“This Eclipse wine is pretty good, Hucka.”
“Yeah, you’re certainly woofing it down, Baker. Thanks for meeting with me tonight, even if in character — as the Orange King?”
“Still working on it. He’s from Saturnia. But we better start calling that (sim) simply Saturn. Like the place the guys who run this coffee shop are from apparently.”
“Could be a connection, even,” offers Hucka Doobie. “We must explore every angle and then discard mercilessly. Tough going ahead to finish (the novel).”
“Jupiter mentioned in the last (blog) post,” adds Baker/Orange King. “Jupiter and Saturn. Opposites.”
“Greater benefic and greater malefic,” furthers Hucka Doobie. “But back to Clare and Wheeler. She came back to VHC City to play that role. And now it’s snapped away from her?”
“The real Clare Nova seems nice enough. And her spots in Saturn and several other sims around the area are nature and beauty oriented. I think that swayed me into telling her I’m writing fiction about greater VHC City. Just tonight. Just a minute ago.”
“I suppose that’s a good idea.” Hucka Doobie tries to look out the 4th wall again but can’t quite find it.
Wheeler awoke to the smell of familiar dampness. She knew she was back immediately. Tears formed in her eyes. She never thought the Underground would look this good.
The Musician had returned to VHC City via the key shop several hours earlier. Pilot Woody Woodmanson was nowhere to be seen upon “landing”. He soon found his feet walking toward his old haunt, the Safe Plaza, and its Ear Bar. But his beloved Dr. Who pinball machine there seemed to be broken. Malefic Saturn already in action?
He found an old friend to chat with on the bar counter. “I wonder where Wheeler is, Percolator?”
Percolator told him. And about the potential loss of the Clare Nova role. And about the new Orange King of Saturn. The perpetually caffeine filled mutant clown was noted for being quite the gossip machine.
Realm of Orange?
While in the heart of VHC City, Baker decides to redraw his Sphere of Influence map accomplished earlier in the day with a new and hopefully better center in mind: Sister 64/128. 1/4 the way across the sim. 1/2 the way up.
When he subsequently displays the resulting texture in his new Saturn abode, Baker sees something. He revises the map again and adds a line.
Sissy and Prissy
The Rose Moondreams cottage and grounds in Tussock represented quite the idyllic setup. Tronesisia had been rewarded well down through the months and now years by Pitch Darkly and Buster Damm for her services. Enough to additionally buy the town gas station when the chance arose recently. Enough to purchase Bendy’s inherited mini coop from him and, only today, have it painted pink at a local body shop. Its arrival in the late afternoon had triggered the weight of guilt and longing again.
Everything was kosher according to the ‘Book of Blood,’ Pitch kept reinforcing to her. All was moral and above the law. Yet this particular killing hit home. Bendy was a robot, just like herself. Bonded to Fry through a rigged chess match, yes. Obviously stolen from his rightful masters. But was her situation *that* much different from his? Was *she* with her rightful masters? It mostly felt that way before, but now it kind of didn’t. Seeing Bendy fly off in that Collagesity rocketship changed her, she realized. Freedom. The ability to return home to a loving mother and father figure.
It was getting chilly on the porch. She went inside and sat in front of the fire. She studied the picture above the hearth. Idyllic parents. That’s what she needed.
A thought suddenly crossed her mind. She could hop in her newly hued auto and drive back to Collagesity in the lower part of Heterocera. It hardly took 2 hours before with Bendy, even dealing with the wonky Second Life physics. Tronesisia especially enjoyed driving across the wooden Telea-Rustic Bridge spanning the atoll sea. She thought she might have fell in love with Bendy on the bridge, even, when they stopped at that little Japanese cafe for lunch. She couldn’t quite recall the name of it. Something “Garage”. They briefly held hands; Tronesisia told him to call her Sissy — all her real friends do. Her given name was a mouthful at times, she admitted. But her parents had their reasons.
