Paradox II: The Chancelling: Cobalt

Thinking of returning to the Pierre-baker interview now that I’ve zoomed in on the meaning of Baker’s Creek from the perspective of SID’s 1st Oz.Baker will be thanking Pierre for allowing him to return to the houseboat at the mouth of Baker’s Creek after learning these lessons.It is a time for healing for this region, and you can help.Cammie appears.Baker: “You’re back from healing this region.””It appears. What a trip. I have photos.””Of the dome. Astro, not Super.”Cammie: “Right.”

Baker: “So what’s going on here? Or do we know? Cammie, do you still love Dean? Pierre, do you still love baker? Well, never mind, but do you, Pierre, take me as your beloved syncher, to hold and cherish, to… ”

Pierre: “I do!”

Baker: “Beautiful.”

Cammie: “Beautiful!”

Pierre smacks lips, looks at Cammie. “So where is *Dean* anyway? Chasing after casual gods again with their deft little miracles?”

Baker: “Last I remember we left him in Orrin, North Dakota. I tried to bring him back here… remember? Do you remember that Pierre?”

Pierre: “Vaguely.”

Baker: “Cammie, you made a vague appearance too. But he couldn’t come back. He manifested as some kind of giant baby man and it didn’t make much sense.”

Pierre (laughs): “Like the rest of this *does* make sense.”

Baker: “Okay, right. But I’m wondering if we’re really here this time. In the flesh and blood, in the Body. Not vague. Real and solid. Concrete, like the music you use to do Pierre.”

Pierre: “Not the same guy.”

Baker: “Sometimes I wonder.”

Pierre: “Well wonder away. It’s not going to change the reality.”

Baker: “That’s a good place to start. Cammie, can you focus in right now please? We’re at a spot of great healing power, at this mouth of Baker’s Creek where (small) “w” can change into (capital) “W”. You’ve just ended a period where you’ve collected a lot of good instant karma. I’m surprised you didn’t bring a refugee back with you.”

Cammie: “Believe me I thought of it. And still do.”

Pierre: “You don’t have room, though. Like you don’t have room in your heart for me because of that… that…”

Cammie: “Thing?”

Pierre: “Well…”

Cammie: “It’s alright to be jealous Pierre. Believe you me I’m very flattered. Very flattered indeed. But it doesn’t change my love. I fell for Dean as he was falling off the cliff. Emotional fall mirrors physical fall, for whatever reasons. I can’t help the way I feel.”

Pierre: “You could learn to love me. Dean may not be coming back.”

But suddenly he was there. Not a baby, but…

Pierre and Baker jointly: “Switched on BOC!”

That’s right, Dean was dressed in a blue St. Louis Cardinal baseball uniform topped by a red Kansas City Royal baseball cap. Illogical all around.

Dean (cooly): “Tyranny and Mutation, side B. Get use to it.”

Baker: “Where the hell did you get that uniform?. Are you sure you didn’t come out of your black hole portal inside out this time?”

Pierre: “Yeah, your face is normal now. You look like that pitcher again. The picture of the pitcher.”

Dean: “Chance?”

Pierre: “Yeah. A baby faced rookie of 1961. 11-61-11-61…”

“And do you know why I’m here?”

Pierre: “Um, to give us some cardinal wheat? Very important wheat, separated from all interference of chaff? Am I close?”

Baker (guessing in turn): “Are you running an all night rock station in Litchfield, Illinois owned by your sister-in-law Edna Brown Gray, a silver haired spinster with wads of money to burn?”

Dean: “Of course!”

Pierre: “But there’s much more. Isn’t there… bastard.”

Cammie: “Stop it Pierre. You’re acting jealous again.”

Pierre: “And what about Cammie? Do you know what’s going on…?”

Dean: “I know… and I do.”

Cammie and Dean smile at each other.

Baker: “Well, Pierre, we have to get ’em married now. Then we can move
on.”

Pierre: “Well, we’re a couple baker. We’re wedded through these stupid streams here… stuck on this houseboat providing a service to the whole campus.”

Baker: “What?”

Pierre: “Um, I’m not sure why I said that!”

Dean: “Bleedthrough. Baker’s.”

Cammie: “Yes, you and baker are married Pierre. Do you understand?”

Pierre: “No!”

Baker: “We’re the synchers here. Well, Dean’s a syncher too, but not like us. Maybe he’s becoming like us, but I hope not. I suppose.”

Cammie: “We’re all alike. Just alike. There’s no high and low here. No up and down, to and fro. We’re all on middle ground now. Just look at the body of Waters surrounding us. Baker’s Creek straight ahead of me… ”

Pierre: “Careful, don’t stare at it too long.”

Cammie: “And then Little Pierre Bayou all around.” She waves her arm all around.

Dean’s uniform changes now. No blue Cardinal or red Royal insignia.

“I am a Black Hole Prick,” he says.


They become 4 in 1, as Cammie symbolically marries Dean and then Pierre does the same to baker. The unholy quaternity. As such, Dean automatically turns into the Black Hole Prick at Red Lick, at the source of Baker’s Creek. As they are all glued together like Elmers, Cammie, Pierre, and baker must follow him. The next thing they know they are all paddling kayaks at the headwaters of the 10 mile long Baker’s Creek, in the neighboring county of Jackson but heading to Claiborne again and the mouth of Baker.Dean paddles in the lead. “Don’t worry, we’ll switch to one vehicle as soon as the water is deep
enough,” he says.baker: “Dean, you have a small kayak you are pulling behind your main kayak. It appears to have something projecting out from the seat. What is it.?”Dean: “You know.”baker: “Yes I do. This is more my fantasy now, I realize. Until we reach the mouth of Baker’s Creek again. I know that it is the Oz key from Tile A of SID’s 1st Oz.”Dean: “Correct. But why is it oversized?”

baker: “So the reader can see it as well?”

Dean: “More. More, more, more. It is emphasized through the smaller kayak, which will disappear shortly.”

Pierre: “Why can we not remember starting at the very source of the creek here?”

Dean: “Do you remember your birth? No. It is the same idea. This is like baker’s earliest memories. The key… remember baker?”

baker: “Oh yeah, the robot. The Robot, he thinks. Could this possibly be the meaning. Tik Tok? A clock? 11:61? 12:01?”

Dean, seeming to read baker’s thoughts, smiles.

baker: “Cammie are you doing all right back there?”

Dean: “Let her stay back there with Pierre as we talk some more baker. After all, you are the one relaying my information to the public at large. You are the writer-on-stone.”

baker: “Are you saying this will never get published?”

Dean: “I’m not sure…”

Pierre: “Baker, stop interfering with Dean’s story. Just *listen* for a change.”

Dean: “Good idea. I’ll ask the questions mainly, if you don’t mind. So we have the Oz key. O-Z. A-L, N-Z, without the N. 13 devolved into 12. So what do we get now?”

Dean is pulling over to the bank; has spotted something in a tree trunk. Something is projecting again. A pumpkin — no it is just laying on the shore. Dean swoops by in his kayak and picks it up without getting out. Then he turns and puts it in the small kayak with the key. As baker turns around to get Pierre and Cammie’s reaction to this, he sees they are riding now in one canoe instead of 2 kayaks. And then when he turns around, he realizes that he and Dean are also in one canoe now. Baker looks down between Dean and himself and sees the oversized key, like something a mayor would give to someone who won the key to his city. And also the pumpkin, which is pretty large as well.

