“Who is she?” he asked, heart still thumping from all the excitement.
“Goes by Helen.”
Helen, Guy pondered. Like Troy. Destroyer of Men.
Time to reset to Zero.
The sim above Bart had finally turned from a raspberry shade of color back to clear, indicating it was online again. He could return to his boat that he rented to impress his new “girlfriend”. He turned the sky raspberry instead and went to work.
We don’t need Axis-Windmill between us to know this is all about TILE, Guyd.”
“We sure do, Rebl,” the fellow cat-person answered, but not a fellow like in a boy. Two girls and two cats. But that was about all they had in common.
“Better get over to the boat, Guyd, see what SID is up to.”
“That isn’t SID.” Yellow and green eyed Guyd tried to disagree with red-blue eyed Rebl at every important turn, and this was certainly one of ’em. Guyd felt SID was a character that didn’t need to be introduced in this here photo-novel, 29 in a series… in a series…
“I know,” agreed Rebl, surprising Guyd and knocking him out of his usual anti-Rebl mode. “This is Bart.” Both made “O”s with their mouth, as if they’d surprised each other. It was the first time they synchronized since Tuesday. 2 years ago.
“I lost you in the tunnel!” director Percy Pierce complains as Axis-Windmill tries to defend his disappearance from
a the scene.
“And I see you brought your two cat friends along to help your case. She turns to the red-blue eyed one on his right. Rebl *lawyer* is it now?”
“Yes ma’am. Axis did nothing wrong,” she begins in her purry way. “He followed the G-Spots through the tunnel to the missing letters.”
“Letters?” Percy Pierce spoke. “Don’t you mean: *letter*.”
A pause. “A moment with my client,” Rebl then requests, which Percy agrees to. Whispers; heads nodding and shaking; green and yellow eyed Guyd on the left side joins in the conversation. Percy can only make out scattered words (Paper, King, Soap, couple more). Finally: “enough”, she says. “We must get on. 9:30 shoot tomorrow. We must all be fresh.”
“Excuse me, ma’am,” says Rebl in turn. “Don’t you mean: *shot*?”
Guyd on one side, Rebl on the other, the director of the current film (“Sunklands 2021 Even Later”) talks with newly synthesized Axis Windmill Man about further developments in the plot. Don’t want another giant diamond ring in an open casket situation to end!
“Scratchy is the destination,” began Axis-Windmill in earnest after the niceties were over. Down to business now. Cass City business. “The show within the show that is Our Second Lyfe.”
Director Percy Pierce tried to put new lover Marion Star Harding out of her mind. She’d been thinking about him ever since they parted ways several days back — left him back at Starfish Lake or Sea or whatever the f- they’re calling the body of water these days — the new trend. She knew he, in turn, still thought about Heidi. Actually: another show within a show, since it is a mere window in his mind now. Job at hand…
“Snowball in Hell is… reality?”
“There are 2 sides to this,” explains Axis-Windmill, looking at green and yellow eyed Guyd to the left, then red-blue eyed Rebl to the right. He moves his right hand toward his left hand to meet in the middle and form praying hands.
“Are you saying we should *pray* for the correct plot direction?”
“Ob-JEC-tion,” overruled Guyd from the left. “This show should be non-denominational.”
“Secular even, yes,” interjected nodding Rebl from the right.
Director Percy Pierce peered at them as well. “The feline-people will have their way. They created all this after all, like toys for their boys.”
“Did they?” Axis-Windmill obviously had his doubts.
“Yes,” doubled down Percy Pierce.
“That’s not what the manual states.”
“The manual remains a draft in places. I’m sorry — I meant to update before you were synthesized and acquired lines.”
“The manual states–”
“I *know* what the manual states.” They sat silent for a spell, all 4 of them. Percy’s thoughts involuntarily drifted back to Marion… and, within the window (she almost thought “windmill”), the director that preceded her.
(to be continued (?))
“I’m not dead!” he cried to all those sitting around the grave site looking down. “It’s *just* a ring.”
It all came together at the end for Mouse. Too late, of course.
“So this is it,” Man About Time exclaimed mildly. As usual. “The thing that did him in.”
“LOVE, yeah,” answered Jeffrey Phillips, wondering how he himself could talk again. He died as well (!). “He… couldn’t pass through the O, got stuck in it. Spy Guy Benjamin tried to help, but…”
“… got stuck himself,” completed MAT for Jeffrey, having read the story up to this point too. What was the point? Just close the damn coffin lid why don’t you.
“He can’t die in Vain.”
“He didn’t,” answered MAT truthfully.
“Good for you, MAT,” said Jeffrey Phillips. “I didn’t think you would take this so swell.”
“It’s just a game. Endtime.”
“Yes, death will do that to you. Lure you in, like a fish. And when you land on the shore — it’s *only* when you land on the shore…”
“You see the water,” completed MAT again.
Next door (sometime in the past):
They say the doctor before this new one, Jr. — he was married to an alien woman. Found her spaceship crashed up in the hills.”
“That’s — not — right,” the littler golden robot squeaked back.
“You’re right, Jr. It *wasn’t* right. He should have turned her *in*. And now he’s paid the price: banishment. *Now*, are you ready to go inside and let the new doctor, this Diper fellow, take a look at those gold plated tonsils?”
