“We’re struggling to get to the end, W.”
“We’ll make it — have confidence. Put the kids on the back lawn of the castle and have them stare at the newly resurrected Roost Never Sleeps up on the peninsula’s high peak. Make *that* the focus from now on. You are doing well, swell even. Don’t worry about the tangents. You are focused on the peninsula and that is good. This is how it’s suppose to be.”
“Sorry about your beach,” I decided to insert. Wheeler — W. — had been kicked off for head butting Newt (and visa versa), but a different kind involving the latter more than the former. Darn postmodern beachwear! But there’s more places to hang out here and stay true to the location. Now to those kids…
“It’s just as big as the old one, maybe bigger.” Liz Struthers, proposed present and future daughter, grandkid to Newt and Wheeler, I mean, Wheeler and Newt. “I’ve seen pictures.”
“Center of Our Nautilus for sure,” spoke projected mother Shelley Struthers. “Great Summer Project!”
“Summer?” questioned the little one who sprang from her loins in a future time, probably about as far up as Wheeler went to retrieve that bathing suit. Liz indicated this was Fall already, number of days in, actually.
Shelley was overjoyed. She’d skipped over a season. She was starting to age faster!
She’d check the downstairs works later.
I have been welcomed by neighbors on Rooster’s Peninsula more than I could have hoped for. I have a new home.
Many more stories to tell here, but perhaps not in this current photo-novel, 33 of a set.
Except maybe the library, the center of it all for me. Use to be anyway. Frozen center now. Controlled by MOA down in the basement. Let’s take a look through head librarian Miss Ouri who comes to us by way of Illinois-Kentucky. Characters are compacting; memories condensing. Soon 6 will be the same as 9 and visa versa. Compacting, compacting. Where’s 7 and 8 (and so forth)?
I told my similarly castle dwelling neighbor to the south that there used to be a 3rd castle in the area, largest of all and most unique. Never Sleep it was called, which I’ve translated into my own peculiar Our Second Lyfe mythology as Roost Never Sleeps, a corruption of Neil Young’s 70s album title “Rust Never Sleeps”.
Right over there on that leftmost, now barren beige peak it was, highest of the peninsula. Dominance in former days. The legend lives on.
And now me in the middle of it all. Back to the library…
Venus had finished her song. Wasn’t her worst but wasn’t her best. Lorster… Lester, I recall. Must get back to the purple door, another door to open if we now have the key. And we might.
“Well I’ll be,” he said, withdrawing it from sudsy purple. Not poop after all! Thanks Dovie!
“Have you heard the Art Box is going under?” she says, having stared at it enough.
“Just rumor. Speculation,” replies the heavily tattooed girl wearing red beside her.
The non-tattooed, blue wearing one to her right also answers. “Dead as a doorknob,” she weighs in. “End of February.”
“Not quite,” the red one returns.
“This blue panther on the western edge of Crisp Sea,” he spoke in a surprisingly regular voice for such a cartoony figure. “Is that the same as Paul?” He was helping. He really was.
“I don’t know. I’ll send Wheeler over there to take the plunge.” Plunge was code for “going (further) inworld”, at least between us new buds. How lucky I was to find him as a relative freebie on the marketplace, this pin cushiony little fellow!
The sim above Bart had finally turned from a raspberry shade of color back to clear, indicating it was online again. He could return to his boat that he rented to impress his new “girlfriend”. He turned the sky raspberry instead and went to work.
We don’t need Axis-Windmill between us to know this is all about TILE, Guyd.”
“We sure do, Rebl,” the fellow cat-person answered, but not a fellow like in a boy. Two girls and two cats. But that was about all they had in common.
“Better get over to the boat, Guyd, see what SID is up to.”
“That isn’t SID.” Yellow and green eyed Guyd tried to disagree with red-blue eyed Rebl at every important turn, and this was certainly one of ’em. Guyd felt SID was a character that didn’t need to be introduced in this here photo-novel, 29 in a series… in a series…
“I know,” agreed Rebl, surprising Guyd and knocking him out of his usual anti-Rebl mode. “This is Bart.” Both made “O”s with their mouth, as if they’d surprised each other. It was the first time they synchronized since Tuesday. 2 years ago.
She woke up with her mission. Go through the SOS flea market toward the plane. Find the hole in the fence and turn left. Therein lies the answer to everything, or at least 42. What’s within will not be what it seems.
The plane, check. But not the flea market before her. The cat on a nearby plank of wood meowed an answer but it was not 42. Something about dinner time being only 2 hours or so away now. Useless for her, although encouraging for the cat. She moves right, since left is…
… hold on.