Her parents. Peter and Lily. Another Lily even, just like the name of Bendy’s adoptive mother. “Maybe it’s fate we get together,” she flirted at the cafe. But Bendy insisted he already had a gal on his Moon of The Moon. Priscilla… Prissy.
Tronesisia remained confused. She decided she had to find out how Bendy truly feels about her, now that he’s returned to his home and this Prissy. How much chance was she taking, really? Physically speaking, since she was a well built robot, there was only a very slim possibility that the flight would damage her, even if she went up into space and then just fell back to earth, target missed. Bendy told her that all you have to do is sit on the rocketship once you’ve touched and lauched it. But you have to be quick. As *soon* as you see it clear the house you must sit, else the ride is missed. “But that’s no problem with us robots, with our super sharp reflexes, eh?” he added. It was almost as if he knew she would follow him.
She paid him for the mini and reluctantly said goodbye, driving back to VHC City and her suddenly lonely cottage. The launch went according to plan, she assumed. One minute he was standing by her side in the small Collagesity green, then, after touching the rocketship and lauching it, he wasn’t. On his way back to The Moon of The Moon. She had learned much of his home in their short time together.
Tomorrow she would phone up Pitch and say she needed a couple of days off. No, a week. “Maybe longer,” she would tack on at the end, making him think about possibilities. Tronesisia didn’t want to lose her job, however. A week would probably be enough. She should get some rest.
out of joint
They’d made it to the Telea-Rustic Bridge and were sipping coffee at Garage La N in Hagen, the sim between namesakes Telea and Rustic containing the middle bulk of the span. This is the same cafe that, earlier in the month, Tronesisia and Bendy had (to her) fallen a bit in love with each other on their way to Collagesity and the rocketship he said would take him back to his real home in the skies. Pitch had insisted Mary/Chuckles accompany Tronesisia for what he called this “insane mission” to find Bendy on The Moon of The Moon and try to talk him into “being lovers or something.” It was a good move on his part; fate, we could call it. For Mary revealed something in that cafe which began to change Tronesisia’s mind about the trip. Let’s listen in.
“I’m pregnant, Tronesisia,” Mary proclaimed 2/3rds the way through her cup of Oil Change espresso.
“Please,” the shocked robot gasped, coffee dribbling out of her mouth. “Call me Sissy!”
About 15 minutes later, a fisherboy came in from the pier and washed his hands in a nearby sink while Tronesisia watched on. Facing forward again, she found that Mary had disappeared. The boy then took her place at the table.
“We need to get off this bridge,” he said, sitting on top of the chair like kids sometimes do. “Time’s not right here.” He looked toward the door. “Halfway between Collagesity and VHC City. Which one do you choose?”
“I can still make this role work out,” Wheeler said to herself while standing before the scrying mirror between representations of the sun and moon at the real Clare Nova’s Crystal Cottage in Hooktip. “I will summon forth a helper from the shadows dark.”
Pitch Darkly suddenly appeared in the yard outside the door, with friend.
“Damm,” she uttered.
“So tell me about this Bennington you are from,” requested Mary to Tronesisia on the porch of the robot lady’s Rose Moondreams Cottage. They had been back for about a day now. Mary wasn’t ready to return to the small house where she and Pitch Darkly lived now beside her favorite fishing hole. Pitch thought they’d be gone for another week. They were hiding out, in effect. Trying to unravel what that kid was doing on the bridge and his cryptic talk about mutable time. Wegee had at least told them his name was not Loki, the orange word printed on his t-shirt. That was a brand.
“Oh, nothing much to tell,” Tronesis answered. “Dangerous town. Moreso than Farmington where you are from, of course. How’s that place doing these days?”
“Same as yours. Nothing’s changed. Peaceful and calm.” Mary thinks back to another part of the wegee session from earlier in the day. “Have I ever told you the story of my real last name?”
