She often thought back to that day later on. “What are you doing here in Storybrook, sir, if I may be so bold to ask?” A person of color in Storybrook was unusual. She’d only seen a handful in her 13 years of growing up here.
“I’m looking for something,” came the cold, monotoned response of Arthur Kill, shoes shined until the starless void within was revealed again. “It could be right behind me for all I know,” but he then didn’t look over his shoulder to find the accidental truth he spoke.
The girl? Her friends called her Pink, because she always was. Actual name: Marsha Krakow. And she’s most likely the next star in our Collagesity series of photo-novels, this here being the start of the 19th.
In kin with the now deceased Cpt. Americus, she liked drumsticks, usually holding 2 at a time in this case. Double the fun.
“Can I help you with that tire, Lester?”
“No I’m good Marsha,” came the friendly response between screws. Lester was a friend but not a good friend. She let the “Marsha” appellation go with him. And with most people. But to her good friends, the *closest* ones, and they numbered three, it was always “Pink” or suffer the consequences. She had likewise despised first names to hurl back at them — Betty, James, Clovis — if they slipped. For all of them had nicknames based on color. It was a game that went back to when they were all kids growing up side by side by side with each other on Arnold Lane. Right down there…
Four houses in a row.
Back to the drumsticks…
She often forgot she was holding them for hours after a session.
Most people considered Storybrook a paradise. The white of the light was often blinding.
Arthur Kill knew this and was here to prove the yucks of the town wrong, among other assigned tasks. He could start with the children, he realized, upon learning their names. Their *true* ones. Pink was the first he encountered, at one of the several jobs she held at the time: shoeshiner. “One Who Shines,” she jokingly called herself after he sat down, and Arthur stared through her with this: into the void once more. You will *never* be a star, he thought as she nervously began to rub the first pitch dark shoe with her pink rag. Not you nor anyone else in this town. I’ll see to that. *Marty* will see to that — through me.
Marty should be showing up shortly, red hair back in place. So as not to reveal too much too soon. The peppery black void must be hidden for now.
Gene Kelley, Mr. Fix It of town, waited patiently beside his new work for Marsha “Pink” Krakow to finish her stress relieving ride on the big white bunny in the playground behind the Black Elephant pub.
But then she passed it right by without comment on her way back in. Time for a bit more practice today! She’s calculated that she can be up to 10 minutes late for supper and not get *that* reprimanded. She’s timed it all out. Led Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks” and The Who’s “The Real Me” coming up!
“Afternoon, Gene,” she offered while barely glancing sideways, absorbed in her thoughts of drumming glory.
“Afternoon, er, *Marsha*,” he returned, staring at her as she walked to the side door of the pub and re-entered.
“It’s an *eleph*ant,” he called to her just out of earshot now. “Trunk removal,” he added weakly, summarizing the rather long story about its concept.
“She’s *good*, Katy,” states Keith B., listening in on “The Real Me.”
“Call me *Kate*,” Kate McCoy hawed back.
“Alright, Kate. But she’s not as good as my little girl.”
“Oh, just *shut* UP about your little girl. What about ME?”
03 of ’em
“Who *are* you?” Marsha asked.
“My name is Jane. But you can call me Olive. Olive Green. I’m really just a kid beneath it all. Like you.”
“So I see.” She looked at the contract again before her on the table. With all the information.
“Sign… just there.” She pointed.
June Bug Jane had found her nest egg in Paradise. “Olive Green Pink”!
Two more contracts to create and she’s done.
“Shoot girl. You shouldn’t be smoking in here. And why do you want to go to New York City anyway? There’s nothing but trouble there.”
“Because it’s in the–”
SEAN “Green” Penn swung toward her while interrupting. “*Don’t* say contract. I don’t want to hear about no contract.” SEAN knew he had the appearance of a white child to Marsha “Pink” Krakow, about the same size and also color as herself but a boy instead of a girl. He was indeed “Green,” the grocer’s kid originally from Kraken but now living down on Southside Bay in a boathouse.
“Why not? You signed one too.”
“I did *not* sign a contract.”
“But… you *showed* it to me.”
“I,” and SEAN rapped the table in front of him with an index finger to punctuate, “signed a piece of paper, girl. *Piece* of *paper*.” He sat back, looking at her, gauging her reaction to this truth. They stared at each other for a while, as if exchanging information through their eyes. And perhaps they were.
“Baloney,” she finally uttered to break the tension. “Hogwash. You just don’t want to go to New Orleans.” She threw up her arms in exasperation, and then he did too.
“Who said *anything* about New *Orleans*? We were *talking* about New York, and how to cross Arthur Kill to get there.” But then he remembered as Marsha “Pink” Krakow before him kept shaking her head. He was already *there*. In a bar that plays the Blues.
Or was it Little Rock.
