“Hey, which way to the Portal, Lt. Salt? I seemed to have been turned around when exiting David’s highly polished palace, heh.”
“Thataway,” answers the military man with a point, part of the magical tapestry that is the citizens and denizens of Pickleland.
“Is that a Baby Yodo?” questions Sandman, distracted by creature directly beneath him on the table. “So adorable.”
“I must ask you to move on,” said the lt. politely but firmly. “Jenny Lind’s entourage will be arriving shortly. We must clear the area as much as possible.” Sandman knew he had to move the way Lt. Salt was pointing, or else be pointed at himself. But he couldn’t help himself.
“What do *you* say, little fellow?” he asked while leaning over, hands on knees. The creature’s ears twitched and moved back and forth, and his mouth along with it, as if he (or she) were searching for a correct response to Sandman’s question. Perhaps he (or she) was trying to make up for Lt. Salt’s rudeness in not answering the same — overcompensation. The answer had to be perfect and… he (or she) couldn’t do it. Neither ended up answering him, Baby Yada or whatever the f-ck it is shrinking back from the twitching and moving that signaled thinking into a state of immobility, perhaps Tennessee but perhaps also Kentucky (Ohio’s a longer shot).
“Outta here,” came the lt.’s next statement. Sandman was out of time. Feets get moving!
“Will you two just *stop* with the arguing,” requested Inky Woman from the Falls, hair getting wetter and wetter. The water should be becoming blacker any time now.
Any time now.
What were the two frog-ish goldfish, Goldie and Grayscale, arguing about or perhaps just discussing in a loud way? Bodies of water, I’m guessing. When does a pond become a lake?; how many acres does it have to be for the name transaction to kick in? 100, Goldie is guessing. “100 *feet* or 100 acres?” responds Grayscale, trying to differentiate 1d from 2d, like any good mathematician. Goldie is a linguist, though, and his experiences with numbers is not good. Instead: letters are his numbers, as Grayscale would understand. If he grasped letters at all. “1 through 10: 100,” he exclaimed to the other in a voice that definitely argued for argument now. “Well, A-Z right back at you!” Yells. Definitely getting louder and louder. “75! 3/4ths!” “A-B-C-D; R!” “125!!” “R. RADAR!!”
Goldie turned to his left and Grayscale to his right. Inky Woman had played her card, avoiding a crash. Jenny Lind enters Pickleland from above. All are embarrassed they even argued at all as the Great Woman stepped out of the ship and onto the green of the lake (or pond) peninsula. Graceful. Like a butterfly. She told her entourage to wait within while she settled the matter.
She takes 1 step. She takes 10 and is upon them. “Lake,” she responds to Goldie. She turns (changes). “Pond,” she says to the other. Then, hair still not wet, she moves away.
“Hey Samuel. Remember when we had two feet apiece instead of the 4 between us?”
“Never mind that,” he answered Reggie. “I’ve got more sand in this bag to put them on.”
“Excuse me, guys,” he said, feets still moving. “Just passing through.”
“Sure, sure mister,” they both exclaim, then remember to put a little on their eyes first to keep up the illusion.
and he had tried so hard
Tessa Doom opened the book before her at random and paper butterflies flew out. She wasn’t surprised. She leaned back, letting them do their thing.
“Think hard,” I implored from the other chair. Whoever I was. Wait, there I am. Not Jeffrey Phillips but someone new. Not Robert Drake Johns, the lime green robot she had restored to be her third best friend which has become the first best friend since the other two, Mabel and Carolin, were either dead or had disappeared, perhaps for good. Not Sandman, since he had left this particular part of Pickleland, the Moon part. Better figure this out, then… to the scene… Let’s just go with Devil Dave tonight, to limit the amount of characters we bring into this here photo-novel, 25 in a series of 1.
David from the well polished palace! Devil Dave and David A.B. are one? He continues: “Is that or is that not your grandpa up there on the balcony?” he reinforced.
The butterflies kept coming. “No,” she said, shutting the book on the lot of ’em.
“Rats”, he exclaimed, settling back as well.
Tessa had long gone before God or God-like David A.B. exited the scene. The church; Sally, he thought, staring straight at it while walking out of the Once Upon a Time bookstore. Maybe he’s over there still.