“Ball, isn’t it?” Tronesisia had heard that from Pitch. “Some relation to Old Martha Ball, I recall.” She takes another swig of her craft beer. Mary does the same with her own. By the way, Mary was not pregnant any longer. She had entered the Realm of Orange again and his influencing sphere. More on that later.
“Yes. My full name is Mary Ball, but not *Chuckles*. Martha was my aunt. Martha Spit Ball. She owned a lot of the Epping Woods. And your killing shack you’re so familiar with now is actually the place I was born. My aunt took care of my mother during the pregnancy. Then we stayed on until I was 3 or 4. Farmington was much more dangerous back then.”
“Oh, I didn’t know that,” said Tronesisia, surprised at this new twist. And Bennington was peaceful during her own childhood, she thought. Something switched between the two. She swigs again.
“Anyway, I kept coming back and coming back for visits and eventually I just moved here as a teenager. My aunt got me a job as a singer slash dancer slash juggler over in the Blue Angel, which she helped manage. Seedier place in those days.”
“Ahh, love that club,” Tronesisia said. “I use to sing there too. Before your time, however.”
“I didn’t know *that*. We’ll have to compare singing voices sometime. But I was best at juggling, admittedly. That’s how the clowns found me.” Mary gets up from the rocking chair while downing the rest of her beer. “You want another brewsky or are you good?”
“Just bring a whole six pack out here and set it on the floor between us,” Tronesisia requested earnestly.
2 hours later…
“Perhaps the first thing I remember as a child was hearing that awful awful plane crash over at what’s now the Catsocks Crater — sometimes incorrectly called a sinkhole. No, *Sikkima* has a stinking sinkhole. That’s not a sinkhole. That’s just a plain, rotten hole. My mother, at the time see, told me it was the end of the world when it happened. To everyone’s horror, Osborne Well and his monster posse crawled out from the tail piece of the smoldering wreck basically untouched, since, in part, they were already dead, you know. And the fact that they were stored away in those insuladed coffins and crates. Insula-*ted*. Livelies or beaners in the front part, as the monsters were wont to call them — all dead. Plane No. 4. Broke in two. I saw the plane. Everyone in a 1000 meter radius of VHC City came to witness the thing. But it didn’t do its job. Didn’t crash into something.” Mary pointed north beyond Tronesisia with a wobbly hand here.
“But it *did* crash into something,” Tronesisia replied, her own head a bit unsteady as well. “That plain between Tussock and Catpla… Catalp… Catalpa. The plane plain. Fortunately unpopulated at the time. But in former times… prostitutes and jugglers. Elephants and gorillas. Circus, in short. You’d hear, ‘the circus is coming to town,’ and everyone would flock to the same plane… plain, but for a very different reason. Pleasure not plain. Pain!”
“Strange strange world it is, my friend Sissy. My *good* friend Sissy.” Mary takes the last beer from the carton on the floor between them and pops the cap. “Stakes on the big top had just been pulled up the week before, yeah.” She chugs. “But that’s not what I’m talking about, my friend. That’s not what I’m talking about.” She drew herself up from a slouching position while taking another drink. “Pitch Darkly was blamed in part, just because he was about the only monster living in VHC City at the time of the acci-dent. Him and Buster. Even though the vampires and monsters of the plane were victims or potential victims themselves. A line was drawn. You stay across the tracks over there and we good VHC City people will be over here, you see. Pitch was cast out. Buster was cast out, even though he secretly has his coffin still over in town in a hidden nook beneath the Blue Angel. The perv.”
“I know,” replies a hiccuping Tronesisia. “I use to sing there in the ’20s!” They both laugh.
“The clowns went underground after that. They thought they were the target because of the presence of the vampires, the monsters. But they weren’t the target. I should know. I lived amongst them for 3 long years. Three long long years.”
Wheeler Wilson, Buster Damm and Pitch Darkly never really got to the meat of their talk from the day before. The next evening Baker Bloch teleported into what should have been the Crystal Cottage to scout out the area further. The house was no longer there. A tower had taken its place. Was this the real Clare Nova’s doing? Was she reading the Sunklands blog? A quite likely scenario.
