Somebody should be here.
Goodbye shack. For now.
Grasslands here we come.
They emerged from the sunken pool quite refreshed and relaxed. Woody continued their tour.
“Here we have symbols representing the primary holidays of Christmas and Easter,” he piped up in his whiny, nasal voice. So irritating, thought Wheeler. But she must concentrate — she knew all of this was important now. But that’s not Christmas and Easter. Something else. Or was it?
Maybe nearby barwoman *Jean Fade* would know.
Yes. She did.
“Sister,” she explained in starting out. “Twin.”
She teleported into the center of the Blue Feather, per usual. Home. But no more Linden woods, she sighs while staring out the transparent wall.
She spots Woody’s first addition: an abandoned car next to the Fal Mouth Moon gallery next door, which cheers her up somehow. Something new, something different. “Oh well,” she speaks aloud to herself. “Time to march onward and upward, as Baker Bloch might positively say. Or Woody now, I suppose. Let’s see, he said meet him at the town dump…”
Wheeler decides to change into Hidi tonight before heading out in public. Quick and easy. She moves toward the front door of the club, and then spots something else different: pirate mausoleum’s wall penetrating through (although she didn’t guess this at the time).
She then goes outside through Blocking Shrub, takes a gander up and then down the main road bisecting 7 Stones.
Oh me Gods, she thinks. The crystals are back, pheh. I suppose that’s what you get for having a wooden toy decorate your town now. On cue, Woody pops into view across the street, first a glowing white ovoid, then himself. He was sitting in a rocking chair, looking smug and proud as usual. And that voice (!) She must brace herself.
“Well I’m here. What’s you got, Dummy?”
“Oh that’s right,” Wheeler/Hidi amended. “You’re a toy, not a dummy. And not a dummy toy.”
“I have a college degree!” he spoke in a high, irritating register while holding forward his glinting gold key.
“Diploma, yes.” Wheeler remembers seeing Woody for the first time with that key. She remembered the key didn’t like her, even though Woody didn’t say it out loud. Thought her *aberrant*. Well… I’ll show him — it — who’s aberrant now.
Woody takes a long, deep sniff. Wheeler didn’t like this gesture either, although no nasal vocalizations are involved. Just the fact that it came out of the same nose, I suppose. “Smell that?!” The voice again, ugh. “Ewww. Doesn’t smell *good*, does it? Aberrant more like it.” Like you, Woody thinks, but once again doesn’t say aloud. He gets up. “Let’s go see where it’s coming from.”
“The dump, I would suppose,” states Hidi logically while following Woody past the appropriate sign.
Before she knew it, Woody had run ahead of her and dived off what appeared to be a bank.
She gasped, walked much more carefully to the precipice, and peered down, fearing the worse. But there was only Woody sprawled atop a mouth shaped floatie toy, looking up from a interestingly decorated swimming pool. “Oh hi, Wheeler! Long time no see. Dive on down. The water is perfect today!”
The closer she got to the bank, the more the smell dissipated. “Oh what the hell.”
“It all seems to be focusing on Heterocera, Baker Bloch. Me in the swamp lands — I would *prefer * to live here in Collagesity, but it is what it is. Then Wheeler’s own explorations.”
“She’s found a gym.”
“Gem of a gym,” replies Roger Pine Ridge, puffing on a Chesterfield tonight. The rainbow brings confusion but white light heals. White stick light. “That might keep her busy for a while.”
“Then Grassy… what’s the report on him?”
“Good and decent fellow, obviously. We’ll (re)visit Iris soon.”
“The Moth Temple Village. Good. Which you live on the very outskirts of anyway.”
“He’s still looking for the reds and yellows. Probably to shoot or kill them.”
“Wheeler can help in that way,” Baker then says. “And his cousin?”
“He hasn’t spoken of Opp since my move. He goes on and on about the TILE river or creek or whatever it is. Jonesborough Compound: he says that’s where it all started. Cave of the Alphabet. The eternal search for AlmaNoz.”
“Good topic,” replies Baker. “Karoz: Did he find his ‘N’ yet?”
But Roger Pine Ridge didn’t know neither. Better bring in another.
“Karoz… we’re just reviewing what’s going on in the novel so far. How’s Dennis? Is that where you still are? Lemme check.”
“Why don’t you put up a meaningful picture on your media feed here. For the blog.”
“Dennis.” Pause. “Where I’m not.”
“Well maybe we should go there to meet instead.”
