He was beyond the end of Route 13 now. He sensed a hole in the West here, something he couldn’t get to while corporeal. If he hadn’t wasted so much time chasing girls here and there, he lamented. But the Afterlife is all about regret, at the beginning. What could and couldn’t have happened, and so on. There’s always a gap between what occurred and the ideal, and a big one. Get ready for the shock. But the ideal still exists and that is the salvific force, the saving grace. The ideal *was* made flesh, and you can view it, you can penetrate it at points — non-corporeally of course, but also — sometimes — with real significance. And it is here in the West that Jeffrey Phillips decides he can start to make the changes he desires.
“Ahh, Barry DeBoy,” he says from his higher position, looking down. “Something about that island.” He penetrates.
He could go anywhere, do anything. He truly had a bike now. But how to use this new found power. He’s decided to be a spiritual guide for the blog, for Collagesity perched up there on that beige ridge between Route 13, which he’s riding on currently, and Route 14 on the other side. Together (through the Wizard Cube): 25, or the number of letters subtract one. And that one could be him, hidden in form. He could be the true man behind the Wizard in Oz-speak, which is All-speak now for him. Because he knows Oz represents the Afterlife.
He bikes on, plotting on how to heal the Great Split. Brother against brother, friend against friend. It’s all going to end somewhere, and perhaps badly. But Nautilus can survive. If he places himself in the middle. And that could be an anchor for the rest.
I recognized him immediately, even though I’m not sure I wanted to. Not the man on the bike also staring over. That would be the long sought after Dr. Mouse, shortened over time from Doctor *of* Mouse, as in Mick Mouse, as in Pansy Mouse which Mick changed into after the operation to remove all the black and fatten up the face and body. No, I’m talking about the shadowy man in the window with the red eye, presumably with a matching one hidden behind the grille of the window pane. I’ve seen him before: the house on the hill in Pickleland. This is Schuman; Schuman is interested in what I am doing. Endlessly inventive, he has found a new guise.
I also think about the “red eye” of the 1st Bogota collage, there the color applying to a lightning bolt design highlighting an eyeless socket of a skull, a facial tattoo made famous by pop musician David Bowie.
And to further this, I’m reminded in one of his last videos called “Lazarus”, Bowie had bandages very similar to Schuman.
So is this Schuman or is this Bowie? Perhaps a game of eeny, meeny, miny, moe would be appropriate here.
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 Time and pronto!”
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 just didn’t seem to fit in here with my bike and all. It was a hell of a bike, though. Got me through Gormania. Mystery Shack.
“So here we are on the hands again, EM. Waiting for someone to cross that bridge.”
“Could be a man with a million dollars, could be some dude with a gun.” He paused. “Both… neither.”
“But probably neither,” opined Sandy Beech, anxious to get this scene over since Chloe Price was waiting for him over at Bay City. Both of them!
Sandy then heard something, a rumbling, getting louder. EM pointed. “Look Sandy, a hog. Bikers again. Spocari Nemoy is going to be *soo* upset.”
Sandy looked as well, but all he could see crossing the bridge was a man not on a motorcycle as he expected, but just an ordinary bicycle. Burning — the actual source of the noise. A Burning Man.
“Wait Sandy!” EM reassessed over the growing roar. The burning man had just come upon the center of the bridge. “Not a hog, a *dog*!”