Orange you glad to see me?
Okay, she’d finally found something that interested her in the past. A numbers station, broadcasting all the figures. She could call somebody! She first thought of Charlie Banana, an old lover. Good ol’ Charlie. Peach of a guy. But then a Siamese cat suddenly landed on the table from somewhere on high and talked to her instead. Wrong Charlie contacted (mentally). He said she’d missed something in Paperville and that she needed to return. Thinking the cat meant her blue-green shoes, she stated to it she’d already retrieved them, and plopped them on the table in front of him to gander at. As you can see, she’d also bought a matching dress in the meantime to fit in better with the past all around her.
Was it the shoes? the God-like cat thought, still ready to fill a void if need. But now Axis was in control of Paperville. Poetry Dancer here’s brother, or maybe former brother. And then there’s lover Barry X. Vampire. She desires the past, though. Charlie Banana. All the numbers. He better say the shoes were what he was thinking of and take his leave; regroup; try to find another angle (of communication). The past is the past, though. No changing or altering it. That’s why he doesn’t like to go there — here. No malleability; he likes malleability. Change. Flow. The Siamese cat takes its leave.
“I’ll leave you with the other Charlie,” it said/meowed/purred to Poetry. “It’s my mistake; that was the Charlie you desired in the moment. Not me. My bad,” it apologized again, and then wondered if he was overdoing it.
Charlie poofed out. Another Charlie poofed in. All the numbers.
“Hi doll baby.”
The jazz and beatnik club known as The Dive was actually just a front for the numbers station in a secret room below the establishment. An old bomb shelter. Charlie Banana became humanized after being successfully contacted by Poetry Dancer. They listened to the artful tunes of D.J. Marty, still intent on finding out whether Yoko was a good or bad witch. We’d determined that Mid-Hazel was the real manipulator behind the scenes. Another All the Numbers situation, most likely. He played his Pepper album both forwards and backwards at once to attempt to create a third, higher perspective. Lt. Salt entered the club and
killed them all bought them all drinks. It was an unexpected result.
Kennedy for president
She was trying to determine an exact year here in this place. “Hot Rod Girl”: she remembered that film from the early 60’s — maybe late 50s. But she wasn’t allowed to go to such a racy flick. Some said there was a bit of nudity involved (!).
A black lady in the nearby pink diner. Black people are not allowed in this diner. Not in the early 60s, and certainly not in the late 50s. She gathered she was about 18 or so, or about the same age as herself. Her profile picks led Poetry to this sign which she also didn’t understand, being from the past and all. A relic.
Well of course Black Lives Matter, thought Poetry at the time. That’s why we made them separate but equal (!). She wanders into the gallery of the woman, named Eight. Was Eight code for a gang member? A revolutionary? She’d heard of such people. The single name of a letter or a number came to her mind. She was becoming more ensconced in time. 1921 may be next…
She was looking for particular evidence that would support her now outdated slant on reality. Could she snap out of it?
“It’s a good strawberry shake. I wish we could have enjoyed such a shake while growing up.”
“What do you mean?” asked Poetry, truly confused in the moment.
Parasol changed, staring sideways at… “What did you say the name of that movie was?”
“‘Hot Rod Girl,'” Poetry said, not noticing the change and responding to earlier conversation.
“Another thing I could not enjoy.”
Poetry noticed the change.
“I’m glad you’re black again, Parasol. Now I can get rid of that White Elvis hairdoo. Back to the old self, ahh!” He settles back in his beach chair, taking in the waves.
“How about the ant? There’s always the ant to deal with. Ant,” Parasol by his side reinforces.
The Mann looks from the waves up to the mountains. “I’ll deal with that later.”
“Why do you keep mocking me, Aloha?”
“Because I’m *you*. If you don’t straighten up.”
“Why should I?”
“You’ll keep — flipping back and forth, not understanding between one and the other. You won’t understand why you hate blacks in one life and whites in the next. I’m 18 incarnations up. We don’t actually live on Earth any longer. Instead: Virtual Reality. We’ve learned to transport from one to the other. A deadly virus finally did us in. The ones that could — they came here. In the future that is.”
Charlie Banana took another drag off his cigarette, blew smoke rings in the air. Then: “I’m suppose to believe this, huh?”
“It *will* happen. If we don’t straighten up *now*.”
“Hmph.” Charlie is tempted to peel another banana but resists the urge. He senses — fruits get in the way.
“Catvas I always smells of bird,” Bill complains. “And Catvas II of fish.”
“You smell of lion,” Grassy continued the grousing. “And I smell of, um, sodden earth? Haystacks?” He looks down at his white, sneakered feet. “Haven’t quite pinned it down.”
“We’ll get to Montana and then we’ll know.” Bill leaned in closer and lowered her voice. “Got any more of that wacky weed on ya? I brought some tweezers.”
“Then I’ve got the pony, hehe. We’ll figure out the rest later.”
