“Wrong Way Winnie (Sheltering the Tou)”:
“Looking at a Cave that is not a Cave (Satin’s Rule!)”:
“The Situation Escalates (Bored Removal)”:
Hookah here, hookah over there (on the other porch). The Anomaly grows. Not sure I can complete the story in this novel. Code name: Caterpillar, perhaps WORM (WURM). Freshly formed Martin at the window may know. Martin, Luther.
He moves inside, takes a seat at the bar. The glowing birthday hat and Giant for a Day blue t-shirt gave away his identity.
“I’m on the other side of the counter now, ‘Umbriel, Stu’. You serve *me*.”
“You tell him Martin!” encouraged another new figure from his position next to the door, a gatekeeper of sorts.
“That’s all right — Luther is it?” Stu Umbriel guesses, taking the switcheroo with the person formerly known as Chief in stride. “I’ll get my twin sister Loo to help with the bar. Right over there she lives.” Stu points beyond the house next door now set up with a duplicate hookah to his — and even on the same spot on the porch — to the dark opening on the eastern edge of Swamp Lake, not big enough to become a sea and getting further from that designation back to out-and-out swamp every day. Atrophism. Maybe that has something to do with the Anomaly as well.
“We’re not identical as you know, Luther, but close,” he furthers. The Sewer hole beckons.
In checking back through my posts, I see I have overlooked mention of Paper Soap’s Swamp Lake up until now. Here’s an overhead view,
Chief Stu’s bar toward the north next to the sheriff’s office where the Anomaly was first spotted. Probably should catch up with chef-inspector Petty to see how he’s doing.
“WURM” he spoke with conviction at the meeting still going just north of the Swamp Lake bar, naming the thing at last. “And spell that with a U and omit the E. I think.” Conviction wavering, apparently. Missing letters will do that to you.
Gee Cat 02, now just Gee Cat period — having ate the other — prepares to move inside.
Waiting for an important flight to come in and nervous because the big boss is supervising. Poor Johnson and Waxx. Didn’t get any sleep last night. Who’s coming in? Dignitaries. That’s all J & W know. They’re suppose to look their sharpest but nerves shot that. “Makeup to the eyes, makeup to the eyes,” they panicked at 5:15 and 5:25 respectively, having to take turns in the single bathroom of their building. “Visene, Visene,” both exclaimed at 5:30, finally caving in and sharing a bathroom mirror because of the urgency to fix red eyes as well as baggy. At 5:35 they were on the deck. All Orange was waiting for them in the semi-darkness, sharp as a tack and dressed crisp and cleanly. He glanced at his watch. “5 minutes late, gents. Don’t let it happen again on my watch.” He looks up. “Get it?” He points to wrist. “Watch. Funny, eh?” Calm and cool; never panics this one doesn’t. But All Orange? Must be a renegade 5th. That would explain the perfection.
9:35. Main building. Everyone on standstill:
“Did you cast that spell yet, honey? Joey deserves it for sure.” Jack spots Gertrude walking toward the window, knows he’s in trouble. “Okay, erm, gotta run; luv ya.” He hang up. Gertrude stands at the window, pocketbook open. He knows what he has to do. Receptionist Jean Allbright rolls her eyes, having seen it before. The fall of the mighty.
