The State of Collagesity
Baker Bloch stands before the vacated Collagesity apartment formerly occupied by Cyberpaperdoll and her then lover/boyfriend Roger Pine Ridge. As we have seen in the story so far, they’ve moved to Iris in the center of the Heterocera continent, not too awful far northeast of Collagesity actually — only about 4 sims away using a diagonal measurement, or about a kilometer and a half in distance. But now Cyberpaperdoll seems to have left Roger alone in that watery place for a more exciting and hipper man (Bandit Boy). Last we see of Pine Ridge, he’s debating whether to unburden his recent woes on fellow Iris resident Bill (Wheeler). We’ll see how that develops.
But Cyberpaperdoll and Roger are not the only ones to leave Collagesity recently. Rocky Racco’s duplicate dwelling place, also attached to the SoSo Mall, has essentially been cleaned out, save a picture of David Bowie and a meditation pillow. Where is the furry wordsmith, curious readers may ask? It could be that he went back to Olde Lapara Towne, perhaps staying with cousins Sport and Racket up in the mountains above that virtual burg, or maybe assuming his old job at the town’s hotel where we first picked up with his story. But at any rate, he’s gone from Collagesity, perhaps never to return.
And also the 2 apartments in the Kidd Tower, formerly occupied by Mr. Babyface and Greg Ogden, are now unfurnished and currently unavailable to rent. My guess for these two is that they simply transitioned over to Middletown on the Jeogeot continent when Billy Jean Kidd created a doppleganger tower there in “Collagesity 2017 Later”, or novel 6 of our Collagesity series. *That* became more the real Kidd Tower, since The Kidd lived inside it and not the one in Collagesity. Again: best guess. Like the rest — but especially Rocky Racco, I believe — they will be missed. Doesn’t mean that they can’t return of course, but they’ll be missed in the meantime. And this is another structure attached to the SoSo Mall.
So just utilizing these pieces of information alone, it might seem that Collagesity is in a bit of trouble, especially since this is the first time we’ve really talked about my town in any depth in the present work, which is now halfway completed. But actually I believe this isn’t the case. To explain my reasonings for this determination, let’s start with the recent land ownership changes for Our Second Lyfe premium members as copied from the company blog.
Baker Bloch formerly owned 8704 square meters of land in Collagesity, maxing out his 40 dollar tier allowance. But now with the bump up of bonus land allotment from 512 to 1024, coupled with the 10% price reduction on tier, he can now own 9216 square meters of land at *35* dollars a month. And that’s exactly what I’ve chosen to have him do and be responsible for. Now let’s turn to the other town owner Baker Blinker, or, I should now say, *former* owner. For just after the price changes were announced, I decided that Wheeler Wilson should take over Baker Blinker’s land, since she has assumed the lion’s share of female roles in the blog, including Mabel — that’s the most important new addition in my eyes. And Baker Blinker herself, as a core avatar, hasn’t played a major factor in Collagesity novels since “Collagesity 2016 Later”, which is *5 1/2* Collagesity novels back as of this writing. True, she does play Karl in the present novel (congrats B. Blinker again!), but that doesn’t offset Wheeler’s Annie/Mabel/Bill power trio in my estimation. It was simply time to do this. But while Baker Blinker owned 1536 square meters to Baker Bloch’s 8704, her successor Wheeler only owns 1024 meters, which means she pays *0* dollars in tier each month under the new rules (as opposed to Baker Blinker’s 8 dollars a month tier payment for the 1536). Overall, I’m saving 13 dollars a month for the exact same amount of land (combined, in each case: 10,240). Doesn’t sound like a lot, but it really is long term. And justification enough from that alone to continue Collagesity into the forseeable future. The novels are still going strong — why not?
But the recombination of lands also gave Baker Bloch a considerably larger amount of free prims to work with — 504 as of this writing. The drawback is that Wheeler has very few prims left over from her 1024, even with the empty or near empty apartments surrounding SoSo Mall we talked about earlier. Again, it may not sound like much of a change, but it actually is. Baker Bloch has more power to enact his overall vision within Collagesity now, and with a more consolidated land base. Mabel (Wheeler) will continue to argue for the movement of her prim heavy Heartsdale Victorian style house to Collagesity. But Baker, I feel, has other plans…
“I think we may have found our variant, Catvas II,” Bill (Wheeler) spoke to the fishtailed feline reading beneath her chair after the record had finished playing. “*The* Variant.”
“That’s nice. Anything to help you paint and take your mind off that chess match.”
“I’m trying to pick out Roger’s song on this harp,” offered a plucking Grassy from the opposite side of the small porch. “It’s more complicated than expected. The bridge is interesting.”
“I timed it,” said Bill. “(The bridge) starts at 3:33. The whole song is 6:66. Oh, I’m sorry! I meant 7:06.” But Bill wondered about that time slip more and more as time went on.
