Sunklands 2021 Middle Too 02


complex

He stood in the middle of 4 sims, looking down at the water. Far Future City, he thinks through his holey head. Metropolis. If only the kryptonite radiated bug hadn’t bitten him he could have seen further, clearer. As it was: an improvement! He might be getting better.

—–

“Snap out of it, bud,” she requested beside me, perhaps also snapping her fingers but perhaps not as well. Choices.

“Hidi,” I answered groggily, as if just waking up, which really didn’t describe the situation but also *didn’t* describe it either. A half and halfer. “Had another vision,” I offered as a partial apology for nodding off. “The music was really good. The music, in fact…”

“Yes?” she prodded, also perhaps nudging me in the ribs, depending on how physical she was in the moment. At least she didn’t slap me at first. I don’t think.

“I’ve… heard it before. It was taking me somewhere else…” I trail off.

Introducing himself to the scene, Deere comes out of the john, but don’t call it that in front of his face.

“Hidi; Kolya; *George*.”

Was I still dreaming? “Slap me,” I said to Hidi.

“Again?”

“Um. Yeah.”

(to be continued)


halo for horns (4:20)

He sat in the Master House, contemplating how to get from here (Metropolis; pretty nice, pretty big; kinda sensual in an open sort of way) to there (Superduper City; huge/labyrinthian; filled with secret places of full-on sensual desire). He had plans; made paintings even, although he doesn’t really consider himself an artist and has no training in the field. He’s just that excited about the subject; will investigate any avenue of possibilities. The Oracle had revealed his path of destiny, especially in Virginia or thereabouts. Middletown. He had a name. Now he just had to make the megalopolis. He had a beginning, a toehold. But to create a Superduper City he must forge a Superduper Man to be at the heart of all things. He’s working on that as well. He’d sent the bug long ago to effect a weakness, an Achilles Heel. If only he could track down that renegade Martian angel angle that could ruin everything. On it (once more).


blue meanie

We pulled into town right behind the policeman, who, without turning, provided us a notecard about the rules. No children or even teenagers allowed within the city limits. No experimenting with avatars much at all, she feared. And yet, right before her, an apartment that was at the upper limit of their range at 200 per.

They could stay here for a time; disguise themselves as the local. But, yeah (she countered), this wasn’t going to really work long term. She looked down: was even *this* acceptable, this hamburger girl outfit as bazooka toting guardian Dinner Girl sometimes called it? Certainly not very human still, quite cartoonish, and, yeah, disguising the real person underneath, the one *still* married to Santa suit wearing Jeffrie Phillips. She had a feeling camouflage was only going to go so far in this town that Baker B. thought might be the seed of his sought after Middletown. This wasn’t Middletown. But, if not… then why did the Oracle point it out? *Must* be more here.

“Look, Kolya. There’s one of those realistic beaches you like to hunt shells on,” she tossed back like a tasty treat to a trailing toddler. That’ll keep him busy for a spell (she figures) while I try to find the source of that bewitching music in the distance. He may be underaged anyway, or at least his mind is with all the holes in it.

Holes, hmph, she contemplates. Like this town will have in its *mature* form, at least according to Baker. Master Baker? Jon Deere? What happened to his wings, then?

Yeah, just keep turning your head, copper, she thought while passing.

(to be continued)


so many there to meet

He’d edged into the tall beach grass before he found the shell of his dreams, but it seemed to instead belong to a giant bird of some kind, perhaps an owl.

“I want that shell!” I thought to this owl creature, who I knew could hear in his head like me. “No way!” he thought back. “Mine!”.

He guarded it like an egg, this Probably Owl whose colors matched that of the beach and its many, realistic looking rocks — like camouflage. I asked his name, adding “sir” at the end. “Really?” came the reply. Really. I wondered if this was an owl atall, or at least a male one.