In the secret basement lair of the large house to her left, biggest in town:
Only 2 hours till dinner time, thinks Greg Ogden with exactly the right number of G’s in his name. Better change.
“Interesting choice of shows, Martha. Do you like aliens?”
“Dunno, whatofit?” Her voice was raspy, as if she’d smoked a 100 cigarettes a day for her 45 years of life. At least the days she was able to reach her mouth with her hand in a coordinated way, that is, beyond infancy and early childhood. She’d had a rough life, and didn’t expect to live past 65 or so. She wasn’t planning on retirement. Her husband Jack was around, but in a wheelchair over at the Asylum. He’d seen things in the dark, heard rumors. So, yeah, she was interested in aliens. She was *studying* them. Must keep deflecting Agent 47 or whatever the f-ck they’re up to down at the station. “Want some pieee?” Pie was code for sexy good times in town. Some of these smart looking ones liked her type. In fact she had a website; must make ends meet *somehow*. Plus she had to have money for her cigarettes. Where were her cigarettes?
The agent was staring unblinkingly at her. She hated when they did that; maybe did something to their eyes in childhood. And she’s heard they need very little sleep. They stay up and read manga most of the night, analyzing it to pieces. Or so she’s heard. “Sooooooo. Taking that for a no?”
“Martha,” he starts firmly. “You know us agents accumulate knowledge on the residents of this town. It’s like coral; my brain is like coral, *our* brain. We are a hive.”
He stared at the tv screen again. He stared a very long time, then: “How many minutes for the information I need?”
Sally decided this would be her last trip into Jack’s former office with the all important ring binder she was still carrying around the day after yesterday. She had taken it to the bathroom with her and had a peek inside. Peking: (old) China stuff. “Just around the bend,” one document proclaimed. “Epidemic escalated to pandemic,” another said. “This was about the bug, like up in the beige hills, beyond Collagesity even,” she whispered to herself while on the john. She shut the ring binder, propped it carefully against the stall wall, balled her hand under her chin while sitting there in thinking mode. Sally was a bright chick, perhaps too much so. Since she had a double life, just because she was smart enough to pull it off. Lackey by day here at the Dogoog Coast Guard Station, an affiliate of Angel’s Airports. By night: spy. It was like the split of Orient and Occident, she realized, and herself as a reverse Marco Polo ready to unleash the goods to the enemy.
Marsha knew that boss Phillip Strevor was spying on her while she photocopied downstairs, eager to get away sometimes at least from the direct stares of her backside. At first he hid behind that big palm pictured above. Okay, good: only a sideways view, she thought, and tolerated the stalking. Then, gradually it seemed (it probably happened all of a sudden, though), Phillip slid out from behind the palm and over to the couch for a better view. He had sunglasses and wore a fake beard. He usually sat lotus position to disguise himself as an Indian. He thought it would be enough to fool her. Phillip Strevor perhaps wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, but that’s probably because of his head being cut off and all back in the war. He had it reattached, but decided to keep the demarked cut lines just to make him look tough. “CUT HERE”.
He also thought the beard would hide this from Marsha.
While still hauling around that damning ring binder all over the building to various offices (traitors, she thought, every last one of them!), Sally checked the script weight board. No sign of Wilson Fox this time. Only 2 All Oranges now, the big boss out on the dock taking care of the what’s-his-name dignitary, and the hooker across the bay probably wearing all that bling jewelry she likes. Man attactors, she calls them. Little lurid beacons of light. Sally usually hates women of the night and thinks them the lowest of life forms. But she’s befriended the hooker — Ginger I think is her name — because she has valuable information about the Orient she needs to dig out from her. And to top it all off, there’s Lime: the very origins of Our Second Lyfe. It actually started on Yd Island — just beyond the edge of the Coast Guard property over there. You can almost see it with a 512 meter draw, the maximum allowed in this here game. Ratzenburger Rabbit. Ginger (I think) knew the whole story. She grew up on Yd Island back in the 30s, 50s, and 70s.
(to be continued?)
He could go anywhere, do anything. He truly had a bike now. But how to use this new found power. He’s decided to be a spiritual guide for the blog, for Collagesity perched up there on that beige ridge between Route 13, which he’s riding on currently, and Route 14 on the other side. Together (through the Wizard Cube): 25, or the number of letters subtract one. And that one could be him, hidden in form. He could be the true man behind the Wizard in Oz-speak, which is All-speak now for him. Because he knows Oz represents the Afterlife.
He bikes on, plotting on how to heal the Great Split. Brother against brother, friend against friend. It’s all going to end somewhere, and perhaps badly. But Nautilus can survive. If he places himself in the middle. And that could be an anchor for the rest.