Hook Tender (Southern delusion)
The surrounding white trees should have been a clue about the situation. Conquests, she called them at another time, another place (Horns). The mannequin in the yard (Roxanne) doesn’t want to hear anything about the making of babies; she wants to remain innocent and pure and white (as the driven snow). She doesn’t want to fall into the Black Hole at the center of the Milky Way, a dreamer lost to reality. Reality is *here*. There is no black behind the white for her, being, you know, a dummie and all. Simple, perhaps. A meat and potatoes kind of (wooden) girl.
Fireworks trees, some call them, but that would be more on the opposite side.
We’ve seen the mannequin before. Scarlet some called her, a person ruled by Terra: Earth. Grounded in the soil. She’ll never be tired or poor or hungry again. She thus becomes a mannequin, seeing no other recourse. Stuck in the yard, she is, with a UFO above trying to beam her back up into the sky but not succeeding. Pineapple down the road shoots a cherry red laser beam and mows down a pair of blue-not-green A_Team traitors, influencing the rocket. Frosty turns away, still cold from the grave. Homer sits on the porch. *Homer* *sits* on the *porch*.
Star trees, he called them, because they had little stars in them, all white of course, add in a little pink.
This was handy, but what about the box that was suppose to be here?
She wore the Pepper blouse-shirt and the Pepper blouse-shirt wore she. The apples inside were hers. She always lamented they were too small. They were exteriorized before she met Lichen. Stalin she was after that. Fern Stalin. And then they found Wendy who turned into Red. They’d analyzed her. They knew what she was. Mirror. And: the cake is a lie.
“Lisa, it’s time to come inside. Mom has finished baking her stack of potatoes. And afterwards: turkey — for the rest of us. Come on and be a good girl and go clean up.” He leans his head down. “I’m sorry for what I said before. You can skip the turkey, we’re all okay with it.” He saunters back around the house.
Turkey Day for most
After dinner they all gathered around the boob tube to watch Greyscale Kimball give her annual Thanksgiving speech about the state of the South. “It is good,” she exclaims while the snow clears from the picture. “It is strong,” she follows. “The Heart Queen and I continually work together to make things better for all of us, including the conquered if not the vanquished.”
“I wish she wouldn’t talk like that about the North,” Lisa opines from her middle position. “Everyone knows it comes back to bite them in the ass now.”
“Lii-sa,” Bartholomew complains about what he considers a cussword in the house. But he looks around and sees no parents in the room and realizes all is okay. It’s just the kids. The parents are upstairs — doing another annual tradition while the children watch TV. Bart forgot that fact. He tries to block out the faint noise of bedsprings, which he thought was the small twittering of a bird outside before. Now he can’t get it out of his head. He moves toward the TV. “Don’t mind if I turn it up, I suppose.” Points to his ears. “Can’t hear.”
“It’s these old Sylvanias,” says Rose Wells the neighbor who they often pretend is their sister or at least sister-in-law, big for her age of 12. She’s already studying boxes, wondering what’s in the far corners of space while chewing choco chip cookies late at night on top of her house. She intuitively understands the cube, if not tangibly yet. Models would come first. Then reality. “Greyscale forbids the sale of colored TVs beyond the Line of Demarcation,” she finishes.
“The old battle line,” chips in Bart, hip to the 3 1/2 day North-South War from sex history class. Taming the elephants from the Shallows (Flats to the Northerners) was the turning point, he recalls. Just bulled right through the lines after that. He tries to focus back in on the speech…
“… Sinkology has proven, once and for all, that the Pipersville bomb was never set off. The South has nothing –”
“Hey, Rose,” he says to his faux sister beyond Lisa, having heard all this before a hundred times and getting bored.
“Shh,” she says back, still interested.
“– no one was hurt, no one was even injured. The bomb–”
“Hey. Rose,” Bart insisted. “I saw you up on the roof the other night. What are you studying? Stars?”
