Ludendorff, North Yankton (Grand Theft Auto state based on Real Life US state North Dakota)
Beaver (formerly Beaver City), Oklahoma (Real Life US state)
“This looks like a MATCH to me, Philip! Giant BEAVER — holding a Ludendorff WELCOME sign and then a soon-to-be-tossed COW chip! We need to get him back to that shitty YANKTON prison… ASAP!”
Philip Strevor wakes up.
“I’ve got to stop eating all those chocolate chip cookies before hitting the hay.”
Philip paused in reading his red book to stare over at the child. “What’re you building, sugar?” He’d become more open in his affections for Heidi Hunt Ives recently; he’d been dreaming about her almost every night. She was fast transforming into his own flesh and blood offspring.
“A portal,” she said mysteriously, still not looking up. “You *do* like to get high… don’t you?”
“High?” Philip coughed. “Nah. That’s more Marion’s bag. Nickle bag, hehe.”
“But…,” she continued while making her sand castle, “… you *do* want to keep him calm and happy. Because he then calms you down. Remember how it was *before*? You were not the nice person that you are now.”
Philip considers again that Marion should have never told the kid about their backgrounds. But she insisted if she was to be part of the group, the *gang*. He remembered his own briefing about the girl. “Shapeshifter,” Marion reinforced. “Can turn old, middle aged, young. She’s even got a dog transmutation… poodle, she claims, although I haven’t seen it up close and in person. Then there’s another one she’s working on, Philip, and this will take the cake. Bug,” Marion says, making him laugh. And now that’s what he keeps calling her in these dreams. My little bug, etc.
Philip decides to walk over to the sand box and take a closer look. It seemed quite detailed from his perspective. She was just finishing up the northeast turret.
“Hana Lei is where it will take us,” she began again. “We thought she was dead but now it’s been found again.”
“What — or who is this Hana Lei?”
“Island,” she speaks, halting her work and looking up at Philip now. *Is* this his child? he wonders, staring into her green eyes.
“Pitch,” she then utters.
Pitch Darkly rouses himself. By his side, Mary was staring at him, wide awake already. “You had another dream didn’t you?”
They met in the highest tower of Raven Central.
“I’m glad to see you are adjusting well to Capitol City, Musician,” Lou spoke to begin the serious part of their discussion.
“Musician?” Philip replied, taken aback. “Believe me, I’m no musician. I’m tone deaf!”
“Nevertheless,” continued the pale, tall alien in her level manner, “you are. And it’s time to repay the favor we bestowed upon you.” She then explained how Philip’s metallic stigmata suddenly vanished about 2 weeks back.
“Oh,” he then said, understanding quite a lot more. “Transference, huh?”
“Yes. You were sucked in. It really wasn’t your fault. It is the fault of the designers of telescopes, microscopes, other artificial extensions of the naked eye. We, as a planet, were never suppose to see beyond Uranus.”
“It’s a tricky planet with the naked eye,” Philip replied, unable to resist astronomical trivia in the moment. “You have to know exactly where to look.”
“Right,” Lou said, steering the conversation back to the matter at hand. “About the repayment…”
“I’ll do it,” he quickly followed. “Whatever it is — outside of signing away my soul to The Devil — I’ll be glad to comply. I’m just so happy to be free of all that metal shite after, what, *10* years. 10 years ago that demon Jimmy operated on me, or what he *calls* an operation.” He paused, shook his head, then looked up again. “Transference… just like you said. Whatever you do, don’t confuse a physician with a physicist.”
Lou emits a small, lilting laugh here. “It’s not Jimmy’s fault either, though.” She sits further back in her wicker armchair. “Here’s the deal.”
Later that night, Philip returns to the home which Lou wants him to stay in after his “assignment” in Gaeta V has ended. But, good news, he can take Heidi and her shape shifting ways along for the ride.
“Are you coming to bed, baby?” actor/writer/inventor Tom Casey called from across the room.”
“I’m *thinking* about it.”
“Why don’t you think some more about it cuddled up in my big, muscular arms.”
Anorexia huffs and recrosses her arms and legs. “Are those your trophy girls?”
