Marion Harding thinks his world might be breaking down. He had been on Gaeta V going on 2 years now. Sent here by trickery and mistake; eventually caught in a tangled web of power and intrigue woven in Capitol City.
He didn’t like the continent’s largest and most central berg very much, although it had elements he admired. Of course there was the money, the flow being strongest here. But heiress Becky Latrobe wouldn’t even let him into her posh house now that he’d shot Dirk in the head and made him dead. And Madam Wanda Stinoble was going straight and returning to the old continents. For Gaeta V was news at the time of its birth eastward of Corsica. News and dangerous. And those darker elements naturally aggregated and congealed at the depression originally called Pittsboro. Pittsboro evolved to Pittington evolved to Darksity evolved to Capitol City. Over time the sinister aspects were smoothed away like the reformed, flat terrain. Gaeta V would have no natural sinkhole that kind history could remember. The Great Black Swamp which sucked up aboriginal settlers such as Ned Bartlett and Kindsey McTweed into an untimely doom was tiled and drained, and a shopping mall now graces its ironed over land, selling the newest threads and peddling fresh leather attache cases soon to be filled to the breach with lindens and gold and jewelry no doubt. Like his own, bought just a week and a half back. Because Marion liked to ensure that each case of treasure had its own home. He could probably himself build a small house with them even now, only 2 years in. Or, really, only 1 3/4 years in because it took him a little bit to find, then ingratiate himself into the sodded fabric of the city.
“Baker, have I ever told you the story of my nephew Marion and how I mistakenly sent him over to walk the length of the Gaeta V continent 2 years back instead of having him watch the GTA V video Spongeberg actually requested at the time?”
“No. Do tell Cardboard!”
“I haven’t heard from him since. Until yesterday. A short note indeed: ‘I think my world might be breaking down.'”
Pitch had always gotten chills when walking past this particular spot on his Grassy Avenue. Tonight he understood why. Two cardboard figures, Derek Jones and
Sikul Himakt Mykal Skall, awaited him at the location. Pitch temporarily lost his sight.
“Ahh, my eyes! I can’t see.”
And soon he couldn’t hear or speak either.
Jacob I. was now up on the second floor of House Greenup in Rubi. He had reached Greenup 11 in his examination. Himself.
Greenup 12, 13
“There’s no other choice in the matter, Broken Heart,” Jacob called from his chair. “We’re going to have to go to Stonethwaite and that is that.”
“I know,” replied his bone cat friend, positioned in front of the next two collages of the series here. “I’m already packed up (condensed). We’ll have to figure out a way to erase the two beds, though.”
“I’m on it.”
“I can’t see *anything*, Pitch thinks. “I can’t hear, can’t speak. My life is over.”
“We’ll get you fixed up,” Mary encourages in his head while continuing to stare at the giant fruit in front of her. “Apple, orange, yellow fruit, lime. There’s nothing to see, hear, speak about. Yet. We’ll get you fixed up.”
Shirtless in Comfrey
Grace Zebriskia gasped when seeing The Musician pass earlier this morning on his way over to Wheeler Wilson’s Japanese house.
“Good morning, Grace.”
“Good *morning*, Mr. Musician. How… how are you?”
“Fine Grace, fine. Never mind all this. I’m fine. Have a good day.”
“You too sir!”
Deep in meditative thought, Jimmy’s bunkmate Rey Wisa did not turn in his seat to look, but only echoed a vacant hello to The Musician’s passing hello. He knew what had happened.
He stops in front of Grace’s twin cousin Jowday and asks if Wheeler is up yet. “Yes sir,” she replied, markedly not as surprised with The Musician’s appearance as her virtual doppleganger. He briefly wonders why before moving on.
“Musician! What have you done to yourself?!”
“I got rid of the stigmata, Wheeler. Jimmy fixed me up. Said he did the same thing for his astronomer friend Philip back in Australia.”
“Can you *undo* it?” she asked with mouth still dropped.
He paused, disappointed in her reaction. Then: “I think not.”
“Well throw a shirt on all that at least, for Christ’s sake. The Millers are waiting for us in the gazebo.”
The Musician then rummaged through his inventory for a suitable breakfast shirt. Not too punk but not too tame. And, obviously, with long sleeves.
The Musician couldn’t help himself at breakfast. He had to show off his new cybernetic arms and torso to The Millers. Artist Harriet Miller was completely taken by the shirtless subject, and insisted he pose as a model for her newest work. Wheeler Wilson reluctantly tagged along to Harriet’s creative getaway tucked in the small woods, along with her husband Willard, an insurance salesman at Barnum and Bailey’s.
