“I guess this is goodbye Baker Bloch.”
“Not forever Wheeler. Just until we can figure out how to deal with you and Mid Hazel. Baker Blinker, Hucka Doobie and I.”
“Tell Baker Blinker congratulations on the land sale. Oh, one last thing. I want to say goodbye to Old Mabel as well.”
“Very well.” He changes.
“My car disappeared,” starts Old Mabel.
“Never mind that *young* Martian. You can rez another one over there on Mid Hazel’s property.” She turns around and points.
“I hope that, at the least, you do not consider me a mortal enemy. I only used the Wilson mask as needed. I am truly David Bowie underneath it all.”
“Are you?” asks a still skeptical Old Mabel.
“I guess that’s what we’ll find out. Come over here now and rezz another car and skedaddle back to your Heterocera.” She walks forward, and Old Mabel follows. “Just through these pillars.”
“No,” says Old Mabel firmly, sensing a possible trap. “I’ll rezz the car from this position. I see the property lines.”
The Spookmobile appears above the “B” on the wooden platform. Old Mabel hops in remotely.
“You better change back into Baker Bloch or you might not be able to reach the pedals.”
“Oh right,” states Old Mabel, and she transforms once more. But Baker then has to stand up again and sit back into the car to fit properly. Mid Hazel’s plan had worked (of course).
Baker Bloch steers the car toward Wheeler and runs into her, moving her about 5 feet up and sideways both. Smiling, he drives up beside her again.
“Aw, what the heck,” he says, already under the spell. “Hop in. Let’s go see that (boy) Karoz of yours. Just for a little bit.”
“Just for a little bit,” reiterates Wheeler.
As they sloppily made their way back onto Highway 9, the only bridge into New Island remained open…
… for a lesser bit.
Buurb walks up to the Red Umbrella packed with Baker Bloch’s collages and wonders why he’s here at this juncture of roads. “I *finally* get the courage to enter Collagesity to find my dream lady and she is gone,” he mutters to himself. “New Island is where she went, the furry bartender over at the mall said. New Moon Island.”
“I hate this place.”
They were at Tiff’s Bar, only about 100 yards east from Wheeler’s recently set up house on New Island. A potential local hangout for the gang. Baker was on his second mug of Johnson’s Rye. Old Mabel was studying the the labels of drinks behind the bar but not imbibing.
“Weatherman says Storm Lucy’s cleared out of the area now, Old Mabel,” declares Baker Bloch. “You’ll be able to get back to your Cry I. tomorrow.”
“Wonderful,” is all she could manage.
Old Mabel returned to the house to take a nap, she said, while Baker Bloch explored more of the local environs and snapped pictures.
Baker’s Spookmobile, New Island version, spookily turned into a love bug during Night 1 of their stay. Groovy, I suppose.
The Diagonal House, as Baker Bloch calls it, next to Tiff’s Bar. Vacant right now.
Visiting a paraphernalia shop, Baker again wonders why there are no true mirrors in Second Lyfe.
Lot’s of open, grassy duneland here, courtesy of the Lindens.
Baker found this mystery pipe 2 days back…
… then made friends with the mechanoid who lived next door to it. Robot Derak Jones was his name, a physics and astronomy professor at New Island Community College. Quite the scholar. “What have you been reading today, RDJ?” Baker asks. “You’re sitting on them,” he replies.
And, yes, Robot Derak Jones knows of the very similarly named Cardboard Derek Jones in Collagesity. Turns out they’re 1st cousins. RDJ says he’ll have to go back with Baker Bloch sometime to visit with CDJ again. “Cardboard often stayed at my uncle’s place here during the summers over at Sharp’s Angle,” RDJ explained at the time. “We explored Pipewold. But I don’t want to go back there, and neither do you want to go there the first time. Trust me.”
Baker Bloch’s faux mother Old Grey showed up. “Figured you were down here lazing about. Your supper’s on the table getting cold. Get — home.” She didn’t mince her words. She didn’t greet Robot Derak Jones. Old Mabel speculated they might even have some kind of history neither is talking about. “And afterwards I want you to give the Love Bug a good washing, including underneath it. Don’t want it to rust out like your blame Spook Beetle.”
Baker wondered again about the presence of the Love Bug here and the Spookmobile over in Collagesity. Reality had split asunder. Blame orange.
