Having filled his backpack with more food and supplies from Rocky’s market, Paul was about to enter the underground again when he saw the enlarged hole to the right. No longer a circle but an ellipse.
Then a train ran over him but he was use to that.
Scott Walker (giant sloth) was no longer where he formerly was just beyond, causing havoc in Olde Lapara Towne. Had he moved elsewhere?
He better get back home to Malone Central before he loses his bearings in the labyrinthine streets and alleyways.
But he can’t resist summoning the green ickle from the depths first.
Such fun — but it didn’t knock him out of the red circle per usual.
Sim line. And to his right again: underground. The correct way home.
Mary warned of war. Lamb will not and cannot die with Ram, she said. She had traced the slaughter back to Inertia through The Grapevine. Her three poor possessed nephews were preparing to perform in Clownski’s this coming weekend. Punk, pure and raw. At least the sheriff (their brother) broke free of its deadening influence. Thud thud thud thud. Paul winces at the thought and enters the dark waters again. 10 seconds later he was run over by another train.
Teebestia tries to understand. She had followed Paul up to this sim line but didn’t cross when he changed from white to black. Then she didn’t follow him again across the same line when he entered Malone Central through Owls Head. She *is* scared. Something deep down keeps her from doing so. And now Hoss has had a vision! Omikron City… black lady, he said. Teebestia suspects David Bowie’s wife but then tries to remember if she had ever *been* this wife back there. Hmmm. “Something doesn’t add up,” she says aloud.
Teebestia huffs and turns toward Clownski’s. I can’t wait to hear those kids play this weekend, she thinks. My former paper boys!
cat and dogged
“Good tomato juice,” says the blue clad Improvio, swigging it down.
“Coffee’s nice as well,” speaks Inertia in turn. “We’ll have to keep this place in mind. They have food too.”
“Met some people, auntie, while I was waiting for you. A couple. One of them said they lived around here. The other said she might move here. Can’t remember their names.”
“Don’t talk to strangers,” the pale woman warned. “The band’s the thing. I see you have the ring on.”
He exposed it more. “Yes, I love it. Thank you so much. Now I have the Spirit of Punk at my disposal. There’ll be no stopping me.” He gulped. “Us, I mean.”
Inertia smiled. “You were always my favorite, Improvio. Ruthless and dogged like me; that’s why I decided to give the ring to you and not Chroma or Earie. You will lead us to the promised land. Have you spoken to Rocky Racco yet? You must sway him to our side. That is a primary goal.”
“Primary color goal,” he added playfully.
“Yes,” she said, looking him over. “Red and yellow might as well be dead and stashed away in that tall grass beneath the train ramp.” Inertia then scowled toward the shop window. Both knew the cat listening in on their conversation would also have to be killed and put within same.
Improvio’s siblings Chroma and Earie knew they were being betrayed, and summoned a Fire Ickle to aid them.
He promptly began working at Rocky’s bar after former bartender Bean went missing under mysterious circumstances.
Handsome devil, thinks Rocky. Olde Lapara Towne better lock up all their women for this one.
“What happened to the other pink elephant, Ziffie?”
“Howard? (Do) you mean Howard?”
“I don’t know his name,” the visiting Baker reinforced.
“Island,” Ziffie spoke. “Skies,” Ziffie clarifed. “Island in the Skies,” Ziffie amalgamated.
“So he’s left [delete name] town?”
“Not far,” Ziffie then said. “Island. Skies.”
“Yes, I gathered,” spoke Baker Bloch flatly. Where *is* Hucka Doobie? he thought to himself.
“So this is it, Hucka Doobie. Right where Ziffie said it would be.”
“And where did you meet these people? These elephants?”
“That town right over there. Baker Bloch pointed to his left. The town you were suppose to meet me in.”
“Sorry I lost the landmark. I’ve had a lot of things on my mind lately.”
“Pollinating party organizing is tough, I’ve heard. But only from you.”
“And I had other stuff to do.” Hucka Doobie didn’t clarify.
“Well, should we?”
“Not much to it, Baker Bloch.”