Dean: “So we have two articles now. Two in one. What’s next baker? We’ve got the item from Tile E now and are *heading* to I.”

baker: “So the Oz key is from Tile A, the one that Dorothy finds in the chicken coup (house?), the one with O and Z on it.”

He picks up the key, inspecting it and seeing it is the same as the one in the movie, as far as he can remember. Then the pumpkin is the one Ozma gave Dorothy in the asylum to keep her spirits up. She then proceeds to pretend to comb the pumpkin’s  “hair” in the movie and synch. This refers to Jack Pumpkinhead and his haircut later on in the movie.”

Dean: “Right. So what’s next? What’s in “I”? There, I see it already.” Dean points ahead.

Baker tries to make out what it is. He sees a speck on the shore, and it looks golden. Then it hits him. “Of course, a golden brick, from the yellow brick road. Y-B-R. Yellow, blue, red.”

Pierre and Cammie, meanwhile, are talking amongst themselves, but baker can’t make out what they are saying. He wonders if Dean might be jealous because they are together in one canoe, and he’s up here with him. But maybe, he thinks, we’ll be in one vehicle, as Dean hinted around, once we pick up the next item. It was close enough to see the brick shape now. As before, Dean merely skirts the shore and scoops up the item, then deposits it in the canoe with the others. Baker is sitting beside Dean now in a large raft, and Pierre and Cammie are in the back.

baker: “Hi guys. Look what we have.” He indicates the key, pumpkin, and brick behind him now, between Dean and him in front and Pierre and Cammie in back.

Pierre: “Are these the tiles?”

Dean: “Right, man.”

Pierre: “What does it mean? Are we near the mouth of Baker? The creek, I mean.” He is careful not to look directly at baker’s mouth, just as a precaution.

Dean: “We are one county over, in Jackson, as I was explaining to baker earlier on. Do you see it yet?”

A vast wall loomed up in the distance: it appeared as a dam across the creek, but with no water dammed behind it, as if serving no purpose.

Dean sensed everyone was seeing the same thing now. “This yellow brick behind me,” he begins to explain, “came out of that wall, and that’s the opening we must pass through. It’s related to (Roger) Water’s concept of The Wall, and the fact that the wall is closed up by placing the final brick between the band behind it and the audience in front. Baker, can you put these 3 objects together to make out what we are approaching? Pierre, (you too) perhaps. You first, baker, though.”

Pierre: “Yeah, you first baker. I may already know anyway.” He winks at baker, then stares at Cammie, who smiles back.

baker: “Why doesn’t Cammie give it a shot?”

Dean: “Good man baker!”

Cammie: “Hmmm. Well I’ll try. What is the key again?”

Pierre: “Dorothy finds it in the chicken coup in the first tile of the synch. It represents a message from the Scarecrow to Dorothy that something has gone horribly wrong in Oz.”

Cammie: “Like what’s gone wrong now in New Orleans, maybe.”

Pierre: “Could be.”

Cammie: “No, there’s a connection. So what’s the next object?”

baker: “A pumpkin.”

Pierre:  “It’s from tile E, the fifth SID tile and the second using the Music From The Body soundtrack. Tracks 8 and 9 from that album, as the first tile uses tracks 3 through 7. It refers to a gift Ozma gives to Dorothy inside the asylum, and which Dorothy is combing during tile E, as if it were a head.”

Cammie: “Then it must represent a head. The head is the key, or perhaps the hair of the head. Yes, the hair. Or hare as in rabbit.”

baker: “That’s what I think as well.”

Pierre: “Be quite baker. Cammie’s zoning in on the truth. She’s more psychic than you, as Edna is more psychic than you. And then Cammie is somewhat more psychic than Edna, but she’s more psychic than about anybody after all. Except Dean… the bastard.”

Dean: “Hey, I’m sitting right in front of you! And, besides, I’ve changed. I’m a Black Hole Prick now. And what that means is, is…”

Cammie: “Middle ground. The way of the heart. The bridge between highest and lowest. The greenup of the yellow down.”

Dean: “See? She’s so psychic! My gal.” He blows Cammie a kiss. Cammie smiles broadly, but Pierre can’t help a bit of a frown.

Pierre: “Well, I’m more psychic than baker, if that means anything.”

Dean (casually): “Not much. We’re approaching the wall. Hurry Cammie dearest. And you guys stop distracting her!”

Cammie: “Well, the yellow brick. How bout the golden color of hair, especially since there’s a Golden Hair song in the synch. This is the what tile?”

baker and Pierre simultaneously: “I”.

Cammie: “I… right. It must represent a refinement of the message of the key and the pumpkin head. It is the hair of the head. Golden hair.”

The wall was looming ahead of them. They were not 100 yards from it now. They heard the sound of water falling on the other side now.

Dean: “So the wall, then?”

Cammie: “The wall appears brown. Like brunette hair. What tile are we on?”

Dean (answering quickly): “M, tile M, which begins with Mombi opening the door to the cupboard with the head with the brunette hair, after Golden Hair ends with the depositing of the head with the golden hair inside a cupboard on the opposite side of the chamber.”

Cammie: “Right, well there’s your answer.”

Pierre: “It is?”  Pierre is also getting nervous about the wall. They are all anxiously looking around at Cammie. The water is increasing in flow. They might be smashed against the wall.

Dean: “Cammie, *how* are we going to get through this wall??”

Cammie: “These bricks… they’re all hair. Hair folicles. Hair stems or stalks. Like Jack Pumpkinhead’s hair, or his *stalk*. *That’s* the golden hair. His stem or stalk. The thing that gives him life but he is removed from. He must replace his head, then, from time to time. But he wishes to have a permanent head. A golden head, a golden hair. The permanent hare who always has his spectacles.

Pierre and baker start screaming.

Dean: “No time for more talk.” He grabs the golden brick and places it in the opening in the wall without stopping. To the outside eye, they seem to smash into the wall and then disappear.

*****

Then the head of the lady with the many, many golden bricks for hair rises up from the landscape and begins to shake her shiny follicles, as if showing off. Then she rises up more and begins to move across the landscape, her head, in the process becoming as large as the sun.

*****

Water is pouring through the tiny hole in the wall, almost at the water’s level. When Dean plugs the hole with the “final brick”, golden instead of brown or brunette, as all the other bricks are, then he starts the damming process of the upper part of Baker’s Creek, the part in Jackson Co. The dam is on the Jackson County-Claiborne County line.

*****

In the next tile, they must deal with Tik Tok, who saves them from being a mere hair follicle in a giant wig or pretend head. Tik Tok is the new key, the clock, the bee or beehive. Claiborne County and the tiles U, S, and W. An earthquake avoided.


Had a fantasy about how to proceed with the interview… all 4 are trapped in a yellow brick that either masks or lies beside the “M” created by blue chalk in Orrin, ND. They lie there for a long, long time. Perhaps a bomb goes off and they are saved because of it. Then people come in, say they are abiding by the script and then have to leave without finding the brick. Funny. But then what happens… Edna wakes up baker: it’s 8:05 and he’s late for work. Yeah, that’s it. Might make for a good post.Things to do:Print out missing (8th?) post from original run of Interview.Think of organization of new interview… interspersing of factual posts from Twin Duchs and fiction from Synchpatch… interesting. Will also add graphics… I don’t think there’s anything much illegal about the new collages.Think of creating a new collage series soon, a follow up, perhaps, to the Greenup Gill series. I seem to be collecting a lot of images again on the hard drive.Look up: Lindsey Creek as enters little Baker Creek in central Miss.