Wheeler was thinking: Willard looks *so* familiar.
On a window ledge of the cabin, Dirty, Frosty, and Bluebell wonder what they’re gandering at with the part machine Musician.
The Millers having returned to their primary lodgings, we catch up with Wheeler and The Musician partaking of after-breakfast treats at a nearby frozen pond. He was explaining more about the procedure.
“Same thing happened to Philip. No problems in 10 years. He just keeps his shirt on, like you’ve suggested to me about 10 times now… keeps the eyeglasses on so the vision will always remain slotted — no problem there again, really — and then keeps his mouth shut as much as possible. Because without the teeth, the deal is not sealed. The great 3-n-1.”
He forcefully smiles for Wheeler Wilson again. More metal. More jagged.
I’m going to kill Jimmy the next time I see him, she thinks.
Upon reaching the cave’s upper mouth — leaving The Musician behind in its bowels again while she scouts for additional, useful poses — Wheeler spies Willard and Harriet Miller dancing up a storm in a nearby gazebo.
Then something extraordinary happens. The couple instantly cease their gyrating, then Harriet appears to fall asleep on the spot. Like she’s “away”, as we say in Second Lyfe speak.
Another takes her place. Jimmy. The *bastard*, Wheeler thinks. He’s asleep too, for a moment, then springs awake.
“You can go now,” Wheeler can hear him say faintly from her position. He’s apparently speaking to Willard Miller, for just after this the husband of Harriet Miller vanishes — poofs out of existence.
“It’s time to come out of the closet, er cave,” he then calls in the direction of Wheeler. “It’s time for you guys to remember who you are. The upper 2/3rds of the infamous punk band Story Room, with me completing the trilogy.
Jimmy approaches the cave mouth, still quite red but now much taller. And also a woman.
The Musician was carefully cleaning his new cyborg body parts in the glimmering cave pool when Wheeler sprinted into the room. “No time for that, punk, we’ve been found out!”
But he didn’t immediately jump into action. “What are you on about *now*?” he asked while continuing to wash his left arm. In truth, he was still pissed at Wheeler for not appreciating Jimmy’s solution to the stigmata problem. True, it was kind of trading one set of stigmata for another. But at least he wouldn’t keep waking up in a blood soaked bed.
Speaking of which: “Pull out our beds!” the now stationary Wheeler called from the bank. “The ones sent by Jacob. Hurry!”
The Musician kept cool and switched cybernetic arms to bathe. “Jacob? I’m not sure… oh, right, the *collage*. The one with the two beds. Well… he said he’d give it to us but was still searching for the base image, the one with no beds. He warned us not to use the current one, just to study it. Is that the beds you’re talking about, Wheeler?”
“You know they are,” she huffed, folding her arms and impatiently stamping her left foot on the cave floor. “And its in *your* inventory. He gave it to you and not me for some reason.” She anxiously looked toward the room entrace from whence she came. “I think I hear footsteps. Jimmy.”
“Jimmy?” queried The Musician, now washing between his real fingers. “What’s he got to do with all this?”
“Again… *no time.* Pull out the picture. I *demand* it.”
“I’m not going to do that, Wheeler. Jacob said to wait.”
Wheeler huffed some more and looked again toward the cave passage leading to this room. “Oooh, *please* Musician. I’m *sorry* I didn’t like your new, metallic limbs and belly. I’m *sorry* I didn’t appreciate the teeth. New things take time,” She glanced again at the room entrance for emphasis. “Which we have *little of*.”
“Alright,” The Musician finally acquiesced, moving toward her through the shallow water. “Good thing all these new workings are titanium and not steel. We’d be here an additional 15 minutes with me drying!”
As soon as he reached the bank, Wheeler clasped his hand and started running again. While being dragged along to the end of their vacation, in effect, he looked through his inventory and found the collage.
“We’re here, Musician,” Wheeler said, catching her breath again at the doorway to the last room. The final cave room. “Now… *rezz the beds*.”
planes to see
“Oh, it’s you Halloween Jack. What do you want here? A truce? I told you we can’t do a truce. We are mortal enemies!”
“No, Santa God. I am not here for that today. A stranger is amongst us. At my castle gate and now yours. A Mr. Baker Bloch. Said he understood that he needs to get permission from *us* to pass to higher planes.
Santa God guffawed. “What higher planes, hmph? The blank one without ours and Melvin’s castles? The huge, empty cave? The, let’s see, the one with the several smaller, empty caves and, um, a couple of flying fish I believe? There’s nothing up there! What pray tell does he want with the lot of ’em?”
“He said he’s looking for the great 3-n-1.”
