“Well if it isn’t the commander of the British invasion,” spoke Fern Stalin softly to Lichen Roosevelt at the bar, receiving a small chuckle. Lichen was usually the witty one, surprising her. “This should be fun,” she said back, watching Alysha continue to walk toward still reading Bartholomew.
“Hi. Finished yet?”
“Last paragraph, *ugh*.”
“We’re going to leave them all in; remove the cross outs instead. *They’re* the mistakes, starting with
“Is the soup good? I made it myself.”
Lisa was such a good writer there was little to correct for Alysha. The one truth, she thought while staring at the end paragraph of her newest text. “Cowabunga” was first uttered by her brother and used commonly after that. And *Bartholomew*… more corrections, much more. He laid in the hammock outside while waiting, eager to get the news about his own stuff. He knew there would be red line after red line, but — more time with Red (!).
“Bart,” she called through the open window, tired of having him follow her around like a little yellow puppy. “Why don’t you go see what *Lena* is up to today. This is *not* your day off, you know.”
“Oh, *pheh*, she’s looking at barns, saloons, anywhere that could possibly act as that studio she wants to make her comeback album in. And, anyway, Zach’s there for her.”
Zach, of course, she thought. Lena has Zach, I have Bartholomew. Two dogs for two masters. “I just finished your sister’s. Could be a while is all I’m saying. Why don’t you go prepare the sink. I want to dye my hair again this afternoon.”
“Blue?” He was eager to see that if it happened, but it was only red again.
She was done. Bart had hardly started. So much red!
“First off, Carumba is not a word. It’s *Caramba*. And that’s the title (!).”
“We can do it too. Go ahead and sit down, honey. Let’s talk.”
“I hear the Toasty O’s are very good here in the morning.”
“Talk,” she requested, not wanting to dilly dally around. “Spill.”
“Cube. We found the cube. In Hook Tender.”
Her mouth became an O. “My… *home*?”
It’s time to bring a new character into the picture: Jennifer Lane, twin cousin to our Shelley Lane, right down to the all seeing umbrella eyes. She remembers the bombing, the underground, the… flight.
“Another one, sweetie?” Lichen Roosevelt asked from behind the counter, presently cleaning a glass, perhaps the one she would pour a new drink in for Jenny.
Grasshopper? she thought. No: too obvious.
“Just another stack of potatoes.”
She rubbed her bare arms, trying to stay warm. About time to pull out that gray fleece jacket she likes so much, she thinks. Fall is here — finally. “Oh cheer up please, Bartholomew,” she said over to her employee, her roommate at the moment. “You know, I use to be a kid, just like you. I know what you’re going through.”
“Do you?” he answered dismissively. “Do you know what it’s like to go through life as a yellow? A cartoon, even? 2 dimensional? I had to escape.”
“I’m sure your father means well. Deep down.”
“What about your manifesto? How’s that going?”
“My *treatise*,” he corrects in his nasal way.
Indeed he had been working on it — hard. His sister was creating a complementary piece called “Cowabunga: Truth and Lies”. More scholarly, with proper footnotes. Bart(holomew) didn’t like footnotes; preferred a more direct approach to convey his feelings about the whole subject. His own attached treatise to the TILE Manifesto was called “Ay Carumba! I’m a Mouse!” Alysha could see right through it, having been a mouse for a while herself. Before the removal of Black. Bart didn’t really know what he was writing, although she did. And the same applied for Lisa in a lesser manner. She’d go over his newest material and make the appropriate edits after she returned from Blue Feather tonight. Very little chance that Blue Feather Douglas himself would show up again, though. Could be months, she figured. Years, even. But it was thrilling while it lasted!