Think of the Dean monster… re-read the 8th post mentioned above. Figure out how to proceed. Dean’s monster is found in middle of Baker’s Creek, which is where the 4 people are now… “inside” the brick.

Also have fantasy of blue submarine submerging in a quicksand covered world. They keep submerging and baker doesn’t think there’s any way out, but Pierre isn’t worried, or is he? Perhaps Dean isn’t worried.

Baker: “You use to be all panicky Dean. Remember the cliffs we traversed to get around Yarrell Knob. What happened to cowardly, sweat stained Dean I once knew and loved?”

Dean answers. “It was you all the time. I am a composite, like the Composite (name?) on Red Dwarf. I am the 4 in 1. That’s why I keep showing up. You give me life. Without you I do not exist. So when you guys get along, as you are doing now, I am a summary of your cooperation. Your brains are working, and mine as well… better, because I am three brains in one but more than that, even. When you were fighting on the cliffside, I was a summary of your negative emotions. You projected onto me all your dark sides. But the fall stopped that. Luckily it didn’t kill me because the water manifested underneath me rather than hard ground. Lucky me for the dimensional rift. It was caused by Pierre falling for Cammie falling for me as I fell myself. All are emotional falls except for my own.

Pierre:  “And it may have to do with Quadrospirited, which is 4 in 1 as well. Quadrophenia, the core album, has to do with the amalgamation of 4 separate and sometimes warring personalities of The Who. Through the synch they all come together, and spread out, even, into other artists such as Roger Waters, Space Ghost Coast, Frank Zappa, Al Yankovich, Lou Reed, and Talking Heads. And even Lou Reed and Frank Zappa love each other, then, as they tentatively did in the Centerville section of Kansas City Life.”

baker: “Funny how something on TV will resonate directly with things I need to know in this interview, often on the same night. Maybe that old song Row Row Row Your Boat spoke the truth: life is but a dream.”

Pierre: “Now you’re getting it. 11-61-11-61…”

baker: “Fibonacci. *There*, I wrote it right!”

Pierre: “144, 233, 377, 610, 983… damn, I’m good!”

baker: “So… Dean. Are you and Cammie an Item? Remind me if you’re married or not. Didn’t you get hitched in either Hot Springs, Arkansas or Hot Springs, North Carolina somewhere along the way in this new interview?”

Dean: “We are married.”

Cammie smiles broadly.

baker: “That must be why you feel comfortable letting Cammie sit for so long beside Pierre in that canoe, between finding the key and the yellow brick on the banks of Baker’s, er, my creek.”

Dean: “It’s not your creek any longer Baker. It’s graduated.”

baker: “Really? What is it now?”

Dean: “The Mississippi. New Orleans needs help. As the partner to Cammie who loves all mankind, I see through her eyes and understand the pain that the region feels. So Baker’s Creek, through the Fibonacci series, has entered Little Bayou Pierre has entered Bayou Pierre has entered the Mississippi, with the mouths all in one resonance, sort of like we four are in resonance here in this submarine that is descending, perhaps, to the other side of this world.”

baker: “Other side of the quicksand world, you mean.”

Dean: “Now don’t go getting all negative on us baker. You know what will happen. I’ll turn all cowardly again. You’d rather have an Ace Rimmer than an Arnold Rimmer wouldn’t you, now? Look, the yellow has started at the top of my neck already.”

baker: “You’re turning into a brick, perhaps. Why is the sub(marine) blue-violet instead of yellow? Should we be in a yellow submarine, since the brick we apparently merged with is yellow?

Memmimger: “Is Red Lick on one of your maps? I’m too lazy to search the “Twin Duchs” archives right now.”

baker: “Hmmmm… what? Where’d that voice come from? Red Lick… Red Lick is the place of the pin prick that begins Baker’s Creek, which Dean here says has become… what did you say again Dean?”

Dean: “It’s a voice of the Dog River Camp from the Civil War. From Mobile, Alabama. The one who possesses the beehive clock from that era that we’ll find in one of the following posts. It tells the times of the Sirius system.” Dean speaks into the air: “Yes Memmimger, this is Dean #2… not your Dean but a different Dean that split off when this interview began. What was that about Red Lick?”

Memmimger (fainter): “Where is it?”

“It’s at the source of Baker’s Creek which has been borrowed in our reality to help the people of New Orleans in your world, the outside word where the Twin Duchs memmage board exists.”

No answer.

Dean: “She must be gone. Interesting bleedthrough. Didn’t we have another one of those in the interview somewhere?”

baker: “I have a vague recollection. This whole interview could be called a succession of bleedthroughs, though.”

Dean: “Quite true.”

Pierre: “Cammie’s taking a long time. I’ll go find her.”

Dean: “Do that, young man.”

baker: “Are you sure you’re all right Dean? I mean… you’re so different from what you were before. But the composite… you’ve already told me. What were you talking about Dean #2 for? Who’s Dean #1?”

Dean: “He works with wheat and he hates it. Cardinal wheat. Red, like the Lick. But he doesn’t eat it or even lick it himself, although he loves blues music and understands that Led Zeppelin borrowed many song rifts from that genre, which you didn’t in the real world.

baker: “Outside of a couple of songs from the earlier album, they didn’t have any standard blues songs.”

Dean: “See?”

baker: “Are you… are you aware of all of Dean #1’s thoughts? You seem to know a lot about that other world, I mean. The real world as you call it.”

Dean: “That’s where Edna is as well.”

baker: “I was wondering about that!”

Dean: “She needs to be there in case we get in trouble here. Then she can just simply wake you up. As she did with the yellow-brick-in-the-road dream in Orrin, ND.”

baker: “Cool! That makes sense. So I can just start whimpering and whimpering if we get in trouble and she’ll wake me up.”

Dean: “That’s correct, I think. And I’ve also noticed that my speech characteristics and movements have taken on those of Kryton, the android from Red Dwarf. Hmmmm… another “Red” at that. Kryton, like I’m doing here in this particular section of the new interview, tends to have all the answers to any situation the Dwarf crew encounters.”

baker: “So I’m kind of like Lister now, since he’s the one that usually understands Kryton best.”

Dean: “To a degree, I suppose.”

baker: “Well, we’ve got to get you out of this mode. Break your programming.”

Dean: “After all, it was Kryton who figured out how to outfox the composite in the episode you and Edna watched just tonight. He made all the other crew members unconscious, leaving the composite with just his personality. So as both were the same person, then, the composite had to obey robot’s rules of orders and thinking of the ultimate safety of the humans aboard, especially Lister.”

baker: “Where the smeg did Cammie and Pierre go? Cammie’s been gone for probably over an hour. It’s not that big of a sub!”

Dean: “They may be betraying me.”

baker: “Nah, don’t say that man. Cammie really loves you. I can tell. I have a 6th sense for these kind of things.”

Dean: “Baker wouldn’t say that. We have to go find them and get out of this particular circuit of programming. Watch something else on TV tonight with Edna. Something serious instead of comedic.”

baker: “But all we watch is comedy!”

Dean: “Trailer Park Boys. That was keeping the distance from this interview for a while. Not much in common.”

baker: “Are you saying you need to turn more into the sleazy cowardly person you were before? Are you saying you don’t want to be all knowing?”

Dean: ” Relatively speaking sir, that is correct. Pull Pierre and Cammie apart and bring them back here.”

baker: “They’re not together.”

Dean: “Yes they are. And I’m jealous, dammit. Jealous you hear!”

baker: “Right… jealous. I’ll see what they’re up to and report back to you. Don’t come back into the quarters. You don’t want to see this Kryton… er, Dean.”