Karoz Blogger looked around. “Where’s Wheeler tonight? This isn’t an official Table meeting without Wheeler.”
“She found a gym,” Baker Bloch explained again to a second core avatar tonight.
“Guess Tropp or Opp is with her, then.”
“Well… good.” Karoz looks down at his hands, then back up. “It failed of course. The assimilation. Baker Blinker has gone back to Chilbo. I suppose I’ll have to follow.”
“Well… for one shining moment…”
“Yeah, yeah,” interrupted the cyan being, half moss as we know now. The other half remains hidden in mist still. Baker then had an idea.
“How’s Misty doing?”
“He didn’t know who Misty was, Hucka Doobie. I tried.”
“You think that’s his *mother*?”
“Let’s review what we know, Hucka Doobie. We know that everything seems to be focusing on Heterocera, which is now equated with a big hand.”
“An *upside-down* hand,” Hucka Doobie clarified. “The Hand of Opp.”
“Right. There’s now a Heart Line to go along with the Head Line, which I didn’t know was a Head Line until I found the Heart.”
“Art’s on the Heart.”
“Right. Former neighbor. Like Veyot. On the edge. Just digging the Collagesity vibe.”
“It does have a good vibe,” articulated Hucka Doobie. “But now it only has the woods. Art will be the last neighbor you will have in Our Second Lyfe. Unless you count Ruby Heartbright.”
“I’m checking now, Hucka Doobie.” Pause of about 30 seconds while Baker Bloch remotely scans the borders of Collagesity. “Yes, I see she is the only landowner whose property borders Collagesity. But: no relation to the Rubi Woods to the west?”
“There has to be,” Hucka Doobie says without hesitation. “You know this person after all.”
“Met her once. She’s owned land around the woods before. Just like me. I can’t remember specifics.”
Hucka Doobie thinks that Baker Bloch should write down information like this but doesn’t say it aloud. “And fair Ruby herself? Haven’t seen her around since I rode back into town on a horse with no name.”
“We’re talking about my character, also named Ruby,” Baker clarifies more for the reader. “She seems to have taken the lead female role from everyone else except for Wheeler. But of course now we know Ruby *is* Wheeler. Because of all the splits she’s effected.”
“Ruby Fantasie most recently. You should follow what’s she’s up to in Rosehaven. Shaking things up, I bet.”
“Three ‘Rubys’, then. The neighbor, the woods, the… can we call her queen? Is Wheeler still queen? Heck we better bring her in. Thanks for stopping by, Hucka.”
“Back to the Red Umbrella for me. I found a way into Stonethwaite.”
“But a topic for another night.”
“So long, then.”
“Put up the Aotearoa picture on the interwebs, Baker Bloch. I can’t seem to work the darn thing again tonight.”
“I’ll make a quick post with the 2 pictures.” Pause of about 2 minutes while Baker sets up the post. He displays it…
“Top hit for an image search ‘N to Z’, Wheeler Wilson. Transparent images, that is.”
“Which you like to do now as I understand.”
“This is AlmaNoz related. Jeogeorock related. Whitehead Crossing. Spill what you know.”
“I’m not really the person (core avatar) for that. Spongeberg,” Wheeler declared. “Spongeberg’s the one. He lives there after all.”
“I forgot. In the teepee.” He removes his finger from his lip. “Well, we might have time to bring him in after this. Friday night after all. A little more time; a little less pressure to get up.”
“During the day, you have to figure out something else to do. I’m *enjoying* the day. But… this can’t keep up.” Wheeler looks at him directly. “Thank you, though, for allowing me time to find my gym. That was helpful. Tropp is thankful too. We are not evil.”
“I know that.”
“We are another aspect of Heterocera now, part of its continuing storylines. Three ‘Rubys’. Collagesity moves onward and upward within that triangle. Scarlet.”
Center of Lapara, Hidi thought after teleporting in.
Karon must be…up there?
But Wheeler said she didn’t find anything here in a scan last night. Only the hq for the whole town seemed promising for more storytelling. So…
She lays on the Some Bunny Loves You Beanbag and thinks of Sozzy Bozo and how he screwed things up oh so royally with Cher and Chan and how he’s paying for it now in the afterlife. Clowned he was. Just like I should be. Didn’t Baker Blinker recently say she wanted to be a clown, a short, dumpy one? Maybe that’s the bill. Not ordinary. Not Smoky Ordinary. The Dump. And, add to that: Gassy.