Slot Mtn. Castle
She dreamed she was in a grim place. She had to get to the head before the head got to her. She saw the head, the head sawed she! Little skulls littered the cell floor. Like hers.
“I need to find you 102.”
“Things are breaking down here at Slot Mtn. my precious precocious child. You will not be able to hold me much longer in your net.”
Toddles thought of Canada, of the weakening of Our Second Lyfe. When was a breaking point? Perhaps *now*.
She decides to take action. The grandma will have to be drugged again, pheh. Always the bad headache in the morning for her when this happens. She never suspects. Her precious precocious Toddles! But the grammy also doesn’t understand the Boos collages and their inherent Canadian-ness and will always favor the earlier Red Umbrella works and not understand that if things change in them it is because of the future which is the now. *102* is trying to communicate with her. But Casey One Hole, the a-hole of a man sitting before her and stating he is about ready to be let loose upon this virtual world with no checks in place, wants or is seeking the same thing. The Dirty Little Wet Seed is Adam: Atom-man. This produces the Green Tree. And inside the tree is Lemmy. And Lemmy is the one that can end the 102 and the salvific effect if he stays pat, protection (safety net) withdrawn.
But whose head is in the jar now? That must be the next question before we proceed further. I can’t quite get the right match. It’s not Homer. Not any longer. I don’t think.
Casey One Hole, formerly Taum Sauk of Bigfoot, Blue Mountain Urban Landscape (or thereabouts), US of Our A, continues: “If you place the right head in the jar, child, then maybe, *maybe* Your Second Lyfe can remain intact. I’ll allow that at least. Whose head did I hit with my mighty club to dislodge it from the body? Is it Homer still? The name certainly fits because they found it, bruised and battered, far over some left field fence. Think about that, child, while you stare at your Canadian images in your Canadian gallery with the 102 sister firmly set in place at a certain point.” Casey One Hole stops. He’s said too much. Must be all the caffeine for supper.
Sister? thought Toddles. Sister!
She knew this was the one. “I’m going in, Grammy. Wish me luck!”
“Hi Toddles! I’m Hucka Doobie! Grab a shovel and let’s start *digging*. We’ve got to get me away from that club!”
Oh dear, she thinks while shoveling and staring into the resulting hole at the corner of this western Canadian yard. What have I gotten myself *into*??
“Faster, faster!” the bug eyed, yellow headed bee-being who cannot dig himself commands from the side.
The ball comes. The hole is dug. Just in time.
She went into the yarn shop and clicked on Tigertail to teleport. Soon she was with Archer, Peet.
“Aries is not the only one involved,” he reinforced to the psychic, precious toddler, soon not to be a toddler as he urges her to change before returning to Canada or thereabouts. Picturetown he thinks it is called, Pictown for short. Close enough. Maybe he’s not as involved, okay, but he’s a busy man, er, spirit… man. I remember it all ended with Oz, big loop completed. I asked him through the child.
“Return?” He drew back, took me in better. Smiling, he returned to his former position. He looked at his hands. I realized I saw him more for who he really was than a cartoon-ish shooter of arrows. “Okay, okay, I admit I controlled *some* things. The Stripe joint over in Post I think it’s called. That was for the other Peet. And you of course.” He spoke rapidly. I knew he was super intelligent, just like the partner. It would be difficult to keep up. Much like with the records. “Soooo, what are your plans *now*? Are you just going to move to Canada?” He got more into character, changed the accent to represent something more ridiculous and surreal. “Leave your old mawmaw to rot in her virtual grave? No no no no,” he said while shaking his head. “No go, no good. We have to keep you and your granny together. So she’ll have to go too.”
“Canada?” I ventured in my wee voice, just as cute as my looks.
“Listen, we’re going to have to reorganize this whole trip. It’s 3000 miles from Tugas- tugask…”
“Tungaske,” I finished for him.”
“Tungaske, sure, yeah… anyway to get to this Pictown or Picturetown or whatever, you’ll have to have a car. And, um, *you* can’t drive.”
I hadn’t thought of that.
