It was all so very funny, Supper Man and his new arch-nemesis Toothpick battling it out for the right to marry Dinner Girl and/or Elberta first. Because their fists and, occasionally, feet kept passing through each other. Neither was real. Onlooking Barry DeBoy determined it was a dream a while back because he was wearing the red tie. In reality he didn’t possess this tie any more — gave it to Miss Graham the schoolteacher in exchange for… what? A life without the 5 looking on. A life without Pan-Z. He felt the precious tie one last time before waking up, instead holding the air in front of his chest as it vanished into nothingness again. The Great Void. Blackness. “Yippy tie one on I suppose,” he tried to humor himself in the moment, but he’d also heard the word “tile” used in that expression recently over at the temple. Funny again. “Yippy tile one on” — made sense as well.
He rolls over. Helloo, who’s this?
Dreaming still. Wake up, wake up! But he didn’t want to suddenly. Wendy wakes up instead, tells him who he is. Not “Q”, because that’s already been covered. The symbol on the hat could pass for a “Q” but he didn’t want it to now, not for Wendy.
“Annnnnnd CUT! That was great guys! But — Wendy. We need to get you out of *that* dress and into the blood stained one as soon as possible! The Twins are breathing down my back, bearing down on my neck! You need to be invisible down there.”
Wendy knew what he was talking about but didn’t care. Wasn’t she Miss Graham reincarnated? She was. Didn’t she give Hucka Doobie the red tie procured from Barry DeBoy in a similar way before and send her away? She most assuredly did. Baker and she were getting too close. “Barry, *you* are Baker,” she said earlier. “You are the artist that is going to paint CITY and save us all from suburbia.” He turned it over in his mind like a rubik’s cube and saw the truth in it. Better get back to work…
He was dreaming again, hence the tie. “This is a little f-ed up,” he said to the woman nearby, who didn’t reply. No, he didn’t like this place. He had found a limit. Wendy would not be his daughter or something. He’d leave all that to Toothpick and Elberta and their Deep South ways (!). He’d have to talk to Eraserhead Man about this shoot, compare it to DaBob in that other production he worked in, the one less famous. Or was it more famous. Snap out of it, snap out of it! he cried inside while snapping his fingers, which, of course, passed through each other. Tarboo Bay, DaBob, The Twins… they were all together; all in on this. What does it mean? He better get Wendy to safety and out of the shiny light of revealing film while she’s still wearing that dress. He knows a guy who knows a guy in Snowlands who has a remote-ish cabin kind of tucked away in some small woods, getting smaller by the month but Barry DeBoy doesn’t know that in the present. He’d only find out about the deforestation of Purden in the future through a rogue Snowman gone good instead of the usual bad but still with a bad Santa, one called Satan, an obvious anagram (too obvious). The Snowman’s name is… well, let’s just wait. Regular readers of this here blog and derivative photo-novels probably already know the name. Let’s just make it the title of this here post.
Barry 02 01
He woke up somewhere very different than before. Twilight. The lamp had not been turned off from the night. The cat Nappy purred beside him, half aware that his master had awoken. 1/2 and 1/2 once more, but I’m suppose to limit (that expression) to one per photo-novel section at the most, as prescribed by my word therapist Bob the Knob who I don’t really like that much so I may insert it more. Or less. Damn Bob. Recommended by Richard, who I haven’t talked to since session 3. Or was it section 3? NO, there was no Richard in the story.
I’m admittedly getting a little confused about all the names (finally! the reader might utter here). Barry DeBoy who just woke up here in a strange but then very familiar land shares a first name with Barry X. Vampire who arrived in our text in photo-novel 18 — and also *writing*, at least partially, said photo-novel. He was a creator like me within the
pages posts of his own creation. Mirror within mirror, etc. But the mirrorings seem to be increasing lately. It’s time, for example, to face the fact and the music that the two Barry’s in our novels — let me check (checks) — yes still only *2* Barry’s. Anyway, they are probably the same, and my rationale — well, I won’t go into it in detail but let it just play out in the text. Returning to the awakening DeBoy version, then…
Took him a minute to realize where he was after gaining consciousness but as he looked around at the tall, brown grass, the dilapidated buildings and signs, it dawned on him, as the sun, let’s say, gained height over a yonder horizon. Home. Maw may even be here, even older than before. Some called her Pink, some just called her Star, but her actual name was Marsha. Marsha “Star” Pink. All three were correct, I suppose. But what am I doing here thinking about names? I must think about *action*. Barry tried to recall where this shed was in relation to his house where he grew up as DeBoy, who started as simple D-Boy (one who makes a lot of D’s, etc.) but then changed in stature within the community as he received the tie from… who? He recalls something about another Barry. Himself? he realizes. From the future or from the past?