“Maybe he needs to look into his heart, mind, soul. The 3-n-1 is within us and that is that. You’ll know one day.”
Halloween Jack ignores what he considers a more degenerate piece of Santa God’s religious mumbo jumbo. Like rotted fruit. Already they were battling for his soul. “Shall I send him away, then?”
“No, that’s all right. Let’s hear out his story, crazy as it may be. First, let him wait in the Christmas Chamber.
“That’ll put him in a good mood and help balance out the warped environment he experienced over at your dark castle already. You probably let him wait in your batty Bat Room, didn’t you?”
“N-no,” Halloween Jack lied.
“That’s what I thought.”
’round the clock?
Santa God waited patiently for 10:15, when he would allow Baker Bloch to exit the Christmas Chamber. He wanted to be there in person to greet him and see his smiling face as he opened the door. Like a kid opening presents, except in reverse. Humph, he thought while staring across the castle’s open interior at the Christmas Mural — “Snowball” he lovingly calls it. What *does* he want here? The great 3-n-1 is within, as I’ve told Halloween Jack, the scoundrel. We should probably contact Melvin about this. Although rather an idiot, he’d help smooth over our differences. A quite square little fellow, but he has some allies on his sides and makes good points at times. We can meet at the Forest Retreat, a neutral spot. There we can achieve the low-down on this Mr. Baker Bloch’s motives. What’s *really* inside him and makes him tick.
Halloween Jack was the first to arrive, taking a larger seat as per usual. Santa God refused to sit beside him, and squeezed into one of the smaller chairs two down instead. “Where’s Melvin?” he asks the taller deity. “He said he’d bring him right over.” Santa God reconsidered. “But I guess he has to give him equal time in the Nasty Bodiour”.
“He doesn’t have to sleep with Lady Mary,” Halloween Jack clarifies about Melvin’s own castle room. “He just has to lay with her for 15 minutes.”
“Melvin’s a sickie, if you ask me. And why does he get the highest castle again? First one here?”
“Yes, like I was first to arrive at our meeting and I grabbed a higher chair. I knew you wouldn’t want to sit next to me, and 3 down or more is too far away. Hence you are forced into a lower chair. That’s us, then… the two ‘Lowies’. I don’t like to make the same mistake twice.”
“I’m still a little higher than you,” Santa God replies about the position of his own castle while readjusting himself in his chair.
“Not here, though. Not now.”
“Hrmph.” Santa God turns his innate loathing back to Melvin. “I guess he’ll start to bedeck the place with his Fourth of Juli stuff soon.”
“Not until I take down my Halloween decor,” offers Jack. “That’s how it works. We don’t have enough prims otherwise. And yours, lets see, is due to come down December 26th? hehe.”
“August,” says Santa God disgustedly. “September till August. That’s the deal.”
“And I get the trees instead of you,” Halloween Jack finishes.
Melvin arrives with the guest to their plane.
Marion Harding hated the multi-leveled Christmastown section of Capitol City, but there was a considerable amount of money to be made on this particular deal. Elf trafficking. And this was the time of the year for boom dot bust on it. He scouts out one of the main streets from a safe distance, watching some kind of grandma figure be gorged over and over by a reindeer gone rogue. He enjoyed *this*!
Bing Avenue it was called for reasons he didn’t understand. Anyway, that’s where the deal would hopefully go down, har.
He turns in his tracks. Snowing outside still. Better get busy and then head home before it’s over his guns again.
“Five green and two red.”
“Four green and three red,” he reluctantly countered. This would be his final offer.
“Ohh, ummm. Four and a 1/2 green, 2 and a 1/2…”
“You can’t split one of your elves in two,” Marion Harding gruffly pointed out. “Four and three. Take it or leave it.”
“Oh… *all right*.”
Santa God shakes Marion Harding’s hand, sealing the deal.
He leaves Capitol City to return to his Clemscott castle down 7 elves but up 10,000 lindens. Overall, a pretty decent haul and most likely worth the 3 kilometer long trip, he thinks.
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!
Falmouth Visit Floor 1
Jacob I. was talking to guitar strumming Tom Busker about Collagesity town history when he noticed that the entrance to Home Orange had, to his eyes anyway, turned a bright yellow instead. However in this photo it appears orange again. Strange, perhaps…
But his main goal tonight involved visiting the Falmouth gallery and looking at Stonethwaite related collages within. He’d finished examining the Greenup series in House Greenup over in Rubi. The experiment with bringing Wheeler and The Musician to England’s Lake District through its 13th collage had seemingly failed, doubled beds blocking the way (I *told* them to wait until I found the empty base photo, he steams again). Jacob I. was angling for another way in — he could *feel* the entrance or portal here without knowing the particulars yet.
