“So here we are on the hands again, EM. Waiting for someone to cross that bridge.”
“Could be a man with a million dollars, could be some dude with a gun.” He paused. “Both… neither.”
“But probably neither,” opined Sandy Beech, anxious to get this scene over since Cloe Price was waiting for him over at Bay City. Both of them!
Sandy then heard something, a rumbling, getting louder. EM pointed. “Look Sandy, a hog. Bikers again. Spocari Nemoy is going to be *soo* upset.”
Sandy looked as well, but all he could see crossing the bridge was a man not on a motorcycle as he expected, but just an ordinary bicycle. Burning — the actual source of the noise. A Burning Man.
“Wait Sandy!” EM reassessed over the growing roar. The burning man had just come upon the center of the bridge. “Not a hog, a *dog*!”
It was this sight of a “burning dog” (actually a dog fronting a camp fire from his perspective) a little over a sim inside Fishers Island which changed him back, as it should be.
Burning Man became just a Man again. Kevin.
But his feet remained ignited.
He wandered up to the bar located in a neighboring parcel and ordered a beer, extra hops. He showed the tough looking bartender Cyclops Ted his hot foot to indicate he too meant business.
“‘Take me drunk I’m home.’ Haven’t heard that one before.”
“Um huh.” Ted was wondering how comfortably long he could wait before calling his wife Ethel about this one. Long time since he’s seen one of those burny people pass through these here parts. Last dude took out a whole palace!
He glanced over to make sure the fire extinguisher was still hanging on the wall in the corner.
After his 5 beers, he sauntered over to Hellmouth Service Station next door and sprawled out on an old red car seat in front, staring blankly across the road.
The owner Fred Heater (brother-in-law to Ted) came out, followed his stare. “That’s Jonesboro Heights over there. Not much to look at, I know, but still it’s the highest point on the island.” He took a ganger at Kevin, quickly determined he was a biker — but those burning feet! I’ve got to get this guy out of here before he ignites something! “You can actually rezz your bike or whatever over there on that property. Not running you off or anything…”
“Sure you are,” said Kevin icily. “You think I’m a menace to society.” He stared at the owner, fire also in his eyes. “Just like my parents.”
Great, thought Fred. A burny guy with *parent issues*. Just what this island needs. “No, no, you just sit here. Stay calm. Leave when you want to.” Fred looked through the dingy window of his station to make sure the fire extinguisher was hanging in its proper spot — just like Ted before him. Hope the nozzle remains unblocked and the pin isn’t broken, he thought, relieved at its sight. But he dare not check right this minute. Gotta keep an eye on this dude!
“No, no, you stay right here,” he reinforced, hands out. “Don’t get any more excited than you are. Just *relax*.” Fred pondered how to safely get to the phone inside to call Luther. Luther would know what to do. He’d seen this stuff before. The Great Fires of ’72.
He stared down at Kevin’s feet again. And I thought the General inside was bad with the smoking!
Amazing. He’d found it.
Kevin thinks the following: This structure where I grew up as a child reminds me of the cool compassion of my father compared to the fierce competition with my mother. On the one hand, I was asked about renewing my rent not once but several times before snatching a legally deeded property away from under my feet. On the other hand: destruction/removal of a piece of art representing *all* my art without warning. I could go with the kindness and empathy of the former. But my fiery rage identifies more with the latter. I will burn this structure *down to the ground*. It will not exist just like my childhood art doesn’t any longer. Monkey City *this* dear mother.
“So you see, Cloe. It’s all about the interior to that game. This game within a game you are on about. The Basin. We must get beyond Dead Lake — both of them — and enter the place of the burning dog.”
“I don’t like that idea,” returned a worried, slumped over, arm crossed Cloe. “I just want to stay in the trailer park, shoot up some people, and then *leave*. I don’t want to find this door into a hidden place. Just leave me out of it.”
Sandy breathes out. “Okay, okay. I’ll try the other Cloe, then.”
“It won’t be any different.”
“Soo Cloe. Whadda you knoow?”
“Get away. Playing on phone.”
“Just a couple…”
“GO AWAY, JEEZ.”
“I suppose I owe you an apology.”
“Just leave me in the trailer park,” she reinforced.
So he returned to EM at the blue painted coffee shop of Fishers Island, mission seemingly a failure. But EM thought otherwise.
“You got them thinking! They’ll come around. A seed has been *planted*.”
