I got out of the car the black dog was driving. He exited too, went over to the skeletons playing cards with themselves to sniff for more clues. I was told to touch something. I tried and tried and finally found the right object. Everything swung into place.
So that’s where the magic will happen, I thought while staring over at the chair. Or un-magic; removal. They’ll start with the head, they told me. Remove the black until I am white as a flower, menace no more. But did I believe them? I could call the black dog back over from the skeletons and high tail it out of here if I wished. I still could back out; I had that option.
“Jenny,” he exclaimed, looking over at the crashed ship in Wallytown. Better phone up Wheeler and tell her the bad news.
“But Speck and Crazy *saw* it,” the tinny voice came just later over the phone. “It landed at Castle Town.”
“Nope,” I countered. “The witnesses were wrong.” Just like with us.
The wrong one walks into the Castle Town bar to meet her mates.
“Hearts for you, Pansy,” said one of the Certain Deaths after dealing the card. All the rest dug spades; Grumpy never had a chance.
Drew “Grumpy” Cleveland had an idea how to lure the right Mouse over. “Corndogs!” he called while still protecting his valuable package behind the counter. “Corndogs for the pick’n!” Had Mick been successful with the operation? He might soon find out.
Pirates, pheh. I wonder if I stand here long enough they’ll come back over here and dance for me.
But I haven’t got time for this tonight (he turns). I must find Norm, try to talk to him again about Fairview Alpha, about that 7610 tattooed to his forehead. About… Static. Snow, perhaps, like in a tv screen. That corner… Jeffrey Phillips looks over to the (northeast) corner of the lot and the 2 prominent, red V’s over there. He can barely make them out from this distance.
Better head closer; Norm should be around too — he always is, along with the rest of the regulars.
But most of the bots appeared to be gone tonight from the fake town. Jeffrey Phillips leans against the kissing booth and asked Elsa, the lone remaining one over here perhaps, where the others went and if she was still mad at him for that Tennessee thing he tried to pull the other day (she was).
“Only us ‘E Girls’ remain,” she said after a spell and a pout.
She told me to shut the door if I was going to make those kind of rude noises. I hadn’t realized anyone else was here; concluded all of these so-called people were actually bots — unreal avatars. Filler. But she spoke to me while I smoked on the toilet. I was trying to purge myself of Tennessee so I could get back to Elsie outside but here was something different, a real “flesh and blood” type who I might talk to and get actual information from about what was going on in town. Like the old days; pre-bots. The bots, true, saw everything, but they were programmed to move certain places, complete certain gestures. Unless this was a really advanced model from, say, Ohio, there was no way she could speak to me like that. She could hear my noises, she could tell I hadn’t shut the door. I had to go find out who this lady of the darkness was. Maybe my head could override my hips for a change.
I suddenly recognized her while she continued to eat. “Oh. You’re that Oz lady, the one with the puppets. I saw one of your shows.” I saw the *beginning* of one of your shows, he thinks, until distracted by baubles as usual. Not Elsie in that case but another. I think her name was Gertrude.
“What do you know… of Oz? What does *anybody* know of Oz?” She slurped her noodles again, another type of rude noise. Tit for tat. Definitely not a bot.
Then the drunk outside joined us and things got really interesting.
Soon we had quite the crowd and I lit another fag, taking it all in. Chatting! Actual chatting. About Seven. Turns out Bimbo, formerly O’Bimbo, and Jimbo, formerly O’Jimbo were brother and sister, some say twins. Some say: one and the same.
I crouch down like a monkey and wait for the rabbit.
Suddenly I was back at war, like in childhood. “Hold your fire!” she called over.
Jimbo, formerly O’Jimbo, was a Pan-Z or at least Pot-D contact in town but he ran away from me when I started quizzing him about Seven. Interesting — maybe he’s just scared of the still rampant virus going on around Our First and Second Lyves, even though I turned my head while talking and made sure I sneezed into my elbow that one time.
Last I saw of him he was riding a pegasus. I stopped following…
Later on, I remembered that he had been dead for at least a year, no fear of virus needed.
I stopped again when I saw static being displayed in a store front. I got so excited my head started vibrating a bit. A change was happening.
It was all quite red and V-shaped over here in this corner of the parcel. I decided to sit for a spell on a small turf of Linden terrain poking up through the pavement to regain my bearings. The static had thrown me off. Must be a Kentucky model.
