“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.
“Let’s get this over with, Sandman.”
“What. Are you going to try to *eat* me again? Ant-man. Man who thinks he is an Ant.”
“I might,” the man who thinks he is an ant threatened.
“You know what will happen.”
“I do.” Ant-man knows he can’t go through with it. The pictures of the merged mess simply wouldn’t show up in the blog. Copyright infringement from the future. Santman cannot be born.
“Well… what then?”
“*You’re* the one who came all the way out here to find *me*. You tell me.”
“Right… forgot. Umm, we can merge in a different, um, way.”
“I don’t swing that way, Sandman,” Ant-man says with a slight chuckle.
“No not that.” But Sandman here contemplates it might be just that. He imagines himself leaning into Ant-man for a kiss, a sweet one and not using any tongue atall. Because there’s no telling what kind of tongue that ant-head holds. He doesn’t want to know! No, no lovers in this picture. Instead:
“Ant. Man. Man of Ant.”
“Yes?” Ant-man was waiting for *something*, but he knew a big thing was about to be revealed. Bigfoot big perhaps.
“My real name… is Pickle.” A rainbow butterfly flutters by at this point. Wonder where that came from. Perhaps the Wonder Years. Before the Fire Tree.
(to be continued)
“More Bigfoot art,” Harrison Ford Jett whispers in the waning light to no one except himself. “It’s all here.”
“A cave! Marked with green again. Pickle. Pickle Too. Let’s go!”
The underwater rock cavern was pretty long; about 200 meters.
More of that type of art? Harrison F. Jett found these identical, half filled bottles of unknown alcoholic content wedged together in a rock opening and was unable to move them.
The rocks holding the stash penetrated the roof of the cave, making a distinguished marker. Watch out passing Bellisarian ships!
The rocks even appear to have feet.
The man who was also an ant back at the Hideout said I knew Bigfoot. Something about my shirt… should be getting back to NWES City and meeting up with Charlene. Maybe she would have some ideas about what the odd superhero or supervillian or whatever he is, was talking about. He recalls she studies these type of things, and her dissertation she’s hard at work on late into the night is about a somewhat similar creature called the Loch Ness Monster. And she talks of another “monster” called Knobby (actually: Knob Noster, *not* Knob Monster!) — maybe that’s what her paper is about instead (he intuits in the cave, staring up at a rainbow hued crystal cluster in the ceiling).
At any rate, she certainly lives in the land of Paperville. Hmm, odd thought — where’d that come from?
She watched him walk away after they freed him from the Bigfoot picture in the soon-to-be but not yet present consignment store with the old clothes and such. No explanation, no thanks. Just walking. He had to see someone *immediately*. A man posing as an ant, the big hypocrite. Sticking me in that photo with that hairy, stinky… *monster*! He needed to be dealt with. No love here.
He kept walking, right out of Black Ice and into the Great Beyond.
“Harrison Ford Jett,” he spat out. “I sense the force is strong with you, buh huh huh (*sip*), buh huh huh huh (*sip*), buh (*sip*, *sip*), huh.”
“How much for the apples?” He wasn’t in the mood to beat about the bush. He wanted to get rid of the chafing, gnawing things asap; let someone else get gnawed on for a while. He takes another drag off his Chesterton Lite, waiting for an answer that never came.
Instead: “You know Bigfoot.” The half wine colored half ant, half man paused, taking in the surprised expression re his statement seemingly out of left field, or thrown back over a left field fence or something. In truth, he was the shirt she wore, but that will take a bit of explanation. Another night it is!
Goodbye Ant Castle at the end of Eleph’s Trunk. I feel like I hardly knew ya.
The only related castle remaining on The Trunk is Harrison Ford Jett’s, whose enhancing apples were recently mentioned in relation to a city crime. The City now. But was he suspected perpetrator or victim in a series of 4? And is he truly a man or a woman? Perhaps it doesn’t matter; let’s go with it doesn’t matter.
“Sure you can stay with me, Ant. Until you get your 6 feet back on the ground.”
That taken care of, let’s move back to The City and the Happy Travels Travel Agency…
“Hellloooo. I’m ready to go on vacation. Hide away again.” It was typical of Hidi to do so; in her genes, one could say. Speaking of which…
“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.
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)
The Ant enters The Castle
to call his old friend Harrison Jett over at Fearzom. Jett was also an enemy — 1/2 and 1/2 — just like Yellowmoon was a higher and bigger mountain than nearby Fearzom but Jett’s castle was higher and bigger than Ant’s. They spoke to each other in a cordial yet tense manner. Blue was always tinged with red and visa versa. This was another Vain and Artery hemispheric situation.
“Hiya Harry!” He knew not calling him Harrison would irritate his friend/enemy slightly to start the game of chess.
“Hi Ant!” Harrison was holding his punches and jabs for later. Ant didn’t mind being called Ant. That was his name, plain and simple.
“Harry… Harrison,” Ant let up a bit. “I have a favor to ask of you.”
“What is it my old friend?” Harrison dare not add, “and old enemy,” even though he was thinking it at the time. But he purposely pronounced friend like it rhymed with fiend. Jab 01.
“I’m having trouble with my Rothko loving neighbor and I was wondering if you could come over here and back me up a bit; act as a rear guard as it were.”
“As it is!” returned Harrison Jett, continuing to move pawns in an old game. Time did not matter in these conversations which both freely admitted and played around with.
“Thank you,” allowed Ant, knowing Harry aka Harrison would show up. But what could he request in turn? There was always the tit for the tat. 1/2 and 1/2. Always.
He hung up the phone — took him a while as usual. “I’ve got go see the bastard Ant about something,” he spoke to his wife of 3 years and 30 seconds inside the larger castle on the shorter mountain of the two friends/enemies. He thanked her again for the leather wallet and she thanked him again for the leather harness before he departed. They’d put both to good use. They were cooperative that way. Things were good at home base for Harry. He inserted the apples back into his shirt-blouse and prepared to go to war.
flying to Yellowmoon or thereabouts
(to be continued)
He was still hugging the Philip Linden doll pillow when he returned to the bakery. *His* bakery: Bake’s Bakery. No doubting it now. Umbrella had been fully revealed.
He manifested his new, 22 inch colored tv since no one was around. The bakery had closed hours ago, but it didn’t matter. No one showed up; no one bought anything. This was just decoration, like the frosting on a cake without a cake to go along with it.
Jeffrie Phillips recognized the Ant Castle on the video that was left playing the last time he rezzed the thing. Always predicting the future — another cursed object in the bakery, like that demon hot beverage vending machine over there sold to him by the Appleyon fellow back in section 2. But he didn’t reflexively look over at it in the far corner of his establishment, as would be natural at this point. He kept staring at the castle on the screen, wondering what was going on.
This Norris fellow kept hooking and dragging — on some kind of grappling line I suppose — the castle toward him through the landscape, then similarly hooking and dragging a girl to the castle to head inside for obvious reasons. They appeared to be married, just like…
He derezzed the tv. He’d seen enough for tonight. Still pathetically embracing the doll pillow, he settled back into the couch for a long sleep. Perhaps forever.
Sandman walks the rail, continuing to look for the one he calls The Spitter. He pauses to gander at this collection of junk on one side, knowing, through it, that he is indeed on the right track.
He finds another Lane to add to Penny, Arnold, Shelly at the end of this track, the latter a Firesign Theatre fan and a close match to his pattern, a two fer one fer zero kind of deal-i-o. Man.
The banana indicated *himself*.
He had no problem going further. He’d been walking away from Love for a looong time.
Ant-man walked out of the rain to enter the lane.
The rain catches up with him at The End. He is home.