“Were you seen, Jupiter?”
Jupiter? But Groover remembered who he was at the core. Jupiter, yes. “I don’t think so.” He thought back to the visit by Tickie this morning, intent on finding him and taking him back to an aspiring cryptozoologist in his hometown for study and perhaps fame and fortune, or so the Undertaker said. For he is the illusive, the one and only Knob Noster! Well, there were three of us, counting the wife and the kid. He needs to send them a postcard.
“What about the other fellow, the Man About Town it said in his outfit description? I wonder: *what* town? The same as Tickie’s? They didn’t seem to know each other that well. Did they?” She turned her scowling face toward Groover, wishing reciprocation.
“MAT, yes. I mean, no. They didn’t seem to know each other that well. He must be in on it. Why would he come to the Game Room to meet with him otherwise. Certainly not to play *Pac-man*.” Jupiter/Groover here makes an imitation of a pac-man gobbling up ghosts and the like with his pac-man-like mouth. Understanding the Anti-Bart reference, Olive Oylstick still finds it only mildly funny. More is afoot now. She stares out again at the… tree? Is that what this is in the space formerly occupied by the House of Joy?
Groover gasps. “There it is again (!). Sideways.”
Olive Oylstick had an insight. “Do that thing with your mouth again you just did.”
He listened in open mouthed amazement, like always.
“I don’t know, Groover,” he put it mildly but seriously. “I’m just not feeling it yet in…” He considered the name of the place, the village. But not a village. A community. Centered around Blues. He stared at his blue companion; decided to ask him about a name. “What do you locals call this, um, neighborhood?”
Groover stared back, also considering a name. He hadn’t thought of it before. A list developed in his mind, Thirteensboro at the top. Unlucky Village? But 13 is a good number according to TILE tarot reader Marsha Slot, due to arrive at quarter past the hour to start her shift in the next room over. We should wait for her, Groover realized. He told this to Man About Time (MAT).
The front door opened and closed. A woman’s footsteps were heard going into the other room. “There she is,” MAT said over in his soft tone with raised eyebrows, and they got up to go get her first reading of the day. MAT had 50 lindens. He hoped that was enough, because he knew Groover never carried around cash with him. No pockets.
The next morning, Tickie finally caught up with Jeffrie Phillips, who was scared out of his wits at the events of the night before, damaged beyond repair even.
In the weakness and as a cure, Tickie *merged* with Jeffrie to become something else, unafraid of fear. A new superhero but hopefully not supervillian. Blue Thorn, perhaps the Blue Rose Thorn but with the Rose dropped because of fear of copyright infringement (see: Santman).
Blue Thorn looks around with new eyes for both, sensing that Knob Noster was not here in the Inbetweenland. Never mind Mr. Platinum/Operator/Undertaker/Zero Hero, because he was a different animal altogether. Blue Thorn could change back into Jeffrie Phillips (and Tickie, I suppose) after he had nabbed the similarly blue beast and brought him (or her) back home to mama (Charlene Brown the punk, who we know now is a type of bigfoot *herself*) for detailed study. She could finish her cryptozoology dissertation that way. She could become a doctor herself. Maybe then Jeffrie could find a way to finish off the other doctor he knew well, the one who could turn into a mouse (Pansy). It was all coming together if it wasn’t all falling apart. And actually it was both. The Blue Thorn stepped forward away from the now closed portal into the past.
It *was* extraordinary. This track leading into the heart of the 4 sim wilderness. Not since Azure Islands…
Jeffrie Phillips shakes his head here. In wonder. He knew they were hiding out in there somewhere. Better recruit some help on his side of things. Cunning Poetry, good with a steal and a lie, came to mind, but that would alert Charlene. Charlene? Too busy. Plus that was the whole point. To bag this Knob Noster and bring him home to mama.
How about… Sammie Parr. He could run into her accidentally, say, and the Consignment store. Or down on the docks somewhere — he knew she liked to hang there sometime with devoted boyfriend Richmond Petersburg from Norfolk Virginia, currently *not* on leave from the navy. That was important too. Extraordinarily so.
