Ahh, just as I suspected. An early form of The Rolling Joints controlled by Jon Deere, their *manager*. I wanted to say, “Hi George,” but I didn’t want to interrupt their playing. I could still hear the green clad Sheriff strumming along to the same, partially improvised tune “(“4:20”) in the distance; just around the corner. But (she thinks while staring into the bakery), it seems I am already here…
He dare not turn around to see that schweet secret smile. He must remain a baker dedicated to his craft.
(to be continued?)
He’d edged into the tall beach grass before he found the shell of his dreams, but it seemed to instead belong to a giant bird of some kind, perhaps an owl.
“I want that shell!” I thought to this owl creature, who I knew could hear in his head like me. “No way!” he thought back. “Mine!”.
He guarded it like an egg, this Probably Owl whose colors matched that of the beach and its many, realistic looking rocks — like camouflage. I asked his name, adding “sir” at the end. “Really?” came the reply. Really. I wondered if this was an owl atall, or at least a male one.
The music was close now but it wasn’t coming from this busker, although his playing was perfectly blending into theirs. “Kicked out,” he explained while still strumming. “4th not needed.” Ahh, Jon Deere hates 4ths. Jon Deere must control the band, wherever they are. Must be just around the corner. Was this blues? Mysteriously, she couldn’t tell; psychedelia mixed it, like blue strongly tinged with green, as in this badge decorated Sheriff’s outfit. 420, she realized. Jon’s favorite number. “4:20,” the guitarist before her recited aloud, mirroring what was present in her mind. How?? Just like Kolya, she then realized. We are one here in this town that may become a city that may become a megalopolis, given time. And now she had that too. She didn’t ask the time but she received it anyway.
(to be continued)
We pulled into town right behind the policeman, who, without turning, provided us a notecard about the rules. No children or even teenagers allowed within the city limits. No experimenting with avatars much at all, she feared. And yet, right before her, an apartment that was at the upper limit of their range at 200 per.
They could stay here for a time; disguise themselves as the local. But, yeah (she countered), this wasn’t going to really work long term. She looked down: was even *this* acceptable, this hamburger girl outfit as bazooka toting guardian Dinner Girl sometimes called it? Certainly not very human still, quite cartoonish, and, yeah, disguising the real person underneath, the one *still* married to Santa suit wearing Jeffrie Phillips. She had a feeling camouflage was only going to go so far in this town that Baker B. thought might be the seed of his sought after Middletown. This wasn’t Middletown. But, if not… then why did the Oracle point it out? *Must* be more here.
“Look, Kolya. There’s one of those realistic beaches you like to hunt shells on,” she tossed back like a tasty treat to a trailing toddler. That’ll keep him busy for a spell (she figures) while I try to find the source of that bewitching music in the distance. He may be underaged anyway, or at least his mind is with all the holes in it.
Holes, hmph, she contemplates. Like this town will have in its *mature* form, at least according to Baker. Master Baker? Jon Deere? What happened to his wings, then?
Yeah, just keep turning your head, copper, she thought while passing.
(to be continued)
He stood in the middle of 4 sims, looking down at the water. Far Future City, he thinks through his holey head. Metropolis. If only the kryptonite radiated bug hadn’t bitten him he could have seen further, clearer. As it was: an improvement! He might be getting better.
“Snap out of it, bud,” she requested beside me, perhaps also snapping her fingers but perhaps not as well. Choices.
“Hidi,” I answered groggily, as if just waking up, which really didn’t describe the situation but also *didn’t* describe it either. A half and halfer. “Had another vision,” I offered as a partial apology for nodding off. “The music was really good. The music, in fact…”
“Yes?” she prodded, also perhaps nudging me in the ribs, depending on how physical she was in the moment. At least she didn’t slap me at first. I don’t think.
“I’ve… heard it before. It was taking me somewhere else…” I trail off.
Introducing himself to the scene, Deere comes out of the john, but don’t call it that in front of his face.
“Hidi; Kolya; *George*.”
Was I still dreaming? “Slap me,” I said to Hidi.
(to be continued)
“We’ve lost the Angels airport with the red Kentucky book, W. I can’t find a substitute.”
“Check SL Marketplace for heart chair.”
“No go. We’ll have to ask Alysha.
The emergency vehicles at the airport in the same sim are gone too. The many and the gone.”
“Think I found something: ‘wire chair’ instead…”
“Boy, *Hidi* found it quick. But still no book. It’s not the same table and set of chairs. *Looks* the same… but different (animations).”
“Shoot. (pause after mild cuss) Might as well have her shop some more while she’s there. No harm in trying demons.”
“Demos,” I corrected.
17 hours later:
“We’ll have to try something different.”
“No go on Angels, no go on Demons. Only one direction left.”
“The way of Norris,” I guessed. Neutrality.
If we could just recreate the original crime scene. Pigeon roosting on ass; Amanda Stoorm placing an ultra important call to Buster Damm.
Call? Looks like we just did. Duncan Avocado brings it home.
“I knew you’d be here, Ginger. Because of the face replacement clinic and all.”
“500 lindens for a whole new look. Worth every penny!”
“Yes, you look great, you look fantastic.” Could Duncan date a high class white chick like this and get away with it in this town, this place in the center of it all? It would be controversial. Maybe *he* should get an operation. He knows a certain Dr. of Mouse who might be able to help. He ponders the outcome, black to white. But is he running away from his heritage because of that? He’s *tired* of being discriminated upon, but he’s in the same boat with the rest of his color. He can’t date fair, red haired Wendy down at Mac’s Diner either for the same reason, that damn white racist rat Pansy watching over it all. If only he could get rid of the Pooping Pigeon franchise, maybe create a reality where Wendy branches out on her on, dumps the hot dog angle, and goes all in for burger. Pure Angus beef; not those ridiculous fillers for the dog like lips and genitalia, even if that isn’t quite true. People could be trained to *think* that.