Dean: “You bet I don’t. Hermm.”

Baker goes into the back of the ship. Pierre is with Cammie, but only to comfort her. She is crying.

Cammie: “Dean has changed since I fell for him as he was falling over that cliff. He’s become flawless instead of flawed. He can’t fall now, never has and never will.”

baker: “He’s trying, believe me. He’s trying to love you again by being jealous. He’s not a machine. It’s just this show that Edna and I watched tonight. Red Dwarf. It’s affecting our actions here since I… since… well… you remember Red Dwarf don’t you?”

Cammie: “The town in Mississippi where your creek originates?”

baker (getting frustrated): “No, no no. The show. Science fiction. Okay, I give up.” He starts whimpering.

Pierre: “What are you doing? Why are you whimpering?”

baker: “Because I’m trying to wake up. I’m actually in bed beside Edna. Whimper with me. I’ll start afresh with your characters tomorrow. If you help me wake up, I’ll make sure that Dean isn’t perfect the next go around.”

Cammie starts crying out loud instead of silently, then stops. “How’s that?” she asks.

baker: “Brilliant. Pierre is moaning, too, into the air.”

Pierre: “Mooaaan!”

baker: “Louder.” He whimpers loudly.

—–

Edna: “Baker wake up. You’re whimpering.”

baker: “Groggily. Oh… um, sorry. I remember something this time.”


Baker: “I don’t think I can. I need a confrontation… er, dialog with Tik Tok or some equivalent… the beehive machine or the golden bee or golden.b.”Edna: “You, in other words.”Baker: “Maybe. The center of Baker’s Creek anyway. He must be protected from turning into a monster again.”Edna: “You mean, *you* must be protected.”Baker: “Maybe. The center.”Edna: “…of?”Baker: “Baker…”

Edna: “Baker.”

Baker (quickly): …”‘s Creek.”

Edna: “No, just Baker.”

Baker: “No man is an island?”

Edna: “I think you need to talk to Michael.”

Baker: “About what?”

Edna: “About his music.”

Baker: “What about *my* music. What about the Creek?”

Cammie: “Where are we?”

Baker: “The Center!”

Cammie: “Why do you want to talk to this machine? Why do you need to protect it from becoming a monster?”

Dean #1 (suddenly appearing): “Doppleganger!”

Pierre (suddenly appearing): “What about my pickles!”

Baker: “Okay, okay, Dean is going to totally turn into a machine and that’s it. Understand?”

Cammie: “But his programming is broken. True, we saw a monster with no part of a machine in him, no programming to break, but I brought him back with my two lip kiss.”

Pierre (blows out a bit o’ air): “I remember.”

Cammie: “Now Pierre, that’s all behind us now. We have our priorities straight. Our responsibilities. Mine is to make sure Dean doesn’t become a machine.”

Baker: “But it won’t be forever.”

Cammie: “Are you totally 100% sure about that?”

Dean #1: “Two.”

Edna: “Yeah, Baker B. Do *you* want to be a machine?”

Baker: “Of course not.”

Edna: “But you don’t want to be a monster either.”

Baker: “Yes, that’s true.”

Cammie: “And you, I mean, well…”

Pierre (speaks the truth others are fumbling around): “Baker is a monster at times. Past Baker especially.”

Baker: “I’m more balanced. I’m in mid-stream, between source and mouth. I’m able to take in a larger picture now.”

Edna: “Unlike Michael.”

Baker: “He’s young. He’s just learning about the Black Hole Prick. Entering his own stream.”

Edna: “So that’s the reason for the trouble. You’re turning a little into a monster around him now.”

Baker: “True, but I feel he’s a bit of a monster as well.”

Edna: “He’s *young*… as you said, duh.”

Cammie: “Younger compared to us.”

Baker: “I’m not a good father figure.”

Cammie: “What do you wish to show him?”

Baker: “The Center.”

Cammie: “The monster?… or the machine?”

Baker:”Well, both I suppose.”

Edna: “You don’t know.”

Baker: “I *do* know. And what about you?”

Edna: “What about me what?”

Baker: “Surely you have some kind of equivalent to this man-machine-monster dichotomy?”

Edna: “It’s always been about you. How do I know *what* I’m about?”

Cammie: “You’ve got a point there.”

Michael Won (suddenly appearing): “Yeah, I can see that. And I can see it in me. Show me this center.”

Baker: “Hi Michael! Well, the center.” He looks around the room. “Is Dean here?”

Everyone looks around the room. A fly is on the wall, and simultaneously all think it could be Dean, but then dismiss the thought.

A (violent) violet pulse forms between them in the air, like the  Andromeda Virus at the end of the same named movie except not green.

Baker: “Dean? Dean is that you?”

The pulse was humming rhythmically. A bare leg with a gym sock and tennis shoe stuck out of the vortex for a second, then withdrew back into the violet. “Wait, I’m not ready,” it said. Then it appeared to laugh, perhaps with someone else.

Cammie: “Dean, sweety. Come on out.”

Everyone in the room was thinking: man or monster?

Baker: “Dean. I demand you obey your programming and appear to us as a machine, like Tik Tok. Never been alive, you hear? This is my creek, my Center, and I command it.”

Cammie: “Why don’t you just watch and listen…”

Edna: “Yeah, baker b.” She raises eyebrows.

Baker: “This better not be Tucker up to his old tricks. Stealing Dean and pretending to be him.”

Edna (grinning only a little): “This is not Tucker.”

Michael Won, unlike the others, was smiling. Baker looked at him, and became paranoid that he was manipulating the purple vortex himself. *He* was trying to manifest his own center from baker’s center. But baker thought: it’s too soon.

Baker: “What are you doing Michael?”

Michael: “Me? What?”

Baker: “You’re trying to manipulate the center.”

Michael: “Me? How? I can’t… I can’t do that.”

Baker: “You’re trying to do it.”

The violet matrix spoke again. “Okay I’m ready. Go ahead. Introduce me.”

Dean #1: “We were saving this as a surprise for you Baker. Edna, my apologies for bringing back memories of the Little Rascals cake.”

Edna looked at Dean #1 and then Baker, eyebrows raised again.

OUT POPPED SOYBEAN DEAN.

*********

“A vegetable?” baker asked.

“…but satisfies your requirements for the need of a robot or computer as well. Living but not human or any kind of animal. Vegetable, like the people in L. Frank Baum’s 4th Book, Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz. Don’t you like it?”

“What am I suppose to do with a soybean man? Mr. Tofu?”

“Ask him questions.”

Cammie: “I still love him, despite him not being human or even animal. This way he can’t turn into a machine per se, nor a monster per se. It’s perfect for this part of the interview!”

Baker: “What frigg’n interview?”


“Where’s Soybean Dean, baker?” Edna asks. “Did you leave him somewhere again?””Um… maybe.””Well, go find him!””He’ll be alright.””Baker… he’s more than just a vegetable, despite what you say. He’s some kind of… a little boy or something for Pete’s sake.””Don’t mention Pete Rose, I told you. He was never a little boy.””Of course he was. Where did you leave him?” Edna demanded.”At my creek.”

“You left him at a *creek*, in the middle of the *night*?”

“Yeah, maybe he’ll plant roots.” Baker senses Edna’s great displeasure. “Okay, okay, I’m just kidd’n. But you really don’t expect me…”

“Yes…”

“To go out there…”

“Yes…”

“And…”

“Yes…”

“Get him?”

