Should Toothpick move west to Grimm instead of east to Marwood from his starting point at the Pinemont temple owned by Master Berry? This would cause an alternate path for photo-novel 22, which I guess means the correct path for photo-novel 23. The candle tells him this.
But I don’t think this path should involve Toothpick again. Nor Master Berry, who seems to be the same as MAT (Man About Time). Hmm. Working on it…
“I am alone again, Certain Death.”
“Deaths,” he corrected, staring out at his dancing brethren.
Tickie was getting between good friends Tealy and Tillie. He had to run away. Tenty was the logical choice for a destination, a twin brother from another.
“Ground rules: *don’t* go over to Grimm unless absolutely necessary and, whatever you do, don’t go over to the Slot Mountain Castle. Death within!”
Tickie had heard about a head in a jar named Homer there who use to be a prominent resident of NWES City (*almost* NWES Town, but not quite). He wisely decided to heed the warning of host Tenty.
Tickie naturally looked east for answers instead of the forbidden west (Grimm; Slot Mtn.; Slot Mtn. Castle). They were sitting in identical chairs in back now, but Tickie had gotten up: restless. “Who lives over there?” he asks about the house between the source and the lake of a blue-grey stream beyond the wooden fence.
“Oh, just one of those TILE fanatics, hence the *river*.” Tenty didn’t really like the Tilists, and thought there were too many in the area and on the island as a whole. He stated this to Tickie. He told him about the river of the world as the Before and After, or the Zero and the Nine.
“Like Zero Hero?” exclaimed Tickie, getting excited despite himself. He was a hero worshipper by nature, and Zero Hero was one of his favorites. He’d never heard of a hero called Nine, though.
“That’s Jasper,” spoke Tenty through his tentacled mouth, but in a pretty ordinary man-voice despite this, more than Tickie’s which was kind of squeaky; mouse-like. “That’s the Land of the Dead. The Egg.”
Tickie didn’t know these terms. He felt like he was getting in over his head with Tenty, who use to be a professor of religion/philosophy/games at Northwest NWES but which wasn’t there any more, a victim of the Tar Wars as they called it in scholarly-land. He turned toward Tenty. A realization occurred. They had been here before!
“Tell me about core avatars, Tenty,” he asked, knowing his friend would know a lot. His very close friend.
“Daaaanger,” Edwin the ghost moaned in warning. But Halloween Jack had to find out what lie ahead. The cold, the *contrast*, irresistibly drew him in.
Jack hesitated just beyond where the drab ground turned white, making his shoes wet.
What are these particles of light falling from the sky? He lets one alight on his skeletal tongue. Delicious! Frozen water, melting in the mouth almost upon touch. The ground is composed of these, he realizes. No melt this time! He tries to watch it build up around a nearby evergreen tree but doesn’t have the patience. So much to see! He marches forward, moistened feet be damned.
What’s this? A fellow sentient being? Made of the same ice?? “Hellooo!”
“Howdy!” the snowman cheerfully replied, indeed alive during the season. “Welcome to Christmas! Or thereabouts,” he tacks on. Jack smiled broadly. Sally is going to *love* it here, he thinks.
Soon they were together listening to Snowmanster play a selection of his favorite holiday tunes.
At the top of Slot Mountain, Phillip’s head becomes bigger, anticipating a screw.
Sorry, but that’s just what he was thinking. The important thing: the mastermind behind Our Second Lyfe is here on the island; the thing acted as an attractor.
“I remember you. That Jeogeot art thing.”
“Yeah,” I replied beside him. “We’re back.” I took a breath and looked down into the slot. It all started here, I remember. On this island.
“I died (!).”
His head got big again. He jumped into the slot, trying it out. Didn’t work. He jumped back up. “I so want to get this *over* with.”
“There’s only one way and you know it,” I spoke. “Begin again.”
He jumped back down. He couldn’t help himself. Longer this time. I realized what he was. Back he comes, head diminished. But the whole process is slowing down up here. “When *does* it start?” he asks at the lip. “I mean: life itself. I’m down there but I’m not down there. I’m up here as well.”
“Art,” I said. “Takes time. Building the proper receptacle.”
“A mountain, a castle,” he ritually pronounced.
