Some things never change.
“Fish Head! Give us a report.”
Cathy A., natural mate to Marcus Fox Smartville and also a DJ like Grey Scale Kimball, had long dug Elvis White but didn’t know about Elvis Black until he showed up at one of her pretend gigs in Kensington’s Serenityville day before Wednesday. Always with the primmy rose she was, thus couldn’t spin the other record, the dark side this time. Like the South — but they were *barely* in the North now. North side of the middle that is (Hills of Bill/Neutral Zone). But, perhaps: close enough.
Elvis Black, who of course is our Duncan Avocado in disguise once more, just sat on the wooden bench on the far side of the lawn, letting his presence be known. He didn’t want to seem threatening at all, just seen. Here was a keeper of the portal, he thought from within. Like Marcus before her. Maybe they’re even one and the same, or at least soulmates. I think with the common rose it’s obvious. Is it the *same* rose?
Day after Thursday he stands before Cathy, turning Grey in the process. Exactly east from this spot on the day between Sunday and Tuesday of the previous week, Gabby Truth saw it coming.
“You have lost the West but gained the East,” he spoke, seeing visions in his scrying ball once again. “But, at the same time, you have lost the South, but gained — yes — the North.” He draws back his white, pancaked face from the glow. “Interesting.” He looked over at Elvis Black — black Elvis. “All the 4 directions at once, blabber de blah…”
But they weren’t “all at once,” as Gabby proclaimed. He had himself lost separation of time in his chatty mannerisms. Elvis’ — Duncan’s — losses were 2, the latter nested inside the former. This was not seen today, this between day.
Duncan becomes fully Grey on a day of the week further down from Friday. “I have lost the South but gained the North,” he said in DJ character, staring at the 2 records, spun and un-spun.
Gabby Truth finally remembers to turn off the light in his crystal ball.
“Personally I don’t like to look at the thing,” she spoke, facing way from the map. “But there it is. The Maebaleia blue galleries of lore. Notice — and I’m not going to turn around for this — that Cassandra City near Bluestocking is closest to The Moon here.”
“I know,” cooed the staring Heart Queen, thinking back to the previously examined map on the second floor of the House of Truth. “Barracuda. Just like in ‘Moby Prick’. Gypsies. Karoz! I’m remembering. He was there!”
“He has been disguised as (similarly blue-green) Tealy for the current run of Collagesity photo-novels,” admitted Grey Scale. “Waiting to reveal himself.”
“Now’s the time!” requested the queen.
“Not quite yet,” tempered Grey Scale, who was still in charge despite the niceties. The Heart Queen, like Chesteria before her, was learning when to keep in line; bend her own will. “Don’t cross Grey Scale,” urged Chesteria as newly appointed executive advisor. “She knows what she’s doing. Despite the purse.” They both had a laugh about the yellow handbag after that — so unfashionable, both agreed. Doesn’t really go with any of her earrings, for example.
“We have to determine the identity of Tillie, the accomplice. She may be Baker Blinker, the wife in Our Second Lyfe. Or she may be…”
“Very close.” Grey Scale turned to the Heart Queen. “Very close.”
“Ice cream for you today, my ruler?”
“Not today, Jer,” Grey Scale Kimball replied while walking by. “Maybe tomorrow. You just stay there in that here ice cream truck till we’re ready, tehe.”
“Will do, mum.”
“Let’s take another shortcut,” the Horns of Hatton ruler expressed while staring beyond the end of the path, where the stones run out.
“Let’s go through the front door instead,” replied Chesteria A. Arthur. “She’s had enough of being sneaked up on lately, don’t you think?”
“Wonderful.” Grey Scale is turning out to be a wise and thoughtful ruler, ready to bend her will through sound feedback if needed. But Chesteria also knew when to get back in line. They were soulmates through and through.
“You’re *right*, Chesteria my love. Look: my statues emitting both colored and non-colored waters. She *has* acquiesced. We can move forward together to defeat the North.”
“We can move forward together to defeat the North,” the Heart Queen finished her 2nd surrender speech (as it will be later called). “I look forward to fighting side by side in many battle victories.”
One after another, they pricked the symbolic white fish on the hearth to make sure it was dead. And it was, through and through this time.
The Zindra continent has been through a similar (North-South) war, pondered Grey Scale, leaving Chesteria behind for now. I can pattern my strategy after that. There’s even a direct character link between the two. Dixon 01. Or was it Dixon 02? Anyway, both are dead now. Or are they totally alive? One way to find out: visit the old homestead.
“Dixon? Dixon Klancaster?” she shouts back on the ground.
But both Dixons were indeed dead, having been one and the same. Snowwhite Well appears on the landing outside the squatter home, old and withered now. She’s basically turned into maw herself, mother of the two. But formerly: married to the two. It was complicated.
“Whatcha want? Tithes? You a tithe collector? I’ve gaven my fair share last month. Now, run along, tithe collector. Or do I have to sic my *chickens* on you. She turned toward Gander, the largest of the bunch. “Been a while since you’ve tasted human flesh, Gander eh? Fondness grows in absence they say, eh?”