Sally, the part time temp receptionist, hauls an important ring binder upstairs to one of the big wigs while dreaming of hopping on her green 10 speed bike outside and riding the hell outta here, never to return. Maybe at one on her lunch break she’ll do just that, lunch break then being the final break — from the company. Oh about that. We’re at a Coast Guard installation, but of recent design, so much so that the 3rd story to the building
Marsha Sally is walking up the stairs to the 2nd hasn’t been completed. A couple of people unfamiliar with the construction have already fallen attempting to reach the still nonexistent top floor via the stairs, including Jack the Tripper, Betina Clubfoot, and Marsha Losst. Especially interesting is Jack, since he died. See, it was a spell that erased the 3rd floor, and the 4th and the 5th because they too were present just the day before. Everyone just forgot. The base had been here 5 years. and All Orange had controlled each and every one of the five. The story is so sad we must stop. STOP
START 3rd floor has return; 4th and 5th still missing. The spell is wearing off. Somewhat less big boss Phillip Strevor (hi Phillip!) is watching Marsha Camel xerox a lot of papers. Phillip enjoys watching Marsha do this task so he weighs her down, usually about 1 in the afternoon when his own work load gets lighter. He purposely lowered the wheels to the thing again just the other day. She has to hunch over a bit more to do the deed. Phillip likes that. Maybe next week he’ll just take the wheels off completely; no one ever moves the copy machine anyway: he’s guessed it’s been in that one spot going on 5 years, maybe 6. And I believe now this use to be the office of All Orange, before he was promoted to Asst Vice Deputy Chancellor for Overseeing Watches. He must have sat at this same desk, stared at the same… task performing person, in all likelihood another woman of course, and of his “type.” Phillip understands this, man to man. A heavy creaking sound occurs. The 4th floor has suddenly manifested as well. Everyone’s roles shift.
Oh about the dignitary. Turns out they had the wrong day, another effect of the spell in all likelihood. Thursday was the day he was suppose to arrive, which was instead tomorrow. Looks like another night without sleep for the J & W boys.
(to be continued?)
He found his Alpheratz teleporter inside the skybox map and pulled it up to the blue surface. He was ready to let go. “Goodbye Nautilus,” he said, looking over all of it like a God himself in the instant. “Goodbye Collagesity,” he spoke, spotting its representative red pin on the beige ridge between highways 13 and 14 as well. “It seems I hardly knew ya.” Then he was gone. Outta here. Just like that. Teleported to parts unknown. Now Man About Time has his shot at running things. And he can bring Danny back too and his plunger, not the bathroom tool but the real one, the time one. Because, as I think I indicated or hinted at before, Danny knows a lot more than surface aspects of a hick janitor would indicate. He knows about Bill just to mention something in the instant. And his hatred of Billy Ray Cyrus, perhaps the ultimate hick who sired… Mabel? Maybe *she* thinks so.
“Wheeler?” Mabel was surprised at the voice. She thought that old bridge had been burned down for good. “H-how are you?” Like she cared, but she tried to remain pleasant.
“I’m fine, I’m fine. Listen, I just wanted to call you and let you know that Jeffrey Phillips died.”
“Jeffrey Phillips. (pause) I thought you knew him pretty well.”
“Oh, yeah, the *playboy*. Well, that’s a shame.” Mabel wanted to add, “anything else?” but held her tongue. Instead she smoothed the ruffles of her lime green dress.
“He took Baker Bloch’s place as ruler of Collagesity. When Baker went…”
“*Where* did *Baker* go?” Mabel suddenly was in a state of panic. She had to at least pretend to rebuild that old, burnt bridge and return. Baker must come back!
“Arrr. *There* be my three cornered hat. Thank yee for keeping it for me, Saucy Wanda.”
“Wendy,” she replied, use to the bastard pirates getting her name wrong. Especially this bastard pirate. Randolph was his name and magic squares were his game. Especially Jupiter’s right now. He be melancholy lately. Not just because he lost his hat — that was only several hours ago. This be days ago. The tinies on the exact opposite side of the Maebaleia/Satori continent took something from him, but something of much greater value (and he truly loved his hat). Not exactly his pride, although that factored in too.
Elvis Kannelvis was back to training again. He wish someone would just blow up the Urban ice cream parlor over there across the sim line. 15 lbs.! He’d never fit in the hole at this rate. He’d have to cancel the event, lose all that potential money. No… NOT tonight. Back to the woods across the road from the *Active* Urban Mall. And why all those Urbans again in this one small space, he pondered while trying to run even faster at the first whiff of pineapple strawberry.
“Here,” he said while bending over and starting to sort out the gold glass shards. Or was that blue. Red? “Maybe we can put it back together.”
Green now. “No way!” cried Tiny Wanda in her miniature voice to Blue Bear Y. Ginger would, of course, know the difference, despite the giant gummy beast’s fame with fusion energy. They couldn’t put the *colors* back together.
Gold again. Blue.
After I saw what I saw at the Blue Airfield I decided to pay a visit to my old friend Tigertail while in the neighborhood and discuss all of it with him. He’d been overseeing my actions for a long time.