Robot Derak Jones distinctly said this was where the other end of the pipe is, its “far side” as he called it. But there’s a log here instead. He said it was a disguise. “You must use your new eyes,” he implored. “Your New *Island* eyes. This is how things often work here.”
Baker Bloch looks over at the statue of the Great Old One to his right and knows, er, one is related to the other. How’s *that* for new eyes.
Both terminal points of the “pipe” lie at latitude 121 of their respective sims, which are caddycorner to each other. At least at one point along the line, the pipe appears to bend roughly 30 degrees. But that is just assuming we’re dealing with a simple, linear affair. What about the name of the beach here?: Sharp’s Angle. Are there sharper angles within? Is it a complex affair instead, perhaps much more so?
The name given to this log is “[MnM] Forest bed”. Here’s the accompanying description: “Long time ago… She is the guardian of forest… and now, She is the mother of forest…” Could this possibly have something to do with Rubi’s Unch?
Meanwhile, Old Mabel is dreaming again at her Cry Island. Like Baker Bloch, she stands in front of a huge hollow log, one leading to the VWX fairy cottage visited numerous times before. Strangely she’s Old Grey in the dream, Baker’s faux mother who is actually “Wheeler the Complex,” as the Martian has started to call her.
Old Mabel knows that if she doesn’t figuring out what’s going on soon enough, they — Baker Bloch, Wheeler, Karoz and herself — will be forever trapped on this infernal island. She’s visited the downtown and the community college Robot Derak Jones teaches at. Nothing is good here, like rotting fruit. Spells abound. It’s a witch island.
The hummingbird flies off Old Grey’s back and into the tunnel…
*Meanwhile*… Wheeler is dreaming about falling asleep while waiting for another phone call from Snowbob over what’s actually going on.
She was back at Cry I. but underwater now. Down to a putter: end of hole.
This was the night she met Dr. Low with red and blue eyes. Splitsville.
But first… some lemonade at the conveniently placed Joker’s Wild bar to her left. Old Grey awaits through the Red Door.
“Guess it’s time for that heart to heart, Old Mabel,” she starts. “Lemonade’s on me tonight. Karl!” she then yells, banging her cane on the bar counter. She waits just a second and bangs again. “Rhoda! Whoever!”
“Oh it’s you. ‘Bout time. Well… a 24 oz can of Pabst Blue Ribbon for me and the little lady will have a lemonade. Start a tab.”
“I’m 113 years old, *Old* Grey,” the Martian proclaims defiantly. She then glared at Snowbob behind the counter. The last time she saw the hybrid being was in the mystery cabinet or closet or whatever. She didn’t really like what was happening there, but perhaps it was all a dream.
“Yellow is missing,” he said, staring back. “Replaced by green!”
“He’s right this time, you know,” agreed Old Grey. The Martian now noticed the lemonade already in front of him.
Snowmanster exits the closet.
They stared into the wold that they now knew was shaped like an “X”. But it was a fractal “X”: loops within loops probably. The VW Love Bug would obviously not fit inside. They’d have to walk. Old Mabel checked her plain map once more, looking for changes.
“It will transform within,” Urch explains patiently “You’ll see. Simple will become complex, trust me. And at the center the record will be heard. We will know. No skipping from ‘Imagine’ to ‘Mind Games’ this time.” He smiled.
Old Mabel spoke her heart. “Before you shrank back into a boy — before your, um, er… ”
“Untimely demise?” offers Urch.
“Yes,” Old Mabel ventures further. “You were a slave.” She thought again of the x-shaped necklace.
“Admittedly difficult to tell,” he said. “We’ll know at the center. Then we can be free of this rotting place.”
“Change into my future lover,” she requests again, needing encouragement before the entrance. “Just for a minute.”
Urch complies, but it didn’t work as well as before. Time fractures were accelerating. The VW disappears behind them. Which was which?
“After you, I suppose.”
Philip continued to read his book for hours. Afterwards it described him looking through the telescope at hand and seeing Spica, bright as a bell, like he was back in the northern hemisphere and far away from that dreaded Southern Cross. Back to studying the Spica variable star and the precession of the equinoxes, similar to one of his major heroes Copernicus did before him. Our Second Lyfe’s sun, hmm, he then ponders, wondering if it could possibly be reachable by rocket ship. What is in the centre?
