At sunset on November 20th, 2017, Snowmanster once again exits the CB Dylan dresser that acts as a portal between dimensions. He finally had tracked down an exciting adventure for Duncan and George involving the escalating Jeogeot Gulf War, where Duncan would play a French Lieutenant and George would be his daughter Sarah.
But no one was there to meet him in the VHC City penthouse apartment except George the doll, propped up on the far couch.
So Snowmanster sat and visited with him for a while before taking his leave, saying he had to head over to Farmington South to offer Peter Pipersville and his son Edward the role instead and to tell Duncan and George that he was sorry he missed them.
He stares out the eastward facing window at the town’s giant hotel before reentering the portal.
It was an especially foggy day in the woods. Jacob I. wandered and studied trees.
“Unch at 168/168,” he says softly while continuing to roam. “Must remember.”
On the far side from Collagesity the fog cleared and Jacob I. came across a tiny writer’s colony. He sat down at a handy laptop and began typing out his thoughts. Good thing he’d brought the thumb drive with him.
I’ve been in Collagesity for over 3 weeks now. The locals are still treating me well despite knowing about the eye. I now have a small loft apartment above what’s called the Norum Gallery. Interesting collages within. They’re called Rose Hill and Oblong after two villages in Illinois. In fact, about all the collage series of Collagesity are named for small population centers in and around the Jasper County of that state with its Newton county seat. I haven’t quite figured out the reason why. The user of this land is from North Carolina, and has never even been to Illinois. Maybe I should take my hat off more here so I can see better, ha. But I don’t wish to freak out the locals any more than they already are. Carrcassonnee won’t be coming back.
I hope you are also doing well. As always, give my warmest regards to Lemon and the Berries.
Yours in love,
He inserts his thumb drive, downloads the file, and then ejects and sticks it back into his apron pocket. He hopes one day Sugar will receive the messages he scribes while here. Jacob stares toward the small cabin on the property. No one around.
He asks the owner of the land if he can join their writing group. We’ll see what happens, if anything, on that front.
never waking up
Jacob I. travels far in his investigations of mainland. Inevitably this takes him to VHC City.
“Muff-Bermingham,” he speaks while studying the public console inside the Quincy Dagger Educational Building there. “Erased, huh? But can a new phoenix rise from the ashes? And what about poor Lou and Morris? — displaced. Morris unable to wake up. Lou already permanently asleep.” He makes a note: at one point I will go rouse Morris if he’s still asleep after my top priority list is completed.
He walks one block west…
… and one block south to find the key shop, just as advertised. It’s on his top priority list to bring this structure to Collagesity. And that goes hand in hand with the most immediate top level item.
But before leaving VHC City he decides to join a raccoon in dumpster diving.
He finds a rolex diamond watch! Jacob I. heads back to Collagesity to unbox the present. Nice!
And now to that most immediate need. He sends a teleport invite to a special friend.
Broken Heart Jackie manifests, silently acknowledges Jacob I. with a nod, and peers around the lower floor of the Blue Feather through his red and blue lensed glasses. “Any grass here?” were her first words in Collagesity.
Jacob I. checked his watch. By 2:23am Standard Linden Time he was sitting with Broken Heart in the newly rezzed town key shop.
Baker Blinker ran across Jacob I. in front of Home Orange, the site of Furry Karl’s old bar. Jacob I. immediately thought it was fate. “Should we enter?” he asked Baker Blinker, who had just come down Centre Street after examining the Temple of TILE for more prim removal possibilities. “I want to show you something within.”
“The Portal,” Jacob I. said after they walked inside and stared at the back door in the opposite corner of the building from the same colored front.
“Yes I know.” Baker Blinker said matter of factly. She was somewhat more skeptical than Baker Bloch about the authenticity of Jacob and his I., er, eye. She was keen to spot any charlatan vibes coming from the Collagesity newcomer.
“If you go through it, you won’t be in the same village as before. This has happened previously. This is a power leakage we must stop before proceeding. We need to establish *something* here. A block.”
“Baker?” Baker Blinker joked. She smiled at Jacob.
“Maybe his father again,” the former lawnmower spoke, still serious. “Space Ghost. Can we summon him?”
“They just passed through the orange side of the building,” the observing Biker Mann croaked. “Must be a phantom (prim).”
