Tag Archives: The Musician^*======

cake = lie

And so we end with Stiggy the Bluebird arriving early for her supposed birthday party, asking where the spectacular cake was Elanea promised to show her. Elanea said she’s it, then fired a tranquilizer dart right in her forehead between the eyes, then dragged her back into the kitchen to be prepared. One too many jokes about her amphibian nature for Elanea to stand. And she’d spewed the same racist type insults to people in powerful positions like reptilian Stu in Marketing, human Pamela in Waste Management, and, most importantly and most damning, to the Big Boy himself, calling him a [delete name]. To the Abyss she must go, he declared, which was his own personal word for the Void, having been raised a devout Tilist all those years ago, memories and rituals sticking like glue. The others decided the degree.

After the party, they prepared one cross that had the wrong year of death — had to be redone (too much partying, perhaps). A second, sturdier and more upright one was made by Harold the Carpenter, a gnome sent down by Head Office to do the task right, along with another named Jack who’d dig and fill in the grave. No coffin needed, though: no part of her remained to be buried by the time Elanea finished with the knives and saws and the gnomes arrived, not even her heart, deemed inedible from her species but which was still put into the cake just for spite and to rub it in all the way.

The bird was George.

Shelley’s still beating heart only pointed one direction after that. Biff Carter provided an interesting alternative but had aged 20 years overnight, thus eliminating him from the picture. Big Boy again, of course — [delete name] again the hurled insult. Only Arthur remained. And through him Liz. The marriage will take place at the beginning of the next section, 7 in a series of 6.

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00350607

She thought of another answer while chopping pepper for the big meal. George was coming over! Or was it Arthur? Anyway, she thought of this: I *love*, that George’s backwards guitar was destroyed in the Moray Docks explosion when that new Tar Guit appeared over top of it. BOOOM! she recalled joyously. That can replace the “resourceful” answer, #4 I believe.

“She’s gone,” Baumbeer speaks later to Newt about the poor girl’s mind. “But I know where she is.”

“I’ll go see her,” replies the father not father-in-law. “No need to bring the boy in the picture,” he says half to himself. “He’s already heartbroken enough.”

“Let me know if I can help more,” spoke Baumbeer into the receiver to finish. He hangs it up. On a clothes hanger.

Newt rings Shelley up. I mean, he calls her. Since the wedding is off and he’s no longer the Best Man. Thus the meal.

“Newt!” she modifies again, moving to the cucumber or tomato next. “The father-in-law.” Her face squinches up. “Father *in-law*?”

They meet at the same gazebo in the sim’s corner. Property called Sim’s Corner. The Void’s energy was just loosened enough so he could reach over and straighten up the blouse on her shoulder. Pepper t-shirt no. 1 she wore now. Small successes before bigger ones, he thinks, staring at the daughter he didn’t know he had until the end of the last photo-novel, 34 in [delete rest of sentence].

“Wheeler says to say hello,” he starts again, trying to jolt more memories. Does she remember the spaceship? Of course not, Newt thinks. Too young. Shelley says say hello to Wheeler back, even though she doesn’t know who that is. She’s trying to mask her big big problem. And where’s George? Or was it Arthur?

“Your… *mother*,” Newt says to this, understanding she doesn’t recognize the name. “George — you know George, right?”

“Georges,” she says, which Newt lets slide.

“Anyway, *your* George says you look a lot like her. You even have some of the same tattoos.” Kind of odd, Newt thinks here but, again, lets it slide; chalks it up as another disturbance of The Void.

—–

“You’re batty I tell you. *Batty*!”

“Out of my way, whoever you are! *Whatever* you are!”

“W-where you going, dude? Nothing left but *me*.” She starts dancing and dancing with her weapon. Hypnotizing. Just like on the bus. It was her.

Shelley wakes up. What did I do to *Johnny*, she immediately thinks. We go back to that point. That’s where she began to lose it. The baby. My baby!

She was the baby.

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00350515

The Musician had a plan. Play his last gig at Pink Think before returning to Nautilus and take Shelley with him, freeing her from the prison cave closest to The Void in Gemini (4006m). That’s how he can keep her from opening the door to her cage. Power. Power behind powers. He thinks she’s ready. He’s delusional. She’ll never forgive him, although she feigns acceptance to escape.

