I can see the Rainbow Sphere but I can’t get to it. Banned. Roger Pine Ridge still could, though. And therein lies the problem.
We must return to Iris.
“Some year we’re having, eh Spore?”
“Iiiim LOVING it!”
“What do you think, Charlie?” strumming Roger Pine Ridge asked about his new song. “It’s a little more optimistic than my usual fare,” he explains further. “Call it ‘(Life is a) Beach’. Grass and Flip requested it — something more upbeat and lighter to work on, they told me. So I’m just writing about where I am. Right now in my life. Here. Just gotta think of some rhymes to go along with the the music.”
“Fine, fine,” states Charlie, only half listening, with the other half thinking about Margret, aka Poetry. Where was she tonight? Still stuck back in time, in the past. 1950’s still? Maybe even back — dare I think of it — to 1921? Where does that leave *me*? With Aloha? What the hell is Aloha?
Stopping the motion of his pick, Roger picked up on his friend’s concerns. “Don’t worry about Poetry, Charlie Banana. Where there’s a wall there’s a bridge. He starts the song over again, synchronistically thinking of another chord progression he could add to complete the bridge and the music as a whole.
I’m not going back to the MISTY MO lodge, Roger Pine Ridge realized while standing on the bridge looking east toward it. I’m going to go on the long walk and play with more forms. Like this little, yellow clad girl, perhaps Jennifer M. Friend herself when she was a child. Probably not, but…
Or how about Wanda the Minoan, fitting in with the yellow theme again? But maybe I’ve got enough wee ones already — Piper and Dollie.
Interesting. I forgot I had both a Cyberdoll and a Paperdoll form that I mashed together to create Cyberpaperdoll, one of my better creations, along with similarly mashed together Roger Pine Ridge.
A good couple they are. Too bad it didn’t work out. Thanks to Bandit Boy, hehe…
But I suppose I should just keep Allen Yellow as my primary avatar for now: Allen Y. He’s got a nifty backpack for storing tomato and mayonnaise sandwiches and lemon tea for the trip, along with extra shoes and a change of clothes. He’s got a helmet for when the atmosphere gets too hard to breathe again, along with an additional set of eyes for long distance viewing.
“Does he not get the irony?” observing Baker Bloch spoke back in Collagesity. “Golden sphere… frog eyes… and that’s why Piper the *frog* was sent to MISTY MO in the first place, along with Tropp.”
“Golden sphere, yes,” echoed Wheeler, thinking back.
Goodbye lodge. Goodbye mystic nut Norm or Bob. So long old and withered Johnny Appleseed tree. See ya Black Lake on the northeast corner, the one Jennifer saw Demo written all over. Under. Too much more to see.
He sets out for parts already partially known but with big hunks yet to be explored. 1/2 and 1/2.
They talked far into the night. No mention of Bauer again, as stated. About 10 Roger Pine Ridge showed up as well. He kept glancing over at his old flame Cyberpaperdoll (who arrived about 7:30) but saying nothing.
11:15. His last Chesterfield was now half smoked. Perhaps time to pull out one of his special cigarettes; start seeing things in the middle of the night again. Sea monsters this time, perhaps. The white stick light tells truths to be beholding to. Behold… beholding. Beh.
“Beh,” he uttered over to Cyberpaperdoll. “Beeeeeehhhhh.”
“I’ll defend you Dollie.”
“What are we looking at?” she queried Randy Big Cat in her meek voice. So feminine and thin.
“Pirates of course! *Other* pirates.”
“Of course.” But it didn’t look like any pirate she’d beheld.
She kept tripping the light fantastic. White stick light. Giant bunnies were good and cool. She wanted more. But Ruby’s Democratic Empire sim remained empty. It was only a stage, a set, good to go for Collagesity novel 10 but then discarded and emptied just after. *Had* to be a set. And now connected with beh. All sims starting with beh, especially their center (128/128). Try it for yourself. You’ll see.
She pretended this improptu gathering of cubes also in central Behemoth was a meeting of the selves again. “You,” she barked as much as possible with her unbarky voice. “Over there. The black, silent one. Time to *speak*.”
Eventually she fell asleep on its southern side after taking yet another form. Smoking.