“A good view of the town, though,” Baker offered, peering over the south edge. “I suppose that’s why he chose the spot. Didn’t want to go too far up with it.”
“Should we go inside this cottage?”
“Call first… but I don’t have… wait, I remember the name now.”
“Spit it out.”
“Howard?” Baker called. “Howard??” he said again. No answer.
“That’s enough of a warning for me, along with a rap on the door. Three times then we’re in. My rule.”
“Alright,” Baker Bloch agreed.
“No knocking needed, Baker Bloch. Door just opened right up.” Hucka Doobie gazed at the blood red curtain just beyond. He turned to Baker. “I’m not afraid, are you?”
“No,” the half dead avatar lied.
They plunged ahead with sweaty palms.
“This is all there is?”
“It’s the Black Lodge, silly,” states Hucka Doobie, breathing a little easier. “Twin Peaks; Black Lodge.” I wonder where the midget is?”
“I believe dwarf or little person is the appropriate terminology, Hucka Doobie. And being about 3 feet tall yourself, you’re one to talk.”
“I know who did this. Must be Buster Damm. Or that Tonshi woman. Or both of them together. This is where *they* went. I feel (this truth) in me from head to feet.”
“Go ahead and try out a chair Hucka Doobie.”
“I have a better idea,” said the bee-person. “We’ll do it together.” They positioned themselves in front of 2 of the 3 chairs. “Alright, on 3. One, two…”
The scene shifted. They were outside on the sky island again.
“Not even a cottage up here,” spoke Hucka Doobie, not remembering the last 10 minutes in the least.
Earie, Rocky and Terry
Earie decided to teleport over to the sim named Ear for potential musical inspiration but found only an empty sim with nothing in it except Route 02 and some lining Linden trees and plants. But just to the north: another potential Heterocera Smallerville.
And yet another Bodega Supermarket and Deli within. Is this where the pink elephant went? he asks himself.
Nope, no red door in back like Terry said there would be.
Rocky heard a noise in back. He quickly picks up his gun and gets in ready position. “Alrighty come on out of there scoundrel.”
“Whoa, chill there Mr. R. It’s just me. Terry. The guy you hired to replace the comedian, getting off his shift. You didn’t drive him away by trying to shoot him too, did ya?”
Wiping his brow, Rocky points the gun down. “Oh Terry. I forgot you were behind there.” What a handsome demon, Rocky thinks again. Is Terry so pretty he’s turning him gay? He gets out of the way so the new bartender can pass.
“Well… see you tomorrow. About 3 o’kay?”
“We don’t really get any business until around 4, Terry. So come at 4.”
Terry pouts, and so cutely that Rocky yields.
“Alright you can show up at 3. We’ll play cards together if no one is here.”
“Swell Mr. R. I can use the extra dough. I mean, from stealing your money at cards.” He points to him and emits a cool, clicking sound with his mouth before departing eastward. The smitten raccoon watches with great interest.
Rocky begins to plan where he’ll set up the card table and how the seats will be arranged. “I hope that dreaded pink elephant doesn’t show up early again reeking of marijuana,” he then mutters.
A light bulb turns on above his head. Pot!
Jacob the Lawnmower was trimming and harvesting the grass around the highest sand dune with the castle when suddenly he was someplace else altogether.
Something big was sniffing his right ear.
And up the wooden stairs, an ickle, white in color and cubic in shape.
He derezzes the now useless mower and heads up to the tree, trying to gain perspective.
“You can stop clutching now,” the simple ickle suggests. “You are no longer a mower. You are no longer anything. Welcome to the Land of Infinite Possibilities. Did I say infinite — I always do that. *Finite* Possibilities. But very broad and rangy possibilities nonetheless.” He paused, studying the guest more, the dilated eyes, the psychedelic, swirly green t-shirt. “What is your name, man?”
“Jacob,” came the answer in a plain voice. He almost said Jacob the Lawnmower but caught himself. He also stopped clutching. “I desire nothing except the grass and the wind.” Jacob then remembered another thing he desired. “And paper.”
