sit for a spell
She asked me to wait outside until she could clean the place up a bit but when I finally got to go in I initially judged she was instead just messing it up more — to irritate me, perhaps, or just to demonstrate that she was hard at work over here on the outer islands in this witch house. No time for tidiness with so many spells to perform (!), one of which — *which* — apparently brought me here. She said she and her “mates” (fellow witches) bought into the quartz business on a tip from Lisa the Vegetarian who they knew from the Omega continent. “And where are Lichen, Wendy?” I queried after finally being invited in. “Warm your hands first,” she demanded, and after I protested that I was just fine in terms of temperature, she turned around from casting her latest spell and indicated the fire. “Just do it,” she said, so I did and then I realized my hands *were* cold, my whole body, and it had been so all my life. Only now was I truly warm, truly alive even. She asked, “better?”, and I replied, “yeah… h-how did you do that?” “Oh you don’t know the half of it, the half of the *half* of the half. You are merely an apprentice,” and I realized she was speaking truth. This from my warm vantage point now. She was not an irritation any longer. She was a sage, she was a source of all knowledge, a conduit. Just like she had always been. Except I didn’t realize it. Until now.
I suddenly became cold again. I went back to the fire, knelt down and warmed once more. “It only lasts about 5 minutes or so,” she said about the latest spell. “I’m still perfecting it, but: pretty good, eh?” Fern Stalin turned all knowing, all seeing. Pretty good indeed.
topic at hand
“Get it?” she asked. “It’s (a) trapped *rock*, then a picture full of rocks, a rotating one. Rocks.” She held out her hand which was balled into a fist. “Now you try,” she requested while snickering. Let’s see, I thought, rock beats scissors? Or was it paper — no, paper covers rock. Which one would I choose? Do I let her win, or lose? “The paper is one,” she says into my mind, short term product (curse?) of another spell. “The rock is zero, and the scissors are two.” She molds her still outstretched hand into the appropriate symbols while saying this. “Who do you know that is a 102?” Me, I realized. “What about the quartz?” I tried to deflect, but which led directly back to rock.
I had my assignment, I had my links. Time to leave the magical Outer Maebaleia isle of Meaux where I learned all about quartz rock and the advantages and disadvantages of letting it be the center from Fern, who is Charlene the Punk in the future. Or in the past if you look the other direction from center. Time to visit other, similar if smaller outer isles, armed with my similar if smaller stash of spells and perhaps curses now. Time to begin to grow up. Magic is real.
Disguised as a woman, I went over to Marwood to chat with Jimbo/O’Jimbo a bit before the Big Trip about what might or could happen. Intrepid Rock came up early (and often), followed by Fisher’s Island. “Gap between,” spoke the former but also, impossibly, present agent of Pot-D and/or Pan-Z, given his death over a year ago in the Global Fire. “FRY is there” — he later said the word was all caps. “FRY is REALITY” — he said to spell reality out in caps as well when making this here blog post about our talk, because he knew that would happen too. I wondered about the connection between Fry and Fire, as in, “out of the frying pan and into the fire.” Had he escaped the fire through FRY, somehow? Did that make any sense?
I didn’t even have a name for the woman avatar I wore like a velvet glove on the golden robot’s hands we sat upon, and Jimbo/O’Jimbo didn’t ask. He wasn’t interested in a pickup line. He was doing something rather unspeakable to this big robot just before, so maybe he’s more into machines than people these days. But not old O’Jimbo in his pre-Jimbo, pre-death days. When I arrived several minutes before that, he was bouncing on a nearby trampoline while Drunk Dude stumbled and bumbled around down below. Sometimes the former was way up in the air while the latter lie crumpled on the ground. Frying pan and fire came to mind once more.
Suddenly Drunk Dude was up in the hand that Jimbo/O’Jimbo perched upon previously, talking about frying too close to fire. I knew where I had to go next.
I went over and talked to Elsa before I left about who was the best kisser she met this week. Tennessee came up; I *did* make an impression!
Baker Bloch was not totally gone. He came back to help me with the Okinu glyphs. He was there after all, although he said it seemed a lifetime ago. “Pre-Hucka Doobie,” he offered while sitting across from me in the Table Room of the Blue Feather building, my home now in the heart of rebuilt Collagesity. “Explain Uniko,” I requested after hearing him talk about things not really relevant to the current plot for a while. That’s okay — he’s a lot more disconnected to the blog these days, so: understandable. I then listened with rapt attention.