Not in his shop. And there’s the time-plunger I first used to travel through the centuries and beyond (!)
A prototype, and I was a guinea pig. Oh well, paid for my first 3 years in college in Mesopotamia. 50 bucks (lindens) goes a long way back then. It’s over now, and luckily I’m only mildly confused about all of it. I think. Time to find Tigerhead.
*There* he is. In that giant snowflake seen in the opening to the sky. “Hello Tiger… er, just Tiger!” But Tiger existed in a different strata of time than MAT presently, one operating much more slowly, frozen even (to us). He’d visited the Blue Airfield partially in Gray one too many times himself and this is what happened.
In a larger perspective, Tiger sees different times as islands in a sea of space. “Oh look at me, I’m standing on Mesopotamia,” he wanted to joke to his former pupil but couldn’t because of the whole frozen thing. Can’t… move.
“Shop’s closed,” Judd offered from the stairs, staring at the back of his sister Eldwina, who was dressing more and more like a little hooker each passing day, he thought. Maybe she would join the City Squad soon.
The coffee shop just down the walk was most assuredly not closed — perhaps the kids were talking about another place (they were). Charlene Brown the pseudo-punk was washing her hands when I came in, looking for stories.
“Be with you in a minute,” she calls as she counts. 16 Mississippi, 17 Mississippi… almost done. 19….. done. She turns.
“Oh it’s you. Haven’t seen you around in a while.”
“Yeah. Almost forgot how to get here. And then those kids…”
“Aw, jeez. Don’t get me started (about those kids).”
“Yeah, the one on the stairs…”
“He’s *always* sitting on those stairs.”
“Yeah, he said you were closed up.”
“Nope. As you can see. Maybe he was talking about the old Same Coffee Shop. It’s a basic duplicate of this one. Except: closed. That must be it.” She studies him more. Maybe a little grayer around the temples. Maybe a new wrinkle here and there. But not much change. For all the passing years.
“I’m here again.”
“Oh?” A twinkle in her eye. “She’d just dumped her 5th boyfriend in 5 months. There was the age different but… he was still attractive. She liked the gray. Distinguished, as they say. “In Black Ice?”
“No, but just up the road.”
“Apple’s Orchard?” she guessed again. “Neptune?” She paused. “Marwood, even?”
“Marwood, that’s it,” I decided. “Up at the new temple. I stay in an apartment in the air.”
“I don’t get up there that much — the northern part of the city.”
“Now now,” I reprimanded. “You’re not suppose to say that word any longer.”
“City?” she provided and then smiled. “It’ll change. We just have to get rid of the *other* cities clinging onto the main one. Like…”
“Meat City,” I proffered. “Zen City — well, that’s *already* gone, poof.” I threw up my hands in a poor imitation of a miniature atomic blast but she smiled all the same. Always laughing at my mainly lame jokes. Good ol’ Charlene. I decided to ask about Charlie. I wish I hadn’t.
“It was Halloween night. Just day before yesterday, then. Out in the pumpkin patch. He didn’t listen to his pseudo-girlfriend’s brother about the demon that always showed up there that night. Neither of them made it. Just a blood patch now.” She starts to cry again, tears dripping into her cup and on the tablecloth. I didn’t know what to add. I’d said I was sorry several times now. I desired to leave, frankly — this wasn’t the story I was looking for. Oh look, though, she’s holding my hand now. She’s looking deep into my eyes with that twinkle again. Maybe this will work to my advantage. The last time we saw each other I was obsessed with another. But I’m older now; she’s older, although you’d never know it. It’s like time stood still for her. And maybe it had. Did she make a pact with someone, ho?
And what about that ill placed vending machine over there we got our hot beverages from? That’s new. Just then, Jeffrey Phillips’ cup vanishes into nothingness but Charlene’s remains. She knew how to replenish it automatically and bridge the gaps.
In the closed duplicate coffee shop, Apples 02’s chair turned sideways and she knew lover Appleyon’s plan had worked. Now to get back to Somerset and try it on Apples 01. The bastard.