“The women beside you on the bed. Your harem or whatever. Is that what I’m to be added to?”
“Oh. *Those* girls. They mean nothing to me, sweets.”
“Why don’t you, I don’t know, put them *face down* on the nightstand, then? If we’re going to go through with this.”
“Listen, Annie, I paid top dollar for this rendezvous. I had to come all the way out to this adult sub-continent to get away from prying eyes. You don’t know the psychotic depths of my ex.”
“I think you are motivated by one thing and one thing only.
Have you ever heard the Poodle Lecture?”
“What?” Tom Casey repeated.
“It’s how Zappa explained WO-MAN controlled MAN. It’s why I left the fold. But now I’m summoned back. She thought back to removing her ruby slippers and rainbow halo at last.
“*I* asked for you.”
“No you didn’t. The Kidd asked for me. She said her daddy was in a heap of trouble and I had to do this to make things right. Had a thing for thin, she said. Something about supermodels.”
“Philip,” Tom Casey explained again to her, “is a simple accountant. Working in a simple stripper club. Nothing more.”
“You’re dreaming if you say that.”
The actor/writer/inventor sat up in the bed and looked her over from the span separating them. “18, you say?”
“Right.” She was wiggling her foot rapidly.
“Cause there’ve been rumors.”
“Rumors started by The Kidd. It makes me look innocent. I’m not, of course.”
“Then come over here. Let’s get started.”
The flames rose rapidly.
“I *know* this person, Biker Mann,” Cyberpaperdoll stated while zooming into a snapshot from the last Sunklands post. “This Anorexia or Annie. It’s Baker’s friend! From the old synching board. Raynbowladirubislyppers.”
“Interesting,” he replied nonchalantly while continuing to stare out the window toward Home Orange and the comings and goings of Jacob I. and Broken Heart. But Biker isn’t my name any longer, Roger Pine Ridge thought to himself. You don’t know who *I* am.
“She’s a lovely girl, isn’t she?”
“You’ve got a lot of nerve, Casey One Hole. Coming here. In fact… get out.”
“But you have information I want Furry Karl. I gave you until today. Yesterday, actually. Because it’s 2:01 in the morning now. Did you get the information I want Furry Karl? Not *need*… want.”
“All I know, *bud*, is that it was ’67 when the first reports of the tree arrived. Treestock. Robolution.”
“I don’t know what any of that means, Furry Karl. What I want is for you to spell it out plain and clear about how the walking tree came to these woods. Can you do that? Say, in the next 15 seconds?”
“I just told you what I know. Hey, put that down. I don’t know anything else. I swear!”
“Happy fucking winter to you too, Furry Karl.”
Philip Strevor couldn’t help himself. He had to read ahead in the red book to see what life would be like in the Bermingham part of Muff-Bermingham. With the kid.
Journal entry, 01/18/19:
Today was the first day my mother didn’t come calling.
Panicking, he quickly thumbed back to pages already experienced, carefully marking the ultra important division between past and future. He’d read enough of the latter today. No more peeking, he vowed!
“Well it’s a beautiful mausoleum they’ve built for Furry Karl, bless his soul.”
“Yes, Baker Blinker. Jacob I. and Broken Heart intuited the death in the near future and prepared.”
“So Karl was a member of the pirate’s guild. No wonder he was always looking over his shoulder!”
“And he never made peace with those woods, that tree.”
“And in the end, that kind of did him in,” she continued the thread. “He didn’t have enough information about them. Too scared to follow through with certain lines of investigation.”
“Like the existence of the two Lucky villages, the center of the second built on the circumference of the first.”
“Wop, wop, wop,” Baker Blinker illustrated with her chopping arm.
“Wop, wop, wop,” Baker Bloch echoed.
They both stood silent for a moment, taking in the atmosphere of the new interior. Baker Bloch then walked over to one of the other coffins inserted around the walls, a more modern looking one, like Karl’s.
“Terry over here, then, Baker Blinker,” he indicated. “Let’s hope this is the last death for an Audrey’s bartender in the foreseeable future.”
“Here’s to *that*,” Baker Blinker says while raising her strong German beer in the air and then taking a big gulp.
