The fog was thick in Collagesity tonight, so much so that the script I had prepared for certain actors there could not be read. We’ll have to look elsewhere for plot…
Maybe it will come from the outer islands of Nautilus, basically half encircling the roughly square archipelago of a continent from Castle Valeria to its nw all the way down to little Dizadare Isle more in the se, just nw of the tip of Yd Island, which in Lemon World speak, is the *origin* of All Second Lyfe itself and the source of the letter change from i to y to protect the youth and innocent and such. The Ratzenburger Rabbit is still around.
Jeffrey Phillips goes there tonight for spiritual renewal and warmth. Because it gets f-ing cold in mountainous Collagesity during foggy season. He can see a new plot line now. Jasper County, but the other (Newton) one. The one not yet used.
“A cypress forest without eucalyptus is nothing.” Jeffrey Phillips was trying to get a rise out of Randolph the Bastard Pirate and mate Wendy sitting down the table, but useless so far. “Orange is not a fruit,” he said, peering in their direction again for a reaction. Blank. Time to move on from this Valeria stone cottage on the north end of the island. Castle up next.
“Cypresses. So many cypresses,” he grumbled, walking up the rise.
He camped at Mexico Flats that night, fronting One Pink acting as a watch bird. “Sqwalk!” she erupted at half past 2. But it was only the Half Moon rising over a local stone hill. “Sqwalk!” she repeated at 5:45. Yes: The Sun this time, touching the tippy top of same hill. One Pink imagined herself burning on the surface, revealing her secret innards. Scorching Sun and Freezing Moon must be balanced, sqwalk for sqwalk. Otherwise: death. In time, Jeffrey Phillips would begin to understand the weird workings of the psychic, alchemical flamingo but not tonight. Instead he grumbled how just as he was about to fall asleep there went that bird again with the sqwalking, so not understanding atall the significance of the utterances. Sun and Moon; within and without us all; the great duality; mother and father; death and life; black and white of course; female/male all around. Silver and gold. Alchemy.
On to the Castle, bleary-eyed or not.
It was quite a walk up that last stretch through the blasted cypresses but he was here. The Castle, but not Valeria as people said. That appellation belonged to the stone cottage where he started from on this baronial island recommended for purchase by none other than The Guy. It was just plain Castle before him, unless you attach Green to it, as some people did because of the forest all around. If only there were a few pines sprayed here and there, he lamented. He can’t change the landscape, he can’t replant the island’s forest. Cypresses in its two kinds, green and brown, it is.
Well if it isn’t the silent film twins again.
“One of us is going to have to speak, twin of mine,” she thought into the other’s head. “Talky films are the way out, Oz be darned.”
“Someone,” the other furthered likewise, “is going to have to return to that three pointed hat bastard of a pirate over there with rising, snoozing chest.” Which is which?
I had my next clue. V-Gate, short for Valgate, another red V like the corner in Marwood. Landing spot right on the triple number for the sim: 108/108/108. A bit of history of that number here:
But what lies all around from this high spot of the property? Strangeness, and beauty. Something was here — I could feel it. But maybe not manifest quite yet since the property is fairly new. This triple 108 was a starting point, an anchor. All is arranged downward from here.
That castle down there is private, but otherwise the sim, and also the neighboring sim which seems to partially be a section of the same “town”, is open for exploration and investigation.
There are stories here, or at least one or two. We will return; snapshots for now…
Valgate is near the ne corner of the Nautilus continent. That’s not its actual name but it’s very close.
“Did you create this, Fern?”
“I had a hand in it.”
“Tessa! And… Robert?”
Sun, Moon & Earth
The distance between the Earth and the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Sun.
The distance between the Earth and Moon is 108 times the diameter of the Moon.
The diameter of the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Earth.
“Valgate began at 108/108/108 and was worked downward. The rock the Valgate (V-gate for short) was built upon extends to the entrance of the temple/den below, the *gate* — sideways this time, in reference to the first — between peaceful inner, where vampires (another V) set away their differences and came together for communion, and then outer, the exterior, the pretend.”
“Devils. Not vampires,” she responded, knowing more than me for certain. I ask her about the (off-limits) witch house, yet another
demon monster of the night.
“Owl,” she responded.
Something wasn’t quite right here. It was all built upon the Diagonal for sure, but… “I guess it’s just unfinished, Wheeler,” I then offered to my counterpart sitting across from me in the Table Room of the Blue Feather in Collagesity, Nautilus, the same continent that this mysterious, perhaps ultra-mysterious Valgate lay upon as well. I decided to extend its important and perhaps ultra-important Diagonal down into the continent itself.