By this time, Marion Harding was back down on the ground — grounded — and seeing Capitol City straight and for what it really was again. Bland and boring. The others of his gang were suppose to meet him in Raven Manor’s main dining room at 7:00 (more leftovers from the great spread he had prepared 2 nights back now), but since they both were usually a little late, he decided to drag his feet this time as well. He takes a detour to that recently found ice fishing shed over in Horizons-Spica, part of the sci-fi retro sub-continent where land can be rented so cheaply (thanks Veyot!). Ahh, vacation, he thinks. Could it be possible soon? Perhaps after the one last big bank heist in Farmington. Or was it Bennington?
He teleports to the shack using the landmark created last night. An angler is positioned just a bit down the bank from him, seemingly of the female variety. “Hello?” he says. No answer — but this might be problematic. He wanted to be alone and smoke his grass and talk to his fantasy creations: Peanut Cop, Golden Josephine, and the rest. Away from that nonsense babbling Kid and tough talking Philip, somehow the best of buds now despite their different natures. He doesn’t want other fishermen — or fisherwomen — in his way. Who does own the shack? He desires it for his own, his own centre of the universe, he realizes, at least for a little while.
He decides just to ignore the problem for now and poke around inside again. Chess, he remembers…
He finds himself laying down on the far couch against the colorful throw pillows.
“Fishing,” he murmurs, relaxing, letting it all go. “Fishing for fish. Fishing for answers. Fishing for…”
“Pitch,” the fisher lady then calls from outside, puzzling him. “Pitch. Time to wake up. Wake up.”
“It was awful, Mary. I dreamed I was back in Buster and I’s killing shack, but I was the victim set up this time. I was to be sacrificed!”
“There, there,” Mary comforted, stroking his white forehead. “Only a dream.” Then they laid together. It was like old times.
In yet another dream, Casey One Hole sits atop his mountain in Horizons-Spica which is actually Horizons-Vega, waiting for someone.
The controlling 32 cube is clearly seen from here.
Along with the Killing Shack. The Crux of the matter.
He will be patient.
“We’re gonna have to leave *sometime*, Tonya Two Egg,” whispered robot child Arale inside the ice fishing shed.
“Have patience my friend.”
“You’re sitting in my seat, bud. My mountain, my seat.”
“Are you coming to bed, baby?” actor/writer/inventor Tom Casey called from across the room.”
“I’m *thinking* about it.”
“Why don’t you think some more about it cuddled up in my big, muscular arms.”
Anorexia huffs and recrosses her arms and legs. “Are those your trophy girls?”
“The women beside you on the bed. Your harem or whatever. Is that what I’m to be added to?”
“Oh. *Those* girls. They mean nothing to me, sweets.”
“Why don’t you, I don’t know, put them *face down* on the nightstand, then? If we’re going to go through with this.”
“Listen, Annie, I paid top dollar for this rendezvous. I had to come all the way out to this adult sub-continent to get away from prying eyes. You don’t know the psychotic depths of my ex.”
“I think you are motivated by one thing and one thing only.
Have you ever heard the Poodle Lecture?”
“What?” Tom Casey repeated.
“It’s how Zappa explained WO-MAN controlled MAN. It’s why I left the fold. But now I’m summoned back. She thought back to removing her ruby slippers and rainbow halo at last.
“*I* asked for you.”
“No you didn’t. The Kidd asked for me. She said her daddy was in a heap of trouble and I had to do this to make things right. Had a thing for thin, she said. Something about supermodels.”
“Philip,” Tom Casey explained again to her, “is a simple accountant. Working in a simple stripper club. Nothing more.”
“You’re dreaming if you say that.”
The actor/writer/inventor sat up in the bed and looked her over from the span separating them. “18, you say?”
“Right.” She was wiggling her foot rapidly.
“Cause there’ve been rumors.”
“Rumors started by The Kidd. It makes me look innocent. I’m not, of course.”
“Then come over here. Let’s get started.”
The flames rose rapidly.
“Wake up, Tonya Two Egg,” whispered Arale after hopping down from the top bunk. Her internal alarm had just gone off. “It’s 2:01 in the morning, sister. Time to head over to the ice fishing shack. Marion Harding will be waiting.”
Across the house…
“Your *sisters* don’t think I know all about that 2:01 in the morning trick, Annie,” murmurs actor Tom Casey, who has also just awoken and then roused his sleeping partner. “You better go follow them. Let me know what you find out.”
Annie emits a small, retaliatory grunt. But he knows she’ll follow orders.
