3 clicks to the east
Sissy Bird Cage felt like she was in the right place (red shoes), even though she didn’t know how she got here. She remembered dying. Or some part of her dying. A business, yes. Heavily identified with, so much so that she felt it was an extension of her body, her mind, her soul. It shared her same name. Her blood coursed through its veins.
Over in Mortons Gap. I believe they made it into a Saki Bar after she left but she hadn’t been back to check. Too painful.
She remained on Corsica. In fact, on the same peninsula that they called The Trunk in olden days, when the original Ant Castle was still around. Eleph Trunk, some called it. Not Elephant. Not after the Ant was extracted from the end, set up in his (or her) own castle right at the very tip of the nose of the thing.
She’s looking for a place to apply for a job. She’d heard in Flamerider here there were secret jobs, up in the air above the green and granite landscape. Ted had told her about it — said she might fit in well there. She recalled all this now. After the shock of transitioning wore off.
“Anyone hiring ’round here?” she asked the broken doll tending a bar inside the red shoe place.
The doll suddenly fell to pieces. Looks like she’s found her new position, quick and easy (home). Slowly but surely, this becomes reality and the other a dream.
“When I first showed up, Ted, she was standing right on this spot. Right here. I had to clean up all the mess and parts but it was worth it, problem solved.” She turned.
“Fascinating, Sissy,” said her current customer, use to the story. Maybe even kind of sick of the story. “Just a beer today.” He extended bills across the counter.
“Your money is no good here Ted and you know it.” It was the least she could do.
Ted just liked to watch. He told his crooked blackbird on his shoulder to simmer down as the lights dimmed and the band took the stage. With the dancer. Light of His 2nd Lyfe. Why he was in Flamerider in the first place, although it was always nice to visit with his old friend Sissy. He pondered again a possible connection between her and another Sissy he knew over in Comma Islands, the one who lived on an actual top of one of Corsica’s famous standalone granite peaks instead of just below one — in the shadow of one — like here.
Then, surprising him, Sissy came out from behind the bar and crawled into the cage beside him, starting to gyrate herself to the beginning trance music. What was he thinking? There *was* no dancer onstage. Just here. His eyes had been opened. But to… what?
“Shhh, simmer down, I said.” But Blackey 02 had spotted it first. Another caged bird emerging from the shoe, a parrot it appeared from his angle, pink in color again. Like Sissy; the dancing had caused this.
The cage began to expand, soon filling up space itself.
2 helpful links I’ve found in the past 2 days.
I can look at this playfully. A man (or woman) writes a story about a journey to The Moon that’s pretty much a straightforward success w/ friends, family and public. The second, which involves a journey inside the Earth this time, is also viewed favorably, albeit with less enthusiasm. You’ve done it once, you’ve had your time in the limelight, others might say here. Or they may invoke elements of imposter syndrome — oh you’re just like so-and-so; *love* his or her stuff (i.e., you are a reflection of his or her greatness). The writer reassesses — there were elements of the second that didn’t follow the pattern of success of the first. He (or she) could then isolate these elements as best as possible: and either eliminate them or accentuate them in the next work. 3rd book, fork in the road. One 3rd book, the elimination novel let’s call it, marks a return to the form of the first in the public’s eye. Let’s say we have our protagonist go back to The Moon for it. *Love* The Moon, others might say (friends, family, public) — just like so-and-so’s work, they might echo. Second 3rd book, the accentuation novel, goes down a rabbit hole, knowing approval from others would not be forthcoming (but still maybe putting blinders on and hoping for the best). The writer sticks to the surface of the Earth, deals with *real* issues he or she sees around them, explores them in depth; rips off masks so precious and valued to people of the time. Could be racism, social inequality, sexual issues, rise of the machine age, to name a couple that come to mind. True to form, most, perhaps even everyone, turns away from the work and the writer, urges him (or her) to get a *real* job (you’ll never be so-and-so). The 3rd book may not even be published or publishable (in its age). Yet this person knows it’s their best and moves forward, out of the spotlight now, even if he (or she?) has to shovel coal for a living. The 4th is even better and expands on some of the best bits of the 3rd. The writer is truly learning to write. The 5th expands on the 4th. The 6th expands on the 5th… (if he or she gets this far, poverty perhaps taking its inevitable toll).
