“So they began playing together, even touring together away from Pipersville, the home base. Daughter and father; Jenny and Keith they were called in the days. Well, Keith never changed his name. Jenny, of course, became Your Mama.”
“Of course,” I replied to Detective Biff Carter. Because he was an officer of the law no more. Not since Oakley. But who am I? Just an observer for now. Call me Smart. Like a Fox. Clever, even. Back to Biff…
“I was here when they played their first gig away from home. Sitting right at this bar listening in. Oh that woman, that *girl* at the time, could sing. And Keith. Well, he was adequate on drums. Never guess he’d eventually become a member of a major rock band, let’s say. And, as you can see, he’s still got the star on the drums; hadn’t got rid of that yet.”
I peered over at the illusion on the Cassandra City stage. Keith B., bank employee of Pipersville whose boss recently told him to keep daughter Jenny out of that room at all cost. So he went into the garage, found the drum kit buried under a heap of old moss. Pulled it out, dusted it off. Practiced. Here we are.
Biff Carter stared over at me. “I’m glad I found the Man About Time, even if it didn’t turn out the way I expected.”
“Yeah,” I agreed. I decided to test my new catchphrase. “There’s a Sucka born every half century.”
“Overlap,” he replied, nodding. “Good idea. Train the replacement.”
two three 02
He’d have to enter the building sometime. But at what time? All of Humanity hinged on (t)his decision.
Mermaid or Jellyfish? He’d soon find out.
02 03 03
“What do you think?” the Bishop asked the King in the middle no more. Out of the way.
“Cool. Half and half, right? The store is half mine correct?”
Bishop turned to face the Gno King squarely. “What game do you think we’re playing now?” he replied sharply. “*3* dimensional chess?” He spat on the sidewalk with this.
They took turns eyeing the building down the street. King went first. King also went last. Middle no more.
“So it was actually the very next night the drums changed over. To the celebrated circle within a circle.”
“Yes,” states Biff Carter, still drinking and explaining at the bar. “They were celebrity spotting in that small park outside the Seraph Club on the other side of town, the *uptown* area, when Jenny noticed the poster.”
“Hey dad. You’re more into British stuff than American, aren’t you? More Union Jack than Stars and Stripes?”
“Sure, baby. If we were in Real Life.”
She pointed above her father. “What about *that* for a logo, then?”
“And, as you can hear, there’s improvement even in the drumming tonight. The symbol actually makes the man in this case. He’s entered his ascent. And, sadly, this trajectory would eventually cross his equally ascending daughter’s at the Room.”
“Back to the Room, then.”
“Sure, baby. I mean — just sure.”
The 3rd night, Jim (A.) Brown came down from Pipersville to hear his home duo. Owner of Jim’s Club of course, the one everybody dug in Pipersville. Well, he got an earful; realized he couldn’t hold on to them and they would outgrow the bounds of his small venue. “Soon enough you’ll be playing places like the Seraph Club on the opposite side of town,” he declared to Keith afterwards at the bar, who was still wiping his forehead from the excitement. Jenny had gone shopping for trinkets up in Chinatown.
“Yeah, maybe,” Keith agreed, nodding. “I don’t know, I don’t know. Something’s just — *entered* me all of a sudden. He looks back at the drum kit and the circle within the circle. “I feel like (he turns back to Jim), that I’m in a different place now.”
“I would advise you to remember The Room — where you come from.”
“I mean, ahem, that’s kind of what I’m doing.” He swigs his drink again. Martini. Dry as a sinkhole.
“What about the maths? What about the theorems we worked on? You know that Sink X can’t actually be a sink. None of the Maebaleia depressions are. We’ve *proved* it.”
“Shush,” he motioned with his mouth and hands. “Keep it down.” He looked around to see if anyone else from Pipersville was in the room with them by chance. No one spotted. Todd A., who also came down this fateful night, was escorting Jenny around. But that was their plan all along: to leave Brown and Bower together for a while for a man to man talk. Because Jim and Todd knew what was going on before they arrived. The Brown-Bower experiments hadn’t even existed before this.
“We made it Brother Amos,” spoke Gabby, who had barely stopped talking during their whole trip down from Toppsity. “*Twin* brother Amos,” he declared. “Fellow Gemini; no doubting of that. Now all we have to do is find non-twin and non-Gemini brother Keith B. and save him from The Shallows.”