Albert and Biff sit around the wall still from the ensuing gig at their tea table, the music too deafening to their more sensitive ears. Plus they’re all too familiar with the notes and beats. They’d rather remain in the bar with at least equally-sensitive-to-sound Marilyn, a light in their darkness now. True they were were resigned to their entrapment here in Gemini, not being as blind as The Musician. But they were still trapped.

Marilyn? With Fern now, catching up — Fern said it was super hard to find her in the sim, what with all the cubic meters to cover from top to bottom, all 16 stories of 256x256x256 of it. Claude never showed up, intervention with the 3 beastly boys delayed. Or did he? Fern changes to demonstrate what happened.

She was back on top, ha — in charge. “The *clue*,” she said while nursing a red cocktail 1/2 in Claude’s body, educating Marilyn/Lichen as well as putting her back in her place, “was the receiver part. I live in a receiver, like a jeannie lives in a bottle. Get it? Like ‘Jeannie and the Tiger’. You remember? We watched that summer before last — it was just showing, by accident let’s say, on the Cartoon Network where we usually hang out. We switched over from ‘Dirty Duck’. Do you recall?”

“I remember,” said Marilyn, marveling at the brains, the brilliance, of her partner in crime once more. If only she had my humor, she thinks. Always pretty dead serious about stuff, like this. I’m not really surprised that Fern has outmaneuvered me and don’t really care. I could make 10 jokes about the situation right now, make light of it.

Yes, I suppose they made a good team, nay, a great team, especially after Marilyn/Lichen decided to ditch the horse and the association with The Void. Because this was the ultimate lesson learned for the traveling bartender in the sim of Jem– Gemini. Avoid the Duck.

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00350512

“So when you said you disappeared behind the bar, you meant you worked there — behind the bar…”

“… as a black horse, yeah. I’m not ashamed of it (she was). I just didn’t want you to… look down on me.” She could read disappointment in his eyes by now. How to recoup from this? Could she espouse any redeeming qualities without giving too much away? She let him just unwind his theories. Check check check, she assumed.

“Black Horse is not code for Black Hole. Black Horse is more, let’s say, Black Ho, reduced from the obvious. The two go hand in hand, or, in this case, hoof in hoof.”

She made a check mark with her hoof hand.

“You were working for The Void.”

Check mark.

“The same Void that Marilyn had already rejected, the same Void that had her dress up as a white horse before she found the clean and sobered up job at Pink Think here in Gemini.

Check mark.

“You took her place.”

Hesitation, then another check mark.

“Do you keep in contact? I mean, you’re both here, in the same sim. Is it too painful to do this?”

Check mark. This guy is good! Liz thinks. He’s earned all the answers he desires. Not like her regular clientelle, where she doesn’t like to say very much. This was different. This was *clean* fun. Yes, she was having fun, unburdening herself. But she had one big secret stashed away still. George. Keith B. didn’t need to know about The Musician and their true relationship through her parents. George was a bad person and deserved what he got. Same for Albert and Biff, she thought here. For she knew of them as well: the Beastly triad. She knew that much from Marilyn. Yeah, they talk. But only on Mundays they agreed, the hardest day of the week to get in contact with someone. It was a window, tall yet narrow, so much so that they couldn’t see eye to eye. But the exchanges had depth still, black to white. At some junctures it was almost as if they could agree to disagree. It never came to that, but she sensed the possibility. A lost friend, a lost sister even. That could make up for *everything*.

(to be continued)

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Still in Gemini…

“Yeah, I don’t actually *live* in a receiver or am the *same* as a receiver. I don’t know what got that notion into your head. And I even have a pretty modern (phone), cell and all. I can even look up things on the Interwebs with it, like the difference between a mouse and a dormouse. Just doing that–”

“Fascinating,” Marilyn playing Lichen Roosevelt said on the other end, a word she just heard on TV. “I only thought,” she defended her logic, “you know, like Paul Warfield.”

“Paul Whatfield?”

“Never mind.” She backed out of Miami back into Cleveland. “Jim Brown,” she blurted out to her surprise. “Jim *L.* Brown, not the other one, the twin.”

