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Bendy enjoyed his new job as receptionist for the spaceship that Dr. I.C. Yourinsides and Capt. Spocari Nemoy and others worked in. The latter passed through every morning on his way down to Wallytown and the surface, and also passed by around 6:00, 6:30 in the evening when he returned. Bendy had only seen Dr. I.C. once so far — no real need for her to descend to this lowest deck (with the highest number, though: 15) since she is still unable to go groundside because of the continuing effects of the New Island radiation, even though they are no longer that near New Island. Fisher or Fishers Island is their home now. Their New Home. As stated previously, Spocari’s saving grace in this respect is his not-red-but-green blood.

From his switchboard console, Bendy had access to *some* of the ship’s information and history. It was that Bottle Mound in Alabama which made all this possible — and necessary. The two dead Greys at *Wallytown’s* mound (of similar height — a doppleganger mound, in effect) are not really dead, nor Greys. Hector and Lewis, and also likewise deceased Gerry slumping against an interior wall, didn’t really exist. Something else was going on. That’s why they haven’t been buried. They are merely “signs”.

Former receptionist Willard Picard had just moved to Chicago in the Real World to work at a newspaper, father Justin’s dream of the young man eventually succeeding him as the ship’s Chief Communication Officer be damned. Thus the reason the post was vacated when Bendy teleported up and then met a surprised Dr. Nemoy about a week back. “It is not logical that you sit there in Willard’s place,” you might recall him saying at the time while training several guns on his head.

The robot reports on Wallytown were blocked to Bendy. No possibility of getting the scoop on Tronesisia, then — for now. Just the info about the Alabama Bottle Mound and attached Nehi Indians, as well as histories of the ship’s crew such as Nemoy, Yourinsides, and Picard (both of ’em). The ship was called Cuthand (CU-than), after both a witch and a wizard who either were married or siblings; Bendy couldn’t conclusively conclude from the information at hand.

(to be continued)

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sentry

I’ve been sitting at this crazy console looking toward the entry teleporter for about 15 hours now, Bendy thought to himself. *No one* has shown up. I hope Fisher is enjoying his crazy dreamy time. Is this a deserted ship? Like a desert isle? he then thought. Dead Greys? (Hector, Lewis, Gerry) Did they represent the *entire* crew?

But of course there’s Fisher’s dreams of Dr. Ice Cream and being revived here. We *had* to come here to this new New Island in some way, Fisher told him, which was a logical deduction. Red and green together making a whole. Or perhaps a hole.

Spocari entered. Bendy had missed him teleporting up while daydreaming.

The space captain spotted the robot and drew his weapons. “Identify yourself, stranger. It is not logical that you sit there in Willard’s place. Where is Willard? Identify yourself.”

“Um, Willard had the, er, day off. Yeah. He’s sick as well. And he fell… down some stairs. He’s in pretty bad shape.”

“Lies!” Spocari declared in his deep, level voice. “Dratted robot lies. That’s why you should all be on the surface and not up here… lying all the time. Down there in the muck and grime is fine. Bar Lemon,” he then stated. “Did you come up from Bar Lemon?”

Bendy dropped the pretense which he wasn’t good at anyway. “Er, no. From the mound. With the Greys. Dead.”

“Hector, Lewis and Gerry?” Spocari offered. “Fine alien men all. They will be missed. And of course I can survive as well on the surface like you lot. But no other biological agents aboard. Just I. Do you know why robot? How smart and wise are you? Are you like Walldo and just a photo droid? Or, well I can’t say her name out loud because of orders.”

Tronesisia! Bendy thought to himself. She *is* alive! “No,” he then answered Spocari. “I do not know why you can survive on the surface and not other biological agents on this ship.”

“I’ll give you a hint.” He readjusted his phaser and then cut the palm of his left hand with a tiny beam to reveal blood. Green all right.

(to be continued?)

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beach scene

“What’re you checking out bud?” a concerned Bendy asked his best friend Fisher who was looking at his hands.

“I think I cut myself on that old ferris wheel car in my dream last night. Is that possible?”

“Anything’s possible in a Wonderland, I suppose,” responded the robot. “Was this the spaceship again? Dr. Ice Cream?”

Fisher considered the question. “I guess it *could* have been. A captain was there. And a captain always has a ship by default. Right?”

“I reckon. Want another morning brandy? You can also pour some on that cut — if it is a cut — for disinfectant. But it just looks like a regular ol’ hand line from my perspective. Let me see.” Bendy examines his hand. “Yeah, definitely just a deep, reddish hand line. Heart, or perhaps head. Have you ever had your palms read? And this time I don’t mean by blood, ha ha.”

