Bay door open at the service station with bait taken, Wheeler has finished her exercise routine and is fit and ready for action. Philip makes sure of that.
Akking here we come again!
Axis certainly gets around. Here’s he’s on an island in the northeast part of Heterocera (Eggar sim). It’s hot down here at the beach, and he pulls off his duster coat and carefully lays it by the shoreline. He must get back to the art store soon. Too bad he can’t wear those paint splattered paints they sell for free within…. merely a mesh figure he is. But perhaps they’ll fit burgeoning artist Annie to the T.
One way to find out…
“Aren’t they just the dreamiest, Turch?! Now when Baker Bloch reopens the Red Umbrella we’ll be back in business. Buurb should be here soon.”
“Sure,” reassures Turch, because he knows Mabel can’t take another loss like her brother Little. But probably she won’t have to. Most likely, yes.
“I can’t do this Precious; put your wings back on. I have to find Mabel.”
Alice 01 patiently explains to Alice 02 that the 3rd is actually the 4th.
But let’s back up a bit…
“Shouldn’t be very long now, Rabbit 01.”
“I know, Rabbit 02. I’ve got to get this place spiffy for the filming!”
At the center of the Inner Delta of Heterocera sits the impressive Moth Temple of Iris. The first telehub on that continent (and still an incredibly busy place today!) the Temple… is a delicate but towering wooden structure designed by Xenon Linden. Almost all of the sims in Heterocera are named after species of moths; the continent itself is named for the sub-species of insect by which moths are categorized. You can find these lovely little creatures all over the Moth Temple, including fluttering around the lamps that line the boardwalk surrounding it at dusk.
“Maybe we should break it off for the day, Grassy. I’ve got to start getting ready for my big date.”
“Okay. But I believe we’ve got Roger’s ‘Time’ pretty well down, don’t you think?”
“It’s pretty good,” Bill admitted, still going over their mistakes and miscues in her head. She wants to get it perfect before playing it to him: the *creator*, after all. She’s meeting the mysterious Ellen for this date, but she also keeps thinking of Roger, what he’s doing at any one moment. And then there’s also Philip to consider. The Boss, haha. I can take care of those sharp, chisled angles, she thinks. Smooth ’em down, like the de Milo I am.
So all in all it was another great 3-n-1 riddle to tackle for me the author, pheh. But I’m loving it.
Do you see it yet, Grassy?”
The green Mmmmmm keeps rummaging around the antique trunk while talking. “No soap in here, it appears. Nothing but these old, dusty lanterns.”
“Pheh, Grassy. That’s all I’ve got to say. Pheh,” she repeats. “I’ll just use the Ivory. But I *hate* when it gets in my eyes.”
“This full facial chessboard tattoo is a little extreme, don’t you think Bill?”
“Yeah, I guess so. Take it off.”
“Don’t panic, Bill,” Grassy soothed. “We’ll sort out your hair.”
“There. That’s better don’t you think dear?”
“I’m loving it. I’m *feeling* it. Where’s that man!”
Sire, these 3 smaller houses appeared shortly after we transitioned over here from the center of Nascera, blocking our direct access to the beach park.”
“Beach access is important,” states Ellen. “And the time to spend on them.”
“I should clarify to be totally open: a renter *can* walk the sand in front of the houses to get to the park still. But it becomes more… inconvenient. A sign, I would ask you?”
“Seems to be,” agrees Ellen, licking his ice cream all the time. “I don’t want to stay too long but let’s take a look at the parallel houses in Gaston.”
“Thank you for agreeing to accompany me back over there. I know you have a rendezvous tonight with Wheeler.”
“Let’s not call her Wheeler in the blog. We’re being recorded, Sidechick.”
“Oh, right.” He looks down at his white tuxedo shoes, then up again. “I don’t want to invade privacy too much, sire, but notice if you will that the yellow house has already been rented, remembering that Earie rented the yellow house in Gaston. And someone has positioned 3 chairs — red, yellow, blue again — right in the center of that house.