15 minutes later I had most of the story. Okinu had been made over since the glyph days, with no glyphs found now. Maybe this was part of a cover-up, he speculated. He also theorized that the energy which created the glyphs in the first place was still present, and that led to the discussion of the archipelago shaped like the number 2. (Stands for) Our Second Lyfe obviously, but there was more.
The new, remade over Okinu sim had a default landing spot now on an island which lies partly in its northwest corner, the largest in said archipelago. In olden days, the sim was only water with no land atall. Certainly this upshoot was a mysterious island (Mystery Island, but part of the Misery Islands?), and one which contained yet another golden machine. I couldn’t help but make an instant connection. Here was Icarus, the rocket ship that would take me to not Mars, but someplace else. Somewhere inferior.
(to be continued)
the interplay of heaven and hell
I was there. Up on Grandpa Cliffs. He didn’t like it as much tonight. I was a Bad Kitten.
She laughs with 4 vowels and skips the 5th.
Her feet got twisted up and she was somewhere else. Astronaut AB; First Woman. Hidi(ng) no more.
I knew what needed to be done.
the point of the 2
“I’m having second thoughts, Wheeler, er, Hidi. Get it?: *second* thoughts.”
Wheeler/Hidi didn’t answer. She was engrossed in looking at the stars and wondering if Grandpa Cliffs ever dreamed of frying.
AB continued on. “There’s nothing much else on this island, this Mystery Island. Basically it all revolves around the rocket ship. And this planetarium I suppose.”
“2 Saturns,” Hidi finally managed from her likewise prostrate position on the cushions, still staring up. “I recall…”
“No, that was a mistake, Hidi.”
“When you get there,” Hidi, the more hidden and “evil” one in the moment, said, “you’ll see two Saturns. A second Saturn will be visible. Malefic will be amplified.”
“Ridiculous,” AB doubled down. “It’s just Jupiter with wings. I mean, er, *rings*.” She looks over, exposed for a moment; chink in the (golden) armor.
the point of the 2 02
“Do *you* live here?” asked AB, trying to delay her journey as long as possible. Exploring more of the archipelago shaped like a giant 2 seemed the logical thing to do. Wheeler-as-Hidi followed her around. But I believe she’s shifted shapes again.
Yes, she’s our old old friend Baker Blinker, the female counterpart of the male Baker Bloch back for a moment to prove a point, I supposed. ‘Nother one.
“No,” she answers AB, then elaborates. “No one lives on this island, this archipelago of Misery, not Mystery. That is (only) reserved for the main one.” Her voice was pleasant as usual, not nasal atall. She showed no signs of aging but that wasn’t surprising. She did still have the gray hair — just like AB — but that was just youth again. They were a match in that way. Perhaps Baker Blinker was even AB in the future, much like Fern and Charlene. “The maker of the rocket certainly wasn’t around,” she followed.
“I know who that is,” AB declared proudly, as she’s wont to do. Wings again. Too much sun. “I went there.”
“I know you went there. I was there too.”
“I know you were.”
“I know that you know.”
“Well I know that you know that I know… anyway, you’re Fern. Charlene in the future.”
“I can be many people,” Wheeler stated plainly, who, like I said, was Baker Blinker in the moment. “Mostly women but some men. I back you up. You will learn these things, Jeffrey Phillips.”
But Astronaut AB had forgotten who she was at the core and stated she didn’t know who that was, taking Baker Blinker aback. She thought they were on the same page, with the hair and all. Turns out: AB was in trouble. “Don’t go on the rocket ship,” the female Baker decides to say. “Don’t go to that Mars with the 2 Saturns. Malefic,” she doubled down on her own. “Stay here on this 2, and, with it, Our Second Lyfe as a whole. “There’s no use rushing off to another planet when you…”
“… don’t know your own,” completed AB, certainly wise for someone so naive. She’d actually been having second thoughts — no joke involved this time. Look at the name of the rocket ship: Icarus. The Fraudian slip “wings” for “rings” acted as a tip. Suddenly she remembered Jeffrey Phillips. “Blue Rose,” she uttered, aware again.
