“Shouldn’t you be telling the police about a missing person case? I’m just a lawyer.”
“I didn’t know who to turn to,” Paul confessed. “Are you sure you don’t want a beer, Teebestia?”
“Teeb, please,” she admonished lightly. “No, not while on the clock, thank you.”
“I don’t know,” Paul continued. “You seemed like an honest person. (With a) good heart.”
“I appreciate that.”
Paul didn’t look over at her while talking. “I’m afraid Mary… went home. Broken heart. It was just after talking about Little One that it happened. Poof… gone.”
“Little One being the last lamb of Grassland.” Teebestia scratched the back of her head. “Tell me more about your Mary if you will.”
“We met in school. Bennington. She was a dancer, I was a stand up comedian. She was into animal rights even then, her and Peter together. That’s how Lamb was created. Broadway.”
“Lamb is the same as Broadway,” Teebestia attempted to clarify.
“Yes,” affirmed Paul.
Teebestia put both hands gently on the counter, just saying what she had to say at this point. “How did *you* get here, then? And how and why do you change *races*?” She thought back to yesterday, when she witnessed the conversion up close and personal. Right as they crossed the line from Astarte into Lapara.
Paul couldn’t reveal what he really wanted to here, the Big One. So he invited her to Owls Head as a substitute. That way they could also look for Mary, if by chance she was still around the underground somewhere. They shot down the newly relocated Rabbit Hole.
Tronesisia nurses a jigger of cognac and waits patiently in Audrey’s while the others amble about below and beyond. She speaks to the bartender after glancing over at Curled reading ‘Winesap’. “You know, Bean, they should never have named that boy Paper.”
Paul finally made it out of that cave.
It took them a while to find the teleporter up to Audrey’s in the tall grass, the remaining bit of vegetation in Grassland created by magical seeds.
“We need to get The Lawnmower back down here pronto,” Paul demands.
“I’ll see what I can do about,” a smiling Peter replies, thinking he can find him sleeping at the Prog Rock Museum over in Kazzkark.
Paul looks around. “Where’s Mary?”
It’s as if she just disappeared into the weed itself.
“Wake up Rip Van Winkle. Time to go back to work.”
“Lambs,” states Paul. “As far as you could see.” He reconsiders. “Well, that’s an exaggeration. How many would you say there was, Mary?”
“20, 25. Then whittled down to 16, then 8, then 4, then 2, then only one. My precious Little One.”
“Little One yeah,” Paul says, thinking back. “That was before the VHC City days.”
“Yes,” Mary answers with a lump now in her throat.
“VHC City?” Peter questions.
“Oh let’s not go back to that right now. Let’s stick to the far past. See, Peter, this is why we should rename our group The Lambs.”
“Or Lamb,” Paul adds.
“That way dazed and confused fans won’t be calling out for that dreaded ‘Huff the Magic Dragon'”.
“Huff, Puff, whatever,” chimes in Paul.
Peter taps his cane on Grassland’s barren ground, producing a hollow sound. If it wasn’t tinted green it might as well be a sandy dune. “And the darters did all this?” he asks. Tacit agreement through silence here. Mary keeps holding back a big cry.
Backpack slightly heavier, Paul enters The Void…
“Honey! You’re back. Look… Green Acres is on! Supper’s Ready.”
No one else would know what Mary was on about except Paul. That was destined to change. Musical partner Peter SoSo was also in Malone Central, but standing off from the others to the left.
“Come over here, Paul,” he said to the just arrived black man. “Cross over this line… dividing the town and lets talk… about Lambs. Did you get the book?”
“Liquor!” clowned Wheeler interrupted to his right. “I hope you’ve returned with some because we’re out. And: meat!”
Peter, Paul and Mary as one stared at her.
Teebestia kindly and graciously led him to the correct entrance for The Underground in the Lapara part of town, not Astarte. In the process of crossing from the latter sim to the former, Paul became a black man again much to the astonishment of the lawyer lady, but definitely still American. “Water,” he states, standing before the portal. “I wonder why they decided to drown The Underground. Did they want to drowned out *us*? Our voices?” He was considerably more lucid now because of the changeover. It is easier getting away with being high when you’re white than black. Prison awaits for many of his present hue. “Is this a prison as well?” Paul ponders, thinking along the same lines. He lets the dark waters take him once more.
A faster moving train trolley soon comes up from behind and then passes through him.
He watches as it continues rattling down the tracks. When he reaches the main underground station the stopped trolley is still there, but, as usual, with no passengers getting on or off. Yes, in the main this is a ghost train, like Second Lyfe has been ghosted overall. Including Collagesity. Only the Linden wood saves that similarly aged berg from complete extinction, a life support. Here it seems to be something else.