Suisan might know. If she’s still around — or still alive for that matter. Always wearing that mask while growing up, always afraid of the germs and viruses swarming, she put it, in the air all around us. And now her fears have come to fruition. The Jasper virus, the mother, is here. He peers in the direction he remembers that his mother lives in. Home. She could still be there.
But then another whole series of memories locked into place. His mother had died! Along with Suisan, along with a friend named Brown. Along with another friend named Green. Maybe someone named Olive, even. This was a land of… he looked down at his hands. He attempted to swat one with the other but it only passed through. Yet another dream. His mother was dead but then she was alive, at least during *parts* of his childhood. How could this be?
(to be continued)
Barry 02 02
He awoke again a little later on in the day, not having moved from his spot in front of the Raccoon typewriter. Nappy the cat stared directly into the camera, aware of its presence. Eraserhead Man even dared to wave at it, thinking the noticing was funny. Barry DeBoy was not aware of it. Barry DeBoy was in character. He had awoken again, in the same spot as before. Someone, perhaps himself, had turned off the lamp. More clarity all around this time. Wadded up papers on the floor — was this something *he* wrote, perhaps a future or past version again? He picked one up, unwadded it. Something about a place named Gaston. Later he found parrot droppings on the floor of the shed and put two and two together to make four or five. A pirate with a parrot had been here, and he thought he knew which one. The dream controller. The one who brought the virus in his pirate ship for communities that didn’t heed the warnings. Like maw’s Storybrook. Like this place. DeBoy tries to remember the name, the most obvious thing he should recall. But all he could come up with was The Waste, which he knew wasn’t quite right. Something about a number. Or numbers.
He unwadded more; tried to piece together the story being written. Gaston had appeared in something called a photo-novel in versions 6, 11, 16, 21. Through this, the bastard pirate had concluded that it was related to something called a Magic Square of Jupiter, a 4×4 glyph that appeared, perhaps most famously, in Albrect Durer’s print “Melancholia” from back in the 15th Century or something — this from the pirate text again.
He finished unfolding the papers, shooed the conscious cat from the table, and tried to align them in correct order. 70 pages total, he understood from the numeration. But only 4 present here: bits about the magic square and the overall theories but no meat, no details. He would have to shift his attention elsewhere for more answers.
He turned to the stool and the easel holding a canvas on the other side of the screened in shed. Painting. Barry DeBoy realized he had two functions in life now. He was a writer. He was an artist, if not a painter then the equivalent. But in this moment: painter. He had work to do… he remembered that too. The CITY design. Black Diamond. He must get to work soon.
He wasn’t a writer in this incarnation. He was an artist. He wadded the papers back up and threw them in the trashcan underneath the desk. The true story of Gaston would have to wait until another day, another dreamer in another day perhaps, or one who dreams he is real even though he is just another character, one in a long long line now. Maybe he will share a first name with another of his kind — quite likely, given the sheer number. But before DeBoy gets to work — this is *his* work station now, not the pirate’s, not anyone else named Barry — he must explore the neighborhood. Find Suisan if possible and get the story about his mother. Maybe even — maw? He had to look. He had to know. Suisan would know. If she was available.
(to be continued)
Aah, the old sign remains.
And the cats! So many cats. Now to dare try the manager’s door. Hell’s Here!, though. He attempts to ignore the warning and return to his childhood. Hello There! instead (!).
“Hello there!” he finds himself automatically uttering as he passes from outer to inner.
To his great disappointment, he just then wakes up for real, the presence of his mother unresolved.
This cat was a little better trained.
Barry was sleeping on a different couch but in the same old place: the old Same Place, a restaurant adjacent to the Pink Motel that had a duplicate or doppleganger in Tinseltown. This is what happened to him as an acne spotted kid when he and his mother had an argument, often about grades and schooling, sometimes about church and religion, occasionally about the status of the world in general. Marsha “Star” Pink was an optimist, Barry a born pessimist. Or was it the opposite? Heck, let’s jettison the whole idea of discussing the world in general. Let’s focus on local. Barry was sleeping on a different but familiar couch. It reminded him of the one in Norm the Cashier’s Flower Shop but that’s a future memory instead of the past.