“Anyway, forget all that forget all that,” he waved off the line of thought. He looked over at the pool table behind us and its triangle of spheres. “Soooo, this Homer, er, *Smipson* is the one ball, the round yellow fellow.”
“No,” I corrected, misunderstanding what he meant. “It *use* to be Homer in the jar but now it’s Hucka Doobie the bee-person, or at least the head of the original bee body — more bee. She took his place; more spher-oid.” As a toddler that was a considerable amount to say at once and with some odd words so I had to rest my tiny mouth a moment before talking again. Luckily Peet Archer had a lot to utter in the meantime. Here it is:
(to be continued)
The Mist was heavy in this part of Thornwood, a new Rosehaven sim formed since he last frequented the queendom/kingdom this past winter. He wondered if he had lost his way again.
He glanced at his coordinates. 181, 181. He’s okay. He’s on some sort of Diagonal again. Good ol’ Diagonals. Now perhaps to take further advantage of it.
223, 223: Yes, most definitely something to this (!). Better report back to the others.
It’s often not what’s directly on the Diagonal but what you see from it. I’ll keep that in mind.
winter is here
She was walking past the Rosehaven Yarn Shop when she had an epiphany. She goes inside. This is *my* shop, I mean, *queendom*. But someone else would disagree. A brother! He would say *kingdom*. So much like… who? *Mother*! And I take after… the father, pheh. Tully. It’s all coming back like the hot kiss at the end of a wet fist (thanks Peet!).
Winter. Just like when: Baker!
She stands on her Castle and thinks about Sanctuary.
She describes the parcel. “Planet X, in the same sim of Icefyre as Mercury X. (Rising). And then the Mercury capsule just beyond in Neptune sim’s Neptune Bay. So many planets I see.”
“Icy planets, yes. Well: Neptune. Planet X I suppose as well, since it’s suppose to be beyond Neptune. I think.” Merry Gouldbusk’s sometimes lover Sandy Beech looks around at the sandy beach that represents the 512 parcel known as Planet X. Not much here. Just a couple of palm trees, couple of chairs and a “lounging boat”, a central patio fire, and several bags that use to contain men’s sandals before they were unpacked and put in someone’s inventory. Presumably the owner of the parcel, one [delete name].
“I suppose *this* is my queendom now. I can’t go back to Rosehaven. They already have a princess. I was just a (stunted) double for another.”
“True enough.” Sandy thinks here of his own doppleganger, a more cartoon-ish version of himself named Desert Knobb.
“Annnnd CUT!” Eraserhead Man calls offscreen in front of them. “That was great guys. Since Sandy is thinking of Desert here, let’s just switch him out. So Walter, if you would just change places with Herbert over there. Just say the same lines that Sandy was suppose to say in the script. Improvise if you feel the need.” The 2 actors switch places. “Annnnnnd ACTION!”
“Have I ever told you about the place I’m from? Great Belt? It’s very close to here: Icefyre. In fact they…”
“… may be one and the same,” Merry completed. Sandy was on his beach, Sandy was on his island. He can never leave. Just like me.
“It was a little toddler. Just like you Toddles. In fact…”
“Don’t say it,” she requested while having another spurt. We had just finished up the 3rd game of pool after she sank the Homer ball — as we started to call it in game 1 — for the win. I retrieved the yellow sphere from the side pocket and placed it back in the center, along with all the others. Losers have to rack. I kept pondering while I did. Toddles was now about 5′ 10″, so not a toddler. I was wrong in that, a loser once more. 3 feet to start, then a little under 4 1/2 after the second, then this. How much would she grow? I thought back to broken Big Boy at the entrance to the abandoned and clearly haunted park with the baby holding a doll. This tall? I fairly easily made it between the legs, but clearly an error to enter.
“Continue your story,” she requested while bending over to break the triangle (*crack!*). 6 balls sunk right off the bat; odds are stacked way against him to begin. With height comes increased skills, seemingly. I decided to appease her.
“Kite flying Jimmy Jackson and fly fishing Johnny Jimson were down at the pier, absorbed in their pastimes and trying to ignore the stench of the bodies that had freshly washed up on the shore that morning.”