“Rolling paper?” the ickle guessed correctly. “We have caves stocked with paper just for that purpose. “But — and this is the clincher, Jacob, so pay attention — we have no *grass.*”
Jacob looked around, seeing plenty of grass, if not exactly the mowing variety.
“Yes, yes,” the ickle explained further. “We have grass but not grass grass. The weed variety. Our grass is not weed… Mary Jane.”
“I am sad I cannot get high,” a high pitched pink bunny-ickle added from a nearby landscape depression.
“Nor me,” ventured a deep throated cuckoo-ickle from the base of the tree further up. “Come here, man, and descend down this spirally green hole to help aid us. It’s a worm tunnel going all the way to Jupiter. Trust us, man. It’s groovy.”
Jacob studied the tunnel using remote viewing. Seemed harmless enough, so he walked past the square white bird, uttered a quick, “see you guys,” and went in.
A 100+ pound weight then fell on the depressed bunny-ickle, crushing her to suds.
He recognized the big, white lily pad just ahead. Jacob had circled back to where he began. Nothing here, then.
Wait, an opening right beside him he’d missed.
Jacob thought of the small island as a whole now. Melancholy was its name. The I. that could not get high.
A bad moon was rising over Vampire Island, telling Buster things he didn’t want to hear. He better head back to Lapara before it’s too late.
Oh no. Baker Bloch with Chroma and Earie!
It was too late?
Turning away from Lapara’s yellow grass and looking across the sim line toward Astarte’s new and colorful bouncy castle, he knew there was only one thing to do in this situation.
While playing again, Buster accidentally finds his answer with a clear view into Clownski’s upper floor.
Renaldo O’Donnell lives!
Clown at Clownski’s
“Performance artist??” exclaims Paul.
“And he says he’s been doing this a long time,” interjects Buster.
“Yes,” answers the famous clown. “And I can help *you*”… he pauses and turns toward Buster. “Er, what did you say their name was again?”
“The Lambs,” replies Buster.
“No,” states Mary firmly. “Just Lamb.”
“Well then, I can help *you* Just Lamb.”
Mary sighs. This little bloodsucker’s plan better work, she thinks.
“I have a confession to make Nancy.”
“What is it Danny my love?”
“I killed the giant sloth causing all that ruckus over in Lapara. I was *so* thirsty.”
“Did it do you good?” his anime girlfirend asked.
“Oh man. Still draining the carcass over in Yellow Grass.”
Nancy had to ask something else. “Did you (also) kill Renaldo O’Donnell?”
Danny looks straight in her eyes. “There have been 7 carcasses within that grass the past 2 weeks, all animals. Does that answer your question?”
“Vampire or not, I’m just so glad you’re back.” Mouths full of chocolate chip cookies still, they share a crumbly kiss across the table.
Nancy kept forgetting to tell him that her Owls Head ring went missing right after he reappeared in town.
“Next month??” Paul was incredulous. Peter SoSo and Tronesisia had paused their dart game to listen in. Mary Tyler began sobbing a bit.
“Yup,” states Terry the fire-ickle bartender. “The blue dude — Improvio I think — came in himself and booked the upstairs for October, same deal they have at Clownski’s. Levi wouldn’t give ’em any more than that at one time over there. But you can bet the bang on my belt there’s more deals to come. Mr. R. — Rocky — likes ’em, likes their music. Bang bang bang bang. More bang for the bucks, he said. Oops. I guess that’s a little insensitive.” But Terry was at least sensitive enough not to repeat the exact sentiment Rocky issued about their group, which was, “f-ck folk.”
“We… have nowhere to go,” Mary exclaimed. “We’ll have to leave Olde Lapara Towne! And I was really beginning to like it here. They’re forcing our hand.”
“Lamb must live,” agreed Peter SoSo. “There’s no killing it now, no going back to where we came from as Peter, Paul and Mary, separate and alone.” Tronesisia tried to nod in agreement but ended up just having a belly laugh. She excused herself by saying her gestures module needs rebooting.
“I think I might have an answer,” Terry said slyly. “Jacob… you know the groovy lawnmower…”
“Of course,” states Peter SoSo. “He’s what keeps us high as the sky.”