At the bottom, an altar.
A child’s fort.
Several varieties of mushrooms.
Baker realizes the proper entrance to the tower is on the other side from him. The structure is in ruins. He circles around, but before ascending the proffered spiral staircase, goes out to the cliff above the railroad to check out these little purple fellas.
He goes back to the tower and starts heading upwards.
Nothing at the top except a single golden cube devoid of name or content. Darkness had come quickly. Was the tower some kind of test?
If so, did I pass it just by creating this post?
“I don’t see the Castle Tower on here,” he says, peering intently. “*Nor* the Crystal Cottage.”
“No,” Tronesisia replies. “We’ll have to redraw the map soon.” She points.
“And there’s my own cottage. A bit inside the circle apparently. You can’t enter there. You will have to stay in the forest. Beginning just beyond the railroad. Just outside his influence. Realm of Orange. Do you understand?”
“We must leave this place now.”
“What do you think Buster? It’s the first image that comes up in a google search for ‘pitch darkly’ that isn’t a part of the Sunklands blog.”
“But… there’s nothing in it,” Buster logically replied.
“Oh, there’s a bit of blonde or red hair if you look closer. Right down there at the bottom.”
“So what does it mean?”
“Hmmmm… I’m sensing a general absence about the Pitch Darkly character. And of VHC City as a whole. I guess you heard that George won’t be joining us anytime soon.”
“Yeah, sorry about that Pitch,” Buster replied. “False pregnancy alarms are tough. I have 23 children — I think — scattered around not only VHC City but the whole of mainland. Been around, you know. 2 by what use to be called Blue Angels alone. Use to live underneath the hot spot, hehe.”
“Thank you Buster. We’ll keep trying, of course. I want to have a kid so bad.”
“Do you really?”
“You don’t do you?”
“Not at all, do you?”
“No. Not really at all.”
“Well there you go.”
Outside the Sphere of Influence or Realm of Orange (take your pick at this point), our boy George has discovered a small Christmas tree on the southern edge of the PCH Forest he now dwells within. “Presents!” he cries, and looks at the tags. The one with the green bow up front is from Lou. The larger present that has a red bow says it’s from Morris. And then perhaps the biggest one tied with a white ribbon is from Osborne. Osborne Wells. Which to open first??
Afterwards, Baker Bloch goes to the same spot in the woods and find something different: a seemingly dead witch glued to a tree she obviously ran into while driving around drunk on her broomstick. He now realizes whose head it is at the bottom of that empty picture.
Baker Bloch changed into Pitch Darkly and summoned Buster Damm to the scene. They couldn’t think of anywhere else to go, so they took her to a nearby church just on the other side of the woods. Tronesisia and Mary were supposedly still out of town. VHC City was not safe any longer. King Orange’s place was too close to the edge for comfort. No, it would have to be the church. The real Clare Nova’s church.
The next day, after a good night’s rest in a barrel bed located on the second floor, Wheeler felt a little better. “You called me Clare,” she said to Pitch Darkly, sitting in a nearby chair. Damm was out gathering firewood in the forest. “I distinctly remember your voice saying the name Clare in alarm. You thought I was dead.”
“Actually, at first I thought you were Mary. But, yeah, I did say Clare. I’m not sure why. I knew you were the person in the picture.”
“What picture?” asks Wheeler.
Pitch uncrossed his legs. “Never mind that right now; I’ll show you later. First you must get better. That was a nasty collision you had with that tree.”
“Hallo-ween tree,” she said.
“That’s right. Nowhere near Christmas. I don’t know why you were there. Do you remember your name now?” Pitch looked at her keenly.
“I’m Wheeler. My name is Wheeler. Wheeler Wilson.”
“That’s it,” says Pitch Darkly, encouraged.