“It all seems to be focusing on Heterocera, Baker Bloch. Me in the swamp lands — I would *prefer * to live here in Collagesity, but it is what it is. Then Wheeler’s own explorations.”
“She’s found a gym.”
“Gem of a gym,” replies Roger Pine Ridge, puffing on a Chesterfield tonight. The rainbow brings confusion but white light heals. White stick light. “That might keep her busy for a while.”
“Then Grassy… what’s the report on him?”
“Good and decent fellow, obviously. We’ll (re)visit Iris soon.”
“The Moth Temple Village. Good. Which you live on the very outskirts of anyway.”
“He’s still looking for the reds and yellows. Probably to shoot or kill them.”
“Wheeler can help in that way,” Baker then says. “And his cousin?”
“He hasn’t spoken of Opp since my move. He goes on and on about the TILE river or creek or whatever it is. Jonesborough Compound: he says that’s where it all started. Cave of the Alphabet. The eternal search for AlmaNoz.”
“Good topic,” replies Baker. “Karoz: Did he find his ‘N’ yet?”
But Roger Pine Ridge didn’t know neither. Better bring in another.
“Karoz… we’re just reviewing what’s going on in the novel so far. How’s Dennis? Is that where you still are? Lemme check.”
“Why don’t you put up a meaningful picture on your media feed here. For the blog.”
“Dennis.” Pause. “Where I’m not.”
“Well maybe we should go there to meet instead.”
Karoz Blogger looked around. “Where’s Wheeler tonight? This isn’t an official Table meeting without Wheeler.”
“She found a gym,” Baker Bloch explained again to a second core avatar tonight.
“Guess Tropp or Opp is with her, then.”
“Well… good.” Karoz looks down at his hands, then back up. “It failed of course. The assimilation. Baker Blinker has gone back to Chilbo. I suppose I’ll have to follow.”
“Well… for one shining moment…”
“Yeah, yeah,” interrupted the cyan being, half moss as we know now. The other half remains hidden in mist still. Baker then had an idea.
“How’s Misty doing?”
“He didn’t know who Misty was, Hucka Doobie. I tried.”
“You think that’s his *mother*?”
“Let’s review what we know, Hucka Doobie. We know that everything seems to be focusing on Heterocera, which is now equated with a big hand.”
“An *upside-down* hand,” Hucka Doobie clarified. “The Hand of Opp.”
“Right. There’s now a Heart Line to go along with the Head Line, which I didn’t know was a Head Line until I found the Heart.”
“Art’s on the Heart.”
“Right. Former neighbor. Like Veyot. On the edge. Just digging the Collagesity vibe.”
“It does have a good vibe,” articulated Hucka Doobie. “But now it only has the woods. Art will be the last neighbor you will have in Our Second Lyfe. Unless you count Ruby Heartbright.”
“I’m checking now, Hucka Doobie.” Pause of about 30 seconds while Baker Bloch remotely scans the borders of Collagesity. “Yes, I see she is the only landowner whose property borders Collagesity. But: no relation to the Rubi Woods to the west?”
“There has to be,” Hucka Doobie says without hesitation. “You know this person after all.”
“Met her once. She’s owned land around the woods before. Just like me. I can’t remember specifics.”
Hucka Doobie thinks that Baker Bloch should write down information like this but doesn’t say it aloud. “And fair Ruby herself? Haven’t seen her around since I rode back into town on a horse with no name.”
“We’re talking about my character, also named Ruby,” Baker clarifies more for the reader. “She seems to have taken the lead female role from everyone else except for Wheeler. But of course now we know Ruby *is* Wheeler. Because of all the splits she’s effected.”
“Ruby Fantasie most recently. You should follow what’s she’s up to in Rosehaven. Shaking things up, I bet.”
“Three ‘Rubys’, then. The neighbor, the woods, the… can we call her queen? Is Wheeler still queen? Heck we better bring her in. Thanks for stopping by, Hucka.”
“Back to the Red Umbrella for me. I found a way into Stonethwaite.”
“But a topic for another night.”
“So long, then.”
“Put up the Aotearoa picture on the interwebs, Baker Bloch. I can’t seem to work the darn thing again tonight.”
