He was near the start again, deciding which way to go and whether it was even worth choosing at this point. The house on the hill to the left remained a disappointment, with no Grandma inside except a kindly one named Tessa who was obviously not the horrible monster he’d heard about from several denizens of PickleSong now. But there also seemed nothing of real value or meaning to the right either: no real structures of substance. The red door loomed front and center before him. Dare he (despite the warning color)? There was nowhere else. Except retreat a little further back toward the Portal and thank Brunhilde for the bike, which he never did, and ask for his advice. He seems kindly enough as well. Yes, that sounds like a plan.
“It’s already been taken care of,” offered muscle bound Brunhilde about the door, helping Sandman more than he could know if confusing him in the present. “I’d go ahead and start over: go back through the Portal and start afresh tomorrow. Things will be different, trust me. And, oh, leave the bike behind. I need to pedal to the store up on level 5 today for some bread and eggs and some other stuff.”
Jeffrey Phillips woke up back in the Blue Feather in Collagesity. He wiped the little bit of grit from his eyes (sand!), and looked around at familiar surroundings: the infamous red tie draped around his bedpost, his tuxedo hanging in the corner on an antique coat rack, his Phillip Linden doll beneath him that he’s cried into many a night before sleep. And, most immediate: Charlene the Punk beside him. “Put on a dress babydoll and get out of that babydoll,” he spoke over to the groggy punk. “We’ve got to go see Man About Town and pronto!”
Before heading over to the only real grown up person in the room as far as I could tell, I studied The Munsters a bit more, puzzled by their red Rudolph noses. The mounted rats Rock, Paper — er, Paper, Scissors, Rock — I think — represented a riddle too, a cypher. Better ask the Grandma about it. If this was such person.
I approached. “Grandma?” I tested.
“Tessa,” she corrected in a wavering voice. “You’re looking in the wrong place.”
It was this sight that especially haunted him on this lower level of PickleSong, aka The Sector: a giant rabbit bunny with his brains *exterior* to his head, seemingly. And a diamond of a brain it was to behold, impossibly sparkly and shiny. How to get it back in the body? And after a time Sandman knew it was made of both carats… and carrots. How could this be? He suddenly had a flash of blue roses and another rabbit path leading to… he couldn’t remember. That particular sight was not with him. He stares down one more time before continuing to explore, not having even figured out the floor part of this place much less levels above. Obviously the red door remained closed. I’m not sure he even remembers it is there at this point. He rationalizes the spooky house on the hill is a central spot, but in truth it was more of a red herring, with false leads within and without. Nevertheless, that is probably where he’s heading next — once he figures out this 1st story, pheh.
Goodbye giant bunny for now. Probably see you in a couple of hours again.
Another dead end, darnit. Good thing I have this bike or I’d be completely wore out by now!
“Yes that *is* a pretty penny to pay for a hanging, but I guess I should move on, er, Brunhilde is it?”
“Yes sir.” Massively muscled Brunhilde looked beyond Sandman at the now empty couch in the distance and understood that his master had finished his nap. Sandman indeed could move on. But he didn’t say this. A little more stalling couldn’t hurt. Plus he kind of enjoyed the company and chatting. They don’t get a lot of visitors these days to this sector — most have just started calling it The Sector, because of the missing N and especially R thing involving returned Dany Rada and his time plunger that we mentioned in the previous post, another West Virginia connection like Gormania here before it and perhaps directly relatable to that spooky building filled dot on the map. If only this Sandman would have brought his bike to this realm, Brunhilde thought, suddenly feeling sorry for the pitiful man-person before him. He looked again at the empty couch. He decided to take a chance. “I assume… you can ride a bicycle.”
Quicker than most, then, he was upon the red door leading to the castle. But most people didn’t go there immediately, having hesitation about such a radical change in such a new land. Red is a sign of warning, danger. This was, of course, the plan all along for its designer and creator: to put the obvious end of the journey right up front and center at the beginning and then taunt them at the end about the missed opportunity to jump all the trouble they went through. Think Dorothy of Kansas on the Yellow Brick Road at the beginning of her Oz journey. As the stupid Good Witch of the North told her much later, she could have just clicked her ruby slippered heels three times right then and there and be whisked back to home, safe and sound. No need to kill an even more deadly witch, no need to deal with an obvious incompetent wizard who was probably sending her and her accumulated mates into a death trap. No all she had to do — then and there — was click those stupid heels 3x and — gone. It’s a fatal flaw in the 1948 Oz movie that the Rainbow Sphere perfectly predicts, and actually resolves in the big picture. And so it is here, and with another red object. There is no accident in this. Sandman can ride his bike safely here to the right and to the left but not straight on, else *crash* (another one). In short, what we are dealing with is more *witchery*.