Across the way, a drunk was stumbling while a raccoon closed his or her eyes. Neither had mail to post.
Ahh, the virus itself. I could kick it like a football clean outta here, all the way to the coast, the ocean. But I decided to save my strength for something else I spied in the distance.
Ahh, Elsie. Where have you been my whole life?
But then I got slapped when I used too much Tennessee.
He was a blank, ready to be written upon. Some called him Jonny already. He stared out past the Bellisaria Blues Bar toward the sea, the houseboats. He was looking for a… kite? His mind went blank again. He was a blank. Jonny he was called by some. He stares past the blues bar toward the sea, the sky, the… what was it? A ship. A boat or maybe… space?
I decided it should be a 200 meter long tether of red, knotted up like a rock hard ball of yarn left of center. This is the Jonny part.
Alice Farrowheart was inconsolable. My poor poor Toddles, she lamented to anyone around at the time, the police for now.
“There there, now now,” the squad all attempted to calm. “Toddles is still in town. The tracker implanted in her neck like everyone’s neck tells us so (!).”
“But *where*?” she exclaims back.
“The tracker says Apple’s Orchard. Wait.” Officer Robert Petrie Dish checked Master Radar again. “Heading to Neptune now… yes, she’s in Neptune. She’s… making a turn left. Looks like she’s going to Black Ice.”
“You’ve checked *everywhere*. She’s *physically* NOT in the city!” Alice Farrowheart couldn’t help herself. She had to yell to get the feelings out. Where — was — TODDLES??
The officers and gentlemen around her knew there was one other place she could be hiding but were too scared to raise the possibility. They knew Collagesity was more or less fully integrated into NWES City — and Collagesity contained collages and now NWES City does too. Precious precocious child Toodles could have gone to the Inside World, perhaps, gasp (they collectively did when they thought of this), Picturetown? Inside the pictures that were collages? The squad thinks again about how unwise it was for town to decide to stay “city” and live with all the other lesser and inferior cities intruding in and around it, like unwanted pregnancies and resulting ragamuffin children. They should have been cast off with the name. Now look what happens. Actual children disappearing. She could be anywhere now, even — gasp (again) — Canada.
Filed under **VIRTUAL, 0024, 0608, Apple's Orchard, Bellisaria, Black Ice, Canada, Canada/Picturetown, collages 2d, Four Corners, Marwood, Neptune, NWES Island^
I had to face the tiger head on.
Wheeler is Charlene is Her Majesty the Bigfoot!
One remained on the jigsaw pieces to our left, because there was only one left. Waiting for the snowman to turn orange again (it always did).
There (Wheeler joins the game).
Harrison just kept on dancing like a fool with his new mates behind the theatre. He was free!
That belt is giving me strange dreams, she thinks after waking up and recalling. Must stop using it so much.
She goes to check on Toddles. “Toddles?” Not in the bedroom, not under the covers. “Land sake’s child.” She calls downstairs. “Are you down in the kitchen!?” She descends the stairs — not there. She searches the entire house. Her precious precocious grandchild is gone! The belt did something to her that night. Broke through the drugs that Toddles had carefully and stealthily dispensed into her bedtime toddy, as was common. The belt doesn’t want Toddles to succeed in her mission of growing up way too soon so that she can save the world, several worlds in fact. All Orange.
If she wasn’t so worried about Toddles, Alice Farrowheart would have noted that the belt was gold instead of steely grey in the dreams, and wondered what that meant. It too is growing in power. A face off (to the death?) is probably in the works.
“Grounded!” I say. “GROUNDED. And gimme those drugs you use to doctor my toddy. You’ll grow up to be a heroin addict or worse and put me in an early grave, Toddles.” Alice Farrowheart, her dear dear “Granny,” couldn’t stop shaking her head; the belt did this, the psychic toddler realized. Alice F. held out her hands. “DRUGS,” she demanded. “I want to see what you’ve come up with in that wee evil noggin of yours.” Toddles produced 2 pills, one red and one blue, from the pocket on her baby jumper. “Take them,” she said. It wasn’t a request. It was an order. Time to pull out the big guns, hypnosis and not what. Toddles had collected a bag full by now.
“Where were you Toddles? I was looking all over for you. I was worried!”
“Just getting some milk for me and Whimpers (cat).”
“Aww,” Grammy let off. “That’s so *sweet*.”
“Phew. That was close!” she admitted to milk sipping Whimpers after Grammy puttered off back to bed.