Luckily Rey Wisa always kept a spare cone in his pocket.
But instead Buurb finds himself heading left, toward the freebies library at the end of Lost Heaven Road. What to buy today? he considers. Maybe something for Mabel this time.
Yes, more bean stew for Mabel. He loves that stuff. And — Buurb couldn’t resist — a Green Lantern mini-avatar for himself, hehe. He can hear his wife now: “You’re *such* a Sheldon.”
Bill (Wheeler again) couldn’t figure it out. Why would this mysterious Ellen insist on going first and then make such a weak opening move? She counters with her own weird kind of opening: Pawn to Queen 4. Because at this rate she was going to win in 13 moves or less. Anyway, she’d check back tomorrow and see if Ellen had stopped by to play again. Poor girl; maybe not the brightest of us all.
But Bill was wrong about that.
There he is in person, the hiding Axis thinks excitedly. Famed SL explorer Baker Bloch, about to pass into Elderglen and exit Fern. This is my chance!
Then in the Elderglen Infohub, Baker Bloch was again surprised, this time by the clear indication that famed SL explorer Magellen Linden had already visited the newly risen Nascera continent.
On the opposite wall, a frog with an interesting golden orb placed in front of it.
Baker tries his hand at playing a lute sitting on a stage in the corner of the Infohub’s main room. To his complete surprise, he subsequently strums a beautiful, complex tune of short duration. Ahh, but it must just be the magic of the place, and not any latent talent showing through.
A man walks into the infohub. Baker’s complex music grinds to a halt.
Baker watches him pass straight through the infohub, not glancing toward him, and exiting through the back door.
… but there was no one on the back porch. From its northwest corner Baker then spies the broken teleporting machine — one day too early.
Axis’ plan had worked! The black king strikes again.
fish and fowl
“I thought this lobster might at least partially make it up to you, Catvas. I’m so sorry I’ve neglected my painting lately. It’s that darn chess game. I can’t decide on the next move!”
“I’m Catvas II, actually,” the feline across from her corrected while purring over the dinner. “You can tell the difference by my fishtail, which Catvas I doesn’t have. Instead she has the wings of a bird. In truth, The Bill, I think you might be losing your grip. The chess battle is turning your mind soft and fuzzy, like Stan over there.” Catvas II nods toward the hairier cat washing dishes tonight. “I suggest: withdraw from the match. If black wins, that might also be the end of *you*.”
“But,” counters The Bill, “that also means the reds and yellows stand victorious over the carcasses of the blues and greens. No, Catvas, er, II, this is not just a black and white situation. There are winners and losers in all 4 corners of the world.”
Then Grassy returned from the bathroom and they knew not to say anything more about all that.
When to move you first, my Queen? Rey Wisa ponders from far below.
Sidechick Corea appears from behind. “Magus Ellen,” he speaks formally. “The blue boy Opp is here.”
“Great, great. That’s really great.” He pulls the ice cream cone from his pocket and takes a thick, satisfying lick. ” Yes, put him in the middle of all this and I’ll be there shortly. Quick stop over at Iris first.”
“Very well, sire.” Sidechick Corea takes his leave to execute Rey Wisa’s orders.
fish inna water
I think Aquarium Guy might have found a home in Bluebells, Nascera.
Another satisfied customer!
Meanwhile, in nearby Kolbird…
“Do you understand what you have to do, Campbell?”
all a board
“If you get confused or lost, Campbell, we’ll go ahead and design this as a place you can come to achieve clarity. Now I’ll go ahead and sit beside you since I’m already here. I’m Bracket Jupiter.”
“Hi Bracket,” speaks Campbell O’Pine cordially. “Nice to greet you.”
“So logically that places Spongeberg beside you on the other side. Spongeberg is currently playing the role of your Mmmmmm cousin Grassy Noll. Remember to call him Grass as much as possible. Last seen: getting stoned with Wheeler who is now The Bill. We’ll get to her in a minute. So we’ll seat Grassy who is Spongeberg beside you, since you’re kind of partners. Grassy, can you change into your base character just so Campbell will know what it looks like.”
“Sure.” He changes.
“And I’ll do the same.”
“So here we are,” Bracket says. “Let’s spread it out a little further. Beside me would be Wheeler we spoke about before. She plays a variety of characters but we’ll place her here in the base or core form again. And then beside Spongeberg we have Karoz Blogger — we’re getting into the older souls now of the blog, Campbell.”