He tries again, yet more successful.
“Excuse me, sir. I’m looking for the Shanty Club. Francis? You may know him. He’s kind of the owner I suppose.”
“Meat City,” Barry DeBoy metes out. “Just up the highway.”
“Oh,” Baker Bloch exclaimed. “Is this not Meat City? It’s across the highway from NWES.”
“Nope,” Barry reinforced. “Just because it’s across the highway doesn’t mean it’s part of the city, even though this is.” Barry says “city” with some satisfaction. After all, he was there at the vote. His art definitely helped sway the deal. “Go back to the highway. Go up. Look for the stumbling drunks and head right, and then another right past Big Dave’s garage then left. Tell Francis I said hello.”
“A friend?” Baker ventured., trying to remember all the twists and turns to get there.
“Let’s just say I don’t underestimate his *aunts* any more.”
“Oh.” Baker left the small trailer without understanding. Francis explained it to him later at the club.
Barry goes into the Symphony Music Store intending to buy a CD of Schumann’s Rhenish Symphony but ends up running away in a panic after spying Pansy Mouse at the back counter, formerly only seen in dreams. Barry wakes up.
It was kind of irritating how he never wore clothes in the hot tub but octogenarian Drew “Grumpy” Cleveland had information I needed to complete my school project. Pansy Mouse! The mouse history has forgotten. Perhaps I shouldn’t even be writing about it (!). Keep it to myself for later.
“Pansy?” he started after the prompt. “Yeah, I remember Pansy. That was before Mickey. That was before ‘Floydada.'”
What a goldmine!
“That’s very nice, Mortimer. Let’s stop there.”
Through the years population dwindled in the rural community of Pansy. In 1995 the remaining members of the Pansy Baptist Church voted to disband. The church building was donated to the Mt. Zion Baptist Church, an African American congregation in Floydada. The building was moved 32 miles by 140 volunteers from Crosbyton, Pansy, Floydada, and Wiley.
Whatever remains of disbanded Collagesity is more perfectly integrating into NWES City, fully a city now and dealing with its true identity. Sunklands Institute represents the latest move. SI remains private, but I plan to put some public buildings around it.
So many mysteries yet to be solved.
Marilyn was incredulous. “Cook tonight?? Andy, you can barely make *soup*, hmph.”
“I do all right.”
We missed out on our chance at Elberta, brother of mine. She’s gone.”
“Toothpick’s sister? She’s right up there.”
“I know. But that’s her *picture*.”
“Oh.” Boos scratches his unbagged head.
Bogota took another look at the framed photos on the wall through the holes in his skull; had a realization. “Wait… that’s *Amber*. Remember Amber?”
“Remember Neck City?”
“It’s coming back (!)” The memories were focusing…
“Sure glad to have Amber back,” Dickie Doom states while looking over at his golden hued daughter preparing the food for tonight, but wife Debbie knew that wasn’t her real name. Not any longer.
“Dick. We need to talk.”
Deep into the night, far past supper, the person formerly known as Amber and several other names decides to go into the city. She sits on the subway, wishing the town council would vote to get it up and running. But they have so much else on their plate! She’d have to walk.
A new store: Rosehaven Yarn Shop.
But she didn’t have time to investigate tonight. She had to get back home to the Deep South of Black Ice by sunrise or else be found out by the parents. She was a man. She was a woman. Onward to the Red Rose owned by a Peet Aries who she’d never met but Dr. Baumbeer, the current renter, spoke glowingly about. Dr. Baumbeer: another changer, she thought as she passed the yarn store and kept in a straight line northward.
She had to stop to look at a map…
… then she recalled the Red Rose wasn’t actually in the Neptune sim she was currently passing through. Instead: Apple’s Orchard. Where she or he had his or her earliest memories of the city. Good times. She remembers something about a neck. Neck City it was called back them, but that was a faulty implant, pheh. Much like… here she reached up with her left hand and felt something that had changed in the meantime. She recalled Sandy Beech doing the same. Or was it Herbert Dune. She looked around, feeling people watching her — cameras. But no one spotted.
Like any urban area worth its salt, the city was changing.
