Out of Gaston
“Original form, eh?”
“*Ghost form, yeah,” spoke Bracket. “I died quite a long time ago now.”
Treelor contemplated this. “I can barely remember my original form. Lost — but I remember where I was born. A place called Outlander.” She paused. “Outlander? Something Outside. Outlands? Anyway, it was very green and quite pretty. A valley in the middle of it all. That’s where I came from.”
“Corsica for me. Bracket Islands. Named after me. I was king.”
Treelor continued rocking. “Did you have a queen?”
Bracket Ghost recalled something about a hill. Fivepenny. “I believe so,” he answered after the memory. “But she was underwater.” He remembered something else. “Green. Half woman half fish. Merwoman I suppose. That’s who I was married to. And she… could play a mean game of crocket.”
“Cricket?” Treelor attempted to clarify. “Do you mean the game of cricket?”
“Croquet,” Bracket then corrected himself.” More memories. “Had a mansion.”
They rocked for about a half minute in silence, which Treelor then broke. “I suppose we should get somewhere tonight. Gaston is a logical choice. VW and all. Abbey Road and such.”
“Suppose. Awfully laggy there. We may not make it out, hehe.”
“We’ll have to take that chance.”
Bracket checked his landmarks. “Blue house okay?”
“Maybe we should start here by washing some dishes.”
“Right. Clean up. You better change over. No aliens. Remember?”
“Where’d she go?”
“Crappy damn place.”
Vila 01 02
“Looks like we’ve found something, Mystic Girl. Seems we’re not done with Gaston after all. Better send Duncan back in.”
Police department, yep, thought synchronized Mystic Girl while turning. Knew it all along.
But she also knew that Duncan wouldn’t like what’s coming up.
“You can’t go through that gate. But you *can*. Right Mystic Girl?”
“Yeah, yesterday that woman came into the Rhino all wrapped up and shite. I thought she was a stripper or… exotic dancer, you know. But she just sat in the corner, kept to herself while the show continued. John Denver last night. We’re getting the big stars now.”
All became quiet as Osborne Well walked out of the establishment.
“I see what you mean, Domino,” opined an impressed Duncan, watching him cross the road.
Then John Denver and his manager G.G. showed back up from the other direction. Zowie!
Not as big…
… but probably more important.
“So, like tell me about the building behind me, then,” requested Hitgal, eager for more Gaston-Berry history.
“Owned by the eye guy. *Formerly* owned. Split with the Berries, he and his cat. All bones.”
Hitgal shivers. Let’s go back inside and talk more. Getting colds out here.
“Yeah, I’m gonna rent this poolside apartment starting next week, mind you. Just waiting for the check to come in. John Bob Denver and all. Did a real good job for him.” But that was a job both Domino Wendell Cashmere and Hitgal Dryden Douglas knew they shouldn’t talk about. Fusion.
“That would be chill’n,” responds Hitgal, looking around. “Your 78 inch plasma would fits nicely against that wall over there. We could watch the Atlanta Hawks’ games. Just like old times.”
“Well, unfortunately this is a Brazilian themed sim, see, so probably more soccer on than anything. Notice that soccer ball perpetually bobbing around the pool? That sort of thing.”
“I didn’t see it,” admitted usually observant Hitgal. “In the waters itself?”
“Sure,” replied Domino, then let it drop. He looked down at the table and the open magazine there.
“You thinking about getting a new face, Hitgal? Because: don’t do it. I like you the way you are.” He leans over for a kiss, but Hitgal waves him off, moves toward the wall that might soon provide much soccer entertainment, looks out the window.
*There’s* the soccer ball, she observed. Just like he said, hmm. She wondered if someone was editing her worldview again. Like before, in the Dark Days. She’ll have to look at her old journals to review. Things *hidden* from view. Like the Brazilian flags. Brazilian sports — flags. What else?
Later, Hitgal revealed part of her planned new look. “I’m still working on the color scheme. But… what’s you think?”
Domino doesn’t answer immediately, prompting defensive Hitgal to say: “Mind *you,* Domino, this is *just* the start, hrmph.”
“Mind you, I’ve seen enough giant rats in this town to do me a lifetime, boy.”
“Come on, Uncle Zach. We like the same shades, same drugs, same women. Why should this be different? You *gotta* dig Firesign Theatre, man. It’s just the chillest.”
They listened some more. “Okay, who’s this Hemlock Stones they keep talking about?” demands Domino’s uncle at a tipping point. “Why is he listening to that crazy, transvestite woman and her problems; why do they keep looking for pirates down at that wharf?”
“It’s Sherlock Holmes, stoopid. Man.” Domino shakes his head. “A *spoof*, dad-i-o.”
“I’m not some beatnik fool. Stop calling me… *dad-i-o.*”
“Alright,” Domino relents. “But just *listen*.”
They listen again. “Me and the doc on the dock with the dog — the deadly dog,” the record rapped after a spell. Then said dog exploded.
