“There’s Devils around here again, Cpt. Dick. Or Devil; I can smell it or them with my 6th sense.”
“ESP,” acknowledges the captain, drunk at the time (it was noon, after all) and knowing that demons manifested in the area occasionally, like in ’73 with the Buzz and the Bee. He swears he hadn’t touched a drop when he saw them. “How many?” he attempted to clarify, thinking back to that awful day in early May. “One? Three? 50?” He skips over the number 2; too many bad memories. He can still feel the effects of the stingers coming from each side just here, there and there. If only he were inebriated when it happened to curb the pain.
Jake Hardbody thinks harder, ramping up his abilities to the max, like a raging fire. “One. But: powerful,” he concludes, unwrinkling his forehead and reflexively drawing his gun as if the Devil were in the immediate area, which he wasn’t. He was still down at the ice cream parlor asking nonsensical jokes to unsuspecting customers while assigning them ridiculous names. But he was about to leave. Back to the Ultimate Creator in Hell Heaven who was also himself to report on what he’d seen on the other side of X-City, the place they usually try to avoid because of, well, because of well armed and experienced psychics like Jake H. here. UC had it that Jake had retired from the force — the last of his kind — after the windmill accident in Hoover but that was planted propaganda to lure them back. Jake Hardbody also had a hard head, like a Diamond. In truth, he was a type of God himself. He was the secret power behind the police force of Upper Western Middle X-City, and soon to be a hero for a greater cause.
(to be continued)
He’s in there somewhere, Tenty. We’ll check that isolated valley over there first.”
“We’re looking for different people — entities — yes, but have a common goal.”
“To free the Inbetweenland of monsters (like us).”
“Alright, let’s move out!”
Inexperienced traveler Tenty never made it past the railroad tracks.
Tickie then spotted him across the road and knew this was no accident. The Undertaker. Some called him the Operator. Some… Zero Hero.
He lifted up his monstrous arms and screeched a horrible, echoing sound. “Watch out!!!”
Then he turned into me and I was gone.
“What just happened??”
“It didn’t work out for us in Cassandra City, Moe.” Man About Time (MAT) looks over at revolving Homer. “But maybe it will work out here. In another city: NWES City. The City.”
“Town,” Moe gruffed back at sitting Man About Time (MAT). “Check the latest *town* council meeting notes. Here, I’ll send you a notecard.” The bartender was clearly miffed about the decision.
Man About Town checks the notecard; then: “I see.”
“Diamondfyre was the deciding vote,” Moe went on. “East and West decided nay, and North and South decided yea. So it was up to Diamondfyre to tip the balance — the, er, unofficial 5th sim of the town. Northwest if you will.”
MAT was still staring at the notecard in his inventory. “I’ll fight it,” he declares mildly but firmly.
“It’s partly *your* lot’s fault, see. You Collagesity people, moving in here and renting here and there and there and there. Like this joint. Does Moe’s really belong in this town?”
“Yes,” issues MAT promptly. He stares at the revolving head again. But perhaps not Homer, he thinks. Maybe that’s the key. One of them. Removal of the head. But Moe already said he wouldn’t travel without the head. So here we are.
“Moe,” MAT decides to venture after a sip of American beer. So insipid. “How close are you to retirement?”
“I don’t know,” he returned roughly. “5 years?”
More like 5 days, Man About Time then thought. Maybe even 5 hours. The head spins ’round for one of its last times here.
“Ahem, I am looking for the purple girl,” Sandy Beech announced to the 2nd floor of the Great Marwood Tower in general, a duplicate of our Parisian Eiffel in scale if not in size. An older lady in a flowery black dress at the bakery counter turned to him and cleared her throat as well. “*Ahem*, young man.”
“Yes?” Sandy inquired. “You know something? I’m talking about the Blue Berry Girl,” he clarified. Of course he didn’t add that The Twins were looking for her. No one needs to know that here… none of these bots who, despite being unreal, still have eyes to see and ears to hear. They know things. He’s learned that down through the months existing in this place. And Marwood is thick with them. That’s their raison d’etre, apparently.
“I know something. But it, uhum, will cost (*cough*).” She took another deep drag of her Winston cigarette, her last. But she had a Marlboro pack ready in the top of her left white stocking, stretching it beyond needed elasticity. Oh well, she’d could always sell the damaged goods down at the Cub Run thrift shop in Apple’s Orchard (Apple’s Orchard?) for another carton or two; they weren’t particular about what they take in. Or maybe some sweets of some kind. Maybe rum cake — killing two birds with one stone as it were. Satisfying two vices at once. “Young man,” she prompted, ready to get the sale on. “Are you still there young man?”
