The house fronting the pool was currently unoccupied, and at 900 a week rental may remain so for a while — *I* certainly can’t afford it. What quickly caught my eye: the “Briar Wick House” was created by a company called ROOST. Check out their logo:
Despite the barrier between us, the dog next door kept barking at me. I knew I would need a new dis-guise. I decided a black man might do the trick. I called in Duncan, who was, after all, part of the crew; on the payroll. His VHC City apartment was back on the radar, ward George still in tow. But George was too young to be sent to this place, this paradise of sorts. I worried about him meeting the wrong kind of Adam and Eve, ones guided by the snake instead of the God. For this was a fallen place at the rotten core of it (Apple). Marty was still with me; we were still flying high. I decided to stay in the air for a while. The oxygen, although thin, was free up here. We’ll leave the storytelling to others. Goodbye for now! (zoomm!)
I speculated that the community knew about The Diagonal. W’s first foray into the region produced a default landing point of 181/181, which placed her in this almost impossibly and certainly impractically weighty clock tower. 558 prims! Certainly we must question whether prim/ land impact count is managed effectively here, which may actually bode well for a more penetrating examination.
She found a place to catch up with the local news and find out more about the town. Lots of changes, lots of updates. And a statement: if a building falls on you DON’T PANIC. Our crack hospital team will patch you up in no time. Hidi looks up into the rafters with this. This one seems sound enough. She’ll stay a bit longer, have another cup of coffee and read some more. Apparently the local police force is hiring. Maybe she could work as a beat cop to pay what is obviously going to be expensive rent here. Local general hospital hired new chief administrator; you can legally purchase weed here: local pot shop has just been taken over by the Greentree family. Wasn’t she just reading about Greenforests somewhere? And then, to finish off, an advice column by Aunt Auntie. Oh dear, Hidi thought. This town promises to be more than expected! Something about playing rough then playing nurse, dot dot dot.
She was very helpful, unlike the other one. She would help me in getting to my destination, this (he checked the nametag): Mae Baleia. I wonder if that’s Russian? I wonder… if she has a husband. *I* could be her husband.
“Dearest,” she calls over in her undetermined foreign accent, coaxing him out of his daydreams. “You’ll have to move on. I have other customers to deal with.”
“I was like ‘blublublu’, and he was like ‘eyoweyoweyow’, and then somebody jumped in and shouted, ‘Stop the plane!’. It was the pilot — Tickie — blue fellow. The pilot made the plane after all; 1 to 1. Jen Saunders held up the index fingers of both hands here. Stan Gunderson realized she would be of no help in getting to his destination.
more airport 02
She stood as if in the middle of time, taking it all in. This Hitgal, I believe. Selling corndogs for the pick’n. Or was it cornogs? And whatever happened to that vow to have less questions in this here blog? Hmmm?
Someone approached her, slightly hobbled. “I lost my cane. Can you help me find my cane?” Dr. Mouse.
He found himself playing this game in an arcade. They’d sent Hidi back home, saying the place, this Eveningwood, was too dangerous for a gal like her, all tempting and such. It was a job for a man, they said. A black man. “Me?” he asked, knowing the answer. The look in Buster’s eyes told him. “Me,” he answered himself. Thus: here.
He’d never heard of The Smipsons but he was told to play the game with the little yellow fellow named Bart. He needs to be fast on his skateboard to outrun all those giant tigers, Duncan thought, seeing the kid soar through the air like a bird or a plane.
If only he’d learned Roman numerals before entering that zoo.
“Yelloo!” Homer Smipson said in greeting. Duncan had his clue.
Peter Oesso upstairs, in contrast, had nothing.
“Ahh, you see how easy the Owl is to spot in this area?”
“I think I’m done with the Southwest,” I opined, having explored it extensively yesterday, airport (Half Moon) included.
“As you wish,” she answered.
But on a large peninsula just to the east, more mysteries arise. ROOST?
But nothing to do with ROOST homes examined before that I can tell.
I can only check the multi-sim build remotely, since access to the public has been cut off, at least temporarily. I will landmark and return. W-eird.
W: “You said it!”
Duncan pauses in his examination of Eveningwood. 300 address at the western edge of town: where had he seen this before? And a “ROOST – Jasper Landing TALL Fence” over there — interesting.
Duncan would keep going, but he would never return to Our Second Lyfe as he crosses the boundary between real and imaginary on the other side of the 300. Virtual I meant there. Real and virtual. He was a black man inside the sphere; he never knew what hit him.
“Oh *I* see. Field *on*. As in some kind of activated force field.”
“Spherical in nature,” he added.
But who were these people inside this darkened cinema on the edge of realities? They stare into the screen as if a window.
