still at center
Before going on another one of his adventures, Kolya pauses at the CENTER to pay respects to what he considers to be his ur-parents. “Oh Black and White (he never knew their names), I *will* live up to your name; I *will* find out who I really am and heal these wounds to my heads… head I meant there. Sorry.” He takes his leave.
“We hear. We: here.”
“Your… hair. It’s very… blue.”
circle (blue in center)
“Kolya,” she gasped, sensing him from far away.
There she is, the Aldebaronian A.O. thought. My perfection, my *opposite*. But what’s this? An *intruder*. Not on *my* watch.
He decides then and there to defeat this adversary to his true love’s hand, hidden in shadow behind that right hand stone in the above photo. Later he uncovers his real name: Jon Deere. “Mow him down,” he reiterates at the time. “Like corn.”
“Queer dream,” states the now black Chief in his bar by the blue swamp in the southwest corner of Paper-Soap. “Say the girl’s name is Atrophia?”
“That’s what she said. Blue hair. Blue as Heaven.” The visiting Aldebaronian glanced at his wrist. 4:20? Not on *his* watch.
Black Chief looks out the door of the small bar. “Rain now. Swamp will be getting pretty damp soon. Better rev up the dehumidifier, um, Stu. That *is* your name today, isn’t it?”
Stu Umbriel, who goes by many names since that cursed birthday party about 1 month back now where bodies began to merge together in queer ways, smiles and says it is so. “Today,” he reinforced. He moves around back to crank up the moisture removal device, which he knows the ins and outs of better than Chief, being a regular moisture producer himself. In fact: better take a leak behind the bar after I roll this baby out in the middle of the room, he thinks. He glances down. This blue blue baby. Blue? Center? Just like the (stranger’s) dream.
The rain gets harder. “Yelloo!” he exclaims behind the bar, getting wetter all the time.
The wastelands of my mind.
“I call them the Glory Holes, Alysha, because, you see, 2 are in Glory (sim) and the 3rd is just over the line in Shining Sea. I thought you might like to see.”
“Oh Kolya, do you even know what that means?” After investigating the 3 small bodies of water a bit more, she leaves somewhat disappointed: 1/2 and 1/2. Will he ever grow up? she thinks after returning to her rotating square alone. Probably not; the holes will remain what they are and nothing more. Gathering pools for rain water.
I *think* she liked them, ponders Kolya afterwards.
He next decides to catch up with Hidi; show off his discoveries on the new continents of Bellisseria to her as well. He watches the glossy, shiny wave of Treeowatoor roll in while she speaks.
“How’s Alysha, Kolya? Have you caught up with her too?” Hidi knew he did. The two girls, *ladies*, keep in touch with each other as well. Both waiting. And waiting.
“Yes. I showed her some holes.”
“Yes. Glory Holes.”
“Yes, they’re down at the stilts continent, another new landmass made by the Lindens our overlords.”
“Not *my* overlords. But *do* go on.”
“Oh.” Pause as the wave crashes both figuratively and literally. “I guess you know, then, she’s on a spaceship. She’s a controller. She’s *the* controller.”
“Yes, Kolya. What did you guys talk about on your visit? Just holes? Watery ones?”
“Basically,” he said, seeing nothing wrong in what he did. But: spaceship. That kind of intrigued him. He wished he’d asked about it now.
“She *may* have a boyfriend. Does *that* interest you Kolya?”
He looked over at her, wry smile on her cartoon-ish lips. But he knew she wasn’t a cartoon and this was Wendy before him, wife of Jeffrey Phillips, one he couldn’t have and couldn’t hold. Except in dreams. The dreams still came.
“More paperwork for you ma’am. This comes from, let’s see, Merk over in Records. Quite a bit here, in fact.”
“Just put it with the rest,” commands Alysha, tired of working for the day. She starts to dream. She starts to envision herself in the square again. In space.
“What’s your name, stranger?” Stu (today) Umbriel was checking out the new bar in town, this *Dinah’s*, switched from Moe’s. Moe wasn’t around any longer.
“You can just call me… Windmill Man.”
Stu looked over again with this, noted the propeller beanie on his balding skull. “Hmmm,” he thought internally. “Cool,” he said externally. “My aunt lived in a windmill.”
