“Your dog’s standing on my foot, right?”
“Hand it over!”
Wheeler, now Raspberry Girl, took the opportunity of her mate and partner in crime Johnny Black being away to catch up with some synchs, specifically “Waits 4 No 1” tonight.
As “Constantinople” begins playing to the end of “6 Feet Under”, people on screen soon to start dropping like flies, she recalls that 12 of the 13 tracks from The Residents’ seminal “Duck Stab/Buster and Glen” album are used in the synch, including this one. She also recalls… stabbing the Duck. She feels the purple-ish beret on her head reflexively, as if it might be hair.
David falls backwards dead, the first to succumb. She forgets the vision.
At 1 hour and 43 minutes in, past all 12 “Duck Stab/Buster and Glen” tracks now, she sees this, dubbed by “The sleeper has awoken” uttered by Dune’s Paul.
Unexpected development at the vet’s office. Another numbers crunching dog was already there, typing on his laptop as fast as possible. The screen shots changed at a rapid, even amazing pace. But although there were a dizzying amount of different angles, the location was obviously the same. The Red Room, sometimes known as the Red Bathroom. Also sitting Norris had found it after a long long search.
Johnny Black tried to remain as calm as possible. “Your dog?” he said over. “Talented,” he added.
“Not my dog,” replied the man with the bleached out face. Don’t look at me, he thought. Anywhere but me.
“Oh.” Johnny Black had a rethink. Norris was obviously studying what the labrador was looking at intently. Not his dog, but Norris was fascinated with the information it was receiving. Another Universe was already in place here. Removing the numbers from his own dog wouldn’t work! Darnit! Drat! Wheeler won’t take this well, he knows. He digs further to find out the source of the problem. “Interesting room he’s got there. Very red it appears.”
“Red Room, yes. I’ve been… searching for it…” Norris knew to shut up.
“Red Room you say. Is that the same as the Red Bathroom?” Johnny Black was testing Norris to see if he even knew of the latter, and that it might be the same as the former, given the right circumstances. Because everything hinged on that association now. Everyone in a high enough circle of information knew the Red Room was ultimately inaccessible. But a red bathroom — could be different.
Norris dared to look over, understanding the same. Their eyes met, their eyes locked. This was a race to the end with the loser becoming dead. Norris stood up, Johnny Black stood up. Norris took one step forward, so did Johnny as he gathered up the dog to leave. Norris took one two threefourfivesixseven. He was running out the door down the street. Johnny was right behind him, or right beside him. Maybe in front, even. Both had to go to the bathroom and it was urgent in each case — couldn’t wait. Just over there next to the swamp…
“Next!” Oh frick, thought Abby the vet and vet assistant both today, seeing the empty waiting room besides Sparkles. Another owner on the run. She hasn’t got time for this.
“The only Butt that’s going to show up in this photo is mine,” spoke up Silentghost, tired of the bog down, but also noting the deleted or unsuccessful profile pic involved yet another purple outfit. Fitting: too fitting. Supposed notorious outlaw on the run Wilson had nothing to say, since she was actually Wheeler. What kind of luck did she have assuming the name of a fugitive from the law?? What did it speak of her character to attract this person into her life?
“I — don’t remember taking that picture, I swear,” she said, plotting her defense. She didn’t. Not her pic!
“Com’on,” insisted Silentghost. “Ρùℜ℘Îē?”
There is another me out there, thought
Wilson Wheeler both wrongly and rightly.
Observing Shelley had seen it too but she wasn’t shocked or damaged in any way. Instead: curious. Futuristic (outfit), she pondered. *From* the future. And so it was. She told this to Wilson who was actually Wheeler. Time is being confused, she added in her psychic manner.
She traced the picture back to last Halloween. The lone blog post published from that day, toward the last of photo-novel 29 which I am just re-reading now, was certainly quite purple in nature and mentioned a purple swamp shack in particular, along with Prince’s “Purple Rain” album.
“I’m going back to that swamp,” she said to Newt on the phone later. Paper-Soap: he was there too. He studied the post while she spoke. Box… Borneo. They were not even really dating at the time. Perhaps they still weren’t, although they’d been married since.
Shelley contemplated the post afterwards too. *She* was there, at the resurrection beach with Cat-Witch who is… *Wheeler*. Just the day before.
Whatever happened to Liz?
Let’s see, I have to fit the Duck back in here somewhere.
“Yes, put on a robe, stay a while,” said Pauline Silentghost by her side, still assuming the pose of a master (channeler). “How’s your knee doing?”
“Fine,” Wheeler said, taking all the shifts in stride per usual. She doesn’t remember changing into the purple-ish robe but here we are. In… Sansara? Yes, but a special part, she realized. An artsy fartsy sub-continent to the immediate east and south. It’s a place she doesn’t think she’s ever been before until now. Thanks to Scroop, or Scrougeout as they call the Nautilus sim in these here parts. So says Pauline. The Oracle rules all in this out of the way, edge of the world type of location. Perhaps it’s just the distance from everything else that makes it so.