Paul decides to hop on board the train to take a look inside but quickly stands up and exits after it begins moving again. He had been warned by his faith long ago not to ride the fun fun trolley into The Void looming directly ahead — or anywhere else for that matter. “Walking is the light, the way,” the holey book says. “Worship not the road nor the rail but the path itself, always expanding always contracting. This is the path of the heart.”
He thinks back to Teebestia with the exposed heart in The Above now, already far north of here in his mind. *She* led me to the correct path this time. She is a manifestation of spirit.
And then he found another gift on the people-less platform as he walked back to rest his heart a bit. Another tale.
“Grassland,” he said, looking at the cover. “The story of Grassland!”
“I’m so glad you brought the dart board back to Audrey’s, Rocky. Play another game? My turn to start this time. Rocky? Are you listening to me?”
Now absorbed in the bar’s computer card game, Rocky saw his strategy for getting a full house to win would not work. “Yes, Jackson Nova,” he answered in irritation.
“Jackson *Super*nova,” the man-shark proclaims proudly. He’d not make the error of his clone siblings and erase the true prefix!
Rocky ignored Jackson and talked to Mary instead. “How long do you think it’ll take Paul to get back to your Malone Central *this* time?”
“Days,” she answered, transfixed by the label on her beer. “Days and confused.”
He’d been standing there for the longest time, trying to make the next decision. Town lawyer Teebestia Heartthrob walked up. “Can I help you sir? Are you lost?”
“No,” Paul replied. “I’m just a bit stoned,” he admitted. “Wait. You’re not the fuzz? Copper? Because I didn’t mean that if so. I meant I was stone cold tired. Stone cold tired, yeah.”
She laughed liltingly. No, I’m not a copper. Nor bronze, nor lead nor any other metal.” She was playing with his mind now. His little weak mind. “My name is Teebestia, but everyone calls me Teeb. Now brace yourself when you turn around. My sight is not for the faint of heart.
Paul turned his head ever so slowly. Would this be the big reveal?
Great, Rocky thinks. My first customer! Hope the store doesn’t disappear again. Stupid root prims.
“Howdy over there,” the now white Paul says. No clothes again except the underwear, to mitigate his demon nature as much as possible. “I’m going to clean you out today, hehe. I have a whole city to feed for a couple of days. Malone Central.” Paul tested the walking raccoon. “You’ve probably heard of it,” but he almost said that as a question.
“Nope,” states Rocky plainly. ‘But I’m glad of the business. I’m a novel writer myself, but the second book is going slow, and my original tome isn’t selling as well as I planned. Long story. So have *you* ever heard of ‘Bible Truth’? That’s my town, I guess you could say.”
“I’m afraid I haven’t. But I’d like to spend more time in The Above. I’m from around here but not from around here. This store is new. I heard about it through The Grapevine. We get hungry down there in Malone Central, but have just existed on what grows on the almost barren Grassland for a long time. It’s the grass itself. We’re… well, we’re all pot heads I suppose you could say. There’s a robot… but that’s a long story as well.”
The anthropomorphic animal and almost naked man share a smile. “Well, help yourself. Munchies all around. If you’re into the healthier stuff, there’s a cooler with meat and cheese products in the back. Maybe some yogurt — yeah, yogurt. We don’t specialize in vegetables, sorry. There’s a garden around here you can loot for carrots, however. I don’t recommend it, though.” Rocky looks over at his gun, thinking back to the day he had to use it to chase off the clowns. Those dratted clowns.
“Tonshi’s Realm” in the upper part of the Lapara sim, airport perched on top:
… where I currently rent.
Tenament Square — the economy part of Olde Lapara Towne!
Take the train, hop in a cab, explore the buildings.
This is the new extension to the original downtown, currently being worked on.
Curious patch of yellow grass beneath a train ramp.
Olde Lapara Jaile (my mythology) at the eastern end of tree bespeckled High Line.
Scott Walker, the town’s giant sloth: still wrecking havoc!
Scott Walker’s havoc scene through hole.
Tronesisia jumping for joy in her new room at the Grand Lapara Hotel. She’s with Peter SoSo now!
Paul/Duncan in Malone Central, pretty content himself actually.
It’s a beautiful view, after all.
He stood up on Razor’s Edge, looking toward Tealy’s Corner from Border Chair. But did the oddly hued raccoon still live there? Paul needed to get back to his own home right now. He walks The Tightrope…
… straps on his balloons while strolling by Floatie the Reminder Clown….
… and enters Malone Central by passing over the 444 Chasm.
Mary was waiting with Wheeler. “What’s on, doll?” he asked his wife.
“Static,” Mary replies. “Merely static.”