Always look for the spaces between things. There lies art.
I am not a painter in this life. I am a collagist. Moving on…
“What does the future hold for me Esmerelda?”
“A cave? A *landscape*?”
Very faint from across the table again: “Enter the cave.”
He paid Ms. Wells handsomely and was on his way again.
He had followed John down to the Ravine (bar) but he was no saint. Lamb equals Ram; he sees himself in his own face, the user power.
I was a beautiful little girl before becoming such a handsome man, he thinks, still changing, still metamorphasizing.
“I’ll have what John’s having, please.”
Brother Jack the bartender turns. “Yeah, what’ll it be, *John*??”
John thought and thought and realized he wanted a Corona-V. “The new one,” he uttered in calm, stoic way, fit for a Man of Faith. Lamb was behind him now, supporting him, uplifting his career. He must get back to the parish. “I hate to do it but cancel that, Jack.” Man of Science was not amused. “John, *how* am I suppose to keep in bus–“, but he was cut short. John had disappeared (again). Jack re-turned. “I guess this one’s on you,” which user Peter Oesso didn’t argue with.
Come on, *dance* with me boys, the blue haired witch requested in her mind from the corner. Soon they were with her.
“*Just* escaped, whew!”
(wo-)man in black
He unfortunately found himself on the opposite side of the Greek village from the parish, staring into a mirror and admiring himself. Typical.
Later he went down to visit John. Jack was now playing the preacher, churches over liquor stores. A marriage was taking place. John was not allowed to perform marriages. Not after Reno.
“We need to *talk*,” he hissed over as the “I dos” were spilled out like fine wine.
“Meet me at the bar,” he whispered calmly back. Bells rang out. It was over.
“You’re not going to Mary… me?”
Hector Horace Howard said in response. “You are for another, alas.” He added the last word in as improvisation. He looked toward the director for approval, with none coming. He was looking for himself.
In other local news, Hatti, the witch who told everyone at her doorstep to go away, has gone away herself, house (and also apparently hat) deleted. I think we have yet another piece of the overall picture puzzle.
Astronaut AB drops by V-Gate (also known as Valgate) to say hello to a fellow “Rimmie” she remotely spotted sitting on an oppositely colored couch. We’ll catch up with her continuing story soon. For now we know she still desires to be the first person on Mars, man or wo-man. Good for her! But she needs to know about the dangers posed by the Boos there, black and white. She needs to understand *opposites* better, shadows. But she’s on her way; I’m not too worried about the sharp young gal.
That picture on the screen behind her reminds me we should get back to Supergal Ruby and her interactions with Greg Ogden with that extra G in his last name. Probably in Paper-Soap I would think. We must return.
And I forgot Astronaut AB was there too before checking, in disguise as grieving Jenny Powers whose husband just died, the vet of town every other week or so, the weeks that she’s not. Now it’s a full time job thanks to her loss.
He came in on a fast train bound from some place called Boner, North Carolina. Or so he thought.
Because: Boos again.
no North Carolina
Jenny Powers could barely hold on to her just purchased paper due to the passing wind of the train. “Thanks Hatti!”
She only had time to read the headlines since she had to pull another double shift down at her veterinarian’s hospital in Meatside. Damn, Tim. Why’d you have to go and *die* on me like that, leave me with all this *work*? But then, of course, she felt guilty for thinking this. He had *provided* for her, as she him. They covered for each other, him on weeks that begin with the odd numbered dates and she with the rest. But now she had to cover *all* the numbers. It wasn’t fair. She needed help. She needed — dare she ponder it? — another husband? Drat, she *hates* when she thinks like that. Headlines, headlines. “Plastic Surgeon Surges”: looks like Mayor Longnose is gonna lose this election to this new guy, this doctor fellow. What has it been: 14 times? Too long. The town needs new blood at the head, a facelift even. Plastic surgeon sounds about right; cut him down to size, the big blowhard.
The wind eddies from the loco motion continue down the tracks, sucking in all the news fit to print along with some autumn leaves. Fall is coming. The Fall.
(to be continued)
Boos (narcissist 02 (abcdE))
She finds herself in a place doing realistic things, like blow drying her hair. But this is the morning she finds out she is actually a man. She stares into the mirror, looking at them after the removal of the false, the fake. How deflating!
The mayor’s nose keeps growing. Guy visits the doctor again, still working for the resistance. A new strategy is being hatched. Stealing the golden goose egg *has* produced results. He’s straightened out, elongated: the I of TILE revealed.
