“These books over here have no title. They must be the important ones. The ones behind the rules.”
“I don’t feel comfortable here,” replied the almost 13 year old Shirley Boot to middle-of-15 Ruby. “Eraserhead Man could come back from one of his ramblings with Robot Derak Jones at any time.”
“Relax,” assured Ruby, still standing tall after the events of the night before up at Hilltop Pool. The Sun Rose. “We have permission to be here. I was *born* here… in the Rabbit Hole.”
“Then what about *him*?” Shirley rolls over and points down to the floor below them. “Mr. Transparent,” she adds glibly.
“Oh he’s just a halfway person. A portal effect. Nothing to worry about. As long as we don’t sit in the chair and try to knit or something. Just do like I said and don’t sit in the chair.”
“Oh I *won’t*. I never had any intention of sitting in that chair.”
“It’s EM’s chair and that is that. It’s a portal thing… ‘nother one. But this raised floor, the books (she waves at the bookshelf in front of her), even the toilet over there just behind the wall… fair game. The table below us as well. It’s just the chair…”
“So you keep saying.” Shirley was itching to talk about men again… boys. She wondered if she should pull out the spliff she has in her pocket and light up. Does Ruby smoke? Is she *cool*?
“I saw the Man in the High Castle outside today,” the 15 year old then said, reimagining the scene. “Checking out EM’s small palm grove. And I’m sure he spotted Annie’s easel and cherry chair there as well. He owns the land, you know. But he didn’t delete the objects. Curious, huh? And he’s just enlarged his castle toward Mabel’s house; you know, the Scarlet Creative Sylvia House. The castle’s west wall is practically in her front yard now.”
Potheads, Shirley then thought, seeing
Marty Bendy and Jay Fisher milling about in their strange ways upstairs. New Island Studios, humph. Maybe I should excuse myself and head over there instead. Always up for a smoke those two are.
Ruby was thinking along the same lines — how to excuse herself without seeming rude. But they stuck with each other tonight, unable to break the magnetic attraction. Not that either was gay or anything. But there was a close friendship forming for sure. One needed the other. Despite the 2 1/2 year difference in age. Shirley needed to cut down on the smokes, especially at her tender age. Ruby just needed someone to discuss High Castle stuff, dunes and island morphology, and so on. Annie had gone too far down Pill Popper Lane now, an understood cul-de-sac.
So Ruby and Shirley went back to Mabel’s house and lounged around the dining table. Ruby read some favorite passages from Mabel’s 3rd Diary to Shirley while Fisher and Bendy, now downstairs, sat on the couch behind them here and stared at various, small insects that flew within range. “A gnat,” Bendy blurted at one point just before he ate it.