Also important: the inner temple, or “den”, was aligned to the untraceable Anti-Diagonal of the sim as opposed to the (traceable) Diagonal, but maybe I just make that word up.
She often dreamed of past times, before the coming of the invasive wisteria. She liked it! The plant basically held the porch together now, so entwined they were. Well, it wasn’t that bad — *yet*.
She had big plans for her island still. She had already built a moat. A castle was surely to follow, she speculated. But what about the house, the porch, the wisteria? Could she give up bucolic freedom just like that?
She thought of the others, also from the before times. Underwater they are now. Well, their *spirits* dwelt there still for certain. She’d seen them! Her grandmother and grandfather decided not to follow them down into their watery grave, which led to her mother and father (also brother and sister), and then, now, her. And her own husband and brother. Just like Toothpick/Filburt and Elberta back in NWES City, as you might recall, sis and bro married at the end of photo-novel 22 (a nodal one).
They were alone now. All dead beneath the sea, with only ghosts left. No claims left to any of the island land. She could do what she wanted to. The moat was a lot of hard work, comparable to digging a french drain. The house was adequate for her needs for sure, but she also had to think about Stymie. Where was Stymie anyhow? Deep sea diving down in the ruins again?
We can affirm this.
“What happened to the doctor?”
“Doctor… who?” she replied, talking gesture repeating over and over even when she was silent, like now… with me, waiting for a reply. This dame’s head was as empty as a coke bottle in Spring. Time to meet Charlene anyway at the coffee shop; explain to her why I’m here.
“Excuse me. I’ll be back in a millennium.” And he was out of the castle and down in the village.
“The doctor is dead,” she finally explained 15 minutes after the exit, coinciding with Jeffrey Phillips saying down in the village…
“I’m here on a tip from Tor. He knows about Viterbo, you know, the location of that last post, the one I wasn’t in, a rarity these days,” he extended more. If Charlene were channeling future self Fern Stalin, she might have understood all this metadata. But as of the present she was giving him a rather blank stare back. She gave up a cryptozoology lecture at prestigious Mammoth Cave Institute to meet him here. This better be good — no more metadata!
“H-how does he know Meaux?”
“He lives near it,” Jeffrey replied rapidly while leaning back and tossing his hand flippantly in the air. “I believe his house may be the closest mortal to their land. But you should know that. You’re Fern after all.”
“Not any more.”
“I mean, not in this moment.” Charlene knew if she gave up Fern she gave up any hope for the future which is the present which is the past. And that couldn’t happen. But it grows tiring, the constant channeling and
channeling funneling. One day she will become rid of it, but only when she’s Fern.
“Why are you here?” Jeffrey ventured, taking a closer look at his date for the night across from him. She’d been hurt before. She didn’t like the pain. Soon she’d be Fern Stalin and have the upper hand at any rusty twist and turn.
“Viterbo,” she deflected (channeled), letting the word hang in the air like a demented sunset gone cold wrong. The Sun wouldn’t go down so the Moon couldn’t come up, alchemy all awry. Jeffrey Phillips was finally at a loss for words. Good.
I hadn’t heard Dinksy Dix and his Wee Wonders Jazz Band in a while, so I fired them up when I had finished with Charlene. I thought about our conversation which took a strange twist and turn at the end while listening to what I believe was a Scott Joplin rag — unsure, though — must study up more on jazz soon. Anyway, the tune ended right as I came to the conclusion that she was just leading me on… perhaps she was even channeling that witch Fern in the moment — yes, I thought, that must be it. Just to throw me off. Makes sense: Fern could always do that with her surprise spells and notwhat. I decided I better move forward and tip the wee, dinky ones. Dinksy would never speak to me again in that squeaky, cartoon voice if I didn’t. I figured a ten-er would be enough. Not too much. Don’t want them going on the road again to Mississippi and Alabama and who knows where else. Teepot needs music and laughter too much in these days of dark times. Keep their income steady but low and they can’t fuel up that gigantic magic bus of theirs and fly off to… God it could be Mexico if we weren’t careful and they’d never make it back over the border, what with their size. They’d be branded foreign contraband for sure. But… enough. “Thanks Dinksy,” I offered to the drummer who was also the leader of the small band, and personally handed him the bill, knowing the others might just drink it away. I winked at Dinksy and he stared back, obviously expecting more for such fine playing. They’d been rehearsing for weeks, eager for Master Phillips’ return, as they called me, cute as a pie. I’m no more Master than the Doctor formerly serving drinks up at the Castle and now probably vacationing in the Alps or Cambodia or some other God forsaken place in the world at large. Somewhere either extremely cold or warm for certain, alchemy dictating the contrast.