“‘Ahh, there’s our old friend Reader perusing the octopus book’, I said, peering around the pier more, ‘perhaps looking for a smell spell to end it all.'”
“Octopus? Where’s this going?” she asked. The 7 ball was sunk, then the 2, then the 6. Did she even have any left; had she already won once more? He checked: not the Homer ball this time, but the orange, the 5th. It seemed to smile at him, telling him she was the one, the only. Here was All Orange in the flesh. The pool stick lowered, aimed…
“… annnd *CUT*!”
character studies, Black Ice locations
Mary Pippins’ red umbrella and the Red Umbrella gallery
Bake’s Bakery (newly relocated!) with Barry X. Vampire and pretty Poetry Dancer
Zapppa’s apartment? (dreaming of that chick down there)
that chick down there — actually, those chicks, including the Her Majesty bigfoot/yeti in the doorway just down
Toddles roaming the mean streets of Black Ice at night again after drugging up her Grammy
Stumpy, the new bartender at Moe’s, smoking bong hit after bong hit while listening to noise rock with Gotham the psychedelic reggae monk. He’s got a head! He *is* a head!
Charlene Brown the punk working late night on her cryptozoology dissertation, unaware that off again on again boyfriend
Barry X. Vampire Jeffrie Phillips is with Poetry tonight, the bastard
Melvin the devil boy offers a passing skateboarder some suspicious looking soup while half-sister Eldwina ponders her 1st assignment as an official member of the City Squad. Knew it! thinks full brother Judd from the stairs.
coming up roses
“Where does it say we are?”
Cat-witch Esmerelda searches some more. “Rosehaven.”
“Rose *Heaven*?” Mid-Hazel responds, perhaps in jest.
“Haven. Like a place of rest.”
“Rose Haven, then. Is that two words?”
“One. Rosehaven,” she says quicker.
“We’ll make it two to separate it from the locals. Won’t know where to look for it when we make our reports.”
Esmerelda the cat-witch stopped typing. “Shouldn’t we ask them first?” She looked around the face but not directly into those always scary, dead white eyes of hers. Never the eyes, or not for very long anyways. She could still feel them boring into her like steely beams of hate.
“I do not wish to confront the ruler of this land to ask that question. Unless you have other suggestions.” Mid-Hazel didn’t want suggestions. She wanted obedience. Esmerelda shook her head. “No ma’am. No suggestions. No *more*.”
Mid-Hazel then nodded, pleased in the moment. She looked out the window at the freshly fallen snow. She could hide here for a while; make this a hideaway until the hubbub about the Bellisaria murders calmed down. The bodies kept heaping up as she looked around and saw more enter the room where she just committed the first. Did Jenny Lind plan to have a *party* tonight? she asked as she stabbed some more. It was a rhetorical question. Obviously she did in some manner. 1-2-3-4, then the 5th to top it off. All Orange that one was. Mid-Hazel figured Aldebaran as a home planet. Aliens in Our Second Lyfe. She’d heard of such things, of course, but never this close up. And orange blood as well: hard to tell where the wound stopped and the person began; All Orange indeed. She carted them out to the garden for burial, not knowing the gardener was due the next day to reseed the roses. Soon enough, the top of an orange finger stuck out of the ground. Aldebaronians were extremely hard to kill, and had the ability to heal themselves to a remarkable degree. Mid-Hazel didn’t know that fact. The finger clawed and clawed and got another orange finger free, then the 2 worked in concert to free another, and then the 3 another, and then the 4 another, the 5th. All Orange had emerged. The hapless gardener took her place in the makeshift grave. All Orange was a killer as well. She had faked her own death to get revenge.
“Rose Heaven?” she asked her typing assistant later at a different but not dissimilar location, another witch hideout.
“Haven,” the assistant responded. Perfect.