“I see them.” Neither mentions the picture of the red clad woman hanging on the wall. “But we needn’t linger here any longer. Opp should confine himself to the Mockingbird House over there still if he desires to come to Braynard’s Place and use the, er, facilities.” Ellen indicates the larger house just down the beach to their south.
“Shame about the access,” Ellen reinforces.
“Shame,” Sidechick Corea echoes.
“Ooo, so sluggish here,” Ellen complains. “Let’s not stay long.”
“But notice that the houses are on the sea again. West edge of the island sim instead of the east.”
“I get the gist. Let’s go back.”
Back on the beach, a transfigured Campbell O’Pine (Opp) manifests in the Bluebird Cuddle Van there, eliminating the need for Karl to do so. Now Annie can paint properly, or at least that’s the hope.
Eventually he heads southward through the arch again.
In a pot haze, Marion Harding waits patiently for the show to begin. He loves Elvis impersonators. Hucka Doobie tries to join him but finds she can’t.
“Time to pull her out of that sluggish place,” Baker Bloch speaks about Gaston to Baker Blinker from their usual perch at the Perch restaurant. “Function’s basically used up anyway.”
“There’s the couch, still,” counters the female Baker. “Jeffrie Phillips — white star.”
“I can’t even find it tonight it’s so laggy. And I dare not log in Wheeler to help. My computer will crash, I’m sure of it.”
“Sugar house,” Baker Blinker then says. “Sugar’s House.”
“Alright I’ll give it another shot.”
“Give one to Marion as well.”
“She does strike a good pose there,” Baker Bloch says, looking on remotely. “She seems… confident.”
“Put her with Marion. See what happens. Minimize windows as needed.”
“It’s no use, Baker Blinker. Hucka Doobie just appears gray, like she’s in David Bowie’s shiny spacesuit from ‘The Man Who Fell To Earth.'”
“Oops. There she is.”
“Have him walk. Have them talk. Plop Marion down in the plastic seat in front of Hucka Doobie. See what goes down.
She’s wondering how much money is in that attache case, Baker Bloch. $50,000 lindens? Enough to get her out of this hazy, laggy place? Could be.”
“But how to strike up a conversation?
Too late: looks like the show’s starting.”
“And that’s *not* Elvis.”
here not here
Right off the bat, Bill knew Ellen wouldn’t be a love interest, at least from her end, and that she had over-prepared for the occasion. Got herself worked into a tizzy for basically nothing. Good ol’ Grassy, she thinks. If it wasn’t for him…
“Umm, delicious. What do you think Bill?”
“I agree it’s pretty good ice cream, Ellen. Pistachio, yum.” A cold-stimulus headache suddenly kicked in. “But, oww, should we be really eating our desert before the main course?” She rubbed her forehead with her free hand.
“Ice cream is the only decent thing on the menu here, dearest. I have other plans for the evening if you don’t mind the surprise. My assistant has rented a house in the southeast corner of the Moth Village. I think it will be to your liking. Sidechick can teleport us over in turn. The tuna should be grilling by now.” He downs another gob of the sweet cream.
The night was finally looking up for Bill. If this was all they had here, anpan (Japanese sweet roll), milk and Singha beer were only going to go so far.
“Better, huh? Ahh, smell the aroma. Nothing like grilled tuna. Sidechick is a 5 star chef, believe me. Finish up your ice cream and we’ll have a grand old time of it.”
Bill again wondered about motive. The game challenge seemed ages ago, months and months, but it was only 2 weeks back. Did Ellen want to forfeit now? Or maybe switch over to a different game? What was that one more complicated than chess the Oriental people liked? Gong, she though incorrectly. The one where black plays first. Maybe this is some kind of hybrid game; maybe that’s why the moves don’t seem to make much sense. She had to ask.
“Ellen,” she starts more seriously, setting the ice cream to one side. “I’m wondering about your moves.”
“As am I.” He stares at her kindly but intently. She sensed no malice in him at all.
“I mean, they are pretty lame.” She laughed to diffuse the seriousness of the statement.
“Notice what I have done, though? Can you see?”