But: no. He remained in the wrong time. Devil Dave had not been invented yet either.
Sandman stood before the Portal to newest region of Pickleland, deciding whether he really wanted to enter. He’d been practicing his Canadian for months so no problem on the language front. It’s just — the hellish stuff and all. Was Sally worth it in the end? And what about the spacecraft he’d seen landing *without a crash* just beyond the high ridge behind him now. Was it an omen? Something had happened; something had been invented. This should be a Portal *outta here* he realized. Time had been changed/altered. The PickleSong part of Pickleland should not yet exist. And David A.B. didn’t know this fact either when he sent him away.
“He can *smell* the trouble,” onlooking Registered Nurse Griselda spoke to the little pumpkin headed demon below her (Steve). “More senses over there beyond sight and sound.” And therein lies part of the problem.
(to be continued)
“Okay, so let’s see what this is all *aboot*, he he.” He enters.
Little Stevie Wonderful offered to play RN Griselda a tune he just wrote to comfort her on the sight. And sound. And smell.
I wish I could say hello, welcome, “MAT Gone Bad” thought at his “welcoming” couch, spying Sandman descend the stairs from the Portal in the distance. But not here. Canada or not, this is *my* realm. And you’re not a part of it. Dany Rada, without an extra N — or an R — invented the (time) plunger that brought me here, in his true self. You have not seen his true self, you do not know the truth… *interloper*. Things have equaled out now and beyond, with not a level playing ground to behold, not even close.
He stares upward now, seeing the many levels Sandman, formerly newly appointed Collagesity leader Jeffrey Phillips, has to ascend to win the “game”. He’ll probably never make it to the castle, Man About Time calculates in his machinating mind, but even if he does the Grandma is there at the end. No one gets past the Grandma. Everyone has one, and everyone is leveled out at the top because of her. Grandma will ask about the innermost secrets and if she is not happy with the answers, she will *cancel all future realities*. That simple. But, again, he probably won’t even make it that far.
Sandman’s pace is still brisk when he steps upon the pathway leading to the Ethereal Falls. MAT reconsiders in the moment. Sandman is strong, having Jeffrey Phillips’ soul within as a new host. He truly could make it to the Grandma. But no further of course. Unless, *his* reality is cancelled instead. He ponders this terrifying if unlikely future for just a few seconds before waving it off as if an irritating gnat. He settles back into the couch for a nap, for there is no one down here that can bid him otherwise.
“Yes that *is* a pretty penny to pay for a hanging, but I guess I should move on, er, Brunhilde is it?”
“Yes sir.” Massively muscled Brunhilde looked beyond Sandman at the now empty couch in the distance and understood that his master had finished his nap. Sandman indeed could move on. But he didn’t say this. A little more stalling couldn’t hurt. Plus he kind of enjoyed the company and chatting. They don’t get a lot of visitors these days to this sector — most have just started calling it The Sector, because of the missing N and especially R thing involving returned Dany Rada and his time plunger that we mentioned in the previous post, another West Virginia connection like Gormania here before it and perhaps directly relatable to that spooky building filled dot on the map. If only this Sandman would have brought his bike to this realm, Brunhilde thought, suddenly feeling sorry for the pitiful man-person before him. He looked again at the empty couch. He decided to take a chance. “I assume… you can ride a bicycle.”
Quicker than most, then, he was upon the red door leading to the castle. But most people didn’t go there immediately, having hesitation about such a radical change in such a new land. Red is a sign of warning, danger. This was, of course, the plan all along for its designer and creator: to put the obvious end of the journey right up front and center at the beginning and then taunt them at the end about the missed opportunity to jump all the trouble they went through. Think Dorothy of Kansas on the Yellow Brick Road at the beginning of her Oz journey. As the stupid Good Witch of the North told her much later, she could have just clicked her ruby slippered heels three times right then and there and be whisked back to home, safe and sound. No need to kill an even more deadly witch, no need to deal with an obvious incompetent wizard who was probably sending her and her accumulated mates into a death trap. No all she had to do — then and there — was click those stupid heels 3x and — gone. It’s a fatal flaw in the 1948 Oz movie that the Rainbow Sphere perfectly predicts, and actually resolves in the big picture. And so it is here, and with another red object. There is no accident in this. Sandman can ride his bike safely here to the right and to the left but not straight on, else *crash* (another one). In short, what we are dealing with is more *witchery*.
