“They think they are the X, Pitch. But they’re only the western edge: Long Drive. There’s Middle Game left, and there may even be Sink X itself, formerly holding Chip Shot, to complete the game.”
“But the X, the actual crossroads I mean, lies between Long Drive here and Middle Game, which I assume is a destination coming up shortly.”
“But first,” Buster clarified, “The X itself as you put it. Teebestia.”
The Musician as Sikul Himakt was having that dream about roses again. Scene: VHC City; The Diagonal.
He sits in front of a video game featuring the Rising Sun with an odd retro cartoon punk who speaks Japanese.
In the dream he understands him. “There’s no side to choose,” he says as the game remains unplayed. Tiny Hermania looks down from the center of her rose tinted world, protesting the idea. “Choose!” she calls while hanging from a vine.
He grasps the red joystick opposite the green one. Pain! They were at the island tree, then. The Musician once again shows the cartoon punk the wound on his outturned hand.
The other hand he keeps to himself.
“I will remove the thorn and make this one better too,” he says, still speaking somehow understandable Japanese. The Musician starts to wake up. “I will make this better.”
He stares up at
Chroma Jimmy, who is wrapping his left hand. The right one has already been bandaged. He sits on the Asian couch at their lodgings. Jimmy chatters while continuing his twirlings. “As I said, I’m a physicist not a physician. But I worked with a man at the Australian Astronomical Observatory who studied stellar anomalies in the Southern Cross for years. Same thing happened to his hands, and also his side. Stigmata it’s called. Identification with the crucified Christ.” The Musician was about to protest that he wasn’t religious when Jimmy guessed the confusion. “Doesn’t matter about your faith. Something else is behind it. Philip wasn’t religious either, but he was a fanatic. Of science. Perhaps that’s all it takes. And… there, that should do it. The bleeding doesn’t seem to be stopping but it’s slowed down. Maybe that’s all we can ask of this condition, if yours tracks with Philip’s.”
“And stay away from that blasted island!” added Wheeler forcefully behind him.