Turns out the bar plays blues and a little rock. And it was in Little Rock. SEAN “Green” Penn was the main act tonight. He had yet to meet Pink. Or Olive. It was 5 years in the past. He only had 5 years to make this right, 5 years to make this right, 5 years to make this right…
After the successful gig, SEAN “Green” Penn and The Mann, owner of New Orleans Blues Little Rock for the moment, got as close to the pool table and the spread out map of Arkansas upon it as play would allow. They mapped out a strategy.
“I say we head for Formosa next, you know, the LOST island. Right up here.” The Mann pointed a little north of Little Rock, or as close as his pointing finger could get.
“How about Mountainburg?” SEAN countered, indicating west. “In the mountains–”
“Ozark, I know. Too dangerous,” The Mann opined. “Too many moonshiners. They’ll want us to stay more and that’ll be it. *Stuck*.” He sticks his finger on the pool table, like it’s glued there. He leaves it for about 3 seconds before removing to enhance the Elmer effect.
“What about Kate?” SEAN then spoke.
“What *about* Kate?” The Mann quickly followed, looking at SEAN’s eastward pointing finger this time. Close to the Mississippi River and Mississippi state leading to New Orleans. Can’t take the chance there either. Current could take them. He told this to SEAN.
“Well…” he said, heaving a resigned sigh. “Better just stay here a spell, then. This (he waves his arms around) Little Rock.”
“We could increase the Rock. Make it bigger. Would that help?”
Would it help? SEAN didn’t know right off.
“Real real good to see you down in New Orleans, yeah. Real reet.”
“*Well*, Marty. We’re not *going* to New Orleans as it turns out. We’re avoiding that boat, that dream.”
“Real reet, yeah.” Then bass voiced Marty stops talking to actually listen to The Man.
“Marty Marty Marty,” The Man starts again. “You should have never left Legos to make the new album. You’re not *black* enough, and I know a thing about black. Why you’re — you’re about as black as White Elvis, and that’s not much.” He points to his wig, perhaps still covering the ant saliva from before.
“Listen,” responded Marty, realizing his own hair is really the only black thing about him.
“Yes, good. Arkansas we’re at and Arkansas we’ll stay. The boat and the stream remain empty, devoid of content.” The Mann then stares at the bar. “And what about this setting? So shallow. Where’s the actual bar with a bartender and all.” He takes another swallow of Jack Daniels in disgust. If only all this were a dream.
“Silly love songs.”
“Yeah. Those too.”
The Man(n) finds The Men again in Penning. Fascinating.
Must have something to do with the nearby Linden pine forest, he concludes correctly.
He decides to stay in this sim and paint. But how to get rid of what’s already here?
He then eats with 3 ant related avatars…
… before falling asleep on a starry horsie.
Night night, Mr. Man(n).
The Ant returns to his temple.
As soon as he enters the tunnel he hears the phone ringing with his sharp ant ears.
Hurrying upwards, he realizes who it must be.
“Oh dear, oh *dear*.”
At the top he desperately looks around for the phone. Where did he put it last? The rings persist. She won’t let up, he knew. Maybe he left it upstairs. The rings seem closer than that, but he decides to check. Can’t find it down here after all.
Up he goes!
Yes. Closer now. But *where*?
Aah. *There* you are.
But then he remembers it’s not a ring you can actually answer.
“Still no answer, Green. I bet he’s a thousand miles away from here, pheh.”
“Maybe you should give it up for today, Pink,” Marsha’s closest friend SEAN wisely advised. “There’ll be other gigs.”
“The Man(n) is not coming tonight, Charlie. Still — I’ll keep an eye on SEAN’s Southside Bay residence for signs of change.
Change, thinks Charlie Banana behind her, just finished with one. She’s *white* now and she talks of signs.
“He’s got a boat, Charlie. A row boat.”
“And he’s heading right toward us!”
After that horrible scissors accident the local police are still investigating wiped out both his parents, SEAN “Green” Penn inherited the beach house and made it his own. For one thing, he painted it green to match the color of his perpetual outfit. He was a 28 year old black man with rheumatoid arthritis developing in his back and neck, but gave the appearance of a 15 year old white boy with developing acne to acquaintances and friends. The *green* was always a constant, though, framed by this house. The house makes the boy/man makes the house in a repeating, reciprocal action, like yin and yang but with no opposites involved except that pitting flesh against wood. Each night he slept, they — structure and body — exchanged energy, paint for clothes. One day he might wake up with the body of the house and the house that of a body but it would be far in the future, if so. These things don’t work that fast.
So his parents died, he inherited the house and made it his own. So what about the white/black part, the dichotomy he presented to first himself and then the world? It happened on August 8, 1988
in a town called 88. He woke up calling for his ma. “Mom, Mom?”, and then he remembered the accident, the scissors, the *horror*. Never, *ever* run with scissors, but it was more than that. (Yes,) *mother* approached father with scissors held high.
