Biff Carter was filling in for Philburg Johnson Jones, sick with the pill. Back on the beat for the first time in a while. Cpt. Henry needs to get these boys a new set of wheels, Biff thinks while staking out a rough joint and catching up with his red book, the one with him in it (the *other* Biff Carter). Paper, he ponders while rereading chapter 2 for the 17th billionth time. Sure glad it beats scissors or we’d all be in a fix.
Suddenly: gunshots in the distance. The City was a tough, rough place, he knew. He was not a cop now but a private dick, forced to retire from the force after the Oakley Annie debacle. Gun selling was illegal in the Great Black Swamp and Biff Carter well knew it. He just let it slip, like all those dickhead cops before him. He was just unlucky enough to get caught. Oakley Annie gunned down a bigger gun this time: the mayor of Swamp Fox. And now he’s stuck in this ruddy city of all places. New Eden, pheh. But now: a possible opening. Philburg has a history of illness and may not make it this time, with the pill harder and harder to get over. Phyllis the waiter told him this down at the Red Dress Diner. She’s popped enough; she should know. More gunshots. Should he go check? Nah, not his responsibility. He may not even remember how to fire his pistol after all this time. What was it: Alcatraz? Or maybe Gettysburg. Yeah, the latter. Philburg would know. He was the one who got hit in the foot by the stray shot. This started the pills. Ahh, it all goes in a big circle. He shot Philburg, Philburg shoots pills, Pills shoot… ahh, he’ll work on it. Point is, he may get Philburg’s job because of an accident that happened a number of years back now. Last time he filled in on the force. He could work up to 30 hours a year per his early retirement agreement. And this is 10 of ’em today. Now’s his chance, he senses. No more shooting people (or himself!) in the foot.
The gunshots get closer. At a certain point, it’s obvious they are heading his way. “Shoot and darnit,” he cusses, trying to start the old police jalopy in order to run away from danger. But the tires had gone flat in the meantime. He’d have to face whoever was causing all the trouble head on. Most likely this was their hangout. Was Philburg behind this? he suddenly guesses. Was he… getting back at him? As soon as Biff Carter thinks this, he knows it is truth. This is…
Wendell “Biff” Carter was going to run away as far as possible, leaving danger and possible death behind. But he stops when he sees the red dress. He hovers over it. Phyllis, he realizes. He turns toward the hangout. She must be inside. In danger!
But the red dress was actually Phyllis’ co-worker Wanda’s who’s the sister-in-law of Philburg’s 2nd cousin Ethel. Philburg’s revenge continues into yet another post, and perhaps yet another and another. This goes beyond danger into the great beyond. If only he could smell the cat stench all about the place. Soap, the new, extra gritty stuff bought at the local Hurdy Gurdy to wash out all the crime stains.
Orkley Andy had stopped shooting a while back, with everybody dead that was hot on his trail. In this way he snuck up on Biff. He looked over, understanding the red dress bait had glued him to the spot, heh heh heh. He laughs aloud: “Heh heh heh.”
He had a good look at the back of the bartender from his seat but she wasn’t his type, a bold bodied Jessica Rabbit sort from the Roger Rabbit movie franchise, a mixture of cartoon and caricature. The person actually sitting at the bar nearer him was more interesting, but not necessarily in a sexual way. More like she had information he needed to know — he didn’t know how he knew this but he knew. He *knew* he knew. He was becoming aware of who he was. And this dame — woman — was going to help him over the edge. Back to Canada and Picturetown and the alley with the 102 signature and Charlene the Bigfoot punk and all the other stuff. She was reading — he liked to read, at least the red book. He asked what it was; this was her cue. She turned to face him, scars and all.
“Axis,” she requested. “It’s time to give up the gig.”
Axis? Wendell “Biff” Carter thought. Was this role play? Okay, he could go along. “I’ll give up the gig, then, if you tell me what you’re reading.”
“I’m reading the book you have read. I’m reading the book you have *written*.” She showed him the cover, emblazoned with an inky black swastika as big as an alternate 3rd Reich that actually won WWII. Still didn’t mean anything to him. This was 1939 after all. The big switch hadn’t happened yet.