A smile developed on his face as he kept looking ahead at the straight as an arrow railroad, aimed like Cupid.
“You have wonky eyes.”
“You’re one to talk.”
“6 o’clock?! I’ve got to get back for supper. Butter get those flapjacks on, witches!
“Soup’s up!” Fisher the fry cook called.
“That’s yours, Groover,” Olive Oylstick reminded her dinner companion, wondering where her pancakes were. Damn witches.
“Oh GROOVEY!” Shut up, is all she could think with rumbling stomach.
Picking out a new favorite stuffed animal at the pet shop, one without wonky eyes. She doesn’t want to be reminded! She stares straight at them to keep aligned.
She brought Groover back to wait at the Blue Airfield (in Gray?) for her cousins Zimmy and Mr Z, all three born from another mother. They never showed up. “Just like pancakes,” she groused, looking over at the monster everyone in certain parts of various continents were talking about. Knob Noster, some called it. “You know this means we’ll have to stay in the homeless shelter again, Groovey… Groover.”
“I don’t care,” he said, patting his full stomach again. One meal at a time for him, one meal, one day, one week without a 7th to show up. She could put an end to it; turn him in. But she needs a pillow tonight, apparently. She glances one last time out the window to see if any more ships were flying in. Ghosts again.
“Hey stop reaching. *My* wine. Now get behind me and fall asleep so I can too, pheh.”
“Wonder who the new bozo is over there.”
“Two pickles,” she explained later. “One yellow or sand colored: here. Then the one over there that’s more green.”
“Like my apples!” exclaimed listening and looking Harrison Ford Jett to her side in Spunky’s cafe down on the docks. Charlene’s home away from home, now that she’s in the thick of her dissertation. Detailed description of Knob Noster coming up next! Charlene looks over at her good friend Harrison, then down at his apples. Still in place. Still hasn’t been sold to the highest bidder.
“I suppose so,” she realized, and turned back to the girl holding the pickles in the doctored picture on her computer screen (she wants to be a doctor, after all). “But: sand. Sandman. The sandy pickle. That came first, although it was formed second.”
“What does that mean?” Harrison F. Jett instinctively held one of his apples then the other, as if testing they were the same. Then he turned red as a winesap as he realized Charlene noticed what he was doing. “Sorry,” he muttered. “Force of habit — I’ve been thinking a lot about them later. What it would be to be without them.”
“Well… maybe that fits into this as well.” She puts hand to chin while activating deep thinking mode. She scrolls to the next picture, undoctored this time. She’s losing vision of the future. Detailed description of “Knobby” will be difficult, nay impossible to achieve. She faces the prospect that it could be a stumbling block on her way to fame and glory.
“More Bigfoot art,” Harrison Ford Jett whispers in the waning light to no one except himself. “It’s all here.”
“A cave! Marked with green again. Pickle. Pickle Too. Let’s go!”
The underwater rock cavern was pretty long; about 200 meters.
More of that type of art? Harrison F. Jett found these identical, half filled bottles of unknown alcoholic content wedged together in a rock opening and was unable to move them.
The rocks holding the stash penetrated the roof of the cave, making a distinguished marker. Watch out passing Bellisarian ships!
The rocks even appear to have feet.
The man who was also an ant back at the Hideout said I knew Bigfoot. Something about my shirt… should be getting back to NWES City and meeting up with Charlene. Maybe she would have some ideas about what the odd superhero or supervillian or whatever he is, was talking about. He recalls she studies these type of things, and her dissertation she’s hard at work on late into the night is about a somewhat similar creature called the Loch Ness Monster. And she talks of another “monster” called Knobby (actually: Knob Noster, *not* Knob Monster!) — maybe that’s what her paper is about instead (he intuits in the cave, staring up at a rainbow hued crystal cluster in the ceiling).
At any rate, she certainly lives in the land of Paperville. Hmm, odd thought — where’d that come from?