“So, um, what brings you to the Town Diner Dr. Blood?”
“I’m waiting for Homer Smipson and Carrcassonnee so that we can go on another camping trip into the woods, Karl. We had so much fun the last time. You should join us.”
“Hey, I ain’t going anywhere near the middle of those woods still.” Karl looked down at his suddenly rounded and less furry hands again. “Hey, Dr. Blood,” he began again. “You like that book you’re reading?”
“Oh it’s just something I’m browsing through while I’m waiting. I don’t really understand it.”
“Dufus, that’s the one with *you* in it. I was sitting over there earlier reading it. Checked it out of the library to make sure it was the correct edition.”
Dr. Blood takes a closer look at the tome; turns it around to read the cover he’s neglected to do before. “Blood Curdling Tales of The Forest,” he says aloud. “Oh, I didn’t realize… but what’s this about a Peter SoSo?”
“Never mind that now, speaking of unobservant. Do you notice anything different about *me*?”
Dr. Blood peered over at Karl sitting at the table alone. “You look sad. Your heart is low.”
“Always talking about *feelings*, oooh,” came the response. “Just *look* at me for Pete’s sake.”
Dr. Blood examines Karl from top to bottom as far as he can see and makes a determination. “You may look… a little bit less hairy.” He didn’t add that Karl also looked like he’s put on some weight.
“Bingo! I’ve lost my frigg’n beautiful fur, Dr. Blood. And I’m, on top of that, hello, *three-dimensional*. I woke up like this this morning. I tried to ignore it while setting up the bar, but I kept knocking into things. Thought the hair might rez in and everything would be okay. But it’s midday now, and The Hole in the Wall is due to open in 5 minutes. I think I’ll just have to close for the day. I’m sick. I’ve rung up my flattie cousin Crash — you know, Down-on-the-Coast Crash — to see if it’s ever happened to him. But look at me!”
Inside his compassion Dr. Blood had additional insights. “I sense in my special way that you have done something that has come around the bend to surprise you from behind. I see — a secret portal, a secret window to the soul.”
This makes Karl think back to a particular event from yesterday involving not a spiritual window but a very physical one. Then Dr. Blood inexplicably starts doing something on the striped pole in front of him that brought back a lot more memories, Ancient in origin.
While Karl watched helpless, another one of those vortex thingies quickly formed in the center of the Town Diner and took Dr. Blood in, along with his strangely attached pole.
Homer Smipson appeared at the door just in time to witness the last foot disappear.
“Stand back, fat boy,” warned Karl across the whirlpool, “you may be next!”
“Who are *you* calling fat!” cried back Homer. But then he too got sucked in, quick as a wink.
“Hmm,” said Carl, standing in the vortex’s diminishing center now. “I wonder why it’s not affecting me?”
Then it was gone as Carrcassonnee came squeezing through the door. “I was afraid that was going to happen,” she lamented. “My two friends!”
Karl stood in front of her. “Sucks, doesn’t it?”
(joined in progress)
“Thank you for attending the impromptu meeting. As you can see, Karl, Baker Bloch is back. He’s applied for the custodial position at Karoz’s new school. Isn’t that exciting for him?”
Karl (eyeing Baker Bloch):
I suppose. No offense, Baker Bloch, but I’m more worried right now about my three-dimensional situation. And my new needs, Ancient in origin. Pole dancers… prostitutes… the like. I thought I was done with all that crud.
So did we, Karl. Yet Homer Smipson and Dr. Blood are both gone from the city. My city. My huge heart is heavy — heavier — because I not only lost a father but a friend. And on the other side, I not only lost a friend but a personal physician who knew my peculiar ins and outs. Both will be hard to replace. But a new stranger is on the horizon, about to turn the angle down Cannon Street. Can you guess?
Not too far off, Karl. But at the same time: very far off.
Baker Bloch (to Karl):
Is it uncomfortable in there for Baker Blinker? I’ve been experimenting with my own shape recently. I find it — unsettling.
Carr. (to Baker):
Karl does not understand what you mean by that.
I mean… never mind.
Baker Blinker was unable to attend the meeting today.
Jeez, wonder why? (Karl stares at him)
I will catch her up later when we meet with Karoz on board. Should be interesting.
So what happened [with the vortex in the Town Hall]?
Homer went back to his two-dimensional cartoon family, as he desired. Dr. Blood, in his ultra-generous nature, sacrificed himself to make sure this came about. But now we have Karl instead as a 3d character, and having basal needs again due to it. He does *not* want to return to his quote unquote cartoon family, his own breed of Ancients and now ours as well. He wishes to remain here. And this was a way to do it. Unfortunately he’ll have to quit the bar since he can’t fit behind the counter now. Another flattie will have to be hired to slot in there. Not Baker Bloch obviously. Any suggestions? I can’t let go of Lisa Smipson, even if she is a shadow of what I formerly was. Cardboard Derek Jones is a possibility.
No, I can’t go back, and that’s a shame. To the bar, I mean. No, I don’t want to return to those weirdo Aqua Teen action figures, or whatever they are. I was the only human or humanoid among them, you remember.
I do. But, also, you have strong elements of Rhoda the bartender from “12 Oz Mouse”, which I’m more familiar with. Hmmm, I suppose we could just manifest Rhoda as a flattie.
There. That’s solved. Now what do *I* do?
There’s an opening for the custodial position at Karoz’s new school. You could live in the back room, Baker Bloch’s old room back in Noru, actually. You could fill in his shoes… oh.
Yeah, “oh”. Which one of us gets the job?
And what’s with Karl’s queer mask?
Baker Bloch hung a picture in The Hole in the Wall in anticipation of the new bartender, only to find out later on he got the wrong Rhoda.
Here’s the actual Rhoda in question, pictured here on the first day at work. Old Kentucky Shark became his first customer, and promptly issued a stern warning to the new guy. Territories needed to be established right off; sharp boundaries drawn.
And the remembrance that all this had happened before.
There are many magical things about the Rubi Woods I’ve yet to write about in this blog, most of which were left out of Furry Karl’s gothic slanted, best selling book (“Blood Curdling Tells of the Forest”). Some of the more interesting ones pivot around the existence of a deciduous tree of different species than all others in the forest, never seen during daylight hours but which can be found on at least certain nights firmly rooted in the ground at coordinates 168, 168. It is known in these legends by a number of names, mostly commonly “The Unchoppable” or “Unchoppable”. Other appellations include “The Missing Piece”, “The 200th”, “The Walking Tree”, or simply “The Forest Tree” or “The Tree”. Variations of the tale have it hovering at the triple coordinate 168, 168, 168 during the day (in visible or invisible guise), and then descending to the ground directly below after sunset, often staying at that particular spot until sunrise the next day but also able to move about the forest at will if needed.
In truth, Unch, as the special tree prefers to be called, has been monitoring the progress of Collagesity from its 168, 168, 168 vantage point since the beginning. Seeing many different kinds of avatars now milling about the place, she decided it was time to reveal herself.
Just after midnight on February 4th, 2016, Unch walks out of the forest and down Cannon Street, heading toward the town deity’s gazebo for introductions.
As Carrcassonnee was sound asleep, Unch had to rustle its leaves quite a number of times to rouse her.