“Right. Go get him,” Edna reinforces again. “I mean, baker, he speaks, he has a sense of humor. He’s almost like a…”

“You already said that. I would tend to disagree. He’s a gift from Dean and perhaps Michael, and as Michael is an artist and Dean has access to the soybean, they create, somewhere somehow, this little warped *thing* that happens to act and breath and eat *somewhat* like a little boy. That doesn’t mean we have to take him in and nourish him. He’s better off in the woods. It’s my creek and I can do what I want to with it. So I turned it into a vegetable preserve.”

“He’s not a vegetable.”

“He’s a *soybean*. Soybean Dean.” Baker blows out air.

“He’s more,” Edna fights back. “Don’t you, don’t you… love him?”

“Love him?” baker responds incredulously. But then thinks about it. I love the creek, he muses, the newfound creek that resonates with the Baker’s Creek in Mississippi. I have become fond of the little bean, he then surmises. Perhaps I was just trying to meld two loves, or at least likes, together.

Edna interrupts the rumination. “Go find him,” she says sternly, with finality.

“Maybe he’ll take root.” But baker then realizes he’s already used that joke.

Edna just stared at Baker and crossed her arms. She wasn’t going to let up. Luckily for Baker it was a moonlit night. The moon was only several days past full, and was pretty bright on this basically cloudless evening. It might not be too hard to find Soybean Dean and bring him back to their house. But deep in his heart, Baker knew that he was better off out here. He could still come visit… Soybean would learn to fend for his own self. But what if he caused trouble? What if he started attacking joggers, for instance? What does a vegetable do when it’s not interacting with humans? Does it just stare into space all the time?

Baker reviewed his brief life with Soybean Dean while driving out to the creek. It was a short drive… only to the other side of town. The creek itself had its mouth, disgustingly sounding enough, right across the Old River from the sewage plant. But it wasn’t nearly as bad as it sounded, and baker had found that some of the prettiest areas of any town, or at least the most interesting, could be found around such places. Take his home town of Mythopolis, for instance, where he spent many, many hours as a kid exploring the creeks and hills around the city dump and the water treatment plant there.

Upon further thought, Baker realized that *he* would enjoy the freedom he had just given Soybean Dean. To be able to roam and also *live* in an area like that… create art. Build art cities. He himself, after all, had once planned to live in the guts of a cement mixer he would float down Silver Creek all the way to a place across from the present Mythopolis dump. Yeah, Edna M., he thought, I’m just doing to the boy, er, plant… um, *sprout*, what I would have wanted myself. To be free of a constricting house, constricting parents that perhaps didn’t really want him around. Like me, he thought. Am I, though, repeating a pattern? Perhaps if my parents… no, he thought, this is what I would have wanted despite the circumstances. I chose my parents to give me the freedom I desired… needed… had to have. So letting Soybean Dean out at the creek, *my* creek, Baker’s *New* Creek, was the ultimate gift I could give him. I can still visit.

But maybe Edna is right, though. Maybe it is too soon. After all, Michael and Dean just created him several weeks ago. I’ll go find him. Yes, Edna is right, of course. It’s too soon. But *what* to do with him in the meantime. And what the hell is he? Maybe if I can establish what the hell he is… at least I know it’s a boy-man… then I can make a decision I can be comfortable with. An animal you find in the woods and someone turns into a pet and gives to you but you think it’s wrong… yeah, then it’s okay to let him loose back in his natural habitat.

That’s what I’ll do. I’ll simply ask Soybean where he comes from. What *he* wants to do. Where his heart’s desire is. Maybe mine would be a creek like this, after reaching a certain age where I can fend for myself. But Soybean seems pretty small still. And there’s the problem that he looks more like a cartoon than an actual human being, a cartoon of a plant, sort of like the Planter’s Peanuts Man, or SpongeBob Squarepants. And SpongeBob doesn’t live with his parents, even though he looks like a little boy and mostly acts like one too.

Baker then asked a very important question to himself: Is this like Darwin all over again?

Baker had reached the pullover beside the gate that opened up to the road that led beside the creek after crossing the crest of a hill and skirting an old barn. Edna would perhaps love it over here… can’t wait to bring her.

The moon was indeed quite bright; no need for a flashlight. Once he reached the creek, he waited to call for Soybean until he was a couple 100 yards beyond the barn, so’s no one could hear him. “Soybean,” he called rather quietly, and then repeated. Each time he called him, he got a little louder, so that, at the end, he was really shouting quite loudly. “Soybean!!!”, he crowed when reaching the place where the road crossed the creek near its mouth. “Wonder if anyone is at the sewage plant tonight,” baker then thought as he spotted the lights of the plant through the trees on the far bank of the Old River that his new creek emptied into. Quickly, silently, Soybean was then beside him.

“Soybean!!” baker cried, and took the little character’s mushy hand in his.

“I thought… I though you weren’t coming back to get me. I thought you’d left me here,” he said with a small, meek, strangely hoarse voice that baker had gotten use to.

“I was planning to come visit you tomorrow. Don’t you like this creek?”

“It’s okay. I don’t have any friends here, though.”

“Can’t you make friends? Do you only like humans for friends? Listen, Soybean, we need to talk some more. I realized after bringing you here that I didn’t really know you that well, and wasn’t, well, I’m not sure, to be honest, what the hell you are. Do you?”

“I’m a statue, I think, a statue made of soybean product and brought to life. I’m confused.”

“Are you cold?” asked baker, sensing the chill in the early autumn air.

“No.”

“Can you feel… temperature?”

“I’m not sure.”

Baker leans down and looks at Soybean’s legs, which are more like stalks.

“These, er, “tooths” growing out of your leg. Are they thorns, or hair? They look almost like a combo of both.”

“Don’t know.”

“Baker looks into Soybean’s wide, dark eyes on his somewhat potato shaped head.”

“So you’re telling me that you don’t want to stay out here tonight, and that you’d rather spend the night with me and Edna?”

“I like Edna. She’s nice.”

“Do you like me?”

“Yeah.”

“Maybe I should think of you as some sort of alien creature, brought to life by accident. Does that kind of talk disturb you Soybean?”

“Um, I don’t suppose.”

“But I must also keep in mind, I guess, that you’re really Dean. Not Dean #1 but Dean #2, reshaped and reformed so he can experience emotions again. You see, I just don’t know what you are.”

“If you are uncertain…”

“Yeah…”

“Then perhaps it would be best if I stay out here. You told me you had envisioned a sculpture garden out here anyway, just before writing about me in the middle of the night, and seeing me, in this writing, being born. Now you are writing again and seeing me again, and interacting with me in a fuller way and…”

“Maybe I just feel guilty.”

“For what?”

“For not understanding Michael’s music beyond a handful of groups.”

“You have, as you said, Jefferson Airplane, bless their pointy little heads.” Soybean smiles.

“You see, you have a sense of humor! And that’s not something a kid would have. How old do you think you are?”

“Forty.”

“Forty years?”

Soybean doesn’t answer but looks at the grassy ground of the overpass below them, then over at the creek.

“It talks to me already,” he then said.

Baker stares at Soybean. “What does it say?” he says after a considerable pause to take this new development in.

“It is a combination of happy and unhappy. It is happy because it still has a soul, unlike many creeks around here whose spirits have departed for other, more remote creeks, many in other states, countries, continents, even planets. This creek has a circle of creek spirit friends it comes in contact with. There’s one called Tile that he says you’re familiar with.”

“Yes.”

“It’s a kind of cousin, as he says. Linked through you.”

“I guess I can see that,” baker responds. “And the creek in Mississippi?”

“Sherwood doesn’t know that one as well.”