He wakes up remembering something awful happened. Bullfrog, a friend of the family, had been killed over in NWES City, known then as New WES City before the shortening and way before the CITY decided to remake itself as a town to counter all the copycat but obviously inferior “cities” spring all inside and around it. Like Meat City, like Zen City before (destroyed by an atomic blast much like the one pictured on that vending machine in the above photo). Like Collagesity, with sity equaling city. You know. These are not Collagesity photo-novels any longer, but something else. Sunklands for the moment because that’s where *my* home is. Not Rubi as in the past. Not Fordham, or Urqhart over on the Corsica continent.
Pink knew Bullfrog from her mother who was
green Green. An EEL of a man is often how her mother described him, but she was conservative leaning. Bullfrog was progressive and that’s a fact, and that fact which got him killed by a red headed and red hatted evil entity known as Lu Ellen Hutchison (or Hutchinson) played by actress Alice Frame in Act II. And now she’s back as similarly red topped Wendy. Barry DeBoy knows nothing of Wendy now, or that he is directly sleeping with a mortal enemy back in Black Ice in the present. He is ensconced in the past, in the dream. Bullfrog has just died by gunfire and his mother Marsha “Pink” Krakow, not yet a Star — neither Trek nor Wars — remains in shock, and Barry along with her. This was Uncle Bully to him, a friendly not hostile moniker. How could this happen?
(to be continued)
“A message from Elberta,” she chipperly chirped to begin.
“Oh yeah?” He’d been waiting a long long time. He’d cross his arms and tap his foot to signal impatience if he possessed any. About all he had left were some basic facial features and his gruff, booming voice, now reverberating across a sickly, cold, monochromatic basin.
“The deed is done. The Smipsons bartender is gone, perhaps even dead.” “Like yourself,” Bethulia the messenger chicken wanted to add but stopped herself, ending instead with: “You can move in.” Shakily, one might put it, as she continued to stand in its shadow and stare at the dark, foreboding spheroid, the realization of what actually happened dawning on her. This was not warming sunbeams, light. This was the opposite. The cosmos had been swallowed whole, starting with the pole.
“Remind me: which of us came first?” Yes, Karl wasn’t quite ready yet to return from the Land of the Dead, the Land of Jasper. He remains a zero, a null, a void — for now. Not a true hero any longer. Bethulia relays this observation back to Elberta and gets fed lots of feed for it. She’d almost made a vast mistake. She didn’t realize Karl and Moe’s deadly Egg were the same.
It occurred to him tonight while wandering around the old Same Place that he might be going slightly mad, kind of like Mercury X. Rising toward the end of his shortened life. In real life there is no such thing as a dulciwheel which plays a tune of complex design before him. He’s notice some time slips lately, and duplications. Heck, *he’s* a duplication, since there’s another Barry of similar, complex design in these here novels, art and writing in one. But after thinking about it more, he’s determined this is mostly projection from others. He *appears* mad but he’s not. No ghost variations here. And he’s been studying Robert Schumann, another dude who famously became mad toward the end of his life. Maybe he should stop listening to his music. In fact, that tune…
He quickly exits this portion of La La Land, needing some air. He walked right past Suisan sitting at the door, not noticing her presence. “I heard you were back in town.” Muffled talk through an omnipresent mask. Same old Suisan. The old Same Suisan. Suisan Same. Daughter of the owner of this here place. Makes sense she’d be here, then. Barry turns.
“Suisan! I’m glad to see you. But you scared me in the moment!”
“How come? This is the old Same Place. Makes sense I’m here.”
“Yeah… suppose. It’s just.”
“You’re *not* going insane.”
“No buts. I’m here to talk to you. About your mother, heck, anything you want. Even, dare I say the name, Pansy Mouse?”
“Let’s take a walk,” Barry DeBoy urged to his old friend, one of his oldest. She was there even before the beginning. Before the tie.
(to be continued)
“Remember? I asked you to select a pencil to begin. Pull one of the 4 pencils out of the desk, I said to you that day long long ago. 30 years?”
“Maybe.” He recalled the desk of course, the pencils, the *dunce cap*. Always making D’s he was back then, until Suisan got her learned hooks into his hide.
“And low and behold you pulled out the 4th, the hardest to do. I knew you were special then. Do you still have the pencil?”
Barry DeBoy stared at the desk, indicating the 4 pencils. Suisan understood.
“Yes, you had to give it back. You couldn’t take it with you all of your life. Instead you received the *tie*. You traded the pencil for the tie. And so here you are.” She indicated, in turn, Barry’s omnipresent tie, at least in Dream World, La La Land.
“Do you see all the planets, Duncy? *Sorry*: Barry. Old habit.” She turns slightly red here. “But you’re only suppose to see one.
