friend… we hope
Gee Cat had doubts at first but then realized he was exactly where he was suppose to be. At this spot.
He waits patiently for someone to emerge from that tunnel, perhaps a friend but also perhaps a… fiend. Time will shortly tell.
A painter soon arrives. “I was just — Soap Lake,” he started with the broken sentences to add to the plot confusion. “Suds — Bubbles — took care…” He collapses at Gee Cat’s feet. Lordy, the big orange feline thought, have to drag him over to The Asylum for more rehabilitation. The body is back but the mind is still, let’s say, lacking. Dr. Mouse will fix him up, but he won’t be happy to see me.
Better get to work.
The 2nd Gee Cat arrived too late to help the first with the toting and dragging but she had another mission to fulfill: find the sacred Hobo and return him to HOME. Tell him who he is. Eat his enemies if necessary. Drag him home. Not to the Asylum. For these 2 Gee Cats, very different in looks and nature, are actually opposites of each other, friend and foe or friend and fiend. Now to find out which is which.
“*Not* a witch,” she decides to say to the Pizza King.
The plug was blinking bright green, dispensing good vibes to the body. She breaths a sigh of relief. A *friend* approaches (phew!).
“You weren’t here the other night.”
“I wasn’t,” he admitted.
Both stared at the same spot for a while. Finally:
“Nope.” Clear and crisp from this stranger with new arrival to town Greg Ogden, free to roam now that Dr. Mouse had retired over in the Asylum where he was staying. But Dr. Mouse knew this of course; he was monitoring the situation closely. Currently he was seeing the spot too through his bug and was wondering the same thing that Greg Ogden was: what gives?
It actually didn’t take long for Greg, and Dr. Mouse through him, to figure out Brut, as he called himself, was part of the plasmic Anomaly that threatened to take over the town. He was indicating himself.
He recalls… a caterpillar.
*Now* what’s he staring at?”
I: How did you come to Paper Soap, Dr. Mouse. Paul, isn’t it?
DM: Yes. I came the way most people come. Through the tunnel. You have to find the G Spot to get in of course.
I: I think I see where this is going.
DM: Yes. It’s all Fraudian (laughs).
I: How did you become head of The Asylum? I know this has something to do with Filetown — helping you out there.
DM: Well I certainly had a lot of *files* to bring through the tunnel with me after getting the job.
But seriously, it indeed started way back in Pennsylvania as a file clerk. Filetown is what I personally called the place I lived. That’s where I met Alpha. And Wendy.
I: Tell us about your relationship with Wendy. And Alpha if you wish.
DM: They are (actually) one and the same. Alpha hides what Wendy is. She’s right here — right over there (he points out the window with his cane toward the conveniently placed big banana sticking up from the pavement next to the all day all night theatre, currently playing a “Spaceballs” loop as I recall).
She can serve you up a (frozen) banana quick and easy. We’ll go after the interview.
I: Sure sure. But — helping you along again — Wendy was your wife.
DM: For a little bit. She was an attractor to being here. (note: DM seemed reluctant to talk much more about Wendy and his relationship with her)
I: Alpha is, then, transparency I’m gathering. Like if I wore a full body transparency and took off my clothes, then no one would be able to see me.
I: Okay, let’s move on to the (town) Anomaly and your role in causing it.
(to be continued)
assimilation (growing the behemoth)
“Tell us about the failure of the Pooping Pigeon (franchise).”
She was in enemy territory and she knew it. If only the good doctor had been able to successfully remove the black. But it is what it is now.
Oh no! Not Pooh too!
Pippin on head (Pinhead)
“You’ve lost your supreme whiteness, Rabbit. Better get back to the dressing room and find that head.”
“Sir,” she corrected. Although a woman she was playing a man. Always.
Listening grown up Alysha was in disguise now. The black hair aided. See what I can do when unaided, she thought to the group around her, having purposefully misplaced the White Rabbit’s head with her mind. Ear Power go!
There was at least one more here around the table. Crude and rude, he asked where the f-ck the caterpillar went off to.
Calvin was soon replaced by Horace, a proper White and causing no trouble atall. The hands *are* the clock now. Time control. History revision.
Buildy Bob assumes a cone position atop the ice cream truck. “You don’t belong the f-ck here, I’m sensing.”
“No,” she stated plainly. BB was about the only character here she trusted. Crude and rude, true, but that showed his true colors, rainbow exposed. Diversity. No white out.