“I will stab him,” she said aloud. “He has chosen to be the voice of evil and I will kill him. When I have killed him something will snap within myself and I will die also. It will be a release for all of us.”
But this wasn’t right either. That’s just a quote from that book everyone is talking about these days. “Winesap,” but with a twist of the bitter apple. It involved the game of rock paper scissors that every Our Second Lyfe avatar can play, large or small, old or young, black or white. Rock beats scissors because it can bang them into submission, but paper beats rock because it can cover up the past, which scissors can then expose through snipping. And so that’s what we’re doing. Making a hole, perhaps one for an Ant.
SEAN’s Aunt Bee wakes up suddenly and with a headache, clipping still in hand. She recalls the past.
“I’m worried Hucka Doobie,” spoke Baker Bloch to what was obviously his closest confidant these days, with Baker Blinker over the hill and far far away back in Chilbo with Karoz. He points to the newspaper with the missing piece.
“This plot is more full of holes than a Swiss Cheese Mountain in Ant Town.”
Hucka Doobie looks over at him with, love? She is more aware every day that he is the one. The chiseled face, the sloping debonair hat that originally came from a Rhinestone Cowboy. The leftover traits from his father Spaced Ghost, including the power bands and the, well, she’s heard rumors anyway.
“Listen to that music from the gramophone,” she said, trying to distract. “It’s called — ‘Melancholy’. Originally etched on a 4×4 magic square but in 1961 committed to a round piece of wax and released to the world. 365 singers for 365 days. And those *bells*…” She listens again, lost in a trance. Nap time, like when you meditate but can’t shut off your thoughts.
“It’s very nice, Hucka Doobie,” Baker spoke plainly in his announcer-like voice, just made for a tv or radio show. Just like his dad. “But we have *problems*.”
Hucka Doobie looked at him again. No love in his eyes for her. She knew the rumors to be false, perhaps started by Wheeler herself, the *bitch*. No, she must think peace and love and happiness thoughts. Like the Tibetans she’s been so engrossed in lately. That music — so soothing. She’s almost cutting the z’s again — but, *no*, she must stay alert. She stares at Baker Bloch once more. No reciprocation — yes, that’s what she was thinking about. Then the bells start…
15 minutes later, Baker Bloch was staring at her through the hole in the paper when she awoke. “*Now*?” he queried.
Baker Bloch eats alone in Sanderton. He knows he’s at the end of his rope. All he has left is improvisation.
The lag meter is low today. He can invite someone else in to dine with him. Who will it be tonight? So many to choose from.
But he decides on Axis, since he knows he should enter the current story sometime but hasn’t yet. Might as well get it over with. They switch places for a particular reason, one with the other.
“How’s Venus?” he begins about Wheeler with her new name, her new doo.
“She’s all right tonight,” spoke Axis levelly. “Mars too.”
“And you are Peter as well, Axis.” He indicates Axis’ outfit with a nod of his head while still eating his cherry pie that’s he’s moved across the table with him. “The Tron thing and all. Seems you are *stuck*.”
“I am,” Axis replied plainly, continuing to stare. He hadn’t rezzed any food. He didn’t know how long he would be here. Needed to get back to Venus…
“I’ve been seeing Hucka Doobie myself.”
“Oh?” From Axis’ surprised look on his face, Baker Bloch knew what he was thinking.
“No, no, not *that* kind of seeing.”
“Oh.” The tone was flat now.
“No, we’ve been talking about the plot, the paper or papers it is written upon, and the holes therein.” He takes another bite, cleaning the fork as well, per usual. “Thought — well, thought you might have some thoughts on it tonight. I’m, er, (bite) kind of at the end of my rope.” He pondered the elephant again just around the corner, and the various parts.
“Follow your nose,” Axis said, then disappeared.
Baker Bloch took a couple more bites before uttering, “Well, that was a lot of help.”
The wrong Baker Bloch has moved on. Peter then manifests the hole in the plot physically in Sanderton. “A *rose* would help,” he says while energizing the situation, as he can. And so he becomes one. Peter Rose — Peet Rose. An Old Red Star. Back to the past we go. He moves within.
Sorry, he’s having a little trouble.
He – moves — *within.*
red chair 02
“Linda, I’ve decided we’re going with Legos for the next album.” Marty turns in his chair. “Come on in boys.”
“Golly,” the Loch Ness Monster said when surfacing and checking the name on the train station. “It *does* have an extra ‘u’, hmph. I’ve been wrong all this time!”
And observing Arthur Kill up on the hill lost his life because of it, *pop*!
“There,” said lego Winfield 5 to husband-wife and fellow lego Winnie, smoking gun in hand. “That should do it.” Both watched the body continue to tumble down down down toward the Urq*u*hart Castle.