“Where he’ll be murdered,” clarifies Brother Amos from his own bike.
“Killed at the very least,” supplied Gabby Truth, who always tells. “Hills. Of Bill. Keep him out.”
“Keep him out,” echoes Amos, almost as excited as Gabby about finally arriving in half empty or half full (take your pick) Cassandra City. It was not the destination they had planned for their escape. Not atall. Golden Sink… or even further north, had always been tops on the list. Maybe the Lake District. But something told them to turn left (south) instead of right (north) when leaving their cursed home village via Route 8.
“The 4 colored clown and her monochromatic opposum must be here,” Gabby spoke, half in a scrying trance; not unusual. “Soon at the very least.”
The brothers got off their bikes and locked them up with the rest already on the rack. Jim’s and Todd’s. Jenny and Keith had come by bus. Tillie and Tealy were walking. Cindy A., perhaps the last to arrive but also perhaps the first, came or comes by plane. Wealthier than the rest she is. Later: the poorest of them all, sometimes not even being able to afford to walk. One or perhaps even two more by boat. Identity or identities yet to be determined. Maybe the Bishop and his center-no-more King. Let’s see, who else? Craighead Phillips seems trapped walking around another half empty, half full (again, take your pick) Bluefield city in West Virginia, Real Life, USA, so he may not be a candidate. Besides, he may not even be born yet, since we’re in the past, before Jenny became Your Mama (for example). Tracy Austin appears similarly stuck around the Blue Feather Sea, another BLUEF (since the variant name is Bluefeather, pronounced BLU-fe-ter by some). But, again, it perhaps doesn’t matter since she may also not be born. Think that about covers it. Oh, I guess I should explain more about the Man About Time/Marcus Fox Smart/Professor Suckaluck triangle. But I might not have time tonight. Have to get to Tillie and Tealy!
“What are you doing?” Tillie questioned her fellow, colorful travel mate.
“Calisthenics. What does it look like?”
Tillie faces the yawning gap again. “Yes,” she agreed, pondering doing some stretches herself. “Looks like we have a longer journey than anticipated.”
Cindy A. finds the plane of her dreams.
More correctly, it found her. CRASH!
She was never without it again.
Until the stocks began to sink.
It was the more unusual of the buildings at the X marking the center of X-City. Well, what was left of it. Orange it was, and elongated. With circular sides ghosting a circular front in my opinion. For I’ve surmised what this building actually is. We’ve seen the address before.
The X marks the portal between Real and Second Lyves. Sign.
I knew who the mermaid inside was at the bottom of it (bottom writing). But she was something else. Not a whale, although that’s part and parcel of the legend. Not quite a jellyfish, but that was closer. Squid? I haven’t quite connected the dots. Dot dot dot…
If only she could tell us herself.
There was only one other character I could introduce to attempt to put a face on it. We’ve seen *him* before.
It’s a matter of time. Does the face remain (2) full and smiling or does it become (1) smaller and then (3) wink out, leaving us with nothing.
“Whale! Squid!” She waits a beat. “Whale!” She waits a beat longer.
“Do you want me to make any more?” questions Shallot’s brother Jinn by her side, knife in hand.”
“Aww, no use. Chinatown is not what’s the happening place tonight. *Everyone* is up at the Seraph Club exploring Dean Martin!”
“Martin and Lewis this week,” agrees the more English fluent Jinn. “Rowan and Martin the next. Then after that, who knows. Maybe that Mr. Rowan Atkinson Bean who is so popular on television these days. If patterns hold,” he furthers.
“Too true brother.” They wait again.
“I’ll take one.” It was Jenny (future Your Mama), approaching from the bowels of the sub-town, fellow Pipersvillian Todd A. in tow. Trinkets filled her small backpack.
“Whale or squid?” Shallot asked expectantly.
“Don’t let her tell you that’s whale,” blabbers Jinn. “It’s a shark substitute. But shark (name) doesn’t sell as good as whale.”
“It’s *not* shark, Jinn.” returns an annoyed Shallot. “It’s just… a different kind of whale.”
“I’ll take it,” responds Jenny, looking up at Todd A. “Whatever — both of them.”
Then, around the corner, Jenny leans against the side of a building and opens the 2 containers, one after another, studying the contents in each.