Wiping her mouth with her sleeve, she then makes a request.
“Sure,” Baker Bloch replies upon hearing it. “You might as well see how it fits.” She gives a thumbs up, changes, then enters.
“Marvelous, Baker Blinker. But the wall has turned yellow again.”
resting place 02
Hucka Doobie also stops by to pay her last respects to long time Collagesity barman Furry Karl. She even sheds a number of tears. But he looks more filled out now than I remember him, contemplates the bee person. Still hairy but not so much. She then remembers Baker Blinker turning into something similar about a year ago, when all the oldest town avatars got together just after the Billfork Table Meeting at the Blue Feather. In fact, this is the same person… figure! She also remembers Baker Bloch transforming into Old Mabel at the same get together. She listened open mouthed at subsequent proclamations. Baker Bloch is *many* avatars in one. Baker Blinker is a couple. Hucka Doobie is merely “herself,” as she’s presently constituted, and then also herself in obsolete, “classic” form, which is more pure bee slanted and which she only pulls out during special occasions, like Halloween year before last, pheh. The party where she almost got killed by Wheeler. Hucka Doobie *thinks* she’s forgiven the former town leader, but still remains unsure. Anyway, I’m wandering, she says to herself. Karl… must ask The Bakers about this.
“Baker Blinker,” Hucka Doobie calls softly. But Karl definitely seemed dead as a doorknob (curious expression).
Hucka Doobie then turns to leave, but notices the teleporter on the floor in front of Pirate Bluebird’s coffin — complete with a blue rose someone left on the lid. She wonders what’s on the second floor now of what was once called Home Orange, so heads upwards.
Open toilets on one side. “Okay,” she says. “Kinda disgust-ing.”
And then this on the opposite wall: “The tide is turning…” A sign of things to come.
She then sits just outside on the front porch of Starbuccaneers, staring over at the Boos gallery across the way and pondering what it all means.
She sits there for the longest time.
“What are you looking at, little man?” the approaching Tammy Whatammy exclaimed, on her way up Cannon Road to pick up some things left behind at her old log cabin rental.
“I did what you told me Casey One Hole. I befriended the bee person and got the scoop on Hunt. It has started.”
“You are my eyes, ears, throat in Collagesity now, Tammy Whatammy. Furry Karl was a much loved figure. Don’t let me down.”
“Now if you’ll excuse me,” he continues in his robotic, emotionless manner, “I must return to my dream of playing golf on the back nine of my course. I’m about to tee up on the 17th. I think an 8 iron will do it this round for yet another hole in one. I’m feeling more energetic all the time.”
He turns to his left. “Who is that starred man on the striped couch outside, Tammy? Did he come with you?”
Later, Hucka Doobie met with The Bakers, who admitted that Baker Blinker was really the Karl in the coffin at the newly placed Collagesity mausoleum. However, in the same breath they reinforced that Furry Karl was truly dead and in all likelihood wouldn’t be returning, just like fellow Audrey’s bartender Terry before him. Hucka Doobie found herself shedding a couple more tears with this news.
Baker Bloch then said he knew Hucka Doobie had a lot on her plate but since she was in town could she possibly do him a favor. Hucka Doobie instantly knew what this was: interpretation of the newest collage created by me, baker b., over a month back now. “SpicA”. So they went over to the upstairs gallery of the Bodega Market in SoSo Mall and took a look, recorder on.
“This is obviously something being erased, a blonde woman most likely. Probably Laura Palmer of Twin Peaks fame. The yellow mop head acts as the hair, reinforced by the yellow cleaning pad wiping the face into nonexistence.” Hucka Doobie moves closer to the work. “The ‘A’ — the yellow block with the letter ‘A’ on it — seems to be a weakness. Covering (or blocking) chaos. Let’s see, ‘A’ is the first letter of the alphabet…”
“And the last letter of the Virgo star Spica,” chips in Baker Bloch. “We should probably keep the title of the collage in mind.”
“Right you are. But the ‘A’ covers the part of the squeeze bottle here that squirts, this Spic And Span solution I assume, a product I’m familiar with from cleaning up so many pollinating parties over at Patty Peppermint’s.”
