I recognized him immediately, even though I’m not sure I wanted to. Not the man on the bike also staring over. That would be the long sought after Dr. Mouse, shortened over time from Doctor *of* Mouse, as in Mick Mouse, as in Pansy Mouse which Mick changed into after the operation to remove all the black and fatten up the face and body. No, I’m talking about the shadowy man in the window with the red eye, presumably with a matching one hidden behind the grille of the window pane. I’ve seen him before: the house on the hill in Pickleland. This is Schuman; Schuman is interested in what I am doing. Endlessly inventive, he has found a new guise.
I also think about the “red eye” of the 1st Bogota collage, there the color applying to a lightning bolt design highlighting an eyeless socket of a skull, a facial tattoo made famous by pop musician David Bowie.
And to further this, I’m reminded in one of his last videos called “Lazarus”, Bowie had bandages very similar to Schuman.
So is this Schuman or is this Bowie? Perhaps a game of eeny, meeny, miny, moe would be appropriate here.
Sometimes you can’t help yourself. You have to take a snapshot.
Flash! The world is gone, then reappears. Blue Berry Girl sits on a rock, trying to figure it out. “Norris. Be *quiet*,” she demands. But Norris had said nothing in fact, not being alive in any way except through remote animation. She takes him everywhere. We could call him a constant sounding board. “Norris. Stop picking at your nose!” That kind of thing.
Flash! The brightness then dies down from the last pocket of virtual reality. A pond with real seeming rocks lining it. They sit down again, tired from the 50 meter walk, or Blueberry Girl imagines Norris is tired. Looking down, she then wonders when and why she painted her fingers (and toes) such odd colors.
“Norris. Stop *humming*.” Blueberry Girl imagined her constant companion was humming a Schuman, perhaps the one with the red eye (hopefully). But then Norris stops and doesn’t start again.
“What *are* these rocks?” Blueberry Girl asks. “They seem… *different*!”
Norris had an independent thought for a change. *I* rock! he realizes. He is alive, resurrected even.
“Scratch scratch scratch!” went the seagull down at the rocks like a demented violin, trying to tell them the truth but being unable to communicate effectively being a simple bird and all. He has plans to change himself.
“Another dream, Charlene. I was a dummy.”
“Aww,” she says with fake pout. “I’m sooo sorry.” She rubs his arm. She hands him his red tie, which he must put on first thing even to get out of bed.
“I saw rocks. I woke up. I was a violin. I was a seagull.”
“There there, now now.” She was rubbing the other arm now. She was patient. Jeffrey Phillips was doing right by her these days. Collagesity was not that bad. Once you get use to the crime and the background shooting and looting. As long as you’re in bed, say, by 7, and wear your noise cancelling headphones to go to sleep: you’re okay. April Mae Flowers was still in custody. There has to be more criminals, especially given the 5 sets of fingerprince and, well, the continuing crime, only slightly abated much to Jeffrey’s chagrin. He returned to continuing chaos. The paperwork containing the police reports among other things piles up. He works through it one day at a time, inch by inch, foot by foot. Then he comes across this.
“The sun is hot today Norris,” she says, looking up from her hands into the cooler trees, trying to spot the seagull that had flown away from the toasty rocks down at the shoreline. But in vain: the demented violin sings no more.
Birthplace of Bogota — BoB
“So is this it?” he asked. So innocent and mild-spoken, not like in the Big Dream I had. I’m reassured by his physical presence. This is not a monster before me (!). It was all imaginary; unreal. Like with that girl in the 1898 Oz movie.
“Yes, Man About Time — MAT.”
“Thank you,” he replied about me adding the way he likes to say his name. Like someone named Matt in our world — *your* world. “Welcome MAT!”, and so on. It reminded me of something else.
“Do, ahem, you remember Marcus Fox Smartville? I believe you may have met him on News Years. Not this year but maybe one back.”
“Of course.” He twirled around in place on the edge of the road. Highway 14, the compliment to Highway 13 on the other side of the peninsula we live upon.
“Explain your relationship — if you don’t mind.”
“I am he,” he said plainly, flinging his arms about again. He looks up at the colorful sign, continuing talk from before. “So this is TILE.”
“TILE indicator, yes. The gallery across the road pointed it out. One Barret Darkfold. Interesting art within as well.”