—–

Meanwhile:

The music was close now but it wasn’t coming from this busker, although his playing was perfectly blending into theirs. “Kicked out,” he explained while still strumming. “4th not needed.” Ahh, Jon Deere hates 4ths. Jon Deere must control the band, wherever they are. Must be just around the corner. Was this blues? Mysteriously, she couldn’t tell; psychedelia mixed it, like blue strongly tinged with green, as in this badge decorated Sheriff’s outfit. 420, she realized. Jon’s favorite number. “4:20,” the guitarist before her recited aloud, mirroring what was present in her mind. How?? Just like Kolya, she then realized. We are one here in this town that may become a city that may become a megalopolis, given time. And now she had that too. She didn’t ask the time but she received it anyway.

(to be continued)


rolling with a number

Ahh, just as I suspected. An early form of The Rolling Joints controlled by Jon Deere, their *manager*. I wanted to say, “Hi George,” but I didn’t want to interrupt their playing. I could still hear the green clad Sheriff strumming along to the same, partially improvised tune “(“4:20”) in the distance; just around the corner. But (she thinks while staring into the bakery), it seems I am already here…

He dare not turn around to see that schweet secret smile. He must remain a baker dedicated to his craft.

Almost ready.

(to be continued?)


four

He studied his hands while they waited on their food. “I think I’ll keep these for a while, Wheeler. I can play the guitar real good with them, frets included.”

“Call me by my real name,” she purred from across the table.

“Wendy,” he acquiesced, staring into her eyes. The scars around them were disconcerting but they were suppose to be. He could look beyond. He wondered about the 2 eyes becoming something else. Pools. Vortexes. He looked away, just in time. Back to the hands…

“The tune was called–”

“I know what the tune was called,” she interrupted. She smiled. The location brightened considerably, he staring down all the time. If he had a watch on the wrists of his new hands it would be…”

But you know.

—–

Done.


00270207

After a night of, ahem, renewing their wedding vows, Wendy and Jeffrie parted ways, he back to Collagesity down in the southern part of the continent and she over to dutifully waiting Kolya just out at the bay of this same fledgling town. Apt. 2 had been put to good use after all but just for 1 day. Wendy stops at this brightly lit citrus fruit shop below where they stayed, studying what appears to be an All Orange, naval down. Lemons and limes on the side, yes, but this was the centerpiece, the center*point*.

But it can’t quite obscure the green plate hung on the wall behind it, acting like a lingering corona for a solar eclipse coming from the cool side this time. Only we the readers have the perspective to ponder what it means, as Wendy isn’t viewing remotely right now, distracted by the trees in the forest. She turns.

And an Oz colored plate! she thinks. I want it! I’ll make Jeffrie come back tonight or the night after that or sometime soon at least and I’ll get him down here to purchase it for me. Real metal! And I want those lemon and lime citrus drinks that go along with it too.

A small earthquake hit the town and the plate starting ringing in a perfect D Flat. Steady Kolya walked in from the bay. “I’ll get it.”

(to be continued)


cowed

It was raining when he got back to Collagesity and it made his depression worse. He decided to go to Vivian Blue Hair, the new girl — or one of ’em — for advice. She was a fire scryer, using candles for the most part, like here. He asked what was foremost in his mind. “Which… one?”

Vivian could have been selfish and said she was the one, but almost immediately upon staring into the flame saw black and white patterns all around. She slips deeper into trance, closing her eyes. “I see two countries — or counties — one black and the other white, but both named Austra.”

“Austra, yes,” Phillip replies. “There’s a Lower and an Upper — everyone knows that–” Phillip stops here, understanding that Vivian Blue Hair arrived off continent just day before last week. She was a friend of… he can’t remember. Maybe Man About Time, wherever the heck he is these days. Phillip is already itching to leave his Collagesity but has nowhere left to go, he doesn’t think. Not after Wendy.

Vivian Blue Hair changed into someone else, chessboard patterns moved to the face. “A promise made, a promise lost.”

It was the cards (!), heart upside down being a spade.