“Okayyy.” He calculates how to further advance this strange conversation. It had been a strange day. First he was awoken at 5 in the morning and asked to fill in for Philburg down at the station, who was sick on pill. Then during his beat (back on the beat!) he encountered a highly dangerous criminal named Orkley Andy — so close to Oakley Annie! — but turned out to be a sweet guy who had lost his dog Hunter who was just hiding under the couch because of all the gunshots. Never mind the cat stench and the almost cleaned up blood stains. Never mind Phyllis down at the Red Dress diner. Orkley Andy had him phone her up on his phone. She’s okay! Orkley Andy wasn’t a bad sort, just a gun sort. Biff had to ask. “Are you related to the famous gunslinger Oakley Annie?” “Never heard of her,” Orkley lied through his gold capped teeth.
How blind could Biff be? He refocused out of his thoughts and onto the stranger’s face again. So familiar. “Don’t I know you?” — making her huff and leave the place. She’d have to try another time.
passing through a butterfly
it is chicken it is eggs
Despite appearances, this wasn’t Mars outside. But then again, neither was this Baker Bloch in front of us sitting on the top of the couch, surfaces deceiving again. You can check his black brim hat if you don’t believe me. Slightly iridescent, like a dulled adobe shell. Baker Bloch’s is properly black, like midnight on a sunless moon.
What’s Fake Baker staring at? Is he waiting for someone? Yes, he’s waiting for somone. Because this is actually Tropp again, about to get together with Treelor, Axis be damned (and he is). Tropp is in charge here — always. I don’t know how that happened, honestly, but there it is.
Wendell “Biff” Carter is also Tropp. That is, they have the same core avatar. Wheeler is her own core, Baker Bloch too. Baker Blinker, Karoz Blogger, Hucka Doobie, and several others: the same. We went over all that in photo-novel 13. I know you were paying attention. So we’re dealing with a core issue. And Axis is also the same as Tropp, actually, both forming within 2 posts of each other back in photo-novel 8 (I’m sure you remember).
The actual location: New Eden, certainly a different place in these here photo-novels, a special place perhaps. Unique, but maybe not in a good way. The snake slithers forwards, holding an apple in its mouth. Peter Gabriel from Genesis can’t remove a Gentle Giant “Giant for a day” mask and remains noncommercial, unable to become the pop star he wishes and be free of the weight. So close these bands are, yet so far apart. In hypertime, I suppose, they could be the same. Like Dick and Dickens; like Johnson and Johnson. We’re not really talking reincarnation. We’re talking the same *gestalt* I guess you could put it. Outside of time again — there’s probably a heap of additional clues out there if one wishes to search.
Axis himself has played the role of Peter through Tronaxis, a nod to the audiovisual synchronicity Tronesis, a melding of Genesis (Lamb) and the original Tron movie. This was the weight. Wherever Peter went in his solo career, the Lamb was sure to follow, like a dark companion of sorts. He could either move forward into Peter O’esso and a successful solo career — *commercial* success (like a car) — or slink backwards into pre-Lamb where the red cross dominates. There’s so much more to this…
And in the exact middle we have the Lamb dying with Ram. More gestalts. Fused… somethings.
I had lost a toe. I had lost a hand. My knee was totally banged up, perhaps beyond repair. I was bleeding out. The Former Soviet Union looked on, hopeless to help. I lie in the middle of a swamp with no easy access, none at all.
Little Oakley Annie stood above me, towering for the moment; Giant for a day. In my dying vision I imagined her removing her face to reveal a man’s inside, with a mouthful of gold capped teeth. I remember the teeth vividly, because that’s the first thing I saw when I entered Heaven. A person smiling, with the teeth whiting out. It was the former wife of the mayor of Swamp Fox, greeting me at the gate. I was home.
reverse nudists come reverse nudists go (story of the boy)
Giant for a day
An invisible cartoon boy, Martha Lamb thinks, studying Falmouth 36 once more on the 4th floor of the Fal Mouth Moon gallery. Hugged and loved by a visible cartoon girl with red shoes. Perhaps they are future lovers, or perhaps brother and sister. Maybe he has a defect that hides him from view — a malady — but is loved by his sister still. Odd that I think this, she ruminates.