“If you approach things with a sense of humor, people immediately assume you’re not to be taken seriously. But I think truths about society and human existence can be approached in different ways. You don’t always have to be deadly serious. Sarcasm and humor can help you see things in a lighter vein.”
“It’s an extension of my old work into collage. The 3d Venus turns into herself (again) only to be a hole. Kind of like Warhole over there, ha.”
“Very funny.” Warhole didn’t laugh. Warhole hardly never laughs at nothing. The a-hole.
Ant, who was closer to Barry 02 and staring at his newest work with him (Warhole was staring away or looking at his feet or the ceiling, take your pick), spoke up again. “It’s wonderful. 2 4th floor works now. We want to commission you, me and Harrison Jett. You may remember him from the art rock group Beet, like a sugar beet. In fact, that was their original names: the Sugar Beets. Came out from the praries of Idaho around Rupert and Paul. Family all worked in that kind of factory, except for Uncle Bob. He was different. He was a frog.”
“We’ve been through that,” replied Barry 02, thinking back to the figure and symbol filled chalkboard of his most recently remembered dream. “But his name was Bullfrog.”
“That’s just what he *was*.”
Andy Warhole finally turns toward the work from his more distant, angly position. “I’ll give you 50,000 lindens for it, final offer. I’ll give it to Yoko Ona as a wedding present for her most recent marriage to John. I’ll let Marilyn kiss it for good luck before the ceremony with her permamark lips. I’ll let [delete name] [delete] all over it with his [delete]. Then it will be ready, then it will be good.” Andy Warhole pulls an attache case out from under the couch next to him. He always has it ready for an art purchase. Always 50,000 lindens for the nobodys, not less but certainly no more. Always over 50,000 for the somebodys.
Barry 02 pondered the deal. This means he could make art for a 1/2 year without any hassles of an outside job. He could paint canvases without painting walls or ceilings. He could sculpt with garbage instead of throwing it away with a group of similarly grody smelling men into bins. Binmen I think they call them across the pond, the ocean. “Okay.” Andy slides the attache case from the couch over to Barry 02. He’s almost sold his soul. One touch of the money and he’s done.
Sammy Whatammy went home after work and just sat here usually. She never saw sister Tammy. Nammy and Pammy never called — it’s like they didn’t exist. Only Crayola and herself, waiting for this mysterious boss to show up.
“How long was it last week? 3 weeks?”
“Welllllll,” replied Crayola, stretching out words with her large red mouth like she’s wont to do. “Tiiiimme does work difffereeentllly upp therrrrre.”
Looking down at her still normalized shoes, the only bit that remained, she remembered why she never saw Tammy: Witchery.
“Yooouurr cryiinnng. Wouldd youu like anotther sheeetttt?”
Two weeks and 36 bar shifts later, the boss shows up, golf club in hand. This was his club, and Sammy and Crayola were his
“Hey!” he harshly cried through the underwater window. “Wake up in there and open the door!”
“I’m always having to hoooovverr in here for a proper sit,” Marty complains softly, still sorry that he had to absorb that poor girl Marsha “Pink” Krakow for the Greater Good by dying his hair black again. Almost half a meter higher than his median Second Lyfe position now, he returns his attention to the red doors.
“We want to make sure it’s someone believable that enters those doors, Baker Bloch.”
“Sure, Hucka Doobie.” She keeps staring at him. “Oh — me?”
“*No*. It’s not always about you. *Me*.” She points to herself in the teal boathouse still rented by Baker Bloch in town, having given up on the green one closer to the church just today. Former occupant SEAN is truly gone from Storybrook: back to New Orleans for him, sans Marsha to his great disappointment. He should have never tried the Big Reveal. “Marsha was just too young, too *brainwashed*,” he speaks aloud to The Mann (her father) 5 years later in the New Orleans Blues Little Rock bar in nearby Little Rock, Arkansas. A pity visit that turned into friendship and beyond: The Mann now truly loves this 28 year old black man with developing arthritis just as much as his little girl in ways. “I’m — sorry you had to leave, SEAN,” he spoke soon after arriving, looking out at the current of the stream sweeping another magic toy down to the bay.
“Come with *me*, fellow hoverer.”