(to be continued)
The first thing they saw was an angel heralding them in — or out. “Duncan is good,” said one to the other. “He knows what to see when it looks back at him.” The other didn’t respond, waiting for something better.
“Ahh yes, that’s much better today Mrs. Fox,” says airport assistant vice manager for human interactions Stephan Spaceboy, checking the weight board.
“Miss,” she says. “Actually: Ms.”
“As you wish, *Ms.* Fox. Now. What can I do you for?” Stephan taps his foot nervously against the floor under the desk. Return visits by avatars usually mean trouble. It means they are looking for something. Or somebody.
“Yes, I think I’m ready to talk about Pink again. I hear…”
“… she’s here, yes.” Stephan tries to act casual while looking away from her. He glances out the office window in what he knows is the direction of Pink’s lair, as he calls it. Who is she with now? He doesn’t want to know.
In her own office not 100 meters away to the south, Pink was asleep at her desk, dreaming she was young and, well, alive again. Tom Banks had brought her a vase of flowers, saying he was sorry he had to kill her but it was his role in life. Similarly dead Frankie “Beige” Brown sat across from her, giggling at the conjunction of Pink and Tulip outside on the plane and inserting, “Lips are like one pink,” between snickers. Going further back in time, Doogie Martin was staring at a snow filled tv he’d just mounted on the wall and mumbling something about Aspinwall. It was all being swept away in the (white) noise, all the sorrows put behind her. Then she wakes up.
One thing remains, but silent or at least very low.
It was almost too painful to bring back Marsha “Pink” Krakow, or catch up with what happened to her after her — after her…
“Death. Go ahead and say it Baker B.”
“Death, yes. Thank you. I guess, then, I’m sitting beside you now in some guise.”
“I talk to him, you know,” she deflected, or got more straight to the matter. “Tom Banks, I — we, talk to him. Me and myself and maybe I as well. He sits in front of us and we ask him about his soul, his own destiny. Will it be Hell forever and ever? We determined early on it will be not. *We* are murderers just as much as him, that’s what we determined (early on). W-ierd, eh? You eat through time; you see these things, like ants in cheese. Something.” She stopped here. She asked if she could play a song for me. She had become a composer in the afterlife. “Nice,” I replied. She was about ready to move toward the guitar just over there, about to play her song. The one about “Jackie Blue”, if Blue is Pink. I suppose she would have had to rewrite it, then. Or revert it (something).
She asked me to stay for a spell, saying I helped brighten up the place. I knew I shouldn’t, I couldn’t. But maybe someone else could. I’d have to ponder on that for a while as I went about doing other things in other places. Starting with…
“Has he figured out — how you are?” came the question on the other end in a familiar voice. So hoarse and raspy Blue, like FLY.
“All gone,” she exclaims in a thick accent as Marty walks up from behind, probably Russian. “Ruble.”
“Rubles?” Marty attempted as a (weak) joke. She turns. There was gold in her eyes.
Marty checked her profile. She seemed to be an artist, or was at least attached to an art colony. He decided to head there next. Maybe they would have more information about these Ruins of Lustre off the coast of Roost. But not that Roost: a different one. One that Marty knew quite well through Lemon back in the days. Roost Never Sleeps. It’s where Lemon was formed, actually. But it all seemed a big blur now. Too much excitement; too much hot coffee; too much *speed*.
She couldn’t come. She was stuck at this centerpoint, a mere marker. “Goodbye girl with the golden eyes!” he cried while flying away.
evening out 02
“Smoke?” he asked while peering through the window in the door in the Wall at himself. Marty declined, saying he’ll have a fag later.
“Strange expression over here,” Roger Pine Ridge responded to this. “Means something else in these States of Their US of America.”
“Give me Kentucky and Tennessee and throw away all the rest,” Marty joked, again weakly. If only he would do this kind of thing weekly instead of daily, hourly even. He checks the minutes of their last meeting last month. Then wife Linda had penned it down to the seconds. 17:11: talk about America; 17:32: switch to Marty weakly joking about a trip to Armenia which no one understands, no one laughs at, except Marty but only weakly as was appropriate; 17:51: rest hand because of cramp.
“I’m glad you decided to be my friend,” Roger exclaims, smoke bellowing from his mouth like a small train. “Makes it easier to meet. I send you an invite; you accept. Remember, heh, the last time? Remember how much money you wasted taking that plane to Borneo?”
“It wasn’t Borneo,” replied Marty, cooled off now. “But, yeah, I get the point. I’m sorry I didn’t trust you before. It’s just the whole…”
“Brain damage thing?” Roger guessed, thinking about the other Roger, the one Marty might or might not have himself invented/created and then forgot about, like a demented God.