The next time Cloe Price approached the end of the pavement representing the limit of the Gunn Mobile Trailer Park game…
… she suddenly recalled that thing about a glitch which allowed one to go further down this road — into the dirt part — all the way to a place called Dead Man’s Lake. No: just Dead Lake. Dead Sea, something. But it had to be done a certain way. Today, unlike yesterday or the day before or the day before that, etc., she decided it might be worth the risk. Checking back into the heart of the trailer park to make sure none of her enemies were following her (or were left alive, period)…
… she walks over and shoots her oh-so-familiar weapon at what looks like a weirdly shaped grey rock in front of her (the “glitch”). Not once, not twice, but three times.
She then sticks her gun into a suddenly opening black vortex, never to be held or used again.
The dirt road opens up before her. “Dead Sea — whatever — here we come!”
“It’s going to be *beautiful* Cloe, a beautiful scene.
Let’s go take a look again.”
“Dead Lakes and The Basin in one. Fate, my blue haired friend. Beginning of a stream.”
On weekends, when business was brisker, Ruby Roo worked as a receptionist for the Tina Queen Photographic Gallery, located almost exactly a city block west of her multi-story treehouse house she still resided in. But former housemate Tin Tin was no more to be seen, and Ruby suspected that he may have been drafted for the most recent version of the Trojan vs. Durexians war over in the east mountains where Timmy was from. Poor Timmy, she laments. Not born to exist in the harsh environment of Meat City — ideally should have stayed put in the hills supported and nurtured by a loving foster mother and father. But wars do that; separate loved ones from loved ones. She misses Tin Tin, but not nearly as much as Timmy.
Ruby puts on a brave face and continues inventorying the most recent batch of photos her boss Tina had taken during the week.
A very prolific snapper she is! But Second Lyfe will do that to you; so easy to take pictures here. Ruby herself, inspired by Tina and also the more abstract work in the Roads Gallery across the, well, road from this one, has taken up playing around with art a bit. Here’s an example of a computer sketch she made for a sculpture tentatively titled “Scratch”:
Here is a related work-in-progress she might call “Itch”:
Marvelous indeed. The more she becomes immersed in an artistic journey of her own, the more she finds herself attracted to rural and bucolic New Island for setting up a potential future studio — maybe at Mabel’s old house? But is the island still there after the Limekiln Catastrophe? Perhaps it depends on if she *wishes* it to be so. And she’s starting to think she does. She does indeed wish it to be so.
Maybe a switcheroo is needed: Fishers Island exchanged back with New Island. *Fishers* Island is destroyed, perhaps by that new burny fellow who just biked across its westward bridge.
The eastward bridge would then open and allow refuges to return to their former homes there, radiation levels subsided.
It was time to confront Madame Silver at the main house. Ruby’s Democratic Empire must come into being *now* or else the perpetually 15 1/2 year old’s newly laid out plans might be in vain. She knew the experiments were
ongoing going on.
“Oooo, I’m getting more insights from the Big Brain, Axis.”
“Good, good,” replied her partner in crime, not looking over from his tests in the background. He’d seen all this so many times now. Contact with Braynard. “Now how do I make this Spider Baby come into being?”
“It’s the 200th,” Madame Silver says,” removing herself from the enabling head gear and turning toward him. “The brain must be aligned with the 200th. Unch. That’s what stabilizes The Diagonal. We’ll be able to recreate the forest *here*, then.”
“Well, cut me a choice piece of Briney’s specimen and bring it over. I’m recalibrating the coordinates on my end.”
But as Madame Silver raises the knife to do as Axis says…
… her hand suddenly begins to quiver.
She quickly drops the blade on the floor and moves away from the precious brain.
“Ohhhhhh. Side effects coming!”
Ruby was trying to figure out which door from the main parlor of the house led to the laboratory when a large, naked man manifested before her, seemingly taunting her to speak. Knowing no harm could come of the situation, Ruby still quickly pointed out that nudity was banned from the property, the sim as a whole in fact. The man then told the girl the he had voided his contract with Madame Silver and “the whole lot of you Rubyites” could go f-ck themselves. With this declaration, Ruby was hoping he would leave, but instead the hulking blonde began playing the harp, which afforded her the edited photo below.
The 5 doors in the room began opening and closing willy nilly around them.
The many cats on or around the ruby floor became agitated, with some starting to dart about aimlessly.
A voice boomed from above. “Looking for a way into the laboratory Young Ruby?” It was Madame Silver. The man at the harp suddenly burst into flames, then was gone, not even ash upon the floor. “This is what happens when you void a contract with me. This is my warning.”
Ruby later suspected that the man might also be Madame Silver, incarnated just to prove this point.
The cats settled down a bit again, not looking as anxious. A single, wooden door creaked opened. The way to the laboratory, Ruby inferred.
Then another directly in front of her as she passed through the first.
“Is it a place of good…
… or a force for evil, this new New Island?
