“Another dream: I was at 23:23, the place *and* the time. This was the…”
“… beginning?” He’d heard this too. Male-female synthesis. “So we’re back to trying to track this 102 fellow. Or 102 girl.”
Surprising me, the Main Church of Cheese (or just Main Church) still exists in the Pond District of Heterocera. I decided to pay a visit, disguised as a parishioner.
Afterwards I tracked down the Good Rev. Amos T. Sandman (clown) to get more of the scoop. Info about the brief but intense Pond District-VHC City war back in the day would be super nifty. *Jackpot* there, for the Reverend was a treasure trove — had a personal archive out back on the conflict. Said his grandfather piloted a Main Cheese boat over to the shores near VHC City to help with the barricade.
The next week we met in nearby Rodentia to further discuss the matter. Rodentia is fast becoming a treasured relic itself, having been around in Our Second Lyfe for over 10 years. His church was visible through this coffee shop window with a larger draw distance, adding to the ambience.
“So tell me about the Oodites,” I began. “Why did you guys hate each other so intensely? I get the whole clowning thing with you and presumably your grandpa, heh.”
“The Oodites deserved all they got. They put a black hole in the middle of that town and dominated through it. Warped the minds of the commoners (humans) there. *Sang* from that middle. He opened his red tainted clown mouth here for a bit but no sound emerged that I could hear. “That was 10 years ago,” he then continued, and *that* at the end of another 10 — the 10th. Pitch Dark that black hole was.” He paused here for me to absorb.
“I mean,” I spoke through Man About Time, “how did the Oo’ds get there? The aliens you speak of.”
“Oh they were horrible to look at. Could drive a man mad easily with their tentacles for mouths and their sideways eyes. Henry (Russian Grey parishioner I met the week before) looks good in comparison, ha.”
“Heh.” And I wondered why I laughed like that again, like a goofy kid. Did I have a cold?
“Well — how did the underground (movement) start?”
And it was here that Rev. Amos T. Sandman said he had to split to prepare for a diatribe against bananas on Sundae, a rival yellow food. We’d have to get more of the story at a later date.
(to be continued?)
They continued to talk while Herbert Gold, dead again, danced frantically at the bus station in the background, obviously in a dream trance. Tessa looked over, convinced that grandpa finally wasn’t going to come back this time. Platinum through and through he was now, with wife April Mae (not related to Tessa except through marriage) truly a widow. The vision made her point more important.
“We *must* set aside differences to explore what remains of Our Second Life, gentleman.” Tessa was wise now, thanks to what happened in Bellisaria, which we’ll get to in a minute. “North — South — it doesn’t matter. Whatever is left of the World of Lemon must be chronicled as best as possible while there’s still time to find traces of it here and there.” She indicated the surroundings with her hand. “Like right here in RustpORt in Heterocera’s Pond District. Why the OR emphasized in the name to highlight the sim here (Or)? Why the water levels at 65 instead of the regular 20 — an anomaly common in this area? Such broad mysteries, ready to be explored, must not remain unanswered or our overall mission has failed. Gentlemen, this is the test, the challenge. Lay down your arms. Stop bickering and look all around you — observe. The fight you have is small compared to what lies all around. There are still *traces*. Traces can be used to sketch out a broader picture. You *must*–”
“Yes, I know, I know. My military style knife must go,” butted in Jer Left Horn to her immediate left. “TronAxis’ *frisbee* must go. ”
“How *dare* you,” Axis to his left returned. But with a smile now. Indeed the child before them had warmed their hearts, opened their minds with her stories and information. The Bellisaria island she stayed on after leaving the cave system the key to seeing Our Second Lyfe as a globe, a sphere? Incredible! Pode and Anti-Pode: it was the only place — well, the south slice of the island that lay in the sim of Grote — to resonate with land on the opposite side of this world. New Amsterdam revealed, which then became New York but bombed back to New Amsterdam conditions in the year… well, better not reveal that yet. I’ll let Rebl do it later on, who is the same as Parasol. Shame she couldn’t join these avatars in Or for the end of the current Collagesity photo-novel.