(to be continued)
3rd (of 4?)
I returned to the island of Meaux — seen here in the distance behind a quite familiar fluttering owl flag — for more potential links and clues about where to head next. This newest owl sighting seemed to dictate the action.
I fairly quickly ended up on Half Hitch, an island just beyond the south*east* corner of Nautilus, certainly my mainland continent of focus now that Collagesity has returned to it. So I’ve visited Castle Valeria in Nautilus’ northwest corner directly opposite here on the continent seemingly based on a 31×31 square, and then Valgate and also the overall Viterbo environs kind of tucked in its northeast corner. Now: southeast. I appear to be perhaps circling the square, a variation on the old alchemical paradox of squaring the circle. Circle near historical Valgate, Montana is also a hint here, to add onto, of course, the close proximity of Valeria and (Green)castle in Jasper County, IA., a square based county after all, just like its twin in IL where all the names of my collage series down through the years comes from. Up until the newest: Picturetown. Something is different now; shifted.
Was that a shouting (or singing?) man etched in the bow of this wrecked ship? What would be the utterance if so? Was this an angry or joyous person?
*Anyhoot* (Jeffrey Phillips likes to toss that word around a lot these days to segue between trains of thought), back to Half Hitch. Climbing the highest hill there to take a look around. Climbing, climbing…
From the vantage point at the top, Jeffrey Phillips takes in the sight of Captain Crazy’s noisy, dirty trawler pulling into the small harbor of the town. Here was a man who might know something. So it’s back down off the hill for Jeffrey and into the tavern where he sees him and his men — well, man — head into. Cpt. Crazy use to have 8 men working on his ship but now he’s down to 1 thanks to the Child Labor Board cracking down on him last Fall. The only one over 18, heck the only one over 12. Here was a man who not only bent the rules, but turned them into salty pretzels to consume after any drinking jag. He was crazy, yes. But he still was probably the sanest man to visit Half Hitch today, what with that loonie convention going on over at neighboring Nautilus Island (yes, there is an island named Nautilus in addition to a continent, although the island and continent are next to each other and Nautilus Island is sometimes included as a part of the Nautilus continent, logically enough; but it causes some confusion, even to long time Our Second Lyfe residents).
Let’s not worry about those Nautilus loonies nor go into any details on why they’re even crazier than Crazy. Half Hitch is definitely not a part of any Nautilus, although it lies, like I said, just beyond the southeast corner of the continent, and also just beyond the western edge of the island. It’s similar to Castle Valeria just past the northeast corner in this way, since that sim wasn’t part of the original Nautilus either — it’s an add on. Let’s just move into a dialog with Crazy to dig up more information…
Jeffrey Phillips was going to interject himself but the two mates, captain and one man crew, seemed to be having some kind of romantic dinner going on, what with the red coral heart between them and the, well, occasional mouth kissing and all the accompanying holding of hands across the table inside this heart. Jeffrey was, of course, okay with the Captain and his mate being gay. His half sister on his mother father’s side was half so and they got along better than any of his other percentage siblings. Viewpoints matter. Jeffrey would bide his time, having nothing else pressing on his calendar at the moment. Crime was down in Collagesity thanks to the new-ish police department. 5 fingerprince had been lifted from the more serious crime scenes, and Jeffrey had them all under control. Now was the time to synchronize the continent to his city to ensure more stability, and circling its square seemed to be the key.
(to be continued)
E Pirates, pheh. I wonder if I stand here long enough they’ll come back over here and dance for me.
But I haven’t got time for this tonight (he turns). I must find Norm, try to talk to him again about Fairview Alpha, about that 7610 tattooed to his forehead. About… Static. Snow, perhaps, like in a tv screen. That corner… Jeffrey Phillips looks over to the (northeast) corner of the lot and the 2 prominent, red V’s over there. He can barely make them out from this distance.
Better head closer; Norm should be around too — he always is, along with the rest of the regulars.
