He looked out the window at the red light just in the bay. “Everyone knows your bar here is basically the center of Bena, Ben. Ha! Even your name begins Bena — hadn’t thought of that.”
Ben Wolf’s thought of it. “Nice of you to say.”
“Nice in the day here — with no one around,” returns Barry X. Vampire, the X added only this morning after his first beer. He explained to Ben that he’s keeping the Vampire last name, even though he’s giving up vampiring [sic?]. The “X”, then, refers to his *ex* vampire status. But keeping the Vampire last name might be handy if he ran into one of those nasty nests, like he use to be a part of when Bena was plain ol’ ugly Bennington. He turned to Ben at the time. “Remember those days?”
Ben Wolf remembered those days. Still the town starting with his name. Of course he remembers. He ran the show even more back then.
“Where will you go?” asked Ben back in the present, wishing Barry would not cover the tip jar with his arm. Oh well — no one here right now to tip; Barry certainly never does. All the vampires are nighty night during the day. Except for Barry, because he’s an ex and all. As of yesterday. Sold his coffin to some goofy joe named Pitch Darkly. Gotta place just in back of the cemetery now. Ben makes a mental note to walk back there sometime soon and check it out. Close to the Mother Place. Maybe too close.
“Thought you might help me with that, Ben,” answers Barry to Ben’s present question. “I like Corsica. I want to stay with the peaks and all. Like, you know, Mother’s Place is perched upon. He pivots in what he thinks is the correct direction toward the pivotal house.
“I told you not to mention that place in here. It gets the vampires all excited.” Then Ben, again, realizes it’s day. “Okay, okay, I suppose this *one* time it’s okay to talk about the Great Mother.”
“And peaks in general.”
(to be continued?)
on the border
We catch up with Barry X. Vampire in Urqhart, not far from Instabar on the Corsica continent atall. Like anyone who lives long enough, vampires obviously included, Barry has turned to novel writing to try to explain the inner life he sees mirrored in the outer life all around him. Recent killings in Instabar, actually, have planted the seeds for his next inspiration, centered on a *man* named Larch who was at the center of it all. In reading about the deaths in the local newspaper and then researching the man, Barry X. quickly found out that the lone pick in his profile was the Loch Ness Inn in a Scottish Highland related sim, with the description simply reading, “Old Country.” Sounds like his kind of place. He teleports over…
… only to find lego people living in a stone cottage on a hill overlooking the world famous lock. The inn must have moved, Barry deduced wrongly. He decides to ask one of the composite creatures if they knew of a Mr. Larch. “*The* Larch,” came one of their squeaky voices, and then Barry told them of the murders, which they didn’t know about, this Winfield 5 and his husband-wife Winnie. They said they warned him not to go back and stay here in the Old Country and that one of their “type” would do him in eventually — they saw it in the tea leaves and the cards and several other divining methods down through the years now. “‘Who will do him in?'” Winfield 5 asked dramatically when recreating the scene, painting it in vivid, clown-like colors. “‘One of *you* lot,’ it always said back in its various forms,” he relayed. “So Winnie and I racked our brains and gnashed our teeth about this down through the years, wondering why we — one of us; *both* of us — would have any reason to kill our good and kind and trusted friend Mr. Larch. But: now we have our answer.”
“Yes,” quickly added Winnie by his side, obviously sad at the death of his friend but still greatly relieved to know what the scrying messages were about after all this time.
Barry X. turns to take in the view and think about lego people and creatures in general. A lego monster killed Larch and the rest of his neighborhood watch gang attending that meeting held at DC Universe, he ruminates while watching what he thought might be the Loch Ness monster itself float by the ruins of the castle below him but which turned out to only be a line of porpoises. The meaning to his mystery, he realized, may turn out to be just as elusive.
What was the name of that castle down there? He couldn’t recall right off. It hit too close to home.
He finds out the rather shocking news. “The story begins in Urqhart,” he scribbles on the blank page back at home base. “Or is it Urq-U-hart.” Classic opening lines, he thinks while staring down. He’s beginning his own “Moby Prick.” Success at last!
A preliminary name is “The Revolving Tire”, after this lone object in the yard next to his. It’s truly in Urqhart, even if he isn’t. But he must find a better writing desk to view the thing for inspiration. Can’t keep penning his Great American Novel at the kitchen table!
Cathy knocks on the door. Cathy Love Peace Hippie Child is a girl Barry met down at the local biker bar the first night in town. He needed her then, but now, since he’s started what he feels will be his groundbreaking novel, she may be more distraction than necessity.
Bed, she thinks while staring in and thinking of the first night as well. *Definitely* want more of that.
Barry rather reluctantly answers the door, thinking he can take her shopping with him for that desk.
Dawn. March 8th, 2020. She wakes up in that bed again, Barry X.’s arms wrapped around her “tip jars”. Life is good. She remembers to set her watch ahead an hour. Fall back spring forward, she recites in her mind. Best to put the coffee on; surprise Barry X. with a fresh brew. That’s a woman’s duty: to rise before the man and get his day off to a good start. Not so-so, not even great perhaps. But good at the very least.
She reviewed events of the night before. Barry read her the first few pages of his new novel he’d written that day while she was at work, his GAN he called it. She was tired and probably didn’t appreciate it as much as she should. Thus another reason for the coffee, the breakfast. Let’s see, she thinks to herself while rummaging around his refrigerator purchased the day before that, along with a proper writing desk. No more writing his GAN on the kitchen table! he demanded. “All right, all right,” she tried to calm. “Don’t get your panties all in a wad.” It was an expression her mother use to use with her all the time, and now she throws it around indiscriminately to men and women alike. “Don’t get your panties all in a wad,” she said to Gadfly the cook that day when he demanded she pick his dishes up from the counter faster so the customers wouldn’t be served cold food. “Don’t get your panties in a wad!” she shouted at Horace the dog out back, incessantly barking during her only break of the day, a 15 minuter which turned into a 1/2 hour one when she then stepped into one of his special presents beside the door. “Arrrrgh!” she screamed. “ARRRGH!” she exclaimed even louder, then took off the soiled, high heel shoe and wobblingly made her way down the bank to the stream below, washing and washing it until the present was removed and the shiny black gloss of the void revealed again. Putting it back on at the top, she fumingly pointed at Horace all the way to the door, deftly avoiding what remained of the present. “Tumblestone!” she called to the busboy when re-entering the bar. “Clean up outside the back door. And *watch* where you step!” She then glared at Gadfly, at Jake the bartender, daring them to say anything about her break running over. They’d seen her in these moods before. Best to not have a dumpster fire again. Or worse.
She removes eggs from the refrigerator and looks around for a frying pan.
(to be continued?)
on the border 02
Anty Jim says he never saw SEAN pass through this place, and Arthur Kill’s informant sees everything, what with all those ants crawling all over his two eyes. Many eyes now! Kill considers for the first time that he planted Anty at the wrong Last Drop cafe. He just figured since it was in the center of Big Sink that this was the correct one. What better place to open the egg? he calculated. Start of a new religion. Beyond Second Life. Sunklands, center of.
But Anty, again, sees everything. SEAN was never here. He’d have to check the others. And he was so sure of this. He even booked vacation time next week he’ll have to absorb the cost of!
When he returns home to [delete sim name] he checks this Veyot woman’s web feed for more Last Drop locations but finds something unexpected during the perusing.
“Barry X. Vampire,” he mutters. “As I breathe and stink.” His priorities suddenly shift. Barry would know where SEAN was. If I find Barry, he realizes, then I find the egg. Last I heard, I just missed him in Urqhart. Shame. He would have made a pretty head mounted on my trophy wall.
The phone rings. It was Axis again.
“Get there,” he monotoned on the opposite end, then *click*. Arthur Kill just stared at the receiver for a couple of minutes until he remembered to place it back in its carriage.
middle end 01
Barry X. Vampire never made it out of the original 9×9 square of sims that included his home town of Bena(ngatron). He was still in Fearzum, struggling to choose a direction for escape. “West, obviously,” he might mutter at some point. “Or is it South?” Little did he know until today that the correct way out was *centre*, right in the middle of it all. I’m almost positive of this.
He uses his gift he’s had from childhood in seeing this centre in any sim he’s in. A red beam connecting ground and sky always indicates it — he *can’t escape.* It was inevitable that he grew to understand what this meant all along. Particularly frustrated at this day’s events and the inability to write, he’s drawn toward it. For calm. For peace. Maybe for even love. The love he misses from Cathy Love Peace Hippie Child, perhaps, left behind in Urqhart along with the nifty, many windowed house he liked so much, with the spinning tire outside that inspired the writing of his current novel, the newest working title being “Wheels Go Round”.
And what do wheels spin round? A centre. It was inevitable. Guided by the beam he starts to move away from a central western perimeter position. Due east — interesting again. What would he pass on this central line in?
For one, this fence sequestering a square of grassy green off from the rest of Fearzum-town. Not quite the past but getting there.
At its corner, he starts sensing the egg. Is this white object here an egg? It would be about the right volume, he ponders, if not the right shape. Is it in disguise?
Then he walks over to the other side and sees the “Multiscene” label and determines it probably isn’t. Onward and inward!
middle end 02
He picks up the central 128 line on the other side of the World Wide Heroes Institute Building from the “egg”.
He pauses to take in the scenery. Tall, futuristic buildings still block his view of the centre from here. From the past he was destined to enter all along. He continues…
… to quickly come on this centre, also along a wall separating off a parcel from the rest of Fearzum-town, like he just passed. But this was different. This *hole* also contained objects. Past objects, Ancient even.
He stands as close to the actual centre as he can get and looks inside.
Hold on. What’s *this*? He reads the description: “Etoile”. Star in French. What is a *star* doing in the middle of the past?
middle end 03
He’s gone as far as possible into the past from the future present. He can only peer inside. But this star — is it the key? Is it — the *egg*?
