“Okay. But it was definitely Smelly Santy. You remember — from the Mission. The eggs, Bill. They must have killed him (!). The Bennington experiments.”
“Nasty place. Even I would admit that.”
“Dwayne, a complaint from the customer at Table D.”
“I have delicious sandwiches over here, Mr. Leeman. Mr. Leemon. And watermelon…” Mabel knew it was no good. If this *was* a spell, the theoretical creator of New Island itself was mired deep. He was simply immobile now. But still the resemblance to Smelly Santy couldn’t be denied. She had checked earlier in the day — just after the sun rose — and taken snapshots. She went over and compared again, “show attachment” option on.
Yup, they’re the same.
She looks over at Volkswagen Gurl’s house, gleaming white bright in the noonday sun. No sign of the chatty owner, though.
Mabel then gazes north into Yd Bay and the small isle there, about the same size as much more noted Fisher or Fishers Isle to the south, but 3 palms and the truth this time, ha, instead of 4. Linden palms 1 and 2, as she’s currently checking. Fishers Isle’s palms are mesh objects in contrast.
She decides to fly over.
Snorkling comes to mind again while she stands upon it– exploration of the sea life surrounding New Island. That’s a thicket of purple Irish Moss sticking out over there, for example. She can see this happening soon.
And then another island a little beyond. Larger, but no palms this time.
Yd Bay, and another thicket of Irish Moss within. The great chunk of cheddar that ended the life of Thadeus Fogg must have been situated just between me and that point of land, Mabel speculates, trying to recall the tragedy as described in the “New Island Gazette”, then a 20 page publication instead of the 5 it has dwindled to in present times. She wonders how the Widow Fogg is doing.
And decides to pay a call. Maybe she would know more about Leeman or Leemon. Or maybe Mid-Hazel?
Permanent bay dweller Timothy Sprawled saw it all, but he’s been unable to relay what actually happened for a long time. Decades and decades.
Mabel was not literally stuck in Pipewold; she could emerge and investigate New Island if she wished, her ultimate home if things in Heartsdale didn’t work out. She had to manipulate what she could in the meantime — to prepare. Mabel was looking for this mysterious Leeman or Leemon who supposedly created the whole shebang. Is *this* him? she thinks here.
Hummie the Hummingbird (another one) wasn’t telling.
Buurb didn’t like to come out here, she knew. Says it’s like reading ahead in the hot red book of your life. Plus, taken individually, he had more at stake than Mabel. But there were still other avenues to explore. She hadn’t given up on Baker Bloch bringing their beloved Heartsdale house (or some equivalent) to Collagesity. She knows in one reality this *must* come about. But it’s a domino effect — that would mean, perhaps, the displacement of Karoz Blogger’s TILE Temple, implying *he* wouldn’t have the opportunity to return. And where would that leave mate Baker Blinker?
Mabel wanders back down the beach, toward the far side of the pipe. [Leemon’s?] Beach had been set as her personal limit in this direction. She couldn’t stay out too long — for Buurb’s sake. She spots Volkswagen Gurl leaning against the large, white house in the distance, but too late to turn around. Luckily the chatty lady went AFK before a potential engagement.
She also ran into Yarco on the way back and they held a brief discussion about cactuses, another type of pipe in a way, he explained. Yarco was a graduate assistant in the biology department at New Island Community College, the same place where Robot Derak Jones teaches physics and astronomy. Mabel thought the young lad was a bit full of himself, but he provided useful information at times. And also Mabel felt he could be trusted. She had dirt on him and he her. They were trapped on New Island for similar reasons. Oops, there’s his tanned slave boy. Time to leave, she understands.
Mabel sighs before heading back inside. 242, 121 here at the water’s edge, she notes again. This is where the world splits asunder.
“Great,” whispers Urch to Turch. “We have to sit next to Smelly Santy; got here too late.”
Luckily Turchin McGurchin was perhaps the only person in the hobo camp who even compared in odor to “SS”, as everyone called him, and correspondingly minded less than anyone else about sitting within his circle of stench. Barely hesitating, he plopped his old bones next to him and offered salutations. Urch took a deep breath and then took the seat opposite Turch.
At the other table of the mission sat Jim Jackson Jones Johnson directly behind Urch, who we’ve met, then beside him the old man who likes to read books over at Furry Karl’s Joker’s Wild bar, then caddycorner to him another shabbily dressed man reading a book who looks suspiciously like the Librarian in a new guise, and lastly Tronesisia, the pleasure bot of the camp, although no one acknowledges her by that title. Currently she’s playing around with a giant 3×3 rubic’s cube, and having no difficulty getting each of its sides to turn a solid color again and again after a reset, the object of the game. She’s very fit in both mind and body, as the camp found out 2 years back when she first showed up as another one of those exiles from cursed Bennington.
There was a polite period of waiting before Turch moved to the food buffet on the opposite wall. Everyone else had done eating, with paper plates and utensils already disposed of. Despite the stomach rumblings, Urch decided to beg off food this morning, saying she had a lot on her mind and didn’t want to weigh her body down. “Oh?” said the stinky but kind Santa being at her table, trying to help. “Did your brain eat something disagreeable in the last several days? That could do it.”
“I don’t think that’s quite it,” offered Urch, use to SS’s strange words.
“Then perhaps a parrot brought the disease in from a foreign tropical country, perhaps that one with the long coastline. Seas breed disease. That’s why the one word is nested in the other.”
“Could be,” Urch said, trying to agree with Smelly Santy so the conversation will end in this direction. “How’s Farmington doing? she then asked. “I heard you went back there for a couple of days.”
“Nice in late autumn when the leaves are dive bombing off the trees and creating bloody colors on the ground. But this is early spring apparently.”
“Then how was it?” asks Urch again. She was use to this drill about having to ask the same question to Smelly several times to get a type of proper answer.
“The sand blurred the dimensions between people into fuzzy cantaloupes. Dust everywhere. Hoofprints. You know the story.”
“I do,” Urch began again. “And how was it by the way?”
“Oh kids are fine. The wife is asking for the alimony check. The elves are back at work.” Smelly Santy paused, the corrected himself. “*Out* of work again. It’s early spring, right?”
Turch now returned to the table with a plate containing a huge egg and piece of bacon, obvious products of the Bennington experiments. Suddenly glad she wasn’t eating this morning, Urch excused herself to check the upstairs. She was looking for someone in particular.
“Get me a glass of water while you’re up, Urch,” Turchin McGurchin requested before she left, nodding toward the food bar. “And don’t forget about telling me about your dreams,” he then demanded. He was hoping that Urch would spill the
beans wine while he ate, but there’s that condition of hers to cope with. Poor Urch, he thought. Always running away from food and eating.