crash n’ clash
“So you’ll notice the 2nd one has ‘*Not* Soos’ at the top. We’ve left this sim behind. We’re in another world entirely. Oklahoma.”
“Fascinating,” exclaimed Lucas to the left. In secret he was preparing to take over. After Mahoney-formerly-Baker completed his foolish mission to this God forbidden state. No Man’s Land indeed.
“Sorry about your shack,” spoke Clifton — Cliff. “Train had to go right through it, see. Just like the olden days. Teensie.”
They’d viewed the spectacle beforehand. Clifton Mahoney dared to rezz the train and extend its track for a couple of minutes in the middle of the night while the townspeople were asleep, demonstrating what would happen — what *had* happened long long ago. The shack was conked by the train, gravity becoming all askew. It was a deep mystery, this Falls Shack. And it’s coming to a head now, because Little Big had returned. Mabel’s brother! All Soos, hehe, had to do was turn the TV off, draw the shades on the place. Then he can entered down the sandy stretch to the dunes proper. Beaver.
“Shame about the man-boy,” spoke Clifton, interpreting the 2 part collage as explaining his death. Lucas knew differently. This was a probable extinction. He was going to remedy that. “You can of course move into the Julia House just below until it’s over; Karoz and Baker Blinker, as I understand, will not be returning. At least for a while. Enjoy yourself.
Oh he will.
“Can we go home now, Daddy? Cold in here, brrr.”
“It’s okay. You can be who you are now.”
Bradley Boyy changed.
The next morning, Lucas examined the created tunnel more closely. Town scoundrels, he thought. Obviously planted this garden in this particular spot to hide any sign of the old tracks that might remain. But Mahoney had figured it out. Tiny back to Teensie. His mission would succeed. All he had to do now to make it work is lure the great olive being Carrcassonnee into the 7th Spire, directly above the tunnel, for her bi-yearly bath. Overdue by 3 days actually. Carrcassonnee, pheh, he thinks. It was the only way to get her properly started, get her talking again. Otherwise: just raspberry noises.
“Da-ddy!” called Bradley Boyy from the top of the tunnel. “Here comes the smoke again!”
“Pipe down, son,” he hissed up, looking anxiously around as his son holds his breath once more while the invisible loco passes through. They better keep pretending they’re walking about the place randomly, this Soos Mountain Community in the sw corner of Soos. “Get on down from there and let’s continue — you’ve had your fun.”
Daddy, yeah. Keep calling me that, he thinks. Until we get back to Julia.
When Karoz reached Baker Blinker’s porch, he heard running water. What he saw inside was also beyond his comprehension.
He found he could not move. Neither did Baker Blinker.
Baker Blinker, put at least temporarily in charge of the new town upon the absence/disappearance of twinned soul Baker Bloch, looks over. “You’ve returned,” she said about the great metal being, only noticing him now after 5 minutes at the Blue Feather Table, as if he’d just been reglued to time and space.
He said he had a story to tell in his deep, robotic-but-still-warm voice, then paused. Baker Blinker feared another Big Freeze, like when she first met him (as Karoz relayed about the meeting later on — she, like now for a bit, was unaware of his presence in her “house” at the time). But then he moved his mouth around as if being oiled from within, then continued.
This is where Baker Blinker learned Tin S. Man was Tin, well and good, but he was also 11. She looked all around him like a cubist painting and then realized he was gone again. Portal. Like a winked off TV screen, shades pulled. Tin S. Man was in Soos no more. “Find me,” she thought she heard to end.
“What are we negotiating *now*, Young Me?”
“The return of Karoz Blogger to Mainland, Jeogeot continent in particular. Somoco specifically. The Julia House to pinpoint.”
“Ahh,” spoke the old hag that was also Shelley. “You want a return to the *N* (for it).”
“You *know* what that means,” she says while nodding her head up and down in an irritatingly frantic way to Shelley.
Wasn’t going to happen, both knew, but they were playing along. The unexpected beaver float in the cove out back pinpointed *this* location. Something had to happen here. They were experimenting. They started again.
“You *know* you will retain your current form.”
“Yes,” said Shelley back to her older self. Much older.
“You and Arthur will continue to be married. Might be rocky. Might be bumps in the road. Maybe a pothole or two. But you will persist. I should know.”
“Don’t you want–?”
“No.” She didn’t.
“Get in the float,” the old hag then said. “Easy as that. Transport,” she explained. “From this photo-novel to the next. Just get inside. Enjoyy.”
Shelley stared over, wondering if this was on the up and up or not. She couldn’t tell. The old witch was ahead of her again. “I’ll… give you a big ol’ choco chip cookie if you do it. You can hold it in front of you. Like a steering wheel. You are a Carr… repeat after me. You are a Carr.”
“I am a Carr.”
“You are a *Carr*.”
“I *am* a Carr.”
“You are… well, you know the rest.”
“Come on, Carr,” urged Clifton Mahoney, full transferred over from Baker Bloch. “I know it’s early but your bath is 5 days overdue. Get your drying moss ready.”
“Broken,” the great olive being replied.
“I know. We’re going to get you fixed up… cleaned up.”
“I know. Come on, get up. I know you can do it.”
“Why I’m here.” And he moved toward Carr to help her get started.
“What are all these… plywoods?” the struggling, swaying giant walker boomed down. 10 yards made, about 20 to go.
“Never mind that Carrcassonnee, we need to focus on that opening in front of us — the main entrance to the castle. You need to get low enough so that you’ll fit through that door. I know you can do it. Get a little closer then start bending down, bending down. Sloow and easyy.”
Carrcassonneee and her great olive body cooperated. 15 minutes later she was through the opening and out in the open, 7th spire straight ahead.
“We’re going to have to do it again, Carrcassonnee. Bend down — get a little closer first again. It’s going to be a little lower this time — sorry. Don’t lose your balance. I’m right here.” A lot of good I’ll do, Mahoney thinks at this point, if she starts to topple. All he can really do is be a cheerleader, urging her forward and to the scene of the bath. The soap had all been prepared. Dove, not Ivory. Because Carr has to *see* it all. Ivory would just sting the eye. They learned that the hard way back in Rubi, way back in photo-novel 1. Because we’ve gone full circle.
Safely sealed inside the spire, Dove in hand, Carrcassonnee begins her well deserved bath. *Now* is the time. Clifton “Carbon Glow” Mahoney quickly unfurls the track, rezzes the train on the other side of the castle, and sits…
… taking along a very special passenger with him.
END OF “SUNKLANDS 2022-2023 WINTER”!