“Okay. Hi Wheeler. Hi Karoz.”
“And then beside them we have The Bakers: Baker Bloch next to Wheeler over there, and then Baker Blinker sitting beside Karoz Blogger. Baker Blinker and Karoz are married — you guys are married still?”
“Yes,” they answer jointly and in unison. No stares were directed toward Wheeler.
“Baker Blinker and Baker Bloch,” Bracket continues, “are the owners of Collagesity. We’ll visit there soon for further orientation. But for now you must remain in Nascera. *Don’t* go back to New Island. Don’t get lost again.”
“Alright.” But both knew he would.
“And then to round out the circle we have resident blog spirit Hucka Doobie sitting directly opposite you. This is her classic bee form, but she’s refined it a bit now. Would you like to show us, Hucka?”
“Not right now,” the bee person requests.
“Since Hucka most understands among us about getting lost, she’s going to take you under her wing, Campbell.” Awkward pause here, then Bracket realizes his mistake. “Aww, I subconsciously made a bee joke. I’m sorry, Hucka. I know you’ve changed.”
“Are you sure you wouldn’t like to show us how much you’ve changed now? Just for more orientation. It’s important Campbell here knows.”
“And I can hide my antennae under my hair if needed,” she furthers.
knights and bishops
Nascera is the continent of the Linden Homes – “ready-to-move-in homes belonging to a themed community and available only to premium account members”. Read all about this on http://community.secondlife.com/t5/English-Knowledge-Base/Linden-Home-overview/ta-p/700103. There are several landmasses with Linden Homes visible on the map now. But it seems, they still are all called Nascera 😉
After the others had gone back to their respective homes — Baker Blinker and Karoz to Chilbo; Hucka Doobie to Gaston; Wheeler and Spongeberg/Grassy to Iris — Baker Bloch decides to stick around and explore more of Nascera, kind of picking up where he left off those over 8 long years ago now. He’s pretty sure this plaque in Budsic wasn’t here before when he biked around the continent’s 8×8 original core of sims in the days. The Lindens had subtly and sometimes not so subtly changed the landscaping surrounding the central California Modern region since his initial forays.
Ryu and Ingerstall, he thinks after reading the story behind the Vertical Blinds Historic Battlefield. That would be the position of black queen’s knight and black queen respectively on Wheeler and Ellen’s chessboard, hmm. And Budsic here between them: the black queen’s bishop. Queerly, Karoz Blogger subsequently found a white bishop in a new Nascera sea southwest of here, after the early 2010 continent expansion beyond the original 8×8. Beyond the confines of a chessboard design, that is. And then, much more recently, Baker Bloch himself found a *black* bishop in a neighboring sim while popping over here one night for a quick visit.
And now this plaque in a “black bishop sim”; chess was definitely a theme to be dealt with. But what would be — or has been — Ellen’s next move beyond his Knight to King’s Bishop 3? Wheeler is greatly confused as to the weakness of her play so far.
“There. I’ve finally done it,” proclaims Bill (Wheeler) back in Iris. “Knight to Rook 3; weak knight move counters weak knight move. Let’s see what she does with it. But now I can finally rest at night!”
Ellen’s next move came much quicker than expected.
At sunrise on March 19 2018, Baker Bloch teleports into the very center of the Threesun sim (128, 128). He’s right on top of a larger statue, whose position logically marks this center. So: interesting at the beginning.
The statue is one of three in the subterranean chamber he manifests within, all positioned against the same north wall. Notice that a 4th enclave on this wall is empty (one to the far left here). Are these chess pieces again? Baker ponders. The description of the objects don’t seem to aid much in this determination.
Then on the west wall, what are obviously representations of the “three suns” in question: 3 metal circles with 8 irregularly placed “flames” apiece. Seem to be made of copper or bronze.
Baker spies a small container or coffer in the center of the altar below them. He approaches… and opens.
Time to take this to the next level.
Rey Wisa, aka Ellen, exits the chamber through the tall, metallic west doors.
Oops, wrong one.
“Do you remember who was beside Karoz Blogger over there, Campbell?”
“That’s very good. But do you remember which Baker?”
“Err. Bloch?” the blue being guesses incorrectly.
