Castle into Vail, anagram of Vila. What happened to his halo? Halo Boy — what happened to him?
He was such a Little Butt now.
Afterwards she took off her shoes and sat beside the old motel pool, now closed for dysentery reasons. No details need be applied. She would immediately wash her feet in the Dari-Creme bathroom just behind. Mother had returned to their modest but clean downtown apartment, sterilized like all the rest during the Great Disinfection of ‘011.
Ahh, fate, she though. Having a beautiful mother who everyone is attracted to more than her, even her own classmates like Multiface, like Preston Weston. She then dwells on the brace burdened lad who sits behind her in geography class, taught by the same mother. It’s one of the reasons she got the tattoo — so that he would see it all the time. Satori, she pondered. *Not* Maebaleia. This would teach him and everyone else that she was a Northerner at heart and always would be, despite some dubious origins. Stamped in flesh, as it were. Fixated in time and space and… options. No option for her any longer. “The name — of the continent — is *Satori,*” she shouted at her mother one day. Then it was off to the parlor to ink some color on her neck and back.
She pondered more tonight while daring to dangle her feet in the pool a little longer, like the alley that use to center the village which was so ill of repute. Creepy Alley they called it for a reason. Before receiving her teaching certificate in ’08, her own mother use to hang out in that place. There were rumors — unsubstantiated for the most part. But it was beyond doubt that mother took the occasional walk on the wild side, playing Nico to any Lou Reed who decided to properly peel their banana. Where was Zappa when you needed him? But that was the province of Annie (Anorexia), who isn’t part of the present story. Shame, though. Maybe we’ll be able to fit her in later.
And there she is.
“Who’s out there, baby doll,” Karl gruffed. “Is it *him*?? Let me at him, let me at him!”
“It’s – not – him,” Annie metered out, trying to calm her latest husband down. “It’s *her*.”
Karl waited a beat for an explanation, then: “Her *who*?”
It was the more unusual of the buildings at the X marking the center of X-City. Well, what was left of it. Orange it was, and elongated. With circular sides ghosting a circular front in my opinion. For I’ve surmised what this building actually is. We’ve seen the address before.
The X marks the portal between Real and Second Lyves. Sign.
I knew who the mermaid inside was at the bottom of it (bottom writing). But she was something else. Not a whale, although that’s part and parcel of the legend. Not quite a jellyfish, but that was closer. Squid? I haven’t quite connected the dots. Dot dot dot…
If only she could tell us herself.
Oh dear. Oh bloody hell.
There was only one other character I could introduce to attempt to put a face on it. We’ve seen *him* before.
It’s a matter of time. Does the face remain (2) full and smiling or does it become (1) smaller and then (3) wink out, leaving us with nothing.