“Obviously,” states Cyberpaperdoll to her rough-and-tumble boyfriend from the couch of their apartment. As per usual when she was thinking, paper airplanes whirled around and around her head.
“Aren’t you curious what they’re up to?”
She continued to stare straight ahead. “Nah. It’s the owner of the town. Baker Blinker. Just making the rounds.”
“And that weird-o Jacob. You’ve heard I suppose.”
“About the eye?” Cyberpaperdoll replied. “Yeah I’ve heard. You can actually see a bit of it poking below his straw hat. It’s not very well hidden… if you know where to look.”
“And they say he comes from a hidden village as well,” continued Biker, still clutching his pistol behind his back. “Maybe if we know where to look we can find that too.”
“That’s why we’re here,” returned Cyberpaperdoll in a level voice. “To find the boy and bring him home.”
“I want to show you something,” Cyberpaperdoll said to Biker Mann while they were eating downstairs later on. Friendly neighbor Tammy Whatammy joined them in a meal of broiled salmon, banana bread, and almond salad. The leftovers were later fed to her dog Poo.
Cyberpaperdoll retrieved the magnetic board with her new arrangement of flat alphabet blocks from underneath her chair and laid it in the center of the table. “If you extend the letters beyond the 5×5 on the right side, see, like the flow indicates, you get an 8×5, just like the forest grid over there.” She nods toward the south window facing the demon filled woods. “I’ve figured out the color arrangement too, as you can tell. It’s TILE again. Baker Blinker was in the Temple of TILE today, looking for things to eliminate to make room for more apartment prims.”
“She never came out,” grunted Biker Mann, woofing down a large chuck of salmon.
“Who?” asked his girlfriend. Tammy Whatammy peered around for her chihuahua. She wanted to sneak him a special piece of salmon while the other two were engrossed in their mystery project.
“The female Baker,” Biker clarified. “She never came out of the orange door. “Jacob I. did, but she never did. I think she went to the Other Side. At least for a spell.”
“Maybe that’s related,” Cyberpaperdoll opined with a pause, then returned her attention to the board. “But what is missing here, Biker? What’s the letter we don’t see here even with this extension?”
Biker looked the jumble of letters over but couldn’t tell. He wasn’t quite as bright as his girfriend. He operated as the heavy of the duo. “Dunno.” He speared another salmon piece with his fork and gobbled it up.
“The *I,*” she spoke. “Of all the letters, it’s the ‘I’ that’s missing.”
“Fantastic,” an unimpressed Biker grumbled while picking up his empty plate and heading for the stove again. “You still good over there Tammy?”
Tammy quickly gave the fish eye to Poo underneath the table and then raised her head. “Good,” she nodded while smiling agreeably.
Twelve at night; Biker Mann couldn’t sleep for a particular reason. Perhaps also the salmon they had for dinner wasn’t quite agreeing with him. While pacing back and forth upstairs he notices the Sunklands blog post on the media player of their apartment has changed. New title: “5×5 02”.
He puffs more rapidly on his Winston cigarette. “Well,” he huffs, “no need to wake Cyberpaperdoll for this one. Get her paper airplanes in a whirl again.”
He then recognizes a name on the map. Then, north of it, another. Then another and another. It was a county cornucopia.
Biker Mann suddenly has a different form. And a different name. Roger Pine Ridge, with an avatar complexity of 11111.
“This map is old,” are the first words he mutters in Our Second Lyfe.
Newly formed Roger Pine Ridge decides to sneak by snoozing Cyberpaperdoll on the lower floor and go visit friendly, understanding neighbor Tammy Whatammy in her cabin across just across Old Cannon Road to tell her the news. But Tammy was nowhere to be found within. The entire cabin had basically been cleaned out — no sign that she had ever been there.
Only one object remained: the town’s generic media player. And on it, the Sunklands post had changed once again.
Greg Ogden was trying to ignore all the commotion going on behind him in order to focus on his painting. The subject matter, as always it seemed: Treasure Hill, now about 200 meters north of his chosen perch. To its right, Middletown lay just beyond his draw distance from here. He liked it that way. Treasure Hill alone and without tag-along berg, just like in olden days. Pre Gulf War days, he thinks while listening to a new round of shots from in back. Then a fierce explosion rocked the land, totally ruining an attempted first brush stroke. Greg Ogden had decided to give up for the day when Rocky Raccoo reached his perch from the ravaged camp below, smoking gun in hand.
