Sunklands 2021 Even Later 02


joint venture

“Still smoking with the nose instead of the mouth,” Gotham observed in his chair across from me. Me? Man About Time, but changing fast (again).

I stared over at the joined tile on the far wall while speaking. “Let me tell you a story, Gotham, about how I joined a group to find bigfoot. It all started on a porch in a chair. I was in disguise (cough cough).”

I had taken off my shoes in order to help think (cough; *toke*). The cold rock patio (*exhale*) kept me alert and on task, brr. Changing perspective, I knew it had to do with the, um, tent in the same sim. I’d seen this (*toke*) tent before. In Insipid… oh heck, what was the name of that sim. Intrepid (*exhale*).”

“Instabar,” offered Gotham. “I’ve read the attached novel,” he explained. “Pretty good, except for The Man in the exact center. Highly unlikely,” he judged. Side note: Gotham was pretty much the same when high as not high. He’d smoked so much down through the years that he had become the pot. “Hi pot!” he exclaimed first thing in the morning, burying his thumb and fingers in the bag to protract the sweet monie. He’d gotten small so many times…

“I was… *there*.” It was about as much energy as I could muster in the moment. Mustard. Ketchup. Condiments! I realized, mind yelling much louder than mouth could. I need a Hot Dog!


really big shoe tonight

“We bagged him,” Gotham remembered later. “Green as the grass we just smoked.” He was both right and wrong, as he often is. The vision, the hallucination, was real enough. He just couldn’t pin down Time and Space amid all the Options. “I… remember… looking down at him.”

“Those eyes, yes,” Man About Time agreed, having experienced kind of the same thing. Sort of parallel visions, at least for about 20 or so seconds, just enough to finish the joint, pliers extracted from a green, yellow, and red pouch between them just earlier. Gotham always came prepared. He had to. Else: chaos; lost in The Abyss. He didn’t want to go there again until it was unavoidable, like every night upon falling asleep. 20 or so seconds was all it took, the last toke for both of ’em. Indeed: they had bagged one.

Dare they go see if their joint vision had produced reality?

“He’s in that tent. I know he is.”

“Nah,” countered Gotham. “You’re an inexperienced toker. You don’t understand how it works.”

—–

“Told you.”

“Look! At your foot.”


spotted

If our timing is right, a green shoe should come into view about here.

There!


fused

Accompanied by the music of Certain Death playing on the turntable, an old, religious man reads slightly pornographic manga well into the night. Did it in Kowloon where he came from, doing it here. Nothing wrong.

In another part of Horns, Jacob’s I awakes from the dead, as it were, and rolls his stiffened neck. “Ugggh. Where *am* I?”

Kick-ass Bogota’s long vigil is over. He can rejoin his brother Boos, wherever he is at the moment, probably Red’s Diner.

Yes: Red’s.

Bigfoot is a hot topic tonight. A giant spool has now been rolled onto an artist’s location and made into a firepit. Staring into the flames one last time, Kick-ass takes his leave before Jacob I. realizes who he is.


the planet’s 3rd eye

“I recall now. I am your hairy… neighbor. To the North. Remember? Like Canada. Some called us friends. Like me. Remember? Not Arthur but me. We were sent here (to Mythos) together.”

I recalled. There was lots of pain in his direction, more than mine. The US of our A had it easier. A single child (functionally). A loving *father*. “You didn’t know,” he wanted to say to me now. “You were involved… in your own world.” I couldn’t argue. At least he didn’t declare war on me, like Cofmo. Ants, mechanical ants. My grasshoppers never had a chance. June bugs bombed but all were underground.

I know why my artist friend from Our Second Lyfe was named that. For this.


Alyshas


“I don’t want to forget you, mini-me. Even though I am the Controller now and have acquired red hair. You are two steps away now. I cannot leave you… behind.”

“Tattoo,” is what she said back. I thought about this. Arm? Back? Other place? “Where?” I ventured. She just stared with those almond eyes, same as mine. We looked into each other.

“We will have this spot where we can talk to each other,” I decided aloud for both me and her. As one.

Who are we with? I thought next. Axis-Windmill seems the logical choice, default even. I thought I saw little Alysha shaking her head back at me but I might have imagined it. One mind…


set

We took Rael McCoy, straightened him out. Trouble was, this created two stars where before there were one. Which is Real. Which is Rael?

(to be continued)


each having their fun

—–

He was getting valuable information out of this Cornfeld fellow, Natha Neil I believe. Green Acres he comes from (he claims). Farm living. Delight — for him. I tried to keep him on track about the city. “Neat Town?” he replied. “Never a city. More a *Hooterville*, in that…” I stopped him. The guy would have been right at home in Horns and with the old religious man. Dig a little beneath the surface and it’s always Hooterville for these lot — Fraud had it right in many ways. “But Red started it,” I furthered. “Unloaded her shacks out of a giant, mossy green shoe with the help of an octopus.” “Squid,” he replied, but didn’t elaborate. So he knew about that event too (!). “So it is true,” I said to him. He looked away with this, more toward the center of town. “You’ll find more information in the diner, *her* diner.” I took my leave. “Ask for Green!” he shouted as I left the grounds.