“They’re coming out of the house now, kid. You better get ready.”
“Already on it.”
Marion Harding woke up in the translucent green crystal tree lounge where he’d met Golden Josephine three nights before; promptly walked off the open eastern side and dropped down to the landscape far below; stared up at the tree and saw the two lights on its huge trunk next to the lounge, pinkish red and bluish green, which then faded; turned around to look at some colorful plants; then turned back around only to see the two lights reignite on the tree at the same position. He repeated this pattern several times. Yup, every time he returned his gaze to the tree, the lights were there, then diminished to nothing. *Must* mean something.
“Wake up Mr. Hardman,” urged Tonya Two Egg from the shack’s lone table where she was sitting with Arale. “Our sister Annie heard something over the ridge and has temporarily left her watch station. The time to move is now!”
“Oh,” she then said, taking another look through the ice tinged window. “Never mind. She’s already returned. You can go back to sleep, sir.”
So Marion rolled over and dreamed about the tree again. “Those lights up there,” he said to himself. “Where have I seen them before?”
“They just sat there. In that shack. Daring me to approach with that blasted *poodle* in plain view. You know how I hate poodles. Such an ugly dog now with its hair all trimmed in the wrong places to make it… make it look like a demented toy.” On the stool, she crossed her legs and folded her arms while uttering a grunt of disgust, foot vibrating rapidly.
“Now, now Annie,” actor Tom Casey soothed from the couch. “I have something that I’m sure will cheer you right up. You’re always complaining about how I never gave you anything.”
“All I asked for is a ring. *The* ring.”
“Well, you know I can’t do that right now love. But I got the next best thing for you. A *bug*. Right outside the door. I’ve been keeping it over at the club to surprise you.” He waved his hand toward the front of the house. “Let’s go look.”
“It’s got spider webs all over it,” she continued complaining, unimpressed with the auto parked outside. “And it’s orange; you know I hate orange.”
“Yeah, I’ve tried washing the webs off to no avail; they just keep coming back. I would assume the same with the paint. But you know what this means?” he asks, still unconcerned about her indifference. He knew it would spin around.
“Halloween came early this year?” she replied sarcastically.
“No. It means you don’t have to sit at The Table and talk ‘Pumpkintwisters.’ There’s no way The Eye and The Cat can properly reach it now.
“Oh,” she reconsidered.
“I stole it right from under their nose. In the center of Collagesity.” His smiling white teeth contrasted sharply with his tan face now.
“Yes,” she said, face also beginning to beam. “Yes that *is* good news.” She threw her thin arms around the muscular Casey and planted a big, wet one on his cheek. She’d lost her ruby slippers and rainbow halo but at least she wouldn’t have to revert to being a Zappa groupie again, with all that old baggage resurfacing. Relief!
“Thank you,” she said, tears now running down her face and ruining her mascara. Still smiling too brightly, Tom Casey dramatically handed her his freshly laundered handkerchief with the 24 karat gold “TC” monogram.
Always aware of the camera, this one is.
“You’re not suppose to be looking in that direction,” scolds Arale to her sister perched on top of the Bluebird Cuddle Van. “We’re not suppose to know about such things.”
“I’m not. I’m looking over there. At the sunset.”
“The *water tower* is blocking your view of the sunset. Why do you care anyway? We’ll never have such monstrosities attached to our bodies.”
“Well… *you* won’t. You’re a robot.”
“Hey. Watch with the bad mouthing.”
“Well, you are. I built you when I was 6.”
“No you didn’t. I’m a child just like you.”
“But you never grow older. Do you?”
“Then that’s usual, wouldn’t you say? How many inches have I grown since we’ve known each other?”
“17.3859.” Arale became aware that she is acting too robotic and backtracks here. “Approximately,” she tacks on, although she knows the figure is correct.”
“Alright, alright,” relents Tonya Two Egg. “You’re my sister. Flesh and bones.” She jumps off the van and hugs Arale tightly — suggestions of the metal parts within but not so much as to break the illusion. It was a top of the line kit, she remembered. The last present her real parents would ever give her.
They often used the vacated house formerly owned by their Uncle Dick as a base for exploring Mt. Tom, like today. “Sunset is over, my blood sister,” spoke Tonya Two Egg. “Time to go see what Harry is up to.”