Fishers Island. Eraserhead Man might know, but he’s already done with this particular Collagesity novel, taking his strange troupe of actors along with him. Loaded onto the Isle of the Top Dog, they are; destinations: unknown. ‘Out there’, as Captain Spocari Nemoy might say. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
Bill/Wheeler paused in her story, took a good look at Baker/Pitch sitting opposite her.
Still wearing his Russian hat (she must look up the name of that thing). Still fretting over when Mary gets home, what she’d like to eat on any given night, what wine to buy her, will her several different changes of clothing with different fabrics have to be washed separately or can it be done altogether. Small problems, nothing that can’t be solved with a little more experience and know-how. Yes, he is knitted together with his woman. And as such, he can never really go back to being plain ol’ Baker Bloch any longer. That’s the takeaway about *him* from this novel she’s receiving.
But herself? It’s a more complicated story, involving Philip Strevor, Marion Harding, True Opp (Tropp — *not* Troop). Maybe we can revisit the third one for more answers. Last we checked, he’s still up in New Eden, hanging around with Madam Mexico and Mr. Peanuts.
“But what did Ruby see there?” Pitch then asked (yes, she’s just going to think of him as Pitch from now on). “What is the ending to her Democratic Empire story?”
“Nothing,” answered Bill confidently. “There was no one in the lab. Just a stack of cheese in its center. And… a moth.”
She hesitated slightly, then: “Wait! There *was* someone there. Is!”
Red. And a bit of yellow toward the center.
But she couldn’t fly to see the whole from above. That was what she was shown next. Ruby’s Democratic Empire, a sky platform, well, about the size of the Rubi Woods.
And then she was *there*. Back at the forest. Coady the wolf before her at 168/168, about to howl “The End” again but this time with second thoughts. *Was* it The End? Was it really, truly, the finale? Really? Truly? Finale?
“Well Coady,” Ruby offered the stuck canine, hands on hips. “What happened to Madam Mexico? Did she get her wall between California and Nevada paid for? Did she fix the perfectly round hole in the middle? Can she still see the cursed valencia navel? Answer me Coady. I know you know.”
It was always comforting looking out from the inside.
The Wall protects, the Wall hides. He could just stay here and talk to trees Lavender, Sprite and Poetry again, project his many photographs into their double souled brains (Poetry being the most receptive). But usually he just took the plunge and manifested on one side or the other. Too many photos yet to be taken! Shall it be California to the west or Nevada to the east tonight? he ponders, continuing to pivot back and forth between the two directions. Once out, there was no easy way back in. And it was risky moving between “states” through heavily trafficked holes in the wall.
Nevada it is tonight.
Sometimes earlier shots with less windlight work best.
That yellow lady having a fit again, maybe brought on by greasy snacks. But my code is record, not interact. I hope she will be all right.
Lavender’s friend Glyph or Gliph somewhat down the Wall likes to sneak into this place and watch shows. But I do not like cages. I do not like entrapments. I like to be free to roam. Still… it is part of my Wallytown experience and I will record.
The lady is gone, and these balls are exposed. Ah yes, I see. Just animations. The yellow lady will be all right.
Too close to opening in Wall. Must hide under pallet for 15 minutes and 23 seconds. 15:23 seems to work best for hiding. Then I can explore the alley. Trees are not allowed in the alley behind Drugstore Orange. Trees are not allowed in a lot of Wallytown places.
Sissy and Natali are here in the alley. I will talk to Sissy and Natali.
So Spocari’s sexy plan worked, Dr. I.C. Yourinsides thought. I can breathe freely down here! No tiredness after 3 hours. But I better get back for another regeneration session with Lt. Gunnhead. No use risking everything at this point.
1/2 and 1/2
Like Tronesisia, Leeman or Leemon has also become mobile enough to make his way over from New Island to Fishers Island and its Wallytown.
But he’s only seeing half the story so far about Bottle Mound, etc. He’s stubborn like that.
“But as you can see, Molly and Tronesisia…”
“Natali,” interrupted Natali/Molly Lustrous. “When I’m out of costume, mind you. It’s more a contractual thing than a personal preference. The name Molly Lustrous© is copyrighted.”
“So I see. I will begin the last paragraph again, then.” Walldo the photo droid started once more. “I witnessed that transformation. Mr. Roger’s head became one and the same with the swirly, multicolored sphere he held in his cracked brown hands. I have pictures of the wall behind him, white or white-grey in hue. But as you can see, *Natali* and Tronesisia…”
He indicates the open space to his left where the wall in question formerly was.
“Catchup and Mustered! Stop pestering poor, drunk little Orange Boy and get back on the counter. Break time’s over!”