“No,” responds Sidechick Corea gently. “That would be Baker Blinker, who is married to Karoz.” He checks the sun, then quickly looks down at his watch while shaking off educational mode. “Dear Lord,” he cries. “I forgot about Baker! He’s maybe been waiting, oh jeez, *3* hours! School’s over, Campbell O’Pine. I have to get over to the Threesun sim. Pronto!”
“Where’ve you been, Sidechick? After-school Care? I was dying down there, you know.”
“I’m *so* sorry.”
“It was suppose to be a natural paradise, Sidechick Corea my friend. *Still* my friend.”
“Mucho apologies again for being late yesterday, Magus Ellen.”
“T’is alright. But the expansion beyond the original 64 changed all that. The woof and warp became predictable. Our Second Lyfe began to collapse in on itself at this point. That’s why I switched from white to black. Black opens this time. And so — here we are.”
“But nothing’s changed,” observes Sidechick Corea. “All remains the same. The duplicate continents, the repetitive patterns of houses going on and on from the central 8×8.”
“Things have changed,” counters Ellen. “The blue boy is here for one. He will keep appearing in unexpected places.”
“What of the golden orb?” Sidechick asks, staring into the center of the fairy pond now. “Is it gone forever?”
Ellen pauses, then: “Time will tell.”
“So you see Campbell O’Pine. Here at the edge of Misacs, for instance, we also have the beginning of the end of Our Second Lyfe. That gain in elevation over there in, let’s see (Sidechick checks his inworld map), Bushchat, is more than just that. It gives us perspective upon the basically flat 8×8 of the themed house regions preceding it, The Perfection. With the essentially endless repetition of these houses beyond, the Linden peoples are drilling in the message that Our Second Life is not the be all end all of virtual reality. More is around the bend. And that’s where the Corrigan statues come into play, especially the Queen’s. Are you ready?”
“Let me go find her and then I’ll teleport you over.”
It takes a little bit for Sidechick Corea to come across the Corrigan Queen. He first stumbles upon the multicolored iris eyes first noted by core avatar Baker Bloch over 8 years ago.
He then spots the Queen behind him. “I’ll just teleport Campbell over now so that he can walk with me toward her.”
“It’s fascinating, Campbell. The body of the Queen lies in Pixy but her arm and the blueish orb she holds extends over into Corrigan. But we call her the Corrigan Queen because of all the other stuff in that sim, like the eyes you just saw.”
“And then the flat Queen. Is that the proper way to put it?”
“Good enough. But I want you to think about that blue orb almost direct above your head. In fact, let’s just fly up there to take a closer look.”
“Remarkable, Campbell O’Pine. Ellen is right. I think this orb *has* to be you in some form.”
“A move!” Magus Ellen exclaims upon teleporting into Iris and seeing his opponent’s Knight to King’s Bishop 4. “She’s just moving to move, but that’s okay.” He takes a thick lick. “This should be another easy one for me. Time for a castle.”
“Holey moley Pencil. What is *that*?”
The Big Un
End of my world.
If I stare into corners long enough, sometimes things change.
Yes, this will do nicely, Ellen thinks. I’ll send Sidechick Corea and his Boy Blue over to explore more.
“So you see Campbell O’Pine — I mean, *Opp*, Magus Ellen states this is as close as we can get to center in Nascera right now. What do you see?”
“I see… blues.”
“Are you ready, then? Remember to change over.”
“We’d like to negotiate a price for Gus, Eraserhead Man.”
“We have a spare 4 handed Librarian to give to you, but my guess is that won’t be enough.”
“I don’t need another librarian,” replies the pencil being in his somewhat tinny voice. “We have enough of those back in the closet now.”
“Then how about another movie deal?” asks Axis, smooth like a serpent. “‘Billy the Mountain’ meets ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’. ‘Frank’s Moving Mountain’, in summary.”
“What would I do with such a thing as that you are describing? Invite Annie and Karl over for a party?”
“Do what you wish with it. Play it for entertainment and amusement during posh Hollywood parties.”
“Like I said…”
“I know, I know.” Axis removes his hand from his chin. “No Hollywood parties. I get it.”
“I just sit at home mainly and meditate or cook. You’re invited over for 3 cheese lasagna any time.”
“I mean it. The new guys (Annie and Karl) can come over too. *That* can be our party. Robot too, of course.”
“Well… how ’bout it, then?” Axis stared steadily at him.
Eraserhead Man lit up a cigarette without asking permission. “I have some questions,” he responded while puffing away.
“He asked about the Mission, ma’am. What do I tell him?”