“Listen,” bargained Grey Scale. “I don’t want any of your money.” Not yet, she tacks on for herself. “No I’m here to speak to Dixon.”
“The former warrior. The vet of the Trojan-Durexian Wars over on Zindra.”
“God *knows* I know where they were *fought*, foreigner. Everyone around here knows. We all lost peoples.”
“I’m sorry,” backed down Grey Scale. “I didn’t know…”
“Anyway. He’s dead. Dixon. Both of ’em. I married ’em. Shortly after the war. But the bees and their massive beehives got them in the end. Not a bayonet stinger, a *stinger* stinger. Irony perhaps — I’ve heard that word applied here anyhows.” She takes a better look at the grey figure standing proud below her. “You a woman of words, sister?” she inquires. “Maybe you can help me with some words I’m trying to read in a section of this here book. ‘Moby Prick.’ You may have heard of it.”
Grey Scale Kimball was up on the landing faster than a fly on wheels. A chance to analyze her favorite book with someone (!). But she quickly corrected elderly Snowwhite Well on something before entering. “It’s *chapters*, not sections. I should know, having read or attempted to read so many of the latter lately.”
“Fine with me, woman of words. Now — inside before the chickens peck at your tail feathers, hehe.” She swats Grey Scale on the behind and sends her reeling inside.
Chesteria poses in front of one of Grey Scale’s new statues in town. “Go ahead and get in the water, dearest,” requests snapping Grey Scale.
“Ohh. So cold!” she protests.
“Believe me, you’re still red hot,” returns her ruler and lover, watching the water soak into the clothes. “Hold on!” *snap*.
For Grey Scale, it was about reinforcing colored over black and white, Letters over Numbers. The former ruler is sad, but she’ll get over it.
“It all ends with the chicken,” Grey Scale responded to the still defiant Queen before her. “No Mor,” she insisted.
“But…” She shook her head in continued defiance, “you’re no more president of this here South than I am. It’s a technicality you’re talking about, a *loophole*. It doesn’t really exist. It won’t stand up in a Court of the Land. Neither mine *nor* yours.”
“I am president,” put forth Grey Scale Kimball in a matching tone of finality. “The loophole, in my opinion — in my *decree* — was set up by fate. You state that *you* set up loyalist Space Ghost on that property called ‘Ghost land’ due to fate. I am saying to you in solid return that, although this is *technically* true — another loophole in a way — it was also fate that I discover the traitorous move. Trailer traitor,” she finished for now.
“So lemme get this straight,” the Queen shot back. “Lemme get this straight.” Her eyes were in the air now as she had assumed again a state of high haughtiness in line with her royal position. “*You* were elected head of the Council over in Regaltown.”
“Then since Regaltown is the old capital of the South, before the coming of the grey and white elephants, then your power is transferable to Horns of Hatton because the Head of Council there was once the same as the Head of Council here.”
“Still is.” Grey Scale continued to mirror the fixed position of her foe standing before her. Her *defrocked* foe. She pointed to herself. “Me.”
The Queen waved her monstrous red hands in the air and stomped about the floor a bit, uttering cusswords I won’t repeat here with such words as “unbelievable,” “unfathomable,” “unconscionable.”
“Duly elected,” broke in Grey Scale in the middle of all this. “DU-LY…” She motioned for the Heart Queen to simmer down. “ELEC-TED.”
And that was basically the end of it. Space Ghost’s illegal trailer on the west edge of town derezzed and owner banished back to Regaltown. The Queen’s mutinous club gathering at Cpt. Americus’ Between Land cabin on alternate Tuesdays and Thursdays dispersed. No scripts allowed to run at the King’s tomb; no more worshipping of the dead, of the past. Grey Scale had found an opening, an *Achilles heel*, and taken full advantage of it. She was ensconced.
They all sat on the bench, wondering what she was attempting to actually accomplish by being here. But they dare not ask, since they were the conquered if not the vanquished — yet. Grey Scale Kimball had assured the little people of the land that she was fairy friendly, and that she had come from Regaltown which was full of such people and they all got along very well indeed and that she herself was a type of fairy. The fairies knew what she was alluding to. Fairies are certainly not dumb creatures. Little bodies and brains, true, but a lot of thoughts spinning round those small grey matters. They knew that she was referring to homosexual fairies and not fairy fairies, although there were also homosexual fairy fairies, if not in present company.
Benny’s brother Jer showed up on the other side of the praying Grey Scale. He was much less timid in his position as the Left Horn to his brother’s Right. Horns of Hatton they were together, although not rulers of the land. That was Grey Scale now. Formerly: their father.
“My ruler,” he acknowledged Grey Scale while bowing a bit. “My brother,” he said over to Jer sitting on the bench with the fairies.
“Howdy,” Jer’s less formal brother spoke back. The fairies (Aubrey, Austin, Addison) waved “hi.”