Barry X. Vampire suddenly realizes he shouldn’t have killed off Jeffrie Phillips in his new novel, and that Arthur Kill is now over his head in searching for the egg. Cathy Love Peace Hippie Child shouldn’t have been bumped off either. Arthur Kill should have remained on Staten Island. Marty should have never summoned him. The list goes on and on actually. He’ll have to destroy pages 32-64 as soon as he gets back to his
campsite apartment. 1/2 of his novel suddenly vanished into thin air! But this star in front of him, illuminated by the red, is real. The star, this Etoile object, means something.
Peter, he understood, looking at a map in his head as well. Tracy Austin — Katy Kidd’s mother, who of course grows up to be Kate (The Real) McCoy. Tennis — a friend (88). “Lamb.” Peter, who seems to be the same as Axis even if he himself doesn’t realize it yet, is trapped in Fearzum — just like I am — because he is one with the Lamb, one with God perhaps. The Lord: The Lamb. Wheeler (Venus) has made it so. Marty has just made himself Starless and Bible Black, losing what is in front of me to behold. The star! “Etoile,” he repeats aloud.
He stares and stares until he becomes one with it.
section 02 02
Marty never got that dye, at least this night. Linda had moved into the treehouse next to the bar to save money — couldn’t afford even the one bedroom house across the road now due to sinking her money into all those Corona-V’s. The lush. Plus it was a shorter walk to the bar and a shorter stagger back home, she explained to hubbie Marty the next morning. I should also add that she used the bar’s bathroom for her business. “Maybe we should just move in together (again),” she suggested during her morning martini, temporarily forgetting about the deficiencies of Marty’s own bathroom. “Where’s *Marty’s* martini?” she started asking irritatingly after a couple of deep draws, which didn’t set the stage well.
Marty didn’t want this. He had the freedom now to do what he wanted, see who he wanted to see. He was still married true, but…
Barry X. Vampire paused here in his writing. So Marty is still married to Linda, he thought, but they’re kind of estranged, even though they live in the same sim. And Marty is pining for former bar employee Cathy Love Peace Hippie Child, the one who stepped in the doo out back and is also unable to give Marty his old doo (hair) back. He tapped the No. 2 Kendal pencil lightly against the two manuscript pages he had typed tonight. And where was he? we must ask (to continue setting the stage). In the Centre of It All? But that’s where we’ve seen Olive of “Olive Green Pink” fame. Is Barry’s book *that* book? Oh… something is happening in the present in Urqhart as Marty and Linda begin stirring about. She’s in place for the Big Reveal — better head back.
“Just over there,” she explains further while pointing through the slats of the upper deck’s fence.
“A ball park?” exclaimed Marty in disbelieve. “Out in the middle of *nowhere*?” So this is the big change he was warned about. By Barry (Barry?).
“I’ve got to figure out where I *am* in this story, Inspector-Chef Petty. Am I in Storybrook? Or — here?” The answer was obvious. He was here. He draws back out of the media feed in his adopted house in Greater Urqhart.
The butler came to him from behind with an offer of tea, which would have been his 6th drink of the day to add to 2 iced expresso beverages, 2 hot coffees, and 1 other tea, a blend of caffeinated and decaffeinated Earl Grey, mix in some Orange and Spice for pizzazz. Just like the one being offered.
“No thank you, Alberta, not right now.” Then Barry spoke again to the butler over his shoulder. “Say, you’re from Corsica originally, aren’t you Alberta?”
“Yes sir. The western part, or, more correctly, the southwestern part. I originate from a place called Butler as well. I am a butler and my place of origin is Butler but it is all coincidence.” He spoke methodically, something like a robot but not quite. There was still warmth in his voice. And the overtone trill of an insect.
Wannabe famous novelist Barry X. Vampire knew there were no coincidences, at least not in His Second Lyfe, by experience. He began to query more. It was thus here that he learned of his alternate existence on the border between Golen Hill and Golen Bay, with the same butler, with the same media feed, with Inspector-Chef Petty still by his side reading “Floydadada” or the “Necronomicon” or whatever the current book rage was, red one be damned. He will *not* pick up the red one and read, no sir-rie. But then he did — just found the book in his hands all of a sudden. Inspector-Chef Petty begins to red. A red door appears behind him — her, a portal…
“It is known for its great belts,” continued the butler, as if nothing had happened, no movement or teleportation occurred. “Black Diamond style. The word Belt is incorporated into the word Butler, after all. Think about it sir. Think long and hard about it. I will leave the great belt with you to decide.
Decide *what*? Barry X. Vampire ruminated as the butler left the object on the table before retreating back downstairs somewhere. “*Somewhere*, he then realizes, seeing the portal for what it is. Amazon — Basin. *Comet.*
The door opens.
Barry? Come in, Barry.
She was just finishing up Movement 3 of the Platinum Prune suite of songs, popular in Corsica Prime these days. Her hands lift from the keyboard after an ending chord of complex expression.
“There. 3 of 5 done. Or is it 6? Jeffrie, be a dear and pull up the big fat map of the continent for all to see where we are presently.”
Listening Jeffrie on a nearby couch complied.
“*4* of 5,” exclaimed Audrey, looking beyond the facade of Our Second Life into the frame of it all. “Lordly I must have been on the wrong movement after all. We’re at Drane Hill!”
She peered remotely beyond the juxtaposed black and white statues outside toward the hill above the cabin they rented last night, all out in the air and exposed and without any attached Big Inside at all, unlike the story with Storybrook and its Kraken Hill. Marsha “Pink” Krakow and her family, kin and extended, should be arriving soon to breathe in the fresh air of a new location, feet grounded again.
And I suspect wannabe famous novelist Barry X. Vampire is around as well, given the red beam and all.
Barry X. Vampire
I have a chance to return, finish my novel. “The Spinning Tire.” “The Revolving Wheel.” Still working on it. Still working on the text. I should talk to Buddy about it, the butler.
“Wait, you’re Alberta.”
“Correct, sir. Did you enjoy the Great Belt?”
“Did I tell you I am a butler and my original home was Butler? In Pennsylvania of the US of A.”
“Yes, I think you mentioned it. But what about *Urqhart*? We’re in Greater Urqhart, true. But if I choose to buy that land, or *retain* that land, we’ll be right in the heart of things. Green, Alberta. The land is so green. It feels like home to me. I’m not sure about Baker Bloch, though. I think he’d like to downsize and keep things in Fordham over on that arid Nautilus ridge. Obviously I’d like the opposite — seems like it. What — how do you weigh in, Alberta? You’re a trusted friend, and you know the area. What about that dried up body of water over there, Sox Pond and Indian Lake combined? Seems like that’s enough to keep me — us — in the area and away from Nautilus.”
“I think sir, considering all the possible pathways, that there is no true wrong decision at this point. And NWES —”
“Ah yes. NWES. Export of bits and pieces of Collagesity into that still growing, massive burg. Fast becoming the Tokyo of Mainland, Our Second Lyfe it is.”
“Marty is there,” suggested Alberta. “But also Marty is *here*.”
You can start with the house; build out from that.”
“Well. That looks like it for Collagesity in Nautilus, Hucka Doobie. Can’t upgrade beyond a 8192 here any more. Only way to expand is to move to Urqhart.”
“Or thereabouts,” amended Hucka. “Not *quite* in Urqhart.”
“Close enough,” responds the male Baker, perhaps soon to be sole owner of this downsized Collagesity if things swing back the other way. Wheeler Wilson will be out on her high heels. I wonder what that would do to the somewhat diminished town moving forward? Will Carrcassonnee fully return? *Can* she? With perhaps help from relative newcomer and fellow one eyed monster Frank, for example? Trouble is, there might not be a Temple of TILE to house them, if so.
Bottom line: I have an 11924 in Urqhart or thereabouts to play around with or else sell again in the next several weeks, probably for at least the same amount I bought it. Only thing risked, really, is increase of tier for the month. But like the RL wife said, it’s all for art. Why not? Not much of a risk at all in the bigger picture.
But the sale could be the 8192 in Nautilus. Here.
In my estimation, Hucka Doobie is plotting to eradicate Wheeler from the picture: push the fusion of Collagesity and NWES City and the at least partial absorption of the former into the latter, kind of like what was planned for Collagesity and VHC City several years back in the story of photo-novel 4. We’ll see if Baker Bloch/Barry X. Vampire listens close enough.
“The story of Mainland remains downsizing,” she continues in her urgings. “NWES City is an anomaly in that way. We *must* latch onto that energy. The signs are there.”
“Oesso signs,” replies Baker Bloch, also thinking of the newest collage set in NWES City and its perpetual window. To what, though?
I think it might be swinging.
“You shouldn’t be digging too deep in these hills, Marty. There’s Indian relics that you don’t want to be uncovering.” He indicates the heavily bulldozed, grassy green knoll behind the famous singer/composer.
“Cursed, yeah. I know all about that.”
“The fame,” guessed Barry X. Vampire from his swing, smoking a Marlboro tonight for a particular reason. Marlborough.
“Star,” Marty furthered. “Like Marsha ‘Pink’ Krakow wanted to be. I sent Arthur Kill over to Storybrook to kill all that. But then I had a change of heart. Let her be a star if she chooses. It’s her life to live. I will be hidden darkly in the Beech Grove if she needs me, like New Orleans. I still have a key.”
“To success,” Barry finished again.
“To *failure*,” Marty corrected. “Obscurity. It’s what Vain people like us fear the most. To die in Vain when we could have died in Washington D.C.”
“Capitol idea,” came the reply this time.
“Capitol *Records* idea,” and then in Marty’s newish Urqhart garden they played his first non-Capitol hit “Coming Up,” knowing it would inspire Lemon to come back to music one last time. Despite the immense weight of fame and also Yoko Ona. Who we should probably talk to next; get her side of the story.