Jeffrie Phillips wakes up from the rabbit hole as the lot of ’em fall to the chessboard floor in a disheveled mess, like roses. He’s received his clue.

“Charlene,” he says to the woman beside him, the usual one, but probably not *the* one. This also stirs her.

“Yes, Mr. Jeffrie Phillips, sir,” she dutifully and groggily recites, automatically reaching for his red tie hung on the bed post but then realizing it was still the middle of the night. She returns her hand to his bare chest.

“That new girl in town…”

“Right… see where *this* is going.” She yawns and looks at her nails.

“No, no, I don’t fancy her or anything.” Jeffrey Phillips definitely fancies her as he does most women, but that wasn’t the point here. “She has black hair, correct? Not blue or anything crazy like that.”

“First off, blue *isn’t* crazy. My Aunt Zelda had blue, red, and green in a row before her death in the early 80’s.”

“She lived that long, huh,” Jeffrey replied, starting to contemplate time and the colors that one can change into at the end. “But to my point…”

“In a certain light,” Charlene said in answer, “yes, it could be considered blue. But the light has to shine upon her hair in a very particular setting, I’ve noticed. Early morning or late day perhaps: hafta check.”

“So: blue.” Jeffrey decides to lay the cards on the table, this time in an orderly manner. “I dreamed about her just now.”

“I bet you did.”

“Not that kind of dream. A dream of this whole continent, which (he then realized) broke down into a series of black and white squares — *sims*.”

“Fascinating,” she deadpanned, and put on her babydoll and got up to get some water. “Want anything to drink or eat while I’m in the kitchen?” He watched her move away from him in a satisfying manner. Nice to have compensation when he returned home. Charlene is a swell mate as well as lover. He’ll keep her around for sure; a short leash. Strange way to think about it, he realized. I don’t *own* her. Or maybe… maybe I do in a way. I pay her bills, I give her a place to stay here at the Blue Feather (building). She was rummaging around the kitchen now. “Are you going to answer me?” she called, hoping he could hear her over the static this time. “I’ll get you something anyway.” More noises, and then about 5 minutes later she returned with some milk and a plate of choco chip cookies. She lay down beside him, put the plate on his partially bare belly, and picked up the top one for herself, studying it. “Cow chips, they’re called. Saw them advertised on TV. Big beaver holds one up in his paws.” She extends her arms here and holds the cookie between them like a small steering wheel toward the static filled TV on a table just beyond the bed. “Like this.” In the snow, she imagined the big beaver mirroring this back to her.

He studies her, then he follows her arms to the cookie, realizing what this meant. “That’s disgusting.” He picks one up himself using just the one arm. Oversized and heavy on choco chunks, he sees, but otherwise just an ordinary cookie.

—–

In another dream that night, the cookie Charlene holds expands and turns into a whirling vortex, sucking up everything in the room including his milk. “And so on the 5th day…” he heard her say beside him as they fell and fell, blobs of white and chunks of brown all around. The rabbit hole seemed endless this time.


Newgal

“It’s moreso now don’t you think?” speaks Jeffrie Phillips to sometimes/always companion Charlene Punk Brown, perhaps the best of all his girls. She puts up with a lot at the very least. “The hair, I mean.” He points to his own hair here between bites of the spinach pizza. “Blue. Whaddaya think?”

Charlene also steals a glance, trying not to be jealous. This *could* be her replacement. Why did she arrive so mysteriously in the middle of the night, as they say, on a plane originally bound for Starfish Sea, or Starfish Lake as some call it? Jeffrey said it landed just outside the town over the sim line in Siliconicus. He said he’d been meaning to put a small landing strip over there if he could only figure out how to position the anchoring prims properly, since it’s not technically his property but instead abandoned land — a lot of that in Siliconicus, which is commonplace in the beige highlands part of the continent. She *is* cute, probably as cute as she is. She’d also look good in that pink babydoll Jeffrey keeps around, she suspected. Maybe she should dye her own hair blue.