“Story Room,” he mutters while pausing at Falmouth 11 within. Headless red and blue, with yellow topped instead by that of Charlie Brown’s. Chuck. In other words: Chroma, Improvio, and Earie. “EAR” between yellow legs indicating playing or composing (keyboards) by ear. And many third eye references in this collage, he thinks…
… including a hidden one on the forehead of Swiss psychologist Carl Jung, tucked between the legs of the red Story Room guy. Jacob I. will find an exposed version of this particular third eye image a little later on.
He thinks of the collages he’s just viewed: Falmouth 7-10. 11 represents a culmination of sorts so far. He feels the explosive collision of Volkswagen Beetle and approaching, low flying plane just behind in 10. But that is not the portal… nor this one.
Nor this one (Falmouth 13, set in Blue Mountain, his user’s real life home).
Nor this one (Falmouth 16, set in Mythopolis, where his user grew up as a kid before moving to Blue Mountain to attend college).
He moves this collage further away from the wall to keep the south side of Woody’s snow covered roof from penetrating it. He notes that the penetration obscured the tear drop shaped orange head of what he knew to be an Ancient One, here tromping through the woods away from alt Edwardston Resident with matching orange head (hair). Missing orange again, hmm…
And here’s that exposed Carl Jung and his third eye I mentioned before in Falmouth 18, along with another, similar 3rd eye related image from the Sgt. Pepper album cover — male bust statue — and also a Shirley Temple figurine and burning car from same. Can you spot all of ’em? The background images are of a golf course (top) and neighboring waterfall (bottom) in Sky Valley, Georgia, just for the record. Jacob. I. knows the latter represents the “discarded”, numerical aspect of TILE, summarized by the Pythagorean tetractys with number 1 at the top or head (yellow billiard ball here).
Jacob I. wonders about the relationship of images glimpsed between floors even, like the third eye manifested in a cemetery in Falmouth 03 on the basement floor. This is obviously Story Room again — red, yellow, blue.
He ponders the meaning of the county map in the middle of Falmouth, highlighting the namesake village of Jasper County, Illinois — a very nondescript, depopulated rural area, and a place which his user has never visited. However, Jacob I. has since found out that baker b. *did* know someone from that county, and they met online, as they say, by accident. Dean is his name. More on that later, perhaps.
Onward to floor 2…
Falmouth Visit Floor 2
“Ahh, Stonethwaite,” Jacob I. coos when encountering Falmouth 2o on floor 2. “Or quite close — the fabulous Greenup Gill valley just south.” A collage of two photos from that region here, with “The Shining’s” dart throwing Danny, a prostrate Mr. Bean, and others helping to glue them together.
Story Room again (Falmouth 22, a 4 part animation), joined in another peculiar way now.
Falmouth 23: Jacob I. feels more meaning here as well. A strolling Sherwood Anderson of “Winesburg, Ohio” fame in center, a posed 19th U.S. president Rutherford B. Hayes in upper right. Another county implied: Sandusky in Ohio, home to both. A direct descendant of President Hayes use to drive darts into his Mouse Island just north of it.
Jacob I. decides to manifest a Phillip Linden doll to help him ponder the meaning of Falmouth 23. “My user enters a portal behind or beside the grave of Annie, standing for animation.”
But the concept blew Phillip’s head up.
Famouth 24: There is a pattern here. Hayes again. Images from “The Shining” once more. Shark and Fitz from “12 Oz Mouse” — which he’s viewed now in its 3 hour movie format. Clock as well. 2:37 I suppose. Now 15 minutes beyond the 2:22 slice of time that Fitz was stuck in at his Cardboard City for the majority of the film. Like Phil of “Groundhog Day.” “1 Pink.”
And then Stonethwaite itself in Falmouth 26 (!). Stonethwaite End and Restaurant to be exact, the place where, let’s see, I suppose Chroma could have run this, Jacob ruminates. He’ll have to check…
More Stonethwaite in Falmouth 27 and 28 that follows…
… and more in Falmouth 29/30 to finish up floor 2. A type of diptych for this one, he thinks.
“My user”, he says aloud. “Staring at the transfigured end of that railroad tunnel in Devizes, England.” On the bridge. A place of accosting. Man shaped like small tank. Escape. But both roommate there and the roommate’s landlord now dead in the ensuing 4 1/2 years.
