“Karl? Are you in there?”
“Oh, I got woes floaty man. Yes I do.”
“You gonna order anything today, Karl?” asks Rhoda impatiently, his little stick arms protruding from below his oval, blue-green body per usual. He is a true flattie or cutout in both Real Life and Second Life — rather unusual. “‘Cause I got a business to run,” he continues in his slightly nasal voice. “A new business. Old Kent is looking over us all the time from… heaven, yeah. You gotta order something. You can’t just freeload in here. Load’s not free.”
“Rhoda, I’ve already drunk three frigg’n beers and positioned them on the counter over there,” responds Karl in his typical gruff manner and nodding in the appropriate direction.
“N-no you didn’t. They were there.”
“No, I distinctly remember the golden goodness of 3 Krings beers sliding down my throat and into Tummyville. And I paid you.”
“Oh, okay,” Rhoda says matter of factly. Then: “That’ll be 3 dollars.”
“Nah, I ain’t doing that.” Karl waves him off, and then looks over at the picture on the wall to his right. “So what’s with you and that Old Kentucky or Old Kent or whatever — *shark* anyway? It’s like you’re his bitch or something.”
“He looks down on me and tells me things to do and to order,” came the reply. “Listen, there’s something I have to tell you Karl.” He leans in closer. “We’re[ all] dead.”
At this point Karl got the sudden urge to pull out a gun and point it directly at Rhoda’s head. Or his body which is the same as his head. He’s psychically tapping into the violence that regularly occurred at Rhoda’s former bar. It wouldn’t be the last time.
“I don’t understand. I don’t get that,” he said instead.
“Aren’t you going to point that gun at me?” Rhoda was truly perplexed.
“How did you know I wanted to point a gun at you? Is this some kind of strange time loop?”
Karl blinked, and then Rhoda was laying dead on the counter, riddled in gunshot wounds.
“Holy shit what just happened!?”
“So Mr. John Lockfry. Tell me about this island you are from?”
“Well, Jack my large blue friend, it’s the most beautiful place you’ll ever see or visit. Lush vegetation. Climate that’s always comfortable. Rain, but such that refreshes. And the most important thing of all: it’s alive.”
“Sounds like where I’m from, actually,” responds Jack in his lower register voice. “The moon Pandora orbiting a gas giant in the Alpha Centari system. Well, actually I was originally from Earth like you, and only inhabited this body as an avatar or distant soul. But then the central Tree of Souls allowed me to enter it permanently as almost all other Earthlings and their avatars left our moon.”
John examines his knife again. “Hmph. Taking it all in, it does sound like we have a lot in common. But what about this wheelchair?” He pointed toward it with his knife. “It’s parked here in front of us. We both feel… uncomfortable with it being there.”
“Very true.” replied Jack. “It is a joined past. I was wheelchair bound before permanently entering the strong Na’vi body you see before you. You were a wheelchair bound mortal before coming to your special island and having your own crippled body healed.”
John Lockfry had an insight. “Maybe, deep down, the island and the moon are the same.”
“That is correct, comrade,” said a well dressed man appearing at the door. “Allow me to introduce myself. I am John Lockfry Two and I am from the future.”
“John Lockfry too??” both exclaimed.
“So you see, Past Lockfry. This has to be the equivalent of Jacobi’s Cabin in Collagesity. It is protected by a magic circle, a disused railroad in this case…”
“… and a circle of ash in the past,” completed John Lockfry 01. He was starting to catch on.
“Then there’s the rocking chair powered on its own, without anyone we can perceive sitting there.”
“Yes. I cannot cross the magic circle, which tells you, if you’re perceptive, what I have become in the future. Can you guess?”
John Lockfry 01 didn’t know.
“You will see,” came the reply. “I will leave you on your own to examine the cabin, er, house. Meet me at Carrcassonnee’s at 0900 tomorrow morning. Don’t be late. Good luck.”
John Lockfry 02 disappears from John Lockfry 01’s side. John Lockfry 01 approaches the circular railroad. He’s left the magic circle, but can he return the same way?
In his case: yes.
“You watched a collage film by baker b. called “Blood Dr.” John Lockfry 01. What did you think of it?”
“Confusing,” he said. “Bizarre. I don’t understand any of it, really.”
“Well, you obviously remember Jacobi’s cabin within,” continued Carrcassonnee. “You crossed the ash line to enter, with Benji back then. How is Benji anyway?”
“I don’t know,” replied John Lockfry 01.
“I have a picture of Benji here, actually,” the great olive being then said. “Perhaps you will recognize it. Let me put it against that far wall, above Baker Blinker’s bed she sometimes uses while staying in my Collagesity. Oh, it appears she is still sleeping there… didn’t see her, ha ha.”
John Lockfry 01 pivots to view the picture above a still drowsing
Baker Blinker Karl. His curiosity piqued, he gets up. “Is it okay if I take a closer look?”
“Maybe we should rouse Baker Blinker first. Baker Blinker?” Carrcassonnee pauses. “Baker?” She paused again. “Well, I hate to wake her up from such a sound sleep, so go ahead and approach the picture. Just do it quietly.”
John Lockfry 01 gets up and moves toward the picture, stopping just in front of the bed. He stands there for a moment…
…and then returns to his seat in front of Carrcassonnee. He speaks to John Lockfry 02. “That’s the picture in the cabin. You remember, don’t you?”
“We don’t exactly have the same memories, Past Lockfry.” he responds. “I remember entering the cabin with a dog and seeing a picture of a human on the wall. It is backwards for me. I stand outside the magic circle now, looking in wistfully.”
“But that’s the dog Benji,” reinforces John Lockfry 01. “From the movie.”
“Yes, that’s how I entered the cabin. With Benji.” John Lockfry 02 stares at John Lockfry 01, wondering if he understands the ramifications of what he’s saying.
Carrsonnee attempts to explain. “John Lockfry 01, we’re in a collage film right now, as I speak. Collagesity is a perpetual collage. It doesn’t stop at the movie theater up in Collagesity Heights any longer. It is here with us. It is now. It is. But we better talk about Crabwoo. That’s in [Blood Dr.] as well. Let me put the image in your mind this time.
John Lockfry 01 lurches back. “Whoa… yeah, I remember that. What the heck?”
“Crabwoo,” Carrcassonnee repeats.
Baker Blinker wakes up. “That was a strange dream.”