17 minutes and 11 seconds later, they drew even on a particular topic of some interest to them, perhaps to others as well. Now that the moon has been successfully swallowed by the sun again. It blared brightly in the sky like a loco bugle, sending not smoke up, although it was burning too, but rays. Rays of warmth. Roger Pine Ridge felt his lips getting hot. He had burned his special cigarette to a nub and forgot to uninsert.
(to be continued)
having a hoot
“Look out below! Coming down,” he continued while sliding.
“Made it I see,” Marty greeted him nonchalantly. “My new personal shadow.”
Roger Pine Ridge walked over. “Whatchadoing?”
Marty has wife Marg bludgeon Homer with a weighted purse to begin, then answers. “Trying, ahem (death of Boss Burns now with purse), to figure out the clue Duncan Avocado got from this game.”
“Avocado.” Marty has Willy walk up to Marg and belch in her face, then steal her deadly purse and kill Mo the bartender with it. Quick as a wink.
“Well I say. Listen, how much longer are you going to be here? In this, er, *firehouse*?”
“I am the fireman,” Marty states plainly. “As long as I wish — this is my project.” Death to Principle Poop now.
“O-kay.” Roger Pine Ridge tries to decide how to exit gracefully from this awkward situation. He was tailing Marty to this Eveningwood place, true, but didn’t expect him to be engrossed in anything like this, and declare it was totally a situation of his concoction and that he had everything under control. Fires rage outside! But here he was, cool and calm and collected, like it was pouring down rain all over the countryside.
“Just — gotta — find — the ragamuffin.” Many bleeping noises now. “*There*” Skateboarding Bart Smipson got run over by a doughnut truck headed to Homer’s.
Roger Pine Ridge decides to wait on the roof. Everything seemed familiar. He stares out at the Eveningwood cityscape realizing there were were no raging fires and that Marty was right and he had everything under control, at least here. The light side of the moon rose over the horizon. Yes, must have been a trace of that brain damage he feared so much, the other, thought-to-be-left-behind Roger leaking in a bit.
Marty beams up, beaming. “Found it!”
“Maybe *this* is what I need in NWES City. A Penny Lane style magic shop. Or mystic shop. Whaddaya say, Marty?”
“Roger. We’re here to talk about my death. Right over there.” Marty points to the chair at the window where he was stabbed in the heart and bled out only the night before in this central Eveningwood location. So central, so *middle*. In the future if not now, the town will be called that because of its sensual nature. Middletown, with any sign of Eveningwood swept away as in a raging fire or something. But for now the signs remain. Clues and signs.
“You *know* why we’re here Roger. Evening out.”
“Right: takes two to know. What, er, does the book say? About the spell. Can you reverse (the murder)?”
“It says: look in the beech grove for the answers you seek. Marg will be waiting.” Marty looks up at Roger. “Marg? Like in the game? I *killed* Marg.”
“No,” corrected Roger Pine Ridge opposite him at the fortune teller’s table. “You said Marg killed everyone else, including the ragamuffin — I think.”
“That’s not true.” Marty puts hand to chin in thinking mode. He tries to remember the order of things. Marg bludgeons Homer with her purse, then, yes, *kills* Boss Burns, then Willy comes up, steals the purse, and goes on his own murderous rampage. Marty puts down the book. “We’re looking for a man named Willy, then. He may go by Willard.”
“George?” spoke Roger back, knowing the name.
With this, they head back to the Blue Feather in Collagesity to study the table in preparation for future actions.
“We’ve left Merry Gouldbusk, Eraserhead Man, Barry De Boy back in the dust. Looming ahead are both Sandy Beech and Buster Damm at 58.”
“Duncan will never allow us to reach Buster together. We’ll have to stop before that. Don’t want to anger him! No telling what powers he has now. He’s at least 2 nights ahead of us in the search.”
“Exactly Mr. Roger Pine Ridge, my fellow 54.”
“Let’s agree, then, to stop at 57.”
“Make it 56,” Roger urged, knowing a bit more in this area. They bickered on it. They settled on it. [Delete number] it is.
(to be continued)
Duncan *knows* about this art, Marty thought while staring at the Eve guided by the snake instead of the God. He believes he sees her inner parts and looks away at something else more in the distance. A man eating brains out of a skull — still disturbing but less so.
Roger Pine Ridge walks into the door. Marty remembers the deal: 57. Or was it 56? Maybe it’s the last number that counts, the 7 and the 6. Throw ’em in a cup, rattle them around, see what comes out. Quantum state; Black Hole, even. He beams at Roger, knowing he has the upper hand again. Yelloo.