Besides the addition of the Thornwood sim, not much seems to have changed in Rosehaven since my brief residency there last winter. I left because of a seeming misunderstanding. I had overlaid a mythology on top of one already in place. My princess wasn’t their princess, who I talked to a bit. My queendom-kingdom wasn’t theirs. Merry Gouldbusk (my princess) doesn’t wish to return now and is resigned to remain with Sandy and perhaps other lovers in NWES City and NWES Island as a whole. She might be the same as All Orange but it is difficult to tell — certainly she is gold or amber in skin tone and that’s pretty comparable in color and may be close enough. What of Breeze and Wendy, who also hang around Sandy: collectively, the “Breezy” archetype? Merry Gouldbusk seems also to be the same as them — maybe. And what about her donning that red, MAGA-style cap before the election results were finalized and that side lost (yes, they lost: congratulations Joe!)? When we saw her wearing it she was heading across town to Dr. Rabbid Baumbeer’s Red Rose building, which he rents from Peet Aries, who is similar but also different from Peet Archer, a new-ish character in this here blog and photo-novel, 23 in a series of 20. But we know similarly red capped Barry DeBoy, the abstract artist featured in photo-novel 22, also resides or at least use to reside in this building as invited by Baumbeer. He saved the town with his art created there, specifically through a design called CITY, a combination of triangles and squares to tile a picture without internal gaps. TIGER may be another word for it but, again, unsure; we are not privy to the details of the saving so far. But my point here is that Merry Gouldbusk, in the moment, may have also been the same as Barry Deboy through that cap. We’ve only seen him once in the current novel, and in a different location more on the east side of town than before — across the highway, but not in Meat City, although (that suburb) is across the road from the main part of town as well. Sorry: *city*. As usual, we are dealing with many mysteries at once, and with blurring of plot lines and involved characters. The city and overarching island is a labyrinth to be solved, if not a maze. Let’s go with labyrinth, because mazes are designed to confuse and labyrinths aren’t — one path in and one path out for the latter. And we have our center now: All Orange. We just don’t exactly know its nature yet. Aldebaronian? Powerful witch Mid-Hazel thinks so. She also wrongly thinks All Orange is dead now. She believes Rosehaven, which she’s changed to Rose Haven to hide it from the locals, is up for grabs. Her assistant cat-witch Esmerelda is not as certain. She thinks it could be a plant.
Flock and Feather
“According to my list, you’ve been very naughty this year, Mrs. Claus, very naughty indeed! I don’t know *how* you could have received any kind of present, ho ho ho.”
Mrs. Claus shook the package. Sounded like a belt. Joy!
At the counter in front of the Santa’s Village dollhouses, Jane noticed the absence in Baker’s eyes; figured he was looking around the place again, creating more counterfeit stories. “One question, bub,” she decides to insert. Baker’s eyes became unglazed, focused into hers. “Who’s the Princess of this here fair land? You better say the right one. Or: out on your keister!”
Baker figured he’d be out on his keister soon enough. He wanted a couple of answers beforehand. An attempt. “Yes, of course Selena is the Princess.” Jane’s wild look in her eyes tamed down. He leaned forward a bit. “Hey, I heard you had some kind of Tragically Hip tribute concert in here the other week. I’m not a fan fan, but I always liked that one song of theirs quite a lot; quite haunting.” He decides to say the wrong name for fun. “‘Lions, Tigers, and Bears,’ I think it is called. Or maybe I’m thinking…”
“You’re thinking of the Oz movie,” said Jane sternly, noting the clock on the wall. 15 minutes till closing. Home to the cats again after that, maybe a call from Herman Fisher. The big lug. “Try again.”
“Um, ‘Lions, Tigers, *or* Bears’?”
“For God’s sake, it’s ‘Tiger the Lion,’ just the bestest song ever invented. John Cage would agree!”
“Yes, I recall now.” All art is meaningless. Real Life is the only true art.
“Sooo… you *seem* to have woken up now. Are you *woke*?”
It all depended on Murdoch’s Castle, Baker realized, but he couldn’t ask about it. Not yet. He paid for his drink and left, allowing Jane to start closing up early. Good move. There will be other nights.
Yes I’m Cake
“What is it, Twin Wendy?”
Pause. “What doorway?”
“She came through the cake portal off the Southwest Corridor.”