“Of course I’m here,” Sandy shot back bitterly. Stupid bots, he thinks inwardly. Always questioning whether you’re real or not or here or not. I suppose it’s a defense mechanism built into their kind.
“I –“. But she broke down here and forgot what she was doing. The next carton beckoned. She pulled up the dress from her stockinged legs and retrieved. Sandy turned away, having seen enough old in his days of taking care of ma-ma and Aunty Jenn. Sandy gave up in that direction. He decided she was just leading him on.
“Like what you see?” The older woman then spoke toward bakery attendant Betty John Hammock and confidently declared, “he likes what he sees,” making her nod. Stupid bots.
Gabby Truth gave Judge Tronesisia a ride back to Toppsity from Cassandra City, since it was his destination as well. No need for the underwater train today. Relief! Tronesisia liked to stay on the surface of things; not get too deep. What if a window broke and her compartment flooded. Rust! The enemy of all antiquated mechanoids, with her as no exception. Gabby gabbed a considerable amount, of course, but it was definitely worth it. She decided to use a lot of head nodding early on. Then she nodded off completely for a while as Gabby talked on and on about scrying devices, his new car, the weather, the strange flu of course — everyone’s favorite topic these days. He must have talked 15 minutes about the significance of the number 19 in her reading, and also Paper. He probably talked 20 more minutes about wedding anniversary gifts starting with Paper and ending with Diamond. Unlike his speedy Little Bastard car, it took him a long time, then, to go from 0 to 60, ha ha.
But then, the witches get the last laugh (as usual). Road block. Literally, a huge block of plywood in the road. Witches sometimes aren’t very subtle in their messaging. Looks like Yoko Ona’s trial will have to be postponed yet another day.
“F-ck it, SEAN. Let’s go to New York.”
“Sure wish Marsha was here. To help me.”
Plain Jane Phyllis
Klondike Phox suddenly found herself not with the widows. In Plain Jane (sim) she was now, in the middle of some kind of pandemic, she sensed, disinfectors all around. The present, in other words. The nearest one spoke to her, holding out his hands. “Now, now, I’ll handle this.” Phyllis moves forward toward him…
… only to find herself somewhere else once more: in a boat with a blanket on a cool summer day, freshly baited rod in front of her.
On a coffee break in a nearby gardening shed, not-so-plain June Bug sensed the manifestation happen. “Another Plain Jane,” she groused, looking up at it. “Nancy Kulp should have never opened that can of worms in front of Jed.”
Tronesisia sits out of the way on the docks so that Baker Bloch can get a shot of “pipe alley”, leading to the doctor. He suspects this may be the Dr. of “Lamb”….
But then Baker Bloch changes his mind and has Tronesisia interact with this so-called doctor, who turns out to be an old friend: Dr. Diper, who helped her (and her parents) out immensely when she was a mere baby. Before she became, well, robotic. Gynoidic.
“It’s so so good to see you old friend,” he began, instantly recognizing his work. Perhaps his greatest work.
“Likewise Dr. Wiper!” cheered Tronesisia, just glad to be in a scene again.
“Diper,” corrected the doctor. “But we’re both grown up now. Call me…”
“Peter?” Tronesisia guessed. Yes. It was Peter. One of ’em.
Clanking within. The doctor was working on another case. Another Peter.
“It wasn’t going to hurt me,” he practiced, and then swiped his bloodied knife in front of him again, a built-in reflex action.
“Good, good,” the tv doctor cooed. “*Why* wasn’t it going to hurt you?”
Jack appeared beside him. Glowering. “Yeah, *John*. Why???”
“It was like it was staring at him, right in front of his face. (Blue) Improvio and (red) Chroma: the same, or two things spinning around the same, pretty axis. And who was he? Formerly Core-Alena the walking talking centre tree, yes. But now: Sidechick Corea. Footsteps outside — uh oh. Pretty Man approacheth. But is she still a man? So close to the transition now. The door opens. He stands.
(Face) scars are still in place but that’s about it for the man bits.
“Jump on my shoulders for the last time, Sidechick. I want to know the final truth. I’m ready to switch over to Jasper.”
“When did this barber shop get here? Anyway, we’re here.”
Cool, mama. I’m tired of falling into the tv set and losing a couple of hours each time. That, heh, thing *needed* to be fixed.”
“Well, we’ll see if, let’s see, what was his name again?”
“Sam Hooker?” responded Preston Weston, good on names if bad on grades.
“Hooker, yes,” responded Your Mama, proud to have a son for the moment.
“And Alvin Straight, the other one. The Straight Guy.”
“Very good. Such a good memory.” They were at the front door.
“Should have bought a Zenith all along,” she muttered before opening it.