Hucka Doobie looks up into the Blue Feather Cube and imagines seeing Mr. Tom “Spilly” Bean emerge from the center of a triangle of 3 white stars, falling or perhaps even plummeting to Earth in a beam of white. Must be white.
Now to bring him actually to life.
She recalls the day she gave up her blackness, all ears now. In the opposite direction: red. She became the Controller after that, some say Morgan the Hagg returned from a watery grave, even. She picked up the phone. She gave him a call. Pepi “Can” Kolya was no more in her life. Until now, which was actually then.
“Herbert, it’s me,” she remembered saying into the screen, waiting with baited breath for a reply. Was that even his correct name?
“Herbert. I mean, *Newt* (sigh). Can I take off the ears now?”
“Not yet, babydoll.” He reaches over.
He was in Pieve, Alysha beside him per usual. Her gams glistened in the morning dew; so did his, for that matter. 3.16 instead of 3. He has a bottle instead of a can so he knows this coke experience is real. We are truly back in the past.
It doesn’t work any other way, he reviewed in his mind. The circumference of the circles must be that instead of 3. City Park… County Park… Country Park, the latter basically inactive this time of year because, mainly, of the blocking poison ivy. My shortcut meadow is now full of it (!).
But City and County give me a lot to explore in the summer, which has only just started, he thinks. TOM, for one.
“Tom,” he said aloud, hoping Alysha would respond. “Um, w-what?” she said groggily, having fallen asleep in her lounge chair. Not enough shut-eye last night, she then excused herself, which Kolya obviously understood.
“Tom,” he repeated carefully, not wanting to spill the beans too early. He had become good at saving them up. But sometimes it happens. Like last night.
“Oh yes,” she recalled, stretching her arms and yawning. “The mountain… Top O’ Mountain. TOM.”
He waited a while again. “What…”
“… do you think we should do with it?” she completed for him, gams for gams. 3.16 he thought again. Something is about to begin.
“Lord, lord. Lord lord lord lord lord.” She shook her head as she uttered. She looked down into her coffee which wasn’t steaming any longer, meeting stretched beyond expected. Yet Newt had forgotten about the parking meter and the need to feed past 8. Too much had happened. Clyde! It’s back! The impossibly loud sound of horseless carriages transfixed. He was almost there; just up there. He could reach into the screen and probably procure some kind of souvenir or relic to bring back to the others: Fern, Lichen… and the one who most figured in as the cause, the one who was red, the one with the awkwardly long gams (she thought), the multicolored tree on the back and the fox and the octopus up front, black and white zebra’s eyes formerly x’d shut but now wide open. He can hear, he can see. He *must* get married after this. He knows too much.
Lichen went over and exchanged wigs with her. “See?” she said, returning to her seat, spell intact.
“See?” prefigured Fern and then also leaned over and exchanged her hair with Alysha’s. “Doesn’t matter.”
It was 9 before Newt got back to the car with the inevitable ticket attached to the passenger window. “Zero strikes again,” he muttered and then crumpled it up and threw it in the gutter, knowing the thing was now worthless. Nothing mattered in this Squared Root City in this most virtual of realities. Except 3.16227766. Let’s shorten it down to 3 so we can move on…
She’d just popped down to the fire department to check her mailbox and now *this*. But she dare not remove the parking ticket and throw it away in disgust after learning it came from Zero, apparently a policeperson in this here town as well as the owner of that club. We have been reset.
Glancing over at a clearly distressed Elisa staring at the ticket on her illegally parked Mazda RX-7 sports car, Newt checks to make sure he’s off the street good and pays the parking meter before heading inside to meet the others. He understands parallel time as well as parallel parking. He’s seen three squad cars circling around the city now and knows the force is strong here, like Star Trek or Star Wars — he can never remember which one applies. Star, hmm, he then thinks. He swears this use to be Star Street instead of that long German name he doesn’t know how to translate. Why the change? He believes it may be a bad omen. Or a good one — hard to tell yet. Maybe the meeting with the 3 “witches” will clarify either way.
Uh oh. Likewise tardy Alysha coming from down the street. He pretends he doesn’t see her and rushes inside before she can catchup with him. He’d rather not have the meeting colored (red) before it began.
Just made it.
“You’re late,” black haired Fern Stalin says at the door. “And so is the other one.”
“Right behind me.”
He made sure he was wearing the right colors.
We are here.
“I am looking for my red and green umbrella,” he spoke as clearly as possible through the rusty metal window.
Umbrellas, Alysha thought. But: close enough! “Come on in.” (creaaakk)
*There* you ares, he thought, spying them when entering.
Oh dear. What’s this?
“No more war. No more war! Stop *NOW*.”
“What are you *doing*. You’re going to *KILL YOURSELVES* ahhhhggg!”
“Move along. Nothing to see here. Move along.” (kkaaaerc)
“Now you know,” she said, still inside. “It’s all about Castor.”
How could he live with this?