“And you’ve contacted him?”
“Yes. Because his is the closest registered gallery to Collagesity as I found out last night, and also that our names are alphabetically next to each other in a member list of the Virtual Soho group, which I just found out tonight in looking up something totally different. I told him I thought it was funny: these two found juxtapositions of ourselves in two nights.”
“It’s the bridge,” he suddenly said. “It points right to the sign.”
I looked north. “Bridge of the 7 Chickens?”
“Yes. It points directly to this… TILE substitute,” he reinforced.
The individual tile numbers are not exact but the colors match in two different ways, red for L and blue for E, just like in the letters of TILE. But this is LOVE, of course, so the O and the V don’t match the letters. But they match the remaining colors of green and yellow. This is TILE.
“Shall we go see the art?” I asked him after nothing else seemed to need adding about the sign.
As we started walking, 2 pods flew by us and pulled into a small station just ahead. We took it as yet another sign…
… then I found another pod across the bridge. I hopped in, leaving MAT behind.
MAT decided to check out the Darkfold gallery by himself. “Didn’t even say goodbye, hmph,” he muttered about my quick exit while passing through the multi-arched entrance.
Ahh. Quito’s Garage. The place Karoz Blogger got married way back in novel 2. And I was just here.
Soon I was back where I started. The pod had suddenly decided to turn around in its journey not far past the garage. As if it was all about that.
“How was your trip?”
“How was *yours*?”
“Colorful,” he replied over.
I didn’t get out of the pod, which had turned into a boat. Soon enough I was darting toward Dizneyland, probably Pansy as well. I could only hope.
I stepped out of the boat and walked across the entry dock as quietly as I could. Maybe if I didn’t wake up anyone I could get out of this alive.
A squeaking board. “Halt!!”
We ate supper that night in silence. The knife we used to cut the pizza lay just beyond reach. I had two options as I saw it. We could either kill each other… or kiss each other. But this was Wheeler, I reminded myself. A Blurmaid — blue mermaid — but still: Wheeler. The whole separation of state and power came back to me like a punching fist, a jabbing knife. Looks like killing is the option.
“CUT!!” the director shouted behind the scenes. “That was GREAT. Now do it like you’re two monkeys climbing up a tree to grab the same banana. Annnnd ACTION!!”
The improv suggestion didn’t work. We sat there still, staring at each other. If I could only describe the look in her eyes. Two pools… whirlpools perhaps. I wish I was somewhere else.
I was in the Temple now, having just completed the second of 2 whirls of the rainbow labyrinth on the bottom floor. Blue all around, but white here in the center. Just like her and her eyes. I was trapped like a fly between two window panes. I looked over at crooning Mercury propped up against a dead tree and understood more about what he went through.
Blue yellow red green, and then, secondly, cobalt purple orange maroon. If only there were just letters and not letters and numbers together then the world could remain perfect.
“The switch from Kansas to Oz equals the switch from yellow to red as if through a door. Blue and yellow are Kansas, which remain perfect. Red and green are Oz, Munchkinland and the Yellow Brick Road to begin and encompass the whole. This *should* be perfect but it has been singly corrupted. And this is where we must understand *numbers* beyond letters. 13 in the first has been reduced to 12 in the second, with numbers adding 1/4th from the outside. This ‘outside’ is what we must really begin to understand. Because that is the direction of the Abyss and not God.”
I didn’t want to hear this TILE talk from Man About Time, attempting to explain my latest dream-reality. I knew Wheeler had created it all to teach me a valuable lesson. Don’t f-ck with mermaids. Or mice.
I am Pansy. Zero Hero.
