“You really missed quite a lot at LEA11, Musician. Blackout Poetry… *music/sound*. You and your aural sensitivity. Such an odd condition for one who *makes* sound all the time.”
“I found a lot. I found enough. I had to get back to my music.”
Wheeler thought of the Harrison cutout but didn’t query about progress. “Where’s Art?” she asks instead. “Will she be joining us?”
“No, it’s not Art. Just an artist. Painter.” The Musician pauses. “Like you.”
Wheeler scratches her head. “Where’s our coffee? Service here is as bad as over at Perch.”
The Musician checks his watch, taps his fingers nervously on the round table. “Should be any moment.”
“I hate to say it, but I’m just not a big fan of Second Life images in virtual art. People especially for some reason. Landscape’s better.”
“You just don’t like people period, Wheeler.”
“Should we go back?”
“Nah, she’s not going to show up.”
“Can I be The Painter instead?” Wheeler looked over at the slanted Musician.
He breathes out, relenting. “Oh all right.”
She sat silent for a moment, then: “What was her name?”
“Chuckey,” came the reply. “Yeller feller.”
“Hmm. So she’s you too.”
“Seems that way Wheeler.”
“It’s you trapped in that Ear Canyon. Camping at the top. Assimilation — full swing. I’m not who I thought I was.”
Well… we’re in this together and that’s a trap. Fact, I mean.”
“I made it. So this is the spot.”
“97, 97,” says The Musician. “The poisonous violet-black building in plain sight. Towering over us at this point if I remember correctly. Yes, this is the point. And now… this picture. I don’t remember it before from this gallery, which has expanded into the territory formerly its back yard. What’s the name?”
“Um, ‘A Precarious Geisha’.”
“No,” replies The Musician. “The name of the gallery, not the picture. Hold on…”
“‘Finely Torn Id’, Wheeler,” The Musician says after remotely finding and then taking a snapshot of the gallery’s entrance.
“2015 for the painting’s date. This must be The Painter.”
“No,” says The Musician. “It was suppose to be someone else. Chuckey. Yellow. Head like Charlie Brown. Assimilation. Pineal. Pine cone. Fred Cone. Pineapple.”
“Hmm,” states Wheeler. “This (picture) must contain a code. I like the colors. It’s close to a picture of the other side of the wall. Where I landed when you tried to teleport me directly into this spot. We were on opposite sides of the wall.”
“Are you a geisha, Wheeler?”
“Why is it precarious?” asks Wheeler back, dodging The Musician’s question.
“Look, Musician. A piano over there. Why don’t you disengage yourself from the wall and play us a tune. You said you had hundreds of thousands.”
“Hundreds,” came a muffled voice from inside the wall behind her. “Or maybe thousands.”
“Well play me something, then. How about that ‘Fire Ants’ you go on about when you’ve had a few too many. The one that literally blew the roof off Barney Rubleboro in West Virginia that summer. Coal *everywhere*.”
“Hold on…,” the muffled voice said once again.
“Hmm. Wall again. And I had just turned yellow.”
The piano would have to wait.