“I *had* a girl,” proclaims a still wobbly Fisher, leaning against the bar counter 15 minutes later.
Here we go again, thought Missus Lemon.
“And I let her get away.” Fisher takes a gulp of his fresh golden beer and looks down. “Yellow,” he explained.
“Like me?” Lisa the Vegetarian Smipson stood like a dream in the doorway to Bar Lemon.
Presidents’ Ball 01
“Now that Lisa has arrived on the scene, we’ll have to hide you down here,” proclaims Missus Lemon, happy about the reunion but concerned.
“A drugstore?” asks Fisher.
“Drugstore Orange?” elaborates Lisa, noticing the name on a sign.
“Ahh, you speak Japanese. Even more reason for concern.”
“I learned it while staying in Adgatetown over on the Corsica continent.”
“I know the place,” said Natsu Lemon, nodding. She touches the wall behind her. “Here is the secret door. Quickly — inside. Before someone sees us. I’m sorry it’s a little cramped. And — that other thing.”
“I can’t quite reach it, Lisa.”
“That blue book may hold the key to everything,” Lisa says, trying not to stare into his eyes. “Here. I’ll help. Maybe we can use one of those flasks over there to knock it down. But careful — we can’t *damage* it.”
“History of Wallytown,” says Fisher, watching Lisa get up and move to the table, also trying not to stare. “What *is* this place?”
“Here, let me see.” Fisher grabs the book, rereads the passage Lisa just summarized.
“Soon as we get out of here, Fisher, lover. I mean, as *soon* as we get out. I want you to ditch those bar layabouts Catchup and Mustered and dye your hair a different color. Blue would be nice. Green… anything.”
Fisher finishes up the section, looks forward with Lisa. “So it *is* a demon.”
Presidents’ Ball 02
“Hey Tronesisia, I think this little yellow girl in our user baker b.’s newest collage also happens to be Lisa Smipson of Corsica, coinkidinkally enough, last seen by these metallic peepers on New Island. Fisher had a massive crush on her there. It’s fantastic they get together now — just like *we* are now together.”
Tronesisia pries herself away from the featured picture of the foyer exhibit to rejoin Bendy, who has reverted to the name Lord Bendington the Third for the purposes of this royal gala. As a Baroness herself now, she kisses the Lord on the cheek, then, hand propped under chin, studies the work before her. She’s good with these kinds of analyses, just like a certain bee-person we all know and love.
“Ice Cream,” she then exclaims. “Dr. Ice Cream. This is about the recent sexy union between Captain Spocari Nemoy and the Good Doctor. Heidi, aka Biker Chick, turned out to be just a warm up. Same with Natali Woodhull, at least when she dons the role of exotic dancer Molly Lustrous.”
She turns back to the featured work.
“And ‘Fractured Violin’ is the same, a mixture of red and green blood. Human and Vulcan. Exchange of bodily fluids. That’s how Dr. Ice Cream Yourinsides will survive and thrive on this island, this Fishers Island. That’s how all red blooded humans and aliens alike will survive. Turn to different colors.”
“Funny how all these unions are taking place now in this Collagesity novel 10,” spoke Bendy. “You and I; Spocari and Dr. I.C.; Lisa and Fisher. We must be nearing the end.”
“I predicted 2 weeks ago to the day to Natali that the ball in all its guises would represent the endpoint: Completio. But we should go inside. Rocky is warming up without me. Then after our gig and signature song of ‘OTR’ we’ll have the introduction of the Presidents, all Democrats, all urbane blue Socialists discarding rough hewed, reddish exteriors. And then at the end we’ll meet the most liberal of all. For from now on it will always be Christmas in Wallytown and on Fishers Island as a whole.”
Bendy whistles in admiration of Tronesisia’s prescient
prowess powers. “I’m with you all the way, babe.” They hold hands and proceed within…
(to be continued)
Presidents’ Ball 03
“Still pissing in public, Billy? Where was it last time? Airport, I believe?”
Billy Bloodsworth turned to his sister-in-law. “Listen, we’re both here to support Jimmy C. and cheer him on for The Discarding. Let’s just get along together tonight, Lavender. We’ve all changed down here. Let’s accept that and move on.” He changed the subject. “Do you have your poem ready?”
“Poem?” queries Lavender.
Sprite on the other side of her takes another drink. Billy studies his pained face.
“Umm, how about you, Sprite? Poetry?”
“Sure. You know this special brew of yours is just shite, Billy. You know that, don’t you?”
“Yeah, I only drink it for medicinal purposes myself. About that poem…”
(to be continued)
Presidents’ Ball 04
“Money, get back / I’m all right, Jack / Keep your hands off my stack / New car / Caviar / Four-star daydream / Think I’ll buy me a football team.”