“What about James?” replied Claude the Receiver. This was old school talk, like high school. He’d left all that behind in joining the University of Life here in 1000 City, or so it was advertised. 4 more years to go, a long long 4 years, with debt mounting up each semester he stays. He’s learning about the birds and bees this morning from old Ms. Crumplebottom, facing away from him and preparing to add information about flowers and trees and the Moon up above into the overall equation, like work clothes. Whatever, it all ends with Love. He wonders how she can remember back that far; all the parts must be long broken down there. But I suppose there’s always heart.

“Cartoons,” said Marilyn, surprising herself again. “Jem. Jemini.”

“Jemilly Johnson? What about *her*?” Claude was getting impatient. He didn’t want to miss any nuances from the lessons. One flower appears, then another and another. A tree with a massive trunk shoots up from their midst. And between the boughs near the top as the stars come out: The Moon. Where did The Sun go? he had to ask himself.

“Um, uh,” delayed Marilyn. “We have a situation,” she decided to say instead of answering Claude directly. “Just get down here. On your lunch break if needed. What time is school over, actually?”

Claude mentally checked his schedule. 1 o’clock: Mixing Business with Pleasure, 2: The Overarching Problems of Time and Money Inevitably Leading to Brain Damage, then at 3, oh he’s finished at 3. He says this to Marilyn. The Musician is paying his bill and about ready to leave. Marilyn looks at the wonky grandfather clock on the far wall between Biff and Albert. 4 more hours! How is she going to keep them all here together until the Receiver comes. Alcohol of course, for The Musician at least. And free tea for the teetotalers over there at the crazy table. She offers George another one on the house.

“Gee thanks!” he says, sitting back down. His gig is not till 7. He has the time and the money to kill more brain cells.

(to be continued)

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beasts

With her super sharp ears, one of her superpowers, not-so-ditzy blonde Lichen Roosevelt, who was currently masquerading again as ditzy blonde Marilyn the traveling bartender, overheard it all. The bidding, the threats. Albert was driven to have the girl he couldn’t possess — none of them could, not Biff Carter, not George The Musician sitting at the bar with her and oblivious to the subject matter being spoken about behind him. Because his ears were more between his legs; that’s how he composes, how he creates. It deafens him to other realities at times, a lot of times, heck, about all of the time, she surmises in the moment. They spoke about it earlier, before Albert and Biff showed back up again, sipping their crazy tea and talking about absurdities. Shelley was free — for the moment.

“She requested she go down to the beach every day at 2, so I let her.”

“Damn, Musician, that’s not good enough!” she protested, yelling because no one else was around. Boss Herbert Done had the day off, cruising for boys on the back lot, despite already having a man and 2 girls at home. George had already told her about the decision to use the powers of the Venus cage to trap her. “She was as much here that way as any of us,” he said. “We’re all in the same boat.”

“Don’t you see, Musician?” she tried to explain. “*Shelley’s* the boat! That’s why you’re all here in the first place.”

George knew that Albert was obsessed with a girl named Darla, a black haired and black clad beauty as he described her. And Biff — well, he hadn’t really talked to him about why he was here as well. That would come a bit later. He didn’t know about the overlap is what I’m saying here.

“She’s not your pet, your slave.”

“I know that.”

Devil instead of Lover, Shelley thought here, contemplating The Tarot. Gemini rules The Lovers, the 6th Major Arcana card of the deck, attached to the specific planet Mercury. That’s why Mercury-Gemilly, France is involved, a suburb of *Albert*ville of all names. The Devil, Major Arcana card 15, has the same two nude figures but chained instead of free, torch lit instead of outside in the sun. It’s good George let’s her sunbathe but, my God man, just because she was going to *jilt* you at the alter? *This*? Men, PHEH.

“I’m going to let her totally free soon,” George said. “As soon as I figure out how to take Arthur out of the picture. That way we can get properly married instead of those two.”

“After all this…” Marilyn said, then stopped because of the futility of it all.

And now, listening to Albert and Biff bicker, Marilyn decides to lay down all the cards. She senses a Helen of Troy situation and didn’t want it to fester any further. She had an aunt and uncle that had to live through all the atrocities of the Trojan-Durexian Wars over on the Omega continent. She wasn’t going to allow another seed to be planted like that.