“Well… he found a portal right underneath this bar. It’s those sand dunes… sand castle. They lead to a cool and hip and far out place. Said it was called Melancholy Island. I tried it out myself. I think we — or you’s guys anyway — can help them with their problem.”
“What do you mean?” asks a sniffing Mary. Paul offered her his handkerchief.
“You have grass, right? Lots of it, thanks to those magical seeds you bought from New Lynne, Paul.” Mary blew her nose long and loud.
“Correct,” replies Paul, taking a fully loaded handerchief back from Mary.
“Well,” continues Terry, “turns out they *need* grass. They have the stubby version, the stuff that doesn’t really need to be mowed, but you people have the real deal, the weedy grass. The high version.”
Peter has a belly laugh with this as well. He quickly clears his throat and says, “catching,” while looking at Tronesisia. Paul couldn’t help sharing a small smile with Mary in the moment, each thinking that those two, forward looking robot and backward peering merman, were simply made for each other. Just like they were. Paul and Mary held hands.
“Alright, we’ll check it out,” Paul said. Everyone had forgotten about the secret weapon Buster set up, but were quickly reminded when Chef/Inspector Petty (not Pety — he’s different) burst into the bar through the red door and instantly began grilling.
“What all this about Renaldo O’Donnell springing back to life and then dying again??”
Here’s to Olde Lapara Towne!
During the writing of my “2017 Collagesity Middle” document, I’ve been closely monitoring the town’s facebook page…
… for current projects concocted by its owners Levi Clownski and his mate Shoshi (inworld names). While I haven’t been able to directly incorporate all that goes on in the large and quite active village into my almost completed (!) tale, I certainly appreciate the energy and creativity involved. Many villages you visit in Second Life are in a state of stasis in contrast, fixed in nature with little to no interest coming from the outside. Unfortunately for the last several months, my own Collagesity has fallen into that category. I must return soon and attempt to resusitate if possible.
I’ve already been through one change of seasons during my short stay in OLT, and eagerly await to see what Levi and Shoshi come up for the fall to winter conversion. But I probably won’t be renting there at the time, my attached fictional flow basically over. Not that I ever forget locations where I forge stories; they will always be part of my “orbit” now. And so it will be with OLT. Portals may open up in the coming months and years, allowing interaction between characters who still may reside there (in some dimension) and those that have come before and after. There’s a possibility that at least another whole section of a novel may be devoted to the town (probably not another book), like I did with Sansara’s Snowlands or, heck, my own Collagesity at the end of “Collagesity 2017 Early” (otherwise “set” in what I call VHC City and also Bliss Gardens Park).
One of the most interesting aspects of Olde Lapara Towne that has come up during my stay is Levi’s recent call for help in decorating the city’s hotel, named the Grand Lapara Hotel after its home sim. Just to note, about half the town lies in the sim of Astarte, with the other half, the older part, being in Lapara to its north, and from which it takes the name. The contrasting nature of these two sides, both real and imagined, plays an interesting role in my graphic novel. Back to the hotel: I gained a deeper respect for the structure when I learned that Levi had modeled it after a real New York City place once called Hotel Dixie, c. 1930’s era. His page on the subject here:
Anyway, a big thanks to Levi and Shoshi for putting up with what must be viewed as my strange middle-of-the-night posturings within their fine village. Many well wishes for its continued evolution in future times, and I’ll be back to keep an eye on what happens for certain — may even rent there again if the situation fits.
Keep on keeping on OLT!
sixes and sevens
Rocky Racco was in the middle of rehearing his piano solo in Story Room’s “Fire Ants” legacy single when Baker Bloch rezzed a chair beside him and broke the news.
“You’re leaving?” he uttered while still tinkering with the solo a bit. Baker answers affirmatively. “How many are you taking?”
“We can take *you* if you wish. But, otherwise, Wheeler Wilson I assume. Maybe Buster, maybe others. Unsure still.”
“And who is already in Collagesity?” queries the anthropomorphic raccoon.