“I was surprised to find (The) Bill still living in Iris in that neat shack of hers with the great view of the Moth Temple. I thought she’d moved on long ago. But time traces have a way of lingering — if you’re alert to the situation. Which I try to be, bananas and other fruits be darned. Sox. I’m wondering about black and white again tonight, expanded into green and blue vs. red and yellow. Just like the Mmmmmm’s, poor bastards. I suppose Mmmmmm Grassy Noll is still around, maybe even Roger Pine Ridge. Yes, we must journey back back back to Iris, the “eye” of Heterocera. Just for a bit.
“I think we’ve about got it, Grassy!”
“Grass, please,” he reprimanded about his name once again.
Unlike before, they were working on the Flip side this time.
separate but equal
Somehow I always end up in the right place, often smart George A. thinks from his stool chair while staring at a gigantic, leaning tower of vegetarian hamburger he is debating whether to eat. Probably not — he’s not that high tonight. Yet. The red, yellow and red and yellow burger kings or princes or whatever dance synchronized to his side. He dare not look at them again else they go all wrong once more and start prancing on each others foot. Feet. So large. Where’s his joint, he he.
He starts to eat.
First he was on the floor.
I wish Alo Bama would make up his mind.
Whether he was in front. Or behind.
“Thank you for your testimony, Miss Raincoat. You can get rid of the evidence.”
“Thank you my liege.”
“Does the prosecution have, er, any more witnesses to call today? Choose carefully. This case seems almost open and closed.”
“If you will my lord and liege, I call to the stand Uncle Stinky, a long time sailor of the Blue Feather Sea of this fair and fine continent.”
Judge Tronesisia looks around the court, sniffing a bit. Then she spots him with both senses as he enters from the right, grazing the shopping cart full of toilet paper in the process. “Pardon me,” he says while staring into wheeling Miss Raincoat’s stormy eyes. It was hate at first sight. And smell. They would meet much later, but she would be a mechanoid and he a pleasure drone on Alpha 9 by that time. Far far removed from this court perched on the 5th floor of the 5 story Burger Joint building. Prosecutor George A. lived right smack in the middle on the 3rd. You could say this was home base for him. He was in his element, stinky or not. He approached the bench after the witness was seated and the dirty air around him settled down.
“Now Uncle… Stinky is it?”
“Yeah. What of it?” True to a sailor he was salty, he was fishy, oily even. The odor might not be that unpleasant if it was Friday at, say, 5-7 o’clock.
George A. briefly contemplated asking him how he got his name and then dismissed it as irrelevant to the case. This was his ace in the hole. No room for error from this point on. He had to be tack sharp (!). Instead: “Tell us about your adventures on the sea. *The* Sea.”
“The Cube?” Uncle Stinky shot back, like a cannon on a ship of military design. “*The* Cube?”
“Yes, that’s correct,” George A. answered back. He turned and explained to the court that the Blue Feather Sea is often called the Blue Feather Cube or just “The Cube” by locals of the area. He doesn’t go into detail. He turns and asks a follow up. “Do you know about The Mermaid? The Mermaid at the bottom of said Sea? Or Cube?”
“Yeah, sure. But we on the western side of the sea call it The Porpoise.”
“Um — you mean The Jellyfish.”
“Objection,” barked defense attorney Cat-Witch behind him. “The prosecutor is leading the witness.”
“Overruled.” Tronesisia was fair if antiquated. She would see the truth through, like a bloodhound. “Answer the question, Mr. Stinky.”
(to be continued)
Gabby Truth turned over the last card.
“Ahh. It’s just as I suspected. 19 again. The Sun. This means a positive outcome. You *will* be infected. The results will come back positive.”
Tronesisia knew she was a mechanoid and would not contract the strange flu that was going around Cassandra City and the South as a whole. Something else must be afoot.
“What do you mean — infected?”
He decided to consult his trusted magic crystal ball next to augment the magic cards. The meaning of the cards was not wrong but just needed clarification. He had Tronesisia’s question in his mind as he stared into the sacred, smokey sphere. Not ordinary glass by any means, its value more comparable to a Diamond. Gabby’s mind became its mind. He saw — Paper. It was obvious what the next scrying device should be.
“Go!” Tronesisia puts forth her hand to match Gabby’s.
“Good. Paper covers rock. Now we’re onto something.”
Gabby Truth gave Judge Tronesisia a ride back to Toppsity from Cassandra City, since it was his destination as well. No need for the underwater train today. Relief! Tronesisia liked to stay on the surface of things; not get too deep. What if a window broke and her compartment flooded. Rust! The enemy of all antiquated mechanoids, with her as no exception. Gabby gabbed a considerable amount, of course, but it was definitely worth it. She decided to use a lot of head nodding early on. Then she nodded off completely for a while as Gabby talked on and on about scrying devices, his new car, the weather, the strange flu of course — everyone’s favorite topic these days. He must have talked 15 minutes about the significance of the number 19 in her reading, and also Paper. He probably talked 20 more minutes about wedding anniversary gifts starting with Paper and ending with Diamond. Unlike his speedy Little Bastard car, it took him a long time, then, to go from 0 to 60, ha ha.