“Honestly, son, I think I’ve had enough,” and Uncle Zach moved toward the table loaded with their drugs to retrieve a heroin syringe. “I’m going to a place I *understand*.”
A downcast Domino lifts up the needle while Uncle Zach inserts his own.
“The vila of Twin Peaks they called it from 1880 to 1920. One peak protected by God, the other ruled by Satan and his minions. Black and white of course. Er, white, black. No coincidence the *black* peak towers over this subsection centered by the pool; no coincidence eyeman Jacob built his Joint Joint here instead of elsewhere. This is the true Gaston history you’re looking for. Sugar houses and all. I like your new look, by the way.”
“Thanks,” Hitgal replied to Sangria.
“Why don’t you have a seat, Hittie. You seem anxious about something.”
“Oh I’m just staring at that flag… over there on the abandoned laudromat. Do you think it was there, say, yesterday?”
Sangria looked out the window as well. “Don’t know. Why don’t you have some wine instead of that soda pop; smooth your ruffles out.”
“I’m just thinking about… the Dark Days.”
“Oh don’t go back there. God’s here now sweetie. Watching over us all.”
“I’m telling you Officer Brenin. That door has an eye in it.”
Domino glances over. “You’re looking too low, man. Get off your knees. Bend down.”
“Oh yeah. I see it now. But what does it mean?”
“God. Eye of God, man. Looking out and in at once.”
“But the other side: backwards. Dark Days.”
“We’re here to stop all that nonsense,” declares the now upright Officer Brenin, knowing full well what he said was a lie.
“I assume you’re here about the treasure hunt,” spoke Collagesity representative Baker Bloch to the stranger sitting beside him, breaking the awkward silence.
“Y-es,” proclaimed Horace Wise in a surprisingly stilted voice (to Baker). “We think we have what it takes in Philo to complete the task — wrap everything up neat and nice-ly.” He looked at Baker directly now. “Take it *home*,” he furthered.
“Philo, huh. The retro-village? Just over there?” Baker Bloch points in a southeast direction from their position atop the Virtual Chelsea Hotel. And, yes, he was already trying to be slightly dismissive of the haughty tone set. In defense mode.
“We are *not* re-tro. It is just that most people around us — on the continent — are from the *fu*-ture.” Horace Wise scanned his neighbor with protruding lower lip. “Like your-*self*, apparently. What fair village or town or city do you represent? Are you a class 4 burg? 3? Dare I say: *2*? We are proudly a 4, since we span two sims now, Myron and also Catal-pa. We actually, in a way, share the Catalpa-Tessock sim with VHC City, another 4.” Horace Wise paused. “I assume VHC City is in the hunt as well, since we’re *here* — at the Chel-sea. I wonder where their represen-tative is, though?”
“I represent Collagesity, by the way,” a now truly irritated Baker Bloch said. “Class 2 burg, I suppose we are. Considerably less than a sim. But we have the forest to boost us up.” Baker waited for Horace Wise to ask questions about the forest but they never came. Instead, he roosted on the class 2 aspect. Instant disqualification in his mind. Just like the case with Rodentia — all the rest. The many “others.” The wannabes in his mind. Like stars you can’t see with the naked eye in the sky. Don’t matter; nothing to see.
“Hmph,” instead came Horace Wise’s simple, cuttingly dismissive reply. They sat together even more awkwardly after this, waiting for others to show up. Baker Bloch dare not look in his eyes again.
“Stop *staring* at the man, Baker Bloch thought about Horace Wise. It’s like he’s never seen a black person before.
“So,” Duncan began, obviously conscious of the riveting gaze, “looks like we’ll have to start without our Mountain Lake representative Ms. Well.”
“A *wo*-man,” spoke Horace Wise incredulously from his side. “I think not. We already have [delete rest of sentence].”
Baker Bloch breathed deeply. Looking at him, Duncan decided to jump in first. “First of all, we’re African-*Americans*. Just like you Horace.”
Horace Wise finally broke his stare, sighed, and waved his arms around in despair. “The Virtual Chel-sea Hotel, the finest building, most likely, in this whole, wide conti-nent. Represented by *you*.”
Alright, that’s it Horace,” states Baker Bloch angrily. “I’m evoking class *5* status by rights of being the *author* of this novel — a *Collagesity* novel, after all — and saying that your Philo is disqualified, disqualified, *disqualified* from the race for the treasure. Now — *get out*. It will be between me, *Duncan* here — a man like yourself, thankfully, or I don’t know *what* you’d call him — and then Lou, our representative apparently from the Mountain Lake region of the Omega continent.” In his rage, he left out the remaining candidate at the table: Teepot’s Jeffrie Phillips.
But Horace Wise didn’t leave immediately. “You’re taking all this serious-ly. The” — he looks over at Duncan — “*black* man here. Then a woman. *Wo*-man.”
“Yes!!” Baker Bloch’s yell could probably be heard all the way over to Horace’s hometown.
And this is probably what a lot of people were like back then. And could still be. Yes, probably were around in good numbers still. Philo is *history*, but history repeats.