“*There* it is. Appearing from a hidden place. Neptune. The icy planet. I.C.U., hehe. Remember we played that game with Neptune? You learned about the solar system and eventually the milky way and the whole cosmos that way. Nothing was hidden from you any more. Thanks to that pencil.”
“Mr. Johnson came to call. He’d learned of a special boy in our class who could alter dimensions and make the 3d appear 2d. A special gift indeed. He wanted the boy for himself. And it was Johnston, not Johnson.”
“We almost made the mistake of sending you away, Barry. We would have never found you again.”
“I’m Neptune.” He points to the now fully exposed blue planet slowly slowly revolving around the sun. Slower than any of the rest, even stinky Uranus, which will eventually catch up with her. Because Neptune is a she. He’d seen her once in the high grass beyond Le Mars. But he didn’t want to think about what she was doing there just then. In the moment.
“One more,” Suisan requested.
“The bomb, Barry. We never finished our childhood puzzle so we could move to the adult ones. But now you’re…”
“An adult,” Barry surmised. He understood the message. He must awake and get back to work. Zen City was gone, but there was still Meat City, Collagesity. CITY must be purified of all these hanger oners. Suburbia must be cleansed.
Goodbye, er, The Waste. For now.
Clued in by his recent dreams, assigned artist Barry DeBoy searches the *city* for inspiration. Neptune, a central city sim to be reckoned with again!
Uh oh. Dr. Baumbeer out for one last spin in the batty-mobile before he has to put it into storage. Watch out!
Okay I’m here watching the Mercury capsule at Neptune Bay like Buster told me to, Duncan pondered. But I don’t think anyone is hiding there — I’ve been watching for hours now.
Just keep her inside, he requested. Don’t let her drown or anything but just keep her inside until the shoot is over. “Okay,” he said. Anything for a role other than prison.
“There she is in person(!)” Kick Ass 01 (Boos) said over to Kick Ass 02 (Bogota) about Elberta standing at the bar in the background. “I gotta hand it to me, pal. I sure can pick ’em!”
Bag wearing Kick Ass 02 was not staring as much now. “Yeah, but she’s not exactly what I expected. I remember, well…”
“Prettier? Don’t say prettier, pal. Because she’s a knockout(!)”
Kick Ass 02 looks over again. Were they talking about the same chic?
“Hello boys!” she calls over, drink in hand. But which one? One way to find out.
“Good job,” he pats him on the back while they walk over, but for reasons other than congratulatory, ha.
“Shop’s closed,” Judd offered from the stairs, staring at the back of his sister Eldwina, who was dressing more and more like a little hooker each passing day, he thought. Maybe she would join the City Squad soon.
The coffee shop just down the walk was most assuredly not closed — perhaps the kids were talking about another place (they were). Charlene Brown the pseudo-punk was washing her hands when I came in, looking for stories.
“Be with you in a minute,” she calls as she counts. 16 Mississippi, 17 Mississippi… almost done. 19….. done. She turns.
“Oh it’s you. Haven’t seen you around in a while.”
“Yeah. Almost forgot how to get here. And then those kids…”
“Aw, jeez. Don’t get me started (about those kids).”
“Yeah, the one on the stairs…”
“He’s *always* sitting on those stairs.”
“Yeah, he said you were closed up.”
“Nope. As you can see. Maybe he was talking about the old Same Coffee Shop. It’s a basic duplicate of this one. Except: closed. That must be it.” She studies him more. Maybe a little grayer around the temples. Maybe a new wrinkle here and there. But not much change. For all the passing years.
“I’m here again.”
“Oh?” A twinkle in her eye. “She’d just dumped her 5th boyfriend in 5 months. There was the age different but… he was still attractive. She liked the gray. Distinguished, as they say. “In Black Ice?”
“No, but just up the road.”
“Apple’s Orchard?” she guessed again. “Neptune?” She paused. “Marwood, even?”
“Marwood, that’s it,” I decided. “Up at the new temple. I stay in an apartment in the air.”
“I don’t get up there that much — the northern part of the city.”
“Now now,” I reprimanded. “You’re not suppose to say that word any longer.”
“City?” she provided and then smiled. “It’ll change. We just have to get rid of the *other* cities clinging onto the main one. Like…”
“Meat City,” I proffered. “Zen City — well, that’s *already* gone, poof.” I threw up my hands in a poor imitation of a miniature atomic blast but she smiled all the same. Always laughing at my mainly lame jokes. Good ol’ Charlene. I decided to ask about Charlie. I wish I hadn’t.