Baker laughs a bit. “Those parties again.”
“Oh, and then we have Jim Carey from the movie ‘The Mask’ jutting out from the left side of the cleaning pad. Clad in yellow. This is most definitely a mask. And I’ve kind of identified who it is covering. AND… this is definitely the start of Hunt.”
“The newest collage series, then.”
“Right. And more.”
“Hunt as in a mystery hunt?”
“Right. Burl Ives. ‘Heidi’. Mirroring tombstones. A green Oblong box passes between them filled with the letters of Oblong, none of which are green atall. You must follow the box.”
“Anything else about this?” Baker Bloch queries, wanting to extend the session.
“It’s a woman who wants to rub herself out of existence. Blonde. Laura Palmer most likely. That’s all I’m getting out of it.”
“And the background: Greenup valley.”
“Oh, yeah,” states Hucka Doobie. “We could talk about that. The two beds. The Musician and Wheeler in the Comfrey caves over at Gaeta V. I actually looked for those caves, Baker Bloch. Couldn’t find them.”
Baker smiles, then: “And that seems to be the end of their story in this novel, Hucka Doobie. The ‘Collagesity Winter 2017-2018’ book.”
“Is this novel *7*, already?” Baker nods his head. “Amazing. All that energy from all those years finally flowering. Seven flowers already, or working on the 7th.”
“Back to the beds, then. Did The Musician and Wheeler truly step into Greenup Gill valley? Will or even *have* Jacob I. and Broken Heart the bone cat followed them there?”
Hucka Doobie puts a round bee hand to head. “Unsure, Baker Bloch.” She turns to her left then. “That black shirt (from ‘SpicA’) even looks like Laura’s black outfit over at “Twisted” from the Bogota series just finished.” Baker Bloch then stares with her in that direction.
“But this is also the star Spica,” Baker Bloch starts again, “being obscured for some reason. Like moving from the northern to the southern hemisphere and loosing just enough light (magnitude) to make former investigations and leads improbable to impossible for follow up. Did that make sense?”
“Philip Strevor we’re talking about here. Who is The Musician transformed.”
“Yes. He had exactly the same metallic stigmata which vanished when The Musician acquired his own from the same operator: Jimmy, aka Chroma.” Hucka Doobie here turns to the right instead and the last collage of Bogota (“See Title 02”):
“Dale Cooper,” she continues, indicating the central figure in the collage to Baker Bloch. “Brought in by the FBI to solve the murder of Laura Palmer in Twin Peaks. Aiming a dart recklessly. Trying to save a young, pretty girl in (a top tier) situation of danger. Trying to be a knight in shining armor. But being blinded; unable to understand what’s really going on. Now notice, Baker Bloch: the *hair* of the woman to his left, closest to ‘SpicA’, is being emphasized (or illuminated) again… hairspray and such (cleaning solution?). We’ve already talked some about this before. Can you just drop a link here?”
“So… three hands from three different figures notice and admire the hair over there. Suitors, perhaps. Jacoby and such. Jacob I.” She pauses again. “BUT — this is important. Casey One Hole, our evil side of Dale Cooper or his evil or bad doppleganger…”
“He’s now in the same jail cell formerly occupied by Old Gregg, who has become, in this story, Gregg Oden, with two ‘g’s. Whatever happened to him? And whatever happened to his counterpart Greg Ogden, with the one ‘g’? And how about Alex and Albert, the red and the green again. There’s a girl, Baker Bloch. I’m seeing it (in my mind’s eye). In the sim of Spica. Something about two eggs. Stars… binary stars. Like eyes, but the eyes are eggs. Red and green. Spica. You must look in or to Spica.”
Sensing the session is over, Baker Bloch then thanked Hucka Doobie for her time and let her go back to her White Palace in the skies.
Maurey “Jiff” Monroe, the Gaston-Berry Police Station staff psychiatrist, wanted it plain and simple today. “Well, Tom Casey. Or, if you prefer it, Casey One Hole.”
“I do.” Casey was ever the method actor.