People do not want to see the reality inside them. Fear dominates. Preservation of a mask self that is in denial of the Great Inside. And just plain fear of the new — we all have it. Some also fear a return to the old. Fear all around.
Here I’m thinking more 19th Century than 20th or 21st but maybe I still have a point, hmm.
“Peakology, Hucka D. I’m becoming interested again.”
“Corsica,” Hucka D. uttered to this. “Corsica Corsica Corsica!” But it wasn’t Hucka D. Instead: someone else yellow, someone else who wasn’t who they seemed to be. Square. Wearing pants.
“So when did you start smoking again, Petty? It’s disgusting. And stand back from me why don’t you? This is not your scene.”
“*All* mysteries are my scene,” the confident chef-inspector replied, puffing even more rapidly. Smoke gets in his eyes but he isn’t bothered. Point is: they’re in his as well. Petty wasn’t going to budge from this spot; he was as if pettrified. This might not be pretty; this might get ugly.”
Officer Glammerpuss stopped. Did he just call the inspector pretty? Close enough. His face turned red. Love. But also smoke.
There were a lot of things going on here at once. Racism, social inequality, sexual issues, rise of the machine age, to mention just some I’ve spotted so far.
(to be continued)
looking toward BoShek again
“Vast swaths of abandoned land in the middle of continents, Hucka D. I’m not sure the study of Peakology is even valid any longer.”
“Better stick with Nautilus,” said the Hucka D. who was not Hucka D. if still yellow. Square. “Bahahahahaha.”
One of the people at the bar lit up. One of the people at the bar spoke. “I know I’m not your type.” (long pause). “I realize the kids may be involved.” (long pause) “You’d give that up for me?” (long pause) “Sally doesn’t have to know.” (long pause) “Eliminate the middle man, right.”
She gets up, this Mrs. Ordinary, and moves 10 feet down the bar, which is further than anyone else here could.
“I have a house and home, you see.” (long pause) “I’m a better person than you.”
“In-depth; I don’t know the meaning of that. Is that the same as in deep?”
“Oooooooo. Looks like Alice is in *trouble* again.”
“I don’t like the looks of him, Richard.”
“Noo,” he agreed, daring to move his shoulders a bit in the recognition. “Looks like my mother.”
“Another coat check, over.” Reply.
“Check. Checking the overcoat.”
But Agent Orangetang found that he too could not hardly move a muscle in this place and had to send in his partner Boris who was a spider and undetected and perhaps undetectable in the Big Freeze. The coat check would take all night, and by that time Miss In-depth and her accomplice Mrs. Ordinary had long fled the scene, taking the goodies with them.
“Get my gum,” spoke Sarah only 1/2 to Rosalyn. “I’m going in.”
“I think this case is wrapped up, Pretty. *Petty*.” He turns red again. “Pretty much wrapped up,” he tried to cover himself.
“Thanks Officer Glammerpuss.”
The place will have to be quarantined for a week because of the moondust but the business should be able to reopen then.”
“Cathy will be pleased.”
“Did you get all the rocks?”
“We think so. There’s one that looks like Neil Armstrong, then one like Buzz, then the other one — I assume it’s the 3rd.”
“Collins,” answered Petty to this, due to go on his other job in 2 hours and don a chef’s hat while ditching the inspector’s coat, no rest for this busybody. He reached into it to withdraw a match, ready to relight his current stogie, 8th of the night. At one point there was even 2 in his mouth at once. so excited he was about the news. Queen! Coming to Hardrock. So says Glammerpuss, the big, well, he just loves Queen. They both do! Ah heck, might as well try. Officer seems to be hinting around.
“Listen, Glammerpuss… Chuck.”
“Tim. You call me Tim.”
“Listen, Chuck. I was wondering…”
“Queen?” It just came out of his mouth automatically. Petty turned to stare into his eyes. Chief Wigwam walked up, interrupting the moment as he was suppose to. He gazed at the ribbon on the wrapped up door, symbolic of the case itself. He thought about procedure, getting ducks lined up in a row.
“Better start the paperwork on this Glammerpuss while the memories are fresh. Petty — aren’t you due to present me with a fresh dove omelet in, say (he checks his watch), 2 hours?”