“‘Time,'” proclaimed Grassy simply while continuing to pluck and strum. “Don’t care too much for the flip side of ‘Beach,’ though.”
“No, not as powerful and catchy,” followed Bill quickly.
don’t axe him
Gilmore the Axe Man,” utters Roger Pine Ridge after his walk from Iris. He’d reached the end of a main causeway again. “Still blocking me from leaving this cursed swamp village. No matter what direction I go, there he is.” No use talking to him directly, he realizes. The message remains the same.
“Don’t leave.” Or a variant on that: “You’re trapped.”
“At least those insufferable moths aren’t around in the middle of the day.”
movement of the castle
“We haven’t seen Big Red since that day, Karl.”
“Yeah, last week.” Karl kept rocking and drinking. He could tell Annie was depressed. “Aww, baby doll, it’ll come around. This whole art thing.” Annie was weeping a little bit now. Karl sets down his 24 Oz Pabst Blue Ribbon on the porch railing and stands up. “Here, here, why don’t you try *me* again. Looky here, I’m already out of this shirt, hehe. The pants are next.”
“Just stop it Karl.” He knew Annie meant it. Silently, he slips his beer stained tank top back on. He understood when Annie was like this, jokes weren’t the way to go. Nor sex. Only this *art* could fill the void somehow. And it wasn’t happening yet.
A slow, rumbling noise starts in the distance. Thudding: giant, mechanical chicken legs crashing into the sand, but Annie and Karl didn’t know this part.
“As soon as we collect Gus, we’ll be ready to begin. But one of you 4 handed Librarians has to go.”
After riding the Wild Whale and other attractions at Fishers Island Amusement Park, a daily routine, Blue Jay Wade realizes he was getting tired and started looking homeward again.
Toward the namesake jut of land and attached boathouse of his own creation. For the tiny island makes the house in this case, like a tail wagging a dog.
Fisher’s Isle. Name for the great explorer of Underground Second Lyfe, along with his riding companion Lord Bendington. Four trees and the truth, they always said. When will they return? It was suppose to be on that island. Or inside that isle… beneath, something.
He was falling asleep while standing. Better get back to the boathouse and his soft “crashy couch” asap.
Ahhh. That’s better.
I distinctly remember that conifer tree right there, Robot Derak Jones thinks while reviewing the appearance of (The Monster) night before last in his mind. Appearing and then fading away, like a noisy apparition. Never could find the source. Well today, he declares, I’m going to work a little harder at it, probe a little deeper.
His friend and neighbor Eraserhead Man suggested keeping his mind focused and looking for something red. “That’s what Gus remarked about the subject when I asked him,” EM said to RDJ yesterday evening after riding down on his John Deere tractor for another visit. At the exact moment he mentioned this, RDJ was looking at a flaming red maple tree framed against the night sky across the island sands, but thought this was just chance.
Opp has been missing a month now from his side. Annie and Karl, after the former painted the latter as what was obviously some kind of representation or stand in for the blue lad, left Pencil’s place last week to assume residency on the other side of the island. That’s when (The Monster) showed up. That, in fact, is when Pencil tossed his coffee into the fire at his home to produce Gus for the first time. Gus seems bound and determined to find that (Monster). I wonder why?
RDJ decides to check out the small house beside the tree.
“Oh. Sorry neighbor! Didn’t know anyone was here.”
“T’is alright,” the large, bathing man with a red beard spoke through the opening. “I’m a nudist anyway. No shame in a person finding another person naked. Thus the open door!”
Red beard, Robot Derak Jones thought later while relaxing with Eraserhead Man on the sandy beach in front of his home and staring toward the same house. “Gus said to look for something red, right?” he asked of his friend.
“Right. And to keep your mind focused. If you do both you’ll probably succeed. Seems to always work for me.”
And then he saw it again.
Buurb came home from a hard day of peddling his wares. Something was different. The alley leading to his home was gone!
Sealed up by brick, it appeared. Why hadn’t Mabel phoned him?? But she was probably out doing stuff on her own. The consulting, yes. Maybe down at the mission dispensing free gravy to the poor, removing unwanted lumps when needed. It’s all about Montana lately for her.
Stunned, Buurb walks around the block starting left. The Queen’s Arms still here, yes. He hadn’t totally lost his sense of direction — this *was* the correct block, the correct road. But no alley on its north side now.
But then, just beyond: the alley!
Turned at a right angle (to the block)? He cautiously starts down it.
More complicated than before… more doors.
But no sign of Mabel’s and his apartment. None of the number of doors he tries seem to lead anywhere atall, in fact.