“It was Halloween night. Just day before yesterday, then. Out in the pumpkin patch. He didn’t listen to his pseudo-girlfriend’s brother about the demon that always showed up there that night. Neither of them made it. Just a blood patch now.” She starts to cry again, tears dripping into her cup and on the tablecloth. I didn’t know what to add. I’d said I was sorry several times now. I desired to leave, frankly — this wasn’t the story I was looking for. Oh look, though, she’s holding my hand now. She’s looking deep into my eyes with that twinkle again. Maybe this will work to my advantage. The last time we saw each other I was obsesssed with another. But I’m older now; she’s older, although you’d never know it. It’s like time stood still for her. And maybe it had. Did she make a pact with someone, ho?
And what about that ill placed vending machine over there we got our hot beverages from? That’s new. Just then, Jeffrey Phillips’ cup vanishes into nothingness but Charlene’s remains. She knew how to replenish it automatically and bridge the gaps.
In the closed duplicate coffee shop, Apple 02’s chair turned sideways and she knew lover Appleyon’s plan had worked. Now to get back to Somerset and try it on Apple 01. The bastard.
I am wearing a red cap for some reason. The skeleton opposite me has just flipped over the Ace of Spades from his own deck, the death card. But I have an ace to counter from mine. But my ace is red. I lose (*SLICE*).
MAT (Man About Time) wakes up with a gasp. He knows how the vote about the town vs. city moniker is going to come out. Good news! He can’t help but feel his neck, though, to make sure it’s on nice and tight (phew!).
PICT ON PICT…
“Tiger eyes, moved from the front of the head to the back to meet in the middle again, just like (with) Aunt Fannie. Black Diamond is revealed. It is time to tell the truth.”
“Partial truth,” I respond.
“Black Ice is not Black Ice,” I spoke to the city or town council, as yet undecided. *Maybe* tonight (!).
“Well??” Head councilman and well respected resident Walter “Homer” Westinghouse was waiting for an answer.
“It’s Black Diamond.” Gasps from the members at the meeting. They hadn’t heard that name in a looong time.
“Bu-bu-but *Diamond*fyre* is the only Diamond named sim.”
“No,” I corrected Homer. “The actual name of Diamondfyre is *Ice*fyre. Sometime in the past, with a bunch of hoodoos like you lot, it was changed. “The decision –,” I measured out, “was – made,” I paused again, “to change. Switch. One replaces another, like if you had a set of eyes you weren’t pleased with and you switched them out with someone else’s.” I let that sink in. No one responded for what I considered an appropriate amount of time to absorb so I added, “and Ice is the same as Diamond — almost — because you can have the glass version of the former while Diamond always remain pure. Always — remain — pure,” I metered out again.
“What about the *belt*?” Murmurs from the members, agreeing with Walter “Homer” Westinghouse. They must talk about the Great Belt of Black Diamond next. How did it get imported into Marwood? And what did *Icefyre* have to do with all this?
(to be continued)
Santa wasn’t happy. I think he was about to run me over in his flying saucer, *ZZzzOOOOOmmm*!” I wake up.
“Another dream about the election dearest?” Wendy. Good ol’ Wendy. Always there during consciousness. Until the end.
In the next Marwood bot dream, Norm, another local resident, took over from Santa. “Sit down,” he commanded, indicating a chair in front of the guillotine I was beheaded with just the night before. And a donkey’s alongside it.
Red hat still firmly attached to skull, I sat under the Ace of Diamonds I posed beside last night before the beheading. I knew this because I was looking on as an observer rather than being a direct participant. “There is no Other,” he said to begin our conversation proper. “There is only *Here*.” I’d heard this before. I sat in the chair.
It was Miss Graham, formerly Jennifer M. Friend. She was then there, “DEMO” still tattooing head, which my mind started running again and again around the cap line of her skull, like a looped film. Faster… faster. Blurred… then suddenly stabilization once more. Slowing down. 7610 this time: clarity; focusing in. I stared again at Norm. We had been here before.
The tie was back. I had to get to work. Fast!
Barry DeBoy stares at the blank canvas he knows he must fill in soon. CITY, a concept that must be born if the city itself is to be saved. Almost a 90 percent chance of it now. He’ll take the odds.
He pinches himself to make sure he’s awake (he is). Wearing the red tie has made him nervous about that down through the months — before, he was always dreaming when he had it on. No more. Something happened: a reversal, a change of heart even, he senses. Miss Graham has given it back. But why?
“It was me,” Hucka Doobie spoke at a nearby table. “Come on into the picture. PICT ON PICT. Come on,” she urged.
“What’s he doing?”
“She. But that’s what we have to find out. Temple.”
“Wheeler. Of course.”