She was on the retracted boarding ramp, looking toward the capsule. She had forgotten who she was again, sun shining brightly above her. She had her wings once more; she was ready to go. All she had to do was extend this ramp across the gap and walk in and sit down and hit fire. FIRE! She was up in the air, heading to Mars Mars. The one dreamed about by Bradbury and Dick and all the rest, but without the time-slips, the Fraudian ones. “Baloney,” she muttered, thinking back to her encounter with Baker Blinker who had left the scene, given up on AB for a spell. What I mean is that she went back to Meaux for a spell, so that AB would remember again. She didn’t have much time; fire would have to be involved, just as it was for her alternate (so far) persona of Jeffrey Phillips. The plan for Baker Blinker, who is, of course, Wheeler, was to go back to Meaux, like I said, and make the new fire spell so that when AB entered the rocket and hit “fire”, she would — again — remember who she was (core). Would it be too late if so? Baker Blinker, I mean, Wheeler wasn’t sure. But when she
wrote thought it she knew that had to be the plan, canals be damned. A gap — AB *had* to remember. This was going from North to South, etc. etc. etc.
Oh. My head. Where am…? Oh hi little critter. A Cthumoleater I believe by the looks of ya. Not Martian, then. Marine life.
The ship is sideways, she realizes when standing up and regaining her balance. And underwater.
Where was she?
“So that’s one dead intruder taken care of, but more will come. Original Fern,” he declared in his tiny, maniacal voice full of greed and thirst for power, “you must find the witches and take care of them — cut off their *head*.” He rubs his little green hands gleefully as he does every time the subject comes up.
“Yup,” came the simple reply from even slightly smaller Original Fern (OF) beside him, killing laser put away for now. Rael-Anon never had a chance with this gunslinger of the Old East, a tiny who would rather speak with action. A fly lights on his nose and he swats it precisely back into the hell it was spawned from. He picked the dead carcass from his nose and ate it, with then small crunching noises emitting from his masticating mouth as he continued to state at Spore, his fearless, intrepid leader, the one who calls the big shots. For now.
“My sacred *shards*” — he watches the spore shards in front of him turn another color here, gold to red this time — “will tell us what to do now that the Strange Orb has been released. All is going according to plan.” (rubbing of hands here again) He turns his attention to the steady green orb hovering above the center of the table and the broken shards that use to contain it as a slightly larger orb. Unwavering green from mutable green, gold, red, blue. Original Fern has his mission.
Sammy the Featherfloater swept in from the skies, his head juxtaposed with the green sphere from this angle. “Sire. The ship has landed in the Northern Sea.”
“Good good. OF — on your way.”
Mistery Island 02
Through the tree limbs, he watches Sammy glide away across the sea, back to the Northern Ocean whence he came. A Messenger Featherfloater, he pondered, another one of *his* creations. Like this Mistery Island. Like Original Fern, Substitute Fern be damned. And now he was off too, following Sammy in a green lantern boat, another of his design. Spore certainly was the evil minded inventor. But Icarus the golden robot rocket might have been his greatest feat. The rocket that would propel mankind to Mars. If he actually *wanted* it to, ho ho.
“Jacky Jack,” he declared to his right hand rabbit to his right. “I’m going to the other side of the island for a while. Make sure you clean and scrub the houses and reset the lanterns before I return nightfall.” Jacky nodded in silence. Jacky had learned not to speak up unless demanded. The less information Spore has to work on the better, since he uses such for evil and not for good. The little rabbits can’t go to college because you’re short on cash? Spore will find ways to withhold even more money from your check. One, several or all of his brood could become future servants, the intrepid ruler thinks. If the family is destitute enough, he he.
He often trots over to the south side of the island to stare with Giant Pety across the water at the small isle that signifies nothing to him, wondering what it means. Perhaps the isle use to house an important structure, perhaps a lighthouse, although there are enough of those around in the vicinity now to warn any ship coming in any direction. But in the past, say before Mystery fused with Misery to become Mistery, maybe circumstances were different. A special kind of lighthouse. Another green lantern. I only say this because Giant Pety himself emits a bit of green at nighttime.