—–

Out back:

“Henry, I told you not to drive this thing when you’re drunk. It’s been in the woods for 50 years (!). You’ll explode (again).”

Too late.


wanted: large, many armed marine creature able to lift 20000 lbs.

Martha Fish Stew Boos finally installed an invisible fence on the other side of the road to keep her shopping carts from disappearing. Now they couldn’t take them through the hidden portal in the small hillock to do whatever they do with metal objects like that. Maybe build primitive spaceships for all she knows, trying to rocket off to whatever God hell awful planet they originate from. Truth was, they were trying to make another one of those giant shoes. They had enough metal. All they needed now was a large quantity of moss and an even larger octopus (or squid) and off they go. They’d get the moss after molting season. Shouldn’t be long. Martha went to all the trouble for nothing.


“Just leave it,” Claude commanded from within.


thief

“Axis-Windmill. You have blood on your hands that you must atone for.”

“I know.”

—–

“What happened to your hands, mister?”

Roth Voomer looked down, not even thinking about that day any more. He’s basically healed. Except for the extremities of course.

“It happens, kid. The Abyss will have its price.”

“The Abyss,” the almost submerged kid says while nodding, having learned about such things in prison school.


controlled

“Awfully nice for you to come over and cook me dinner again, Alysha.”

Alysha, she thinks. *That’s* how he sees me now? “Sure, honey,” she says. “Anything for my number 1 man.” Number 10 at best she calculates to herself. She’s just that deep into it. Horns of Hatton, pheh. Manga, huh. She sprinkles spice on the meatloaf and asks him what he’s up to today, hoping the heck she wouldn’t be involved. But she does feel sorry about the hands. The Abyss will have its price, she thinks. And the Abyss is very close here. Very close indeed. About as close as that big whale circling around this treehouse.

“Business down South,” he answers from his rocking hammock. “Have to take Pricky.”

Thanks Gods, she ponders. “Oh? Big haul, then?”

“More marine life, yeah. Squid, I think. Or octopus — can’t recall right now. Anyway have to go to Cass City to pick it up; haul it up North somewhere. Meat Town I think it’s called. I’ll have to look it up on my map.”

*Neat* Town, Alysha thinks from the sink, pondering whether to add poison to the recipe to stop the whole thing. She knows why she’s here now. But not to kill him, she realizes. Instead: kiss; use her magical powers.

By the time they’d finished, Alysha had had a chance to alter the map. The whale ended up going the wrong way and never reached its intended destination. Roth wasn’t fired, but he never saw his precious, red headed Alysha again. Blonde Wanda filled the void, but Wanda couldn’t cook worth shite and had to be disposed of herself. Fed to the sharks, some say, although she actually just went back to Bombtown and eventually married a man with 3 eyes. Then came Sally. Or was it Shelley? No: Sally.

“Do you want some meatloaf on your spice tonight?” she called from the kitchen, preparing for the worse.


00290212

“The Neat Town moss people never received that big squid or octopus and so the red and white lighthouse remained on the green, no one else able to move it, not even jointly,” Kick-ass Boos recites from the top bunker again, joint still in hand, although almost small enough to require pliers. “Dwarfed, they were,” he finished.

Well that’s a nice story, thought Axis-Windmill from the lower bunk bed opposite him. But it doesn’t explain my dream where I lost my hands!

—–

Claude looked over at Paul, realizing if he bent his will there might be no leaving this place, ever. The 20000 lb. lighthouse could not be budged; time to call in reinforcements.

“Sorry I’m late.”


Head

5 til 3! she thought while looking out at the big Hooktip clock tower with her red and white umbrella peepers. I’ve got to get going!

I put on the garb of a white mage tonight, trying to act like I knew what I was doing. I was able to sit down on a diamond shaped plot of good ol’ actual Linden grass in a mainly artificial terrain constructed by the land owner of this little forest here, one Clare Nova. Remember her? Anyway I was smack dab on the Diagonal, at, let’s see, 36, 35. Close enough, as they say. One off of any of the two (or three) numbers is okay — difficult to tell any difference in the, um, energy, quote unquote. “It’s often not what’s right on The Diagonal,” I say to myself almost religiously, “it’s what you *see* from it.” Like that clock in the background Shelley Struthers up in the middle of the sim might be looking at at the same time. Actually, nope, in checking she’s put on that long Pepper shirt she likes now and is starting to brush her luxurious blonde hair (to her) in front of the vanity mirror. One stroke, she counts, two… three. Always 30 and she’s perfectly beautiful, almost as much as Ginger Granite down the lane. She can never get her bearings in this sim for some reason. What was its name?

30.

She splashes water on her face and prepares to face the world.

Today is the day she’s going to get up the nerve to speak to Tommy Tailgate, maybe goad him into asking her out. Goad? How about “guide”? She wants to get better at doing such things. Like Ginger again.

*Shelley*. That was the name of the lane. Like her!