“It’s so clean and white here, Morris. I’m glad this is the place you decided to wake up in.”
“Sorry you missed your meeting, Lou.”
“See, sister of mine? This is where I turn green. This could be the center of it all. This could be the well.”
“Who is this inky man coming up the muddy road to see me, then?”
“So here we are finally, Indigo. Laffoon. Washing machines…
… and passageways.”
“Rest up, bestest friend of mine. Because we’ve got a big night ahead of us.”
“See what I mean?”
“I’m not looking at that.”
Laffoon 02 Frodes
“Volcano island, Indigo. That must be Zebrasil.” Ruby paused. “Or is it Ichelus? Anyway, there’s also these 10 women whose disappearance is associated with 2 more sims: Sylvata and, let’s see, Ribeata. According to this ‘Mole Times’ front page article here at least. So we’ve already found stuff.”
“OMG.” First of many. Ruby doesn’t like spiders. Or tentacles.
“Interesting. But what does it mean?” (exploding washer)
“At least it warmed up the place,” groused Indigo. “For a split second.” She shivers again.
End of Laffoon here, Indigo. And please keep up if you will.”
“More passages to the side before the crossover, though.”
“I’m here,” declares Indigo.
Ruby stares at the southward tableau. “Oil leak. Oil well… ink well. Ink leak. Dimensional rift? Let’s go see.”
“UUGH, Indigo. Giant pink frog!”
“I might throw up, Ruby. That stench!”
“And more lockers. Let’s just throw them all open at once this time.”
Indigo moves toward the wall and vomits.
“Sorry about that, Indigo. The santa hat may indicate recent activity, since this is Christmas season. That’s all I’ve got here.”
“Let’s get out of here, then.”
Their attention shifts northward. They walk to the other end of the corridor. Indigo immediately felt better after leaving behind the frog.
“OMG, Ruby. A club. *Casey’s* club.”
“You put that there,” Ruby accused.
“I put that there,” quickly admits Indigo.
“Stop doing that. This is serious.”
“Okay.” Indigo puts on her best “serious” face, making Ruby sigh and shake her head. “*Anyway* we’re moving out of Laffoon again now.” She boldly strides forward through the danger sign…
“Big surprise,” asserts Indigo, thinking of some other joke item she could rez.
“A *dead* parrot this time.”
“Another jack pumpkin head and another santa hat (not pictured)… combo of two holidays that don’t mesh well together — I should know. Being Mrs. Claus and all.”
“Ahh. *Finally* Indigo. The mystery is starting to come into focus. Serial killer! Bible must equal code, as in a code to crack. We’ll take these 2 items with us back to Collagesity.”
Then Ruby spots something else: a noxious looking puddle. Leaking from the other side.
“O-M-G.” They should have never left the laughs and guffaws of Laffoon.
“They’ll really and truly send you up the river for this one if you don’t cooperate, Duncan. Pin the murders on you one by one. Go down the list, create justifications. Is that what you really want?”
“Of course not. I didn’t kill Ruby!”
“Keep it down, keep it down,” he implored in his cool, grunge voice. “That one we can remake through the leg. Legs are like 11, but, taken apart, 1 apiece. Cloning abilities. But the 12th? Gone.”
“I know — pipe it down. You didn’t do it. Well… that’s the price you pay for being a member of that silly Pot-D. People can use you against your will. You wake up in jail, you wake up in a mortuary, you wake up on a beach, you wake up inside a whale’s mouth. No rhyme nor reason for it. But now there’s a reason. And that’s what *we’re* here for. Pan-Z. Horizontal and vertical are the only directions that will counter diagonal. The Straight is a subsection of The Cross. This is where they meet: this tree lined lane and then the island just beyond. It’s the Mason-Dixon Line all over again. Are you ready to cross into Dixie?”
Duncan glanced over through the cracked rear window of the bus stop. “I do like tree lined roads, granted.”
“Good. Then it’s settled. When you see me again, I won’t look like this.” Then he was gone; winked out.
Duncan thought back to the terrible, horrible revelations Colonel Flagstaff just spoke about on the border of Harrietsville and Arkendale — where The Straight and The Cross supposedly link energies with each other. He could be the 13th. He could be pinned for it all. He could be in the pen forever and ever. He must sign the new contract with a blood filled pen or else: pencil him gone as well.
Mission accomplished, thought spy Potty Steve while watching another Hidi observe from a smaller island. They only show up when they do.
Duncan A. crosses the bridge.
“But what will I do without Duncan?” George asks Baker Bloch between sobs.
“You’ll move on son. Forward. But not here.”
“I wish we would have never found that book, that rule.”
Teepot’s Jeffrie Phillips
“It really is unfortunate that Duncan had to be treated like that. But t’was a necessary evil to eliminate a competitor. One down, two to go. Maybe one. Horace Wise did his shtick well. Railroaded back to Dixie he was.”
“Treasure – must – be – protected.”
“Exactly, Potty Steve. They must never suspect we were the ones behind it all.”