Maybe we’ll never know.
Fern’s Hill (balance)
They said if I went far back enough in time to lose my hair that I would see him. MAN. About to create Mistery from Mystery and Misery; combination of islands and isles. But where was I?
And what’s that island just over there? Oops! Got my hair back just as that tree found foliage. That must be my isle (!).
Fern, who Spore in his jealousy has deemed Substitute Fern, was smart, perhaps too much so. I don’t think she’ll be that easy to eliminate.
MAN was nowhere to be found now.
2 days earlier, Jeffrie Phillips knew he had to arrive 1st at the Brilliant fairy village. If it was to survive and even thrive. Take me to your leader, he thought, but without a snicker. This was dead serious stuff. Fern would be arriving two days later and for all he knew, she would strip all the foliage off these protective trees and expose the wee people here to the relentless sun and rain for who knows how long. Years. Jeffrie Phillips had a name. Richie. Richie Griffith. He didn’t know if that was the leader or a representative of him or her. No doubt the village residents had been alerted to his presence on the edge of their compound. Best just to wait here at this rock. He brought a book along for the trip. “Gulliver’s Travels.”
He became so engrossed in the book that he didn’t see them approach with tiny pitchforks and rope.
2 days later — 1 day, 23 hours, 56 minutes later to be precise — the villagers were alerted again to the presence of a giant amongst them. Stan Jackson, Gertie and Brumhilda Johnson, and the Twinkle Toe twins assembled in the “green” in front of their 3 houses. On the other side of the water, Stephen Fire, Alice and Daisy and Little Boo and Poppy Paxton, and Richie Griffith did the same.
“Who this time?” these Westerners cried out across Bartybrat Bay, named for a local ragamuffin killed in a skateboarding accident.
“A fair maiden this time Richie Griffith and others,” replied the Easties, trying to keep their voices down a bit more because of well, the presence. Stan Jackson was especially irritated by Richie Griffith’s big tiny mouth, town crier indeed — and always had to be addressed as their leader according to the new town policy drawn up day before yesterday’s tomorrow. He planned to open a proper newspaper office on Central Isle later this month — that’ll teach the big tiny snitch.
They all assembled on Central Isle, soon to be turned into a shopping strip if Stan Jackson and the Easties had their way. That way they’d have to build a bridge coming from *their* direction; no more monopolizing Central Isle by the Westerners. For prophecy (Big Bob) had said, “And lo if the Easties have their way, the Central Isle will be transformed, ye, into a stripper joint.” Everyone down through the years and now centuries assumed a brothel type establishment but modern developments seemed to have proven them wrong.
The giant was coming by water this time. Stealthier.
“So I just took the whole kitten caboodle island, bridge and all, and drug it over through the water to the *Easties* side, saying down in my booming voice, ‘You had your turn, you Westerners, Richie Griffith and all. Now it’s their turn.’ I also declared that the island would switch sides of Bartybrat Bay each 700 years but my guess is that they’ll want to do it much sooner. So one of us should plan to return in about, say, 20 to 30 years for the chore. Are you on board with that, Jeffrey Phillips?”
Jeffrey stared at the picture of Brilliant Island’s central bay between the two sides of its twinned village, trying to figure out which direction was which and if the snapshot represents a before or after situation. “Sure, sure,” he finally uttered, knowing he didn’t have anything on the schedule past next Tuesday’s Wednesday. “I’ll even go first. Now that I know they’re on our side.”
“Okay, your turn. Tell me what happened to *you*.”
“Oh, nothing much. Really — nothing. They found me reading that book and they tied me down on the other side of the hill and left me there and finally I managed to get free and I came back home to here and wrote what happened down in my blog.”
“Hmm,” says Fern Stalin, thinking, oh, he really *did* mean “nothing much”. Certainly not as exciting and meaningful as her story of the island. She gets up to leave.
“Where’re you off to now, opposite of mine?”
“The rocket ship. Did you forget?”
Jeffrey Phillips had forgot. Sammy the Messenger Featherfloater should have returned by now to let all the others of his kind know. Fearless intrepid leader Spore had a plan. There was not one Fern but two, like Original and Extra Crispy. Now to sort them all out in separate buckets… or something.
(to be continued)