(to be continued)
She hung up her black hat and dress and boots. She put on her blue flower jeans and rose shirt and red canvas shoes, made for a kid. Because she was a kid again, or at least closer to such. Our friendly, lovely Alysha. And where was projected mate Axis-Windmill these days? Still in Neat Town talking to Kick-ass Boos about bigfoot, locally colored green and called mossmen? Actually the last time we checked in with him, he was in Bellisaria chatting with a painter rabbit about primary colors, specifically about blue and black and how one can change into another. Perhaps he wants to know because of Hatti’s witch hat, which she just hung up. He knows about the alchemical cemetery, the alchemetery or alcemetery if you will (his coinings). He knows he has a rival and he doesn’t have much time, this White fellow.
He doesn’t yet realize he’s also staring into a mirror.
“Whitehead, Mossmen,” he mutters, waking up again, but this time not in the cabin, at least in *that* one. Instead: Reality.
I have found you again stone well. Well well well, as they say.
“Who is that girl over there,” said Zach Black in a low tone across the table to Lena Horned. “I’ve seen her before… somewhere. Maybe a fan?”
“Maybe,” Lena said between bites of food, not looking over for fear of *him* again. She knows he’s lurking.
The horse spotted her from the saloon, even neighed at her, seeming to beckon her toward him. But maybe it’s just the attraction to the sim of Horsa in general, and what it means for the future of this continent, indeed Our Second Lyfe. We are trying out the whole “give peace a chance” angle, and “love love love.” Interesting. And Lena Horned is here too (!), gigs extended to perhaps the end of the month. She’s hinted around that she might record her comeback album here, if she can find a suitable barn or something to transform into a studio. That’s why *she’s* here. To make sure all this happens in the most correct patterns.
Better get back to the boy, she thinks. He seems a bit down today; probably that attempted contact with his father. She shakes her red head with this. 102 — the *boy* is *102*. Must be. Not Rael McCoy but the *real* McCoy plain and simple. And with a more well respected and rounded sister. She’s next…
And following the advice of her smaller self she can still meet in dreams, she’s decided to put a tattoo on her back and neck, although it’s covered up by her rose shirt from this angle. *Rose*. She’s forgotten about the renegade Wells over at the Blue Feather Sea. Wonder if she’s procured that telescope she needs to see beyond Uranus yet, further into the corners of Space. Because Space indeed has a limit. She knows all about that.
Oh: he’s also the Mouse as well.
It was a peculiar dream for the boy. A happy Green in the midst of a sea of unhappy Red. And he himself: that color. He looks down at the world that he doesn’t realize is Earth but knows is a globe. “Our Second Lyfe looks strange today,” he says, studying it. Maebaleia — thicker or something — and over there, Zindra, he thought. The forbidden continent, ha ha. I’ve seen pictures. And up there: Corsica. Loooonnng. But Nautilus… *Nautilus*…
He wakes up. Also stirring Lena Horned is ready to go home and he’s in charge of seeing her there. Groggy Zach Black says he’s going to stay a little longer and drink some more coffee and sober up. I was the sane one right now. But was I unhappy? Did I really have a good boss? Yes, he decided, looking down at his real yellow skin on his hands and arms. I answer for Red but she also answers for me in the lonnng game, which I’m playing. Because one day I’m going to marry her, different species or not, he determined then and there. Lena was leaning on him now, still struggling to put one foot after another. It was up to him to protect, she said. Use the powers of the Great Black Swamp, The Abyss, if needed. But *carefully* and also only what you absolutely have to. The Abyss, pheh, he thinks. He’s not sure it is a real place yet.
In another dream, he was a circle that had been straightened out.
(to be continued)
He told me to look for Green…
“Alright, let’s give up the gig. *Master*.”
He said to give peace a chance and that Horsa is the place. Go see Lena Horned. “She’s the complete package,” he reiterates with others.
after the gig
I was back in Bellisaria. Red’s daughter, or at least the (old?) neighbors.
I decide to head west into Cowabunga. Misdirection? We’ll see.
I spotted something to the west after I entered the northeast corner of the sim. Just plain colors. I went there next…
What was it?
I see. A *witch*.