“We’ve got to get you back to Collagesity and remove Perch and see what went wrong!”
END OF “SUNKLANDS PHOTO-NOVEL 28″!”
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.
“I’m so sleeepy, Hoppy. Must be the place. Oops.
“There I go again, geez. Can’t — stop — yaawninnnngg *Zzzzzzzzz*.”
He could hear his mother calling from across the schoolyard. “Her-BERT?! Herbert DUNE! YOU come HERE right this *INSTANT*.” It was the call for dinner. He wasn’t going to budge from this hollowed out tree. He liked the swing here; no one bothered him. Oh, Martha Ram would sometimes come out on her porch and look his way, wondering if he was mere shadow or actual man-boy. But that was about all. Squirrels maybe. “Her-BERT!” Mom could search and search and couldn’t find him here. He was about ready to escape. “Her- BERRRRRRRRT!”
He woke up, looked over at the swing. A bear reared up in the distance behind it, complaining to another bear about him finding too many fish to eat.
He wondered if he was still dreaming, since he usually doesn’t understand Bear language. Now he’s saying he feels emasculated because of it. Strange — not what you’d think a bear would say.
“You’ve been talking to us a lot,” suddenly piped up Hoppy still in front of him, ears flopping here and there. “We’ve decided to talk *back*.”
Herbert decides to pinch himself. Didn’t work!
“I’m not dead!” he cried to all those sitting around the grave site looking down. “It’s *just* a ring.”
It all came together at the end for Mouse. Too late, of course.
“So this is it,” Man About Time exclaimed mildly. As usual. “The thing that did him in.”
“LOVE, yeah,” answered Jeffrey Phillips, wondering how he himself could talk again. He died as well (!). “He… couldn’t pass through the O, got stuck in it. Spy Guy Benjamin tried to help, but…”
“… got stuck himself,” completed MAT for Jeffrey, having read the story up to this point too. What was the point? Just close the damn coffin lid why don’t you.
“He can’t die in Vain.”
“He didn’t,” answered MAT truthfully.
“Good for you, MAT,” said Jeffrey Phillips. “I didn’t think you would take this so swell.”
“It’s just a game. Endtime.”
“Yes, death will do that to you. Lure you in, like a fish. And when you land on the shore — it’s *only* when you land on the shore…”
“You see the water,” completed MAT again.
Next door (sometime in the past):
They say the doctor before this new one, Jr. — he was married to an alien woman. Found her spaceship crashed up in the hills.”
“That’s — not — right,” the littler golden robot squeaked back.
“You’re right, Jr. It *wasn’t* right. He should have turned her *in*. And now he’s paid the price: banishment. *Now*, are you ready to go inside and let the new doctor, this Diper fellow, take a look at those gold plated tonsils?”
“Guess — so.”
“You guess so.” Claude Sr. blew out air from his mechanical lungs. “I had mine taken out about the same age as you are, in fact, the exact same age.”
“12 — I — know.”
“That’s right, Jr. 12. All mechanoids have to have their original tonsils taken out, then. Else: viruses.”
“I — read — the pamphlets.”
“Nice.” But Claude Sr. knew it wasn’t tonsils that were taken out. The pamphlets lied. He’d find out soon enough. Just like with Santa Claude.
They head inside for the operation.
He woke up in a fetal position on top of yet another fox. She spoke without turning from the even redder couch, wearing an even redder dress.
“How dare you think you can come to the White Palace in the skies and not alert *me*.”
He was groggy. He couldn’t make out exactly what was said. He raised up off of the plush fox, so soft. Like a blanket. He wanted to sleep forever, he realized. But… he must remain alert. Danger! He recalls: danger.
“You can leave Sepisexton,” she spoke over to the robot guard more in the background. “I want to talk to the *boy* alone.”
“It was always destiny that I come to this Misty MO and find love, Hucka.”
“Hucka?” He wakes.
Groggily; just waking up as well: “Yes?”
“Okay you must tell me what you did with Jeffrey Phillips, shirt-less boy. *Now*.”
The green door opened. A presence was there.
Trying to ignore rats, Dr. Mouse stands before the green door. The green phone on the front desk rings. It’s Claude.
Geez I think my ears are ruptured.
There. It’s fixed.
Guy Benjamin carefully checks the mailbox for explosives before continuing to move in.
He plans to stay here for a while, despite the dangers. Because he’s in hiding again.
Yes this will do I suppose, he thinks. But the animations in the house *suck*.
I guess that’s the point, though. No energy to detect up here in the skies. Blanket silence.
Oh no. Another picture of Foxtrot above the head of the bed. But this one’s crooked. I’ll just get up here and straight– OH NO!!
Yeah, in staring at the sign again, Dr. Mouse realizes he’s never been on this Paper-Soap property. Wonder why.
He’s a bit drunk tonight but still resists the urge to explore the offerings of the Lucky Motel, because he knows it is really not that atall (*hiccup*). Plus he’s kind of got a relationship with the ex Wheeler/Wendy again. Moving on…
Let’s go back to the big Nautilus continent map and see where we are. We started in Center (01) with the visiting of the Ur-parent’s graves, and worked our way up to the Aviary (02) where both Alysha and Hidi testified against Kolya as it were, almost eliminating him from our story, then quickly followed by Rooster’s Peninsula (03) where a nifty castle was established that may well replace Collagesity itself in our continuing Second Lyfe adventures. As you can see, these three basically equidistant locations form a line essentially running directly north, right to edge of the map and thus the continent.
But in the second half of the present photo-novel (XVIII), we have focused away from Nautilus to other, mostly non-mainland locations, like Paper-Soap. It’s as if the establishment of the castle provided us with a new anchor and then we moved on. So the question is: Is the more southern Collagesity now *toast*, at least for a while?
We haven’t even seen Collagesity leader Jeffrey Phillips in the current story yet. Perhaps that should change; he should have a say in all this.
(to be continued)
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?”
“*Well*. Did you enjoy your frozen banana young man, ha?”
“Okay, well you come back real soon. Reaalll soon.”
“Oh you can *count* on it.” He finally moved away, not even needing his cane to locomote in the present, the moment.
But Paper-Soap had much bigger issues to deal with than these 2 stepper outers. Wars: Paper vs. Soap. Because many wanted the amalgamation to end, and all the psychic rigamarole with it. We’ll see.
They had finished their burgers — vegetarian for the doctor; basically raw red meat for Wheeler, er, I mean, Wendy — and were sitting outside in what they called the kid’s area. Greg Ogden was riding a coin operated horsie across the way; no food for him, just play. The 2 “grown ups” took the opportunity to talk, core to core. Mouse was asking a lot of questions, so Wendy plopped out her laptop for some quick google searches when needed. Or so she said.
“Claude,” he spat out. “Friend or foe?”
“Friend,” replied Wendy quickly. “But a mechanoid so basically useless. And he indirectly blew up our director so we’ll have to mark down for that.”
Wendy stared at him. They weren’t suppose to talk about the children. He remembered that with her prompting and moved to the next.
“How about the swamp? How about the bars?”
“Um… not sure.”
“Both have black mold thanks to the you-know-who. Both lack bathrooms, hence Stu Umbriel in jail for the urination and such. But he just likes peeing in public, don’t get him wrong. He’d do it anyway. That’s just what his lawyers are going to say.”
“Kolya… seems to be missing.”
Wendy stared over at Greg Ogden still jiggling on his horsie. “Did you give him 2 quarters or 3? Because this could take a while.”