“Axis or Allies?” he called toward the harmless artist. “Choose or be shot anyway.”
“Lost your girl, eh?” Like any good bartender, Furry Karl was trying to empathize with a treasured customer.
“Yeah,” said Roger Pine Ridge. “Literally.” Roger wished he had a joint to smoke instead of a Marlboro. He stated this desire to Karl.
“We’re working on (the marijuana) license,” Karl encouraged. “Should know by the end of the month. Town council voted on it yesterday. One problem is the flow of grass coming into the village. Some say it should naturally be from Hana Lei. Countering this, some say Jeogeot and the Gulf region, despite the escalating war there. Depends on which way you twist the ring, see.”
“Ah… the ring. And where is our precious ring presently?” Roger Pine Ridge was itching to use it himself and investigate these supposedly grass laden lands.
Karl reaches under the counter and pulls out a magically generated log sheet only he and several others can read. “Let’s see, according to this Rocky Racco presently has the ring. That’s my boss now, apparently.” Karl pauses here to shake his head but doesn’t say anything that will put him in jeopardy. He collects himself while pretending to have something in his eye, then looks down again at the log. “And he’s, um, in Jeogeot.” Karl blows out air. “With The Kidd.”
Actor Tom Casey was enjoying an outdoor bath at his Middletown house when he got the call from The Kidd. She ask him to set her tower up per usual and she would come over as quick as possible and sit in the chair. She also had a surprise for him tonight. His acting abilities were finally to be employed! Oh, and The Kidd wanted him to ring up Karoz in Chilbo.
“I’m glad you ditched those ridiculous pants, Karoz.”
“What are we looking at tonight?” He wanted to get on with it so that he could return to his meal of asparagus tips and potted mincemeat with Baker Blinker in Chilbo. The call from Casey came mid bite.
“Settle down, settle down,” Billie Jean Kidd encouraged. “Get into the role again. Middletown role. You’re not in Chilbo any more.” Karoz received the message. Billie understood that his Chilbo existence was real and that this was merely a dream. But was she right? He stared at the changing picture.
“No, that’s just us,” Billie then said, also looking. “Give me a moment.” She began to browse through past posts. “You have to watch the appearance of those mirror worlds, where you stare into yourself staring into yourself staring into yourself and so on. That came up with 11111 recently. 5 is usually the limit, but enough!” She’d found the appropriate picture. She zoomed in.
“This is what Roger Pine Ridge was staring at, Karoz, in a recent post. Through it he knew he was new and that Waters was old. I have a feeling he’s going to be listening to a lotta old time radio downloads of comedians Lum and Abner during his stay in Collagesity. Better get himself a nice audio system, because those files are not the best quality. I should know. He needs to listen carefully.”
Karoz looked at Waters on the map, at New. His attention was then drawn to Ogden and also Gaston to their right. He recognized the names. He recognized the *map*.
“David Bowie as Jeffrie Phillips sits on the Twin Peaks inspired couch,” Billie Jean Kidd continued, knowing what Karoz knew. “Alive and well. He is only pausing. Whitestar.”
Karoz turned and stared at Billie Jean Kidd. “Who are you?”
“You know full well who I am, Karoz. Will we contest for the future of Collagesity once more? A *tennis* match this time instead of a wrestling match? Only you can save Collagesity at any rate. You and Baker Blinker.”
“I… we don’t plan to fully return,” replied Karoz, hands on hips.
“One more on the map and we can talk about that. We just move directly east, to the eastern side of the county. Recognize *this*? It plugs directly into the other 5×5 here as well as the Wizard’s Cube for emphasis, which is also a “W” in this spot. My spot. This is what we need to explore, Karoz. Obvious, isn’t it?”
Casey the Alien wakes up inside Middletown proper.
Alex and Albert
“Still no pot here,” complains a peering Chuck Cheese, out on bail for an hour from the Gaston-Berry Police Station. “Where *is* Alex?” She pauses. “Or was it Albert?”
Quickly checking the world map, she sees a green spot moving toward her own green spot. “Someone is coming. Could have been tracked. Bail time’s up anyway. Got to head back.”
“Good. You’re back on time this time I see. But what happened to your hair?” asks Maury “Jiff” Monroe, the police staff psychiatrist.
“I sometimes take it off at night. Bed time, right?”
“Wrong. Interrogation time.”