“– the inevitability of colored TVs to corrupt…”
“Space itself,” she decided to answer, turning away for the moment. “I’m making–”
“– and the corruption spread from town to town, region to re–”
“… a model.”
“Oh?” Bart was interested.
“Will you 2 please pipe down,” said Lisa between them. “Do you want to switch places with me, Bartholomew, so you can talk to your *real* sister?”
“Pheh, ain’t nobody claiming we aren’t yellow.” “Bird twitterings” upstairs again. Greyscale was wrapping it up.
“And so, the Queen and I bid you farewell until next year when, special surprise, the *King* will be joining us.”
All stare at the black and white TV with open mouths. Snow comes in again, hiding the exit ceremonies. Static fills the air, just in the nick of time. Mom and dad upstairs had just reached the end as well.
Lisa was such a good writer there was little to correct for Alysha. The one truth, she thought while staring at the end paragraph of her newest text. “Cowabunga” was first uttered by her brother and used commonly after that. And *Bartholomew*… more corrections, much more. He laid in the hammock outside while waiting, eager to get the news about his own stuff. He knew there would be red line after red line, but — more time with Red (!).
“Bart,” she called through the open window, tired of having him follow her around like a little yellow puppy. “Why don’t you go see what *Lena* is up to today. This is *not* your day off, you know.”
“Oh, *pheh*, she’s looking at barns, saloons, anywhere that could possibly act as that studio she wants to make her comeback album in. And, anyway, Zach’s there for her.”
Zach, of course, she thought. Lena has Zach, I have Bartholomew. Two dogs for two masters. “I just finished your sister’s. Could be a while is all I’m saying. Why don’t you go prepare the sink. I want to dye my hair again this afternoon.”
“Blue?” He was eager to see that if it happened, but it was only red again.
She was done. Bart had hardly started. So much red!
“First off, Carumba is not a word. It’s *Caramba*. And that’s the title (!).”
“Well if it isn’t the commander of the British invasion,” spoke Fern Stalin softly to Lichen Roosevelt at the bar, receiving a small chuckle. Lichen was usually the witty one, surprising her. “This should be fun,” she said back, watching Alysha continue to walk toward still reading Bartholomew.
“Hi. Finished yet?”
“Last paragraph, *ugh*.”
“We’re going to leave them all in; remove the cross outs instead. *They’re* the mistakes, starting with
“Is the soup good? I made it myself.”
A more proper, grown-up way of saying it…
… as in weedy grown-up. But I’m lichen it! More soon.
akin to Pandora’s
I was always the smartest girl in school. I was always first to raise my hand to answer questions from the teacher. But my *brother*… we didn’t know until much later his special special talent. He *couldn’t* be edited. Let me state that again: He *couldn’t*… be *edited*. No wonder he got frustrated by his 2 dimensional family, including me (me!). He was 3d all along, working on a higher plane that us. A *channeled* plane, true, but still: highly psychic, more than the rest of us. I had to step out of myself and turn into Jennifer Lane to understand better. Before, I was Jenny Lane, a kid at Forest Hill School for psychic children. Jacob I. was there a bit later — he went over to Hillside on the other
hill side of town for his elementary years. Now I was grown up; all weedy. But I didn’t smoke pot to get high. Grown up — but I felt my apples were too small. I wanted to exchange them with another’s. Harrison Ford Jett seemed a perfect (imaginary) candidate. I was always a Star Wars fan growing up, not even learning about Star Trek until the 11th grade, almost done in school. My classmates called me Spock but I thought that was because of my glasses, before I got my (umbrella) contact lenses and could read with my eyes. The library remained a far away and fuzzy edifice after that, shrouded in distance producing mists by then. I proceeded forward with my new life with Tommy beyond academia. Family became priority.
A child is born, a child is given. Julius, although I wanted a Julia. Sex happens. Then the second: a mini-me of sorts. I projected into her. When I got my new eyes (in effect) I realized we were the same deep down, where it counts (166). We made a pact: she *became* me and I became her. Then we hid this fact to others in a carefully placed box. Where was this box? (Borneo) We had both forgotten where we hid it. (Borneo) And the umbrella design has a story of its own as well.