“You’re not going to actually eat that are you?” queries Todd in front of her. “Because I’m sure not.”
“Nah.” She throws the food into a nearby gutter. “Just wanted to see what these Southerners eat.”
“Southerners,” grumbled Todd A. with her, and they moved away from Chinatown after that with only plastic souvenirs.
Cassandra City was certainly big enough. Difficult to take a long range picture of, though. Too much of the infrastructure not rezzing in properly with that draw.
Jenny attempts to draw parallels with ancient Crabwoo. “2 sims, not 1,” she utters to escort Todd A. another night, because their act had been so successful that they were extended for 2 more weeks. 2 weeks! Jenny would have plenty of time now to explore the burg. “Crabwoo was larger spacially,” she continued. “But perhaps not psychically.”
Todd A. was getting the sinking feeling that developing Cassandra City was just Pipersville heated over. Where’s the equivalent to the room? he wondered. Where’s the missing laundromat, record store, bakery? It all seemed overly ambitious. And, as we all know, Our Second Lyfe has definite limitations. Lag is always an issue in such crowded spots. And it’s just going to get worse as the city fills out more. Perhaps smaller Pipersville had it right, Todd thinks another time. Build around a lagless, forbidden void (Sink X). Crabwoo too in a way, since the 6 protected sims of the Blue Feather Sea laid just to the northeast. Waterless sink vs. filled sink: which was better? It was a debate that underpinned all life, all activity on the continent, really. This is where TILE comes from.
Jim A., of course, scrutinized the large Seraph nightclub at some length. Soon Pipersville’s Jim Club would be no more. He knew he couldn’t compete. And his house band was leaving soon — he could feel it in his bones. “Might as well rent the building out when I return,” he spoke to Keith B. after another successful gig here. Sweat was pouring off his body. What fun! The circle within the circle certainly did the trick. Keith commended daughter Jenny on the idea again and again. Until the end.
And Jim and Keith were doing maths together. Keep that in mind as we continue our story.
What about the others? Tillie and Tealy had finally arrived in town after circumnavigating the big lake just to the east of Cassandra City. In fact, that’s what most of the local yokels called it, simply enough: Big Lake. One of the problems with that appellation is that Northerners applied the same to their Blue Feather Sea sometimes.
Which brings us to another issue I wanted to talk about: the division between North and South on the continent, how it all got started. We turn back to the handy “Second Life Tourist Blog” entry on Satori/Maebaleia:
To get an historical perspective: In 2007, when this continent was constructed, the media was full of articles about Second Life. It was less than a year since Ansche Chung’s picture had been on the cover of Business Week, and there were many residents wanting land. According to the old forums, the Lindens were auctioning off multiple sims at a time, and some went for very high sums….
It was not until late in the next year that the roads in Satori (Route 8, 8A, 8B, 8C, and the Old Wagon Road) were completed. Because some of the sims that were in the right-of-ways had been sold, many roads have dead ends and are connected by false tunnels with teleports, or billboards with teleports. The map kiosks along the road are a big help.
Bottom line: Roads were split between North and South on the continent because of bad planning. You can see the gaps on this continent map I provided before: Route 8B (blue) was suppose to connect to Route 8C (yellow), and so on.
Only the eastern part of Route 8 ran the entire length of the continent north to south. Not by accident, the most heavily bombed highway of the brief yet intense Maebaleia/Satori Civil War. They couldn’t even agree on a continental name. And, I think, this is where Real Life Bluefield also comes into play…
(to be continued)
The “East 4 x 4”, one of the two most intensely fought over areas of the Civil War, which includes looping, heavily bombed Route 8 to the southwest. In the center: Athlone Village. We must think long and hard about the synchronicity that this very village, with the very real portal leading to Bluefield, is at the basic center of it all, lying halfway between the disconnected portions of Route 8a in Aragonese (North) and Ellingson (South). This whole area use to be a beautiful patchwork of interconnected orchards. Now: mainly waste.
Check it out yourself. I’m not making the connection up.
But then we also have the complimentary “West 4 x 4” to its immediate, well, west, centered by the Hills of Bill, another battle laden hot spot.
Together: the “8 x 4”, essentially the continental band that separated North and South, running almost from east coast to west coast (coastlines not as involved in the war). For period of about 2 years it was called the Neutral Zone. Keep in mind that 1 Real Life year is equal to about 8 1/2 Second Lyfe years here, so a little under 3 months to us flesh and bone peoples. The war itself lasted about 3 1/2 days to us.