“So do I,” the stranger shot back, and took a long hard drink of his jungle juice produced by bartender Stumpy (hi Stumpy!) just seconds before, emptying the 1/2 coconut. “Next!” he called over to him, clanking the hollow object on the counter loudly. He didn’t even have time to wash his hands.
A mysterious fern floated into town, hoping to take over someone’s mind.
No, not that one, although that’s also a Fern and also floated into town. Just chance (insert nervous laugh). We’re talking about Fern Stalin, who came in on a Messenger Featherfloater from over in Brilliant, one of the most interesting rim islands of Maebaleia along with its twin of sorts: Mistery, the name a combination of mystery and misery. And it was! We should return.
“It all begins with windmills,” he declares…
“… and Mouse.”
“Hi, I’m Windmill Man and I’m proud and pleased to be adding my story to the flow of this photo-novel, which I believe is 28 in a series of… well, something or another. Kolya is a friend of mine, we can say; shared a room together at Mouse Manor, haha. Expression never changed, poor lad, no matter how he was feeling inside. Couldn’t smile, you see. Well… I *can*. See?
“Where to start, where to start? Windmills… oh I already declared that. Bottom of one of the newest subcontinents, you know. River in the center running all the way to Maebaleia; connecting East and West at last, and put in there that I capitalized east and west to emphasize that they are hemispheres: 1/2 worlds if you will. This was *important*.
“Brady Stream was the sim I’m talking about. Start of this new land, this finishing connector. Now I’m sure a lot of you readers from the outside world are shaking your head and saying, big deal, it’s just a virtual reality, one of many now, right? This one’s a little different, though, in that you have *two* worlds secretly combining into one. You’ve read about it here many times now: the simultaneous (as it were) beginning of Lime World and World of Lemon, one — the recognized one — coming from the West and the other, the one not fully known but actually more powerful, from the East. And now these two directions are linked, see.
“Windmills… let’s just go back down into the world and start at the stream.
“There I am. At the most central one.
“And also in the center of the sim. This is where it starts.”
(to be continued)
My dearest Fern. Thank you for the recent email. It was so nice to hear from you again. Yes, I’m still stuck with the apples (bleh!), but the chafing has gone down thanks to Dr. Lice (he’s so nice). And Dr. Maggot has helped out as well; reduced the mass. But enough of me; how are you?? You said you were in this place called Paper-Soap now. Is that 2 sims rolled up into one? Resurrection of the dead, eh? Sounds like you have your hands full analyzing the place. Good that Dr. Mouse gave you a room at the asylum from which you can better study the incoming patients. They all must have fascinating stories, what with being recently dead. Lots of memories to rehash and recall while there’s still time, as you put it.
I miss you so much. You are a part of me! My white VW Beetle (white as my skin!) is still running swell, thanks to Dr. Armadillo over in Beat-town. All my doctors are so swell! CC is a wonderful place to hang out. I just discovered a Bellisseria Welcome Center here. Of all places! My art is going great — trying not to use swell again in a sentence. You warned me about repeating my words; shows symptoms of lowering IQ, and that as we get older we lose brain mass. If only I could apply that naturally to the body (apples) as well! That would be swell, haha.
Well, better end. I’ll write again soon, I promise. Good luck in Paper-Soap! Send me an im when you’re settled in and we’ll catch up in person.
Harrison Jett checks spelling and a bit of grammar then hits SEND. Done. Back and forth contact fully established with the person who means the most to him in his life so far. That is, before he met Bluebird.
(to be continued)
Hank Graphite rode into town yesterday’s tomorrow for this important meeting and brought his ghost gorilla for protection — just in case. “Take me drunk I’m home,” he recites upon turning around and facing his competitors again, the “Lost Boys”. “Hadn’t heard that one.”
Ted 02 sat at the bar taking it all in. He’d been here before. Omega continent comes to mind, bartender himself.
He’d said that before as well. Many times.
“Gimme a Bud… bud.” Familiar too.