Oh wait. There she is.
“1926,” she answered cryptically to the camera, still with one red and one blue eye. The underwater operation was a success. Or was it a complete failure?
END OF “COLLAGESITY 2019-2020 WINTER”!
If I could just block out Linden — Philip Linden – and make Tronesisia whole(some?) again, she could come back to life and reestablish lemony goodness over blimey lime at New Island. Sight returned, *smell* returned. But while the kiln exists, the firing could happen again. Over and over. Female receptacle.
Mr. Matrix, equipped with his own ratmobile, had laid the bait several months back in the Pond District’s Rodentia. Cheese for the rat, but also carrot for the rabbit. Rat bit. But then he determined that he was probably the rat (bit) himself he did seek. Another wacky loop.
So that’s it. I must return to the Pond District and follow up on the story of Mr. Matrix and also Wheeler’s presence there. Mt. Pond outside a window. Paint bait. The wackies look on and get organized and in line behind her. “Paint paint paint!” they shout in unison. “Art art art!”
She must return to the point of it all.
She imagines dreaming on its top.
Adelaide crawled around and crawled around, but still was unable to find New Island under this bed. Maybe the others would know more, she realized happily. I haven’t *thought* about asking them yet (!).
But in truth she had asked the other patients at Baumbeer Mental Hospital in the Tethia sim of Heterocera’s Pond District over and over this same line of questioning: Where is New Island? What happened to my art colony? Where are my *paintings*? She couldn’t face the fact that it was all gone, as if in a poof. Mid Hazel was the culprit. She grew tired of watching energy grow in that direction and put a quick halt to it. The catastrophe. Radiation in a lime green kiln. BOOM! But strangely, no harm to the involved buildings, and, outwardly at least, to the people either. Until they started dropping to the ground 4, 5, 6 days later. Not the people, the *art*. On display no more, and soon to derezz away into nothingness as creative energy continued to be drained.
Ground Zero?: the chair that the Tronesisia robot sculpture currently occupies at the Artist Point Interactive gallery, former location of the kiln where sculptress Tennessee Nuffin Butler fired her male parts in. It was a particular Red bit that Mid Hazel had chosen for the nascent seed. And it came from the future and had something to do directly with Bill and cheese.
Adelaide waves her hands in the air, trying to decide, once more, which way the wind blows.
“I looked good in my pink phase, didn’t I Rabbit 02?”
“Sure did Rabbit 01.”
“But that was before my pregnancy with Rabbid.”
Tired of all the blood rushing to his head, Rabbit 02 declared: “My turn now…”
“Definitely stronger over here at 176/176. You try, Martha.”
“Can I take my lemonade?”
“Ooo, yeah. I feel it a little more, I think.”
“2 meters makes a tangible difference. I’m at 174/176 now.”
“And The Diagonal then continues northeast right through that frog sitting beside us apparent…
… then through the 2 air mattresses over there, and to the tailgate of the old truck on the other side of this pool of water. Then it continues, of course, through the rock, the arch, down to Wash Town and beside the octagonal Joe’s Garage on that queer diagonal line placed directly upon it.”
“Oolala. I feel tingly!”
“Let’s switch to the mattresses.”
“170, 172 for me,” Sid speaks. “How about you?”
“172/172,” Martha Lamb returns, checking her coordinates. “Even the fish seem attracted by it.”
Martha points to the tailgate of the truck. “Let’s go over there.”
“Ooo, it’s so hot in here.”
“Yeah, I’m at 162/164. And you should be at 164/164 as I tested earlier with that pose.”
Martha Lamb couldn’t wait any longer. She planted a big wet one right on Sid’s lips. Keeping close to his face — uncomfortably close, perhaps — she then seductively asked: “How’d I test on that?”