Oh dear, that will be the neighbors, the Wells. Rosie or Rose, my sister from another mother, as we say, then Indian — love of my life until I met Tommy over at a tailgate party. Tommy Tailgate he was after that. I became pregnant that night.
Whiskey… he said to meet him in a place called Whiskey. But I searched the sim of Whiskey again and again and: no sight of my father. My papa! I haven’t seen him… since that day. In The Room.
I went across the icy bridge into the next sim called Clarksburg, to the north. Not as icy once I got across. Snow had receded. Bridge across a great chasm of whitened granite. The place stank of coal or some other fossil fuel. Maybe just gas — I had eaten too much on the plane over. Landed at
Hookton Enceladus several sims north west, which would be my introduction to the Snowlands. I wasn’t stuck here yet, but I was close. Just over this bridge: Whiskey into Clarksburg now.
Back in Enceladus (after the flight):
“So touching that that little girl might be meeting her father for the first time since childhood, Cowboy.”
“Stop calling me that… Indian. But: yeah.”
“Zach,” said the third one around the small table. “Call me Zach. Or Black. Whichever.” He was very excited. He thinks he’s found a studio for his beloved Lena, maybe allowing him to keep her forever as his own.
Ahh. Whiskey! (stuck!)
Now to go inside (*shiver*).
“I was stuck,” Keith B. tried to explain about The Room. “I was caught.”
“Yeah, by *me*. The cube is the sphere is the sea is the whale. The flip style notepad and push style lead pencil remained unsheathed this time but Jenny knew. Jennifer now. The Mann emerged from a plastic cocoon. It was in all the books, a running motif. Keith B. was stuck in more ways than one. 29 now, beginning HERE.
“It’s just what The Mann does. When the Wo-mann is away. Look at Marion Star Harding, still dreaming of dead Heidi in his own way. When the (new) director does her shoots up at Cass City.”
Jennifer looks around, still confused about the location. This could be Cass City, this could be Pipersville… or Storybrook. But instead: Whiskey plus Clarksburg, Whisclarkseyburg, then (maybe). Whiskey *inside* Clarksburg. She was stuck!
She stopped looking around, spacing out. “What… is the name of this place..?” Should she call him daddy, papa, Keith B.? She decided the last.
Keith B. didn’t look around. He knew where he was. And it didn’t work. He’d been uncovered, as if from a secret cocoon.
Former private detective Wendell “Biff” Carter, back on the beat, stopped redding the read book and looked over. That was her all right, he surmised, seeing the eyes. Mrs. Know-It-All.
(to be continued)
Lengthening their draw distance a bit as Keith B. recommended, they both stared out at Clarksey from this low granite summit to the north.
“It’s big, Shelley.”
“Jennifer,” she corrected.
“It’s big, Jennifer,” he began again, then backtracked a bit to “…biggish”. “Ambitious,” he started once more.
“I get the picture.”
“It’ll get more people.”
“Hmm,” she declared. “How many now?”
“Five, I think. Wait: four. Clovis fell into the gorge the other day. Decided it was too dangerous to stay what with his drinking problem. Flew away from Enceladus day before yesterday. You just missed him over there, then.”
“Nice people over there,” she replied. “This one guy, Marion Harding, a Cowboy, even offered to drive me over here from the airport.”
“Who was the pilot?”
She wanted to say Indian but she knew that wasn’t possible. Indian was her brother — 1/2 brother — from another mother. Like Rose — full siblings those two were. “Can’t remember,” she decided to utter, trying to mask the hesitation. Memory gap! ‘Nother one.
“Did anyone follow you?” Strange question from her old Papa. But there *was* someone, someone black. Check that: someone named Black. A, um, black man. Doubly black.