The establishment exploded.
end of Violin
Sugar McDermitt should have seen it coming. In fact, he did. “Those *kids* are up to something over there,” he mutters to himself, standing outside the soon-to-be destroyed Lost Boys Bar and Grilling. “They keep glancing over here and snickering. Damn kids,” he cussed, sorry he had 11 of his own. He doesn’t even give them names any longer, just numbers, starting with Ten. “Ten come here and polish my boots; Ten come here and wash the dishes for your old man.” That kind of thing. He and the current missus (a number herself by now — five) told the prying neighbors who watched him toil and sweat away the day, unable to play with their own kids because of constant work, that he was named for an Aunt Tinny. But really it was just pure laziness and convenience. “Albert!” loudly insisted wife #4 before she ran away to join a circus for clowns. But then the 5th that soon followed on her heels didn’t care — preferred numbers for better tracking and convinced Sugar of the same. “Why don’t we just smack a bar code on their rears and keep up with them that way,” she suggested one day in early May after 2 breakfast daiquiris and 2 brunch tequilas. Prisoners, then, they really were. Number Eight (formerly Jack) would soon have his revenge. He had a robot friend whose father Claude Sit-on was an expert in building demolitions.
Meanwhile at the playground:
“By the time I get to the bottom of this slide,” spoke the friend Claude Jr., golden hued like the playground equipment he perched at the top of, set to go, “something will happen. Ready? One, two, and sliiiiiiiiddde”. BOOOMM!!
Cory watched the flames licking out the top of the building, thinking it didn’t have to be this hard. Why I could have blown the place up with my mind easily enough, he thought from his position at the corner of the sandbox. All I need is a pretty good night’s sleep (for energy). Indeed, most of the kids attending Paper-Soap school, merged since ’71, were psychic to a high degree. They didn’t need primitive *physics* to destroy anything. Claude Jr. was behind the times, but he was a robot after all, mere mechanoid. The other kids tried not to make fun of his clunky, nay *dense* ways of thinking, but it was difficult, being kids too after all and not having the moral compass of a fully mature adult. One of their “sloooow” projects in class, as they called it, was the atrophying of the swamp down in the town’s southwest corner. In fact, Cory’s study group had brought up the swamp from lake to sea back down to swamp a good number of times now, and recorded the reactions of the residents living around it. The kids were experimenting on the adults. The kids were in charge. As a sea it flooded the sewer tunnels. Dinah’s bartender Stumpy wondered why he could never get rid of the black mold in the bathroom down there. He ended up just having to derezz the thing.
“Can you point me to the restrooms,” a somewhat tipsy customer asked him in tomorrow’s today. “Just go in the sewer outside like everyone else,” he commanded, wondering if he should bring the issue up to the town council, a council also controlled by kids of course. Their powers were ever-present.
back to Nautilus
He clinks his bony fingertips together in thinking mode. What ill to bring down on the world that will do it justice? he ponders. A decision is made. The soured entity begins to move out of his small forest near the center of Nautilus — not *at* the center, because that would be too obvious to his enemies. Just a little to the west, close enough to still feast on enough energy to fulfill his plans.
Moving in the right direction. Or make that *wrong* direction, just as he is *not* Jon Deere. All Orange was mistaken. This was worse.
I see you there little fellow, he says to himself while passing the much smaller forest spirit. You can’t stop me now. I have *energy*.
“Halt!” It was as much vim as the other woods entity could muster. He was spent, but he was quick to rejuvenative, the great advantage of the wee ones. Would take a minute, though, a minute he might not live through.
“Yelloo, what’s this?”
He suffered a bad, maybe fatal wound to the back in the action, but Not Jon Deere, as we’ll keep calling him, was dead; killed by the same butcher knife that might do him in. The larger forest entity knew he didn’t have much time before rejuvenation, drew his trusted stabber, pounced on the little yellow fellow, tried to make him his subordinate. But the lemony dude was slippery, harder to catch and pin down than NJD remembered. Pear had taught him some evasion tricks before he left the woods for greener pastures. And Tomato showed him how to fake wounds to seem more injured than he really was: down in the red barn he was still, just over the ridge. Lemon (as they called him — true name: George Meanie) was ready for a confrontation, as ready as he’ll ever be, they declared. Then girlfriend Grape cried and cried, saying he *wasn’t* ready and that she loved him still despite their very different personalities, as far across the spectrum as one could possibly get, she gathered. The gals she surrounded herself with — her bunch — warned her of the differences. Better to stick with a red, like Tomato down there over the ridge in the barn. Or even greener Pear. Choose wisely, they warned. But Grape would have none of it; followed her heart to his glaringly yellow side, proposed to him in a role switcheroo right then and there. “Train him up!” she commanded to the others. “We have a common enemy to our marriage and our community as a whole. Some say he is Jon Deere, the 420 God. That bony, skull topped *deity* is *not* Jon Deere, thank you very much. We’re on the wrong side of the continent.”