Silent (Center of Universe)
She didn’t know how she got here. She remembers being nude on an island and being rescued. The rescuer had said she’d gone “native” and that it was a good thing he stumbled upon her because she was almost sunburned to death. She said to him she thought she was on Mars, on the only pocket of water on the planet, but just big enough that she couldn’t see the edge from her position on an island within. She saw other islands as well, which to the rescuer she described as planets. He pointed out that didn’t make any sense, and that they were in an ocean, the North Sea of Nautilus to be specific, and that he had found her rocket ship surrounded by those dratted featherfloaters just in the bay over there and was looking for survivors. It was only here she remembered the ship, the trip, the interplanetary training she had worked so hard at (so hip). She must have got her head knocked upon landing/crashing. That would explain the the lump-sized bump and some other stuff — the nudity obviously, but also the shower. It never rained on her island, yet she kept exclaiming to the rescuer, the “water’s on,” followed by, “I better go turn it off.” She went off to find a shower to turn off but never did. “How long had *that* been going on?” the rescuer asked, getting more alarmed by the minute. He had found a towel to offer her from a nearby camping spot but she refused it, saying she was still in the shower and that if she put clothes on that they would just get wet and she’d have to put them in the dryer and she didn’t have a dryer on this infernal island in the pocket of water on the surface of Mars. He kept scratching his head.
The rescuer left (the scene). She wasn’t sure when, or why. Maybe she killed him, she ruminated now, with senses returned. I *was* hungry. Would I do such a thing? Perhaps he mentioned the shower one too many times.
She remembers Carrcassonnee. Big C, as she called her, was on the island as well, but in spirit form. Mainly. An Olive head appeared once with a Big I within it, poking out a little bit, even, on one side. Disabled Astronaut AB pointed out the flaw. Carrcassonnee never returned in true form but she remained an advisor in the wind, the dust, the water, the sand. She could appear in a tree, a clump of grass, a stump. She came as a burning bush, saying that Astronaut AB had to make a choice and there was a Queen and a King to answer to over in a place called Corton, described by Big C as a similar island to this. AB logically asked if they were still Mars. Big C always affirmed that AB was on Mars, even though the rescuer had clearly denied this reality. “Yes, it was good I killed him,” she decided, a wry smile appearing on her lips.
“Spread them apart,” commanded one resident to another, separating Duck from Glen. “Wider, wider!” But even as far apart as they got they were still in the same county and that was the trick. The Queen and King retired happy.
“Don’t talk to her, dearest. She’ll come around eventually.”
Premiering on facebook now: “Strange Corner of West Virginia”, part of the Weird Wonderful series. This new work is set in Clay, the county seat of Clay County and made fully redundant around WWII when then name was changed from Clay Court House.
There is much to unpack here; Clay may be featured again. Projected title for future work (and picture it could be based on): “Bail set for Bail: the Great Redundancy Trial of ’53”. We’ll see!
“I gave at the bank, bud,” she offered the ragged man with outstretched hand. He’d almost heard it all now. Onward…
…. to the temple in the center of Silent (groundside). Sep Felton (= Baker Bloch) felt there may be clues about how to proceed with the development of TILE here via the proferred slideshow. Red green blue yellow, after all: Rainbow Sphere.
But she was probably quite a ways off still, trapped in red and yellow unable to reach and incorporate green and blue on the far side. Working theory.
I know the creator of all this. He camped in the Rubi Woods next to my beloved Collagesity a while back. I was worried about him at the time. The camping lasted for days and days. Now I see it as a retreat. A place of silence. Funny how Carrcassonnee camped with friends Tin S. Man and Homer Smipson at almost that exact same spot way back in 2016, if not *the* exact same spot. I’ll have to get the coordinates. Far out (like Silent).
What appeared as an ant crawling up blinds turned out to be Astronaut AB in the distance, still looking for CENTER.
Hidi (Wheeler) is called in to help but just ends up getting lost herself in a catty-corner sim.
Closest I can get tonight are these 2 pictured red and blue avatars who share the aspect of a doubled name: Chouchou and Loulou. My guess: twinned halves themselves of one user, but of course could be wrong. Masculine and feminine, soft and hard, punk and hippie maybe. Whatever, the purple starry deer unites. And the overall whiteness of the place.
Related concept: Mimosa Lanes.
7 > 6
She kept perusing the Oracle while waiting. The blue of her dressed matched the blue of the distant sea. Alpha… Windy, she studied. Wait… stop. Protection, she determined. She is Windy. Or Wendy.
Baker was waiting outside. She had to make a decision about an outfit. Wendy wouldn’t do — that’s kind of the base one for her now in its two twinned forms, one to build upon, like the old Wheeler-Bowie costume. Blurmaid at the last island down, she recalled. Should be something to do with Queen and King, since Corton is involved. But she and Baker weren’t Queen and King. The marriage witnessed by Speck and Crazy over on Grandpa Cliffs turned out to be a sham, a lie even. It was all too British, with true bridesmaids Fern Stalin and Lichen Roosevelt nowhere to be found. She had been on her own and didn’t even stand a chance.