Nervously tapping his good foot on the stone blocks, he phones his wife. “Com’on Mabel. Pick up. Pick up…”
“So you see, PS. It was never suppose to come to this. You over there. Me here.” Baker Blinker then looks down the pier toward the center of town. “Oh Me Gods. Here comes Buurb. You’re not suppose to be seen with me. Gotta scram!” Baker Blinker disappears. Precious Snowflake is alone when Buurb walks up. He didn’t spot Baker Blinker sitting with his Heartsdale friend. Else his brains would have been even more scrambled up than what they already were.
“Thank God, Precious. Someone I know. Are you alright? Is the mission okay?” He spoke rapidly, not letting Precious get a word in edgewise. “The town! It’s changed. I’ve walked all around it now, trying to find… *someone*. And here you are. Not at the mission but here. But this place is new too. A coffee shop, eh? Mabel would be pleased. Have you seen Mabel? I’ve tried and tried to reach her on the hot phone but no go. Do you have a phone? Perhaps yours would work better in this… new environment. Are you okay?” he repeats. “God I have to take a leak, Precious. I can’t even find a bathroom I’m familiar with! You know my condition.”
Precious Snowflake took it all in. She remembered the blueness, the change. Pink to blue and blue to pink. The mixed up boy-girl. Leeman.
“You walked right past someone on the way up here,” she said nonchalantly. “Did you not see them?”
Just like that, Mabel was back in Collagesity. It wasn’t their house that was the key, it was the *Mission*. She’d just completed a long and fascinating conversation with long time dual resident Turchin McGurchin about the nature of “Beach” and “Time”. Precious Snowflake had been working on The Rainbow Sphere all along, a final gift.
But what is The Rainbow Sphere? That’s what former town resident Roger Pine Ridge was aiming to find out.
“Gilmore, I’m going to be out of this water world and back on dry land before you know it, you hateful bastard. You’ll see.”
The Big Un
End of my world.
If I stare into corners long enough, sometimes things change.
Yes, this will do nicely, Ellen thinks. I’ll send Sidechick Corea and his Boy Blue over to explore more.
“So you see Campbell O’Pine — I mean, *Opp*, Magus Ellen states this is as close as we can get to center in Nascera right now. What do you see?”
“I see… blues.”
“Are you ready, then? Remember to change over.”
“We’d like to negotiate a price for Gus, Eraserhead Man.”
“We have a spare 4 handed Librarian to give to you, but my guess is that won’t be enough.”
“I don’t need another librarian,” replies the pencil being in his somewhat tinny voice. “We have enough of those back in the closet now.”
“Then how about another movie deal?” asks Axis, smooth like a serpent. “‘Billy the Mountain’ meets ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’. ‘Frank’s Moving Mountain’, in summary.”
“What would I do with such a thing as that you are describing? Invite Annie and Karl over for a party?”
“Do what you wish with it. Play it for entertainment and amusement during posh Hollywood parties.”
“Like I said…”
“I know, I know.” Axis removes his hand from his chin. “No Hollywood parties. I get it.”
“I just sit at home mainly and meditate or cook. You’re invited over for 3 cheese lasagna any time.”
“I mean it. The new guys (Annie and Karl) can come over too. *That* can be our party. Robot too, of course.”
“Well… how ’bout it, then?” Axis stared steadily at him.
Eraserhead Man lit up a cigarette without asking permission. “I have some questions,” he responded while puffing away.
“He asked about the Mission, ma’am. What do I tell him?”
In the Pond District today:
Axis found a black and white girl slumped against a Rodentia dumpster but did not know who she was. She didn’t open her eyes.
Tealie woke Jiff up in a bad mood, who did not wish to play right this minute.
So she instead goes to visit the grave of her old friend Matthew Lodenwald. What a blow to the community when he died!
Bob Richards continues to reads scrapbooks of the war and laments how he will never see his beloved Alpha again. Oh dear, looks like Li’l Bob’s jumped out of his crib.
Uncle Doomed drinks Jack Daniels in front of the neighbor’s Blob until passing out.
Lucas Smart tries to figure out how his life went so wrong.
Chris Caveman lumbers out of the Rodentia Underground, worse off from the experience.
In the local arcade, punk band Story Room prepares to play Cruise Control with newbie Grassy Noll, snickering about whether he’ll even make it out of the first turn.
Also in the arcade, Bill (Wheeler) confers with Rocky Racco about her most recent name change and move to Iris. “Heterocera is still at the fore of my research,” she reassures the learned writer. “I haven’t forgotten about Olde Lapara Towne, Collagesity, VHC City, or any of the rest.”
“Good, Wheeler.” He scratches his nose with his free paw. “Did you know that my cousin Tealie now lives in this area?”
Philip Strevor wasn’t available, so Mr. Matrix took his spot at the Watching Booth. He was staking out the place of a guy known as The Rabbit, but The Boss correctly assumed he was just a rat in disguise. Now to dangle the carrot, er, cheese.