But most of the bots appeared to be gone tonight from the fake town. Jeffrey Phillips leans against the kissing booth and asked Elsa, the lone remaining one over here perhaps, where the others went and if she was still mad at him for that Tennessee thing he tried to pull the other day (she was).
“Only us ‘E Girls’ remain,” she said after a spell and a pout.
76 and 2 more
Jeffrey Phillips senses something is important here in this sim wide town near the center of Nautilus, and that the creators know about his attempt at circling the continent’s square, as it were. But no one seems to live here, perhaps another mystery in itself: houses and buildings basically empty. Still the word Perch in its hyphenated name of Mistletoe-Perch seems to represent another clue, given that’s what’s in famed Collagesity deity Carrcassonnee’s nogg’n and allows her to (potentially) see and interact with others. Jeffrey wonders what would happen if you kissed someone in the middle of it, down on that bridge crossing a central canal of sorts. Perhaps he could invite Elsa from Marwood over to find out, try that little Tennessee move again to see if it works better over here.
He dials the 4 numbers he knows will connect him to her. Oklahoma.
“Elsa it’s me.”
“No, only Kentucky tonight, I promise.” But he was crossing his fingers behind his back.
beside the canal
You’re not who I was expecting… *Wheeler*.”
“It’s because you tried out that different state on Elsa the other day. She didn’t want to come. She asked me to substitute for her. How did you like *my* kiss?”
Jeffrey Phillips wasn’t impressed and says so. Way too 18th Century, way too mellow. Besides, this was Wheeler for Christ’s sake. This wasn’t one of *his* girls. This was an equal (!). “Anyway, you kissed me, not the opposite way ’round.”
I was just experimenting. Just like you, tee hee. Do you, do you know what they’re calling you back in Marwood, you stud? Bruce Springsteen,” she answers herself, because you have your E Street band (of ladies) there, and also you are a Rock. Do you remember playing the game of Rock, Paper, Scissors with the Barrys? You won.”
“Well, Paper and Scissors, I mean, Barry (X. Vampire) and Barry (DeBoy) are still around,” Jeffrey Phillips tries to defend himself, thinking of the 2 faced God Janus looking both forwards and backwards in time. “Sandy Beech as well… I’m not Sandy.”
“No,” countered Wheeler, Hidi for the moment. “You are all of those and more. You are the…”
“… last man standing,” he completed for Wheeler, knowing it was true or at least largely so. Besides Man About Time — and perhaps he doesn’t even count since he’s so unfocused — where are the others? “Baker Bloch has gone to the White Palace in Heaven to join Hucka Doobie,” he explains for the both of ’em. “Baker Blinker is gone as well — you’ve *absorbed* her.”
“That was a long time ago.”
“Karoz is still around,” says Wheeler, knowing it was both false and true at once.
Jeffrey Phillips blew out air. “I guess… we just needed to talk.” He looked over at her: Janus faced as well. She changed. Windy, as in City. Big Windy even, bigger than ever. Where was this going? Was he ready… or did he need to wait? And where the heck was Norm Bob, Jimbo/O’Jimbo, Bimbo/O’Bimbo, and Drunk Dude? Why just the E girls now over in Marwood? Bruce Springsteen, pheh.
“I am not with you,” he decides to say, thinking of the queen-prime minister type relationship again that they had, his saving grace.
“I know.” She breathes out as well. “I have others.”
I suddenly found myself in Hucka Doobie’s White Palace in De Skies, as if I was summoned. The
palace place looked pretty big; I decided I better avail myself of one of those touring huds in that big snowflake-like object over there — but it just turned out to be a cinematic frame, as if the whole thing were a film or something. Crazy ol’ Hucka Doobie. Always wanted to visit his or her White Palace and here I am. On film.
I was definitely not alone.
At the top of the long series of stairs I began to hear the music, celestial in nature. I knew it was Baker Bloch, but also that this would be impossible. *I* am Baker Bloch. Yet there he was, bathed in golden light at the other end of the nave or whatever this is. I could barely make out the figure in the distance, but — I knew.
I decided to ditch the cinematic frame hud for better shots, blog taking precedent over film. This also made me think of the ditch I needed to complete down in Collagesity. Soon I will return to my own realm.
I moved forward… took a while still.
Turned out Baker Bloch was so far away that he was in a completely different sim, sitting at his piano and playing what appeared to be a Schumann piece. Should’ve known. Music of the Gods. “Sonata No. 2” I believe.
The lights grew dimmer as I crossed the edge of the sim: threshold. I was alone again, just the music and me.