“Of course, Albert. She *belts* out tunes like no one and she does this at The Diamond owned by a Black (man). We must get in touch with this Jim A.; see what he knows about The Room. Something happened there, er, Alberta… sorry about the name before.”
“That is okay, sir,” Alberta the Selenite butler dutifully assured. “I am but a humble servant, ready to serve.”
“I think I’ll wear the Great Belt again — stare out at the tire.” He knew he could get additional insights this night. Energy was obviously strong here in Urqhart or thereabouts now that Collagesity had been manifested. So exciting! Green: so green here. No arid, desert-like surroundings to deal with any longer. He was *free*.
Alberta returned with the belt. “Here it is, sir. Do you…?”
“No. I can do it,” requested Barry X. Vampire, knowing what Alberta was going to ask. He didn’t need help getting it on this time. He was getting use to the contraption. And the shock. More difficult for a man!
“I think it’s working, Albert!” he called back, happy in the moment.
“That’s very fine, sir.”
He deftly straddled the Baja Bullet, looking around. Star, huh? Yeah, he was in the right place. Now to find Your Mama and, hopefully, Jim A. as well.
Maybe start at the Starlite up there…
The Donut Hole, Marty thinks while looking down at it from the high window of the Starlite Lounge, fortunately for him and others one of the last Pipersville landmarks Lt. Salt had on his list to check. Didn’t get there. “And Sweet Alice is the filled void in the middle; no need to go back,” he spoke aloud while turning his red topped option back to the turntables. For every season, I suppose — seasoning. Pepper in this case. Pepper black starry void of 1975 or thereabouts.
He stares thataway now at what’s being filmed…
“You can take the Great Belt away, Walter. For now.”
“Buddy, sire,” softly and politely corrected the Selenite butler to his master.
“Yeah, sure. But Poetry and I are happy, Harry. We have some stuff to work on here for a while. Right Poetry?”
“Alberta,” she whispered back to lover Barry X. Vampire.
“What’s that dear?”
a ouija name
“You’re not listed.”
Waka Wajaka turns to face me. “I know.”
A nearby green dot seemed to indicate he remained around, but I couldn’t re-find the guy.
“You are my *sister*.”
“There’s no middle (sim) on this map, Charlie. What are you (still) hiding from me?”
Better get him (Peter Oesso) back to square 01…
“There was no middle sim on that map back there (in the school), Poetry — sister of mine.”
“Maybe,” she repeated in her pleasant enough voice. Made for a family member.
“I have some questions for you.” But then, looking right at the colorful watercolor painting on the wall while listening to the noisy, meaningless cockatoo chatter on, he realized he needs to ask about umbrella with a capital “U”. Umbrella.
The sister (?) turned ugly again. Better get her back up the stairs just back there to lover Barry X. Vampire for her own
“He was asking about the middle, where I was bourne.”
“What did you tell him?” Barry was itching for more plot revealing. The appearance of Waka Wajaka several days ago had really freaked him out. He had a Freak Out. Hmmm.
“I told them there was a motel. Over in a place with a heart in its name. Room 03 of 05. Secret room as well that acts as a control, a key — spies on the others.” All men are dicks, she was thinking.
“This is more than I’ve heard you talk in a long time, Poetry Dancer,” Barry X. Vampire responded, pleased. “You’ve spoken about this room once before.”
“Maybe,” Poetry replied, staring back at the fire. She had returned to her usual, non-talkative self. Reversion. Ironic, I suppose, that she was beautiful once more. Barry X. Vampire must hurry tonight; get more info out of her if possible. He thought “info” there instead of “information” to save time (for example).
“Room 03,” he prompted. “Big Black Smoke was guarding. Charlie mentions in LOST. Kinks song.” Ahh, he thought, solving part of the mystery himself. The Kinks and Zappa will always be linked now, thanks to the Piera. (David) Watts.
“It is what it is.” No more info will be found 2-night.
Sun bathed Poetry, hovering on her more inaccessible balcony, stares over at the town clock, trying to get her bearings. 12:30, no 1:30, no 2. Is this another 5/4ths time keeper? She decides to give it up and go inside to ask lover Barry X. Vampire, since brother Peter Oesso isn’t available right now. Neither would probably lie to her, but Peter was the best bet. For now. Family is forever.
“Barry, is this a sim or a planet?” she starts, trying to figure out the time flying thing. Soo frustrating this place is, arrrgh! She longs for center (sim) again.
Barry, seeing lover Poetry Dancer getting ugly, tells her to go ask Peter. “Just down the stairs outside at the small cafe,” he directs while holding his stuffed stomach full of bread and butter. No use in compounding the mood.
“Thanks,” she barks while angrily striding toward the door. *SLAM* “For nothing,” she then mutters just outside. She takes a deep breath. Calm again. Callmm. She is beautiful once more.
“You can’t see the clock from that balcony,” Peter replies truthfully while continuing to read the town paper at his new table away from the former, umbrella themed one with the perpetual, unreadable music score laying upon it. “Impossible — it’s completely sideways to you there. Might as well be a clock yourself, heh.”
While reviewing the truth of his statement in her mind, Poetry suddenly remembers she has a sister. A brother and a sister. She tells this to Peter.
“Sidereal?” he exclaims, forgetting about the paper, the city as a whole. “What kind of name is *Sidereal?*”
“I wanted to show you this underwater gallery, Barry, to demonstrate that Paperville has gone through many changes, some resulting in the disappearance of the village altogether, at least for a while. The important thing is that the concept carries on. And this same thing should happen to Collagesity. I’m sorry. I cannot allow you to stay. You of course can take Poetry back with you. You have to find her sister for one thing. Please keep up; we’re nearing the end of this section of our journey.”
“You can look and you can look but you won’t find your sister in these series of pictures, Poetry. Axis, the New God of Paperville after all, said she hasn’t been here in a while — ran off with a fellow named Biker several years back now. Went to a place on the mainland called Iris, like an eye. And she was searching for an ‘I’. It went missing in a jumble of tiles numbering 25 down from 26. Now we are on a similar journey, Axis states. A search for center.”
“But we’re *in* the center (sim),” a disappointed, sad Poetry countered Barry, still peering at the people, still searching. That *could* be her in the far back with the white robe, she thinks, eyes squinting in an attempt to focus. Axis, although a
New Near God, might not know *everything*. There’s always the 5 percent chance out of 10 that marks it down to 9.5. He has a Diamond of a mind now thanks to Cat-Witch, a true return of David A.B. to his perch at the center of it all. To him…
“Margret,” he prompts, interrupting her reverie and saying her real name for the 1st time in a while. She knows she must pull out of the past…
“Beautiful place isn’t it?” spoke the biker to his side. Hmm: Biker. “You won’t find a better place.”
“I don’t expect to,” returned Barry X. Vampire, knowing he was being kicked out by the head honcho. “Get your own sphere,” he said on our tour of the underwater gallery, seeing many of the iterations of Paperville in the past. “Collagesity can be as important as Paperville,” he then furthered. “You think about that upon your return.
Barry X. Vampire later contemplated the two were a balance, one focused internally and the other outside of itself, as in the great outdoors. They are kind of backwards from each other in this respect.
In this moment, the train outta here should be arriving any minute. Poetry had to run over to the apartment to retrieve a final thing, she said, but met Hucka Doobie sitting at Peter Oesso’s old spot on the way back. “Don’t — I know you?” she wanting to ask while glancing over, but didn’t have the time. She just passed and nodded.
Hucka had done her work. She would be remembered later on.
“I don’t understand what I’m suppose to be *learning* here!”
A noise from the back of the room. She had awoken someone. “I’m here. I’m here. I’m here,” the boyish male voice sleepily repeated, as if waking up from a dream. “I’m here.”
But when she got up and turned in surprised response no one was there.
He kissed the cone topped clown head from the back. “I love you,” he cooed. “And I *understand* you.”
He turned and finally saw her. In the flesh! She was scratching her head, but not from something she didn’t understand this time. Lice. Must have got in during the middle of the night. No more sleeping in clown barns!
She hadn’t notice him yet because of all the scratching. Itching and scratching. He could run away — again. But where? Back to his maw? Nah, that wasn’t really an option, although he needed food every once in a while. Tripe: better than entrails at times. It described his life perfectly.
Bubbles, he thought. That’s what I’ll call her. The name just floated into his head like an enclosed air pocket. And once he had a name then talking could commence. “Little girl, little girl,” he began softly, out of earshot again. He knew just how to pitch it to remain unheard. Then: “I’m here, I’m here, I’m — *here*.” The last “here” got through, as he planned. Despite the name (DeBoy, derived from D-Boy or Dunce Boy or one who makes a lot of “D”s and just gets by) this diminutive fellow is quite nuanced and different from us more learned folks. And now he possibly has a friend.
Suisan turned again toward the voice but again saw nothing but a cone. The boy remained invisible to her.
“Come on and hurry up with that kid’s puzzle, Duncy. I’m ready to start with the *adult* toys.”
“Now Duncy. *Separate* your words; don’t compound everything you say just because you are *lazy*.”
“All… right.” He was trying so hard not to be stupid and duncy. He so wanted to earn a new nickname from Bubbles.
And later he would: The Boy or just Boy, derived from DeBoy (derived from D-Boy or Dunce-Boy or one who makes a lot of “D”‘s). Because one day, not too far in the future and maybe even today, The Boy from DeBoy would open Suisan’s eyes to the world around her and the horror it entails. Entrails.
“Maw came back last night,” DeBoy (still DeBoy here and not The Boy — yet) offered while keeping alert for a puzzle piece with a brightly painted clown face on it. “Fresh from Stomach Land.”
“Now, *Duncy*. You *know* there’s no such place.”
“There tis too.” He had a while to go in Suisan’s eyes. She could see the boy now but the cone still dominated the face. Sometimes — often — he became merely a cone again. DeCone.
“There it is!” he exclaims, spotting it with his keen eyes. He inserts another piece. Shouldn’t be long now.
