The Paper Kings dropped a Big Baby behind enemy lines and Claude Sit-on got sat-on. His son Claude Jr. carried on the family name, obviously. In retaliation he tried to wire the school so that it would blow up at 4:20 o’clock on [pick any day], but the kids foresaw this and blew up Claude Jr. instead. With their minds of course, no primitive physics needed. End of mechanoid aspect of our story, but later the Claudes, jr. and sr. now conjoined and united as one Claude in the minds of people who couldn’t remember the originals, became martyrs to the cause. It was here that Dr. Mouse entered our story again. “He died for *our* sins,” the fanatic was telling him back in their secret basement lair underneath the mayor’s house, now run by Jim Turbine the plastic surgeon. He surged, he won. Former mayor Longnose went back to Yayaland where he came from and started wearing a different face (at times) and leading the resistance to his own cause, which eventually recruited Guy Benjamin from Kowloon who eventually was able to steal the little yellow fellow, the Rael McCoy, from the other 3 while they had their backs turned. And this is where Dr. Mouse enters our story once more (!), for he was asked to perform a special operation to straighten out the racist lad. *Not* remove the color this time, which should remain glinty gold or close, they insist, just like Claude down in Sittontown (Meatside renamed). “What, then?” demanded Mouse, afraid he would see a rat in such a remote place and eager to get outta here. “Turn him into an *I*,” they said, and left it with him.
Dr. Mouse went back to his basement lair, told the others what had happened. A plane crashed outside in front of the cave that sheltered Sheldon the Initiated, Fern Stalin in disguise once again — I believe this was 42 by this point. On the other side of Paper, Swamp Lake had been drained by the resistance *here* in an attempt to stifle the efforts of the kids. The Asylum was filled with those who weren’t really loonies but were deemed so nevertheless. And Dr. Mouse was the stamp-maker. He wore many hats, but there was only 1 he wanted to live under. Hatti’s.
“What do you think? First attempt, mind you.”
Greg Ogden was stymied. “Is that a… banana?”
She finds herself in a place doing realistic things, like blow drying her hair. But this is the morning she finds out she is actually a man. She stares into the mirror, looking at them after the removal of the false, the fake. How deflating!
The mayor’s nose keeps growing. Guy visits the doctor again, still working for the resistance. A new strategy is being hatched. Stealing the golden goose egg *has* produced results. He’s straightened out, elongated: the I of TILE revealed.
(to be continued)
“I don’t belong here,” he said to friend Horace later on down at the docks in a kind of goodbye. “I’m not who I seem.” The wheels in his head kept spinning ’round and ’round.
We go one outfit up for the next section: Harrison Ford Jett. We return to Collagesity and its Boos Gallery with Fern and him.
“So the taijitu ball was rolled over, giving the Mouse another head to replace the one just crushed like a…”
“… goose egg,” finished Harrison. Fern stared at him, wondering how much he knew about McCoy.
“The meteor, yes. Impach. Let’s move over to the Power Tower now — want to show you another baker b. work.” Things were different now, she realized. De ja boom and paths change. She’s glad, because she misses Harrison. And those apples.
But for Harrison Ford Jett, Fern never made it over to the Power Tower. Alone, he stares into the eyes of hate.
Where is he (*panic*)?? Oh: there.
He told him of the missing letter in the 4 letter name, and that would take his power away and the rebels could triumph and be top dogs (once more). “Before the coming of the 4 color-letters,” he explained. “We tortured him — extensively. We got a name: Rael. Rael McCoy. We could crush him like a (golden) goose egg, we realized, but, in the end, we just let him go, let him return to the other 3 of his ilk. We realized we could never win. Because we saw ourselves in *him*. *We* hurt when we tortured him.” Guy stopped, wondering if he should say the next thing. The Chinese cook kept stirring, always patient. He’d heard so many similar stories now down through the years. All involving letters, all ending in pain.
“Let me guess,” he said calmly, steam obscuring his head from Guy in the moment. “You realized… you were missing one as well.”
So he knew that also. Because Guy had started out as Guyd, the glossy yellow and green eyed cat who was actually quite inept as a guide, despite the name. Rebl knows.
Fish Head wasn’t in for some reason. He’s *always* in. He’s on his own again, at least for a little while. Probably one of those improbable bathroom breaks, he guesses. Fish Head usually just absorbs it internally but it eventually builds up, he reckons. Have to let go sometime, despite the dangers.