“Well, Pitch Darkly is there, kind of a new alter-ego I suppose you could call it. He comes from VHC City. Also: Woody Woodmanson, formerly of Snowlands. Now see, this is a trick — *our* Mary use to be engaged to Pitch, and maybe still is. Somehow realities have split apart by us — me — being here. If Mary goes back to Collagesity with Wheeler and the others, say, she may not even remember her life with Paul here, both black and white versions of him.”
“You have more stories to tell (in this town),” countered Rocky. “How about my cousin Tealie from the underground?”
“Tealie can show up in another book, another place,” answered Baker Bloch, standing by his resolution.
“Just because your last two — graphic novels is it?” Baker Bloch nods here. “… these graphic novels of yours end in 6 sections doesn’t mean that the situation can’t change now. You can extend to 7. Think how much more story could be told in another 20 or so posts? My story, for instance. Who made me? Do you even know who made me? I was merely an ordinary raccoon at one time far in the past.”
“My guess would be Paul, if Paul resonates with Paul McCartney strongly enough.”
“Oh. Well, you knew that, then.”
“But you could be a nuclear mutation caused by that explosion which was winnowed down just to your mushroom house thanks to the quick actions of All Nancy’s.”
“Could be that too.” Rocky looks directly into Baker Bloch’s eyes. “Please stay. I don’t want you to go. I want to…”
“Live?” Baker offered. “Then come with me… us.”
Rocky abruptly slammed down the lid to the grand piano’s keyboard. Chef/Inspector Petty turned around from interviewing Mary and Paul in another part of the theatre room.
Rocky gets up and brushes by Baker on the way to the teleporter. They soon find him in Audrey’s below, drinking and talking with his new best bud Terry.
“They want to end me. They want to end *us*,” he says, trying to ignore their presence.
Story Room brought down the house last night at Rocky’s. Literally, because the MaGill home next door fell off the edge of town with the vibrations. Thump thump thump thump from 6 to 12. Everyone in Astarte loved it, though. Teebestia actually turned into a black woman for several minutes of “Fire Ants,” much to the surprise of accompanying Hoss. A minute after 12 he asked her out on a date. “Sure,” she said, doused in sweat and still wildly swaying to the music only in her head now. “Malone Central okay? They have a new Starbucks.” And so another couple was created in Olde Lapara Towne, adding to Nancy and Danny, Bettie and Buster, Tronesisia and Peter, Mary and Paul. Another happy ending. But what of Rocky? His piano eliminated from the stage due to lack of space, he sulked in the back. Even Terry had brought a date: Wanesa, the local butcher. He pondered his options while watching lead singer Improvio pretend-spitting into the crowd for the umpteenth time. Stay here in Olde Lapara Towne and go back to his crawlspace in the hotel, or head to Collagesity with Baker Bloch, Wheeler Wilson, and maybe a couple of others. Lamb had left the scene just before the concert began. Peter, Paul and Mary, each loaded down with as much weedy grass as their backpacks could hold, had used the sand dune/sand castle portal located directly beneath Rocky’s to transfer to Melancholy Island, with a change in disposition there surely to follow. They would never return to the town which had displaced pastoral folk music in their hearts with the sturm und drang of punk. Thanks to that cursed ring.
(to be continued)
Rocky was walking around town just after 2am the next night, pondering over the hard choice he had to make, when he came upon it to his right. The structure most like the one he was renting in town, suddenly filled. Musaks was the name. He remembered the establishment use to be beside Baker Bloch’s rental in Tenement Square. Within still were a number of orchestrions and gramaphones, all powered up and producing a kind of spooky cacaphony in toto. And then in back, a steam calliope; he didn’t remember that from before.
But what is the lilting tune he automatically finds himself playing to add to those already thick in the air. Checking the object’s description, he sees it’s something called “Girls Just Require Amusement” by a C. Lauper, who he doesn’t know. He stands up.
The Librarian had appeared out of nowhere at the lone desk of the room, reading a book as usual. Rocky decided just to stay calm and take the manifestation in stride.
“What are you reading — Librarian isn’t it?” The figure didn’t answer but just kept on studying the book in his hands. Rocky takes a look.