“Sherwood?”

“That’s the name of the spirit of the creek. The creek is laughing at me even now.” Soybean stares at the creek.

“Sherwood???” baker repeats, louder.

“That’s what it tells me.”

Baker looks at the creek with Soybean, his mind spinning. After another long pause as they listen to the creek and also the noise of the remaining insects of the early autumn, he then asks Soybean the question of the night.

“Do you want to stay here, then, Soybean, or do you want to return with me to Edna and I’s house?”

“I don’t know.”

“Well, I guess there’s only one thing to do. I’ll camp out here and keep you company tonight. I’ll have to run back to the house and dig out my tent and other gear from the closet downstairs. Will you be here when I get back.”

“Yeah, I stay here on the bridge and wait.”

“It’s a warm night after all,” baker states, further talking himself into the venture. He then worries about Soybean sleeping beside him in the tent, like a cat would. After all, he’s not sure what this creature is yet. Could it have some kind of weird plant disease he could catch?

“I’ll wait here… with Sherwood.”


“So we’re here at the final fictional post of this series.”Edna: “Whatever you say, baker.”Baker: “I think this is the final one.””So where’s Soybean Dean?””He’s, um, still out at the creek. Baker’s Creek. New Baker’s Creek.””The one that empties into the Old River beside the sewage plant over at the Greenway.””Yeah, that’s the one.””And you think that was a good decision?” Edna queries again.

“Well, I think that for a while he stayed with us on weekends, perhaps, kind of like a kid that goes off to college but he still goes home on the weekends. Like us when we went off to college. That kind of thing. But the college, I suppose, is the creek itself in this case, and that means it would be Sherwood. Sherwood College, Sherwood Forest. Sumtin.”

Cammie: “He’s still out there, though? I mean, is time the same for him?”

“I saw Sherwood when I camped out there with him one night,” baker declares.

Edna looks over at Cammie and rolls her eyes.

“He looked a lot like the Dean who came into the Muslim coffee shop in Orrin, North Dakota. A little like the elephant man, but it was obvious this guy was a vegetable of some kind, just like Dean. My confident guess: this creature, er, person — whatever — is the mature or older version of Dean himself. Either that or it is really his father, or perhaps a probable self split apart from another part of the same self. Time is not as important in his realm. Baker’s Creek, which I suppose is now Sherwood’s Creek.”

Edna: “Are you going to rename it?”

baker: “Nah. Well, yeah. I think it will have a 3 dimensional name. It will be the name on the plaque I gave to Dean #1 yesterday or day before. The same day I quote unquote gave it to Michael.”

Pierre: “What plaque?”

Cammie: “Remember that Pierre really isn’t here, so he can’t ask that question baker.”

Baker: “Oh yeah, I forgot.”

Cammie: “And I’m not here either. You forgot that as well. We’re, ahem, vacationing together.”

Baker: “You got hitched.”

Cammie: “Well, I’ll always love Dean, as I love all mankind. But Pierre loves me so deeply. Perhaps as much as I love Dean. And that may be enough for the both of us. Besides, Dean is beyond the ability for me to love him in a, er, physical way, what with being a bean and all.”

Baker: “Yeah, that’s why I wrote you and Pierre as together at the end of this saga.”

Cammie: “Well, I better go now.” Cammie fades from view in her chair. As she said, she was never there all along.

Baker: “So I guess that leaves you and me, Edna dearest.”

Edna: “Suppose so.” Edna picks up the newspaper and begins working on her number puzzle again.

“Aren’t you going to ask me about the plaque?”

“Well, is there anything left to talk about? You said you gave it to Dean and also Michael. And now you said… you said, you were going to name your creek after it.”

“I think the creek is the same as the plaque. It replaces the copper toned Cooperstown plaque that Pete Rose would have obviously won if he hadn’t gambled on baseball and then pretended like he didn’t. It is the hill that can’t become a mountain. The Pythagorean comma.”

Edna: “Just as you said.”

Baker looks at her puzzle over her shoulder, and thinks of the resemblance to the pattern of the plaque itself.

“We should play Zammo sometime.”

Edna (more excitedly): “We should. Remember how that got us through tough times?”

Baker: “Yeah. We’ll play soon.”

Edna: “Not tonight, though.”

Baker: “No, not tonight.”

Baker pauses, thinks of the top level of everything. Then he says, “Dean, I mean, Sherwood might be the same as the alien on the spaceship that, er, abducted us. Does that interest you?”

Edna sits up. “How can that be?”

“I don’t know. It was just a thought. Remember we saw the craft the same night we camped out at Sherwood’s house. I camp out with Soybean Dean, and then Sherwood appears. It has to mean something.”

Edna: “Yeah, seems like it. And you say he looked like a… giant vegetable?”

Baker: “My idea is that he’s a mature version of Soybean Dean, the sprout. Either a father, as I said, which I suppose would go along with the Sherwood name, and that Sherwood Anderson was the father figure to Faulkner and also others.”

Edna: “Did he say anything to you? This time?”

“I’m… not sure. I think there was a conveyance that Soybean Dean would be alright at this creek, and that it was suppose to happen this way, that we turn the care over to this entity or whatever he is. Creek spirit. And I think I may have asked, at least mentally, if Soybean would, later on, become the spirit of Tile Creek. Was this a kind of preparation for that. And this is where the plaque comes into play.”

Edna: “The one you wrote in chalk at Tile Creek.”

Baker: “Right, at the place called New Hope.”

Edna: “It sounds like maybe Dean gave the plaque to you instead. Since he’s from Jasper County.”

Baker: “I don’t know. Anyway, that’s where Dean is and will be for a while: with Sherwood at the plaque creek. That’s an awful name for a creek… I’ll think of a better one.”

Soybean Dean knocks at the door of the house. It’s 10 o’clock at night. Edna and Baker know who it is, since no one visits them now except Dean.

Baker opens the door. “Soybean! You’ve combed your hair. Come on in.”

Soybean Dean: “I was reading your thoughts and decided to pop in.”

Baker: “Well, sure. That’s okay. I was about ready to go to bed but we have a little time. Do you want to stay the night?”

Soybean Dean: “No, I won’t take long. Just to chat a bit.”

Baker: “Well, how’s it going out there at the creek? I assume you’re still there. It’s been a couple of weeks.”

Soybean Dean: “Hi Edna.” He waves his twig-like arm.

Edna: “Hi Dean.”

Baker: “Well come in, come in.” Soybean Dean comes in and sits on the couch that Edna and Baker never sit on. Edna remains on her couch, the other one in the room that’s its duplicate, and Baker goes into the kitchen.

Baker: “Would you like anything to eat Soybean?”

Soybean: “No, Sherwood and I went fishing last night.”

Baker: “So you ate fish?”

“No, we just soaked up the minerals in the soil while we sat. I’m still stuffed.”

Baker: “So… is Sherwood treating you okay. Are you, um, learning a lot from him?”

Soybean: “Yeah. He’s me, you know. He told me that not too long ago. He’s me in another form, another.. time strata as he says. And he’s also you.”

Baker: “Oh. Really? No kidd’n?”

Soybean: “Yes. That’s what he wanted me to tell you at some point. I thought tonight would be a good time. Your day is winding down but you’re not quite ready to retire.”

Baker: “How ’bout something to drink, then? How ’bout one of those lattes that you love.”

Soybean: “Sherwood says I shouldn’t drink too much milk products. They, what does he say, lacerate me.”