Chuck blows out air in exasperation, rolls her eyes, and flings herself down on the cell cot. “15 more minutes down-time? Pleeeasse?”
An acquiescing Jiff goes back to his cubicle waiting for 10:15, when the grilling will resume. First off, he needs to find out about this Alex or Albert. Each bail period, Chuck spills a little more of the beans. It’s almost as if she’s doing it on purpose. Is she? he asks himself.
“Why did he steal her color?” asks a studying Billy Jean Kidd over in Middletown.
Peter Ladd didn’t know whether to take Billy Jean Kidd totally serious or not about a winner-take-all tennis match for Collagesity, but he decided he better practice up anyway. He finds a passable court at TT-Sports. Unfortunately his chosen playing partner Uncle Babyface could even hit the ball back to him most of the time. Not a lot of practice accomplished this day.
Ooff! Another wiff by the uncle.
Alex and Albert 02
“Let me out of here,” he cried in his high, wispy voice. “I’m Gregg Oden! I drink… I drink Baileys from a shoe.”
“Not until you choose a side,” a gun toting Rocky persists. He didn’t have the heart to shoot Greg Ogden on the spot several days back so he just bought a small freebie jail to hold him in. Then *this* happened shortly afterwards — red to green again. Inexplicable.
Rocky stared west from whence he came. “What else might come through that cursed sand castle portal over on the volcano island?” he asked himself.
“You don’t understand little raccoon man. I haven’t painted a watercolor of myself or Baileys in a week. I’m dying for lack of art. Gregg Oden needs art to live,” he insisted.
“Shut up with your yammering,” Rocky voiced, tired of hearing the poor pitiful creature rant on and on about basically nothing. “I need to think. We’ve been on this perch long enough. There’s a war going on!”
“I know Alex,” Gregg Oden then said more mysteriously after a pause. “And Albert. They could help you with your little war. Could help one side or the other win. I hide them in a special place.” He looked down at his tutu, then back up. “I can help you out raccoon man… if you help me out.”
Just then, Rocky spots a ship passing in front of the Zebrasil-Ichelus island. He employs remote viewing, sees the flag, and decides to go after it.
Lucky for Rocky, because he was about to be manjinaed by Gregg Oden just like poor Terry and others before him.
Rocky found that when he tried to sit on the destroyer in order to plant the bombs and, er, destroy it, he seemed to *become* the ship. No deployment of explosives possible. Eventually the Japanese ship that Rocky has merged with passes another of the same nationality, and Rocky unsits and tries his luck with that one instead.
Same basic situation: he can’t sit on the ship because it keeps moving and he does not. Several times he tries, but keeps falling to the ocean floor behind it. He gives up, and wanders to the top of a nearby underwater hill, laying his long cooled gun beside him.
He looks around; scans in every direction. Nothing, he thinks. There is nothing here. No war, he realizes. No sides to choose from. It was all a dream. I’ve been living a dream ever since my webbed feet touched mainland and I entered that battle camp. Rocky looked at his gun, which he’d named while practicing target shooting in Olde Lapara Towne down in Grasslands last month, the last time he would do so in that location. “Time to go home, Terry,” he addressed it.
Rocky goes back to Middletown and sets monstrously green Gregg Oden free from his small prison. He immediately becomes red clad Greg Ogden again, planning out his next oil painting of Treasure Hill (*not* a watercolor). Rocky sees an army base nearby and decides to turn in his resignation. Since entering the war 4 days back, Rocky had risen to the rank of lieutenant, soon to be captain in several more hours. It was time to end the insanity before he climbed to the very top of the ranks and was in charge of the whole kit and caboodle. He didn’t want to be trapped in that!
“Wrong side,” he said while looking at the wall behind the central desk within. “Oh well, it’s all games and pretend anyway.” He then saw the name on the typewriter at the desk. He sat down and studied it to make sure his eyes weren’t deceiving him. The brand name: Raccoon.
Rocky found himself typing. And typing and typing. In a matter of hours, he had unfurled his whole story from Olde Lapara Towne, Collagesity, and Middletown. The stack of paper by his side kept growing higher, yet he went on. Future adventures. Collagesity and beyond. Mushroom house in the Adirondacks. Must keep going higher. Higher. To the top.
Two days later he was finally finished. He had risen to the rank of 5 star general, overseeing the whole Gulf engagement. He sent word to his lesser generals. Put down your arms. The insanity is over. There is no war any more. There never was.