“Oh, it’s *my* book, hmmm. ‘Bible Truth.’ But I don’t remember a hardback edition being published yet. You must have one of the first copies.” Still nothing from The Librarian. “Is that the one where Nancy dies at the end?”
The Librarian closes the book and puts it on the desk while standing. He backs up a little bit and, hands together, begins to stare at the wall. Rocky gazes with him in silence.
A red door appears.
(to be continued)
The Librarian walks through the door without opening it. Rocky sees no choice except to follow suit…
… but on the other side the figure is nowhere to be seen. Rocky stands alone.
He peers around at the cobweb filled room with its two huge spiders (Boris and Doris Webb)…
… and understands where he is. The Magill House. The Magill Hill House, the Hill House. The House on the Hill. The point is, it still stands in this reality he now inhabits; hasn’t fallen off the edge of town to be destroyed on the grassy plain 100 meters below thanks to Story Room’s thump thump thumping from the night before.
And it now has a ghost on the upstairs porch.
“Rooo-cky,” the spectre calls in the haunting way ghosts do. “Roo-cky,” she repeats. “Roooo-cky,” she wails again. He reaches her.
(to be continued)
Nancy leads Rocky around the transmogrified village, showing him various things that are different now.
This includes the Defiance Cemetery across the tracks, still tiny but with several additional graves and revamped tombstones to fit the future times, along with some artificial ground mist.
“Razielians we are now,” Nancy explains. She points to each grave in turn. “Still Richard, Danny, Linda at the top, but those little ones — our children. Star and Par, named after the two sims of the town. Young they were at death.” She stops here, being still unable to not weep at the sight despite many years passing.
“Where is your grave?” Rocky asks, looking around.
“I am not buried with Danny according to the laws of our new religion. Advantages it has from the standpoint of appealing to the mechanoids, which began to outnumber us regular flesh and blood citizens starting in 2049. Or was it 2059? Anyway, that’s the main reason for the switch. Robots. Tronesisia became a high priestess herself. A popess or female pope, some claimed, although I processed all the paperwork of town, being the city clerk, and never saw an official decree to that regard. I would know.”
“What happened to Danny?”
Nancy sighed. “He never became a vampire and remained in his grave, looking for pipes and other plumbing to fix in the great beyond. I died a lonely spinster at the age of 72. But I am young again now in appearance. Don’t I look super for 72 years plus 1?”
“So Star and Par aren’t Danny’s children? I’m confused.”
“I was pregnant at the time of his death.” She stops again.
“Look,” says Rocky, pointing toward town. “Someone is over there.”
Wheeleria likewise turns around, knowing Rocky couldn’t see her.
But nothing is there except the side of the Razielian synagogue. *Can* he see her? It hasn’t happened in 50 or so years but maybe… maybe…
(to be continued)
“see title 02”
They were waiting in Clownski’s for the start of filming tonight when Wheeler got the ring. Seeing who the caller was, she distanced herself from Rocky in case it was bad news.
“Uh huh,” she said, listening to Baker Bloch. “2, maybe 3 more months. Until Christmas.” She listened some more. “Uh huh.” She bit at a fingernail and spit on the floor. “Okay, I’ll tell Rocky.” The call ended.
Wheeler Wilson sat down again opposite Rocky in the booth. “Good news, Mr. Racco. Baker Bloch’s said the Bodega Supermarket and Deli can stay a while. You’re a store owner still… for now.”
Rocky rapidly clapped his hands together and jumped up and down a little, even. “What’d he say, what’d he say?”
“He said he’s going to try out a gallery upstairs. Said there was more stories to tell. I guess he meant second floor stories.” She smiled.
“Tealie,” began Rocky again. “Tealie, Tealie, Tealie.”
Wheeler stared at him blankly. “Anyway, he said filming is off tonight. His graphic novel may be completed. I was wondering how he was going to create a town set 50 years in the future full of robots. Seems he’s chickened out of all that.”
“As he should! Present is the point of power. Let’s go back and tell Terry!”
“Because a futuristic town would have been way too much to pull off.”
“Sure would have, Wheeler.”
END OF “COLLAGESITY 2017 MIDDLE”!