When to move you first, my Queen? Rey Wisa ponders from far below.
“How about… *now*.”
Sire, these 3 smaller houses appeared shortly after we transitioned over here from the center of Nascera, blocking our direct access to the beach park.”
“Beach access is important,” states Ellen. “And the time to spend on them.”
“I should clarify to be totally open: a renter *can* walk the sand in front of the houses to get to the park still. But it becomes more… inconvenient. A sign, I would ask you?”
“Seems to be,” agrees Ellen, licking his ice cream all the time. “I don’t want to stay too long but let’s take a look at the parallel houses in Gaston.”
“Thank you for agreeing to accompany me back over there. I know you have a rendezvous tonight with Wheeler.”
“Let’s not call her Wheeler in the blog. We’re being recorded, Sidechick.”
“Oh, right.” He looks down at his white tuxedo shoes, then up again. “I don’t want to invade privacy too much, sire, but notice if you will that the yellow house has already been rented, remembering that Earie rented the yellow house in Gaston. And someone has positioned 3 chairs — red, yellow, blue again — right in the center of that house.
“I see them.” Neither mentions the picture of the red clad woman hanging on the wall. “But we needn’t linger here any longer. Opp should confine himself to the Mockingbird House over there still if he desires to come to Braynard’s Place and use the, er, facilities.” Ellen indicates the larger house just down the beach to their south.
“Shame about the access,” Ellen reinforces.
“Shame,” Sidechick Corea echoes.
“Ooo, so sluggish here,” Ellen complains. “Let’s not stay long.”
“But notice that the houses are on the sea again. West edge of the island sim instead of the east.”
“I get the gist. Let’s go back.”
Back on the beach, a transfigured Campbell O’Pine (Opp) manifests in the Bluebird Cuddle Van there, eliminating the need for Karl to do so. Now Annie can paint properly, or at least that’s the hope.
Eventually he heads southward through the arch again.
Right off the bat, Bill knew Ellen wouldn’t be a love interest, at least from her end, and that she had over-prepared for the occasion. Got herself worked into a tizzy for basically nothing. Good ol’ Grassy, she thinks. If it wasn’t for him…
“Umm, delicious. What do you think Bill?”
“I agree it’s pretty good ice cream, Ellen. Pistachio, yum.” A cold-stimulus headache suddenly kicked in. “But, oww, should we be really eating our desert before the main course?” She rubbed her forehead with her free hand.
“Ice cream is the only decent thing on the menu here, dearest. I have other plans for the evening if you don’t mind the surprise. My assistant has rented a house in the southeast corner of the Moth Village. I think it will be to your liking. Sidechick can teleport us over in turn. The tuna should be grilling by now.” He downs another gob of the sweet cream.
The night was finally looking up for Bill. If this was all they had here, anpan (Japanese sweet roll), milk and Singha beer were only going to go so far.
“Better, huh? Ahh, smell the aroma. Nothing like grilled tuna. Sidechick is a 5 star chef, believe me. Finish up your ice cream and we’ll have a grand old time of it.”
Bill again wondered about motive. The game challenge seemed ages ago, months and months, but it was only 2 weeks back. Did Ellen want to forfeit now? Or maybe switch over to a different game? What was that one more complicated than chess the Oriental people liked? Gong, she though incorrectly. The one where black plays first. Maybe this is some kind of hybrid game; maybe that’s why the moves don’t seem to make much sense. She had to ask.
“Ellen,” she starts more seriously, setting the ice cream to one side. “I’m wondering about your moves.”
“As am I.” He stares at her kindly but intently. She sensed no malice in him at all.
“I mean, they are pretty lame.” She laughed to diffuse the seriousness of the statement.
“Notice what I have done, though? Can you see?”
“Umm, no. They’re just pretty bad moves overall. I’m not really even trying on my end because of it.”
“As you shouldn’t. No need to try.”
“Hmm. Care to explain?” She smiled slightly.
“I moved a pawn. Then I moved a knight. Then a bishop. Then the king and rook at one time in a castle. Then, lastly, the queen. The game is basically finished — no more pieces. We are here to celebrate. *You* are the queen.”
Uh oh, Bill (Wheeler) thought. Here we go. Here’s the *real* motive.
“I have something for you.” Ellen pulls a small box out of his robe and presents it to Bill, who hesitantly takes it and then hides it in her hand, staring forward, face somewhat flushed. “Go ahead and open it, dear,” Ellen encouraged. “You’ll *like* it.”