Then over here, further away in a field, the inversion: girl invisible and boy visible. The “E” on the next collage over blinks on and off. This *is* love; mutual exchanging.
“He’s in the Great Black Swamp, Hucka. In the past!”
Marilyn Monroe type
“How are we going to get up *that* thing, Mr. Archer?” Toddles said in her wee, cute voice, so full of hope just moments before. Then they heard the roar and remembered. They’d forgotten for so long. The obstacle.
“How are you with barrels?” Archer returned, thinking of a solution. Toddles would go up first and then lower down a rope or something.
Toddles suddenly had a growing spurt, then another, then another to make 3 total. She was 5’10”. Then three more to reach the needed height to simply pick up tiny Mr. Archer (to her) and set him on top of the reverse falls along with the car, then step up herself via a large rock pictured above.
“Handy you can do that!!” he shouted up when they were back together on another rock.
“WHAT??” she replied from a great height, and then shrank down again.
“No need to shout now, Mr. Archer. I’m right beside you here.
“Please… call me Peet,” he requested, seeing her quick dry herself as well. She had shrunk down three but not the remaining. She remained a pretty big girl. Pretty grown up. “We’ve been through a lot.”
At the “Picturetown 30 miles” sign he wondered if she was ever going to step back down those original three. She was not a toddler. In fact, she offered to drive after Niagara.
Newton 01 02 Remix (“Newton 01.5”)
“I was on the Diagonal next to the Not Quite Gazebo, named so because it wasn’t (quite on the Diagonal). The moon was made of cheese. I try to transfer to the tower which I *know* is on the Diagonal but can’t quite reach the center (Diagonal). Instead: on one of the edge seats. The moon is not made of cheese. I wake up, still looking from the point of the Not Quite.”
“And then the lane,” spoke [delete name]. “Cherry Lane.”
“No, that was something different. In the land of Hana Lei.”
“Which is a catch all name for locations that you don’t want to list out.” Silence for a second, as if Jeffrie Phillips was checking this fact (he was). “Yes… but no. I mean, it wasn’t Cherry Lane on the Diagonal. Instead a path through a clearly haunted or haunting woods filled with wolves, especially at the bend where the path or trail leaves the Diagonal. That was before the Not Quite Gazebo. I wasn’t Peet Archer. I wasn’t wearing the tuxedo to indicate I was Young Kane who was never called that (strangely).”
“Blue Thorn?” guessed [delete name].
“I can’t recall,” responded Jeffrie Phillips, thinking hard. He was pounding a fist into his skull three times. Then three more. He recalled. “Niagara. Peet Archer was at the top. I put him there. I was…” Again a stall. The 1898 room was powerful that way — squelched speech. He wondered once more who was beside him in that room while he dreamed. Someone from Hana Lei perhaps.
“Go on, Jeffrie. Do you need some water? Do you want to continued another night? We can wake up at any time. I clap my hands three times, and then three more.” He clapped his hands three times and then three more.
the path veers away from The Diagonal here
I sat at the Dread Wolf statue. 225, 225. Right on it. I tried not to be scared by the wolves. Luckily the black one was furthest away. Black Dog… reminding me of The Crossroads and my decision long long ago. Tully: I recall.
The Fire Tree, Wonder Years lost. Ignition. The moon is made of cheese.
“Her name is Sandy,” Camouflage responded about the white-ish squirrel cautiously approaching them. Sometimes she gave her acorns off another sim, an exotic dish. Squirrels don’t forget. “Like a pickle.”
“Pickle?” questioned Jeffrie Phillips by her side, out of his tuxedo and into his regular duds. This must mean it’s the present.
“You know, a sandy pickle, to contrast with a regular green one. An exotic pickle. Surely you have sandy colored cucumbers in your time period.”
“Time period?” Jeffrey Phillips questioned again.