Jer turned his attention back to Grey Scale. “May I assist you in your prayers, my ruler?” His voice was authoritative. *He* should have been the eventual ruler. Not this usurper. But armies decide battles and hers won. Certainly having the armored elephants didn’t hurt her cause. He should have thought of it first. They were there, just having a good time roaming the shallows and flats around the sacred Hills of Bill. He should have put them to good use first.
“No, I think I’ve got the hang of it,” replied Grey Scale, thinking: how hard is it to pray, dummy? I sit on the single pose ball, I *pray*. Very simple. But then she realized that maybe she was missing something. Like needed, spoken words. Perhaps a ritual mentioned in those dusty old tomes which she’s still read only about 10% of. She decided enough was enough before she got herself into hotter water, and rose solemnly, unlocking her hands. “There. I feel better,” she said, breathing deeply. She shrugged to both brothers. “But it’s war, fellas. There’s gotta be winners.. and, well, losers.” She glanced into the tomb with this. The final resting place of Max the Mad, also known as the Red Devil. “Now he’s in a better place,” she tried to reassure again, but Grey Scale here instead pictured a world of fire and brimstone and much gnashing of teeth.
“I’ll never get through all these books, Chesteria A. Arthur. Conquerors draw the worse lot!”
“The whole assimilation process, yes,” speaks Grey Scale’s mate from behind. She thinks: we must get rid of this blue vase I’m leaning next to and kind of hiding, yes. And that one over there as well. Don’t have Grey Scale be reminded of her blue enemy in any way. The Big Blue Machine. Like a sleeping blue whale. So deep, so blue.
“You’ve become quiet, Chesteria my love, my dearest. Please keep talking to distract me from these confounded histories before me!”
“Okay. Just don’t turn around. I have something between my front teeth and I’m presently sucking it out. Keep at least pretending to read and I’ll move to you.”
“Alright.” She feels Chesteria’s hot, 1/2 cheetah breath against the back of her neck now. “Maybe I’ll read aloud to you. Then you will feel the weight of your eyes too. Listen: ‘In 1312 the village of Horns-on-Hatt was formed with 15 soldiers of the disbursed Copper Queen’s army. Items included 10 cows for milking, 5 golden rings, 25 standard issues of toilet paper bark, 50 bayonets, 22 rubber gloves, 14 fishing rods for the hobbit pond, 77 individually wrapped pieces of copper colored candy for the boys and girls, 88…’ well, you get the picture. Do you see what I mean?” She abruptly shuts the book without saving her place somewhere near its beginning. Dust flies from it, making golden-silvery glints in the air where the sun shines. “And, you see (she waves her arm around the table here) there’s maybe 20 more to go through. I’ve done 6 — *started* 6. I just can’t even get through the 1st chapter of most. If you can call these sections chapters. ‘Moby Prick’ did writing right. These (she waves again around her) are just ephemera, the flotsam and jetsam of dull, boring grey life. Soldiers’ lives at that in this case.” She pounds the book before her with a flat palm, as if trying to compress its three dimensional nature back into 2. “*Cartoons* would be more entertaining. *Much more*. In fact…”
Chesteria was reading her mind. She had the newspaper funnies in her back pocket, ready to whip them out to stave off breakdowns. Grey Scale Kimball eagerly pushes the “soldier book” away and flattens the funnies before her. Almost immediately she begins to smile. “Hehe. Hatfield. So funny.”
“I guess so,” Grey Scale responded, but still taking pretty deep gulps of air.
“You know we’re only about 100 feet from the house.”
“I know. I’ll get my second wind. I know how this goes.”
“You’ve *heard* how it goes. When’s the last time you actually ran over, say, um, 100 feet? High school?”
“I’ll have you know I tried out for track in college.” Her eyes widened. “Failed miserably, admittedly, but I tried. It was all those coconut cream pies they offered in the cafeteria. So tempting.”
“And all the cigs, I’ve heard,” responded Chesteria A. Arthur with a chuckle. “And some of those *special* cigs you like.”
“Well… maybe.” Grey Scale’s thoughts turned to ambition again, as they often do. How long to stay in this backwater village. Who’s here besides them, Marcus and Chicken Boy next door, Bullfrog and Aqua Dude, and then, let’s see, the Kevins I suppose. Kevin C. and E. at least. Kevin A. lives in the separated Northeast Quadrant on Space Ghost’s property. Non-gay they are. “Didn’t the guy with the archery set and his gal pal leave the village recently?” she asked her non-winded partner. “Something about converting back to straight?”
“I’m not sure,” Chesteria said. “Okay, enough dilly dallying. It’s time to see what you’re made of, dictator girl. Then she was up and running, so fast that she was around the bend up the hill almost before Grey Scale could turn around. This would not work out well, she knew. Better just head back to the house; pull out one of the special cigs; wait for her return. She’ll understand… she didn’t want me tagging along anyway. I’ll smoke my cig and plot world domination again. I have my eye on Horns.