“Where’re you from, then, Pinhead?” He’d been calling her Pinhead ever since he saw diminutive Mary PipPIN land on her HEAD from the perspective of his roaming camera eye. Most, maybe all of the other characters in this here Land o’ Dreams don’t roam like that; stay fixed in their position inside their head and body. Not BB. He wanted to know the bigger perspective.
“I landed in a balloon,” she decided to say. “From Kansas,” she almost followed, but then remembered Omaha was actually in
Oklahoma Nebraska. Or was it? “Nebraska I’m from,” she finalized. “World’s Fair.” State fair she meant there but she let the stated mistake stand. She should have thought things through sooner, maybe written down her lines beforehand. At least she had the (built in) black hair for the ears. And where were her ears? There.
“Oh we’ll get Oz don’t you worry,” he said a little later about another potential assimilation, using “we” in an ironic sense. Why do they put up with him? she wondered again. Allow a breathing, walking Achilles Heel right in their midst?
“It’s too early,” she corrected. “The (Baum) books are copyright free. Plumly is different.”
“Don’t start with me about *Ruth*.” And where *was* Ruth, BB thought bitterly, looking around as if she could appear magically in their immediate vicinity. And perhaps she could. This was a Magic Kingdom after all; anything goes, as long as you worship the White. “Have you seen Willy, yet?” he then asked, thinking of the only other interesting *deviation* from this parade of madness. “Riding a steamboat. But I think he’s changed his name to Kelly to protect the innocent and all. Which means him — primarily. And me I suppose. He’s a pretty decent fellow, but scared and nervous, as he should be. They can’t fully assimilate him because he represents some kind of *ur* character, a primordial man-mouse of some sort. Don’t ask me how to explain all the details of it. It’s just they can’t fully *touch* him. He remains both black and white. Pansy knows.”
Pansy, thought Alysha here. I haven’t heard that name for a long long time. Not since childhood.
(to be continued)
98 to 48 is 50
“Oh he was one Black Hole of a guy, sucking everything in in his way,” he spoke despairingly later about his much more famous sibling of sorts. Some say they are the same — he begs to differ, this *Kelly*. History changes and the Whites don’t like it. Buildy Bob assumes a cone position atop the truck again, showing his true colors. He cusses like a mo fo and doesn’t turn red, because there was only black and white for him. And he smelled a skunk. And he could read the newspaper headlines in front of his crude face with his rude mouth. “Dewey (F-cking) Wins”. It was all a big fat (circular) lie — yellow journalism. We better get back to Paper Soap. But first…
“Hey, watch the f-ck out!”
“We meet again Yoyo or Dada. Better let me speak with Claude or Claudette. We’re getting kind of near the end, need to start wrapping things up here so we can move on to the 28th. Some months — well, February — only have such. We’re becoming a whole damn month Yoyo-dada. Better move aside, let me talk to the golden cow.”
“Assure you here he not is,” rasped YD. Dr. Mouse hit him with his own cane to sweep him away, clear path ahead.
“You know, young laddie, I was going to be big. I don’t mean psychiatrist big. *Big* big, as in owning my own franchise of Pooping Pigeons. Well, someone decided to drop a big big *poop* on that idea. Came back on me, all my past, all my *medical* doctoring. I had to switch doctors, in that I became a psychiatrist instead of a physician. It was just that dramatic a change.” He pointed his cane in the direction of the tunnel and the train station now, past the statue with the pooping pigeon on its shoulder that triggered this whole soliloquy.
“Gee spot — right over there. Came in the tunnel. The Asylum sits on top of it.”
“Did you know,” young Peter File spoke absentmindedly, not really paying attention to the doctor’s ramblings, “I can balance this little paper hat on my nose?” He blew at it with his mouth; the object didn’t move. He sat up, looked at the doctor as if just waking up. “Paper,” he spoke more seriously, taking in the landscape. “We’re in *Paper*.”
“Been here for a while, yes. That’s what I’m trying to tell you. Things *changed*.”
(News)papers whirl together with leaves in a perpetual dust devil down at the tracks near the tunnel, reminding us of yellow journalism…
… in association with perpetually clapping *Kane* at the all day all night theatre just on the other side of the square with the “Pooping Pigeon” statue, as some locals have started calling it, blocked from our view by a mossy double oak with ivy in that picture up above. Or make that here:
And here’s Kane’s hands in the theatre, not to be confused with canes in hands, as in Dr. Mouse’s.