(to be continued)
“Public urination, Umbriel, tsk tsk tsk.” She wags an evil finger disapprovingly. “You should keep that yellow stuff private, just like this post.” Till it’s finished she furthered, glancing over at me. This witch could see out, beyond the frame of the location of the story. For she knew the secret of the cake.
“I want to show you something,” she then said, revealing what was mentioned just before.
“You’re a man!” Stu exclaimed while reeling backwards, stunned at the sight, deflated even. He had designs on her, true. He’d watched from afar while she sold her papers. He’d forgotten about Wheeler at the frozen banana stand. She had been replaced, blue hair instead of red. The cake is a lie. But now — all that *dashed*.
Fern Stalin enters the cell block, putting perspective on the scene.
(to be continued)
Hatti the witch disappeared from the cell block. Across the aisle, fellow prisoner Patrick McDonnelhany’s head turned into a pen. Or pencil — hard to tell from this distance, Stu Umbriel thought. He turned around as well, tried to look beyond the frame by facing it squarely. No luck. He remained panicked and in character. Fern Stalin spoke.
“We are at 42, Stu. The Answer. Are you ready?”
Was he? He looked to the right. He looked to the left. No escape. He was as ready as he’d ever be. Which was never.
“The director is dead,” she deadpanned to Chef-inspector Petty upstairs. “Killed in the Biker Bar and Grilling explosion day before Sunday of week before last month’s Tuesday. Do you recall?”
Or course he recalled, he thinks. He was first on the scene, picking at the bones and flesh of the unfortunate victims. Like Hank Graphite and his gorilla bodyguard; like Ted 02 the half android cyclops; like family challenged Sugar McDermit and bar owner Biker Mann. And then: Biker Chick, also known as Chuck Cheese also known as Heidi, formerly Penn Mann. The director of this here photo-novel, 28 in a series of infinity apparently (ha). We’ve been without direction, then, since, let’s see, post 00280110. Quite near the beginning, then. Fern says all of this to Chef-inspector Petty, omniscient narrator in the moment. Could have been before she went downstairs to the cell block, could’ve been afterwards. Doesn’t matter in the moment.
(to be continued?)
A rat scurried across the floor in front of red clad Greg Odgen. Mouse tried to ignore it but couldn’t. Anything bigger than himself, if only in name, spooked him. But it was safe here; that was the point. No one came down to this place beneath what they called the mayor’s house.
Norris spoke up. “You promised me information about the Red Room, and a “Return”. I haven’t seen the Red Room yet, not hair nor hide. The Red Room,” he insisted in his deadpan way. Face bleached out to disguise who he really was (mayor?), this man had observed a lot in his day from this couch and that couch; seen dancers come and go; seen prison schematics but couldn’t talk about them; observed maps of strange, unknown places — other ones — and memorized them as well. He had *information*. But the Red Room remained off limits. He wanted to know why. Casey One Hole was still tracking him down. He figured he’d go to the end of the galaxy to do so if needed, the far corners of space itself. This means even Muff wouldn’t hide him forever, disattached to Bermingham as it were. “I have the WIS map; I’ll trade you the Red Room for WIS.”
Mouse knew this wouldn’t fly, as a bat ran into the back of his chair and became like a rat, scurrying around once more with radar momentarily lost. He pondered again the palindrome nature of that word: radar. He thought of Norris hiding on Muff. Wouldn’t fly.
“Who do you think that is over there, Greg Ogden with an extra G?”
“Just in the last name,” he modified. He lowered his voice, leaned forward. “And stop pointing over there.”
“Oh she knows we’re here,” said Dr. Mouse in reply. “She knows what we’re talking about; she *knows* what we’re thinking.”
Hatti the witch still didn’t look over, trying to ignore them. She was thinking back to when she left Valgate (= V-gate), her old beloved house that was her castle, left the NE corner of Nautilus continent behind. Got tired of the devilry. The boars! Booor-ing (in the end). She looked at her cyan blue nails — anywhere but over *there*. When’s our, *my* expresso going to arrive? she thinks. I’m about tired of *this* place as well, this Paper-Soap, amalgamated from 2 former school districts. The kids control all now! Thoughts can flow freely between subconscious and conscious: dream becomes reality. The burning of the Biker Bar and Grilling that killed our beloved director Penn Mann (etc.) — could have been their doing (easily enough). But personally I know it’s Claude.
Weary, she stares over at Mouse. “Looks like they’re actually closed. Wanna grab a burger you 2?”
They had finished their burgers — vegetarian for the doctor; basically raw red meat for Wheeler, er, I mean, Wendy — and were sitting outside in what they called the kid’s area. Greg Ogden was riding a coin operated horsie across the way; no food for him, just play. The 2 “grown ups” took the opportunity to talk, core to core. Mouse was asking a lot of questions, so Wendy plopped out her laptop for some quick google searches when needed. Or so she said.