But then, the witches get the last laugh (as usual). Road block. Literally, a huge block of plywood in the road. Witches sometimes aren’t very subtle in their messaging. Looks like Yoko Ona’s trial will have to be postponed yet another day.
They had to walk and it took them a long time. Finally they reached what was considered by many the northernmost city of Maebaleia’s Deep South. Or Satori I guess I should say, since the North won the 3 1/2 day war (Real Time). I think. Depends on which way the black hole spins for ya I suppose. For me it was retrograde, which means…
“Gabby,” Amos Truth rasps from within the cell. It had been 20 weeks (2 1/2 weeks Real Time) since the last fire. Gabby thought he would be through it all by this point. Usually is. 6 times this has happened, he thinks, staring at his burnt crisp of a brother. “Gabby,” he sputtered again in that sickly, smokey hiss. “I want you to — do — me, a — favor.” He then paused; Gabby leaned in to hear better. “Anything brother of mine. Do you want me to kill the person who did this to you? Can I *finally* do that? I can’t stand to see you this way.”
“Gabby,” he coughed and wheezed again. “I want you to…”
Amos Truth died that day in the no. 3 cell of the Toppsity Police Department. No revival would happen this time. The pain had gone on too long.
“I can’t fight fire with fire with these *witches*,” Gabby seethed afterwards, watching them cart the remains of his brother away from the station and toward the mass grave out next to the old Wal Mart off Route 8. “I’ll have to drown them instead.”
He knew he’d have to see Marilyn next. Mrs. Niagara.
What’s in a name?
Like this dude, he wished his brother had had a funeral with a fine coffin and many flower arrangements spread about to honor him.
The fact that he didn’t (the mass grave again) came to be laid at the feet of a certain person for Gabby. The wrong one. This was witchery as well.
“Get her,” he spoke back to Marilyn, looking at the wrong side of the name and the trees still burning beyond.
“I’ll (*coo*), *try.*”
Wheel of Unfortune
Tronesisia was dead. How could 72 windows in an underwater train break at once? Kevin A. Orchardsity pondered from a couch in a Toppsity boutique he was shopping for clothes at. But he knew none of them would fit as well as his READ outfit, the one given to him by Umbrella. Or something. He *could* testify against Yoko Ona himself. He knew about Paperville; he had important evidence to provide for the trial. Black witch indeed, too late to save from drowning. Because that had already happened to Judge Tronesisia. Shame. He was hoping to ask her for a favor down the road — when his own trial came up. Maybe it won’t happen now. Maybe he can strike a deal with the information he has at hand. Paper covers rock, true, but scissors cuts paper as everyone also knows. So as long as rock is out of the way — and it is (Tronesisia was dead) — he might be okay in the long run. He could turn that waterfall of a mouth Gabby Truth in.
“Cut!” shouted the man behind the camera. “That was great, Stanley. Now one more take, and this time cover the first letter, people. We want this to be a clear A B C/1 2 3 situation. Kevin Orchardsity would appreciate that.”
Tronesisia was dead. How could 72…
“Cut cut cut,” interrupted Penn Mann, checking the new angle in the monitor.
“Okay, one more time.” This will have to do, the famed director thinks to himself, wishing now he would have hired a less buff actor than Stanley K. for the role.
“What do you think, Charlie?” strumming Roger Pine Ridge asked about his new song. “It’s a little more optimistic than my usual fare,” he explains further. “Call it ‘(Life is a) Beach’. Grass and Flip requested it — something more upbeat and lighter to work on, they told me. So I’m just writing about where I am. Right now in my life. Here. Just gotta think of some rhymes to go along with the the music.”
“Fine, fine,” states Charlie, only half listening, with the other half thinking about Margret, aka Poetry. Where was she tonight? Still stuck back in time, in the past. 1950’s still? Maybe even back — dare I think of it — to 1921? Where does that leave *me*? With Aloha? What the hell is Aloha?
Stopping the motion of his pick, Roger picked up on his friend’s concerns. “Don’t worry about Poetry, Charlie Banana. Where there’s a wall there’s a bridge. He starts the song over again, synchronistically thinking of another chord progression he could add to complete the bridge and the music as a whole.
“Another one coming through the portal, mum. Iris-Beach again.”
“Queer. The third one in three days from that location.” Ever-sister ponders the significance of this triple manifestation. “Better alert the witches.” The Tronesisia problem has been removed, she considers. But more trouble could be brewing. Three is always the sign of a rival coven.
The crushed can transferred over with a clank clankity clank landing. Coke this time. Sprite, Mountainy Dew, Coke. There can be no doubt.