“Or is it Wilson Wheeler?”
“Very sad,” Pitch said to Buster later after they’d shared a meal of fruit and vegetables downstairs. “It’s as if she’s stuck between regular and reverse times.”
“She must have made successful contact with the shadow being.” Buster looks around the room. “Sure are a lot of bear images around here, Pitch. And more in the woods — real ones. There’s a cave if you haven’t noticed. Bear cave. Thing shocked me when I went inside and turned to the right. But she’s a right fine fellow. Name’s Abigail. But she’s mad as hell at the real Clare Nova. She’s hunted her kind. For example, look to your right.”
“I know. I’ve seen it over there.”
“And your left.”
“Appears to be circus related,” guessed Pitch. “Clowns… bears. We’re moving closer to the truth.”
“Wheeler may not fully come out of it for a while,” said Buster, sighing.
“We may have to keep her here,” suggests Pitch. “Nowhere left to turn.”
“And danger all around.” Buster scans the room again.
Baker Bloch knew something he could do to perhaps help immediately. There was one too many of the same color within the sphere. He transformed into King Orange and teleported over to his house in Saturn. Greater Malefic, opposite Tronesisia’s positively charged Rose MoonDream cottage. Realm of Oranges which should be just Realm of Orange.
He takes one last gulp of wine through his forehead and begins the process. The King knew Orange Nova usually woke up about 7 and headed over to Muscle Madness to begin his daily 10 hour workout. It was 5 now. This was a window.
He goes outside. “Eclipse nightclub,” he thinks, staring in its direction. “Damn fine goblets of wine.” He then peers further, just around the corner. White house.
Orange — the *fake* Orange — would be sleeping upstairs in its only furnished room. *Barely* furnished. This should be simple.
Goblet raised, King Orange strikes.
And strikes again. And strikes again and again. And again.
Orange Nova turns from blue to white. At 7 sharp he walks out of his house toward Muscle Madness, chained to a routine even after death.
He can’t pick up weights. He can’t sit on the benches. He can’t do anything.
Morris shows up.
“I’m the last person anyone wants to see in their lives,” he admits. “But it has to be done. Come with me Orange Nova. You’re time has arrived.”
Morris changes into a wolf and leads him through the portal to the Great Beyond.
On the main Bermingham beach, Orange Nova ponders dying and being so stupid about the last days of his physical existence. A boy walks up and stares at the back of the ghost white man-shark sitting on the other side of a rock, listening to him ranting on. George again.
He eavesdrops for quite a while, attempting to piece together the bare-bones story of the newcomer. George understands that he had his own realm, his kingdom, and somehow lost it through treachery. The word “bludgeoned” came up several times, always with forced pronunciation. Surprise attack in the night. It rang a bell for the lad. Also: something about cherry trees.
The boy introduces himself by answering a question the creature had just asked himself. “The place is called Bermingham, mister. The greater half of Muff and Bermingham. Not to be confused with Mutt and Jeff. That’s just Muff again.” He walks up to Orange Nova and, without fear, sits down beside the huge creature.
“At least I can feel the ground over here. The sand. Water? Let me test it.” Orange rises up and wades into the sea before him, but runs into some kind of invisible barrier about 15 feet out. He tries and tries to walk through it.
“No use, mister. That’s the end of *this* realm. Realm of Bermingham.” The boy waits for a logical response but still gets none. He begins to understand that this man-shark might be a little slow as he watches him continue attempting to break through an impenetrable barrier. Not that he judges — just an observation. “You might as well stop,” he repeats. “You’ll never get past it. Come on up to the shore here with me. Talk to me. Tell me who you are and a little about yourself.” Yes, the kid was much wiser than the grown-up in this case. He was use to being a counselor for the confused.
“You say there’s no use in keeping trying?” Orange Nova repeats back.
“No,” says George patiently. The creature finally turns around and waddles back to shore.
