In teleporting around Thornwood tonight, I realized that the foxes Muff and Birmingham, last seen in a NWES City wishing store, were getting along better, which means everything was more in balance in Our Second Lyfe and beyond.
The Diagonal was okay now, but I had no place there. Or did I? No, no, if I open up that can of worms, then karma will come into play again and I’ll have to dig deeper into Rose Heaven history — make it up, in essence, which I’m not sure if the locals, as a whole, would enjoy. The Mist represents a barrier. I have to have cooperation to continue. And I’ve decided the cooperation should come to me instead of visa versa. It’s something I’ve learned. Don’t draw attention to yourself.
23, 23, 23
“I was younger back then, still a rocker, still a moder. Cleveland had nothing on me.”
“Drew ‘Grumpy’ Cleveland?” Baker Bloch questioned, still shocked at the revelation. He hardly had breath to ask.
“Yes,” Stefan [last name still to be determined] admitted, thinking back to the lake, the peninsula. So calming after the pansies. He knew who he was… for the very first time. Then a Brendan appeared on a nearby peak and it began in earnest. He understood that this was not a bucolic paradise, and that paradise was a long way off indeed, like his sister knew before him. Brother too.
“Soooo…” Baker caught his breath again. “That’s when you began (inhale) to know… about Pansy…”
“Mouse,” Stefan completed for Baker Bloch. He held all the cards now, was playing with a full set of dice. Die — Certain Death. Red equals white. Alice in Wonderland would be proud. He let the word hang in the air again, like a kite cut loose from its tether, adrift in a sea of nothingness.
“What assets can *you* bring to me, Mr. Baker Bloch.” I wish Stefan [last name yet to be determine] had a German accent but it would be too hard to write. He was applying for an apartment in the Kidd Tower in Apple’s Orchard, a prospective neighbor, then, to the Man About Time who’d be living directly above him in the penthouse suite. This here was Mr. Babyface’s old apartment. Mr. Babyface had decided to move away from the city to carve out a bucolic life for himself in the land of Hana Lei, wherever the f-ck that was. Maybe Rose Heaven.
“Well,” Baker Bloch began his answer. “You’ll become an automatic member of the exclusive Blue Feather Club, with 10 percent discount on all items at any of the Baker Bloch owned businesses in town. That would include, let’s see, the consignment store down in Black Ice, the Red Umbrella (gallery) in same, the Rosehaven Yarn Shop — that would be selling story yarns and not yarn yarns mind you.”
“Shoot,” Stefan mildly cussed here. He was a natural born knitter, weaving and bobbing the needles to whittle away the dreary nights. But he could live with this handicap. Still full price for the yarn yarn. Baker Bloch continued without a beat.
“Then The Cones — that’s the all you can eat buffet style restaurant atop the Blue Feather, part of the overall Sunklands Institute complex. That would be, er, right down there or over there.” Baker Bloch pointed out the transparent wall to his left toward said complex. You can clearly make out the towers at the top from his perspective. Stefan had none of this. He remained undecided whether to move to NWES City, despite what Baker considered his pretty pitch, like a lob thrown to a junior leaguer who could then hit it out of the park on any given day. This was a given. It was up to Stefan to throw away the chance, make a clear error of judgement. Baker held all the aces, he felt.
“I know Pansy Mouse,” Stefan stated out of left field, a game changer. Baker’s plans suddenly flew up in the air like a pack of misshuffled cards.
He knew exactly where to look. He heads across the road toward the hills.
He pauses to roll two dice at Gigi’s place, red and white. “Twins,” he exclaims, seeing the result. “Good. I’m on the right track.” Certain Death can be avoided tonight.
He moves forward…
A wise sparrow looks down from a tree behind him. He stands in flowers again, pansies. This is where it will happen. He waits. He, again, knows Certain Death is not stalking him. This is the day, this is the portal. He waits. The sparrow knows too.
His head begins to vibrate rapidly. It has begun.
“Dum de *dum* de *dum*.” Riiiiinnnng. “Oh dear.” Riiiiiiiinnnng. “That’s the phone.”
“Over… *there*.” Riiinnng.
“Over where, honey?”
“On the wall.” Riiinnnng. “Just over… *there*.”
“The wall… the phone on the wall?”
Riiinnnng. “Yes. Don’t you remember. The phone… on the wall.”
“The *pay phone*? The one that hadn’t worked for 20 years?” Rinnnnng.
“Yes. I think. Go check. I’m scared. I’ll be back in my room.” Riinnng.
She was so happy just seconds before. Now the world seemed to be ending.
Riinnnng. Herbert Glenn Gold walks over, answers the phone. Riinnnn– “Hello?”
“You have become old, Stefan.”
“No… not old. I can still rock.”
“You are a classical man through and through now. Get up out of the rocker. You cannot rock any longer. You are an old man. You…”
“Pansy,” he said, trying to reassure. “I acquiesce.” Old Stefan steps away from the DJ equipment and the dance floor as a whole, walks outside, stands in the flower bed.