Marriage proposal?? — could it be *possible* that Ellen… Bill quickly snapped open the box just to end this line of speculation. A ring indeed, but it didn’t seem like an engagement ring. The gem was ambiguous, if it was a gem atall. Maybe, um, agate? Jasper? She found herself compelled to put it on nonetheless, then cautiously held the hand forward. “Care to explain?” she asked again as seriously as possible. No smiling this time.
“We’ll never make it across the bay today, Rabbit 01.”
“It’s already done, Rabbit 02.”
“Here they come.”
“And there they go.”
Axis stares vainly into the mirror and thinks what a beautiful man he’s become after being such an adorable little girl.
“In my opinion, sire: it’s a trap. The blue house is both rented and not rented. He shouldn’t enter.”
“He can’t stay on that beach forever, though. He’ll have to move back through the arch again sometime. And all the other houses around it have actually and legitimately been rented, including, now, the Mockingbird next door we originally had such high hopes for.”
“Alice, then,” replies Sidechick Corea to his boss Ellen, knowing he had the right answer. “Coming and going, past and future, etc. Alice’s restaurant,” he then adds, but with less confidence.
“Yes, you are correct Sidechick.” The Magus flashes an approving smile. “She’s already taken his place in the Bluebird Cuddle Van, lights set to blinding. We’ll simply have to begin again.” Ellen gets up from his meditation mat, sensing it is time to leave. “So let’s go, you and I my friend, back to Iris and see if we can set all this up. Bill’s opening move, Pawn to Queen 04, should be revisited, especially in light of that altered ‘Curse Purse’ painting Axis used next door in the yellow house.”
“The train being used by Lewis Carroll in ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’ as a metaphor for a pawn’s ‘fast’ opening move crossing two spaces, as opposed to the usual one.”
“Right, Sidechick. You’ve done your homework. You have come far. You will take my place some day. I know it to be true.” Ellen pats him on the back, then waves him up as well.
Sidechick tries to take all this in, then asks after rising from his own meditation mat: “Is it there? With that, er, Alice in the van? Blue Girl I suppose?”
Ellen could feel its power even remotely. “Yes.”
end’s beginning 02
“There,” coos Magus Ellen after eliminating all unnecessary pieces and placing the remaining pieces in their proper place. “That wasn’t too bad. Now let’s have Bill herself make the next move. It took 10 more moves in ‘Through the Looking Glass’ for Alice to become Queen, but for Bill to seal the deal and permanently acquire the moth ring and its priceless power, it may only take one. Pawn to Queen 04, a repeat of Bill’s opening move.”
“Will she *want* to do it again?” offers his trusted assistant sitting across the board from him. “She’s already done it in the first place. Many people do not wish to repeat things they’ve accomplished and worked hard at in the past, or have an established pride in, sire.”
“You are right, Sidechick. We just better make it for her and go forward. Now you’ll notice, Stickler for Detail (ha ha), that Alice has already met the Black Queen beside her at White Queen 03, and who has moved on to her own color’s Rook 04. This leaves Alice free to leap ahead. So… here we go!”
Magus Ellen then effects the game’s first and also final move.
Walking through the arch once more, Opp traveled far from Braynard’s Place to a 4 sim land some call Eden itself.
Whilst sitting against a log beside a grove of nice, pink trees, he is inspired to write a song about New Island’s Pipewold and being X-ed out.
But he was not alone. For the Alices were there.
And the Rabbits.
And some others.
All in all, a Grand Old Time was had of it.
“I’m neither one nor the other, Animaid-X.”
“Maybe you can dance it out of you like that spinning girl over there.”
“I shouldn’t be out here with you Axis. It’s like we’re beyond Pluto or sumtin.”
“You’re worried about Karl.”
“It’s like she doesn’t remember Karl, Animaid-X. She’s all about this Big Red now. And the Tennessee Colony.”
“Artist Point,” Animaid-X amends. “But we shouldn’t be here.”
“I don’t know who you are any more, Rabbit 02.”
“I’m *you* Rabbit 01.” He checks the fur on his arm. “Where’d the other Rabbit go?”