Edna (laughs): “I think you mean you’re lactose intolerant. I suppose it has something to do with being a plant. So you still like the creek? I mean, we’ve been a little worried about you.” She glances over at baker. “At least I have. I mean, you came to us and then left us so quickly. Only a matter of weeks.”

Soybean: “I will talk a glass of water, Baker. Sir.”

Baker: “You don’t have to call me sir. Especially now. You’re all grown up and have a creek to call home now. Here, there’s your water, *sir*.”

Soybean eagerly takes the water and drinks. “Sherwood says I should drink 6 glasses of water a day.”

Baker: “I hate water. It’s like drinking liquid air. I mean, what’s the point?”

Soybean polishes off the glass of water and hands the empty to Baker. “Could I have another please, um… *baker*?”

Baker: “*There*, that’s better. Just baker will do fine. After all, it’s not like I’m your father.”

Edna: “Baker!”

Soybean looks concerned. “No, I suppose, I suppose Sherwood…”

Edna: “Baker’s your father, Dean. He’s just kidding you. Like he always does. Remember how funny baker b. is?”

Baker does a jig for Soybean to demonstrate, and Soybean breaks out in a smile. “Yeah, I remember.”

Baker refills the glass of water. “So you and Sherwood are getting along okay. Did I already ask that?”

Soybean: “Yeah.”

Edna: “Are you *happy* there Dean? That’s what we want. That’s what baker and I want most of all. Because if you’re not you can always come back to the basement and live. After all, you did a splendid job cleaning up the bathroom down there and also the living room. Didn’t he baker b.?”

Baker: “Oh, right. Excellent job. Like the space was meant for you. You’re quiet, polite.”

Edna: “Well, it doesn’t matter even if he isn’t totally quiet. Does it baker?”

Baker: “No, a little music wouldn’t do harm.”

Edna: “Yeah, remember how you liked listening to baker’s keyboard? Remember how you could play but you didn’t know how?”

Soybean: “Yeah. That was fun.”

Edna: “You can’t do that out at the creek.”

Soybean: “There’s a different type of music out there. The plants make music. The trees, the birds, the bees. It’s better. Baker needs to bring his keyboard out there and play. Resonate.”

Baker: “It sounds like you’re happy at the creek.” He looks at Edna.

Soybean: “Yeah, it’s where I’m suppose to be I guess.”

“And Sherwood certainly sounds like an interesting fellow. And you said you like him and all.”

Soybean: “Yeah. He’s very quiet compared to you, baker.”

Edna laughs. “But the point is that you like the creek. We want to make sure that you have the option of coming back here if you wish. You can’t venture out very much, true…

Soybean: “I can burrow through the walls. Into the dirt. Make the place larger. I have that talent as well. Like a mole. I talk to moles now. We share that talent.”

Baker (to Edna): “See? Talks to moles. Talks to birds, bees, trees. He’s learning Edna. He’s… happy.”

Soybean: “I’m… happy. I suppose I should get back. Nighttime is a busy learning experience. Mainly during the day I sleep. There are joggers out there during the day.”

Baker: “And I come by most days now as well. But I never see you. Where do you sleep during the day?”

“Sherwood told me not to say, but you’ll find it soon enough. Sherwood says there are many surprises in store for you soon.”

Baker: “The Sherwood that is suppose to be another aspect of me. Is he an aspect of Edna as well?”

Soybean Dean (quickly): “Yes.”

Edna: “How? ”

Soybean Dean doesn’t answer, but after sighing, says, “I must go now. I’ll come back later.” He gets up to go.

Baker: “Do you need anything for the road? Do you have a flashlight? Sleeping bag? You name it little fellow.”

Soybean: “No I’m finding that all the conveniences, as you put it, I had here I don’t really need out there. Each place takes care of itself in its own way. Dirt replaces blankets, soil minerals replace leftover Macadoo’s nachos grande, and rainwater replaces lattes. I have seen you with your latte in hand out there, baker, but Sherwood advises that I don’t disturb you during the day. My energy is low at that time. Night time is the time for learning.

Soybean heads for the door. Edna and Baker follow.

Edna: “You will come to see us soon, won’t you? Maybe we can go on a picnic.”

Baker: “It would have to be somewhere isolated. Soybean can’t be seen during the day especially.”

“Well then, a nighttime picnic. Out at the creek perhaps. Can Sherwood join us, by chance? Can we get to meet Sherwood? ”

Soybean Dean: “Oh, absolutely. He appreciates everything you’ve done for me. And, as I said, he’s you anyway. If you appreciate yourselves then you appreciate Sherwood. And then the shoe on the other foot as well.” Soybean Dean hugs Edna. “Goodbye Edna ma’am.”

“Goodbye Dean.”

Soybean hugs Baker. “Goodbye Baker… er, just Baker.”

Baker laughs. “Goodbye Soybean. Come back soon.”

“I will.”

He went out the door and was gone. Baker and Edna tried to see where he went but he just walked down the sidewalk and around the Honda Civic in the parking space just beyond and was gone.

“He must have walked,” Baker surmises.

Teleported, most likely,” Edna responds.

“What an interesting imaginary visit!”

Edna: “I hope he’s all right out there, baker. Maybe you should have him live with us some more. In your writing. After all, it took you a long time to break the apron strings. Maybe he’s the same way.”

Baker: “He’s fine. I could tell that from day one, when we first went out there, that that’s where he belonged. It’s up to Sherwood and him to decide if he should move to Tile Creek later on. That would be really keen.”

Edna: “We may see even less of him then, though.”

Baker: “True. Tile Creek is a longer way off… but not much.”

Edna and baker walk back to the couches and chair.

Edna: “Look baker, look what Dean left us!”

Baker and Edna stare down at the couch Soybean Dean was just sitting on at a beautiful onyx plaque with the 25 brass letters on it in a 5×5 pattern, the bottom row reversed from the rest.

Baker: “He’s still with us!”


“So it appears I still need to talk to you, Soybean.””You’re Stuck On Body.””I’m in a kind of pickle.”Pierre: “Gimme that back!””The voices in my head won’t quit.”Pierre (using 2 diff. voices): “Not insane, not insane, not insane. Will the real Baker B. *please*
report to neurosurgery.“Soybean? Soybean?” Baker looks around and underneath couch again. “Pierre, where’d he go? Pierre? Pierre??”Baker B. was alone.

Edna walks in with refreshments.

*****

Edna: “Don’t you miss Soybean. I mean, I really think he’s gone now!”

Baker: “Ah, he was an okay guy.”

Edna: “He was like a child!”

Baker: “Eh.”

Edna: “Oh, you miss him.”

Baker: “He’s going to turn into Tile Creek. He’ll be the spirit of Tile Creek. And when he does…”

Edna: “Baker, Dean said that would be his choice to make. He hasn’t decided yet. He’s way too young. He has so much to learn with Sherwood.”

Baker: “Did I tell you I was out at his creek and I tripped while thinking that Tile Creek was better? I know it was Soybean doing it!”

Edna: “Yeah, you told me at the coffee shop the other day.”

Baker: “Oh, I did? I can’t remember for some reason. Anyway, by doing this he made me spill some of my precious latte… boy was I mad. And then, after emerging from the woods I realized that in the *spill* I also lost the sunglasses I just bought.”

Edna: “Oh dear!”

Baker: “I mean, they fell off my head…” Edna gives Baker puzzled look. “I had them on my head.”

Edna: “Oh, right.”

“So I had to go back and look for them and luckily I knew they would be at the spill spot. 4 dollar glasses… 4 dollar latte… hmmmm, seems to be a pattern here. But anyway, I got the message that Soybean maybe was telling me I was missing something, so I took a different path back to the meadow, more along his little creek. I mean, Sherwood’s Creek.”