Look at the bastard out there, still in his wedding tux. The audacity! He probably thinks I’ll do it again, be tricked once more. But he doesn’t know me deep down. I don’t put up with such shite.
Sure hope Wheeler picks a better outfit than Blurmaid this time, he thinks while staring up and trying to spot her through one of the house’s many windows.
Jeffrey Phillips stands on the edge of the larger of the two Corton islands, staring across the bridging log at the lesser one. Meeting place, he ruminates. But who with? And where is Wheeler?; she was just behind me.
Alone at the center of the second he morphs into a Mouse again. The Gods look down from above.
“He soo wants to change. For Charlene the Punk. For others perhaps. He wants to be a good ruler (of Collagesity).”
“He understands his roots in Twin Peaks’ Phillip Jeffries and that’s a good jumping off spot or point,” spoke the other, maybe a female this time. Let’s call her Ayesha.
“If he puts on the red Judy shoes that would help.”
“The slippers,” agrees Ayesha. Let’s say the male’s name in this scenario is Walter. Walter Westinghouse. From Homerland.
“All he has to do is click the heels three times and he’s home,” says Walter, who should know. “He doesn’t have to go through all this pain and sorrow. He doesn’t have to pass through Gormania, West Virginia.”
“All that has been taken car of,” spoke Ayesha, thinking about the bike and then the inability of Jeffrey Phillips to fit into the rest of his band of pink punks. He had his “revenge”: Syd to SID. And then, collaterally, TILE to Tyle. Mercury X. Rising at the center of the labyrinth remains in love with his car. Phillip Jeffries as snow white Pansy looks on.
“He’ll get there,” reinforces Walter. But not tonight, both knew, watching him revert to old form. Jeffrey Phillips walks away from the center of the second, intent on finding Wheeler back in the small woods of the first. Maybe I just inadvertently skipped over a post, creating a plot hole (‘nother one).
“Yes, see there, Wheeler?” he said, pointing with his cane. “A hole in the terrain, or the real plot (of ground) showing through the facade.”
“Who are you old man?” spoke a concerned Wheeler just out of camera range again. “And what have you done with Jeffrey Phillips??”
slipperman (filling a hole)
“I do believe he was trying to say your name at the end,” spoke Walter, also looking down on the mess below.
i feel a composition coming on (Montana)
He found his Alpheratz teleporter inside the skybox map and pulled it up to the blue surface. He was ready to let go. “Goodbye Nautilus,” he said, looking over all of it like a God himself in the instant. “Goodbye Collagesity,” he spoke, spotting its representative red pin on the beige ridge between highways 13 and 14 as well. “It seems I hardly knew ya.” Then he was gone. Outta here. Just like that. Teleported to parts unknown. Now Man About Time has his shot at running things. And he can bring Danny back too and his plunger, not the bathroom tool but the real one, the time one. Because, as I think I indicated or hinted at before, Danny knows a lot more than surface aspects of a hick janitor would indicate. He knows about Bill just to mention something. And his hatred of Billy Ray Cyrus, perhaps the ultimate hick who sired… Mabel? Maybe *she* thinks so.
“Wheeler?” Mabel was surprised at the voice. She thought that old bridge had been burned down for good. “H-how are you?” Like she cared, but she tried to remain pleasant.
“I’m fine, I’m fine. Listen, I just wanted to call you and let you know that Jeffrey Phillips died.”
“Jeffrey Phillips. (pause) I thought you knew him pretty well.”
“Oh, yeah, the *playboy*. Well, that’s a shame.” Mabel wanted to add, “anything else?” but held her tongue. Instead she smoothed the ruffles of her lime green dress.
