“Mary!” Wait till I tell Baker Bloch about *this*. Long lost Mary!
“Hi Wheeler! Welcome to my new, schweet life.”
“So is this her?” Ruby asked without a hint of jealousy. The Green (Eyed) Monster.
“Yes. Beautiful, isn’t she?”
“Yes.” I wish I were a 100th that beautiful, Ruby then thinks. Eraserhead Man was thinking at the same time: But not as beautiful as you are right now, Young Ruby. EM is certainly smitten (!).
“This is Smithy’s House,” EM then declares. “Not finished. We also don’t know who’s going to play Smithy. Maybe the man in the bright green coat who came on the set earlier. But maybe not.”
“Where are all the others, Pencil? (for that was what Ruby always called EM since their days back on New Island — Pencil)
EM points to his eraser topped noggin with a stubby arm. “In here.” He waits an appropriate beat. “Nah, just kidding. They’re in the southeast corner of Fishers Island. Doing my bidding.”
“Gwin included?” Ruby tried to word her thoughts properly. “She… returned to the set?”
“Yes. Sorry you can’t play the part, Ruby. But we have something special cooked up for you. Did I ever tell you I have a doppleganger too? Some call him Penn Mann. Some just penhead, because he’s quite irksome. But lately he’s been sporting a pink mohawk and disguising himself as a she. Under this guise (he’s known as) Chuck Cheese. Sometimes Heidi, which I suppose indicates his ability to hide well. But we’ve struck a deal. Man to man-as-woman. I get the southeast corner of Fishers Island, he gets Wallytown of Fishers Island.”
Ruby pondered on this new information. “Then who gets Fisher?”
“Ahh, so logical, so precise you are. Yes, our Orange Boy. Orange itself. That is the conundrum. To answer that we must first go back to when Herbert Dune was just a boy on the threshold of adolescence. Or just beyond, I guess. Rounding a corner. Seeing something earlier on that day that he didn’t understand. A flesh and blood woman turned into a doll. Heidi — or whatever she or he’s called — insisted that he — or she — direct the shoot.”
“Do you have the orange makeup on all over the appropriate spot, Chloe?”
“Yeees.” Chloe Price was being paid quite handsomely for this scene, but still her voice had an edge. She was nervous. She never had done anything close to a nude scene for a film, never exposed her midriff for anything. Oh, there was that pool scene in “Life is Strange”. But that was all innocent fun and games. This is different. She could back out… but she was already inside.
“Alright. Young Herbert Dune — George — you come around the corner just there and then spot Chloe. You slink back around the corner. Chloe doesn’t see you. The case is opaque, not transparent. Here… let me set the mood better.”
“So the case is darkened. All except that circular opening. And then, Young Herbert can’t help himself, takes another look. The legend of All Orange is born.”
“I’m giving you back your 50,000 lindens, EM. I couldn’t do it. Director Heidi took my place. She was a better height for it anyway.” Chloe Price huffed. “You don’t know *what* I went through in ‘Life is Strange’. Creepy stuff. I couldn’t do it,” she reinforced.
EM pats her hand. He’s finally breaking through that tough exterior. “There there, friend. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to here on *my* set.”
That day, Chloe may have fallen a little bit for Eraserhead Man as well.
“Now you can all relax tonight and not jump out of your seats every time I call out your name. Because I FOUND my HEARING AID! And that’s the last time I’m going to yell, end of story! I mean, end of story. Let’s begin.”
Eraserhead Man at the head of the table pauses to collect his thoughts on the as yet unnamed production. “First, I’m so so glad we were able to gather here today without *much* ado. As you can see from the person sitting directly opposite you on the table, I haven’t got rid of *anyone*. Truth is, you *all* won your parts. And I’d like to introduce to you Desert Knobb across from our beloved Sandy Beech and to my left. Sandy is, of course, seated to my right.” Eraserhead Man indicates these directions with his stubby yellow hands. “Desert will not only play Sandy’s *understudy*, but also his *doppleganger*. Because, you see, I’ve decided this production should be about doubles through and through. It came to me in a dream last night. The dreamer lives inside the dream, but who is the dreamer?”
Mindless mumbo jumbo, Sandy Beech was thinking by his side while glaring at newly arrived Desert Knobb across the table. “And where’s *your* double, EM?” he piped up. Yeah, he had popped a few pills before the meeting — just to steel his nerves.
“Good question, Sandy. Can you hear me in the back there you waskly wabbits!” Eraserhead smiles as Rabbit 01, Rabbit 02, Rabbit 03 all nod their heads. I’ll get to you wackos in a minute. But next we must talk about the *ladies*, Chloe and Jill.” At that moment Chloe Price was playing with her short, blue hair, seeming not to pay attention. But that was just part of her shtick. Jill MacGill, like Sandy for his own counterpart, was just glaring at her, loathing her every petty move. *I* should have won this role through and through. I *nailed* that phone call. ‘Ohh, ahem, eheh,’ she mimicked, to her, Chloe’s frivolous attempts at playing coy in her mind. If you asked her, Eraserhead Man needed to make a new plan, find a new key to this whole production business. She decided to speak up as well (sidenote: wouldn’t Sandy and Jill make a *fabulous* couple. But I jump ahead of myself…): “And *what* is the production’s name, EM? *And*… you haven’t answered Sandy’s question about *your* doppleganger, I’ll tack on.”
Eraserhead Man laughs out loud. “That’s what I love about you, Jill MacGill from Farmington West. *Spunk*. You got it in spades, you and Sandy both.” That’s when it occurred to EM as well that the two would make a swell couple. He decides then and there to work that potential love interest into the script somewhere. Maybe the other two of the doppleganger pairing — Desert and Chloe — *hate* each other in contrast, hmm. EM had trouble shutting his mind off of possibilites. “But we must move on. I assume everyone knows Frank, now. Franklin Bowers.” He indicates the nearest and also darkest and tallest rabbit of the 3 at the meeting. “He’s going to play a man– er, a bunny man with that exact same name, although he’s always just addressed by his first name. Do you have any questions about what’s going on Franklin? OH, and beside him obviously is the lovely Rabbit 02, whom we’ll call Patsy in the production.” EM stops here. “Nah, let’s go with Peggy instead. Peggy,” he repeats. “Change that in all the scripts, Mary. Mary?” He looks around but Mary was nowhere to be found.
Poor soul, Franklin Bowers thinks sympathetically. Never can remember his wife is actually dead. Going on 5 years now. All we have left are her portraits. Her many many portraits.
(to be continued)