“61.58…” Arale said, then realized she was unblurring the boundaries again. “… 34”, she couldn’t help adding on several seconds later to complete the calculation, though.
roses are blue
Furry Karl woke up in the Bluebird Cuddle Van, more 3d and less hairy, true, but still alive and well (yea!). He shortly made his way into a conveniently placed local strip club. No surprise there given the change.
“Well,” coffee drinking Pervimus Rex opined, checking him over. “You *smell* fresh. That’s a good sign.”
“Yes,” agreed his smoking and reading cousin Wally. “Looks like he’s here to stay a little longer than we expected.”
Afterwards, Baker Bloch treats Baker Blinker to a fresh meal of catfish at Perch to celebrate. “Here’s to akking!” he exclaims, raising his glass of French rosé and clinking it with Baker Blinker’s own. The strong German beer Brewmeister’s Quarterly had been banned from the restaurant.
“Well *we’re* a fine pair of lost souls, Robot Derak Jones.”
“Be quiet, Campbell. I’m trying to figure out what went wrong.”
“Opp, please,” the blue boy demanded again.
“Opp, Campbell, Opie, Thelma Lou, whatever.”
He read well into the night while the Mmmmmm dozed outside in the warm New Island clime. Peace and quiet at last.
But no mention of Pervimus and the resurrection yet.
Campbell O’Pine enters Pipewold a boy…
… but comes out a man.
What is this place?
He *might* make it back, Robot Derak Jones thinks from the other side of the “X” while enjoying the alone time. We’ll see. Had to be done at any rate, he justifies.
RDJ then turns his thoughts to when Baker Blinker might be arriving on his side of New Island.
It was a most remarkable coincidence (again). I knew Baker Blinker, er, *Furry Karl* had to get from Horizons-Pluto to New Island by boat, probably with a woman companion in tow, but couldn’t figure out how they’d exit the Horizon subcontinent’s 4th and southernmost region, the “hookless” one (explain that in a little bit), and into Zindra proper. Do they turn east or west at the bottom? I figured east, but there was nothing in that direction.
Then by accident I stumbled upon a portal tonight that solved the tricky problem — or Wheeler did. She decide that Lou would be the best character to play this particular role, and also rezzed Norris beside her as a sounding board for ideas.
“What do we do now?” asked the bleached face Norris to his sitting companion.
“We simply wait here at the canal. It’s already set up. Baker Blinker will never make it out of the Horizons sub-continent by boat. We’ll make sure of that.”
“Cool, I suppose.”
She smiles while watching the dance of rippled water beneath her pale, dangling feet. No choice to make now.
“I made it happen,” Norris declares from the rocker to the user baker b. through Baker Bloch. “You must get Wheeler back to sewing the elephant. When she finishes we can talk more.”
Baker pauses to consider this. “You mean the Corsica book.”
“Of course… i-ca. Sorry.”
“Good to see you have a sense of humor. I was starting to worry Harry. JERRY, Harry.”
“Norris here, if you will.” He then looks over at the back of Baker Bloch’s hatted head. “Make sure you aren’t looking at me. Are you looking at me?”
“No.” Baker kept staring toward the corner of the room.
Although he kept looking at this same corner, seemingly, his position in the room shifted. Furniture appeared; a table. A warm breeze blew through the now open windows beside him. Norris followed Baker Bloch through the portal but couldn’t properly sit in the rocking chair now… no room for him here.
Another took his place.
“You don’t mind if I SMOKE, do you?!” Baker turned.
Of course, Robot Derak Jones knew of Eraserhead Man’s place just behind his — The Pencil or just Pencil, as he use to call him in the good ol’ days. But he didn’t realize it was an *actual* rabbit hole until today. The Pencil told him about it. Pencil told him a lot. They hadn’t spoken in what seemed like ages. What was their argument about? RDJ vaguely recalls something about a Corsican woman they both fancied who worked up at Bumpy’s Ice Cream Village. And such a short distance between their homes — all those months and now years of meaningful friendship squandered, he realized. He’ll make it up to him as best he can; he knew what was going on now. EM came down on his John Deere riding mower. They would talk until the stars appeared in the sky.
“Just like with JEOGEOT and MAEBALEIA,” Eraserhead Man continued. Robot Derak Jones nodded, thinking back on the original rabbit hole connecting those two distant mainland continents. “47 even… there’s a Room 47 in ‘INLAND EMPIRE.'”
“Why don’t you turn your hearing aid on, Pencil,” RDJ gently suggested. “This is pretty top secret information we’re passing between us after all.”