(to be continued)
It was this sight that especially haunted him on this lower level of PickleSong, aka The Sector: a giant rabbit bunny with his brains *exterior* to his head, seemingly. And a diamond of a brain it was to behold, impossibly sparkly and shiny. How to get it back in the body? And after a time Sandman knew it was made of both carats… and carrots. How could this be? He suddenly had a flash of blue roses and another rabbit path leading to… he couldn’t remember. That particular sight was not with him. He stares down one more time before continuing to explore, not having even figured out the floor part of this place much less levels above. Obviously the red door remained closed. I’m not sure he even remembers it is there at this point. He rationalizes the spooky house on the hill is a central spot, but in truth it was more of a red herring, with false leads within and without. Nevertheless, that is probably where he’s heading next — once he figures out this 1st story, pheh.
Goodbye giant bunny for now. Probably see you in a couple of hours again.
Another dead end, darnit. Good thing I have this bike or I’d be completely wore out by now!
house on the hill
“Hi. I’m here to fix the toilet?”
“Oh stop it Dany. Dany without the extra N. Do you know who I even am? Do you know who you are?”
“I’m Danny,” answers Dany, not remembering the missing N for the moment. Tools of the trade in hand, he had his mind set on righting a bathroom today. Blood was mentioned in the phone call he received. Probably clotting. He was confident he could solve it all with his trusty plunger. He told this to Keith B., who we haven’t seen in this here blog and attached photo-novels in a while, at least several back.
“Listen,” Keith B. responded as a tangent. “Listen to the naked man play the piano so wonderfully, like a Little Steve.” Keith B. spoke directly to the naked man playing the piano, hidden in the above photo by Dany. “Do you know Little Steve Wonderful, Schumann? Schumann with an extra N?”
The playing stopped. It was the infamous Booger T. Hayes mention all over, minus the scream (I think). After a weighted pause, the music began again, fingers flying even more rapidly. But not a lilting piece this time. Something gross and confusing and inept; heavy handed. Aberrant if you will. A.B.
“The diamond lies outside the head,” spoke Dany, suddenly in a trance as the notes flew around the room like dark, radar-less bats. In fact they were bats; at the time.
“Good, good,” Keith B. spoke over the weird music and attached wing flapping. “So you know the problem now. The *real* issue. Not… some stupid toilet overflowing with blood thing… although we need that fixed too if you don’t mind.”
“I’m finally done sir. It was a clot after all. I had to rinse the blood out of my mop 17 times to get it clean. I won’t charge you for that.”
“Good, Danny with an extra N,” spoke pleased Keith B., bats or bat-like notes having receded and Schuman (without the extra N now) on the couch with him wrapped in blanket. “Do you play board games by chance?” he then ventured, staring more intensely at the blonde youth. “I think we should play a board game next. Weegee — just under the table there. If you don’t mind — back acting up and all,” he excused himself for not bending down to retrieve. He just wanted to see if Danny was still following orders, though. Because if the N returns to Schuman: he’s done for the day.
“Daddy he’s gone,” emitted Katy McCoy from in front of the static filled TV.
“I know, honey. He was a bad man.”
“Baaad,” she echoed from her position, hands still on the screen, hoping for a change. She *saw* him. He was here (!).
Keith B. tried to rouse himself more, make sense of what his adopted child was saying. They had lived here in this attic of the house on the hill, jeez, going on maybe 15 years now. All they had for entertainment was this TV. And the constant Halloween going on around them 24/7. Blood and guts gets old, though. She *saw* him. A clear space in the snow. The 7 and the 6 had merged, at least for a brief moment in space-time. The Oracle tells him so.
“Dear,” his wife of over 16 years says to his side. “We’ve broken the tie — that must be it. Jenny and I… were tied. Last I spoke to that bastard of a man Craighead Phillips we were both sitting in front of him, complaining about his running off and driving his car hither and thither across that blasted continent of his.”