And to the left: Peanut once more from “12 Oz Mouse”. “Hmm,” Jacob I. utters again. “The Gaeta V continent is shaped like a peanut. I wonder what *that* might mean? What are the 2 Peanut images — darted, hatted regular and undarted, unhatted cubic versions — discussing here?”
Onward to floor 3…
Falmouth Visit Floor 3
Once more, Jacob I. peers between floors.
He notes the similarity of 12 sided figure in Falmouth 21 on floor 2 and the 3d geometric shape of Falmouth 31 in front of him.
He approaches Falmouth 31. The yellow ball Cartoon Paul McCartney (Paul McCartooney) shares with or offers skirt wearing Ms. Lady — yet another “12 Oz Mouse” character — is Earie again, the yellow member of Story Room. Like in the cemetery before with Danny watching on. Third eye ball. Eyeball. Yellow like the billiard ball of Falmouth 18. The one at the top of the 10 part tetractys triangle.
And then *this* whopper of a collage: Stonethwaite again (Falmouth 32/33). Jacob I. decides to basically leave this one alone for tonight. He doesn’t sense the needed portal within, although he can tell it provides some very important clues and tips of how to proceed afterwards.
The interior of Stonethwaite End and Restaurant (Falmouth 35; 2 part animation). We’re getting close! he realizes.
The final 2 collages of Falmouth’s floor 3 also contain some interesting imagery…
… but it’s Falmouth 36 immediately preceding them that draws his focus presently.
This is where we’ll enter, he understands. Already prepared. He’ll relay all of his findings here to Broken Heart Jackie in the morning.
Falmouth Visit, Top
Jacob I. understands that collages exhibited in Falmouth gallery’s top 3 floors don’t apply to the present situation, so he quickly moves through them to this perch on floor 6, offering a great view into the Rubi Woods.
Through his increased draw distance, he realizes he can *just* make out the large tree at his user’s friend Pearl Grey’s property in Rosieri, the sim southwest of Rubi. It reminds him that Baker Bloch needs to go over to her Wanderlust Art Gallery on the Sansara continent and change the texture out on his displayed collage there for the Jan./Feb. exhibit. The recently completed “SpicA” comes immediately to mind as a candidate. Here’s a link describing Pearl’s Nov./Dec. exhibit that’s wrapping up.
“Well, Wheeler. What’s next for you… us?”
“Call me Kidd here. Billy Jean Kidd. Chroma who is Jimmy has fused with Wheeler and The Musician. The great 3-n-1. Norris.”
“Norris?” the great vampire Pitch Darkly questions. He did not know this name. “Do you mean Morris?”
“I do not,” replies The Kidd firmly, sitting forward with hands on knees now. She stares toward him.
Pitch decides to enter mouseview to get a better look at her.
Such an interesting simulation. Simulacrum. He takes up the thread again. “So, who is this Norris, then?”
“You know. 3-n-1,” she states once more.
“Humm, Sandusky,” Pitch says, nodding. Nodding off, that is.
Then falling. He recalls a brief glimpse of a large, many windowed building.
Something was lost. Not just eyesight. Earsight; speechsight. He falls and falls, then lands, upright, in the midst of animals.
Solid water. He thinks: ark. But then intuitively realizes this is more simulation and there is a door out of what is actually a small globe. Like a door from Earth to Heaven. He thinks of “The Truman Show” and going beyond “The Wall”. True man.
He finds the door in a logical seam, and faces a different, greener water. Atoll style.
He makes his way to a distant shore via an inflatable mattress.
On the beach, he looks back at the globe with the animals within, but knows the animals cannot see him. He thinks to check the owner of the globe, the inflatable mattress, the water itself and the beach and the rocks. All belong to The Kidd again. He is in her realm, he realizes.
Pitch wakes up. A brief nap, but meaningful. Billy Jean Kidd is still staring at him, wide awake all the time.
“I have removed your cardboard eyes and given you back your sights, all 3 of ’em. All I do for this is to ask a small favor. Only one. Find Norris the Father. Look in Beaver City, Nebraska. Find him and tell him that the time has come to firewalk between Republicans and Democrats. He’ll understand. He’ll come here, then. I know you can pull this off. Else: darkness again. You have all the resources of this island at your disposal. And other entities will be dropping by to help.
“But…” he implores.
“Mary?” Billy Jean Kidd guesses correctly about what is foremost in his mind. “Yes. Her too.” Mary manifests beside The Kidd. Pitch Darkly wonders if she’s grown taller since they last met about a week back.
“One chance out between two words,” she chants.
“Worlds,” Billy Jean Kidd corrects. “You meant worlds there.” Mary turns toward her but doesn’t respond. Pitch blows out air in resignation before shutting his eyes and falling asleep again.