“2 1/2,” states the chef-inspector to this. “Gotta warm up the oven first. Say, Wigwam, can you give us a moment. There’s just one wrinkle on the case we have to iron out.”
“It’s Collins,” spoke Wigwam. “The one they always forget the name of.”
A small smile breaks on Petty’s face. “No, not that, Chief. Something else. Just… give us a moment.”
“Oh alright. See you when the sun comes up. Glammerpuss — paperwork.” He walks away.
(to be continued)
“*Say*, Hucka D. It’s your car again. You know, the one you got from the Mountain in the Air.”
He needs to stop trying. Hucka D. is not coming back. Instead:
“All the hard, impermeable rocks are tucked safely inside, Jackie. I think we’re ready to roll.”
“I’ll get the butter.”
“Funny. I’ll drive while you sober up.” Burt edged around her; entered the cab.
“I’m not drunk.”
“Power I’m referring to,” he said, rolling down the power window in preparation. “Get in.” He opened the door on the other side; rolled down its window too. Burt figured they needed the fresh air after what they’d been through.
The road turned from pavement to dirt, then back to pavement and then finally to rock. “It was rough, Burt,” she said, bouncing along, voicing her confession, knowing the end was looming. “All the dust and the visions.”
“I know. I have a wife, daughter and dog. I’m more rooted than you. I only saw dust,” *bounce*. A hard one there. Took out a tire.
“Yeah. 2 comedians on their way to the gas ovens to dispose of the evidence.”
“They’ll never miss us.”
The heavily illuminated crematorium revealed itself around a last, dark, rocky, really bumpy turn in the road. Heaven for some. Heavenly illuminated. They had to stop for a bit and admire it; the flaming entrance like a door to Hell. It *was* Hell. The place was both — 2 places at once. Burt used the pause to check the tires. 3 flats. Perfect. Just enough air left to make it to the end.
They knew the rocks wouldn’t survive the intense heat. They donned their inflammable suits, but it was only for show: the bodies would be consumed along with the stones.
Burt climbed back in; gave the gas a go, opened the passenger door (your choice).
She was hoping beyond belief. “Tattoo parlor?” she tried, drawn in by the butterflies.
“Hair salon,” replied glowing pink haired Sep Felton, not seen in a while. Not since Wallytown, I believe.
“Nah,” answered Sep to Shelley. “Too small (of a town),” she explained about the lack of such establishments. “Haven’t seen you around — figured you were a stranger.” She takes in her visitor. At first she thought: plain. Now she’s starting to reconsider. “Where…?”
“Morgans Gap,” Shelley said, anticipating Sep’s own question here. “Vacation — honeymoon, actually. Just bumming around the neighborhood.”
“Well, you’re a pretty fur piece down The Trunk to find this place (!).”
“Yeah, I guess. Got the wandering feet today.”
“Where’s the significant other?” Sep began to fantasize a relationship with the increasingly cute visitor. She couldn’t help herself.
Where *was* Shelley’s recently married hubby, if not just married? Their honeymoon had been postponed for a month because they had to find exactly the right spot to do it. Morgans Gap was the place no doubt. They were visiting a gallery in the area, heard about the Ant Castle on the mountain above the town, and the rest fell into place pretty quickly. Arthur Kill withdrew some saved money for the purpose out of the bank and handed it over to 3 1/2 star rated Hotel Higashiyama down on the beach of the town. They haven’t regretted it one moment. More role play tonight, Arthur promised. If she can get back before bedtime. She checks her online map. Dang. How did she get so far away?
“Well…” tried Sep — hoping beyond belief herself this time. “I have a spare room upstairs if you don’t think you can make it back tonight. Sun will be setting in about an hour. Just saying… trying to be hospitable. Us Marooners like to cultivate that reputation.” Which was true, although Sep knew she was trying to cultivate something else. Better end this post and check her history in the photo-novels.
“Well, he makes a good point,” she tries to joke.
“He’s *pointing*… to his *name*,” said Marilyn to this, a what you see is what you get kind of gal. Unlike Sep here, who’s complicated. Marilyn was also reading her book upside down, which Sep didn’t bring up. No more pointing out anything. She needed to get to why she was here.
“I have a new gal in my life, Marilyn. I think… I’m in love. Yet she’s married.”