“Are (bite) you going to answer me or not, woman?”

“Woman?” Not now she isn’t. “Listen *man*–” but then bit her tongue as Jeffrey hesitated to take another bite, waiting for a lashing, which he knew he probably deserved. Sometimes he slips into old world talk, as his daddy use to say. Poor old dad: he hadn’t thought about him in a while, nor ma-ma. They didn’t approve of his playboy ways so he had to leave the family hearth. So long long ago at this point. Seems like a different lifetime.

“I’m sorry,” he ventured, then finished his bite.

“No — me. And in answer to your question it does look a little bluer. Is — she really the woman of your dreams?” She meant *in* your dreams but she let the statement stand, too ashamed to go back and correct it. She flushed a bit, even. He stared at her, trying to figure out how to get past this awkward moment so he could finish his pizza.

—–

He couldn’t stop thinking about her as they lay in bed later, bedposts not put up yet so nowhere to hang his tie and suit. They remained fully clothed. Charlene wasn’t anxious tonight to slip into that babydoll. She was just as worried as Jeffrey was excited. “What do you think she was looking up on the interwebs over there?” he asked his likewise restless partner. “Man About Time said she was a scholar of some kind, but he didn’t know what of.”

“*I’m* a scholar,” muffled Charlene, mouth to pillow. She moved so she could more easily speak to her partner. “Perhaps you got us confused with each other. Let’s try that quiz again.”

“Okay,” he relented, knowing he may or may not pass it.

“Alright, who’s your wife? An easy one to begin.”

He knew he shouldn’t say, “you” — that never seemed to work. He remembered the roses. He remembered the checkerboard face. Or chessboard face, take your pick. “Wendy,” he said.

“Right, and where did you get married? I’ll throw that in for a new wrinkle.”

“Er… Urqhart?” He remembered a house across the road from the Illuminati place.

“Correct. And *why* did you get married… to Wendy? And, say, not *me*?”

“Because…” He couldn’t remember that part.

“Yes?” She wasn’t going to drop hints, it seems.

He simply didn’t recall that he was recently dead and had been resurrected by the power of the vows. It happened a lot when he’d just returned home.

(to be continued)


002702100

Spying from a safe distance, he watched her enter the library on the southern edge of Collagesity and the Fordham sim as a whole. She stayed until about 1/2 past 6, and then exited with no books checked out as far as he could tell. Tim Bean had retired from the library in ’72, about 2 years ago minus a year or three. Right now it was auto-service in there until they could get a new person. She had her pick of the books, then, but she seemed not to want any. Then he remembered *he* had the monster book, found in The Abyss temple atop unique, unicorn-like Fissure Mountain over on the old continent of Sansara. Maybe she came out with nothing because *that’s* the book she was looking for — interesting.

He could slip a note under her door at the Kidd Tower where she was staying, directly beneath the apartment of Man About Time, a kind of vice chancellor to the city and a right hand man to himself as head honcho. He’d made his peace about the resurrection through the marriage to Wendy over in the Urqhart sim or thereabouts. Man About Time would still have to bide his time to become the ruler of this here fair burg.

“Meet me at Perch (restaurant) at half past 7 in the evening after today’s tomorrow,” he decided to word it, with just the right amount of detail, he felt.

In the meantime, he was due to meet with Man About Time anyway concerning the town budget wars so he slipped in a couple of questions about the new gal. Sally was her name, MAT said. Sally Nugent. He gathered she came from a family of monsters, because the pictures he helped tote upstairs for her all had people with green or bloodless white skin, with fangs in their mouths or bolts in their necks.

Bingo.