Sidechick Corea was in back preparing the lamaze pool, but there was no time for all that foolishness. It was to take place on the beach in front of the smaller white house that replaced the white Mockingbird sometime in the last day or so. Rabbit 01 meditated as Sidechick taught her to. The body didn’t foam and writhe as she had worried. Just calmness. Slow and easy…
And then: there he was. On the sand before her. Rabbit 03, the new love of her life. Or Rabbid as he would come later be called. If only Rabbit 02 was here to see this, but he had that conference in Wichita his boss wanted him to attend. Shame, though.
“Bracket, I mean, *Sidechick*, forget about that silly pool and come see!”
“Do you think you can manage to be happy today, Rabbit 02?”
“I’ll try Rabbit 01.”
“Rabbid… rabbid!” spoke the littlest, newist rabbit from his smaller seat at the table.”
“Aww, his first words! He turned rabbit into rabbid. How cute!”
“And so that shall be his name from here on,” decreed Rabbit 02. “Rabbid Rabbit.”
“Not Rabbit 03?” Rabbit 01 was puzzled. Rabbits always number their children.”
He looked toward the child, who was drooling on the upholstery. “We’ll talk about it later.”
“I just want to repeat that it was so nice of you to come Alices. And your little boy — Francis isn’t it?”
“It’s Paris,” spoke Alice 02 bluntly. She was tired of all this name confusion. Rabbit 01 had prattled on for what seemed like hours. But it was only 20 minutes ago that the party started.”
“And he’s — don’t tell me — *10* years old.”
“*12*.” Alice 02 almost shouted the number. They had gone over all their ages about 3 times now, to her counting. “I’m 15, she spoke plainly and levely, like you would to a child. “Alice 01 over there — in the *blue* dress, and with *blonde* hair — is 9. And our son is 12. We just divided the difference and… there he is.” Alice 02 effected a smile across the table at Paris, who brightly returned it. He was use to the temperamental nature of his mother and didn’t take it personally any longer, thanks to the counseling of 2nd mother Alice 01.
And how old is *your* son again?” started Alice 02 once more. “*5*?”
“1,” answered Rabbit 01 patiently, although she had answered the same question 2 times herself now. Not that she was counting. “1 day old.” She looked down and beamed at the tiny bunny beside her. “And he said his first words today! Didn’t you Rabbit 03?”
“*Rabbid*,” snorted Rabbit 01 harshly, then realized the social faux pas. “I mean, ahem, *yes*. He said his first words. And they were: *rabbid*.”
“Rabbit 03,” recited Alice 01, staring across the table at him sweetly, almost dreamily one could say. “What a cute name. I sometimes wished we’d numbered Paris.”
Alice 02 shot a stare toward Alice 01 with this, thinking: We *did* number Paris but you wanted a singular name. So we threw a dart at the world map and he became what he is. What kind of parents name their child after a French city? But Alice 01 said she had a niece who was so nice to her that use to name her children with that method. Moscow, Adelaide, and Brazilia they were called. Ridiculous. “If only the dart,” Alice 02 would say sometimes to Alice 01 — and she usually cried here a bit, then start again — “If only the dart would have hit Alice Springs, Australia all would be well in the world.”
Later in the day only the, er, grownups remained. Paris was playing with Rabbit 03/Rabbid down at the beach, making sure he didn’t wade into the water over his head. But he failed in his mission a couple of times. He obviously didn’t tell his mothers this.
Then lo and behold the table they were sitting at disappeared before their very eyes. All looked around at each other, all automatically standing now. Only a teapot remained.
Looks like the party’s over, Alices,” managed a rattled Rabbit 02. Thank God, Alice 02 rapidly thought.
“And his name is *Rabbid*” he snarled at them just out of earshot as they walked away.
There was no doubt that Sidechick Corea would have to tell Magus Ellen about *this*.
But which path to choose from the Centre tonight?
He decides on a direction (north) and sticks with it.
Spotted immediately he was after crossing the bridge — and welcomed by Braynard herself, up at the club watching the dancers from her corner.
So she was more than just a brain — she had a host body as well. Dare he join her and ask about The Rainbow Sphere this soon? Magus Ellen warned him about the possibility. Certainly not time to strike out on his own or deviate beyond the ordinary. Plus she had just admitted to the crowd that it was time for her to turn it in, eyelids getting heavy. Perhaps there would be another day, when both were fresh.
Only minutes later, the dawning sun was shining on an observing Sidechick, still standing just beyond the crossing bridge.
Ahh, beach access.
The beach. *The* Beach? He then spots them just down the cliff.