Checkered face Wheeler with him now, out on break from the banana, Mouse points again, making the connection.
After work, Wheeler returned to the theatre to watch more of Kane, studying each clap closely. Stu Umbriel mosied in, and seeing Wheeler down front suddenly had a hankering for a frozen one. Kolya (aka Ben aka Gus) came in immediately afterward — they either walked or drove over together — and then the last of their party sauntered inside as well, a person they derogatorily called Chief, because of his Indian heritage. Thing is he sat down on *top* of Kolya and kind of merged with him, Devil power showing its pitchforked ways again. Stu didn’t look over, just glad it wasn’t him this time. Chief had been taken over for sure. Maybe it’s the common redness, he speculated while woofing down another popped kernel. He watched Wheeler pop in hers. Maybe they could pop some common food together sometime, he thinks, seeing something different in the claps as well. Just keep studying, he said to himself. We’ll compare notes later. As soon as I can ditch the Devil Boys.
Hookah here, hookah over there (on the other porch). The Anomaly grows. Not sure I can complete the story in this novel. Code name: Caterpillar, perhaps WORM (WURM). Freshly formed Martin at the window may know. Martin, Luther.
He moves inside, takes a seat at the bar. The glowing birthday hat and Giant for a Day blue t-shirt gave away his identity.
“I’m on the other side of the counter now, ‘Umbriel, Stu’. You serve *me*.”
“You tell him Martin!” encouraged another new figure from his position next to the door, a gatekeeper of sorts.
“That’s all right — Luther is it?” Stu Umbriel guesses, taking the switcheroo with the person formerly known as Chief in stride. “I’ll get my twin sister Loo to help with the bar. Right over there she lives.” Stu points beyond the house next door now set up with a duplicate hookah to his — and even on the same spot on the porch — to the dark opening on the eastern edge of Swamp Lake, not big enough to become a sea and getting further from that designation back to out-and-out swamp every day. Atrophism. Maybe that has something to do with the Anomaly as well.
“We’re not identical as you know, Luther, but close,” he furthers. The Sewer hole beckons.
In checking back through my posts, I see I have overlooked mention of Paper Soap’s Swamp Lake up until now. Here’s an overhead view,
Chief Stu’s bar toward the north next to the sheriff’s office where the Anomaly was first spotted. Probably should catch up with chef-inspector Petty to see how he’s doing.
“WURM” he spoke with conviction at the meeting still going on just north of the Swamp Lake bar, naming the thing at last. “And spell that with a U and omit the E. I think.” Conviction wavering, apparently. Missing letters will do that to you.
Gee Cat 02, now just Gee Cat period — having ate the other — prepares to move inside.
“Interesting choice of shows, Martha. Do you like aliens?”
“Dunno, whatofit?” Her voice was raspy, as if she’d smoked a 100 cigarettes a day for her 45 years of life. At least the days she was able to reach her mouth with her hand in a coordinated way, that is, beyond infancy and early childhood. She’d had a rough life, and didn’t expect to live past 65 or so. She wasn’t planning on retirement. Her husband Jack was around, but in a wheelchair over at the Asylum. He’d seen things in the dark, heard rumors. So, yeah, she was interested in aliens. She was *studying* them. Must keep deflecting Agent 47 or whatever the f-ck they’re up to down at the station. “Want some pieee?” Pie was code for sexy good times in town. Some of these smart looking ones liked her type. In fact she had a website; must make ends meet *somehow*. Plus she had to have money for her cigarettes. Where were her cigarettes?
The agent was staring unblinkingly at her. She hated when they did that; maybe did something to their eyes in childhood. And she’s heard they need very little sleep. They stay up and read manga most of the night, analyzing it to pieces. Or so she’s heard. “Sooooooo. Taking that for a no?”
“Martha,” he starts firmly. “You know us agents accumulate knowledge on the residents of this town. It’s like coral; my brain is like coral, *our* brain. We are a hive.”
He stared at the tv screen again. He stared a very long time, then: “How many minutes for the information I need?”
Agent 47 reviewed what he found out in his head. So they moved Ruby Alien from the Asylum to the Hospital and set up a Cloud of Confusion between the two. Now no one knows the difference between a physician and a psychiatrist, which is exactly what Dr. Mouse had in mind, being both at the same time. Clever man. But Agent 47, with his coral-like brain, thinks he can beat him to the game. He also knows they’ve created a clone, but can’t recreate the green — “green is missing,” Martha insisted toward the end of their, er, bargain, he finally making it to the end and dragging along several pre-Agents with him. Yeah, he thought at the time, you get to experience this *too* — see what *you* think about it. Light at the end of the tunnel, pheh. There *is* no light.