And that’s what he decided that day in the late of May or early June or whatever. Kill the Hot Dog, stick a pigeon on its rump and call it done. Killer Andrea Stoorm, trained in the Death Star battalions, knew what to do, Buster guiding her and then Buster telling Duncan what actually happened. “We manipulated probabilities in that Middletown alley that day in early May.” “June,” I corrected, but understood it all now. There was only one actual killing, the other 5 being deflections or subterfuge. Although it still thrived in other realities, in this one the Pooping Pigeon was over almost before it started, with Pansy
behind bars behind a bar instead.
“What’ll it be Duncan, my man?” Always the “man” for the black dude, he observed. But at least he still played his old music here.
And now: Hidi.
“You and I are a true team, Hidi. Tropp (he points to himself here), and Treelor (he points to Hidi).”
“What about the ‘I’,” Hidi mysteriously says over.
“Something’s not quite right here, Duncan.”
“Stay in the car, George. In fact, lock the doors. This won’t take too long.”
“I *hate* being told what to do.”
“Then stay here with us. At least for a spell.”
“Thanks, Aunt Clare! You’re the best!”
“Don’t forget Bell.” She shakes her other head with this, making it
ring rattle. Something is loose inside.
Wheeler/Hidi stared at the drugs on the table and realized it was just money. Constraints of time, power, and that other thing they don’t talk about much any more, not after Kolya. Damaged goods he was. She must not touch, she says once again in her mind to reinforce. There was a 2 shaped hole in his head where the rain gets in. Marty knows; Marty may have even created. “Fiftysix,” she says aloud to know one. “They had to stop at fiftysix.”
Duncan returns from the bar with 2 drinks. Duncan said he’d never ever come back to this town, this Eveningwood that would one day become so central to Our Second Lyfe that they decided to rename it Middle: Middletown, a basically endless megalopolis that one could get lost in forever. Fractal. You have to find a path through it or else, doomed. Duncan knew this. Duncan had a path; he had almost worked out all the details. Labeling will begin soon. He knows that The Fortress is at the end, but he doesn’t know what’s inside. It all terminates at The Fortress.
Hidi has her drink. Duncan sits down with his. They have more to talk about tonight besides Middletown, fiftysix, Kolya.
“Who’s going to come through the black curtains, Duncan,” she spoke after a couple of sips of her whiskey on the rocks. “I thought it would be you.” She looks over at his blackness and sees it is good. He looks over at her whiteness: also good.
“Well, I thought it was going to be you, obviously. But you were already here when I arrived, sitting on that couch.”
“And you at the bar.” She ponders further, as she hears the metallic sound of a gate opening. A red complexioned Asian Indian then comes through the curtains, beckoning them to follow. At the beginning of a tunnel just behind, he then tells Duncan he must go back, his path through the beginnings of Middletown at least temporarily blocked.
He returns alone from the bars to whence he came.
The first thing they saw was an angel heralding them in — or out. “Duncan is good,” said one to the other. “He knows what to see when it looks back at him.” The other didn’t respond, waiting for something better.
“Ahh yes, that’s much better today Mrs. Fox,” says airport assistant vice manager for human interactions Stephan Spaceboy, checking the weight board.
“Miss,” she says. “Actually: Ms.”
“As you wish, *Ms.* Fox. Now. What can I do you for?” Stephan taps his foot nervously against the floor under the desk. Return visits by avatars usually mean trouble. It means they are looking for something. Or somebody.
“Yes, I think I’m ready to talk about Pink again. I hear…”
“… she’s here, yes.” Stephan tries to act casual while looking away from her. He glances out the office window in what he knows is the direction of Pink’s lair, as he calls it. Who is she with now? He doesn’t want to know.
In her own office not 100 meters away to the south, Pink was asleep at her desk, dreaming she was young and, well, alive again. Tom Banks had brought her a vase of flowers, saying he was sorry he had to kill her but it was his role in life. Similarly dead Frankie “Beige” Brown sat across from her, giggling at the conjunction of Pink and Tulip outside on the plane and inserting, “Lips are like one pink,” between snickers. Going further back in time, Doogie Martin was staring at a snow filled tv he’d just mounted on the wall and mumbling something about Aspinwall. It was all being swept away in the (white) noise, all the sorrows put behind her. Then she wakes up.
One thing remains, but silent or at least very low.
I speculated that the community knew about The Diagonal. W’s first foray into the region produced a default landing point of 181/181, which placed her in this almost impossibly and certainly impractically weighty clock tower. 558 prims! Certainly we must question whether prim/ land impact count is managed effectively here, which may actually bode well for a more penetrating examination.
She found a place to catch up with the local news and find out more about the town. Lots of changes, lots of updates. And a statement: if a building falls on you DON’T PANIC. Our crack hospital team will patch you up in no time. Hidi looks up into the rafters with this. This one seems sound enough. She’ll stay a bit longer, have another cup of coffee and read some more. Apparently the local police force is hiring. Maybe she could work as a beat cop to pay what is obviously going to be expensive rent here. Local general hospital hired new chief administrator; you can legally purchase weed here: local pot shop has just been taken over by the Greentree family. Wasn’t she just reading about Greenforests somewhere? And then, to finish off, an advice column by Aunt Auntie. Oh dear, Hidi thought. This town promises to be more than expected! Something about playing rough then playing nurse, dot dot dot.