Bake’s Bakery has moved in to one of the 2 lower rooms of my more downtown Teepot apartment. The demon hot beverage dispenser remains, ha ha (he he he (ho ho ho ho)).
Just around the corner (hu hu!).
Also: the important bits of the attached apartment remain. Like this now 5 day old pizza in one of the 2 upstairs rooms (hi!).
“We better get down to business, Jeffrie. Let’s talk about Audrey.”
“Okay, um, *doctor*.”
The original Jeffrie Phillips.
“On the house today, boy. *The* Boy. Congrats!” the old service robot creaked and cranked. The look became him.
“Aww. Thanks Slicey!”
“He’s at the (Bumble) Bee, David.” tracking Duncan Avocado spoke over a nearby phone. Indistinguishable talking from the other end, then: “Yeah, his maw’s out of town again. This was an easy one.”
“Well I’m worried because he hasn’t come home yet.” Indistinguishable speech. “Yes, I just got back into town.” Indistinguishable speech. “Stomach Land, right.” Indistinguishable. “Yes, should be good eating tonight — listen, just meet me over here at the motel. Is that alright?” Indistinguishable speech. “*Sorry*. Is — that — all — *right*?” Laughing, perhaps derisive. “I know I’m teaching him bad lessons; just get over here.” She hung up the receiver. She kind of slammed the receiver back into its carriage, actually. 1/2 and 1/2. She turned toward the Big Boy in the southwest corner of the sim and shook her head. So obsessed was her little dunce of a boy with it. “I’m going to grow up to be *this* tall!” he exclaimed one time, juxtaposing his own diminutive figure with the much larger one in an exact 1:1 match from Pink’s perspective. He knew how to manipulate the angles just right to get the effect. He was indeed a gifted child in many ways, his mother knew. But not schooling. And Marsha “Star” Pink’s lack of same didn’t help atall. At — all.
(to be continued?)
“Umbrella, huh?” muttered private dick Wendell “Biff” Carter after he’d finally found the correct place to read in his red book. Read book? Anyway, maybe it’s just the correct *place*… to read his book. Paperville. In a coffee and pastry shop with some suspicious design parallels with the recently opened Bake’s Bakery over in Teepot. He can read it here; he can read it there. Hmm (again). Better get over for a shot of those “Umbrella dunces.” *This* is where Dunce Boy aka D Boy aka DeBoy (etc.) went after his hat transformation and acquiring that tracking red tie from either the Pot-D or Pan-Z tracking gang. Probably the latter, unless it is the former. Jeffrie Phillips would know. If we could find him. He’s disappeared too. Another suspicious
To that tell-tale Paperville sculpture:
The Boy is here!
“I was wondering if you’ve seen a little boy. About yea high?” Walter Pillsbury then sticks his hand behind his head in a nervous reaction, pretending to scratch his neck. There was something on it that he wasn’t suppose to reveal. The hand must remain hidden and out of focus as best as possible.
“No, I’m afraid not sir. Like I tell everyone with such an inquiry, you’ll have to talk to the king.” That’ll put them off, Tipsy the barista thinks without saying. Because the king is much too busy to deal with such a trivial matter. Little did she know.
Stranger Creek 02
He was as close to the centre as he could be while remaining on solid.
He looked over at the big cone, where everything started to go wrong. Perhaps The Boy wasn’t here, but his influence has lasted. Through time. Whether he was or wasn’t the same as Illuminatus, the Great God of Chaos and Destruction and Deception and the like, didn’t really matter. Because he was merely a pawn in a game of long duration. Centuries. Yet only seconds as well.
He does a double take. The cone moved!
Someone else was here in this queer, weird land.
He was going to be a different kind of artist. He was going to make holes, but he was going to cover up holes. Of sorts. Time to meet up with his other art friend in the sim. He should have some works ready by, say, next Friday? He’s got a long weekend to catch up. And he is catching up (*splat*!).
He’s a maker of magical jeans, dresses, tops, all the rage in Our Second Lyfe in yesterday’s tomorrow which is today. Almost. It’s the 11th dream day still. He works fast so he uses Paint 3D. He’s made a pact with a fire demon burning brightly and steadily in the center of it all.
His name is almost Rothko but not quite. If you googled it, the search engine might think you were looking instead for Mark. That close: Close City close.
He doesn’t have a lot of fans yet except for Sandy, who bought a designer dress off of him day before… well, Saturday. Sandy Beech, who we’ve already met over at NWES City, a world hemisphere away from this Corsica continent and its peakology and all. There are peaks on the Jeogeot continent but not the notable sharp, rocky kind like here. Barry likes peaks; that’s why he’s in Yellowmoon or thereabouts; that’s why he *might* also be, before or after or somewhere in-between, on that double peaked mountain near NWES City — on its overarching or inclusive or *umbrella* island. Barry sortof named Rothko. Thothko? Not quite.
It was in the Cub Run thrift shop on that city on that island where Sandy found the catchup stained dress. Hmm, he thought, unhooking its hanger from the rack to take a closer look. He’d never seen art clothing in a consignment store before. With its cute bow in the middle (he continues to think at the time) it looks exactly like — Oh *God*. He pays 300 lindens for the red and blue dress and quickly leaves.
a river runs through it
The artist whose name sounds like Rothko sits opposite Andy Warhole, one a-hole of a guy.
“The soothsayer will be here soon and we’ll *see*…
who’s the better artist in hyperspace and hypertime.”
“Just hypertime will do. I don’t do hyperspace.” His voice was level and confident, like he was the more famous artist already instead of a basic unknown. Andy was threatened. He’d been to Gabby several times since we last saw him over in Cassandra City (Moe’s –now sold!). The picture was clearing in his smoky ball. Andy was not the most famous artist of the land! Gabby then explained this was in hypertime — Gabby worked mostly in hyper worlds to see his visions, he said — and thus there’s *time* to change the outcome. Gabby didn’t illuminate the idea of complementary hyperspace to the rather dim witted Warhole; probably knew it would be a waste of his breath. Hypertime was enough for today. The stage had been set. And here he was, murderous covid ravens circling above and outside this tiny cafe perched on the top of Yellowmoon or thereabouts. With the artist whose name sounded like Rothko but wasn’t Rothko. Close! Close enough for Andy. Because Andy indeed thought he was this artist. He had trouble resolving near from same in his fuzzy way of thinking, and Barry was just playing along with the confusion. So this would be another Post involving Close.
Thoko: that’s it. Maker of fine designer women’s clothing. But that would become a front for something much more deep and sinister, like the Amazon itself. It was like going from Nowhere to Somewhere…
Ant arrives from his castle in the distance. Harrison Jett will shortly show up from his castle in the opposite direction acting as rear guard. Soon the battle will commence in earnest.
(to be continued)
Barry 02 Graham 02
Wheeler was called in to move some 88’s and decided to have a chat with Barry while she was at his studio. “How’d the meeting go with Warhole?” she asked to begin. “I heard Ant and Harrison Jett were also there. Something about murder?”
“No,” defended Barry, not worried about his blood stained hands in the moment, although he reflexively crossed his arms to hide them.
“No, everything was lovely,” he continued. “Warhole and I were bickering a bit when Ant and Harry showed up.”
“Yeah, that’s what Ant called him all the time. Anyway, *they* started bickering with each other and then we started looking around, all four of us, and begin laughing. First a ha, then a ho ho, then a hu hu hu, then a full out he he he he for all. Graham then served some kind of regional soup for us and then everyone said ‘hi’ to end, kind of like aloha.”
“Graham? Who’s that?” continued Wheeler with the questions. She didn’t plan on delivering so many but here we are. She looks over at the slanted picture of the Eiffel Tower and thinks we need to get back over to Marwood and the bots for more storytelling on the Jeogeot continent. Speaking of which…
“Graham owns the cafe. Rothko fan through and through, along with collecting covid ravens and practicing anti-fascist remote viewing.”
“She?” Barry didn’t say ‘she’ — didn’t identify a sex for Graham, which is more a boy’s name I’m assuming. Where did Wheeler get…? Oh, maybe *she’s* indicating I should go in that direction. *She* wants to be Graham. So I decided to ask her. Wait, I’m not in this shot.
Barry didn’t pick up on the anomaly and simply replied, “*she*, yeah.” Wheeler was already checking her outfits.
(to be continued?)
He was sitting in a far away city, staring at a wall and thinking of nothing. Not: how did I get here? Not: wtf?? Just a blank slate. We better write upon it. Where’s that chalk?
*Flower Shop*, that was it. Turn around, DeBoy, and come face to face with your new home!
“I often dream I’m a little boy with this tie on. I didn’t know much but I was gifted in other ways. Something about this tie…”
“Are you going to crash here again tonight? asked Norma the cashier. But most people just called her Norm. Normal Norm, who always handles the Cash. And she has a secret pipeline to the Amazon — that’s why her flowers seem so fragranty and exotic. They are! Didn’t cost her an arm and a leg but instead something else. “Are you going to answer me, Graham?”
Graham, he thinks, still hazy from a dream. That was my name in another far off place. Something about a mountain without green, something about a big picture with blocks of color. Something about… an Ant.”
(to be continued?)
Oh, I forgot. “Yes,” he answered to Norm’s question. She rings up 10.75 in credit to his response. But he’ll probably just pay again with that other thing he’s good at besides lounging around all day.
She kept scribbling with the chalk while talking, producing figure after figure, like an adding machine but beyond: all the numbers and more. “So you see it’s very easy.” She caps off her last equation with a triumphant swirl of the arm. She faces the classroom. “Bullfrog was Dr. Rabbid Baumbeer all along, so when Sue Ellen Hutchinson or Hutchison killed the *lat-ter*… she also killed the *for-mer*. It’s all indicated way back at the beginning with this modifier here.” But before she could circle the appropriate symbol with her yellow chalk — I believe it was a “q” — Barry spoke up. He couldn’t wait any longer; had his arm in the air for a while now, which the young(-ish) teacher was use to. She didn’t want to be interrupted until this decisive declaration.