“*Married*?” Marilyn exclaims. “More like *buried*. I’ve been married 7 times and that’s just because I’m only 42.” She looks over, satisfied smirk on her face. “Okay, 56,” she relents. “Go on, change your expression to shocked. I’ll wait.”
Sep sits there for a second, then obligingly lets her jaw drop. “*Fifty*-*six*?” she meters out, knowing what Marilyn wants to have said to her. If she had to guess, Sep would have said 49, which is splitting the difference.
“Yes, shocking I know. Now go ahead and do the same for the 7.”
So Sep feigns the second shock as well. “*Seven*?” The information she has about the Heart Line here better be good. If only the duck were truly alive instead of just a dummy he could help instead or at least chip in. She makes a mental note to search out the real Professor Duck after this was over.
The alarm goes off. Sep wakes up. No Shelley beside her. Unlike last night. Must have taken a walk, she rationalized, not hearing anyone downstairs. Then she realized the obvious: she walked home. Back to Arthur. One night stand she just had here. Better write down the Heart Line dream before she forgets, what good it did her. “*One* *night* *stand*,” she imagines telling still couch sitting Marilyn, giving her back a dose of her own medicine.
Good to see you back home and safe, Mrs. Shelley,” spoke Sam the bartender. “Mister Arthur was looking for you this morning. Said he was going for a walk — Ant Castle I believe was specifically referenced by the sir.”
“Yeah,” spoke Shelley. “I didn’t come home last night. Wandered down The Trunk.” Sam nods here understandably and sympathetically, having heard this before. “Got lost.”
“Aah The Moon again,” he said, knowing it was full last night. “Did you do anything you can’t take back?”
“I…’m not sure.”
“Then you better choose. Dark Side or Light Side. And which is which in your mind. Because if you don’t, The Moon will choose for you. I approximate you have about 1 month to decide. Or 27 or 28 days, ma’am. Which *service* will you choose?”
Pretty profound words there from a bartender, but, then again, he was studying for the priesthood. Or to be a gourmet chef… choice will also come to him soon. She decides and I decide, he realizes. Because instead of praying he was cooking up a storm last night, shrimp, lobster and crab being the victims in order. “Rock’n it,” he said at one point in the heat of creativity, expertly blackening a shrimp with one hand while boiling a lobster to perfection with another. Master chef. Or not… a crab dropped out of the pan while he had a moment of doubt, fear creeping into and intruding on unconditional love. God, he thought later. God disapproves of this night.
Let’s see, I’ve done a blue dress and a red dress. How about a purple one this time.
A purple cube manifests in the room as sewing Wheeler Wilson thought this. The door opened. Showtime.
“This cat’s ears are soo soft (!).”
“Ma’am — or sir — I hate to rush you but the show’s about to start. Do you want to check in your overcoat or not?” She indicated the indicated sign with the hand and all, warning that the establishment would not be responsible for hats and coats unless checked in at the front.
“I’m thinking, I’m thinking.” She could feel his eyes bore into her back and side. Her *real* son. At long long last. She was actually frozen with indecision. And because she was a chaos object, everything else in the place froze along with her — oops, there goes Doris, not asking questions any longer, not pattering her fingers impatiently on the counter. 7:21PM. Son Cory’s shoulders also move for the last time in the recognition. Mother.
Spade tattooed bartender Sarah escaped with her gum *just* in the nick of time, but heart tattooed assistant Rosalyn didn’t make it. A bit too red herself, I suppose.
Alright Jackie. Explain to me *one* more time about how you escaped the crematorium? And where’s Don?”
“Burt. His name was Burt.”
“*Was*? So… he’s dead. He did his duty.”
“Yes. I guess.” She started crying. “I don’t know.”
“And the rooooocckks??” They were the most important thing for Officer Davis Jefferson, the most complete bastard of a guy on the town’s force, ever in pursuit of the notorious Black Lake Gang and his one-to-one ultimate archrival Brutus, who also goes by Ted. Curious: So close to Burt; just rearrange the beginning letters a tad, a pinch, after dropping off the US. And where were we? Back on Nautilus? It might be so, although the map says Maebaelia. We’ll coordinate and synchronize asap.
Better stop questioning the dangerous bitch and handcuff her, Jefferson thinks here. Haul her unfried ass back to hq.
