“Okay, we have a touching scene here where Craighead Phillips discovers he can’t get back through the now sealed portal to West Virginia and has to face up to his responsibilities in *this* life. Anna, you’ll be sitting on the couch over here, just letting him run through his thoughts, letting him try to justify leaving in the first place and, of course, still fuming because of it. Annnnnnd ACTION!”
“Okay, before we begin, actually, let’s have Craighead wearing his other hair, the Option 02 doo which indicates he’s done with the portal. David get the other hair and place it on Phillip’s head. And then we need to zoom in on the couch and the sign behind it and then slowly pan out, yes. Let’s raise Craighead up a tiny bit off the couch so we can see the hands. There.”
David finishes switching out the hair.
“Craighead Phillips you’re just the *worst*. What do you have to say for yourself?”
“See it’s great,” Eraserhead Man said afterwards about the beginning, “because you don’t know if it’s Your Mama or Tracy Austin talking at first. We’ll modulate the voice in post-production to make sure the ambiguity is there.”
The stage is set for Toothpick and Elberta’s “Beech vacation”, a test run. Mr. Z and Mrs. M won’t like it but the wedding has been slightly postponed. Trouble is, Toothpick (and Elberta) aren’t even sure now, when checking, that Munday is actually a day: seems to be a mash-up of real days Sunday and Monday, borrowing letters from each. If so, that would mean there are actually 7 Happy Days already instead of 6, which throws everything off, and also explains, it seems, why olive colored alien Carrcassonnee can’t become fully alive at the Temple of TILE. Because the non-olive eye is the 7th (prim), Tin and Gold both. Self. POLK. “I need my voice!” she says inside. 6 + 1.
“Budweiser casserole’s ready, dear.” Toothpick didn’t budge. He wasn’t even sure which was which. He was both on the couch and announcing that dinner is served. He had on coveralls but he also didn’t. This wasn’t working. 7 had been reduced to 6 and the 1 was missing. And that 1 was him. Zeroed out. Time for Newtonia Cashcow, aka Tracy Austin, to step in, 88s accompanying her as usual.
I, as the Man About Time, decide to meet her at Axis’ coffee shop in the heart of the city as we’d done before but find it closed. Newtonia then invites him, me, over to her apt. for coffee. He watches tv while she changes upstairs into something more comfortable — “less period,” she puts it — but I know this doesn’t involve romantic advances because we’re related. Brother and sister as well?
Hmm. He’s (I’ve) seen this video before. But where? Fuzziness consumes again. I decide to get rid of the I. He’s been asleep for an indefinite time when she arrives back downstairs, offers him some hot Sumatra. “Rats!” she exclaims. Forgot the sugar. She goes upstairs again. She’s trying to be funny. It’s working! After putting lumps in my java she calls me Willard and asks how my gang is doing and if we’re still working on all those map things. I jump back in the picture and say, “yes,” because she just alluded to them. She asks about the mouth of hell and the cave between two synchs and the hole in the cave and why it leads to the center of the Earth where gravity becomes comedy. We talk about a lot of things and I know what she says because we sort of speak a common language. I realize, at the heart of things, she’s just as much in on this communication as Toothpick/Filbert. I needed to talk to the female half for a while, for a post or two or close enough. Grahams. I ask about the Grahams and she produces two, one cracker each. She puts on some Crosby, Adler, Fraud and Young. Spoken book, each taking turns explaining their theories of psychoanalysis with the first and last also involving music. “That is one river of words,” she says when they finished, wiping off the extra sugar from her lap in preparation for the next act. “Like the Mississippi and Amazon. 12 tiles each.” She moves atop her chair and starts to scratch herself like a Monkee for all to observe. I decided to put an end to it for tonight. More soon.
“If you get stuck at any one point, you can always go back to the Old Country to regroup,” the Man About Time softly spoke over to Newtonia Kashkow, who could barely hear what he says across the circle. Is this another time distortion? she thought. No, it’s just *him*. So mellow and meek for someone so important. Must be the effects of the travel.
“Collagesity,” he spoke more, “should become a focus again.”
Newtonia Kashkow took this in. “I know you are the same as Marcus Fox Smartville and so we are related.”
“True,” Man About Time admitted after a small pause.
“And you are *not* a sucker.”
“Only in the mind of the beholder. On this turf (Our Second Lyfe): no.” He sat confident in his tannish/goldeny brown, throne-like chair. This was his moment. He steps in to become the knight in tan armor. Or was that aroma. The smell of something hot. And unpleasant. No, that was just an anagram. He sits back up from a naturally slumping position, mind focused again away from the morass. That particular sometimes light brown substance will not play a role in this.
Oh, if she could only see what he felt. But the War between Mind and Senses wouldn’t allow it.
A strange occurrence is happening in Port Mansfield, blocking Batty Casey from joining us tonight at the Mansfield Mansion.
We’ll have to go back to Mars instead, disguised as Marz this time.
Someone lives inside the purple Marz house with the hand, probably Katy Kidd again.
Because this is another mother abode, pheh.