“Guess — so.”
“You guess so.” Claude Sr. blew out air from his mechanical lungs. “I had mine taken out about the same age as you are, in fact, the exact same age.”
“12 — I — know.”
“That’s right, Jr. 12. All mechanoids have to have their original tonsils taken out, then. Else: viruses.”
“I — read — the pamphlets.”
“Nice.” But Claude Sr. knew it wasn’t tonsils that were taken out. The pamphlets lied. He’d find out soon enough. Just like with Santa Claude.
They head inside for the operation.
He woke up in a fetal position on top of yet another fox. She spoke without turning from the even redder couch, wearing an even redder dress.
“How dare you think you can come to the White Palace in the skies and not alert *me*.”
He was groggy. He couldn’t make out exactly what was said. He raised up off of the plush fox, so soft. Like a blanket. He wanted to sleep forever, he realized. But… he must remain alert. Danger! He recalls: danger.
“You can leave Sepisexton,” she spoke over to the robot guard more in the background. “I want to talk to the *boy* alone.”
“It was always destiny that I come to this Misty MO and find love, Hucka.”
“Hucka?” He wakes.
Groggily; just waking up as well: “Yes?”
“Okay you must tell me what you did with Jeffrey Phillips, shirt-less boy. *Now*.”
The green door opened. A presence was there.
Trying to ignore rats, Dr. Mouse stands before the green door. The green phone on the front desk rings. It’s Claude.
Geez I think my ears are ruptured.
There. It’s fixed.
Guy Benjamin carefully checks the mailbox for explosives before continuing to move in.
He plans to stay here for a while, despite the dangers. Because he’s in hiding again.
Yes this will do I suppose, he thinks. But the animations in the house *suck*.
I guess that’s the point, though. No energy to detect up here in the skies. Blanket silence.
Oh no. Another picture of Foxtrot above the head of the bed. But this one’s crooked. I’ll just get up here and straight– OH NO!!
The Paper Kings dropped a Big Baby behind enemy lines and Claude Sit-on got sat-on. His son Claude Jr. carried on the family name, obviously. In retaliation he tried to wire the school so that it would blow up at 4:20 o’clock on [pick any day], but the kids foresaw this and blew up Claude Jr. instead. With their minds of course, no primitive physics needed. End of mechanoid aspect of our story, but later the Claudes, jr. and sr. now conjoined and united as one Claude in the minds of people who couldn’t remember the originals, became martyrs to the cause. It was here that Dr. Mouse entered our story again. “He died for *our* sins,” the fanatic was telling him back in their secret basement lair underneath the mayor’s house, now run by Jim Turbine the plastic surgeon. He surged, he won. Former mayor Longnose went back to Yayaland where he came from and started wearing a different face (at times) and leading the resistance to his own cause, which eventually recruited Guy Benjamin from Kowloon who eventually was able to steal the little yellow fellow, the Rael McCoy, from the other 3 while they had their backs turned. And this is where Dr. Mouse enters our story once more (!), for he was asked to perform a special operation to straighten out the racist lad. *Not* remove the color this time, which should remain glinty gold or close, they insist, just like Claude down in Sittontown (Meatside renamed). “What, then?” demanded Mouse, afraid he would see a rat in such a remote place and eager to get outta here. “Turn him into an *I*,” they said, and left it with him.
Dr. Mouse went back to his basement lair, told the others what had happened. A plane crashed outside in front of the cave that sheltered Sheldon the Initiated, Fern Stalin in disguise once again — I believe this was 42 by this point. On the other side of Paper, Swamp Lake had been drained by the resistance *here* in an attempt to stifle the efforts of the kids. The Asylum was filled with those who weren’t really loonies but were deemed so nevertheless. And Dr. Mouse was the stamp-maker. He wore many hats, but there was only 1 he wanted to live under. Hatti’s.
“What do you think? First attempt, mind you.”
Greg Ogden was stymied. “Is that a… banana?”
She finds herself in a place doing realistic things, like blow drying her hair. But this is the morning she finds out she is actually a man. She stares into the mirror, looking at them after the removal of the false, the fake. How deflating!
The mayor’s nose keeps growing. Guy visits the doctor again, still working for the resistance. A new strategy is being hatched. Stealing the golden goose egg *has* produced results. He’s straightened out, elongated: the I of TILE revealed.
(to be continued)
“I don’t belong here,” he said to friend Horace later on down at the docks in a kind of goodbye. “I’m not who I seem.” The wheels in his head kept spinning ’round and ’round.
We go one outfit up for the next section: Harrison Ford Jett. We return to Collagesity and its Boos Gallery with Fern and him.
“So the taijitu ball was rolled over, giving the Mouse another head to replace the one just crushed like a…”
“… goose egg,” finished Harrison. Fern stared at him, wondering how much he knew about McCoy.
“The meteor, yes. Impach. Let’s move over to the Power Tower now — want to show you another baker b. work.” Things were different now, she realized. De ja boom and paths change. She’s glad, because she misses Harrison. And those apples.
But for Harrison Ford Jett, Fern never made it over to the Power Tower. Alone, he stares into the eyes of hate.
Where is he (*panic*)?? Oh: there.