“Miss Graham, Miss Graham,” he interjected. She twirled, as if surprised by his voice. She wasn’t. “Oh… yes Barry.” She points to him with her chalk instead of the “q”.
So (his name) wasn’t Graham — the *teacher* was Graham. Wheeler had her wish.
“I’m wondering, uh, if all this means red caps are bad. *I* have on a red cap.” He takes off his cap and quickly puts it back on to emphasize. *And* a red tie.” He flips his tie at the teacher, who jumps back a bit as if it were a snake. It made a peculiar, cartoon(-ish) snapping noise she wasn’t expecting. What was *that*, she thought internally. She’d have to add it in somewhere on the board to figure out later. Better not erase this juggernaut just yet.
Barry woke up still holding his tie. “Q, heh?” he said aloud to no one. “I’m Q(!)”
(to be continued?)
“Half and Hole”
“If you approach things with a sense of humor, people immediately assume you’re not to be taken seriously. But I think truths about society and human existence can be approached in different ways. You don’t always have to be deadly serious. Sarcasm and humor can help you see things in a lighter vein.”
“It’s an extension of my old work into collage. The 3d Venus turns into herself (again) only to be a hole. Kind of like Warhole over there, ha.”
“Very funny.” Warhole didn’t laugh. Warhole hardly never laughs at nothing. The a-hole.
Ant, who was closer to Barry 02 and staring at his newest work with him (Warhole was staring away or looking at his feet or the ceiling, take your pick), spoke up again. “It’s wonderful. 2 4th floor works now. We want to commission you, me and Harrison Jett. You may remember him from the art rock group Beet, like a sugar beet. In fact, that was their original names: the Sugar Beets. Came out from the praries of Idaho around Rupert and Paul. Family all worked in that kind of factory, except for Uncle Bob. He was different. He was a frog.”
“We’ve been through that,” replied Barry 02, thinking back to the figure and symbol filled chalkboard of his most recently remembered dream. “But his name was Bullfrog.”
“That’s just what he *was*.”
Andy Warhole finally turns toward the work from his more distant, angly position. “I’ll give you 50,000 lindens for it, final offer. I’ll give it to Yoko Ona as a wedding present for her most recent marriage to John. I’ll let Marilyn kiss it for good luck before the ceremony with her permamark lips. I’ll let [delete name] [delete] all over it with his [delete]. Then it will be ready, then it will be good.” Andy Warhole pulls an attache case out from under the couch next to him. He always has it ready for an art purchase. Always 50,000 lindens for the nobodys, not less but certainly no more. Always over 50,000 for the somebodys.
Barry 02 pondered the deal. This means he could make art for a 1/2 year without any hassles of an outside job. He could paint canvases without painting walls or ceilings. He could sculpt with garbage instead of throwing it away with a group of similarly grody smelling men into bins. Binmen I think they call them across the pond, the ocean. “Okay.” Andy slides the attache case from the couch over to Barry 02. He’s almost sold his soul. One touch of the money and he’s done.
He crosses his arms, feeling guilty again. Was this statue that had trouble rezzing in before *alive*? Was it another version of himself? Was it Graham once more? The green dot doesn’t lie but no one was around according to his scanner. He pinches himself. Is he dreaming? His hand passes through his arm on the way to its intended action. Failure, of course. He’s dreaming.
He attempts communication. “Whatup?” he decided to frame it. “How’s it hanging?” he follows up. Nothing. There *must* be something to this — anomaly.
The only avatar around — found through turning off volume and toggling on the “show skeleton” option for avatars — is this dancing gecko more in the southern part of the sim: Montague. He teleports to the edge of a sky “o” to find it. He stares over at the drink cooler after manifesting, realizing this was another hole, like in his most recent work called “Half and Hole” featured in that last post before the current one here. And the bar itself is shaped like a hole. He’s traveling a diagonal again.
“Whatup?” he tries again over to the jiggling exotic lizard. He’s sitting on a “333 — Tiki Bar Stool”; he checks while waiting. But nothing again. He wasn’t surprised.
Someone else must be coming.
It seemed like a good place to send Crappy in, the newest freebie outfit on the marketplace I added to my cart only several minutes back. Crappy hates the 1974 music of Supertramp and thinks their album “Crime of the Century” is vastly overrated. Perfect.
It didn’t work! Something is wrong with Crappy. Maybe Supertramp merits deeper study after all.
He met her in the club beside baker b.’s Red Umbrella gallery and in front of Norm the Cashier’s flower shop. In his dream he followed her down to a beach at the enigmatically named Publius sim. She was wearing a red dress, a freebie in a box as Graham 02 or Barry 02 soon discovered at the end of the path. Later the red (box) was removed at a club in Montague owned by a big fan of Supertramp. Red strip: now he knew what that meant. He can imagine Norm shaking her head. He better get back to her. If only he could figure out a way to wake up — pinching doesn’t work here.
She was shaped like the letter Q, a hole with a squiggle on the edge,” he grasps for an explanation after finally coming back. “That’s me!” Norm doesn’t approve and threatens to cut off his credit. “Do you know how much I sacrificed to get to this place?!”
She was waiting to get her red tie and watching DeBoy up front ask question after question to Miss Graham the teacher. Soon she would be as inept as him but it wouldn’t last long. She had some cheat notes. The 5 looking on were eager to have a new host. Their stares through a window to her soul made Hucka Doobie nervous and scratch her arm until it almost bled on top of the bleeding heart tattoo that came with the body she’s had, oh, since Tammy Whatammy pushed her into that collage and sent her reeling reeling reeling (back?) to Gaston and that jail cell with *him*. The Most Ancient One: Casey One Hole. Another scratch here.
Miss Graham was readjusting the vast series of equations on her blackboard to include the new variable: the snapping red tie, which we know now is the same as a picture taking camera. Hucka Doobie had been exposed, with the prints now developing in a Red Room not far from here. On Level D I believe. She had no other choice, then. The red tie must go along with the red dress. Wish someone would have told me that before, she thinks while the chalk dust flies again up front, a finalizing equation.
What of Baker Bloch? Who will take care of him now, act as his sounding board when needed, give him sage advice when necessary (a lot!)? The people here helping with the transition say his other part, Baker Blinker, flew in from Chilbo yesterday but only to say goodbye, really. She, as Magika Bean, is starting her wrestling tour with Flip Bean — Wheeler — day after tomorrow’s Tuesday. Another jett plane flying not to war technically but certainly to battles. Battles do not necessarily add up to war all the time. Magika and Flip are friendly adversaries if you know what I mean, another 1/2 and 1/2, but she wasn’t suppose to use that expression for a while. That’s what the intervention group told her and she’s following through, kind of. 1/2 and… jeez. She rolls her eyes here while glancing up front again. Oh, something is happening making the situation slightly more interesting now. Miss Graham is pulling DeBoy by the tie toward her! She’s… planting a kiss on not his head but… his lips! She’s dragging him sideways now with the tie past the board with all the equations, and then behind it. She’s…
Hucka Doobie can’t look any more. But she’ll get his tie this way. Until she decides to relinquish it herself in the same manner.
She looks at the 5 after it’s finished. She scratches again.
Miss Graham approaches down the aisle; soon they’ll be a part of her. Here comes the tie. The head passes through the knotted hole. Miss Graham straightens and tightens it around her neck. She feels them enter, one by one by one until all 5 are there to say, “hi!”.
END OF “SUNKLANDS 2020 LATER”.
It didn’t work with Norm the Cashier — dead — but it might with Wendy, another blue square of Earth just over there.
In a dream tonight, she shed something red and he did too: his red tie. They were on a beach in the dream and he was the dreamer and it was his beach. He’d been there a while but Wendy had just arrived — in red. Red Stripe Beach: that was the name, or that became it after the pivotal event. It was all leading somewhere…
Barry woke up, his back aching again. Sleeping on his pink plastic couch won’t hack it long term. He needs a proper bed! First Norm’s couch at the flower shop that was destroyed by a fire week before last and now this nearby place with only a couch again to crash on. Norm let him stay in her bed some nights, but that was it. “Nothing over 50%,” she said. “We must remaining playing just a game and not let it become a philosophy or even religion. We are not a religion,” she ended, puzzling the younger Barry who only wanted the friendly, loving warmth of female companionship. She returned to her cash register with this proclamation and he returned to her couch. The final, fated visit by Amazonia for the 49×61 payment was still days and maybe weeks away. The number 17 comes to mind. He was out and about when it happened, just roaming the streets of Black Ice and wondering if Norm and he had any kind of future. Apparently not, now, although he’d heard the witch doctors down at the market could bring the formerly living back from the dead, a favorite cat or dog, or even a girlfriend or wife for the price. Which he didn’t have anyway — and that’s how Norm got in trouble in the *first* place. He sighs. “Oh well,” he speaks aloud and moves to the other room to write down his dreams per usual before making breakfast. Toasty-O’s, the story of his life.
In another dream, Barry sits across from a guy named Jack Danielsun at a Toasty-O shaped bar but knows his actual name is Dimmy, like a lightbulb. Not the brightest, he ascertained from the dull conversation. Just another unschooled punk. He spoke of bartending at Phantom Hill and how he got there in a row boat from the other side of the rather large island he lived on. Again: not the smartest. And probably schizophrenic on top of it all.
(to be continued?)