A Rainbow Sphere (!). And the Golden Orb, ruler of all.
Nothing else to do here but…
True Opp (Tropp) certainly wanted to pay a visit to the original Adam and his Eve up in ironically named Green Acres to console them about the recent loss of their child Oliver.
But such a long and winding road to get there.
Over Easter break, he managed to drive as far as the Mexico Flats Rest Area, still less than halfway up.
The Others had decided it was enough.
exit, stage left
“Well, it looks like this is it, Grassy.”
“Grass, please.” Grassy would never get over that he’s a child-like Mmmmmm through and through and will never “progress” to the current state of his cousin Opp — True Opp or Tropp, that is. He’ll never be X-ed out in other words. The shortened name of Grass would never stick. “Yes, I will miss you my old friend.”
“And you my friend. But I’ll return for the weed if nothing else. You certainly haven’t seen the last of me, ha ha.”
“Yes: ha ha. Ha ha ha.”
“Ha ha ha ha ha!”
15 minutes later:
“Would you like to see the painting, Grassy? Er, Grass. Grassy… Grass… can’t remember.”
“Whatever,” Grassy Noll submitted, having given up on correcting her about his name, at least for tonight. “Oh, sure. I totally forgot that’s why you can leave now.”
“Plus the payoff to that loathsome Philip Strevor. And the payoff for, well, everyone that lives here in the swamp village, but most importantly perhaps, Roger Pine Ridge, the great variant. And *you* can leave too, of course.”
“No, my place is here. Waiting for your intermittent returns.”
“Fine, fine. I thank you for your service. I hope the new apartment is to your liking.”
30 minutes later:
“So there it is Grassy. A beaut, isn’t it? And it’s all because of that ring Ellen gave me — the power. Catvas here likes it too.”
“I do!” meows the winged feline from her perch just behind.
Grassy moved closer to study the painting more carefully. “Lovely indeed.” He put a finger to his lip here. “But I think I see one detail you missed. We better go check it out.”
“Now?” Bill almost shouted. “But there’s *people* over there. Lots of people. You know I can’t stand people.”
“Most of them are just bots — no one really inside, you see. But let’s go beneath the Mermaid Tavern for a beer beforehand to loosen up your nerves. I’ll buy.”
“You talked me into it!”
“See, Bill? Just one of those silly bots down here. Usually there are a number standing around like zombies.” Grassy’s eyes glaze over here. “And only a handful more right now at the temple according to my inworld map. Perfect time to go. Fate, we could call it.”
“All right. I’ve drunk almost my entire chug-a-mug. One more gulp and I’ll be ready.”
“No, we’ve checked around the whole structure — like the back of my hand now, Grassy — and I can’t see anything I really missed of importance.”
“Look again,” the green Mmmmmm requested. He indicates toward the epicenter of the temple.
“The dancer?” They then jointly stare at the child going ’round the world.
“And that’s it, Sidechick! We’re done with ‘Collagesity 2018 Early’.” They were standing beside Nascera’s Meadowbrook ice cream truck where it all began.
“Just like that? It was sort of an abrupt ending.”
“Bill can paint,” Magus Ellen counters. “Annie can paint. We will assume Mabel can too because of those paint splattered jeans Axis gave her. The great 3-n-1. It’s complete.”
“What *about* Axis? You said time and
beach space were altered because he got Baker Bloch to discover Magellan’s broken teleporter one day too early.”
“If you haven’t guessed, Sidechick my friend, my understudy, Magellan is me. I broke the teleporter. But on purpose. It was the only way we could get Opp to come here in the first place and fill the center up with his blueness. Otherwise — all for naught.”
“I’m not understanding. What about, for example, the golden orb?”
“There’s a black and white opening beyond Braynard’s Place that doesn’t concern us. This would be New Eden. Does it stay coupled with New Island through the castle or does it begin to move independently? This depends on a number of factors, including what happens in the haunted Artist Point colony. But it’s a story for another day, as they say.”
Sidechick Corea tries process all this information, then: “What now for us?”
Ellen smiles mischievously. “I have a surprise for you. Still holding his own ice cream cone in his right hand, he expertly whips out another from his left pocket and hands it to his faithful assistant. “You’ve earned this.”
Now let’s leave the 8×8 behind and walk up the road to see that bridge you’ve been talking about forever.”
END OF “COLLAGESITY 2018 EARLY”!