She was told not to leave the mountain she was on. “Don’t go past the Easter Island head,” her half sister rather commanded on the phone yesterday, knowing the Fall of Man lies all around. They chatted about mom. They chatted about… Bart. “On the lam,” Lisa states, acknowledging her fears. Never got over the Great Black Swamp. “Beware the Wheelers!”, then, “Beware Wheelers!” Or was it “Heelers”? — she couldn’t remember. All she knows currently is that Bart is in the swamp without the ability to TILE, to come back to the flock and rejoin his sister. She recalls the day her grandfather — poor grandad! — told her about the experiments, one that went right (sister) and the other which went wonky (brother). “The sister will be a good companion for you in future times of trouble,” he stated, listing to the ever-present sound of whales, which of course she heard as well but thought they were sharks. “She is older, she is wiser. You will see her every now and then and that is good enough. I’m estranged from Marg, and she’s blocked the visiting rights. But when the time comes, Lisa will make herself known to you. Bart as well, but: Beware Bart. He will be possessed by the Great Black Swamp by that time. The Soothsayer speaks.”
And so now she’s closer to her half sister than ever, who rescued her from a sticky situation indeed. Kicked out of Green Yarn, a thought of new home where she could examine the whole Ray (short for Rainey) phenomenon in full and the inclusive 2 Barrys, who may be just one Barry now. Heck, Ray and Barry may be the same — the name of the former is included in the latter, after all.
But back to the half sister…
(to be continued)
snowy peak again
Lisa the Vegetarian’s boathouse was still anchored off the west coast of New Island, but she had failed to find her brother, just like Wendy (one of ’em, perhaps the right one?) did before her. She’d heard of Picturetown by now and 102. She knew that the number stood for a game of roshambo, otherwise known as rock paper scissors, like the first 3 chapters of the red book and something to truly contemplate why this is so. Biff Carter might know. After all, he’s in it, but not the first 3. Instead the 4th, where triangle turns to square. He is just as dirty (in the book) as the doctor, the main character of the 4th. Instead of a private dick, he is a restaurant owner, perhaps of the Red Dress Diner if we mix up and combine realities again. But Biff Carter has been revealed — there — by his wife of all people, to be the same as Axis and may not reappear in this here photo-novel (24 in a series of 20; getting close to the end!), his story seemingly resolved but we’ll see. Maybe he leaves his cherished red book in a special place (Red Dress Diner again?) for someone else to find, perhaps Barry De Boy, or maybe one of the Wendys who seem destined to be a mate to him, like Biff-as-Axis has been paired off with… Wendy? Wheeler? We need to combine more characters, it seems. Have them play the triune game as well to whittle downward.
Axis is not Barry De Boy. I do have that much.
I wonder what chapter she’s on?
“One of us will have to go, twin of mine. And *you* are the one sitting sideways. I think it’s you.”
The Wendy who was sitting sideways to the observing camera spoke. “Don’t cross me. You can’t cross me.”
“This is *not* a Jesus situation. Just because we *originally* were in a 0316 post.”
“Before the user Our God realized the mistake. Another mighty cock-up!”
“… is our Lord,” non-sideways sitting Wendy tacked on. But they both were in different ways. “Paper?” one uttered.
“Scissors,” answered the other. She was the one.
On the sealed evergreen island in the middle of snow snow snow, Barry De Boy waited.
And then nodded off.
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/Philburt 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?”
“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.”
“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?
“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.
Official Guy Linden Temple in “New Town”.
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.
“That was a nice song, I think I’ll write another now.”
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?)
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.