They sit together in silence for a time. Then Orange Nova began. “I was killed. Treachery. I was owner of my own realm, or close to it. Orange. My name is Orange Nova. I am one of the Novas they use to call super. You probably have heard of me.”
“No,” lies George. He knows who this is now. “It could be that you’re just famous in your *own* realm, not here. It could be,” he continued slyly,” that no one will know you here atall. There’s a good chance.”
“That wouldn’t be good. I rule through power and respect. If no one knows me — if I’m a nobody — then I’m nothing. I have zilch.”
“Not true,” responds the child. “You have yourself and your own consciousness and that’s always present. You are yourself here.”
Orange Nova remained addled. “I am my own self here?” He had a bad habit of repeating back anything anyone said that didn’t make sense to him. Which was quite a lot.
“Yes. Look around.” George waves his arm. “Newcomer’s Beach, the Magenta Sea, Master Duncan Avocado’s place over there.” George indicates his friend’s house to their left.
“This is what you have now. This is all yours. This is all ours. We are the dead and the unborn. I prefer the latter, but I’ve been here a while. Not too long to get back now.” But he knew his words would mean little to Orange Nova.
Ignoring what the boy had just said, Orange proclaims he is hungry, and asks what there is to eat around this dump. George explains that there’s no need to eat here. “No eating, no defecation. The whole digestive system has been ripped out, hehe. You can breath underwater too. You can fly. You can pass through walls, if not the wall that separates this realm from others. You have more powers here than you did before, even if you don’t realize it now. Trust me, it will come. Perhaps sooner for some than others but it will come.”
George stared steadily at Orange Nova now and the expression on his face, his aura. He’d give this one about a thousand years before a return.
It was a most remarkable coincidence. Wheeler changes into a witch on Wednesday and is taken to a church on the western edge of the PCH forest to recuperate from a nasty accident with a Halloween tree, and the very next day a witch’s cottage appears on the far eastern side of this same woodland. George understood it to be his new temporary home, an upgrade from the Castle Tower. Duncan Avocado had explained to him that there was more than one Orange, and that the second who had assumed control by treachery was even worse than the first (Nova). The boy would have to stay in the holding forest a while longer. Was Mary even going to be his new mother? He’d already chosen a first name appropriate for the situation. There was the whole tentacled cluster of synchronicities surrounding the anticipated event. The Monster some called it. Others: Baby Monster. Whatever, it had many arms and it was large. It might even be tamed down into a dragon symbol in later times. Which could be earlier times. George was already a bit alive and dead at once. Wheeler Wilson moved forwards and backwards together. “Fo fo fo,” chants Malone from the Chasm Deep. Titusville.
She got the call around 9pm on Thursday. He offered to visit with Tronesisia at her cottage the following week to discuss his recent contact with Bendy. Work obligations prevented an earlier meeting. She couldn’t wait. The robot lady took the 2pm passenger line from Hooktip to Lapara, arriving an hour and a half later. They rendezvoused after Peter got off work at 6 in an interesting, narrow elevated park of the partially urban sim.
Peter SoSo told Tronesisia that he and his wife had moved to this location in May, ostensibly because of their jobs. To Tronesisia’s dismay, Peter said Bendy was *not* on the Moon of the Moon, but a place called Muff. However, the robot man had heard the news anyway: Prissy married Peter SoSo while he was away with Fisher! It makes sense species-wise, seeing that they’re both mer-people. But I don’t think surrogate parents Jack and Lily had planned it this way at first. They thought Prissy and Bendy were the ones, and that Peter was destined for a different mission. Patterns shift and change over time. Love is blind, etc., etc.
“He… was shocked,” offered Peter. The merman had gone far in advancing his language skills, but still spoke quite haltingly. “Now… trapped on Muff. He is not good. He is… not soso. So so. He is… in bad… way. He… mentioned *you*.”