“Right you are!”
hooked and hookless
“An artist, huh?” Karl says in his gruff voice. “Not a prostitute.”
“That’s my life goal,” affirms Annie, who will pick up about any man available in the stripper club. Actor/writer/inventor Tom Casey was just one in a long line of suitors.
Norris JERRY Harry too. To be fair to Karl, she has a particular thing for thick, strong arms that will completely envelop her during an embrace. She turns to face her present lover’s large, bald head.
“Because my guess is that you’d make one hell of a whore.”
She smacks his cheek, but not hard. Because Annie agrees with Karl about that. She *is* a slut, and good at it. If it wasn’t for that New Island book by that Moth fellow, it still could represent a natural endpoint. But she saw the drawings, read the detailed text. Artist Point, a colony of realistic and abstract creators alike. She wanted to venture into the latter but so far had stuck to the former. And now she had a strong desire to paint *Karl*. In the nude, of course. That’s another add-it-to-the-list one, because she’d already done Casey, done Harry. 15 paintings accomplished just this past year (!). The ability was growing. And she read about a nudist beach at something called The Hook where she could hang out and pick up men. Check out the goods beforehand. Not in a pervy way, but in an *artistic* way. Okay, 1/2 and 1/2, she admits to herself while thinking about their large, thick arms, etc.
“Sisters just up and left you, huh?” stated Karl, getting serious for a change. He’d never had a family of his own. Just those crazy, fast food neighbors of his who were the focus of the… his reality. But since he was 3d again, perhaps he’d eventually have to go back to the old house, the old life. His thick coat of fur had disappeared upon, er, awakening outside in the Bluebird Cuddle Van. And how did he get here in the first place? That remains a mystery to him. Must have been some hell of a party.
“Yup,” answers Annie. “But I have only one *real* sister,” she clarified. “Tonya Two Egg; went with Harry to wherever this Mimosa is. She’s hell bent on finding JERRY, you know.”
“*Yes* Karl. I brought up JERRY two times before. You must have been staring at my legs.” She skillfully raises her skirt an inch or two while shifting her position in his arms. She’d learned that trick a long time ago.
“Oh,” utters Karl. He vaguely recalled something about that now. And, yeah, he’d been staring at her legs a lot. Here’s another one with a thing for thin, like Tom Casey. Speaking of which, they’d better get down to what he was here for. “Okay, babydoll. The night is growing, um, later. There won’t be any more stars in the sky than are in your eyes right now.” He’d learned that line a long time ago.
First thing in the morning, they rezzed Annie’s small fishing boat at the nearby community center and headed south, intending to go through Horizons’ 4th and only hookless region (ironically enough) to reach the continent of Zindra. Karl had nothing to leave behind; he’d only been in Horizons-Pluto for a week. And Annie had already sold her land next to Mt. Tom, so hell bent was she upon this New Island.
Both sisters fixated on the same type of place. And there were more connections.
“New Island by boat, huh? We’ll see about that.”
“I have one more thing to do here, Karl. You can just wait in the boat.”
“It was always going to be you and me, babe,” spoke robot Bendy from the couch. “And Alberta here too, I guess. What’s he hunting today?”
“Shellfish,” answers mergirl Prissy from her stand.
But Alberta’s greater passion was providing equipment for journeys into the center of the Earth. He waits patiently for his master Dr. Mulholland to finish her ride.
Er… his ride. This may take longer than expected.
“We’re outta here Jack.”
Jack manifests who he really is. “Goodbye Bendy my old friend. Safe journeys.”
“Hold on to your seat Fisher! HERE WE GO!”
ex TWA pilot
In the middle of the night, Donald Farr sometimes visits neighbor Chuck Close and talks about how he wrecked that plane and killed all those people 5 years ago.
But he always ends with something to the effect that it all might have been worth it just to get here.
first and last
Eraserhead Man could now easily open the rabbit hole with his mind from the opposite end of the yard.
And Karl had fully transitioned.
“Whoa, ho ho. Daylight!”
Annie’s turn now.
“Just relax, Annie. Close your eyes. You’ll be in the sun again before you know it.”
Mabel was not literally stuck in Pipewold; she could emerge and investigate New Island if she wished, her ultimate home if things in Heartsdale didn’t work out. She had to manipulate what she could in the meantime — to prepare. Mabel was looking for this mysterious Leeman or Leemon who supposedly created the whole shebang. Is *this* him? she thinks here.