“No,” she issued. “No one. Strange question from you actually.” She took drama in high school. She could still act a bit if necessary. But she’s remembering (!). A trio of men: Cowboy, Indian, Black. And behind them: still fuzzy. Maybe someone named… Frank?
(to be continued)
job change every 3000 miles
“Fill er up, Burt.”
“You!” I exclaimed beside my old Papa.
Marion Star Harding stared into me while still strolling toward us, taking his time. I knew I shouldn’t say his real name. I’m remembering!
“You know this Bozo?” Papa also stared over at me, but with puzzlement instead of secret knowledge.
“No.” I looked between the two. “No, I was mistaken. I thought this was the man–”
Marion stares again. She’d said enough. She stopped.”
“Thought this was the man what?” Keith asked, still with furrowed brow.
“I thought… this was the man who offered to drive me to your place,” she decided to allow. “Before you picked me up.”
“Burt?” uttered Keith B. “A *pilot*.” He stared to laugh. Jennifer join in with him a bit — nervously. Then Marion Star Harding: just a chuckle and a smile. Because Keith B. would only expect that from the silent type guy.
“Whadda ya say to *that*, Burt?” he said between guffaws. He turns to Jennifer. “I’ve known Burt since he was a little boy. He can’t tell right from left, heck, up from down. Right Burt?” Laughter again all around, Keith B. the most, then Jennifer, then Marion. “He… he he… he once tried to build a submarine on top of a mountain and fly it into space. (giggle) You remember that old wooden sub, Burt? (grin)
Marion Star Harding remembered the sub. And indeed, he got it to fly into space, deep into space. But only at night when no one was looking and the stars were out. Because he had a particular Star in mind. His own.
(to be continued)
He was not far behind them, in Ross. He stared at the 3 primary colors under the red and white umbrella that represented candy. Cotton candy in this case, doubly meaningful. Because he’d also learned of Peter Cotton, inventor of the world famous cottonpicker from Kick-ass Bogota, as well as about Marion, a fellow pilot of WWWWI. “Flew a mission with me the day I went down,” he said at the bar drinking a tall grasshopper, as green as his outfit. Greener, Axis-Windmill realized. “Came to get me — only reason I’m standing here with this metal plate in my head. *Borneo*. Get that: Borneo. And all the maps said it didn’t exist, said there was nothing beyond the Elephant of Celebes or the Giant Rat of Sumatra. Rose knew all along where the cube-box was hidden. In one of the deepest corners of space. Marion took me there one night. We were up drinking and drinking and he said he knew of a place where we could get the best whiskey in the solar system, nay, the *universe*. Mind you, we were really drunk. He would have never told me otherwise — said so the next day. We climbed this low granite hill near his new airport over at… I think it’s Enchiladas. Anyway, something that starts with an ‘E’. Some wooden box type thingie was at the top. We reached it. He pointed west, I believe. A particular star, he said. Just rising… over there.”
“Alpha Centari?” I offered, just saying the brightest one I knew.
“That’s how you *find* it,” he replied, and then pointed me west to the famous cross of somewhat fainter stars, the crux of the matter as things turned out. “His buddy studies it,” he said, which I later learned referred to Philip Strevor, a professional pill popper over in Heaven Town.
“Dead?” I guessed about him after learning his job title and the name of his town.
“Might as well be,” came the answer from the green guy, almost as green as his drink he was still sipping, still nursing. “‘To death do us part,’ he said one night on the same low granite hill actually. He was staring at the star and said that, like the star was going to kill him or something.”
“Or marry him,” I added to the story. I was, of course, channeling in the moment. I’d gotten very good at that, in fact.
“We better get to Bartholomew,” he then said, turning toward me, or perhaps looking behind me for someone. I turned as well. Who were we looking at? 102? Something that can’t be edited because it goes in a perpetual circle, editing itself in the process as it revolves around and around and around? Could be.
We were both psychic is all I knew for sure.
He turned away from the cotton candy dispensers and headed toward town.