Hollywood

They were all dead now, these “monsters”. All except herself. She stared at the empty space that should have held her own picture, thinking back to the time they first discovered her superpower. She was called the ugly duckling, the unpretty one who instead seemed to be cut from the cloth of the ordinaries all around them, the mundane, the *muggles* to borrow a phrase from another supernatural mythology. Must have been blinded Uncle Sam on a town bender, they figured. But as they aged, she didn’t. They then traced the genes back to Great Great Great Aunt Selma on the father’s side, who, turns out, was from a long line of immortals. Then they traced the whereabouts of Selma herself, living under a new guise in Cheeseburger, Wisconsin down near the city dump or city hall take your pick. “Of course she has powers,” Selma replied in a middle-aged voice about Sally’s seeming normalcy, at least judged by the outer world that we, us non-monsters, live in. “Why would she be staying with you otherwise, humm? Uncle Sam has nothing to do with this; she’s actually the oldest of all of us.” She addressed each of her visitors individually: “Great great grandson, great great great niece and nephew(-in-law), great great great *great* grandson. Meet your ancestor with a family name so long that it would take the rest of the day to pronounce. I’d suggest you just keep calling her Sally, then, but respect the hell out of her from now on and look to her for sage advice instead of just ridiculing her looks.”

Even Selma is dead now, since the great majority of so called immortals are actually quite mortal and only live to be a couple of hundred years old at the most. Sally is a little different, since both her mother and father were pure bred — plus there was that magic sprinkling thing. But one day, still a long way down the road, it will catch up with her.

She had to say goodbye to each one, watching them fall like dominoes in time’s passage.

—–

Jeffrie’s note came under the door. Without opening it, Sally remembers how she was slipped under the door, as it were, of her own great x 2,375 niece and nephew(-in-law)’s gothic Mockingbird Lane abode by parents long in hiding themselves. Marge and General Johnston I think they’re calling each other these days. She’ll have to look them up sometime. “Uncle Sam’s kid, yeah,” she presented herself at the threshold, luggage just behind. Stooping down in the present, she picked up the note and read.


squeegeed

“Using the tip from Sally, we followed the car all the way to the entrance of the park but could go no further. *Fifes* Grove Park, like in Barney Fife.”

“Like in Barney *Rubles*,” emphasized Man About Time, fascinated with the new information. He hardly ever emphasized anything in his speech, so mild manner and calm and cool and collected he is. But this seemed different. They had found a way… inside.”

“I thought you might want to know, being second in command of this here chilly town in the mountains.

“So beige,” said MAT almost religiously. But he understood. “In case something happens to me,” is the unspoken sentiment.


00270213

After the note he never saw her again in her original form, although a ting of blue hair remained, as Charlene the Punk explained it. In a certain light, say, at dawn or dusk. She announced she was now a messenger, *The* Messenger, and has lived a long time and seen a lot of things and was getting tired, getting wore down. She needed to pass some of her knowledge onto another. Thus the revelation of the Big Inside at this here dinner meeting at Perch. the one Jeffrie Phillips wrote about in his note slipped under her Kidd Tower door.

All she asked for in return was the monster book Jeffrie possessed. He’d bought it for a hefty price (300), but she said money was not an option. When Jeffrie asked if she meant money was not an issue, she replied, “I said what I said.” He tried to figure this out. Did she just want him to *hand* it over, no strings attached? She stared at him, 3rd eye obviously squeegeed wide open but with no drugs involved. Just wisdom derived from being a relative immortal. They called themselves that, anyway, she explained during another part of their meeting, before the mushroom and olive pizza arrived which they’d agreed upon. Despite the actual limited shelf life.

“How old are you, then?” asked Baker, mesmerized by the turn of things.

“Do you have all night for me to recite the numbers?” She winked with this, but two eyes still remained open. He was like a fish on a hook, being real real realed in. The Big Inside awaited. Yes, he had all night. But not at the Blue Feather. He knew a little motel up at Starfish Lake that had a couch with some nifty animations. They could go there. He’d phone Charlene up and say his car broke down over in Tinseltown down at the bay. “Must have been the weighty or salty sea air,” he rehearsed in his head. She’d suspect but he had to give it a try. He’s been good before about balancing two women, heck three or four at times, he he. A natural juggler he is. But of course Sally knew this too and had also given it a shot. It worked. She was inside as well.


the farm of the Deep South is a seemingly pattern-

“I found it! Now go tell Alysha.”