“Mr. Peter File! Calling Mr. Peter File!”
The vet’s assistant looked around, seeing no one respond. She checked out the agent. She looked at the dog reading manga on her laptop and briefly thought how far they’d come as a species, thanks to the Powers of the town — Tim and Jenny Powers, Tim being the vet and Jenny the assistant. They traded off positions every other week, he being the dominant one right now. “Peter *File* — last call.” She stared at the agent again and wondered what number they were up to at the station. She’d heard rumors about the Anomaly of course. “None of you lot?”
Agent 47… couldn’t help himself. “Peter… *File*. Doesn’t exist. He was made up as a joke by the doctor. Now what *kind* of doctor am I talking about… Mrs. *Powers*?”
It was a trick caused by the Cloud of Confusion hanging darkly and dimly over the town, of course. Sparkles the laptop reading labrador, pretending to study manga, was actually, secretly taking notes on the vet and his or her assistant. One of our better creations, Agent 47 thinks while looking on, satisfied in the moment. If only he could get the darkness at the end of the tunnel out of his mind. “Agent 59,” he speaks internally down the line at agents that don’t exist quite yet but are in the queue, “did you get a glimpse of your dark, dark future? How about you Agent 70?” He was just picking numbers at random. Doesn’t matter: they’re all doomed. From his 47 position he could see all the way back to 99, but 100 remained in light. Blinding. 99 is where the images start to separate from the white-out at the end. *That’s* true heaven, he thought bitterly, not Martha Ram or any other woman for that matter. Because the closer you get to birth — well, they’ll find out.
He needed to experience reality in order to continue justifying his existence. Clones are standing by, as they say. *She* wasn’t the only one in trouble. Maybe they could make a pact — work together for a common cause (selfhood). But these Powers of the town stood in the way, confusing vet with people doctors or any other doctor you could come up with. Dr. Paul Mouse, formerly Dr. Paul Black (or dr.’s assistant Peter File, some say), was brilliant even, he decided then and there, watching the dog accomplish a google search for “Yankton Federal Prison.”
Nondescript Norris beside him was taking notes as well. Red Room. Don’t look at me, he thinks while doing so. Don’t *anyone* look at me.
“So you see, Mrs. Powers, the black is far outweighing the white now — I’d give it currently as 75 – 25, up from 50 – 50 just last week. Your husband will be dead in another. He’s in hospital right now isn’t he?”
“Mrs. Jenny Powers couldn’t believe her ears. “But… he *works* in a hospital. He’s, I don’t know, a *doctor*.”
“And pray tell what kind of doctor Mrs. Powers? Psychiatrist? Podiatrist? Vet, even?”
“Vet, yes a vet,” she decided. She sat back in her chair, fighting the tears. The black coffin beside her was too close. It felt like it was on top of her now, even trying to encompass her.
“Vets aren’t in hospital unless you count the VA. And I don’t think your husband is that kind of vet. He will be dead in a week,” the owner of the funeral home doubled down. “I hate to be so blunt but you must prepare. The black coffin you’re staring at would make a fine vessel for the afterlife, as we sometimes put it. Like a brave warrior sent back to Valhalla. You said your husband was a vet.”
“Yes,” she said absentmindedly, starting to believe this is all a dream. *Must* be a dream. But how can she wake up?
“Oops, the black has moved a bit left again. Looks like closer to 80 percent now. You better make that purchase today. It’s the only way to end this.”
“How (*sniff*) much?”
“How much do you have? Vets make pretty good money as I understand. Even vet’s assistants. You trade off each week I’ve heard. How exactly does that work?”
Maybe she could snap her fingers? She tries but they just pass through each other. “None of this is real. None of this is *real*.” Didn’t work.
“Typical reaction to severe grief Mrs. Powers. Oh dear: perhaps 85 now. Your husband Tim might be dead before tomorrow.”
“How about a 1000?” She thought of her pocketbook in the car and a thousand dollar bill within. “How about 2 to end this, 3.” She recalled she had 3 1000 dollar bills in the car she drove over with, a Toyota Dusty with 200,000 miles due for an engine change. That’s why she had the money in the car, in her purse. She was on her way to the mechanic to pay for a motor so she could keep running from… who? Where did she come from?
