He teleported in a little way into the woods. He approached the house and then spotted the rocking woman. Too late to retreat back or teleport away in case he had been seen in turn. He strolled out of the woods and onto the porch. He did not know the woman. She didn’t stop rocking to greet him.
“Is… Baker Blinker home miss?” he asked, peering down at her from near the door. He could not stand in front of her because he would sink through the floor — right on the sim line.
“No need to be so formal Karoz,” she spoke in a somewhat derisive tone. “We are kindred spirits of sorts.”
“Who are you?”
She finally looked up at him. “I’m Mulholland. Dr. Mulholland. Not to be confused with Mulholland Dr. because that would be the reverse.”
“I don’t understand. Is Baker home or not?”
She didn’t answer him directly. “You had your chance Karoz Blogger. You criticized her eyes, and then when she tried to get you both to change in tandem you held back. Look at you.” She scanned him top to bottom. “A moss being, the texture of standard Linden default grass. Do you really think that’s so attractive?”
“I am what I am,” Karoz defended himself. “My father was a moss being and my true mother was an alien, perhaps of a praying mantis variety. We cannot change who we are.”
“If Baker Blinker is not home I’ll take my leave.” He was getting angry and frustrated.
‘No. she’s here,” answered Dr. Mulholland, or the person claiming to be so. She called inside: “Baker?!” An old friend here to see you.” Karoz peered through the window on the porch offering a view of the couch inside, and a bit of the bedroom. “Baker?!”
They both waited. No one came to the door.
“Looks like she doesn’t want company right now. Maybe you should ring her up in a week or two. Maybe you can even be friends down the road. Or drive.”
He left without saying goodbye. Next stop was the Hole in the Wall bar just around the corner, where he could drown his sorrows, and where reborn Rhoda was still trying to remove her own blood stains from the counter.
In happier news for Karoz, his new school of learning keeps developing. He’s decided to call it Norum College, housed in the old Norum Gallery building formerly featuring the work of collagist Julie Sadler. Karoz wants to hang at least one of her collages in the college but hasn’t chosen which yet. The Norum Gallery sign has been retained for the school.
Applicants for the college are suppose to show up in person on the bottom floor, where Space Ghost and Cardboard Derek Jones help them sign up. Karoz is still preparing promotional pamplets, along with the application packet itself. But this is roughly how it will look when the room is finished.
The second floor is devoted to the vast subject of science, perhaps focusing on the experimental side, such as Tesla inventions and theories.
On the third floor so far, we find these 3 easels. It’s obvious that Karoz wanted to hold at least painting classes here but he was running out of prims after the splurge on science from the floor below. We’ll have to see how it balances out. Baker Bloch is hoping that the college will place more emphasis on art in the end. It is *Collage*sity, after all.
Baker may live on the top floor in serving as custodian for the school. As of this writing, he’s won out over Karl for the position. But what will become of Karl now?
The most ambitious project slated for the college has to be this rocket ship Karoz is designing in the tower section of the House of Truth. He plans to take it all the way to Second Life’s lone moon, and after that… well, better save some surprises for later(!).
After giving Baker Bloch a tour, they sit in Karoz’s apartment and look out on southern Minoa and Sikkima while sipping Absinthe from a bottle, a surprise gift from Old Kent (shark). Oh, but it comes with a sort of price tag: “Don’t change,” the accompanying note simply read. He doesn’t plan to; no worries there.
… Dr. Mulholland was searching for a way out, while a strangely transformed Cardboard Derek Jones looks on. “Where *is* that darn keyhole?” she asked while examining the large blue cube lodged in the ground beside Collagesity’s Middle Pool.
She disabled camera constraints. “Ah, there you are… in Blenhorn. Should’ve known.”
She spoke over top of the cube now. “Soon we’ll be gone from this place of dreams my sweet. So so soon.”
“Thank you for meeting with me Baker Blinker. Are you sure you don’t want a beer?”
“Yes, thanks, but I have one. It’s just hidden inside my leg right now. Silly animations.”
“Silly world!” Karoz said. He was right. It was just a flash in the pan virtual reality in the long run, she thought. Then why is their relationship turning out to be so difficult and twisty-turny? Maybe it was longer lasting that either one of them could imagine presently. World *and* relationship.
“Really love the school, Karoz,” she said. “Thanks for the tour. You’re doing a wonderful job.” She thought about asking when it would open but didn’t want to put any pressure on him.
“Thank you. And thanks for the generous donation. It seems you are doing quite well for yourself lately.” In his mind he reviewed his recent meeting with Dr. Mulholland. She could have something to do with this money. She must have.
“I’m doing okay,” Baker Blinker offered. She thought back to opening the shiny black purse the doctor carried in with her from the woods. All that dough: thousands and thousands of Linden dollars. $L5000 to be precise. “Karoz needs,” the note at the bottom of the purse plainly stated. Signed: Old Kent. And the doctor knew nothing about it. She didn’t know anything about anything. She claimed to have amnesia. Baker Blinker was starting to doubt it.
“But you know Baker Bloch is always willing to give us more lindens if we need it,” Karoz continued. “Within reason, of course. Can’t go off buying ocean liners or whole sims, mind you.”
This made Baker Blinker chuckle. But they were beating about the bushes again. Typical. “I suppose you want to know about her,” she ventured.