“She’s *your* friend.”

—–

“Whaddaya think? What does it say? Can you read it? Is it too blurry? Do you need to borrow my reading glasses?”

“Nah. Fine.” She turned another page, and then she turned 10. The rock wall.

“I’m sooo excited.” (*sip*)


red white BLUE

Alysha quickly found out there were no other Asians except herself in this village of 765 above the northern shores of Starfish Lake/Sea. Officer Herbert Brownstone gave her a steady stare as he passed the window of the coffee shop walking his regular beat. He made a note she was reading something, and that she was with an avatar dressed up like Santa Claus, perhaps her father but perhaps not. He would double back in about 15 minutes and check again, perhaps go in this time and ask a couple of questions while being nonchalant about it. “Where do you hail from, little girl. *Hell*?” Nah, that kind of joke would work with the joes down at the squad house. But not in public. Not after Santa Fe.

Seeing someone different and stand out-ish in the village always made him think of Big Smoke. The courts told him and his blue buddies they couldn’t call him Big *Black* Smoke any more, although he definitely *was,* pheh. On vacation now, he’d heard. Maybe he won’t come back this time. Probably visiting his brother or his cousin who lives somewhere down below the Lake, he thinks. Policepeople like to keep tabs on those that are different. He’d heard rumors there was a gay now out in Sector N above the church and mortuary. Perhaps time to expand his beat to take in Burro Alley again.


tale tale

“It’s the Fortress all right,” he im’ed Alysha remotely. “I’m standing directly beside 300 over in Eveningwood.” This is where Duncan A. entered the Sphere through Fieldon, he thinks to himself. This is where Marty probably followed him. All the way to Borneo which wasn’t Borneo any longer. The Oracle — predicted this.

“I tried to get through the gates,” Alysha im’ed back, still in the northern Nautilus village with the one black and the one rumored gay. “15 sec ejection period.” She then leaned back against the cool stone of the well also pondering the next move but along different lines. The buildings were duplicates but — what did this mean?



Eveningwood


Northern Nautilus


trail’s end

“Black and *gray*?” Alysha could hear Officer Brownstone yell from outside after absorbing Officer Taylorville’s correction. “Not black and *gay*?”

She had to act fast, as they would be all over new alien intrusion like flies on, um, honey. She could, she could steal this police motorcycle to delay their cause. No, she realized. Too extreme. She could, um, set boobietraps in the catacombs so they couldn’t use the shortcuts. No: too sexist. Deep inside she was a woman after all as well as an Asian. She’d just have to use the catacombs herself to get to the Fortress quickly and warn Ruby.

—–

She took a deep breath. All she had is 15 seconds to find Ruby, convince her that she was in danger, and then teleport the hell outta there to somewhere else, perhaps Collagesity but perhaps not. Anywhere safe for the time being. She decided any beige mountain ridge would do, because about all of it is abandoned land. Aah heck, let’s make it Collagesity, since that’s her home base. She begins dashing again, puff puff puff.

—–

“We have (*huff*), *three* seconds to get out of here to safety. “Two… one… too late.” But Alysha stayed where she was and wasn’t ejected from the property, potentially all the way back to home base. Ruby the green tinted gray grey nonchalantly rolled over in her sunlounge beside the heated pool and began to explain in her watery, alien voice. “We… turned off the security system as soon as we saw you run through the gate, young Alysha.”

“Young?” She couldn’t help herself. The woman deep inside demanded respect.

“The police have no power over us here. Do you even know where you are? I’ve… been searching for the Fortress for several weeks. Luckily my legs are very long and I made good time. Burt, also known as Brutus or Brut, met me at the gate, took me in. Just like we’re now taking *you* in. It’s been a long journey for you, hasn’t it. Fellow alien.


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