There. Picture perfect.


but wait there’s more!

The mirror had long cracked for Henrietta, locally called Hatti for the obvious. Not because she wasn’t beautiful in a way, but just because of the evil, let’s say. Actually let’s go with: she did it on purpose. She didn’t want to become Vain. She wanted to become herself, beyond the hat. But she knew it would take Time.

She purposefully made holes in it so that her blue-ish hair would poke through. Some say it was black, but that was just a trick of the light. A trick set up by Hatti/Henrietta as well. She certainly had talent in that direction, genius even.

Today she intended to ride her old Schwinn bike down into town and ask Peter Cotton out, who labors in a mill. She likes the way he walks the streets all sweaty and glisteny. Maybe it’s just a passing phase because last month she liked her men bone dry. But the one she had a particular eye on died at the first of the month, struck down by a mysterious malady and gone in hours. Some say deadly nightshade did him in. How peculiar. *She* has a jar of that very substance up in her cabinet over there with the rest of her poisons and potions. And it’s two teaspoons down from what it was last month. So curious, she pondered to herself with a wry smile forming on her cracked, withered lips which she’s covering with blood red lipstick right now. And all because he had the audacity to turn her down; hopefully Cotton will work out better.

—–

Comic Baker Addon Door? How strange.

To the witch house…


levity needed

By 9 o’clock she had him sweeping the floor while she kept reading recipes, trying to decide. One thing she knew, butter would be involved — not glisteny enough now. She floated some toward her from the table.

Peter Cotton wasn’t surprised, because of the hat and all. And he’d heard rumors in the village about witchcraft up on the hill. So when Hatti propositioned him in the streets of VHC City after his shift at the mill he thought he’d give it a try — something new. His current girlfriend Frieda Friendly wasn’t hacking it for him in the bedroom right now. He desired something a bit more, um, magical? Maybe. Different anyway. He didn’t know, he wasn’t sure. All he knew was that he wanted change, and change he would get. If he wasn’t killed first by the dinner.

Peter Cotton was best friends with Tommy Tailgate, who also got propositioned in this merry month of May (or August (or October)). He was also on a date. “Excuse me while I go powder my knees,” said Shelley Struthers later on at her Top o’ the Hill Hooktip apartment containing that ultra mysterious and perhaps ultra powerful triple number of the sim: 135, 135, 135, highest on Heterocera’s Diagonal as a whole, with an old name of Head. There was no Heart now, so the additional description of Head wasn’t needed no longer. There was only one. Art’s place along with the proximate heart is gone. Abandoned land. “You just sit there on the ottoman,” she requested, knowing it would eventually work its magic if he stayed still long enough. 135, 136, 135. Very close. Close enough, as indicated.

Shelley stared into the bedroom mirror and it mysteriously cracked. Didn’t seem like a good omen. Maybe she should have a rethink about her vanity, she rationalized. Go tell Tommy to move from the ottoman to the couch. A calmer, cooler date to begin, yes. And go out to eat as well.


domesticity (Cotton-Tailgate Industries)

By the next spring’s fall we were married, Shelley and me, and even had a realistic looking baby to tote around by then. It was 2 months old and we still couldn’t decide on a name. We didn’t even have a sex for the kid, since those kind of things could also be chosen back in the days before severe power outages ended all that. Afterwards it was deemed best to select before birth, whilst the child was tucked safe in the womb. Sex Stealers didn’t exist then — hard to imagine now since they seem to be around every street corner, peddling their ware. Apples and bananas, that’s all it is these days. The Orangemen some called them, because that’s what each and every one of us had in common and they couldn’t touch, not even on the navel. That was our saving grace all along, although we didn’t realize it before the Big Change.

We were able to acquire a full time, realistic looking chef as well, although he had nothing to cook at the moment. I made good money at the cotton mill, since I owned it now. Part time owner. Along with Peter Cotton himself, the inventor of the world changing cottonpicker by then. Some say we worked our laborers too hard, but his likewise-wife-by-then Henrietta “Hatti” Wilson wanted it that way, said that made them sweat and glisten to her liking. She often sat outside in disguise on a bench at the front door watching them leave the mill after their shift was over and get in their cars to go home to their mostly indifferent wives. Indifference, she sometimes ponders as they all motor away from her, leaving her alone again. It will eventually destroy the Earth and perhaps its Moon along with it. But maybe at least the Moon can be saved — she’s working on it. Malyshkin. The rebirth of Crabwoo.

“Dear, dear, you’re spacing out again. That’s enough milk for today.” Indeed, as I focused and looked down, the toddler’s navel was white with overflow. Better drain a little out before bedtime or else we’ll be up all night again. Oranges and milk: who knew they were the perfect pairing. If only it would have remained that simple.


worlds

I looked down then and there. “Julius,” I decided. “Your name is Julius.”

“What was that?” Shelley was still reading the magazine featuring the chair she was rocking in, a kind of mirror world. Now was the time.

“Nothing dear. Just the baby burping.”

She didn’t even reply this time so distracted she was. She was putting herself in that place.


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