Edna: “How’s Sherwood doing?”

Baker: “What? I don’t talk to Sherwood.”

Edna: “Oh, sorry. But you talk to Soybean… out there?”

Baker: “Not really. Just here. When he shows up.”

Edna: “I don’t think…” Edna starts crying.

Baker: “Oh, the little bugger will be back soon enough. He’s out there all right still. He’ll be at the creek for a while. As you said, he’s young. Too little to be off on his own.”

Edna: “I miss him.”

Baker: “Ah, what’s to miss. He was a bean. He’ll be back anyway.”

Edna: “I wonder if we can go see him. I mean, in the middle of the night. When he’s not hiding. Just walk out there and call his name. See if he’s doing alright.”

Baker: “I’m not sure that’s a good idea.”

Edna: “I think you’re scared. I think you’re scared of Sherwood.”

Baker: “Who me? Sherwood?? Nah, it’s just a stream spirit. Mind you, perhaps a pretty big one as
little stream goes but… okay, yeah, I’m scared.”

Edna: “Because it reminds you of the UFO.”

Baker: “Yeah, maybe.”

Edna: “Well, I think we need to get over that fear. I think Soybean would like us to visit. Maybe he comes here and then we never go to his place.”

Baker: “I go.”

Edna: “But only in the day.”

Baker: “Hmmmm, just like with the UFO. Perhaps I’m masking something about that by replacing night with day.”

Edna: “Maybe you are.”

Baker: “But anyway — now dry your tears Edna — anyway, so I was walking a different way back to the meadow, more along the creek, see, and realized that I might have walked right through Soybean’s camp, or one of his camps.”

Edna (excitedly): “Really? Did you see…”

Baker: “Nothing in particular. I just got a feeling. You could also see the rock from the path, the rock I think might be the same as Sherwood which might be the same as the mature Dean.”

Edna: “I don’t think you told me that.”

Baker: “Oh, I didn’t? Well, you know that big rock on the path across from the Old River. The one you said you used to walk by.”

Edna: “Of course. I always liked that rock.”

Baker: “Well, that’s the one.”

Edna: “How is that Sherwood? I thought, I mean, I thought Sherwood was in the creek. The spirit of the creek.”

Baker: “I think the rock is where he dwells. Oh, if only Soybean were here to talk to.”

Baker and Edna both think they hear a soft rap at the door. But in listening more: nothing.

Edna: “That was weird. I’m getting chills.”

Baker: “Maybe it’s Sherwood instead this time. Nah, I don’t think Sherwood would come here.”

Edna: “Why not?”

Baker: “I don’t know. It just, seems beneath his level or something.”

Edna: “*I* don’t know. He might come here. What would we do? Maybe he’ll bring Soybean.”

Baker: “Well, there was no one there anyway.”

Edna: “No, I think someone was there.”

Baker: “Yeah, me too.” Both stare at door again.

Baker (after a pause): “You know, in this story or interview or whatever, usually when someone knocks they just walk in. I wonder what’s keeping Dean from showing up again?”

Edna: “He’s purposely holding back!”

Baker: “He has a control of the story now. It has something to do with Tile Creek. I’m trying to control him… trying to steer him toward an ultimate goal that may not be the right fit for him. I need some answers.”

Both instinctively look at the door again.

Edna (after another pause): “Maybe you should call up Pierre. Don’t you have his number?”

Baker: “Pierre was just here. Remember the voices in my… um, maybe he wasn’t. Pierre isn’t as solid anymore. Not like Soybean Dean is… was.” Edna makes a pouty face. “Okay, I’m sorry: *is*. He’ll show up again.”

Both look at the door again.

Edna (after realizing that the door isn’t going to open): “So tell me about this Tile Creek. What’s all… I’m not understanding the whole thing about Dean having to become Tile Creek. Has he actually *stated* the wish to do this, or is this something you’re assuming he wants to do without him telling you? Cause I can see that happening.”

Baker: “Nah, surely I’m a better listener than that.”

Edna (makes disbelieving face): “You sure about that?” She dabs her eyes with a kleenex to dry them.

Baker: “So I should go to Soybean and tell him that he doesn’t have to be Tile Creek and that I respect his creek, er, Sherwood’s Creek, just as much, and I know that he gets great comfort from the fact that Sherwood looks down upon the creek at night from his rock form.”

Edna: “I guess so. Something like that. He’s just a boy, or boy-like.”

Baker: “Am I re-creating what my parents tried to do to me?”

Edna: “I don’t know.”

Baker: “I’m serious. I mean, what did your parents try to make you become?”

Edna: “Nothing that I remember. They just wanted me to be happy.”

Baker: “Maybe it’s different for a boy.”

Edna: “Maybe.”

Baker sensed something deep was troubling Edna. By Soybean Dean leaving their existence, she had come to realize something was missing from her life. A reason, a purpose. This didn’t mean she wanted Soybean, or Dean as she called him, to be their child. But Soybean *was* like their child in a symbolic way. The struggle over the future of Soybean Dean had become the future of themselves jointly. Soybean Dean united them.

Baker realized some of this, then.

“So you don’t think I should try to control Soybean in this way.”

Edna: “He needs to be happy. He’s a child. He’s not fully formed yet. He doesn’t know what he
wants.”

Baker: “Maybe he’ll grow up to be an artist. A sculptor or perhaps a painter. If his little hands
develop properly.”

Edna: “That’s his choice. Maybe he’ll be an accountant instead.”

Baker: “Nah, not an accountant!”

They both stare at the door again.

*****

Baker: “I’ve decided I’ve got to go to Tile Creek and camp out. Before it gets too cold.”

Edna: “It’s cold already. I think it’s going to dip somewhere in the 40’s tonight. Or maybe it’s tomorrow. Why don’t you send Pierre out there instead?”

Baker: “Eh, Pierre doesn’t like doing my bidding any more. He’s not like Cory to Ricky.”

Edna: “More like Conky, then?”

Baker (laughs): “Er, yeah I guess. Besides, Pierre has Cammie to think about now.”

Edna: “Um, how’s that going, anyway?”

Baker: “I haven’t heard from them in a while.”

A voice sounds: “4orrin1, 4orrin1… 4orrin1.”

Baker: “Did you hear that?”

Edna: “Hear what?”

Baker: “A voice. A, um, God-like voice repeating 4orrin1 over and over.”

Edna: “Um, well at least *something* is happening in your interview now. Is it a new character,
by chance?”

Baker: “The only disembodied voice I remember in the interview so far has been Memmemger while in the blue-violet submarine with Machine Dean. She asked about the location of Red Lick. But this was a man’s voice, although it had the same resonant quality.”

Edna: “Really. Perhaps they are man and wife, then.”

Voice: “4orrin1, 4orrin1, 4orrin1.”

Baker: “There it is again! Did you hear it this time?”

Edna: “Um, I think I heard something. Isn’t 4orrin1 the alternate name of SID’s 1st Oz?”

Baker: “Of course not! It’s the new one that’s so large I haven’t finished it despite working on it for, oh, a ½ year now.”

Edna: “Well, if *that* illusion is over, then maybe the voice is telling you that you need to work on it again.”

Baker: “Okay.”

Edna: “We’ve emerged from the dream.”

Baker: “Alright.”

Edna: “It’s over.”

Baker: “Okay, okay, I’m getting to it.”

THE END OF COBALT.

Baker: “There.”

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