Axis-Windmill found great promise in what I’m calling the city of Clarksey spread out across part of 3 sims on the northern border of Sansara’s Snowlands. But for now — he’ll tell director Percy Pierce later — he’s recommending our family of core avatars move on while the less than year old place continues to develop — only a handful of buildings populated with people or even furniture still. There’s even a fledgling underground connected by several tunnels scattered here and there throughout the streets, always a plus for a community we explore (i.e., VHC City, Lapara, Eveningwood, Paper-Soap, so on). We will keep an eye on it.
And an encircling, elevated trolley train track! Nifty.
“Leave?” He was incredulous. “But we just *got* here; I just settled into this place, this house. It’ll work out. Just because Clovis–”
“This is not about Clovis,” Axis-Windmill reinforced. “This is about tying up things in this here photo-novel–”
“Let me guess,” Keith B. interrupted in turn. “29 in a series of nothing.”
“Close. But we want to try anyhow… anyhoot.”
“*Alysha*” he called into the kitchen to his red headed wife making soup with a fork and spoon. “Are you hearing this?”
“I’m hearing,” she said. “But the soup is boiling… may be missing some things. Something about the electricity not working properly in this house?”
“*No*,” he stated, blowing out some air. “They want to *pull the plug* on the operations here.”
More boiling. “Ventriloquists? I told you we shouldn’t move to a town with those. Trouble, always trouble.”
Keith B. gives up until Alysha finishes her soup. He shakes his head about the matter for Axis-Windmill, who was curious. “When did you acquire a wife, old Keith B.?”
“Alysha? Met her at a fair. She’d just won a beauty contest, being the loveliest girl in all of Hooktip.”
“Yeah, where she’s from. Where *I’m* from. She’s a childhood sweetheart as they say.” Keith B. decides to turn the tables. “And where are *you* from… German boy?” He’d heard rumors of a war, in fact 2 of ’em. Germans on one side, his side on the other. But was he American? Or…”
“Papa,” Jenny called from the kitchen, making soup. Axis-Windmill was gone, having been called out. Alysha exited with him, *his* wife. Not Keith B.’s. Keith remained a bachelor because of, well, The Room and what goes on in there. Jennifer thinks it is self sex, but actually it’s (see title).
“What is it dear?”
“I have an idea about the logo on the drums. I’ve been mulling it over all day. Instead of a star, like in Cpt. America, how about a circle. A circle within a circle, like in that British air force poster up at the Seraph.”
They were back in Cass City and it was 20 years ago and their star was about to rise because of this. Ironic. Star erased, star gained. Trouble is, there were 2 of ’em and there was only Room for one.
not quite picture perfect
I’m going to get that promotion today. I can feel it deep down in my bones.
Maybe if I stare into those psychedelic curtains long enough, someone will show up and feed me.
“Hi Angie! Ready for dinner?”
“Sure am, Miller!”
4:15. Where *is* Percy?
4:25. Where *is* he?
“Okay, we’re definitely going to have to agree on a favorite colored tea before we get married. Here, let’s switch (*switch*).”
“Okay, we’re definitely going to have to rethink this relationship.”
(*huff*) “Fine with me (!).”
“I think you definitely said 301 East Meeting.”
“I definitely did *not*. 103 I said. I wish I would have recorded it now. I need to record everything.”
“*Anyway*, we’re here. We found each other.”
“3 hours later!”
“Aren’t… aren’t you going to drink your tea?”
“I’m not drinking that stuff.”
“Annny-wayyy. The low down on the plot so far. Spill it.”
Axis-Windmill then “accidentally” sloshed some tea out while raising his own glass to his mouth. “Oooops.”
“Funny,” Percy said while watching it penetrate his duster coat sleeve, turning himself slightly green. Percy’s lone color remained red like her own untouched tea, as in controlling heart red. At least it’s not in (or on) her head. she often thinks. Speaking of which…
“You’re a funny boy,” she reinforced. “A funny funny boy.”
The green kept coming. “More than I expected!”