Fisher thought back. “Maybe when I was drunk once in Bennington North. Lots of palm readers there, going along with all the (tree) palms.”

“Lindens?” Bendy asked about the trees.

“No. Just regular mesh products. Like what’s on the original Fisher’s Island. The tiny one we erupted up to in our pink car from Second Lyfe’s vast underground. Or was it blue?”

“We better figure out such things before advancing the book further. This is 10. Often times 10 is a construction sign on a path one can progress no further upon. Like in The Swamp. You know, with The Cube.”

“I *don’t* know that, Bendy. How could I, as a character in such a book, know about The Swamp and The Cube? But of course I guess there’s always The Dreams.”

“It’s where photography will be reborn. 10 is the limit, Fisher. We’ll have to live inside The Cube after that. In The Swamp.”

He started studying his hands again, seeing something in the patterns. “Can’t wait.”

—–

“Oh I almost forgot to mention. I’ve been seeing *robots* around lately.”

“Mirrors?” Fisher joked.

“No. Actual real flesh and blood, er, nuts and bolts robots. A little one who motored up to me and introduced himself about a week back. Walldo he called himself, obviously after the town’s famous wall. But why? Then — I can’t believe I forgot to tell you this — I saw another one from more of a distance. And she looked like… Nah, it isn’t possible I know. But, get this, she looked like *Tronesisia*.”

“Get out of here. We know Tronesisia perished in the New Island catastrophe. Actually she perished before that, being frozen in the Artist Point Interactive display, apparently by this powerful witch named Hazel or Mid Hazel or something.”

“She’s old,” inserted Bendy. “But anyway, I called toward her — she was walking on the beach near that mound with the dead Russian Greys.”

“I know the place,” Fisher said, nodding his head.

“But then she just walked behind the mound from my perspective and never came out the opposite side. I hastened over to the beach — nothing inside. Just the Greys there, sprawled on the ground at the entrance, like usual. No Tronesisia. Maybe I imagined it?”

“Let’s go look at the scene of the crime — help take my mind off these crazy dreams.”

“Yeah, they’re getting crazier,” said Bendy. “Curiouser and curiouser, even.”

—–

“Do you remember *this*, Bendy?”

“*No.*”

(to be continued)

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naming (it begins)

“You know, Bendy. I suppose it’s really time we talked about how we got here.”

“*Much* better than Mabel’s house, I’ll tell you that. Lots to do in this town. Bar around every corner if we ever tire of Bar Lemon. Which I haven’t.”

“I didn’t ask you how you liked it here… in comparison to New Island. I’m asking you about how we got here.”

“Dunno that part,” his robot companion returned. “Just woke up one day and here I was.”

“It can’t be that easy,” Fisher gruffed, shaking his head. “I personally think I remember something else — don’t think it was just a dream.”

“Well?” prompted Bendy. “Spill it.”

—–

“It started that day we went over to the park to play and then spotted Mr. Yellow in the distance: looking different. We went up to him and saw that weird-y combo thing, looking like it was pissing on the ground. Red liquid instead of the usual yellow, but not blood I don’t think.”

“Soda,” offered Bendy. “I tested it when you turned your back to the camera.” Fisher winced toward him, making Bendy shrug. “Couldn’t resist.”

“Anyway, I went back to Bar Lemon down the wall — that’s when you decided to visit the beach scene — but as soon as I sat down at the bar and started watching Molly warm up, things started happening. Mustered and Catchup were on break…”

“When *aren’t* they,” groused Bendy. “At least when Natsu Lemon isn’t around — the boss.”

“Which is becoming more frequent; that could be part of it as well.” He put his hands behind his head. “But it was something about the dance that… awoken me. Part of me that was, er, dormant before.”

“Sex?” Bendy joked. “You’ve never had any problem there.”

“‘Course not,” Fisher reinforced to his sometimes erotic pal — just every once in a while. “Something else. The dance told a story. The *music* told a tale. I believe the song was called ‘OTR.'”

“‘On the Run’? responds Bendy quickly. “Over the Rainbow’? I have both of them in my database. If you wish, I could even sing both at once.”

“No. No more wacky combos for a while.” But then Fisher realized Bendy was totally on to something in his prescient manner. It *was* a combo of those songs. *Another* wacky combo, two in one day. And perhaps intimately connected. Yes, it had to be so. He blew out a large puff of air. A chill also passed through his body.

“So anyway,” he began again after the reflective pause, “I started remembering stuff about the spaceship. About the regeneration. Dr. I.C. Yourinsides.”

“She prefers Dr. Ice Cream lately,” corrects Bendy. “But: spaceship?”