Circumstances had suddenly swung a door wide open for Tronesisia and Bendy to be together, but there was a possibility she couldn’t find him. “Will the Collagesity rocketship still get me to him?” Peter didn’t answer immediately. “*Will* it??”
There was only one way to find out. She phones up Mary with all the news. She’s heading to Collagesity. The bridge and anything that happens along the way won’t stop her this time. Mary then phones up Pitch at the PCH Forest church, asks how Wheeler is holding up, then tells him about Tronesisia. Pitch confers with Buster about a plan. Buster will stay with the still ailing Wheeler. Pitch will turn back into Baker Bloch and find Karoz Blogger and Baker Blinker in Chilbo and bring them home. Codes and scripts must be checked and repurposed if needed. By all means, Tronesisia *cannot* become lost in space.
And then something else unexpected happened. Baker Blinker became a land owner once more. Collagesity North is reborn.
Collage 17 returns to Collagesity from Muff. Whole SoSo Gallery along with it. Red-green split fades and disappears.
Woody bids farewell to his “summer home” in Bermingham. *He’s* moving to Collagesity! But I don’t think our story as a whole is quite done with that realm.
George is still there, for one thing.
Maybe Bendy as well. Probably is.
Without Pitch/Baker in tow, Hucka Doobie says goodbye to the News and Views coffee shop across from the great hotel.
Yep, heading back to Collagesity too along with the others. He thinks of Pitch and what went wrong with this town. Or went right, now that the last of the vampires have been vanquished. After years of abuse Pitch has given up on VHC City. He use to be in the center. He became tired of living on the edge, without security, without a role to play. So he unconsciously attracted the end. More on that soon.
Buster Damm came back to VHC City from the PCH Forest to find that his coffin underneath the Blue Angel had been deleted. He was exiled just like Pitch. Dead ball era over, I suppose.
Mary: One last bit of “reeling them in” from her favorite fishing hole across the tracks from the city. Like Buster, she’s following Pitch outta here.
There’s too much at, er, stake, not to. Within the Realm of Orange or overall Sphere of Influence of VHC City, she remains sterile. Outside is another story.
Another nearby red-green dichotomy. The abode of hot, temperamental Angelina Dickenson, a police woman of sorts. We haven’t met her in our story yet, and maybe never will. But she’s the one who drove the nails in the last two vampire coffins of the area. Again — for better or worse. Siren always set to on. Continuously looking out for the town, especially the Sister side.
But what of the Bemberg part? Still reading Sunklands, landlady Summerhill Nova sits in her office contemplating what to do about Baker and his several rentals there.
Obviously, she thinks, since Baker is the same as Pitch he’ll be leaving too. But should he be forced out? Punished, in a way. Summerhill is hoping he’d just quickly exit of his own volition and she could wash her hands of the matter. Let it just fade away.
Baker himself stands before the blue door, thinking he should never have gone through it and made another dwelling place in Sister. Illegal, yes. Indefensible, correct. But, overall, temporary and harmless, like *everything else*. Like many of us after November’s big bump, Angelina was way under her land impact limit. Had the story been worth it? I think so. Else it would never have been told, I suppose.
And we’re not quite through yet. The Musician is still circling around Clown Central, trying to find a way out for both he and Wheeler. Trapped in a dream. Sikul Himakt. He suddenly realized what had to be done.
George manifests the planchette again and asks a question. “Will the east and west witches learn to coexist?”
Wheeler was feeling better if still tired. Seeing this, Buster Damm had excused himself, saying he’d heard of trouble in VHC City. Wheeler reinforced that she could certainly fend for herself.
“Attack from the west, eh?” she ruminated while sitting in a raven black Victorian chair at the real Clare Nova’s church. “Well, two can play that game.”
“Or was it the east?”
Sadly, Baker Bloch indicates to his landlord through the scripted box above the door that he won’t be keeping his basement rental apartment. He’s already done the same with his second VHC City rental at the top of Bemberg Towers. Pulling out completely from the town, he is. Dreams of owning a gallery there called “Something To CHRO About” scuttled. He’s going back to Collagesity with the rest.