She said she lived in a motel just up Highway 12. That was a lie. She said she was behind on her payments. Another lie. She said she had a great view of Big Cedar from her room’s window. Guess what: another lie, a fib in that case but still a lie. Pattern of a deceiver.
All she was after, all along, was the big monster book about Arkansaw, stolen from the Dairocha library in what’s-its-number novel (one of the more recent ones). The one Wheeler/Alysha was still after but couldn’t find, even when she tried the invisible realm. Still not on the invisible shelf before her, no matter what kind of light partner in crime Baker Bloch used to illuminate the situation. If the library had been removed, they determined, then there was no real center to the hollowed out volcano village that is Dairocha and thus no use in hanging around there and creating more little stories and whatnot. They and their now *huge* collection of attached avatars and characters had to move on, although a return is obviously possible. Nautilus keeps surprising and surprising. Must be the outside energy of our grand US of A penetrating the whole hypercube structure. This will continue for some time. I have time. I must have patience. Relatively unyielding and begrudging characters like grown-up Tessa irk me. What happened to her that made her leave her family nest and move to high and dry Nautilus, full of basically abandoned beige ridges and better populated but heavily banned green ocean front properties? The search for Lemon World? Traces? That must be it. Holed up in a mysterious hotel in the shadow of a beige mountain obviously linked to the real world (Lemon World?). Hiding secrets in order to protect her identity and purpose. It didn’t add up to her recently-united-with cousin D’Eddy, who she knows as Edward and not Eddy. Eddy was the other cousin who was playing that fated game of Alphabet Soup to her, the one introduced at the beginning of section 1 of this here photo-novel, 33 in a series of (fill in the blank). Edward — *her* Edward (our Eddy) — similarly shows up at the beginning of section 2. And now: Tessa — Tessie. The third cousin. The most mysterious of them all. What was she hiding? The 33 year old woman didn’t live at the motel, she just stayed there.
For starters, she applies mascara one eye at a time just like the rest of them.
“It’s a beautiful land, this Dairocha. But ultimately it does us no good if the library still isn’t there. Central! Right Wheeler?”
Wheeler, having determined this some hours back, had already left the scene. She was ready to complete this here photo-novel section about the Nautilus North elsewhere. She was Alysha now, aka Helen aka a lot of other names. But especially Helen, she felt. The antique village of Lips or One Pink called.
Under the big cross at the top of it all, he too changed. Sheriff R.V. Trailer it is to end. Wait!…
Just below. Sweeping. Lots of it; multiple brooms obviously involved. It reminded him of another place he needed to go first.
Multiple sweepers don’t remain any longer at this southeast corner bar of Odie just off Route 12, to his disappointment. Then he met grown-up Tessa and things changed even once again. He was immediately attracted to her waist high tattoo of 2 six shooters. How clever, he thought. Pointer. She leaned over and said her new name in a low voice, obscuring the ink.
He automatically leaned in too (*kiss*), One Pink or Lips transformed.
“I don’t understand, Wheeler. The library simply… *disappeared*.” Mainly. A couple of books left, but –”
“Quiet,” Wheeler demanded, who had turned into Alysha in anticipation of the event. Crestfallen! Yet she was determined to try. She thought the air felt a little different just over… there.
“Am I holding anything, Baker B.?” she queried expectantly, palms getting sweaty even.
“Not a thing.”
“Wait. Lemme try a little brighter light just to be sure.
Baker Bloch trying to love his new, temporary home and forget that his Collagesity rent is now 1 day overdue, pheh. PHEH.
He hasn’t quite got the lighting in here, he thinks. Trying out “Fairy dark blue (Paulina)” currently.
View of the place from the west. Complicated. Potentially many stories to tell within with the many dummies present. Just like Towerboro before it. Wonder how Towerboro is progressing — still a work in progress after all, according to the land description. But Baker shouldn’t be focused on the past. Instead: current. *Dairochia* — yes, that’s the name I concocted several novels ago now. Because we’ve been here before. Library. Looking for a particular book about monsters. Then: stolen.
And it has a secret core, Baker also remembers. Where the letter “l” was exchanged for an “i’.
Time to bring in Wheeler.
“Morgan, eh? Just like Alysha.”
“Yeah,” Baker answered Wheeler. “I’m positive she’s still here.”
“She stole the book, she stole the letter. She won’t be welcomed in this here kingdom of several powers that be.”
“No,” agreed Baker.
“Aww *raspberries*!” he cussed after running me over in his little purple car, him with his curly purple hair and dark, tall attitude and altitude. *Finally*. I’d been asking for it since John F. Kennedy City when Jeffrey Phillips almost did it with red. He prodded me with his foot to make sure, but I was sure dead all right, raspberry beret crushed and mixed into a bigger mess that was formerly my somewhat dense but pretty enough head. Maw was right. You can’t be in two places at once when… can’t remember the rest.
He could never have me.
He withdraws foot from leg, knowing it was The End.