Fifteen minutes later, both had more information to chew on. They traded stories about recent gifts from Old Kent. “We went to the spot in the woods she said the tree fell down on her, knocking her unconscious.” explained Baker Blinker at one point. “It was right at coordinates 168, 168. At sunset.” She eyed Karoz knowingly. “Then it must be Unch who did it,” shot back Karoz. “Unch, yes.” Baker replied. But both of them were thinking something further, something more twisty-turny: Maybe this *is* Unch.
Karoz requested Baker Bloch clean up around Collagesity as much as possible to free prim space for his future projects, such as the flight to Second Life’s moon. Excitement to come! In doing so, Baker finds Furry Karl stashed away in the 7th Spire next to his former bar.
But he didn’t seem to be “alive” now, so Baker made a mental note and moved on. Newcomer Rhoda was still in charge of the bar as far as he could tell, his blood stains finally removed from the counter. “Hello Rhoda,” he said in greeting as he passed by the door. “Just making my nightly rounds”. No response.
Also mysterious was the spinning pocketbook Baker Blinker left behind on the table in The Grove. Why was it spinning? Was it trying to tell Baker Bloch something (and me through him)? Was it a direct communication between the 2 inworld Bakers, even? At any rate, Baker Bloch decided it would be unwise to return it to Baker Blinker at this moment. 4 more prims, however, to deal with.
Using distant vision, Baker peeks around the House of *True Lies* (formerly the House of Truth) where the rocket launcher now exists to see if everything is in order.
He adjusts some of the spacing between the pictures around the launcher, but all else seems okay. Nothing to delete there either.
Baker Bloch takes a look at the most westward structure in Collagesity and wonders if it will ever be “filled in”, given the town’s constant shortage of prims. He has a possible new name for it, then: Smithy’s House. This is where The Master entered Collagesity from unknown dimensions about a month back now. So much has happened in the meantime! A door opened.
His rounds done, he settles into his comfy chair in the attic of the Norum College and enjoys the play of shadows across Collagesity’s skyline caused by the rising sun. He misses the view into the forest, but that’s Baker Blinker’s place now.
“Mind you I’m still working on it, but I’d like to present it to the John Lockfrys as soon as possible. What do you think? Go ahead and get up and take a look if you wish. There’s an awful lot of detail involved.”
Karoz stands up and moves toward the picture.
“It’s a remarkable product already if I say so myself,” Carrcassonnee continued. “The 36 tiles of Carrcass-1 to the left, and then the 18 of Carrcass-2 and [Carrcass-]3 to the right. That brings us to late 2009, approaching Christmas. Little Robert Plant Variant has just purchased a $L5000 antique zeppelin at the Chieut Mall as a present to himself. Cpt. Beefheart is still searching for his blimp.”
“I don’t understand,” Karoz says. “This is a picture of a well dressed rooster with 3 squares around him. But rooster is spelled r-o-o-s-t-r-e. This must be something to do with “12 Oz Mouse” again.”
“There is no rooster, Karoz. There are only tiles. TILE.”
Suddenly a huge roar came from the direction of the House of True Lies. John Lockfry 01 had taken the opportunity to steal Karoz’s rocketship and head to the moon without him.
Carrcassonnee comes outside and stares with Karoz at the ascending spacecraft. “Fire, I suppose.”
It took Karoz
3 minutes 3 days to build another spacecraft. He improved the design; made the pressurized module safer.* He felt it fate that a relatively unimportant character like John Lockfry was sacrificed for a greater good. He will be assigned the status of a martyr — Karoz will make sure of that.
For the second attempted flight to the moon, a prim and proper one this time, Karoz recruited Baker Bloch to accompany him.
“The first multi-man journey,” proclaimed Karoz, standing in front of the rocket launcher across Central Stream from him. “But it will be tricky, as I’ve explained. I’ll sit in the rocketship first to launch it, and then when it is in the air you’ll have to quickly sit in the craft as well. Else you’ll miss the trip.”
“Yes, we’ve been over this many times. I’m prepared as much as I’ll ever be.” Baker Bloch hadn’t told Karoz that he had done all this before back in Rubi’s VWX Town. He didn’t want to confuse or distract his friend any more than necessary in these times of heightened emotions. Indeed it will take some concentration to pull this off. And John Lockfry wasn’t any more dead than anyone else in Collagesity, including Karoz and himself. But of course he hadn’t voiced this either.
“Do you have your draw distance set at 200 meters like I suggested to follow me further into the sky if needed.”
“Roger that, Karoz.”
“Okay, are we ready?” Karoz peers up at Baker Bloch.
“Do it,” states Baker Bloch levelly. He has no deep worries, but still is nervous. He wants to locate and sit in the ship as soon as possible after it clears the house.
Karoz stretches his arm toward the launcher, bringing the menu up. “Three, two, one… SIT!” Karoz disappears from Baker’s side. The rocket fires. Baker waits for the clearance of the ship.
The capsule flies upward much quicker than expected. It is already well over 100 meters in the air before Baker Bloch even spots it. Desperate, he tries to touch and sit, but it is too late. The ship is gone. “Darnit!” he says, truly frustrated.
Karoz is on his own. Baker Bloch realizes he’ll have to deal with Baker Blinker now, who won’t take the news well. She was depending on him to make sure Karoz was safe and out of harm’s way. But nothing could happen to his old friend. Could it?
* One of the most important changes Karoz made was reducing the 100-percent oxygen environment of the module, originally intended to lower the weight, with a mix containing about 34 percent oxygen, and making the spacecraft’s walls significantly thicker to handle the increased pressure.