As he keeps stumbling and bumbling, he spots Soupie down a passageway. Soupie can help me, he realizes, thinking back to what the old Chinese cook told him last year about, who was it? The owner of the place. The one with the master map. “What you need to keep from getting lost, young dude, is a *plan*,” he said. Also: “Follow the pipes if worse comes to worse. Always follow the pipes.” He’d forgotten about that bit of advice until now. And he was sleeping right below them. Density, yes, but in his own brain. He figures he needs a refresher course. Fate he meets him.
“Good, eh?” he spoke over while still stirring. Always stirring his patriotic soup this one is. Hence the name.
Guy nodded. “Good, yes, Soupie,” and took another slurp. 10 lindens. Very reasonable for a nice hot meal.
“Musshroooms. Fresh from Wonderland.” Guy recalled that Soupie called the fresh market down the street Wonderland for some reason, although its real name was just plain ol’ Fresh Market, or at least that’s the only official one he’d ever heard. He starts to feel a little funny in the head. He decides to tell him about his recent dreams.
Guy woke up in an alleyway again. It’s those pipes, he realized, seeing upwards. Lead… weighing him down. Dense. Causing the wacky dreams. Stealing a golden goose letter, pheh. Rebel, bah. But… where were his Genesis shirts?
Better phone up Fish Head, tell him I got lost once more. Have to wear the “Nursery Cryme” one to get in. Gall darnit, I *always* have them on, one on top of another: “Foxtrot” beneath “Nursery Cryme”. Just in case. I feel naked without them.
He shivers with this and decides to get into action.
Now that I’m awake again I’m going to figure out who you guys are, he thought. Sorry: *gals*.
Other Other! (4:00)
Worlds come together. (3:45)
He sat underwater with Leaday afterwards and wondered what just happened? “Was any of it real?” he called over from his stool next to one of the circling opabinia, another impossibility since this queer 5 eyed, backwards headed fish has been extinct for millions of years. He remembers visiting the doctor. That’s it. But what happened inside was a blank.
He took his first shirt off, finally remembering there was actually a shirt beneath that. Shirt Zero if you will. He was home.
And all was not well.
The door to the bar was a decoy — sent visitors upstairs to another bar devoid of animations and life in general. Except for constantly humming Hurley. Let’s shorten it to Hummy. The bird.
“Where IS HE????” demanded the Heart Queen after teleporting up. The future was still the present, which means Guy was still successfully hiding in the past immediately below, purchased identity holding. Too bad she’d never learned to play croquet or things could have worked out differently for her. It could have relaxed her, taken her down a different path. And indeed, that’s the queen Fish Head and Guy knew (in the past). A kinder gentler one, a sympathetic sort.
“Have a Bloody Mary, Queen,” trilled the humming bird. “Let’s talk.”
The queen was surprised she could sit down despite the lack of animations. It didn’t bother Hummy, since he was a flier not a sitter. He expertly blended a tomato with celery and spice. He mixed in the liquor. It was ready.
One sip and she started to remember, heart of ice melting. She recalls Broken Heart. The spell was over.
She began to dance again.
“It’s good you changed shirts and came here, Guy. She won’t look here: too far in the past.”
He wanted to say that he didn’t change his shirt he merely added another one on top of the first but just thanked his lucky stars it worked anyway. Now he could talk openly about the Heart Queen with his old friend Fish Head, the one who he could depend on to give him directions when he got lost. Which was a *lot* here.
“Who is she?” he asked, heart still thumping from all the excitement.
“Goes by Helen.”
Helen, Guy pondered. Like Troy. Destroyer of Men.
“What happened to Feng Sui and Qi?”
“Gave up the store. Left town.” Guy knew Fish Head was talking about Store Zero, where it all started and revolved around and shite. Murderous past. Which was, again, present. But he had no real choice. He had to escape (!). Gunshots outside. He’ll have to get use to it, he figured.
“And the uncles?” Two more shots, then a scream. Then quiet (for a while).
“One remains.” But Fish Head didn’t reveal which one. Could be Jack. Could be John. He didn’t have the guts to open that door and find out — the body could be slumping right against it; spill into the establishment and cause a bloody mess he’d have to clean up. And he’d lost his mop, dangnit. Probably stolen (again!) by the Mopheads down in Ragtown, the bloody gang. Maybe them outside right now, causing all this commotion. The Heart Queen had hidden him but for how long? It was up to her to open the door — not him.