Whenever she’s fit and ready.
Sure the giant carrot was pointed directly at his hideout, but The Rabbit was no longer there. Or had he not moved in yet?
Directly behind his past/future hideout lived Lucas Smart, hatch open to his own home. He’d hoped someone would find him down there all sideways before now. Vertical and horizontal had become all smushed up. And the water could be rising once more!
Lemmings existed in the area. Here’s one sunbathing at Bowers Beach.
And here’s another at the same beach raiding a treasure chest of gold bricks and coins. Could this be why The Rabbit is in the area? Treasure, buried or exposed?
There use to be a village of tiny gummy people across the lake from the beach, but they seemed to have moved away in the last 5 years or so, probably because of the variant water levels. Their main street was aligned with the Rodentia Underground entrance seen in the distance here.
But it was not just a town (New Gummton). There was a tiny forest beside a tiny lake with a tiny pier. A whole microcosm for the miniature inhabitants to exist within. They needed no “outside”. I wonder what happened to them?
Back in Rodentia proper, the bait had been set. “Sure hope this work,” Mr. Matrix thinks, checking his daily sports scores.
Mr. Matrix has found a nice piece of land in the Pond District from which to establish a base for his operations there, but he can’t decide on a house. Oh the vanity.
A weird thought then crossed his mind as he stared into the mirror. Maybe *he’s* the rat.
Anyway, he better get back to his deliveries.
The couch here is unusable, with no sitting scripts. Tired of standing, Bill (Wheeler) rezzes a wearable chair in Philip Strevor’s so-called “waiting room” and tries to be patient. 1 1/2 hours Mrs. Hazelhurst has been in there, she complains inwardly, but does not dare to say aloud. This place has been bugged for as long as she can remember.
The Boss was admiring his mermaid cabinet when Bill walked in. She had not seen Mrs. Hazelhurst in the hallway but had heard the shutting door. Bill figured she exited through the lounge.
“Red, green, blue,” he began, describing the string of shiny, netted balls immediately before him. “The mermaids and mermen called them marbles for some reason.” He turned to face Bill. “How can I help you today?”
Bill crossed her arms. “You called *me* here. Remember?”
“Oh yes. Of course.” He waved for Bill to be seated. He took his place in The Boss’ chair. “I’m sorry there’s no chair available. The maid took it off for cleaning.”
“That’s all right,” Bill said matter of factly. “I came prepared this time.” She rezzes her wearable attachment again and automatically has a seat in it. She then positions herself so she can face Philip squarely.
“Rat lost his property in the Pond District,” he then said, appearing to scan the photos on the bulletin board beside him. “Owner came back and returned his vanity, his ratmobile. Now why would someone squander a perfectly good piece of property beside that beautiful Linden right-of-way, not rezzing a house, a farm, nothing?”
“They don’t appreciate what they have,” offered Bill. “They don’t understand the beauty, the loveliness, of Our Second Lyfe.”
“Perhaps.” He leans forward, looking down to consider and then up again. “We made your chess move while you were away playing that role. “Pawn to King 3. I hope you don’t mind. We figured we couldn’t keep Ellen waiting any longer.”
Bill felt the anger rising within but bit her tongue again. “I see,” she managed after a weighted pause. “And has Ellen had time to respond? Or is he still stuck on the beach?” She tried to smile but found she couldn’t.
“The New Island beach, yes,” Philip Strevor said nonchalantly. “The Hook I think they call it in that Moth Man’s book. He removed his web site because of us, you know. Didn’t like the idea of another New Island besides his own. The one *he* owns the trademark for. A public/private domain affair again. I have a whole drawer full of those kind of documents.
“I know,” replied Bill. “She then glances at the money and Philip follows her eyes. “Still haven’t put away that wad of cash, eh? Gloating at the clientele, are you? Like me.”
“No,” Philip said. “That a new stack. Mrs. Hazelhurst graciously gave it to us in return for her safe passage to Zindra. Lots of people leaving this place, Wheeler, er Bill. The axemen and swordsmen and their ilk can’t keep them here forever. Soon enough, people cave in on paying the price. Your friend Roger Pine Ridge is next, if you ask me.”
“You’re barking up the wrong tree there, I think. Roger doesn’t have any money. Cyberpaperdoll got out of the village with that cash they made from the (ruby) slippers heist. Roger thought Iris would be safe — away from prying eyes over at Collagesity. He was wrong.”
Philip settled back into his seat, getting comfortable. “I know all about that. We don’t want his money, we want his *time*. Though brain damage could come later.”
“Hmm.” Bill paused, then: “How much time does he have?”
“Two, three, four weeks on this?” Philip answered as a question.
When to move you first, my Queen? Rey Wisa ponders from far below.
“How about… *now*.”