The exact middle of the 8×4? The very summit Marcus Fox Smartville stares at in this earlier post:
Turtle Hill some call it, because it is green and shaped like such in the past, before unnatural terraforming on one side took place. The Green Turtle to others. A logical candidate for the center of the continent itself, shared between North and South alike. And it was on this very hill the peace treaty was signed. Blue Feather Douglas himself came down for the ceremony. His Southern counterpart, Grey Scale Kimball, had the flu and could not make it.
(to be continued?)
Yoko sometimes had this daydream of a vast underground behind the red doors across the street. She wondered where it all came from.
She met with Cindy A., Jim A., and Todd A. in a secret Cassandra City niche on Wednesday. The A.Team they’d dubbed themselves, the seed of the surname erasures. “You sure you guys want to go through with this?” Yoko asked after the niceties had run their course. All nodded in tacit agreement. No one dare speak the deed aloud at this point.
Jim A. had worked and worked at the maths, making sure everything checked out. Now all they needed was a test. But where? Jim thought again of the forbidden sinks, particularly the 13th on this day, the so-called Super Bowl. Could it be possible — no — but: what if… what if… in ancient times…
It was a combination of abilities. Jim A. had the maths, the brain, Todd A. was the genius in project management, and Cindy A. provided the technical expertise. Planes to rockets — not a big leap in her evolution. Professor Suckaluck should have seen it all those years back (“Maebaleia, pheh. *Satori*”); reported it to the Northern authorities. Because the A.Team — Cindy A., Jim A., Todd A. — were never really from the Pipersville area. They’d rehearsed the accents for years before the move.
Cassandra City, Queen jewel of the Deep South. They were home again.
All looked around the table before leaving, realizing they had a Keith problem. Keith knew too much. Keith was in the middle, which, as we all know now, is unfortunately in the way. They had lured him (and themselves!) down here through trickery. Now the trick was to throw him under the bus. A Magic Bus.
It was as if the world turned upside down on her. Witchery in Cassandra City. She knew it had to come from Toppsity slightly north, where the elements were all f-ed up thanks to the battles. *She* was a witch. But what did it all mean? She couldn’t remember that crucial bit yet.
Triangle: the triangle must be signed and sealed. That’s where it all starts. One hand on top of another on top of another on top of another…
“Well it all just sounds so fascinating Tillie. Seraph Club. Dean Martin!”
“And James Dean the week before. We just missed him!”
Tealy turned to Tillie. “I’m sorry. I know. One of your heroes.”
“Marion, Indiana,” she spoke. “I was there when it happened.”
Tealy pats Tillie’s near hand. “I know.” Tears began falling from her face, splashing onto Tealy’s hand even. She changed.
“But looks like he’s back!” Tealy then encouraged.
“Marion, Ohio this time,” spoke a transformed Tillie, clutching the L$50,000 tight in
her his lap.
“It’s the only place we could go to get away from Cindy A. Everywhere else: planes and rockets okay. But not here.”
“Let’s go find Little Jimmy,” Marion Star Harding urged, still lugging the attache case around with the required money.
“It’s the same car as at the gas station in Cassandra City, Tealy,” spoke Marion in his cool gangster style.
“I believe it might be.”
“It is,” reinforced Marion. “I have a photographic memory. This is the place.” He blew out air with this. Some things never change.
“Freebies!” Tealy then utters, pointing to a nearby pillar while waving his hand before his nose, a familiar gesture.
“No, it has to be that one car. Where I was born in the parallel lives. Patterns. Stick to patterns.”
“Okay.” They move on.
“We’ve seen this bastard before too.”
“Toppsity,” declares Tealy down below. “Toppsity?” he then questions Marion.
“X-City,” corrects Marion, pointing to his eyes and head.
So here it is, Tealy. The *real* bastard.”
“Little Jimmy,” states Tealy religiously. “So it is true.”
“Cradle to grave,” Marion Star Harding manages, crying again now. “A life well spent.” He changes.
“L$50000 well spent,” returns Tealy, still wishing they had tested out some freebies before purchasing such a golden egg. CHA-CHING. *Sit*.
Marion Tillie knew they now had a fighting chance against the machinations of the A.Team.