“Let’s go,” Roger requests, eager to get out of this place full of “artists”.
But first: “Nothing in the library about Roost or the Roost Never Sleeps attached castle.”
“Have you tried *Rust*? As in Neil Young?” Marty’s hand switches from upper to lower and Roger is in charge. “Let’s go,” he says again, not taking no for an answer. “NOW”.
“‘Kay,” is all Marty could weakly manage in acquiescing.
knowing your place
“Well I must say that was certainly an interesting game of pool we just played (!). How’s your, aherm, back doing Marty?”
“Fine, fine. Just need to stretch it out.” Marty had never tried something like this. “How’s your beer holding out?” he says, turning. “Smoking and drinking at once, I see?”
“Yeah.” He looks over at the dizzying megalopolis outside the skybox window. “Middletown, pheh. Who knew it was going to grow so big.”
“Yes, we’re on the edge all right…”
“Of something *big*”
Duncan looks on, unseen and unamused. “You choose the medium you have,” he can hear Buster in his head, clear as rain, “and you have the medium you choose. Roger and Marty aren’t *lovers* per se. It’s all symbolic past the clue.”
“Fiftysix,” Duncan says aloud for no one to hear. “Paul’s switch.”
Better get back and prepare food for George, he realized, looking at the time.
time barrier (morning to evening)
“These are powerful people,” spoke Buster in my head. “They control *portals*. Portals between realities. And once you cross the line you may not know which is which.” Wise words from a small vampire man, still living in VHC City near Duncan for all I know. Still frequenting that bakery where Duncan was inducted into Pot-D, until the cursed, bloody Yelloo sun comes up at least. Give him the light and dark side of the moon any time. Give him money procured from criminal actions deep in darkness and shadows. Give him… well, we’ll leave out the third. In fact we’ll chuck the whole dark triad, for Buster Damm is now full of light and goodness, thanks to the blood transfusions combined with the positive energy of Pot-D itself. Yes, the story of our small vampire friend, best buddies with fellow and much larger (or regularly shaped) vampire Pitch Darkly, will have a happy ending. He has his wife Betty now, who can appear tiny, like him, but also larger — to allow the couple freedom to move about in the world of regular joes and josettes — are also born again TILISTS. They’d studied the sinks of Maebaleia and other continents extensively. They’re convinced of the 3d hyperspin of Maebaliea and Jeogeot separate from the rest of Their Second Lyves to create the sinks in the first place. And above and beyond this, roosting on it like a demented OWL… but I’ve said too much here. ROOST is key.
What did Duncan see on the other side of the 300? He observed the observer, almost hidden in a small wood of trees behind a barrel here.
He had dominion over his compact, changeable kingdom-queendom at 200 E Locust, he and his wife. But the wife also observes, 2 1/2 years in the past, an overturned chair on a porch just to the west. The lawn deer’s baby has moved back into its womb. Stars appear.
And a blue sphere moves from one side of a small garden space to the other to emphasize its importance. I think we know what *this* means.
Better shot of the observer.
Wheeler/Hidi stared at the drugs on the table and realized it was just money. Constraints of time, power, and that other thing they don’t talk about much any more, not after Kolya. Damaged goods he was. She must not touch, she says once again in her mind to reinforce. There was a 2 shaped hole in his head where the rain gets in. Marty knows; Marty may have even created. “Fiftysix,” she says aloud to know one. “They had to stop at fiftysix.”
Duncan returns from the bar with 2 drinks. Duncan said he’d never ever come back to this town, this Eveningwood that would one day become so central to Our Second Lyfe that they decided to rename it Middle: Middletown, a basically endless megalopolis that one could get lost in forever. Fractal. You have to find a path through it or else, doomed. Duncan knew this. Duncan had a path; he had almost worked out all the details. Labeling will begin soon. He knows that The Fortress is at the end, but he doesn’t know what’s inside. It all terminates at The Fortress.
Hidi has her drink. Duncan sits down with his. They have more to talk about tonight besides Middletown, fiftysix, Kolya.
“Who’s going to come through the black curtains, Duncan,” she spoke after a couple of sips of her whiskey on the rocks. “I thought it would be you.” She looks over at his blackness and sees it is good. He looks over at her whiteness: also good.
“Well, I thought it was going to be you, obviously. But you were already here when I arrived, sitting on that couch.”
“And you at the bar.” She ponders further, as she hears the metallic sound of a gate opening. A red complexioned Asian Indian then comes through the curtains, beckoning them to follow. At the beginning of a tunnel just behind, he then tells Duncan he must go back, his path through the beginnings of Middletown at least temporarily blocked.
He returns alone from the bars to whence he came.