Turns out it was all just a dream. The pink plastic couch Andy Warhole sat upon while fellow artist Barry DeBoy dreamed lying down on the same is gone, and the 2 rooms of the apartment have indeed merged, just like Andy wished. Dreams and reality are certainly getting mixed up in ol’ NWES City, soon to be changed to NWES Town if certain members of the city council had their way, in reaction to all the “cities” springing up around it, like arrogant, belligerent suburbs. First there was Zen City, then Meat City. The list goes on. And then there’s Collagesity, which had the audacity to neatly and tightly integrate itself into the very fabric of NWES City and become one with it almost, another insult to the term. How could something call itself a city (or sity in this case) and be so much smaller than NWES City, lost in the coattails like a small child to a towering mother. No, these *satellites* must not be termed cities. It is wrong. And in comic reaction the mother who has the only real claim to the name (it feels) might instead abort it.
But we digress. We need to find out the whereabouts of Barry DeBoy. Poor thing: he’s lost his original home in the city to fire (Norm the Cashier’s Flower Shop), and then the apartment with the pink couch, as we’ve mentioned, is all just a dream. We must find out where he’s *really* dreaming, physically that is. He *must* have a location in town, er, the city — let’s not move too fast on that.
He is dreaming again of his beach, searching for the one who also gave up red but with no physical presence yet found.
“Here’s what we have so far, then. Saints Joseph and Mary *combine*, see, at (Fort) Wayne, which creates the Great Black Swamp, the same as Jesus but blacker.”
“And that’s where TILE comes in,” I speculate from behind the batty-mobile, since there was no remaining room up front. “SID, I mean there.”
“Yes. The Great Black Swamp had to be drained by tiling, which had very positive effects short term but less so long-wise. Little Oakley Annie could now travel easily to Defiance formerly in the center of the swamp to purchase more bullets for her shootings back in the day but later she pays in a different way. We are trying to control the eventual damage — that’s part of all this.”
“And the mouth at Toledo is — the vulva?” I theorize further. “John (Bob) Denver would not be happy.” I snicker; not returned.
“The Abyss is the Mother,” half rabbit, half bat Dr. Rabbid Baumbeer replies pedantically, citing some dry and unmemorable TILE document now that I can’t recall the exact name of. “The Unknown, The Void, The *Static*,” he continues with the synonyms and analogies. He could have gone on for some time, I realize.
I stand even further back, almost against the far wall of the garage-room now trying to take it all in. Professor Art and his train car were turned sideways to begin, which also turns the splayed figure in the center of it all that way as well. Fort Wayne — birth of Rainbowology and the fusion of Oz and Floyd. The Great Blackness (etc.). But then at Toledo: light! Birth. Between the open legs of the mother. Newton from Jasper. It all added up to… we go from nowhere to…
“And the train car is Black Ice,” Baumbeer tacks on while turning toward the back of the garage. But that part behind the batty-mobile’s tail end remains unclear and ill defined.
It became clearer upstairs. Black Diamond.
I had my assignment, but I would need the good doctor’s batty-mobile removed from the garage in order to paint. Ceiling’s too low up here.
“No problem,” he answered. “It’s mainly just a show car anyway. I’ll store it up on the third.”
It was all so very funny, Supper Man and his new arch-nemesis Toothpick battling it out for the right to marry Dinner Girl and/or Elberta first. Because their fists and, occasionally, feet kept passing through each other. Neither was real. Onlooking Barry DeBoy determined it was a dream a while back because he was wearing the red tie. In reality he didn’t possess this tie any more — gave it to Miss Graham the schoolteacher in exchange for… what? A life without the 5 looking on. A life without Pan-Z. He felt the precious tie one last time before waking up, instead holding the air in front of his chest as it vanished into nothingness again. The Great Void. Blackness. “Yippy tie one on I suppose,” he tried to humor himself in the moment, but he’d also heard the word “tile” used in that expression recently over at the temple. Funny again. “Yippy tile one on” — made sense as well.
He rolls over. Helloo, who’s this?
Dreaming still. Wake up, wake up! But he didn’t want to suddenly. Wendy wakes up instead, tells him who he is. Not “Q”, because that’s already been covered. The symbol on the hat could pass for a “Q” but he didn’t want it to now, not for Wendy.
“Annnnnnd CUT! That was great guys! But — Wendy. We need to get you out of *that* dress and into the blood stained one as soon as possible! The Twins are breathing down my back, bearing down on my neck! You need to be invisible down there.”
Wendy knew what he was talking about but didn’t care. Wasn’t she Miss Graham reincarnated? She was. Didn’t she give Hucka Doobie the red tie procured from Barry DeBoy in a similar way before and send her away? She most assuredly did. Baker and she were getting too close. “Barry, *you* are Baker,” she said earlier. “You are the artist that is going to paint CITY and save us all from suburbia.” He turned it over in his mind like a rubik’s cube and saw the truth in it. Better get back to work…
He was dreaming again, hence the tie. “This is a little f-ed up,” he said to the woman nearby, who didn’t reply. No, he didn’t like this place. He had found a limit. Wendy would not be his daughter or something. He’d leave all that to Toothpick and Elberta and their Deep South ways (!). He’d have to talk to Eraserhead Man about this shoot, compare it to DaBob in that other production he worked in, the one less famous. Or was it more famous. Snap out of it, snap out of it! he cried inside while snapping his fingers, which, of course, passed through each other. Tarboo Bay, DaBob, The Twins… they were all together; all in on this. What does it mean? He better get Wendy to safety and out of the shiny light of revealing film while she’s still wearing that dress. He knows a guy who knows a guy in Snowlands who has a remote-ish cabin kind of tucked away in some small woods, getting smaller by the month but Barry DeBoy doesn’t know that in the present. He’d only find out about the deforestation of Purden in the future through a rogue Snowman gone good instead of the usual bad but still with a bad Santa, one called Satan, an obvious anagram (too obvious). The Snowman’s name is… well, let’s just wait. Regular readers of this here blog and derivative photo-novels probably already know the name. Let’s just make it the title of this here post.
Barry 02 01
He woke up somewhere very different than before. Twilight. The lamp had not been turned off from the night. The cat Nappy purred beside him, half aware that his master had awoken. 1/2 and 1/2 once more, but I’m suppose to limit (that expression) to one per photo-novel section at the most, as prescribed by my word therapist Bob the Knob who I don’t really like that much so I may insert it more. Or less. Damn Bob. Recommended by Richard, who I haven’t talked to since session 3. Or was it section 3? NO, there was no Richard in the story.
I’m admittedly getting a little confused about all the names (finally! the reader might utter here). Barry DeBoy who just woke up here in a strange but then very familiar land shares a first name with Barry X. Vampire who arrived in our text in photo-novel 18 — and also *writing*, at least partially, said photo-novel. He was a creator like me within the
pages posts of his own creation. Mirror within mirror, etc. But the mirrorings seem to be increasing lately. It’s time, for example, to face the fact and the music that the two Barry’s in our novels — let me check (checks) — yes still only *2* Barry’s. Anyway, they are probably the same, and my rational — well, I won’t go into it in detail but let it just play out in the text. Returning to the awakening DeBoy version, then…
Took him a minute to realize where he was after gaining consciousness but as he looked around at the tall, brown grass, the dilapidated buildings and signs, it dawned on him, as the sun, let’s say, gained height over a yonder horizon. Home. Maw may even be here, even older than before. Some called her Pink, some just called her Star, but her actual name was Marsha. Marsha “Star” Pink. All three were correct, I suppose. But what am I doing here thinking about names? I must think about *action*. Barry tried to recall where this shed was in relation to his house where he grew up as DeBoy, who started as simple D-Boy (one who makes a lot of D’s, etc.) but then changed in stature within the community as he received the tie from… who? He recalls something about another Barry. Himself? he realizes. From the future or from the past?
Suisan might know. If she’s still around — or still alive for that matter. Always wearing that mask while growing up, always afraid of the germs and viruses swarming, she put it, in the air all around us. And now her fears have come to fruition. The Jasper virus, the mother, is here. He peers in the direction he remembers that his mother lives in. Home. She could still be there.
But then another whole series of memories locked into place. His mother had died! Along with Suisan, along with a friend named Brown. Along with another friend named Green. Maybe someone named Olive, even. This was a land of… he looked down at his hands. He attempted to swat one with the other but it only passed through. Yet another dream. His mother was dead but then she was alive, at least during *parts* of his childhood. How could this be?
(to be continued)
Barry 02 02
He awoke again a little later on in the day, not having moved from his spot in front of the Raccoon typewriter. Nappy the cat stared directly into the camera, aware of its presence. Eraserhead Man even dared to wave at it, thinking the noticing was funny. Barry DeBoy was not aware of it. Barry DeBoy was in character. He had awoken again, in the same spot as before. Someone, perhaps himself, had turned off the lamp. More clarity all around this time. Wadded up papers on the floor — was this something *he* wrote, perhaps a future or past version again? He picked one up, unwadded it. Something about a place named Gaston. Later he found parrot droppings on the floor of the shed and put two and two together to make four or five. A pirate with a parrot had been here, and he thought he knew which one. The dream controller. The one who brought the virus in his pirate ship for communities that didn’t heed the warnings. Like maw’s Storybrook. Like this place. DeBoy tries to remember the name, the most obvious thing he should recall. But all he could come up with was The Waste, which he knew wasn’t quite right. Something about a number. Or numbers.
He unwadded more; tried to piece together the story being written. Gaston had appeared in something called a photo-novel in versions 6, 11, 16, 21. Through this, the bastard pirate had concluded that it was related to something called a Magic Square of Jupiter, a 4×4 glyph that appeared, perhaps most famously, in Albrect Durer’s print “Melancholia” from back in the 15th Century or something — this from the pirate text again.
He finished unfolding the papers, shooed the conscious cat from the table, and tried to align them in correct order. 70 pages total, he understood from the numeration. But only 4 present here: bits about the magic square and the overall theories but no meat, no details. He would have to shift his attention elsewhere for more answers.
He turned to the stool and the easel holding a canvas on the other side of the screened in shed. Painting. Barry DeBoy realized he had two functions in life now. He was a writer. He was an artist, if not a painter then the equivalent. But in this moment: painter. He had work to do… he remembered that too. The CITY design. Black Diamond. He must get to work soon.