And so it went, and so it keeps going. Knife still in back — his little stubby yellow arms not long enough to retract it — Lemon (George) kept going, heading toward the former lair of NJD to see what disgusting secrets lie within. NDJ’s skeleton corpse lay slumped against the rocks below. He starts counting Mississippis to prolong his life, postpone death as long as possible. 3 Mississippi, 4… but energy was ebbing out, vim receding, vigor draining. If only, if only there was something (huff) in the lair (puff) to save him (*collapse*).
band (member) on the run?
Tonight was the night former Rolling Joint Harrison Ford Jett learned that his precious Bluebird was a witch and that she controlled the nefarious Boos who destroyed that poor little Canadian prairie town — Tungaske or something another — around 6 years back now. He decided to text Fern about it, get her opinion. Should he *run*? Should he act nonchalant, make small conversation about it, *joke* about it? What is the correct path forward? This was totally out of the blue, he he. He decided that joke would probably work with Bluebird too.
“This was totally out of the blue, er, Bluebird.”
“Tee hee” (insert finger in dimple of cheek to be cute).
The message came back. “RUN”.
left and right
“It probably started here,” stated Fern, showing the origin of the Boos. “In, let’s see, collage #13 — unlucky 13 in this case — of the Boos series. Boos came from Boos — Illinois that is.”
“That’s next to Indiana and its famous Dunes,” chipped in Harrison Ford Jett, eager for knowledge tonight.
“Correct. Anyway, the Boos come from the planet Mars. There was a failure — in Tungaske as we’ll keep calling it — to create a working, proper *sphere* by several of its artists, a joint effort. Sphere of Space if you will. An abnormality set in; in ways these are the two moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos, terror and dread, explaining the faces. Rust probably represents Ida B. Wells from Rust College, who was a champion of freedom: diagonal (echoing some former talk they had concerning Bellisaria). The Boos ate the freedom, took it away from them. The Boos are the elitists, also explaining the white-wash color. They proceed horizontally beyond the edge and into the world itself. Evil has been let loose — again.”
“Who is the man in the water?” queried Harrison. He was a band member on the run, trying to get as far away from Bluebird as possible tonight, an ironically named character it seems. Bluebird of misery instead, misery and mystery in one. Mistery. So said Fern.
“Man on the fringe; man watching fringe, man *from* Fringe. Peter I believe. Watching the Boos do their evil doings, the Rust girl perched precariously on the rust colored cliffs — gone. He sticks, lets see, he (as the Spaceman) sticks his hand in a hole and it is gone — just below where the girl *use* to be. The missing hand symbolizes the missing girl, hmm. And missing pieces of Mars, moons.”
Harrison glances sideways. He’s eager to get to the next collage in the Boos series and be done with it. Boos attack! But… well, let’s just let Fern talk for herself.
“And here we are.” They spread out from each other, just as the Boos, black and white, spread out in the sky above Tungaske, (numbered buildings) ready for conquest.
(to be continued)
meteor from space
“Maybe there are good Boos and bad Boos,” offered up Harrison Ford Jett, still learning about and absorbing the impach. His precious Bluebird!
“Maybe,” said back brilliant Fern Stalin, his counterpart, his mentor for tonight. But she kept thinking of Mistery Island and how to get back there. “You better get back to her; she’ll be waiting. And you better cook up a pretty good explanation why you suddenly had to leave her side. And don’t mention Boos!”
“Okay.” They split after that, not leaving any firm plans for a future rendezvous. It’s possible, Fern realized, that she’d seen the last of Harrison. Or at least those apples. Decision paths lie just ahead…
“Don’t be a stranger,” she cryptically ended and was gone.