“You know who has to show up next.” Stares.
“Do I?” Wheeler tired of meeting the gaze and looked down at her robe, examining the texture. The finest cloth, she saw (and felt), perhaps cashmere. When she looked up: this.
“So who’s this fresh piece of hell?” she queried, but then knew the answer, which instantly became another question. “Daughter?”
It was Shelley Struthers with a, er, Scrougeout t-shirt, another duck.
“She is the owner of the castle,” replied Pauline, wiser than ever. Rust Never Sleeps becoming Roost Never Sleeps again. She turns. “Aren’t you dearest?”
“My name is Shelley,” she spoke plainly.
“Yes, we know your name,” replied robed Wheeler sitting across from her. She stared into umbrella eyes.
“My husband is George. We own the castle. Together.”
Shelley was much too young to be married. This was a future vision obviously, Wheeler realized. “Timeline, please,” she requested as politely as possible. “You’re a *child*.”
“I am *your* child.” Stares again all around. Awkwardness. Wheeler suspected she had a daughter for several years now, perhaps many years. The spaceship.
“I’m telling you, Newt. She’s *real*.” He’d suspected as well. Black and white, male and female, on and off. Clone? Possibility.
(to be continued)
The Gods took pity on poor, naive Barry, took him over to what in my reality is a local biking park, perched him on a trail-side rock way up its 4038 foot high namesake summit for all to see when passing, to judge, to test their own meddle.
One succumbed. The Gods knew this would happen. His damaged eye was cleaned up and he was put behind a tree, more out of sight. The Tigers could not get to him here.
Barry was safe, but we are also finished with his story for now, along with his Mom’s. 112 and out.
She stared and stared but she couldn’t wish a day gone to return. Munday it is, Munday it remains. Like hamster. Her’s should be coming soon.
She overhears some of the conversation from a couple of tables over; her purpose for being here. Something about channeling. Something about triangles.
He walked into Slice, waiting for the mathematician. “Duck, please,” he tried at the counter. “No Duck, chicken,” said the Slice employee, a Mrs. Wiggins I believe. She didn’t even mention the hamster. She knew he wasn’t here for food and had to repel him that way. For emphasis she made the number 5 appear in one of her hands, a sign of non-acceptance or non-compliance. Stop, in other words. We don’t dispense that crap here.
“Barry?” Marsha “Pink” Krakow called over from Eyela’s former seat. She was finished with her hamster and sucking her teeth as inconspicuously as possible. The channeling/triangle couple had gone. She had absorbed again.
“… Mom? What… are you… doing here?”
Well you ordered a mathematician, she thought but didn’t say aloud. She should be at church and he should be at work. But they weren’t.
“I’m just going to check that calculation with my phone, Mom. Hold on…
“Damn.” She’s good! he realized. This could work.
“Man I can’t even look in your eyes today, you’re so small man. What’ll it be today Mickey Rooney? Duck?”
“You better return that cap to the St. Louie Cardinals, bro. Bro man. They’re need’n it for their shortstop, you know what I’m saying, yo?”
Gibson reaches into his pocket, pulls a bill out. The special kind belonging to Duck.
“Alright here you go Peewee,” he says while exchanging his own with Barry’s, knowing he always gets a head in a deal.
He moves on. He has no real fear of the larger man-boy similarly wearing a red cap, in his case dipped in the blood of a particularly hated and wounded-if-not-killed rival. He’s been here every day since Munday, that special new day of the week where you simultaneously go to work and go to church at once. Work-church. (S)pray. Barry was a kind of professional graffiti artist, the ones who have an unpronounceable name. Like Spock. He’d head to a particular wall-surface as soon as he made the purchase. 300, he thinks this morning. 300 Triangle. A number anyway. Maybe 112. He’s going to meet up with [delete name] afterwards, a mathematician, to decide. Slice.
“What’ll it be today, Mrs. Gold? Duck?”
“Chicken, I think.” STOP
My boy is 15 minutes late, she thought beside the absorbed portrait in the middle of town. Better go meet up with him.
She looks just like I remember her! he thought. Hadn’t changed a bit. But the designer drug was wearing off bit by bit. One by one, the wrinkles began to appear on her face, under her eyes, alongside her chin. Yes: different. Mom but changed. The years have treated her well but they’re still years to live with. Barry realizes the duck will be gone too when he returns to his motel. It was *their* diner. They always met here under the gold tipped pyramid. To talk about life, where they were both heading, where they have been. His mother was always more like a best friend than a parent. She was only 17 years older than him. He felt like he could talk to her about anything. Including the duck.
“Mom,” he starts.
“Don’t,” she said, putting finger to lips and making a shh sound. “I know about the duck.”
(to be continued)