“Yes. We were taken away from New Island and then placed here. This *new* New Island.”

“That’s a horrible name. Why don’t you just name it after yourself.”

“Why don’t *you*?”

“OK,” acquiesced Bendy. “Lord Bendington the Third’s Island it is.”

Fisher shakes his head again. “No, let’s just use your original suggestion. Name it Fishers Island. Or maybe just Fisher Island. Either one… 1/2 and 1/2. Like a fisherman or several fishermen live here, or were seen here. Fishing or something, I suppose.”

Bendy splashes around water in his pool. “Alright.”

“Now about the spaceship…”

(to be continued)

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other side

“If you asked me, it’s a witch that did this, Fisher. The Wall… everything.”

“Where did you park the car again Bendy?”

 

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allover

“Yeah, you’re right Bendy. That *is* wrong. But what does it mean?”

“Something’s tampering with something, that’s what it means. I can feel it deep down in my metal bones.”

“2 realities combined into one?” Fisher offers. “Someone’s pissing on us?” he tries again, looking down at the red spill.

Bendy couldn’t help it. “What a mess,” he exclaims to the camera.

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centerpoint

Young Ruby looked far and wide for her missing friend Shirley Boot, starting with Yd Bay on the far side of New Island, hoping to hell she didn’t find another bobbing head there like she did before with Trashy the Clown’s (she didn’t).

Another place to visit was Faux Aunt Annie and Karl’s Gloomy Gus on the west coast. Now the last couple of times we checked in — well, actually throughout this *whole* novel, looking back — it seems that Annie was in a heap of trouble with all these pills and incessant dancing and, um, the other thing. And she was! But the death of Trashy the Clown, although extremely difficult to get over at first, was a blessing in disguise. She cleaned up, with aid from loving beau Karl — locked up in the Gloomy Gus for going on two weeks. She emerged exhausted and dehydrated and still a little nauseous, but ready to move forward into the future without drugs and the other, attached things. Karl was her focus now, her beacon of light. So we have a happy ending to that part of our story, and an important one it is. But no luck for Ruby this day — no sign of Shirley there.

Mrs. Fogg and Ms. Frame, now moved in together for mutual protection, food, and liberty, hadn’t seen her either. That basically took care of the whole northwest section of the island, so active these two women were with their sailing and beach running and frequent picnics to the top of Mt. Sondra where they had a commanding view of that part of New Island.

Blue Jay Wade was dead, and his former chum turned complete psychopath Big Red Butler remained incarcerated at the Gaston-Berry jail, at least for this week. But neighbor Zettie Lamont the zebra-ass, similar to Fogg and Frame, had a pretty good view of the lower western part of the island from his perch atop Pimushe Isle. He relayed to the disappointed Ruby that he hadn’t seen the young girl either.

How about one of the houseboats or yachts at the Diamond Sailing Club? Possibility, but since Lisa the Vegetarian Smipson left for Corsica, she has no contacts there.

No one lived at Artist Point in the southeast section of the island. The east was dominated by Mid Hazel’s compound of buildings. Ruby felt that if Shirley had somehow gotten stuck over there she was doomed anyway. Lost to a powerful witch.

Which left center: Mabel’s house (Mabel and roommates Fisher and Bendy had seen nothing), Eraserhead Man and his Rabbit Hole house (nada again), and Robot Derak Jones (who said, check with Eraserhead Man, which she’d just done). Hmm, she thought, standing in the middle of central Route 9 dividing the island almost cleanly in two. She looked down at the buildings: Elephant Club, Axis’ Castle, Flossie’s, a new place beside Bumpy’s Ice Cream Village. “*Wait*,” she suddenly exclaimed. “The Village! I could ask Lavern Glam. She has eyes everywhere.”

So we head back to the ice cream truck, the sole component of this so-called village. Use to be bigger in the day, as they say. But Mr. Glam sold part of his original land to the Elephant Club, who turned it into their western parking lot, and then part to Oranga Black who built the Arcade in back. He downsized from a double wide trailer with indoor seating to the small truck we’ve already seen in that last post, whose cab also doubled as his daughter’s bedroom for a while. She didn’t mind: she felt she remained in the center of it all that way.

Ruby approached the truck. “You’re not Lavern Glam.”

“Yet *you* remain oh-so-red Ruby Roo,” spoke the alien behind the counter. “Exactly 15 1/2 today, this minute, this, um, second actually. Your anti-birthday.”

The island blew up around them. To those on the outside, those who survived, they describe the sound it made as close if not the same as middle C on a piano. Queer, huh? Too queer? We’ll see…

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