“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.
“Tiger eyes, moved from the front of the head to the back to meet in the middle again, just like (with) Aunt Fannie. Black Diamond is revealed. It is time to tell the truth.”
“Partial truth,” I respond.
“Black Ice is not Black Ice,” I spoke to the city or town council, as yet undecided. *Maybe* tonight (!).
“Well??” Head councilman and well respected resident Walter “Homer” Westinghouse was waiting for an answer.
“It’s Black Diamond.” Gasps from the members at the meeting. They hadn’t heard that name in a looong time.
“Bu-bu-but *Diamond*fyre* is the only Diamond named sim.”
“No,” I corrected Homer. “The actual name of Diamondfyre is *Ice*fyre. Sometime in the past, with a bunch of hoodoos like you lot, it was changed. “The decision –,” I measured out, “was – made,” I paused again, “to change. Switch. One replaces another, like if you had a set of eyes you weren’t pleased with and you switched them out with someone else’s.” I let that sink in. No one responded for what I considered an appropriate amount of time to absorb so I added, “and Ice is the same as Diamond — almost — because you can have the glass version of the former while Diamond always remain pure. Always — remain — pure,” I metered out again.
“What about the *belt*?” Murmurs from the members, agreeing with Walter “Homer” Westinghouse. They must talk about the Great Belt of Black Diamond next. How did it get imported into Marwood? And what did *Icefyre* have to do with all this?
(to be continued)
Toothpick’s best friend from high school Mr. Z returns to his home of Meat City after extensive world travel. Note the masks on his pack representing every continent he’s visited. Fra- Fra- Francis tells him he’s can’t get in the club because he’s not a member but he says he just wants to use the phone and he won’t look at anything he isn’t suppose to. He remembers the pay phone from days gone by. He remembers (Fra- Fra-) Francis as well, the only black kid in his 5 child class who use to train ants to wage war in his playdough fort. Good days, good times. Francis remembers them too; he lets Mr. Z pass through after a stern warning. “Don’t look at the girls,” he requests almost under his breath. “They’ll remember. They’ll report me. Don’t look at them,” he repeats and then steps aside after a lengthy, glary stare. Mr. Z recalled that stare from his ant vs. wasp battles with Francis back in the days. The wasps never stood a chance. Mr. Z promises he won’t look at the girls. He knows something much worse than ants awaits if he does. Fra- Fra- Francis has evolved beyond his childhood times into something much more adult oriented.
He couldn’t help himself. He glanced over while talking to Toothpick (aka Filbert — *not* to be confused with Filburt! (he’s different)) about his journey to the Eleph Trunk and finding Venus and Mars combined into one. “Oh God,” he then sputters into the receiver, “is that Aunt Fannie over there?” He looks away quickly but not fast enough. Aunt Fannie has eyes in the back as well. He recounts why she is so named as he hangs up the phone and scuttles out the door.