I’ll just skip to the part where they talk about the sim they’re in, and how it got its name. “Wabd,” responded Camouflage about an original appellation, as exotic as the white-ish squirrel approaching them again.
“Green *Yarn.* And here we are. You must wake up again, and for real this time, Mr. Jeffrie Phillips. You are dreaming too much. You lay in your comfy bed with that woman who hasn’t been clearly identified and listen to that tv static and sleep sleep sleep. If you, say, got up in the middle of the night…”
“I don’t do that,” he said firmly. “I had an uncle who did that. Was into synchronicities. Said they were strongest in the middle of the night. I’d rather be blanketed in a bed of safe white tv static than deal with all that…” Should he say “nonsense” here? Pink Floyd? Bigfoot wearing a hot pink mini dress? It all didn’t add up. Except there *was* Charlene. “I think I’m ready to wake up again.”
“Good, cool,” responded Camouflage out of a permanently wine stained mouth shaped exactly like a regular glass of wine, Merlot most likely. “When you wake up, you’ll know who you’re with.”
Jeffrie Phillips was hoping now it was Charlene, although he guessed it wasn’t.
let them eat cake
“Wheeler will be my downfall, um…”
“*I’m* Wheeler,” spoke the person across from him, not wearing a red dress but we’ll assume she’ll be in one soon enough. At the Red Dress Diner. In New Eden. Probably.
“Right, right, I remember now. Like a wheel. 12:37.” He looks at his left shoulder. No spark. He was up too high.
“Man About Time,” spoke Wendy/Wheeler, saying the correct name the first time ’round. “Do you (even) know where you are?” She stared at him, red hair if not red dress. Very red.
“Downfall,” MAT muttered, noticing the same. “I’m MacDonald. I did something to the Ind– indigenous people of this great land.” Now: red on my hands, he realized. Blood on my face, yech.
“We’re not in Canada,” measured out Wendy/Wheeler. “That’s Toddles and Peet Archer, traveling across (its) frozen Heartland, waiting for a chance. And now they have it. The wife said, ‘pick a town, pick *one* town’. And so Picton it is. But after the Green Yard, er, Yarn in the middle of town…”
“Picturetown,” MAT recalled. “I remember that much.”
“Don’t forget it. Because it won’t change back.”
MAT then saw too much at the crossing. Twins — he had picked the wrong one to converse with today. Someone had warned him about the wrong dress. The one without blood. Without blame?
“End of Time,” Wendy/Wheeler said after the moment, about the place they were in. “We have crossed over.”
MAT looked past his left shoulder at the askew windows of the treehouse they sat in, remembering that too. A spark of memory. 12:37. Dinner time.
But Wendy/Wheeler couldn’t cook worth shite. Fast food hamburgers it was again.
“Hi Tessa!” Carolin called from above while waving. “Ready to go back in the cave?”
Was she ready? Then she remembered the blackboard, the missing center of the equation. Q. Someone named Q.
She recites what she knows in her head. She is on Crow Island at End of Time. Crow Mountain is above her, the Climax. Meditating Freddie — yes. Bakersworks. They are in a Baker B. work. But… someone is missing. Man – About – T…
“Time,” Carolin finished for her later at the blackboard, writing out three identical numbers in a row, the number of the beast from The Bible. “Now… if we extend this infinitely, what do we have? We have a *7*. So we might as well say it with a 7 instead of a 6 for that third. 667,” she finalized, and wrote it on the board. “Who is…”
“Sepisexton,” Tessa answers, getting smarter all the time, and she was pretty sharp from the beginning. She recalled the capital of Olive, the one before Tin separated and became its own principality, the 7 from the 6. Boy we are really ranging far and wide in time now. But I sometimes write that as far and yd. The man comes out from behind the curtain (4th wall). He is a Woo Woo. He believes in ghosts, cracker jacks, and cereal circles with a prize inside. Q.
“Q.” Carolin points. Red Point. Buick. Boss who is green like Bixby. Canada. They are traveling across the frozen Heartland, trying to reach…”
And that’s the one thing she couldn’t remember that Man of Time did. We are done now.