“Umm, no. They’re just pretty bad moves overall. I’m not really even trying on my end because of it.”
“As you shouldn’t. No need to try.”
“Hmm. Care to explain?” She smiled slightly.
“I moved a pawn. Then I moved a knight. Then a bishop. Then the king and rook at one time in a castle. Then, lastly, the queen. The game is basically finished — no more pieces. We are here to celebrate. *You* are the queen.”
Uh oh, Bill (Wheeler) thought. Here we go. Here’s the *real* motive.
“I have something for you.” Ellen pulls a small box out of his robe and presents it to Bill, who hesitantly takes it and then hides it in her hand, staring forward, face somewhat flushed. “Go ahead and open it, dear,” Ellen encouraged. “You’ll *like* it.”
Marriage proposal?? — could it be *possible* that Ellen… Bill quickly snapped open the box just to end this line of speculation. A ring indeed, but it didn’t seem like an engagement ring. The gem was ambiguous, if it was a gem atall. Maybe, um, agate? Jasper? She found herself compelled to put it on nonetheless, then cautiously held the hand forward. “Care to explain?” she asked again as seriously as possible. No smiling this time.
“We’ll never make it across the bay today, Rabbit 01.”
“It’s already done, Rabbit 02.”
“Here they come.”
“And there they go.”
Alice was certainly glad to have a place to go to after the New Island artist colony shut down.
And the view of Lake Tethia from her grandmother’s hillside cabin was certainly a bonus.
Time to drop down into the 3rd to meet the other Alice at the restaurant. Soon she would learn that this 3rd is actually the 4th.
Certainly explosive news.
Axis stares vainly into the mirror and thinks what a beautiful man he’s become after being such an adorable little girl.
“Ooo, heartburn.” Rabbit 01 pauses for a small burp. “It’s always waiting, for us. Past and future and waiting.”
“And not waiting,” adds Rabbit 02. “Like something’s already happened that we — or one of us — has forgotten already happened.”
Rabbit 02 stews underneath his rabbit suit. “I’m not a good bunny. I play too much golf. I pull too many flag pins for holes in one.”
“You made that airplane engine not fall and then fall again. That was pretty good.”
“Just in that one movie. Just with that one dude. A bridge opens, a bridge closes. Coming and going.”
Rabbit 01 taps her fingers against her other hand. “Why are we here? Do you remember *this*?”
“Start of a new religion,” states Rabbit 02. “Blending of sacred and sacrificial. Should be fun.”
“Clown to be sacrificed how many times a month?”
“Four,” Rabbit 02 guesses. “Five, maybe. I suppose it depends on the moon.”
“Which you know all about.” Rabbit 01 peers around at the congregation, sees their disinterested looks.”I don’t think it’s going to happen today.”
“It’s happened 3 times already. 3 which is 1. ‘Nother one. Be patient. Have fun and be patient.”
“Hiberian-hispanic clowns. Mind you he *deserves* to die over and over…”
“He does,” quickly agrees Rabbit 02 with Rabbit 01. He removes a dead fly from his arm fur. “It’s a way for this place to remain clean and pure. 6 pieces and the truth.”
“You talking about Heterocera? Or just Collagesity?”
“That will be up to the queen.”
A jump happened.
“Oh. There she is. It’s me!”
“No it’s not,” Rabbit 02 hastily modifies. “It’s her. The queen.”
“And the sacrificee. Me as well!”
“Pipe down,” orders Rabbit 02. “People may actually hear us if we yell loud enough.”
“Happened that one time, yes. Olde Lapara Towne. They heard us from the future. It was in front of the Razielian synagogue…”
“I *know* where it happened. I was inside. Performing the sacrifice. Knife slip. Wasn’t pretty.”
“And here we are again.”
“Blink your eyes,” commands Rabbit 02, who was somewhat the older and wiser of the two. “Things should come into focus. I see the true queen. And the true sacrifice. It’s her all right. The Bill is back in town.”
“Oh yeah. I see now.” Rabbit 01 looks down. “And look what appeared in my lap.”