(to be continued)
I wish I could say hello, welcome, “MAT Gone Bad” thought at his “welcoming” couch, spying Sandman descend the stairs from the Portal in the distance. But not here. Canada or not, this is *my* realm. And you’re not a part of it. Dany Rada, without an extra N — or an R — invented the (time) plunger that brought me here, in his true self. You have not seen his true self, you do not know the truth… *interloper*. Things have equaled out now and beyond, with not a level playing ground to behold, not even close.
He stares upward now, seeing the many levels Sandman, formerly newly appointed Collagesity leader Jeffrey Phillips, has to ascend to win the “game”. He’ll probably never make it to the castle, Man About Time calculates in his machinating mind, but even if he does the Grandma is there at the end. No one gets past the Grandma. Everyone has one, and everyone is leveled out at the top because of her. Grandma will ask about the innermost secrets and if she is not happy with the answers, she will *cancel all future realities*. That simple. But, again, he probably won’t even make it that far.
Sandman’s pace is still brisk when he steps upon the pathway leading to the Ethereal Falls. MAT reconsiders in the moment. Sandman is strong, having Jeffrey Phillips’ soul within as a new host. He truly could make it to the Grandma. But no further of course. Unless, *his* reality is cancelled instead. He ponders this terrifying if unlikely future for just a few seconds before waving it off as if an irritating gnat. He settles back into the couch for a nap, for there is no one down here that can bid him otherwise.
“Okay, so let’s see what this is all *aboot*, he he.” He enters.
Little Stevie Wonderful offered to play RN Griselda a tune he just wrote to comfort her on the sight. And sound. And smell.
Sandman stood before the Portal to newest region of Pickleland, deciding whether he really wanted to enter. He’d been practicing his Canadian for months so no problem on the language front. It’s just — the hellish stuff and all. Was Sally worth it in the end? And what about the spacecraft he’d seen landing *without a crash* just beyond the high ridge behind him now. Was it an omen? Something had happened; something had been invented. This should be a Portal *outta here* he realized. Time had been changed/altered. The PickleSong part of Pickleland should not yet exist. And David A.B. didn’t know this fact either when he sent him away.
“He can *smell* the trouble,” onlooking Registered Nurse Griselda spoke to the little pumpkin headed demon below her (Steve). “More senses over there beyond sight and sound.” And therein lies part of the problem.
(to be continued)
“Hey Samuel. Remember when we had two feet apiece instead of the 4 between us?”
“Never mind that,” he answered Reggie. “I’ve got more sand in this bag to put them on.”
“Excuse me, guys,” he said, feets still moving. “Just passing through.”
“Sure, sure mister,” they both exclaim, then remember to put a little on their eyes first to keep up the illusion.
“Hey, which way to the Portal, Lt. Salt? I seemed to have been turned around when exiting David’s highly polished palace, pheh.”
“Thataway,” answers the military man with a point, part of the magical tapestry that is the citizens and denizens of Pickleland.
“Is that a Baby Yodo?” questions Sandman, distracted by creature directly beneath him on the table. “So adorable.”
“I must ask you to move on,” said the lt. politely but firmly. “Jenny Lind’s entourage will be arriving shortly. We must clear the area as much as possible.” Sandman knew he had to move the way Lt. Salt was pointing, or else be pointed at himself. But he couldn’t help himself.
“What do *you* say, little fellow?” he asked while leaning over, hands on knees. The creature’s ears twitched and moved back and forth, and his mouth along with it, as if he (or she) were searching for a correct response to Sandman’s question. Perhaps he (or she) was trying to make up for Lt. Salt’s rudeness in not answering the same — overcompensation. The answer had to be perfect and… he (or she) couldn’t do it. Neither ended up answering him, Baby Yada or whatever the f-ck it is shrinking back from the twitching and moving that signaled thinking into a state of immobility, perhaps Tennessee but perhaps also Kentucky (Ohio’s a longer shot).
“Outta here,” came the lt.’s next statement. Sandman was out of time. Feets get moving!
“So you’re ready to move on from this… *Pickle* state. Now that you’ve found a new host. Is that how it works?”
“I suppose so, David.”
“Don’t call me that here.”
“I’m sorry.” Pause. “But I did what I had to do to better…”
“… yourself,” David finishes for him.
“I can’t argue.”
David A.B. settles back in his chair, tries to calm himself. Although he is a God he’s prone to errors too. More emotional ones for him rather than intellectual, because of the brilliant, diamond-like brain and all inside his nogg’n, thanks to Mid Hazel. Or thanks to Mid Hazel for allowing him to keep it there. What does she want long-term, though? he ponders once more. It’s a direction he can’t see clearly, which is unusual. He’s asked Jenny to help. She should be here soon. Better wrap it up with this Pickle man dude.
“You better confer with the Ant. I know you hate him but…”
“… he’s a part of me too,” Sandman finishes for David this time. There is no me without we, he knows. Maybe he should have thought this whole host transferring thing out better, but, too late now.