Hummie the Hummingbird (another one) wasn’t telling.
Buurb didn’t like to come out here, she knew. Says it’s like reading ahead in the hot red book of your life. Plus, taken individually, he had more at stake than Mabel. But there were still other avenues to explore. She hadn’t given up on Baker Bloch bringing their beloved Heartsdale house (or some equivalent) to Collagesity. She knows in one reality this *must* come about. But it’s a domino effect — that would mean, perhaps, the displacement of Karoz Blogger’s TILE Temple, implying *he* wouldn’t have the opportunity to return. And where would that leave mate Baker Blinker?
Mabel wanders back down the beach, toward the far side of the pipe. [Leemon’s?] Beach had been set as her personal limit in this direction. She couldn’t stay out too long — for Buurb’s sake. She spots Volkswagen Gurl leaning against the large, white house in the distance, but too late to turn around. Luckily the chatty lady went AFK before a potential engagement.
She also ran into Yarco on the way back and they held a brief discussion about cactuses, another type of pipe in a way, he explained. Yarco was a graduate assistant in the biology department at New Island Community College, the same place where Robot Derak Jones teaches physics and astronomy. Mabel thought the young lad was a bit full of himself, but he provided useful information at times. And also Mabel felt he could be trusted. She had dirt on him and he her. They were trapped on New Island for similar reasons. Oops, there’s his tanned slave boy. Time to leave, she understands.
Mabel sighs before heading back inside. 242, 121 here at the water’s edge, she notes again. This is where the world splits asunder.
Annie arrives on the island at exactly 12 midnight Standard Linden Time. The witching hour, quite appropriately. She still didn’t really understand why she had to come the long way by boat and her pal Furry Karl was able to successfully use the short cut portal back at Horizons — but, *whatever*. She was here now and she was excited!
Now to find Eraserhead Man’s home on this silly map Norris gave her.
“That’s very good Karl. Now my turn. Stand over there where I was and take all your clothes off.”
“All right babydoll, hehe. Anything you say sweets.”
“Thank you guys for joining us tonight on… ‘Nascera Today’. We’re always very curious about the various manifestations of core avatars.”
“Good to be here,” Annie replies smoothly.
“Likewise,” adds Karl coarsely while coughing.
“So… to begin. Annie, you’re playing the role of a bad girl who wants to turn into a good artist, but is having trouble with the conversion. As the core being Wheeler, a number of your characters in ‘Collagesity 2018 Early’ are trying to jumpstart an art career. Can you elaborate on that?”
“Sure, Mr. Corea.”
“Just Sidechick will do.”
“All right Sidechick. Let’s begin with Annie, the body of which I have now. Annie is a bad girl, yes, but comes from a broken home. Her parents, as well as a good chunk of the remainder of her relatives, were sucked up in the Great Rift between 2010 and 2013. I was 13 in 2013, a Y2K baby, then. But the year 00 didn’t cause any large scale anomalies like anticipated.”
“Yes, thankfully Sidechick.” She turns to her boyfriend. “Karl, you suffered a mental breakdown that year, didn’t you?”
“A giant robot rabbit crushed my car!” He huffs and coughs again, but doesn’t elaborate.
“‘Nuff said, I suppose.” Annie eyes him a little longer then pivots back to Sidechick. “What was the question again?”
“Sidechick looks through his notes, then: “Just to talk about your various characters in the present Collagesity novel and their artistic aspirations.”
“Well…” Karl sneezes here. “Okay, you’re not coming down with a cold are you Karl? Because you’re sleeping down in the Rabbit Hole if so. I’m not catching what you have.”
Karl shakes his head. “No, not the Rabbit Hole, no. I’d rather sleep on the open beach.”
“But that will make your cold worse. No, the Rabbit Hole will have to do. I’ll build a fire down there when we get home.”
Karl huffs some more, sneezes, but then nods his head in resignation.
“Can we continue now? Get it all out — the sneezing and the coughing — and be done with it. Sidechick’s come a long ways to conduct this interview. I for one can’t concentrate with all these pre-cold antics going on.”
Karl takes a minute to cough and sneeze some more. He really gets into it. They both watch him in shock and awe. He then nods again to indicate it’s all over and he’s ready to continue, noise free hopefully.
Annie stares blankly at Sidechick Corea. “I’m so sorry. What was the topic again?”