It wasn’t Brutus but it was a pretty satisfying arrest nonetheless. Might get him a promotion to sgt., even, which would be bad for everybody, the law, law abiding citizens, and crinimals all.
Shelley loves hanging around the beach. Arthur and she have such a great time night after night, day after day here… in Mortons Gap overall. She could see living here, staying here. A bit laggy, but they’re working on it, reducing shaders, draw distance, etc. Even minimizing screens, their view on the world, if needed. It wasn’t ideal. But — so pretty.
If she could just erase that full moon faux pas from her memory. What did Arthur do that night? she wondered for certainly not the first time. Because she’d found lipstick on his coat which wasn’t hers — she rarely uses it except when they hit the town. And the smell of lobsters. Or was it crabs? — she’d have to check the difference between the 2 later on when they walk down to the fisheries. Do it nice and subtle.
Nearby Arthur was building another one of his patented sand castles, complete with ants that he’d found on the vegetated dunes in back. He was trying to recreate the past. In truth, someone had put a spell on him. George/Musician most likely, if only from his dreams. He wanted to walk up to the real Ant Castle later that day, thus Shelley’s excuse to visit the fisheries kind of on the way. Ah heck, she’ll just ask him. Why does she care if he stayed with another woman that night. *She* was with a woman that night. Served her right. Painful, very painful, but… what was the right expression for it? Tit for tat, she decided. Or tit for tit — something.
She swung down from the palm tree, walked over. “About ready to go?”
He was about to coronate the new king and queen of the ants after building their thrones. “5 more minutes,” he requested, herding the crowd in the right direction.
Geez that gray woman has been out there quite a while, Shelley thinks, having woken up in a strange camper in the sim above Mortons Gap but then recalling the story. She could hear the crashing of the waves when she stirred, a reassuring sound. Arthur must be around. They were just too tired to walk all the way back to the hotel after visiting the Ant Castle up on the mountain, quite a climb to get to. So they just bunked down here as the sun set into the ocean, just to do something different, they agreed. “No one around,” spoke her newlywed husband. “Why not,” she replied. But that gray person… actual owner? Telling me I’m intruding on her property? Could just ask, she thought as she took another sip of coffee and continued reading the article she started, it seemed, a 1/2 hour ago. Ooo, she thought. Just there. The woman took on appearance; just for a second. Yes, staring right at me, it seems (!). Better gather up Arthur and head back to the hotel. Probably down on the beach.
He comes here often and just sits and listens. “Getz/Gilberto” always seems to be spinning on the turntable, the record that started it all for bossa nova, as he learned. Steely eyed Luther stirs the patriotic soup slowly and deliberately, like an automaton instead of an actual person. ‘Nother “gray” being. And what has Clifton Mahoney got on the docket today? Well — beach. Just like Shelley and Arthur. Coming up is a collision course of information that would change everyone’s world. The Ant Castle was not what it seemed (!).
Barry down at the pier would be involved too. Because after 8 straight days of angling it was about time to head home. Art studio. Just below the castle. Barry’d seen and heard things there he didn’t want to dwell upon, didn’t want to be in such close proximity to. Thus the trip into town, to the beach, to the pier. Sanity in contrast. Warm sense of people around. F-ing cold in the gray granite mountains above Mortons Gap this time of year, but not necessarily that kind of cold. Remote kind of cold, the worst type. Barry liked privacy when he painted but enough was enough. But, also, he couldn’t stay away forever, had to face the devil sometime.
(to be continued)
Demon (Dr. Back)
dream 00360416 (“traces”)
A mysterious red being directly beneath a towering redwood tree, extending all the way into space and a bit beyond.
Another appears in the center of a circle of pink albuca flowers (see: shoulders of Dr. Back before). Both are completely invisible to the naked eye, like outer planets.
This one is without a head, in contrast to the first. Dr. Back indeed.
Looking directly into the face of already decapitated Man About Time, Shelley struggles in vain to get away. Trapped.
Only one other blue around to help her, but she’s on a different level. She heard the screams for help, though.
Too late (OWWWW!). Although the now soul-less body still twitches.
On the outskirts of Mortons Gap lies Tintown, or use to until it became another one of those pandemic casualties. There you could dig for Gold, which means you could find Self, alchemically speaking.
All of ’em.