“*My* continent too,” Keith B. defended his homeland of Maebaleia/Satori. He was pretty much fully awake with this. He sat up, trying to figure out how to unglue Katy from the boob tube. Might as well be the Great Mother to her, he thought. Nourishment, but not in a good way. A baaad way, as she just said about the thing within.
“But there was just *one* of us in front of him,” she continued with her important point, “a kind of quantum state I suppose. I remember… speaking… but not in my voice. Someone elses, at least in part. Half and half, yes.” She nods, thinking she’s finally got it. “Yes, Jenny and I were tied and were one.”
“Daddy. There he is! (*suck*) Heeelpp!”
“Aw, jeez, not *again*. Your turn to go inside, dear.” They had agreed to switch off. If only they could do the same with the TV.
Jenny appeared in a beam of light. Tied still?
Sepisexton was suddenly free.
Before heading over to the only real grown up person in the room as far as I could tell, I studied The Munsters a bit more, puzzled by their red Rudolph noses. The mounted rats Rock, Paper — er, Paper, Scissors, Rock — I think — represented a riddle too, a cypher. Better ask the Grandma about it. If this was such person.
I approached. “Grandma?” I tested.
“Tessa,” she corrected in a wavering voice. “You’re looking in the wrong place.”
His foot pointed at yet another classic book he hadn’t read: “Tess of the d’Urbervilles” by Thomas Hardy. So many tomes to read and seemingly so little time, since he was on his own photo-novel 25 in a series of 1. He was at the top, everything leveled off. The Grandma, the *actual* one, was nearby. Very close. But she was busy with Man About Time at the moment. Everything depended on Sandman *not* reaching this level, and MAT knew it. He had to be reinforced that he was the chosen one. Would it work?”
He rested his hand on hers, not daring to ask the question foremost in his mind. He thought back to Collagesity and Carrcassonnnee, the attempt to make the 7th well and alive and functional again. There was a trick involved. Just like there was here. Grandma was always near death but never made it to the Pearly Gates, her just reward. Grandpa was waiting for her, just around the corner. She could hear his voice, feel his presence. Yet there was still a barrier, a resistance. What was it? Was it MAT? Did he want me to choose? she pondered.
“I’m through here for the moment, Keith B. We can go back to your place.” But Keith was busy listening to the voices again. Only writing would help, not reading. He sat amidst the volume of dusty books, holding his head in his hands while rocking back and forth. What was wrong with him? This seemed just like Mercury.
a little lower down…
“I’m almost finished, despite this stupid balloon getting in the way.”
“Can I see?” she uttered with licorice lips.
He didn’t answer directly; kept working. “I… couldn’t get the hair quite right.”
Sepisexton thought: she doesn’t have any hair. But kept her mouth shut. She’d already been scolded several times for changing her position. There were six in the chair, and she got rigid if she used any one too long. Why were there 6 if she couldn’t move about a little? Plus this was a cubist work. Wasn’t he suppose to look all the way around her? I am Carrcassonnee reborn, she thought here. The “I”. The 7th has every right for the 6 to do her bidding. They were the surfaces of her being, as she sat here being painted. She dared to switch again.
“Awww, Carrcassonnee,” he complained.
Ah ha! she thought. He really and truly knows who I am now (!).
He showed her the finished project. So much blurring, she noted, but she supposed that was her own fault for being so darn multidimensional.
Shauna never made it out of the static monster (aka snow monster) realm.
“Shameful waste of life,” spoke investigating Officer Bill Mustardgas over to fellow investigating Officer Michelle Roundup. “But also, wouldn’t you agree, a shameful waste of popcorn, nom nom nom.”
“Agreed! nom nom nom.”
Tessa was nosing around the castle while waiting. “Grandpa?”
“I hear that my step-cousin didn’t make it in from the snow today, Willa. When will it stop snowing? Will it be March?” *sigh*
“Pills!” exclaimed the Registered Nurse, a type of monster herself who had a whole bunch in her hand to cure any ail.
“Put those away and bring the girl to me,” she commanded, wanting to stay lucid if melancholy for the moment. “The Grand Niece”.
“Stop looking over there, child. Stop touching things.”