“I’ll make a quick post with the 2 pictures.” Pause of about 2 minutes while Baker sets up the post. He displays it…
“Top hit for an image search ‘N to Z’, Wheeler Wilson. Transparent images, that is.”
“Which you like to do now as I understand.”
“This is AlmaNoz related. Jeogeorock related. Whitehead Crossing. Spill what you know.”
“I’m not really the person (core avatar) for that. Spongeberg,” Wheeler declared. “Spongeberg’s the one. He lives there after all.”
“I forgot. In the teepee.” He removes his finger from his lip. “Well, we might have time to bring him in after this. Friday night after all. A little more time; a little less pressure to get up.”
“During the day, you have to figure out something else to do. I’m *enjoying* the day. But… this can’t keep up.” Wheeler looks at him directly. “Thank you, though, for allowing me time to find my gym. That was helpful. Tropp is thankful too. We are not evil.”
“I know that.”
“We are another aspect of Heterocera now, part of its continuing storylines. Three ‘Rubys’. Collagesity moves onward and upward within that triangle. Scarlet.”
She was really planning to stay here long term, he pondered from his plywood cube. Brought all of her exercise equipment over here, her personal gym. Not to be confused with her personal Jim, hehe. But he must remain serious. He’ll ask her as politely as possible to remove it all tomorrow. Or sometime this week. Sometime this month at the very least. Because (as we’ve pointed out) he’s stuck. Stuck in Time. Stuck in Money. Stuck in Brain Damage really, given that he is 2 Rogers in one. Roger Pine Ridge both (as also pointed out before [but much further back]).
What to do with the basement space, though? The upper part: living quarters. But here he could make… a studio again? Make music once more. Just start beating on stuff.
And there’s good and kind neighbor Grassy to consider. His landlord in effect. No, not his landlord… let’s just have them visit each other for a spell…
“Dum de *dum* de dum.”
“The late breakfast was, er, *special*, Grassy Noll. Just like you.”
“Thank you.” Was there sarcasm involved with his speech patterns? the Mmmmmm thought, then waved it off. Of course not. This is Roger Pine Ridge. Destined to be his best neighbor ever. Much more so than the Petersons, who left in the middle of the night to live in Alcatraz. And the Archibalds left much to be desired as well. He was a bit actor and she studied acting a bit. Go figure.
“I hear you are a famous thespian in your small area of the universe,” offered Roger, trying to ignore the fullness of his stomach and the needlessness for it.
“I am!” Grassy automatically started listing off the productions he starred in. “‘Salad Bar Jack in the River of Tile’ — I’m sure you’ve heard of that.”
“Then ‘Salad Bar Jack of All Trades’, ‘Salad Bar Jack be Nimble’…”
“I’m going to stop you there, Grassy. Grassy Noll. My most excellent neighbor.” He peers at his watch, not trying to hide it.
“Time,” Grassy spoke solemnly. “I understand.”
“And Money,” Roger quickly followed.
“We don’t speak of that.”
Roger Pine Ridge suddenly wondered what the inside of his brain looked like, and if flowers could be successfully cultivated there given the right fertilizer.
“Hmm. I should catch up with the deported Roger Pine Ridge over in Iris tonight.”
“It’s bigger than your apartment in Collagesity, Roger,” Mmmmmm Grassy Noll attempted to pursuade. “Better views probably. You can see all the way to the Moth Temple if you squint.”
“I don’t want to squint,” replied Roger Pine Ridge levelly. “I want my eyes wide open all the time.” He looked at the surrealist painting that came with the apartment; indicated it to Grassy. “And what’s *this* suppose to be?”
“It’s a Dali.”
“That’s not a Dali,” Roger Pine Ridge quickly corrected. “I know Dali. This isn’t one of his.”
“Sure it is,” countered Grassy. “Here, let me just click through the paintings. It’s a set of 4. 4 Dali’s. Surely you recognize the famous melted watches painting.”
“Yeah, that’s one of his. The butterfly ship is not,” insisted Roger Pine Ridge. “Wanna make a bet?”
“I tell you what. If that ain’t a Dali then I’ll talk Baker Bloch into sending you back to Collagesity and ending your sentence here in your ‘swamp village’ once and for all.”
2 days later:
“Ahhh. Good to be home.”