He wasn’t a writer in this incarnation. He was an artist. He wadded the papers back up and threw them in the trashcan underneath the desk. The true story of Gaston would have to wait until another day, another dreamer in another day perhaps, or one who dreams he is real even though he is just another character, one in a long long line now. Maybe he will share a first name with another of his kind — quite likely, given the sheer number. But before DeBoy gets to work — this is *his* work station now, not the pirate’s, not anyone else named Barry — he must explore the neighborhood. Find Suisan if possible and get the story about his mother. Maybe even — maw? He had to look. He had to know. Suisan would know. If she was available.
(to be continued)
Aah, the old sign remains.
And the cats! So many cats. Now to dare try the manager’s door. Hell’s Here!, though. He attempts to ignore the warning and return to his childhood. Hello There! instead (!).
“Hello there!” he finds himself automatically uttering as he passes from outer to inner.
To his great disappointment, he just then wakes up for real, the presence of his mother unresolved.
This cat was a little better trained.
Barry was sleeping on a different couch but in the same old place: the old Same Place, a restaurant adjacent to the Pink Motel that had a duplicate or doppleganger in Tinseltown. This is what happened to him as an acne spotted kid when he and his mother had an argument, often about grades and schooling, sometimes about church and religion, occasionally about the status of the world in general. Marsha “Star” Pink was an optimist, Barry a born pessimist. Or was it the opposite? Heck, let’s jettison the whole idea of discussing the world in general. Let’s focus on local. Barry was sleeping on a different but familiar couch. It reminded him of the one in Norm the Cashier’s Flower Shop but that’s a future memory instead of the past.
He wakes up remembering something awful happened. Bullfrog, a friend of the family, had been killed over in NWES City, known then as New WES City before the shortening and way before the CITY decided to remake itself as a town to counter all the copycat but obviously inferior “cities” spring all inside and around it. Like Meat City, like Zen City before (destroyed by an atomic blast much like the one pictured on that vending machine in the above photo). Like Collagesity, with sity equaling city. You know. These are not Collagesity photo-novels any longer, but something else. Sunklands for the moment because that’s where *my* home is. Not Rubi as in the past. Not Fordham, or Urqhart over on the Corsica continent.
Pink knew Bullfrog from her mother who was
green Green. An EEL of a man is often how her mother described him, but she was conservative leaning. Bullfrog was progressive and that’s a fact, and that fact which got him killed by a red headed and red hatted evil entity known as Lu Ellen Hutchison (or Hutchinson) played by actress Alice Frame in Act II. And now she’s back as similarly red topped Wendy. Barry DeBoy knows nothing of Wendy now, or that he is directly sleeping with a mortal enemy back in Black Ice in the present. He is ensconced in the past, in the dream. Bullfrog has just died by gunfire and his mother Marsha “Pink” Krakow, not yet a Star — neither Trek nor Wars — remains in shock, and Barry along with her. This was Uncle Bully to him, a friendly not hostile moniker. How could this happen?
(to be continued)
It occurred to him tonight while wandering around the old Same Place that he might be going slightly mad, kind of like Mercury X. Rising toward the end of his shortened life. In real life there is no such thing as a dulciwheel which plays a tune of complex design before him. He’s notice some time slips lately, and duplications. Heck, *he’s* a duplication, since there’s another Barry of similar, complex design in these here novels, art and writing in one. But after thinking about it more, he’s determined this is mostly projection from others. He *appears* mad but he’s not. No ghost variations here. And he’s been studying Robert Schumann, another dude who famously became mad toward the end of his life. Maybe he should stop listening to his music. In fact, that tune…
He quickly exits this portion of La La Land, needing some air. He walked right past Suisan sitting at the door, not noticing her presence. “I heard you were back in town.” Muffled talk through an omnipresent mask. Same old Suisan. The old Same Suisan. Suisan Same. Daughter of the owner of this here place. Makes sense she’d be here, then. Barry turns.
“Suisan! I’m glad to see you. But you scared me in the moment!”
“How come? This is the old Same Place. Makes sense I’m here.”
“Yeah… suppose. It’s just.”
“You’re *not* going insane.”
“No buts. I’m here to talk to you. About your mother, heck, anything you want. Even, dare I say the name, Pansy Mouse?”
“Let’s take a walk,” Barry DeBoy urged to his old friend, one of his oldest. She was there even before the beginning. Before the tie.
(to be continued)
“Remember? I asked you to select a pencil to begin. Pull one of the 4 pencils out of the desk, I said to you that day long long ago. 30 years?”
“Maybe.” He recalled the desk of course, the pencils, the *dunce cap*. Always making D’s he was back then, until Suisan got her learned hooks into his hide.
“And low and behold you pulled out the 4th, the hardest to do. I knew you were special then. Do you still have the pencil?”
Barry DeBoy stared at the desk, indicating the 4 pencils. Suisan understood.
“Yes, you had to give it back. You couldn’t take it with you all of your life. Instead you received the *tie*. You traded the pencil for the tie. And so here you are.” She indicated, in turn, Barry’s omnipresent tie, at least in Dream World, La La Land.
“Do you see all the planets, Duncy? *Sorry*: Barry. Old habit.” She turns slightly red here. “But you’re only suppose to see one.
“*There* it is. Appearing from a hidden place. Neptune. The icy planet. I.C.U., hehe. Remember we played that game with Neptune? You learned about the solar system and eventually the milky way and the whole cosmos that way. Nothing was hidden from you any more. Thanks to that pencil.”
“Mr. Johnson came to call. He’d learned of a special boy in our class who could alter dimensions and make the 3d appear 2d. A special gift indeed. He wanted the boy for himself. And it was Johnston, not Johnson.”
“We almost made the mistake of sending you away, Barry. We would have never found you again.”
“I’m Neptune.” He points to the now fully exposed blue planet slowly slowly revolving around the sun. Slower than any of the rest, even stinky Uranus, which will eventually catch up with her. Because Neptune is a she. He’d seen her once in the high grass beyond Le Mars. But he didn’t want to think about what she was doing there just then. In the moment.
“One more,” Suisan requested.
“The bomb, Barry. We never finished our childhood puzzle so we could move to the adult ones. But now you’re…”
“An adult,” Barry surmised. He understood the message. He must awake and get back to work. Zen City was gone, but there was still Meat City, Collagesity. CITY must be purified of all these hanger oners. Suburbia must be cleansed.
Goodbye, er, The Waste. For now.
Clued in by his recent dreams, assigned artist Barry DeBoy searches the *city* for inspiration. Neptune, a central city sim to be reckoned with again!
Uh oh. Dr. Baumbeer out for one last spin in the batty-mobile before he has to put it into storage. Watch out!
I am wearing a red cap for some reason. The skeleton opposite me has just flipped over the Ace of Spades from his own deck, the death card. But I have an ace to counter from mine. But my ace is red. I lose (*SLICE*).
MAT (Man About Time) wakes up with a gasp. He knows how the vote about the town vs. city moniker is going to come out. Good news! He can’t help but feel his neck, though, to make sure it’s on nice and tight (phew!).
Santa wasn’t happy. I think he was about to run me over in his flying saucer, *ZZzzOOOOOmmm*!” I wake up.
“Another dream about the election dearest?” Wendy. Good ol’ Wendy. Always there during consciousness. Until the end.
In the next Marwood bot dream, Norm, another local resident, took over from Santa. “Sit down,” he commanded, indicating a chair in front of the guillotine I was beheaded with just the night before. And a donkey’s alongside it.
Red hat still firmly attached to skull, I sat under the Ace of Diamonds I posed beside last night before the beheading. I knew this because I was looking on as an observer rather than being a direct participant. “There is no Other,” he said to begin our conversation proper. “There is only *Here*.” I’d heard this before. I sat in the chair.
It was Miss Graham, formerly Jennifer M. Friend. She was then there, “DEMO” still tattooing head, which my mind started running again and again around the cap line of her skull, like a looped film. Faster… faster. Blurred… then suddenly stabilization once more. Slowing down. 7610 this time: clarity; focusing in. I stared again at Norm. We had been here before.
The tie was back. I had to get to work. Fast!
Barry DeBoy stares at the blank canvas he knows he must fill in soon. CITY, a concept that must be born if the city itself is to be saved. Almost a 90 percent chance of it now. He’ll take the odds.
He pinches himself to make sure he’s awake (he is). Wearing the red tie has made him nervous about that down through the months — before, he was always dreaming when he had it on. No more. Something happened: a reversal, a change of heart even, he senses. Miss Graham has given it back. But why?
“It was me,” Hucka Doobie spoke at a nearby table. “Come on into the picture. PICT ON PICT. Come on,” she urged.
“What’s he doing?”
“She. But that’s what we have to find out. Temple.”
“Wheeler. Of course.”
“Excuse me, sir. I’m looking for the Shanty Club. Francis? You may know him. He’s kind of the owner I suppose.”
“Meat City,” Barry DeBoy metes out. “Just up the highway.”
“Oh,” Baker Bloch exclaimed. “Is this not Meat City? It’s across the highway from NWES.”
“Nope,” Barry reinforced. “Just because it’s across the highway doesn’t mean it’s part of the city, even though this is.” Barry says “city” with some satisfaction. After all, he was there at the vote. His art definitely helped sway the deal. “Go back to the highway. Go up. Look for the stumbling drunks and head right, and then another right past Big Dave’s garage then left. Tell Francis I said hello.”
“A friend?” Baker ventured., trying to remember all the twists and turns to get there.
“Let’s just say I don’t underestimate his *aunts* any more.”
“Oh.” Baker left the small trailer without understanding. Francis explained it to him later at the club.
Barry goes into the Symphony Music Store intending to buy a CD of Schumann’s Rhenish Symphony but ends up running away in a panic after spying Pansy Mouse at the back counter, formerly only seen in dreams. Barry wakes up.