The gala crowd erupts, to which Sprite adds on top: “Tear down this wall, Mr. Orange!”. The crowd continues to clap. A “Tear Down The Wall” chant begins slowly, then builds, until Alo Bama takes the mic and motions everyone to calm down.
“*Freedom*. (pause) It’s what everyone wants, everyone cherishes.” Alo Bama indicates Sprite sitting back in the crowd. “Like our tree friend Mr. Sprite, waiting to be unencumbered by the shackles of The Wall, ready to join Wallytown as a *full* *fledged* *citizen*.”
The crowd claps enthusiastically again. “With inalienable rights,” he says over them, calming them down once more. “And established levels of treatment honoring decency, character (pause), respect.” “You go Alo!” someone shouts in the rear, prompting him to reply, “I’m going, I’m going. ” Scattered laughter is heard. “I’m telling it like it is.”
“I thought you were going to dramatically change into Green Squirrel or Roger Pine Ridge or something to show who you really are,” spoke Natali seated beside Sprite now, his date for the night.
“Ahh, it just didn’t seem to fit the bill. Didn’t feel right. It was *my* poem and that’s what counts.”
“I suppose… oh he’s starting to talk about the Bottle Mound indians now.”
“On the one hand,” Alo Bama extends his left arm and opens his hand. “Orange. On the other…” Alo Bama extends his other arm with the mic. “Purple… Violet, some say, although they prefer the former and we should respect (pause) their rights. And they’ve fought with each other, fought, fought, fought, down through the years, the centuries (pause). And what’s come of it, hmm?” A “free the trees” protest comes from the same person as before in the back. Alo Bama ignores it this time.
“Death is what came of it. And *disappearance* (pause) in time.”
“You know he really is quite the orator,” opined Dr. I.C. Yourinsides to Captain Spocari. But when he didn’t respond she found that he’d fallen asleep.
“*Really* Captain. But I guess you’re all knackered out from this afternoon, hehe. Twice a day keeps the doctor okay.”
“And now. (pause) The Mound. (pause) Comes here. Leemon or Leeman standing on the beach just beyond 1/2 refuses to even admit it is there. He can’t fully *see* (pause) this *new* New Island. The Greys *descend*…
… and fall backwards, face down (pause) in the sand.”
“When’s he going to get to Jimmy?” whispers Billy Bloodsworth on a back couch to Lavender. “I can tell he’s nervous up there, ready to come out of his shell like Alo Bama and Bill C. did before him.”
“Be patient,” replies his sister-in-law. “He has to get to the point in his own, circular way. That’s what makes him such a great speaker.”
“Jimmy was better.”
“Nice of you to say.”
(to be continued)
“And *then* what happened, Young Ruby?” asked Indigo on the left.
“Yes, please tell us more!” implored Indigo’s sister Ragdoll to her right.
“Well,” stated Ruby. “There’s a picture here, and then the text, let’s see, continues on the next page: ‘But just as the shell representing Mr. Peanuts’ rough hewed, reddish exterior started to crack, Madame Silver’s boos arrived and began attacking the city. Wallytown and its infamous wall were destroyed, freeing the tree beings living inside — those who survived. But like the legendary phoenix bird, the city rebuilt itself from the ashes. Trees and humans — all different colored beings with their different colored blood — began to live together in peace and mutual understanding. With no wall this time around, Fishertown, not Wallytown, became its name moving forward, after the island it continued to thrive upon. The boos were ultimately beneficial, although at first they seemed to spell The End.'”
Seeing empty space below this, Ruby turned the page to reveal a blank one, then checked the back cover before closing the book. “And that seems to be it, my friends.”
“Hmph. Good story,” offers Indigo.
“Yes. Good,” said Ragdoll, nodding. “Let’s start another one tomorrow.”
Ruby puts the book back onto the shelf with the other volumes.
“Well Ragdoll, I hate to disappoint you but it looks like the end of Mabel’s run of journals.” She counts them off: “Starts at one, yes, and ends… 4, 5, 6, 7… at 10.”
“Oh no,” exclaims Ragdoll, truly distressed. “What will we do now during our afternoon gatherings?”
“Yes,” adds Indigo. “We’ve gotten so use to reading and talking about them.”
Ruby’s wooden foot then kicks against something hard on the floor. “Oh wait, gals. Looks like there’s one more after all — must have fallen off the shelf.”
“Oh goody!” yelps Ragdoll.
“Happy days indeed,” purrs Indigo.
END OF “COLLAGESITY 2018 LATER”!