The Receiver, she then thinks. I have to pick up the phone — wherever it is — and call him. That’s the solution.

She finally finds it behind the coke machine.

“Hallo? Claude?”

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Pepper

Shelley was in trouble because she had the key but couldn’t use it, like Rump before. Couldn’t get it off her neck; hung there like an useless, object-less necklace, product of The Void obviously. The Venus cage had manifest for real, one of its dark powers.

“And *stay* there until I return,” George called back unnecessarily, walking away from the scene — as The Musician — to a local gig at the Pink Think bar, first in a series of such, he hoped. “Great Gig in the Sky” he wanted to title it, thinking of another Pink. The beanstalk to the 3700m high joint broke off like a collapsed tornado, falling falling falling in the far distance. He’d put that into a song as well, maybe the one about Money — Cash — he’d been working on. He’d heard about red cash for the first time from a man at the bar at the same time as him, a man in black, he recalls. Tall. He was with another guy who goes by Biff — remembered his name because of the detergent. The other guy — yes, Able. *Albert*. Both seemed to be stalking someone: different people, he gathered, but both leading them to here, this Gemini retconned from Mercury (get to that in a bit). “If you turn totally green,” the man called Albert said to him, shared martinis all around, “then you’re done — *cooked*. “You have to keep a bit of red about you or else… (not) here.”

“Amen,” said Biff sitting across from him, to the left side of me. He was reading a small, wine red book, which I guess counted for his protecting talisman. I wondered what Albert had on about him of the same color. Perhaps a pen? Or a scarlet handkerchief in his lapel pocket that he could whip out at any time for a sneezing damsel in distress? But I daydream (within the daydream). Back to Albert…

(to be continued)

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nailed it

It was her father, Newt, and her mother, Wheeler, with herself in the middle. All dead, all ended, the Ur family complete.

It was her brother, it was her sister.

It was herself.

Next was a church with red doors, a cross over them and at the top of course. This was The Cross itself. Who should lay beside Shelley in her grave to be with her forever and ever and ever. Was it George? Arthur? Even that new stalker prevert Biff Carter, perhaps named after a detergent but perhaps not? This was the place they get married. This is the place they get buried.

Next: It was a long way up; another ladder.

Many spirits requested her presence.

The Void has spoken.

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new angle

“So you see, babydoll. You *can’t* leave The Cross right now. Right there in the contract you signed. You’re part of the club now.”

Shelley studied and studied the thing but couldn’t find a way out. Biff Carter was the same age as her or older than her by 2 decades. If the former, then *they* may be destined to be married — Biff — Mr. Carter — must know this too. If the latter, Mr. Carter — Biff — could be her father.

But she has a father. Newt, yes. And a mother: Wheeler. She tells Biff/Mr. Carter this, along with being engaged to George already, who, turns out, he knows by another name.

“Oh I know about Arthur,” he says in response to all this. “I don’t think you’re really engaged to this… *Musician*.”

“Am too,” Shelley tried to defend, but knew it was hopeless. Says right here: Shelley Struthers will be stuck on The Cross until the end of novel 35, where she’ll make a choice between 3 lovers. She knows two. Here could be the 3rd — has to be, I suppose.

Biff knew she couldn’t weasel out of this. The Umbrella Club has spoken. “Satisfied?” he ended.

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00350312

“Thanks for coming to rescue me, *Lemont*.”

“You’re very welcome dearest. But you can *really* thank your Venus Cage necklace, or at least the photo of it.”

“Right. Didn’t remember anything about the Umbrella Club until I pulled it out of my purse and took a look. Angles aren’t right in the black and white photograph. Can’t figure out where it is taken on the body.”

“It’s not a body.”

“Yeah, I know that now. But just the studying, the trying to figure it out, changed me. I can never go back now. I remain under the Umbrella. Figuratively, of course, because here we’re out in the sun still. Where is our umbrella anyway?”

“Stashed away for a rainy day,” he said.

She turned on her side. “And… I don’t think I desire to wear purple any more. That must go along with (the change). Or when I do it’s *my* choice. She shaked her index finger to reinforce her point. Shelley she was through and through, she thought.

But Lemont knew the situation could change. Good now for them. But George/The Musician was still out there somewhere.

And Roberts remained just around the corner.

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