“Let’s talk about motives. Why would you kill a beloved Collagesity bartender with one deadly swipe of your metallic Wilson driver?”
“He had information he wasn’t providing for me. I hate… dislike people who don’t give me the information I want to complete my mission of…” He paused.
“Yes,” Jiff proclaimed, seeing an immediate weakness. “Tell me about this mission. Hopefully it at least serves free gravy to the poor.” He attempts a weak smile which, of course, wasn’t returned.
“I’m looking for someone.”
By now, George was back in his secret hiding place, listening in. His abbey as he called it. I had been stupid to walk the road today, he vilified himself.
planes and planets
It took a month, but Baker Bloch was finally granted access to the higher planes of Clemscott by holiday entities Santa God, Halloween Jack, and Melvin. The latter asked if he could tag along, feeling Baker’s mission to find the great 3-n-1 in the physical realm was not as futile and meaningless as the other two.
“I met my wife Suzanna54320 here,” Melvin declared, referring to the plane they were then exploring, one up from his holiday castle realm and with a base level at 750 meters above the Linden’s absolute zero (for the record, there are no negative elevations that I know of in Our Second Lyfe; no Death Valley type scenarios, in other words). “We had a stare down, as you term it. Neither of us could believe the other was present. No one came to this plane — still don’t. We received mutual sex gratification in the spider’s cave that very night. The proximate fish promised to pivot their heads, but I couldn’t help notice Wanda, the largest and highest, sneaking peeks during the action. I don’t believe it was a, how you call it, *pervy* thing, though, since fish don’t perceive our species in a sexual manner, and visa versa of course. I think she was just curious how it all worked with us mechanoids. You see…”
Baker Bloch politely stopped him here, not wanting to hear some of the rather uncomfortable details about robot sex again. He had already suffered through the, er, ins and outs of several other such “actions” up to this point concerning his wife and also other robot women he had met before and even after his marriage. Baker instead steered the conversation toward Fourth of Juli celebrations coming up in less than half a year. Melvin was already preparing. This bridged the time it took for them to reach this Spider Cave.
Wanda was still there, flying high and mighty. Melvin avoided eye contact…
… and instead conferred with non-flying (“ordinary”) fish Skippy and Mr. Howe in the pool below on the possible whereabouts of the great 3-n-1. “Inside,” they burbled brightly, if a little out of rhythm with each other. Baker Bloch could feel Wanda’s eyes staring heavily toward them. Weighty like a planet; no wonder Melvin noticed the peeking that night(!).
Music began, a strange, somewhat jazzy piano tune. Haltingly subdued. Coming from the cave.
“Melvin?” Baker Bloch called back over the now louder music upon reaching the impasse within. “Did you guys happen to use a bed while you were in here?”
“Another one, Mary. This time with the primary.”
Pitch sat up on the soft feather bed. He’d made it! But what would happen to Mary now?
No Musician or Wheeler to be seen at the, um, *exit*. But that really wasn’t surprising.
Time to see what’s here in this Comfrey sim!
The cavern passages were long and numerous. Pitch stopped to ask a gray woman directions, but she was just a statue.
A way out (!). But he dare not step into the sun for fear of waking up. He wasn’t quite ready for that.
He tried to orient himself by statues and other objects, such as that barrel in the background here.
Resting both brains and legs for a bit before continuing…
Then suddenly he was upon it: the source of the music from the former dream, although he didn’t realize this at first.
The birds perched on the keyboard urged him forward. “You are a musician like us!” they seemed to warble.
Now Pitch can’t play the piano worth a lick, but when he sat down on the stool and automatically thrust his hands forward, lo and behold he turned into a maestro. And fingering the same tune as heard before: the eerie, quasi-jazz piece with halting ebbs and flows. A composition by Rutherford “Booger” Hayes, he then realized. The first president of the United States that was never president of the United States.
After a couple of bars, he hunched up his legs and took it all in. He’d really and truly found the great 3-n-1 this time. Thank you Melvin. Thank you so much! He couldn’t wait to wake up and tell Mary.
And so he did.
Mary, pack your bags. I’m pretty sure I can see, speak, hear again up there.