Third time’s the charm, as they say. He was up and running considerably quicker this go, right on the heels of Tiny Tina. He would not let her beat him to the dark wall again and send him back to the grass free Joint Joint, awake and cold sober. Jacob I. was going to the other side tonight.
He made it!
But not without losing a valuable friend and ally in the process.
There he is, Tiny Tina thinks. The miserable sod. Time to get him out of here before it’s too late.
Tina approaches. “Mr. Oden,” she pronounces clearly upwards. “Mr. Gregg Oden.”
Gregg looks down, spots her. “I’m Gregg Oden. I drink…”
“Yes, yes,” Tina interrupts, hands still on hips. “Is that all you have to wear out of here?”
“I have some watercolors. Would you like to see?”
“Can you *wear* watercolors out of here?” Tiny Tina chirps acidly, making Gregg pause. She blows out a minuscule puff of air. “This will have to do, then. Get up. No time to lose.”
“I’m Gregg Oden?” he says while rising off the jail bed.
“That remains to be determined. But we have to get you out of here. If they found out what you *really* were there would be tests after tests. And we don’t want that.”
She sprints across the floor and back to the open door of the cell. Gregg takes steps to follow. “You’ll have to move faster than that, Mr. Oden,” she shouts upwards and forwards while waiting. “Burt’s on a coffee break. He always takes a coffee break at 3:45am sharp. He always returns at 4:00am sharp. So *move*.”
“Too late,” Tina whispers as loud as she could, peering down from over the top of the stairs. “We’ll have to kill him.”
Mr. Babyface arrives at his apartment entrance after a so so meal of perch at Perch. He had but a small word to his (headless?) garson about the blandness, so small that it passed unnoticed.
Speaking of which…
Jacob I. wakes up in an unfamiliar place. All-time great NBA power forward and recently retired Timmy Duncan looms dead ahead, a ball in front, a ball behind.
Jacob I. does not follow professional sports. He doesn’t know who this gentle giant is. He seems to speak. “Jacob, Jacob, down here.” Jacob I. ponders why a man so large has such a small, feminine voice. Tina recognizes this after he doesn’t look down. “Not Timmy, stoopid. *Me*.” Still no proper response from Jacob I. “Down *here*. It’s Tina.”
Jacob I. finally locates the source of the voice.
“Tina,” he calls down softly, knowing her ears are sensitive to what we would consider normal volume speaking. “It’s very good to see you old friend. But where are we?”
“Behind the wall. Jasper,” her tinny voice shouted up. “It’s the same as marijuana. I’m so small I fell through the cracks. Then I was able to bring you here as well.”
“Am I dreaming?” Jacob I. logically asks.
“Yes. We need to get you through the wall, and quickly. Before you wake up. We’ll have to make a run for it. Get up. Quickly. Follow me.” Tina turns and runs. “Get up quickly and follow me!” she calls back, halfway to the blackness already.
Jacob watches her as if just behind, then wakes up.
“I was left behind,” explains Jacob I. the next morning to an analyzing Broken Heart.
“Uh huh.” More buzzing/squeaking from the floor. “I see.”
“What’s she saying?” asked a slumping Broken Heart from the other couch. She was pretty stoned.
“Hold on a minute.” Tina speaks again in her minute, tinny voice, understandable only to Jacob I. in the room. Perhaps it is because he’s closer to her, however, or just actually paying attention. The lawnmower continues to interact with the tiny being. “Alright, I guess we can do that.” Tina replies. “No, we don’t have the equipment or manpower for that, Tina.” After a small pause, Tina squeaks and buzzes for about 30 seconds more. “You take care as well, friend.” She scoots rapidly across the floor and out the door.
“So… what’s she saying?” queries Broken Heart again while remaining in a slumping position. She didn’t even realize Tina had left the scene.
“Jeffrie Phillips, that’s what,” replied a frowning Jacob I. “Centre,” he added.
15 minutes earlier in Gaston’s Central Park, Pretty Man puts on the green ring. Everything changes.
“Over here, punk,” he calls to
Earie Chuck after the deed is done. “I made a small detour.”