“Don’t do that.”
red blue 02
I’m sorry I haven’t gotten back to Annie’s New Island story in a while. She’s been attempting to run around the entire island most days now, but always seems to get distracted or sidetracked by this and that. She knows about the abandoned artist colony in its southernmost region (where more recently met Alice 02 was once a successful landscape painter), but hasn’t received the whole story about what happened there. And today, while attempting to round the northern part of the isle, she finally met Big Red again, sunbathing in the nude at Yd Bay (pronounced like “Wide Bay”). Emboldened by the obvious aesthetics, she struck up a conversation. Big Red then said he’d throw on some clothes and that they could meet at the recently remodeled Fishers Island Amusement Park, now a bar/social hangout, to resume their talk. We catch up with them there.
“Tennessee Colony it was originally called,” Big Red continued about the former artist colony that attracted Annie to the island in the first place. “Run by a woman named such. Sculptor. I believe she did…” — he puts his finger to his mouth here in a pondering gesture — “yes, she sculpted men’s parts as I recall.”
Men’s *parts*, Annie thought, and then wondered why *she* hadn’t thought of that. But then Annie was mildly disappointed to find out Big Red meant arms and legs and heads and so on as well as, yes, the occasional one based on those bits in the phallic region. She learned of such a work named “Flapper” she was itching to see for possible inspiration. Yes, Annie had to find out more about this Tennessee woman: her style, her influences, her life in general.
Blue Jay Wade ambled up from his home just to the south. “Hi Mr. Butler, he spoke to Big Red, and then glanced at Annie without introducing himself. He looked around, obviously concerned. “What happened to my amusement park?”
“In my opinion, sire: it’s a trap. The blue house is both rented and not rented. He shouldn’t enter.”
“He can’t stay on that beach forever, though. He’ll have to move back through the arch again sometime. And all the other houses around it have actually and legitimately been rented, including, now, the Mockingbird next door we originally had such high hopes for.”
“Alice, then,” replies Sidechick Corea to his boss Ellen, knowing he had the right answer. “Coming and going, past and future, etc. Alice’s restaurant,” he then adds, but with less confidence.
“Yes, you are correct Sidechick.” The Magus flashes an approving smile. “She’s already taken his place in the Bluebird Cuddle Van, lights set to blinding. We’ll simply have to begin again.” Ellen gets up from his meditation mat, sensing it is time to leave. “So let’s go, you and I my friend, back to Iris and see if we can set all this up. Bill’s opening move, Pawn to Queen 04, should be revisited, especially in light of that altered ‘Curse Purse’ painting Axis used next door in the yellow house.”
“The train being used by Lewis Carroll in ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’ as a metaphor for a pawn’s ‘fast’ opening move crossing two spaces, as opposed to the usual one.”
“Right, Sidechick. You’ve done your homework. You have come far. You will take my place some day. I know it to be true.” Ellen pats him on the back, then waves him up as well.
Sidechick tries to take all this in, then asks after rising from his own meditation mat: “Is it there? With that, er, Alice in the van? Blue Girl I suppose?”
Ellen could feel its power even remotely. “Yes.”
end’s beginning 02
“There,” coos Magus Ellen after eliminating all unnecessary pieces and placing the remaining pieces in their proper place. “That wasn’t too bad. Now let’s have Bill herself make the next move. It took 10 more moves in ‘Through the Looking Glass’ for Alice to become Queen, but for Bill to seal the deal and permanently acquire the moth ring and its priceless power, it may only take one. Pawn to Queen 04, a repeat of Bill’s opening move.”
“Will she *want* to do it again?” offers his trusted assistant sitting across the board from him. “She’s already done it in the first place. Many people do not wish to repeat things they’ve accomplished and worked hard at in the past, or have an established pride in, sire.”
“You are right, Sidechick. We just better make it for her and go forward. Now you’ll notice, Stickler for Detail (ha ha), that Alice has already met the Black Queen beside her at White Queen 03, and who has moved on to her own color’s Rook 04. This leaves Alice free to leap ahead to be with the black king. So… here we go!”
Magus Ellen then effects the game’s first and also final move.