Leaday, who has mysteriously replaced Goldie in the meantime, whispers through the disconnected line of pipes toward Peter/ Dr. Diper. “End of tiimmmme,” the part fish, part frog creature hissed.
“We’re running out of time,” stated Parasol across from Guy Benjamin while staring over at the Residents Union Back hourglass and its shifting sand.
But these were the “human” forms of cat beings Rebl and Guyd respectively, out of the End of Time caves and in Kowloon for a reason. Guy has human relatives: Grandmama and Grandpapa. Well, only Grandmama now, since the latter was done in by Axis the other day. With his Lost Cane in heaven, he still directs the good guys down below, however. Including grandson Guy. Parasol has other reasons for being here. She’s still looking for someone. Herbert Gold back in Rosehaven didn’t produce the needed results.
Across the alleyway, in the apartment directly behind Leaday, a phone rings. Satan Santa, taking his third bath of the day, cusses a hellish word, then exclaims to Frosty beside him, “You know who that is.” It wasn’t a question; no one calls here but her. Satan Santa stands up out of the tub and prepares to waddle toward the living room to answer it. Five rings, six rings… he knows she won’t let up.
Frosty is gleeful. He hopes this is the last time he has to see this ugly, hairy ass moving away from him. Too many times!
There was only one place to go.
“I can’t see, Fish Head. I had to borrow an old man’s cane just to get here. He’s laying back there in the alley — may want to tell the local authorities in an hour or two. Make it two… since I’m blind. Anyway, you better tell the Heart Queen that I’m going to have to abort the mission.”
Fish Head began mixing the booze in his hands again, eventually saying, “she’s not going to like it.”
“I know, I know,” Axis followed quickly. “Just tell her.” He points to his sightless, red eyes. “Not much choice.”
Fish Head retrieved a glass underneath the bar and poured the mixed drink in from the canister. He pushed the glass toward Axis. “Here. Drink this down. Then have a re-consider.”
Axis knew he wasn’t going to “have a re-consider” but took the drink anyway. Free booze was always a weakness. But Fish Head, of course, knew that already. “Go ahead,” he urged. Axis drank.
He woke up in a trench beneath the water. He wasn’t blind any longer — looked up and saw a spinny red, fabric-like thingie wielding scissors and knife in metal hands. Another doctor.
He knew he had been fixed up.
He stands up and makes his way through the trench back to the surface. Still in the service of the Heart Queen obviously.
Some things never change.
“Fish Head! Give us a report.”
“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.
She hears him approach, then stop. “Ahh, my heavier, more favorite son has arrived. I knew you’d –” *pop*.
She turns to see what that noise was, then gasps. “You *didn’t*. You *didn’t* just *do that!*”
“I’m not in play any longer mom. I’m going to fess up to my weakness and beg my former wife for forgiveness. You’ll have no power over me any longer.” Then, throwing the horn to the ground, he left — out the front door this time. No secret passages between horns. No possible reinvoking the Horns of Hatton. It was over for the Heart Queen, plain and simple. She had played her last card.
Benny Right Horn stopped while answering his brother. “Grey Scale’s got her countered at every move. It’s about revealing deception and dissipating pain. I’m starting to BELIEVE.”
“Don’t do that,” implored still swinging, still synchronized Jer Left Horn to his left. “Just don’t.”
Where is the 4th? formerly Campbell O’Pine (Opp) pondered nearby, staring at the constantly swinging-in-place, red-yellow-blue cubes. Where’s Grassy?
What have I lost?
“I’ve tried everything,” despairs the Heart Queen deep in her lair a little further north, very near the the actual left horn of the crown. “I’m going to hide the city as a last measure. I’m going to invoke the Horns of Hatton, but not through the King this time.” She pauses to think of possibilities. “But where are my 2 needed sons? Are they still — *in play?*”
“I’m going to end it,” Benny Left Horn mutters while descending.