She couldn’t go down this road any further — blocked in this direction. She checked her watch. 4:15. Time to be heading down to the lower side of Black Ice and crawl back in bed. The Red Rose must wait, she realized. For tonight at least, she would remain a woman.
(to be continued?)
Hmph. This wasn’t here last night. Changes again!
And where did my red cap go??
grooving up slowly
“It certainly is a big monument Hucka Doobie.” It had just come into sight, around the bend of the road as they reached the heart of this tiny West Virginia village.
“Well… he wanted it to stick out.” She crosses her arms again. She didn’t really want to be here. With Baker. But he needed spiritual guidance and she is a spirit and she is assigned, pheh. So in the car with him again, traveling toward Lilly’s obelisk in the skies. Herman wanted it this way. Big. Bigger than his. Love: he truly loved his vampire wife as much as a collaged together munster with another’s heart could.
She resisted scratching her bare shoulder again. Still bleeding, ouch!
“I guess she’d be in Pennsylvania by this point, Hucka.”
“Guess so.” They traveled onward, northward, passing the monument as it cast a huge shadow over their diminutive car.
Baker Bloch and Hucka Doobie had finished their trip through West Virginia. “We better close up the portal before we leave.”
“I’ll do it,” volunteered Hucka Doobie, getting out of the car. “You stay here and make sure no one goes through.” She pats the top of the door twice for emphasis.
“10-4.” Hucka Doobie glares at him before leaving, daring him to add “Eleanor.” She wasn’t Eleanor. Not any longer.
She pauses before entering the code that will shut it all down. “Blue rose,” she ponders, looking at the 2701 Bland Rd. yard sign. “Gordon Cole would be so proud.”
“Okay, we have a touching scene here where Craighead Phillips discovers he can’t get back through the now sealed portal to West Virginia and has to face up to his responsibilities in *this* life. Anna, you’ll be sitting on the couch over here, just letting him run through his thoughts, letting him try to justify leaving in the first place and, of course, still fuming because of it. Annnnnnd ACTION!”
“Okay, before we begin, actually, let’s have Craighead wearing his other hair, the Option 02 doo which indicates he’s done with the portal. David get the other hair and place it on Phillip’s head. And then we need to zoom in on the couch and the sign behind it and then slowly pan out, yes. Let’s raise Craighead up a tiny bit off the couch so we can see the hands. There.”
David finishes switching out the hair.
“Craighead Phillips you’re just the *worst*. What do you have to say for yourself?”
“See it’s great,” Eraserhead Man said afterwards about the beginning, “because you don’t know if it’s Your Mama or Tracy Austin talking at first. We’ll modulate the voice in post-production to make sure the ambiguity is there.”
Since a Rosehaven Yarn Shop exists in both, I’m playing around tonight with a further melding between Picton, Ontario and NWES City of Our Second Lyfe.
Best additional resonance: the overlap of the also recently opened Her Majesty in NWES City with the Regent Theatre of Picton. Notice the parallel crowns in the center of the matching pictures below. And then notice that a girl wearing all black except for a hot pink dress (and seemingly holding a somewhat less hot pink colored coat) is walking directly underneath part of the theater marquee featuring the name *Pink* Floyd. Best guess: since Her Majesty is a bigfoot/yeti in Our Second Lyfe, and a black furred bigfoot is seen standing in the other doorway of Her Majesty (the main doorway here is framing Queen Elizabeth with a kind of menacing look — pic stood out for me) with footprints from him (or her) leading down the sidewalk, then the black clad woman must also be a bigfoot in my eyes, perhaps Her Majesty again in some queer way as transferred from virtual to real. The pink overlap is just a way to highlight this.
And so the actual name of Our Second Lyfe’s Her Majesty may be Vic, don’t you think. Or Vincent.
(to be continued)
her name is Mary York (York, Mary)
“We’re getting closer to something Hucka. I can feel it.”
“Jigsaw pieces,” she responds monotone-like. “Obvious resonance, yes. Keep going.” Her arms were still crossed.
“I’m going to look out the (endless) window again. Explosions! Larger, then smaller.”
“The car, right.” She threw up her hands in a gesture of something blowing up, but still kept the same look. Baker Bloch knew he didn’t have much time before she left again.
“I’m going to figure it out tonight.”
“Riiight.” And then, poof. Gone.