After kissing a long time and doing some other stuff, they found popcorn in the cab and enjoyed the view.
“A clown?” Mary exclaimed upon meeting the Good Rev. Amos T. Sandman yesterday at the Main Church of Cheese over in the Pond District. “No *wonder* you hate the Cult of Oo’d so much!”
“Indeed!” the Reverend exclaimed back. “*Now*. Which of the gateway gods do you choose to worship today?” He shields his mouth with his hand and says in a considerably lower voice: “Say fries, say fries.”
“Um. Fries I suppose.”
“Good choice!” the Reverend said, returned to shouting mode. “Please join Sister Deni Stew Moore at the appropriate side altar.” He waves to his right. “You have 8 minutes, then must yield to another. As you can see, for a Wednesday we have quite the crowd here, and more are filing in — everyone needs a turn. And the fries are a very popular warmup before the main course here at the Main. Enjoy!”
When Mary goes to the side altar to join a woman who’s apparently been totally cheesed (Mary had been warned about such staunch devotees), she found she couldn’t bend her knees in the proper, reverential fashion and merely had to sit upon the provided pose ball.
“Psst. Mary,” the cheese being next to her whispered out of the side of her curdled mouth. “It’s me. Bill.”
She whispered again, more urgently. “Keep it down, keep it down. And address me as Bill from now on. I’m the queen after all.”
“Sure you are, Wheeler… Bill. But what’s this all about?”
It was the first time Adelaide (Alice 02) would meet with the head doctor over at Mosh on the Main Continent, as employees of Baumbeer Enterprises liked to call it. On the way up, Adelaide pauses to consider some maps on the wall. She recognizes her present “home” sim at the top. Or sims, since it looks like the hospital owns land in both Tethia and Orr around Lake Tethia. Interesting.
But where was she *now* on this lower map, hmm?
No time. She was summoned. There wasn’t a place to sit in front of the doctor. But — he’s a *rabbit*?
And a white one at that. Rings a bell.
Surprising Adelaide again, Dr. Rabbid Baumbeer then unfurls his life story for her, starting with his birth at Braynard’s Place (chronicled in the last Collagesity novel) and extending through Gene Autry Mortuary School, The Carter Center for the Study of Bodily Fluids, and then here. “Fluid,” he emphasizes while taking a steady sip of milk (he had hid his glass of beer under the desk upon Adelaide’s arrival). “It’s what took me from place to place to place. Up and up and up.”
Adelaide wondered when he would get to her psychiatric evaluation, but it never happened.
“I am the 9th, Mary.”
“That’s great. Are we done (with the snapshot)? Let’s walk over to the insane asylum, if so. Let’s go see Adelaide.”
“Alice’s (Alices?) nowhere to be found. We reside in the Ukraine now. Russian is sooo yesterdays.”
“Let’s just *go*.”
“Oh all right,” Pitch Darkly relents and gets up to head westward. Into Russia territory again. New Island, pheh.
The portal entrance to Lake Tethia. Pitch allows Mary to get all angley and fish for perch a moment, with immediate success.
She schemes to make a list of Pond District pools and their angling potentials. Would Pitch allow her to complete the project, though, given this is “Russian” territory now? And what’s *wrong* with her husband? Would he return to normal after all this “Number 9” stuff is done?
Unable to get through today, however — the property seems blocked. Did they do this specifically to keep Pitch out of their village? These Ruskies? He hates them now, whatever the actual facts.
Northern side here: he’s just not having much luck. Pitch black blocks him again.
He decides to teleport back home and try again another time. Mary, of course, follows him there. What a lamb.
Later, in the consulting room at the Collagesity branch of Fries with Cheese…
“You must leave your husband. *Immediately*.”
“I’m over here,” the distressed Mary beckons.
“I’m sorry,” Sister Martha Lamb apologizes. “I can’t… seem to turn my head… to the left right now.”