“He took Baker Bloch’s place as ruler of Collagesity. When Baker went…”
“*Where* did *Baker* go?” Mabel suddenly was in a state of panic. She had to at least pretend to rebuild that old, burnt bridge and return. Baker must come back!
man on the border
He could go anywhere, do anything. He truly had a bike now. But how to use this new found power. He’s decided to be a spiritual guide for the blog, for Collagesity perched up there on that beige ridge between Route 13, which he’s riding on currently, and Route 14 on the other side. Together (through the Wizard Cube): 25, or the number of letters subtract one. And that one could be him, hidden in form. He could be the true man behind the Wizard in Oz-speak, which is All-speak now for him. Because he knows Oz represents the Afterlife.
He bikes on, plotting how to heal the Great Split. Brother against brother, friend against friend. It’s all going to end somewhere, and perhaps badly. But Nautilus can survive. If he places himself in the middle. And that could be an anchor for the rest.
He was beyond the end of Route 13 now. He sensed a hole in the West here, something he couldn’t get to while corporeal. If he hadn’t wasted so much time chasing girls here and there, he lamented. But the Afterlife is all about regret, at the beginning. What could and couldn’t have happened, and so on. There’s always a gap between what occurred and the ideal, and a big one. Get ready for the shock. But the ideal still exists and that is the salvific force, the saving grace. The ideal *was* made flesh, and you can view it, you can penetrate it at points — non-corporeally of course, but also — sometimes — with real significance. And it is here in the West that Jeffrey Phillips decides he can start to make the changes he desires.
“Ahh, Barry DeBoy,” he says from his higher position, looking down. “Something about that island.” He penetrates.
Q: Who is Publius Enigma, what is the meaning of it all, and what is the treasure to be had? A: (Uncle Custard) As the Infamous Q has emphasized, ‘you humans are so limited’. This is a project for all those out there with higher IQ’s, it does require a mastery of diverse languages, along with a lot of spare time.
The Publius sim was a stranger one, so close to Public Nudity yet so far. Not being multi-lingual I decided to tread lightly from this central spot, a default landing point on a bridge. I looked down. I recall the red dress. And the woman inside.
Hucka Doobie continued to read on the floor, then, momentarily: “22 is a good one, Baker Bloch. I think I might like that best.” About 20 minutes later: “Here, just here.” She points to the book before her. “Barry DeBoy is in The Waste but it’s *not* the Waste. What was the name of that place?”
Baker Bloch was still fiddling around with the piano, to mix a metaphor. He paused in the effort to recall, which he couldn’t. “Something about numbers,” is all he could distantly offer.
“We should look that up. The place should be separated from The Waste. Not everything has to be Hana Lei if it is the unknown.”
“Suppose.” He started again with the bad “Chopsticks”, hell bent on mastering it before night’s end.
My home! I think excitedly while still peering down. Pink’s motel that she runs. *Mom*. And… Suisan. I am D-Boy, which means I make a lot of D’s which makes me a Dunce with a capital D. So says Suisan. Before she fully understood my special gifts. I learned to make Art with a capital A, an accomplishment that needed to be acknowledged. I stare into the transposed Tiger’s mouth, like someone had turned its head around. Black Diamond. CITY.
A friend waits outside beyond the screened in studio. “Hellooo?” My best friend. My only friend. I wind him up and he winds me down. Now we just have to figure out how to return to the White Palace and get that ruby red key.
“Got it!” But Hucka Doobie was fast asleep by now.
army of one
Bestie, as I liked to call him, was always the best. He constantly pointed out to me when I was down and out that I was a writer as well as an artist, and to find the balance between the two represented my path in life.
The path between the canvas and the typewriter here led to… Mom? Suisan? I had to find out (again). And to somehow avoid Schuman without the extra N if possible. Don’t piano around with fiddles! I was on my way. “Thanks Bestie!” I called back, thanking him. He tipped his mustard colored metal helmet at me in parting, however brief. He would return. He was almost a constant shadow, as they say, in that I’m able to muster him up in any time of trouble. Like now! How to end photo-novel 25, a series of 1. Forward! (hup hup hup)
Of course I got lost in the maze that is my home. This happened even in childhood when I was more familiar with the place. But when I spotted the dummy with the red tie in the middle of the road I knew I was close. Me! They made me a martyr, just because I was special. The 5 were still inside of me all right, all taking orderly turns now, no fighting or jostling for top position. They’ve learned to cooperate. I’ve taught them well. Along with Miss Graham of course. I wonder where *she* is now?
Onward to the motel.
The door was open. “Mom?” I called in.