“I know where the cake portal is,” black haired Fern Stalin reprimanded the more mentally challenged Lichen Roosevelt, a classic ditzy blonde. “What have you found so far?” Understandably, and good to know, Lichen was a subordinate to Fern, which is why she got first shot at an analysis before the bigger gun moved in. Fern’s mind could turn into a fiery, raging bazooka if needed.
“We know she’s not fully human, maybe as little as half human. As you can see, there’s a pink-ish tone to her skin, and I’m not talking about flesh colored pink but pink pink, as in ‘Some Like It Hot’ pink.”
“Looks pretty cool to me,” Fern stated, eyeballing the being and not sensing a Marilyn Monroe type situation. This *red* could turn out to be pretty smart, like herself. That old saying, black and red good in bed, spontaneously sprang to mind. But yellow’s a different fellow, some tacked on. Like herself. “What else?”
“She’s got scars on her face, perhaps from an operation. Oh, she’s got 4 stomachs. Like a cow!”
“She *doesn’t*.” Fern let her guard down in the surrealness of the moment.
Fern frowned but was proud of Lichen for the joke, since they had been talking about the TILE Manifesto and the line, “And so on the 5th day he cowed”, just this morning at the commissary kitchen — good setup. Maybe her intelligence shows up more in humor. Didn’t she use to do stand up comedy down at the Toasty Toad? Or was it Tasty? She could check later on the interwebs. Maybe that was Pete Perk over at marketing, come to think of it. Lichen was just dating him, just tagging along. And something happened to Pete, yes, and she had to take the stage. He choked on a toad? No, that can’t be it. He choked *at* the Toad. Got stage fright. Lichen filled in. I remember, yeah, she was pretty good, pretty tasty. Something else… ahh, back to the task at hand. The intruding alien. But what if this really *does* have something to do with TILE.
“Let’s get back to the face marks. What size were they and what part of the face were they on? Could be a disguise, like Eddy the Phosphorescent Leech over in Zilchboro. Did you check the scars? Did you measure their width, length, angle, and depth?” Fern knew Lichen in all likelihood didn’t do this. She had the upper hand again as usual.
(to be continued)
Carrcassonnee looked over at the spot she had just been. Sepisexton she was now, both the 7 and the 6. It was time to move on from the great olive being and the great olive body. It just wasn’t working. Not right now anyway. Syd was a way out. And TILE.
She walks away from the new spot into the future.
“Hey Roosevelt. Remember when we use to be black and yellow clowns over in NWES City? Funny times. That’s where you started your stand up comedy isn’t it.”
Okay so they were the same avatar at the core: Wheeler Wilson. This black haired Fern Stalin, this yellow or blonde haired Lichen Roosevelt, the ditzy one — the “Yellow Kid” — and then the red dooed Wendy, closer to Wheeler than any of the others in the moment because she was being read. It was a newspaper situation, then, black and white — well, yellow — and then the thing being scrutinized, the alien, the intruder onto their lands. One Wendy Wilson from Arkansaw, Kansas, they determined. Yellow journalism all around, because this was not as advertised. They made it into a way bigger deal than what it was, or at least Lichen did.
“Tell me more about this nephew Stumpy,” requested Fern later at the interrogation, 3rd of the day (Friday) and 15 minutes after she ate her last supper (chicken). She was ready to end it all. She hadn’t talked but she knew they would break her down. Pain wasn’t her ace in the hole. Instead: pleasure; hole in one. If the year 1898 gave us the first silent Oz movie (Star Wars Negative 10), then 1948 ended it all. “Tell me about TILE, about how you came about getting *here*. We’ve been here for almost 10 years. Why *now*?”
The pills manifested in her mouth, 1/2 red and 1/2 blue. Purple, then: dare she go through with it? Her sentence was almost over. And so on the 5th day (swallow) she…
“We were so close, Lichen,” expressed Fern afterwards, staring at the bovine remains. “This explains a lot. I’m ready to start studying that manifesto with you in earnest. Let’s go to this Stumpy’s next meeting; tell him about his loss and what we saw.”
“As much as we can.”
“Right. And get Herbert to clean up all this mess.”