“Claude,” he spat out. “Friend or foe?”
“Friend,” replied Wendy quickly. “But a mechanoid so basically useless. And he indirectly blew up our director so we’ll have to mark down for that.”
Wendy stared at him. They weren’t suppose to talk about the children. He remembered that with her prompting and moved to the next.
“How about the swamp? How about the bars?”
“Um… not sure.”
“Both have black mold thanks to the you-know-who. Both lack bathrooms, hence Stu Umbriel in jail for the urination and such. But he just likes peeing in public, don’t get him wrong. He’d do it anyway. That’s just what his lawyers are going to say.”
“Kolya… seems to be missing.”
Wendy stared over at Greg Ogden still jiggling on his horsie. “Did you give him 2 quarters or 3? Because this could take a while.”
“*Well*. Did you enjoy your frozen banana young man, ha?”
“Okay, well you come back real soon. Reaalll soon.”
“Oh you can *count* on it.” He finally moved away, not even needing his cane to locomote in the present, the moment.
But Paper-Soap had much bigger issues to deal with than these 2 stepper outers. Wars: Paper vs. Soap. Because many wanted the amalgamation to end, and all the psychic rigamarole with it. We’ll see.
The Paper Kings dropped a Big Baby behind enemy lines and Claude Sit-on got sat-on. His son Claude Jr. carried on the family name, obviously. In retaliation he tried to wire the school so that it would blow up at 4:20 o’clock on [pick any day], but the kids foresaw this and blew up Claude Jr. instead. With their minds of course, no primitive physics needed. End of mechanoid aspect of our story, but later the Claudes, jr. and sr. now conjoined and united as one Claude in the minds of people who couldn’t remember the originals, became martyrs to the cause. It was here that Dr. Mouse entered our story again. “He died for *our* sins,” the fanatic was telling him back in their secret basement lair underneath the mayor’s house, now run by Jim Turbine the plastic surgeon. He surged, he won. Former mayor Longnose went back to Yayaland where he came from and started wearing a different face (at times) and leading the resistance to his own cause, which eventually recruited Guy Benjamin from Kowloon who eventually was able to steal the little yellow fellow, the Rael McCoy, from the other 3 while they had their backs turned. And this is where Dr. Mouse enters our story once more (!), for he was asked to perform a special operation to straighten out the racist lad. *Not* remove the color this time, which should remain glinty gold or close, they insist, just like Claude down in Sittontown (Meatside renamed). “What, then?” demanded Mouse, afraid he would see a rat in such a remote place and eager to get outta here. “Turn him into an *I*,” they said, and left it with him.
Dr. Mouse went back to his basement lair, told the others what had happened. A plane crashed outside in front of the cave that sheltered Sheldon the Initiated, Fern Stalin in disguise once again — I believe this was 42 by this point. On the other side of Paper, Swamp Lake had been drained by the resistance *here* in an attempt to stifle the efforts of the kids. The Asylum was filled with those who weren’t really loonies but were deemed so nevertheless. And Dr. Mouse was the stamp-maker. He wore many hats, but there was only 1 he wanted to live under. Hatti’s.
“What do you think? First attempt, mind you.”
Greg Ogden was stymied. “Is that a… banana?”
Yeah, in staring at the sign again, Dr. Mouse realizes he’s never been on this Paper-Soap property. Wonder why.
He’s a bit drunk tonight but still resists the urge to explore the offerings of the Lucky Motel, because he knows it is really not that atall (*hiccup*). Plus he’s kind of got a relationship with the ex Wheeler/Wendy again. Moving on…
Let’s go back to the big Nautilus continent map and see where we are. We started in Center (01) with the visiting of the Ur-parent’s graves, and worked our way up to the Aviary (02) where both Alysha and Hidi testified against Kolya as it were, almost eliminating him from our story, then quickly followed by Rooster’s Peninsula (03) where a nifty castle was established that may well replace Collagesity itself in our continuing Second Lyfe adventures. As you can see, these three basically equidistant locations form a line essentially running directly north, right to edge of the map and thus the continent.
But in the second half of the present photo-novel (XVIII), we have focused away from Nautilus to other, mostly non-mainland locations, like Paper-Soap. It’s as if the establishment of the castle provided us with a new anchor and then we moved on. So the question is: Is the more southern Collagesity now *toast*, at least for a while?
We haven’t even seen Collagesity leader Jeffrey Phillips in the current story yet. Perhaps that should change; he should have a say in all this.