Deep into the night, far past supper, the person formerly known as Amber and several other names decides to go into the city. She sits on the subway, wishing the town council would vote to get it up and running. But they have so much else on their plate! She’d have to walk.
A new store: Rosehaven Yarn Shop.
But she didn’t have time to investigate tonight. She had to get back home to the Deep South of Black Ice by sunrise or else be found out by the parents. She was a man. She was a woman. Onward to the Red Rose owned by a Peet Aries who she’d never met but Dr. Baumbeer, the current renter, spoke glowingly about. Dr. Baumbeer: another changer, she thought as she passed the yarn store and kept in a straight line northward.
She had to stop to look at a map…
… then she recalled the Red Rose wasn’t actually in the Neptune sim she was currently passing through. Instead: Apple’s Orchard. Where she or he had his or her earliest memories of the city. Good times. She remembers something about a neck. Neck City it was called back them, but that was a faulty implant, pheh. Much like… here she reached up with her left hand and felt something that had changed in the meantime. She recalled Sandy Beech doing the same. Or was it Herbert Dune. She looked around, feeling people watching her — cameras. But no one spotted.
Like any urban area worth its salt, the city was changing.
She couldn’t go down this road any further — blocked in this direction. She checked her watch. 4:15. Time to be heading down to the lower side of Black Ice and crawl back in bed. The Red Rose must wait, she realized. For tonight at least, she would remain a woman.
(to be continued?)
character studies, Black Ice locations
Mary Pippins’ red umbrella and the Red Umbrella gallery
Bake’s Bakery (newly relocated!) with Barry X. Vampire and pretty Poetry Dancer
Zapppa’s apartment? (dreaming of that chick down there)
that chick down there — actually, those chicks, including the Her Majesty bigfoot/yeti in the doorway just down
Toddles roaming the mean streets of Black Ice at night again after drugging up her Grammy
Stumpy, the new bartender at Moe’s, smoking bong hit after bong hit while listening to noise rock with Gotham the psychedelic reggae monk. He’s got a head! He *is* a head!
Charlene Brown the punk working late night on her cryptozoology dissertation, unaware that off again on again boyfriend
Barry X. Vampire Jeffrie Phillips is with Poetry tonight, the bastard
Melvin the devil boy offers a passing skateboarder some suspicious looking soup while half-sister Eldwina ponders her 1st assignment as an official member of the City Squad. Knew it! thinks full brother Judd from the stairs.
Besides the addition of the Thornwood sim, not much seems to have changed in Rosehaven since my brief residency there last winter. I left because of a seeming misunderstanding. I had overlaid a mythology on top of one already in place. My princess wasn’t their princess, who I talked to a bit. My queendom-kingdom wasn’t theirs. Merry Gouldbusk (my princess) doesn’t wish to return now and is resigned to remain with Sandy and perhaps other lovers in NWES City and NWES Island as a whole. She might be the same as All Orange but it is difficult to tell — certainly she is gold or amber in skin tone and that’s pretty comparable in color and may be close enough. What of Breeze and Wendy, who also hang around Sandy: collectively, the “Breezy” archetype? Merry Gouldbusk seems also to be the same as them — maybe. And what about her donning that red, MAGA-style cap before the election results were finalized and that side lost (yes, they lost: congratulations Joe!)? When we saw her wearing it she was heading across town to Dr. Rabbid Baumbeer’s Red Rose building, which he rents from Peet Aries, who is similar but also different from Peet Archer, a new-ish character in this here blog and photo-novel, 23 in a series of 20. But we know similarly red capped Barry DeBoy, the abstract artist featured in photo-novel 22, also resides or at least use to reside in this building as invited by Baumbeer. He saved the town with his art created there, specifically through a design called CITY, a combination of triangles and squares to tile a picture without internal gaps. TIGER may be another word for it but, again, unsure; we are not privy to the details of the saving so far. But my point here is that Merry Gouldbusk, in the moment, may have also been the same as Barry Deboy through that cap. We’ve only seen him once in the current novel, and in a different location more on the east side of town than before — across the highway, but not in Meat City, although (that suburb) is across the road from the main part of town as well. Sorry: *city*. As usual, we are dealing with many mysteries at once, and with blurring of plot lines and involved characters. The city and overarching island is a labyrinth to be solved, if not a maze. Let’s go with labyrinth, because mazes are designed to confuse and labyrinths aren’t — one path in and one path out for the latter. And we have our center now: All Orange. We just don’t exactly know its nature yet. Aldebaronian? Powerful witch Mid-Hazel thinks so. She also wrongly thinks All Orange is dead now. She believes Rosehaven, which she’s changed to Rose Haven to hide it from the locals, is up for grabs. Her assistant cat-witch Esmerelda is not as certain. She thinks it could be a plant.
“We reached a dead end in NWES City, my love, future present past.”
“We did,” agreed Charlene Brown the punk beside him in the car at the center of the new city, whatever he or she or they decide to call it. Maybe just New Town.
“Oh… look over there, dearest. Another Happy Travels office, just like in…”
“Don’t say it, sweets. Let’s put that name behind us, move on to the new. New Town?” she then guessed, mirroring my thoughts.
“Anyway, there it is… again. Probably the portal to Gaston once more as well.”
“Don’t use it,” wisely advised Charlene. “Seal that up too. Let Barry X. Vampire the writer and, heck, Barry Deboy the artist deal with it if they wish.”
“Are the Barrys still around?” I ask through Jeffrie Phillips, borrowing his voice for the moment.
Charlene shook her head, but not as a denial. Instead: “Not our problem.”
“And a MacDonald’s,” Jeffrie joked when looking more behind them. Funny.
“Alright Barrys. Let’s strategize about what comes next since Charlene Brown is busy cooking up a storm in the kitchen. Barry Vampire…”
“*X.* Vampire,” he insists.
“Yes. What do you see on your computer screen? A specific location? A specific person? Or perhaps, dare I go there, a *thing*?”
Barry X. Vampire stares at his computer screen but only sees snow — whiteness. “Nothing yet,” he offers in a slightly disappointed tone. But he’s hoping for words over images. Too many pictures from Picturetown recently, he bemoans internally.
“How about you Barry De Boy? Pictures? Symbols? Words? Something else?”
Barry De Boy expresses he doesn’t see anything yet either. And neither can we even more in this picture. Not even snowy whiteness.
“How… about you?” ventured one of the Barrys rather timidly, I’m not quite sure which one yet.
“I’m not the important one (here),” Jeffrie Phillips declares firmly. “I coordinate between the two of you, the writer (nods toward X. Vampire) and the artist (nods toward De Boy).”
“But… you’re the author,” spoke the Barry that was different from the one who dared to pipe up first. “You are the base, the core. You coordinate *us*.”
“That’s what I just said.”
“But…” the first Barry began again, then was cut short. Charlene came back with chicken dumplings and a lot of other stuff, some smoking hot, some cool as a cucumber. They ate until 7 and then slept until 8. Then at 9 they spoke again but nothing about coordination or anything serious. I believe it was about the local infestation of wild parsnip. Or was it poison ivy. Giant hogweed?
“She comes here every day, and every day a different game. I haven’t seen a repeat yet. She must be testing the atmosphere, maybe making sure it isn’t poison. 4 games left in the cache. I predict an actual, breathing human — *not* a mascot — will be arriving in the week. Wanna bet on it?”
“No, I’ll take your word for it. You’ve been here a lot longer than me. In this Castle Town. Isn’t that what it’s usually called?”
We were taking a break from strategizing. I turned away for a moment, tired of looking them in the eye. I’d figured something out. Mascots — that’s what they were. Only mascots. Not real atall. Only symbols of a writer… and an artist. The two aspects of *me*. Maybe it *is* destiny that I take Baker Bloch’s place as leader of the blog and allow him to ascend to the White Palace to rejoin Hucka Doobie. I’ll have to talk to Charlene about it. But I’m kind of finished with these two.
He takes another sip of wine. They hadn’t even asked for anything to drink, not water, not booze. Nothing. That was the first big tip-off.
“It’s time to play rock, paper, scissors, Barry, to see which one of us goes to Castle Town.”
“Oh all right,” answers Barry.
“Ready? One, two…”
“Oh, and also a pad or something that I can write on, thanks.”
She should have never gone into that cave. She was out in the open, the fresh, clean air with the star studded sky spreading out above her, and then she wasn’t. A path, but not leading to clean, fresh water. Dank, dingy, green, algae congested. Atrophied. Some say her life was atrophied when she got hitched to her twin brother Toothpick/Philburg back at the end of photo-novel 22. Only the Free Tilists, with close ties to the Deep South (of Black Ice), would marry them. “Amoral,” cried to Pentagonists, worshipers of all things 5 sided and 5 pointed and originating on Mars. “Blasphemous, a slap in the face of Our Lord God of Heaven,” bemoaned the Trilogists, better known as our Christians. Only the 4-square Tilists would touch it, but only in Catalpa outside the direct influence of the city council who had ultimate judgment in these matters and could expel the couple if the ceremony was held on their grounds. Instead: All Orange, between the wine red apples of Apple’s Orchard and the slick yellow banana symbolically lying at the center of Black Ice, which all revolves around like a Beanstalk or Pope to a helmet wearing monkey (crook) with one upturned and one downturned eyebrow. It was only in All Orange where it could happen. The 5th, but in a good way this time (we hope).
Barry De Boy settled back in the rocking chair with the maple leaf pillow and felt it was good. I have acquired the power of the three now, the scissors to begin, then the paper, then, lastly, rock (in the middle). Rock solid I am. Jeffrie Phillips I am. He he he. He he he he he. Ho ho. Hu. Huh.
It was Waldrip. Or was it Waldrup. Waldrop? …drep? Anyway, I could feel his presence even if I couldn’t see him. Like a mouse.
He stopped rocking, stood up. “Who goes there?”