“90 now. You better cough up the appropriate money. Do you want your husband to be buried in the ground like a dog?”
“Don’t *start* with dogs.” Her eyes were completely misting over. She decided to scream at the top of her lungs — maybe that would do it — end this.
“Another typical reaction,” came the reply after the deed was done. “Let it out, Mrs. Powers. Let it all out. Let the whole town know how you feel in this moment. Severe severe grief. Let it out!”
She screamed again. She stopped. She screamed some more, louder, longer, louder… louder… LOUDER.
Sirens went off down at the sheriff’s station. A firetruck and an ambulance were dispatched from the opposite side of town, the first running over Tim Powers bending down to pick up a Lincoln penny from the road, and the second making sure he was good and smushed and dead. His soul left his body.
“It was a pretty good one tonight,” Jeffrey Phillips exclaimed later to mate/lover Charlene the Punk ’round the breakfast table eating Toasty O’s, a new version instead shaped like little squares and triangles. Still the same delicious oaty taste, though. He spoons a big heapful into his face between sentences. “The dream I mean,” he says with open, milky mouth, making Charlene wince. She decides to take a long bathroom break while he finishes up. Sitting fully clothed on the toilet biding her time, she thinks about the dream he spoke of and the poor widow-to-be within, having to scream her lungs out to wake up and at the same time losing her husband. The scream equals death itself. A pretty good one, as Jeffrey declared after revealing the details. Worth putting in his blog, even.
“Alright enough of this mumbo jumbo hoochie koochie stuff, Minister (same as the funeral home director, conveniently enough). Let’s just get it over with and open the coffin.” Petty was inpatient to see what the Anomaly of this amalgamated town, Paper-Soap, was actually like. A plasmic entity as the sheriff suspected, one Wilbur Marshallford of Pennsylvania, Indiana? A luminous, demonic birthday hat as Kolya, Stu Umbriel, and now black-not-Indian Chief thought, product of that ill advised party and decisions made there? Probably glowing then, wouldn’t you think?
“Just as I suspected,” Chef-inspector Petty continued after the coffin lid had been raised mentally by all attending. “This plot is empty; Ruby is no longer in this world. Only a figurative diamond remains. But to whose hands? Who is wedded to the grave?”
Collagesity to end
“The proximity of Diamond to Ruby in the Virgin Islands, is telling, Sally. Can I still call you Sally?” He turns, notes the slight tinge of blue in the hair. Dusk now, soon to be dawn. And in-between… well, Charlene doesn’t need to know anything about it, let’s say. Starfish Lake (or Sea). The Motel without the ending “l”. Couch instead of bed. But it’ll do for the job. He’ll think of explanations (for Charlene) afterwards. Must – go – back.
“You may.” He took that in a double way and moved onward.
“And you’ll note in the background, the — distance, that there’s another Diamond. Diamond 02 as opposed to Diamond 01. And *both* Diamonds are near a Hope (Hope 01 and Hope 02), indicating ring.
“I’ll get it,” spoke listening Kolya from the back.
“Not now, Kolya,” Jeffrey Phillips in front said, laughing. “It’s just a metaphor.” Sally was also snickering but tried to at least cover her ruby red mouth with her
ghost diamond white hand to disguise.
Jeffrey Phillips now pointed upper right with his
cane finger. “Parasol,” he indicated. “Opening for her to come back,” he explained further about the presence of the pin marking the small Virgin I. village on the map. “Umbrella,” he spoke more back to Kolya. “But don’t open it or there’s a chance more rain will pour into your brain.” Less snickering this time from Sally. She truly felt sorry for Kolya and his holey headed condition and thought new-ish lover Jeffrey Phillips had taken it too far this time. She forcefully halted her smile, turned to Kolya as well to show her serious face, perhaps inserting a schweet secret smile upon it in place of the wry, even mocking one.
With this, Kolya remembers the move from Lower to Upper Austra again and the search for the green grey alien. Ruby. Just like the map. But how to phrase to avoid more mocking? At least from Jeffrey, Kolya thinks. Jeffrey remains undeveloped, but perhaps this new-ish gal Sally — Newgent he thinks, similar to new gal — *can* help him. *He* can help him. He can. He: Can.
Alysha was by *his* side. Alysha reached over and held his hand, knowing she was the one. She’d grow up soon enough.
(END OF “SUNKLANDS PHOTO-NOVEL 27”!)