“Oh, okay,” Tessa agreed while lowering her hand, trying to stay compliant. She knew this woman — creature — before her had valuable information about her beloved Grandpa. Was it possible that he was still alive? She had to find out.
“Look at me, girl. Look me in the eyes.” Tessa did as she asked again. “Do you know who I am? Do you know why you’re here?”
Tessa said she’d heard that she was a member of the family and that she could come to the castle to live if she wished. She was told she could also take step-cousin Shauna’s room soon, and that Shauna was going away for a while and that she might not be coming back.
“That is correct, child,” then spoke the creature before her, who had decided to take the name Daisy Mae March as a sign of hope that the Realm of Snow will end soon. “The Grandpa is upstairs,” Daisy stated, knowing what was foremost in Tessa’s mind.
Joy! Reunion with the most beloved! But then the complete downer was revealed: Grandpa was still dead and only living in Grandma’s head while she herself remained alive. Grandma? Tessa then thought, puzzled. April Mae Flowers?
“Who are you?” she demanded, eyes boring into her now.
“So much pain, Tessa. Yes, you are most definitely one of us.” Joy in return.
“How did it go today, sister of mine?”
“She is *definitely* one of us,” Daisy Mae Flowers replied to Lou Ferrig No, not seen in this blog for a while. Not heavily since photo-novel 4, when she interacted with The Musician in her own, similar realm of Bermingham and took care of his pet dingo for a while, if memory serves — maybe still does.
“That’s great, yes. Can’t wait to meet her. Staying in Shauna’s room I assume?”
“Yes. The snow monsters have her now.”
“Nice — I suppose. I mean, the snow monsters aren’t *that* bad, I’ve heard.”
“They’ve killed 3 million people!” exclaimed Daisy Mae, pushing a popular myth about the actually quite decent blizzard creatures.
“Nah, not what I’ve heard. Do you still get your news from FOX?”
“Lets not go into all that sister.”
“I’m just saying, *dingo* is better — all small letters in that case. Small is for humble; truthful.”
Daisy Mae looked away from her sister, not wanting to start an argument that had no end and would most definitely spiral into the Abyss. She’d seen enough of the Abyss. Instead: “She’s met David A.B. here, the normal one. What I mean…”
“What you *mean*…” continued the sister, “is that he’s not the Devil.”
“No, he’s the God,” agreed Daisy now with her sibling. “At least he *thinks* he’s one.” Both titter with this. They act in unison again.
It was a long time ago and it happened in the theatre below the castle. It was a round concavity full of something but not popcorn this time. Instead: brains, specifically the diamond like brains of David/Dave, who had not chosen a moral direction yet. The victim slumped opposite him. Keith B. most likely, who subsequently acquired his own new brain from… well, let’s just keep some things private for now. The man they called The Barber sings a tuneful song of familiar design while he works.
He was near the start again, deciding which way to go and whether it was even worth choosing at this point. The house on the hill to the left remained a disappointment, with no Grandma inside except a kindly one named Tessa who was obviously not the horrible monster he’d heard about from several denizens of PickleSong now. But there also seemed nothing of real value or meaning to the right either: no real structures of substance. The red door loomed front and center before him. Dare he (despite the warning color)? There was nowhere else. Except retreat a little further back toward the Portal and thank Brunhilde for the bike, which he never did, and ask for his advice. He seems kindly enough as well. Yes, that sounds like a plan.
“It’s already been taken care of,” offered muscle bound Brunhilde about the door, helping Sandman more than he could know if confusing him in the present. “I’d go ahead and start over: go back through the Portal and start afresh tomorrow. Things will be different, trust me. And, oh, leave the bike behind. I need to pedal to the store up on level 5 today for some bread and eggs and some other stuff.”
Jeffrey Phillips woke up back in the Blue Feather in Collagesity. He wiped the little bit of grit from his eyes (sand!), and looked around at familiar surroundings: the infamous red tie draped around his bedpost, his tuxedo hanging in the corner on an antique coat rack, his Phillip Linden doll beneath him that he’s cried into many a night before sleep. And, most immediate: Charlene the Punk beside him. “Put on a dress babydoll and get out of that babydoll,” he spoke over to the groggy punk. “We’ve got to go see Man About Time and pronto!”