He opens the door and crosses the line between sims Bemberg and Sister just outside. An avatar immediately shows up, a dapper male in a black suit with white hair. Kohakt Resident was the name.
“Hey ho Soho hobo,” he exclaims happily. Baker Bloch attempts to be friendly and says hello, then asks if he rents around here. Kohakt mysteriously says, “Well this isn’t awkward, it’s fabulous. I wouldn’t because I am stripped rent wise already.” Baker Bloch was confused. Did he mean “strapped? (rent wise)”? Probably. “But it’s okay,” he quickly added. “I love the area.”
Baker Bloch voiced his suspicion. “You aren’t the *landlord/landlady* are you?” thinking that this may be Summerhill Nova or one of her cohorts in disguise. Why else would they show up just after he indicated he was terminating his lease on the apartment.
“Hey noo, relax lol,” Kohakt said to counter this, though. “Search and enjoy, that’s my motto.” Baker said that he liked the way Kohakt talked. He reminded him of some beatnik poet from the ’60s.
“You heading underground?” he then asked.
“Well, yeah,” Kohakt declares.
“Nice. It’s vast.”
“Let’s do it.”
“You’ve been down I assume.”
“Of course,” Kohakt answered. “Please. After you my friend.” Apparently Kohakt wanted Baker Bloch to be his exploring buddy. Baker mulled this over for a second, then acquiesced.
“Have you been past the crocodile pool?”
“I think so. But it’s been a long time since, well you know.” Baker was thinking again, making Kohakt prompt, “Well go on, I’ll be right behind you.”
And that was about it until the blue door. Baker went down the stairs outside his basement apartment leading to the underground but Kohakt didn’t follow. He looked back and saw him flying around aimlessly above. Was he that clumsy of movement? Baker asked himself. “Down here,” Baker clarified, making eye contact with him again. But when Baker reached the bottom of the stairs and went to the left toward the double doors heading to the heart of the underground, Kohakt was still not behind him. Baker gave up, and im-ed him, saying he’d have to explore the place on his own and hoped he enjoyed the journey. Baker opens the white door and passes from Sister to Bemberg once more. He stares at the blue door leading back to Sister. His own fate door.
Wheeler bursts through the white door. “Can’t act, can’t act, hmmf,” she says with a broad smile. Baker stares at her. “Well, it’s getting cold down here. Lead on! Let’s find The Musician going ’round in circles and make this a wrap.”
Julia and Nancy
The heavily dreaming Musician was finally inside the great hotel, staring up at a painting of Bob Dylan by avatar Phil Strang. He wonders to himself why he doesn’t appreciate this particular musician more. Everyone intimately connected to the Chelsea seems to adore him. He greatly and heavily prefers The Beetles, though. John and George, but Paul and Ringo also. He’s looking for a particular place to sing “Julia” by John to wrap things up. But it won’t be here. “The Blue Angel is probably the better fit,” he says to himself. “John’s already there.” He ventures south out of the hotel, avoiding the Lil Magill room for now who everyone knows as Nancy. Misdirection.
Speaking of Dylan, on his way to the Blue Angel, The Musician passes a gallery rented by Angelina Dickenson, the very same “police woman” who just drove out the last of the vampires from town. The present exhibit involves an artistic reinterpretation of lyrics from Dylan’s song “Hard Rain”. The Musician would have to visit and absorb later. To the Blue Angel next door…
The Musician pretends there is an audience. All the women he has dated and loved are there. Helen, Audrey, Susie, Ethel and Pearl to the left. Bettie, Ginger, Ruth, Edna and May on the right. And missing Julia at the center of it all. “This one’s for you John.”
“We missed him,” Wheeler says to Baker Bloch, staring over at the bloody bed and hovering ghosts from her corner seat in the famed Chelsea room. “The Nancy story will have to wait.”