“My two proteges together once more, 88 and, 88. Together we make a cross. Peter’s. We can control him again.” Then she cackles. Uncontrollably.
For the child, Great Mother of Vampires asked a high price. “Let me have the lives of the remaining werewolves in town. Let my vampire brood feast on their flesh and blood.” Rebl looked over at Ben Wolf, who nodded, a look of surprising calm in his eyes. “We agree,” the cat-being lawyer answered back. Ben turned to the Great Mother and studied her ancient figure. He knew this was the only way to save his Irish Lass. What was her name again, darnit? Oh yes: Phyllis — the only way to save Phyllis. The pack would kill her otherwise. Unless it was the pack being killed. No other way.
“Then I turn over the child to the Cat-Witch here.” Great Mother eyed Cat-Witch loathingly again. So young! she thinks while imagining her own skin turning to dust. “We will not speak of the matter further.” She got up wobblingly, grabbed her cane, and hobbled out of the room down the hall to the secret elevator that would whisk her back to her parlor. Ben returned to his bar to prepare for the slaughter he knew was coming. He’d made his peace with The Lord. In fact, The Lord (me) told him to do all these things, to allow the vampires to take complete control now. “Fate”, I called down to him. “Bena must shift into a new era, with no Wolves or wolves allowed. That means *you*.” He had seen the light on this particular Corsica summit — Moork I think it was again. He descended back into town to tell Rebl to go through with the prearranged deal.
What of this child, though, this Katy Kidd? All we know now is that she will live to see another day in another section.
“They’re ready for you Ms. Rebl.” Hidi then noticed that the cat-person lawyer was using her hands for a brush and her attache case as a pallet. “What, pray tell, are you painting, ms.?”
“Like any good lawyer, I’m painting a scene,” came the logical answer.
Case still in hand, she follows Hidi down the Hall of Fear to the Chamber of Utter Unspeakable Horrors.
Despite the name, there was actually a happy, feel-good vibe to it tonight. Things in this section of the photo-novel were being wrapped up in a relatively honest and decent way.
“Great Mother,” spoke Rebl solemnly while bowing at The Threshold (they called it). “I am honored.”
She didn’t even want to look over at her, this Mother of Vampires. Time hadn’t been as kind to her. Cat-Witch, on the other hand: PHEH! She could still claw her eyes out right on this spot and get the last laugh. But she was admittedly curious about the story. Martha Lamb and the Cat-Witch as sisters (!). How could she not have known about this all those years back? There must be deception involved here. She’ll wrangle it out and then expose it to the child. The kid will be under *my* powers. For all eternity, even beyond death. Because she had worked out that *little* detail as well, ha (!).
Cat-Witch winked at Katy Kidd while the Mother of Vampires kept looking away and fuming. Because this was Billy Jean Kidd again, dressed up temporarily in a new body. She was dead, yes. Casey One Hole swiped at her with his metallic club and knocked her head clean off into the next sim of Danshire, where it washed up on the shore of that tiny central island we’ve seen several times already. Then One Hole built a shrine around it, which lasted until several days ago when neighborhood watch fanatic Red Pepper spotted the shack and had the thing deleted. The head is dead.
Trouble is, it was also Katy Kidd’s head and that’s what dead Billy Jean told her first off about it. She saw it from a distance, while hovering above. Like an angel, she explained. “We are the same,” and then they merged into one from opposite sides of that walkway where they met, just for a moment. Just long enough to *know*.
Billy Jean changed. They walked inside. Cat-Witch sat downstairs to wait. Katy helped Mother hobble from her bedroom, down the stairs, to the parlor. She couldn’t look. How does she stay so *young*??
(to be continued)
Kate McCoy tries to find the unicorn where she saw it in the bushes.
A sudden call from the house in that scary, shrill voice, so familiar. “Katy! Katy Kidd! Come help your mother get out of bed and take her shower!”
Guy has a dream where he is calling the fox through music.
“Put down that silly instrument that you can’t play properly anyway. We’re related!”
Newtonia Kashkow inserts herself back in the picture (MOO). She’s ready to give the password.
Guy Benjamin wakes up. “Shite! So close.”
Axis again worships Lu Ellen Hutchison (or Hutchinson) before entering his NWES coffee shop. Who is now his wife, at least last time he checked (Wednesday).
He enters the coffee shop proper…
… only to see two avatars sitting at his favorite table instead of the one he expected. The conversation already taking place was briefly interrupted.
“There he is,” whispered Man About Time to Tracy Austin. “Behind the column. It’s as if he doesn’t think we can *see*.”
They talked about many things that night, the two of them and then all three together when Axis finally came out of “hiding”. One by one (by one), they began to understand all revolved around Peter — after all, the only Variant at The Table who was never a Variant. Peter and “Lamb”. They vowed, 3 hands clasped together at the center of *this* table (standing, remorseful Axis from the side), that Grandpapa didn’t die in Vain. Because, of course, we already know he died in Kowloon. His “Lamb” will live on.
“I am pleased,” I can hear him say from that Great Elderly Center in the Sky, lost cane back in hand again.