“Thanks for coming over from Wendy to meet with me, Wheeler. I know you’re mighty busy over there.”
“I am (!).”
“Anyway, I see you brought your bodyguards.”
Wheeler looks at one Eighty-eight at the table in front of her, and then glances over her shoulder at the second one sitting at the table behind. “They’re still needed,” she summarizes. “176,” she totals up.
“Fascinating,” says Baker Bloch, still in sarcasm mode. They have important business to discuss tonight and better get down to it. Baker has been waiting for over 30 minutes now while Wheeler lounges about the castle library. I thought we were done with all that. He condenses these observations and says them aloud for her.
“Yeah, not quite (about the library). We have more issues to work through.” She looks around again, quicker this time. “But good we are in Ontario. I sent Dickie Doom over. He is my (original) burger.”
“You… as Wendy.”
Baker looks down at his hands through the grated table. “Center Point,” he blurts out.
“Yeah?” Wheeler waits for more, hands still in lap. Her food and drink are getting cold.
“It doesn’t come up in the Oracle. The one in Kentucky, probably the most important one. It brings to question…”
“… the Oracle itself, its veracity,” she finishes for Baker Bloch. Because they are one beneath it all as well. Just like Baker Blinker and Baker Bloch. Just like *all* the cores. There is no real separation from The One. In the end.
He produces the tic tac toe board from his inventory; is kind of irritated that Wheeler doesn’t move her dinner tray so it can be positioned more in the center of the table itself.
“So this is the game, Wheeler. Who moves first, what moves second? We don’t know. But *whoever* it is, they win.”
Wheeler takes a sip of her coffee, takes a bite of her plumeria sandwich, getting under Baker’s skin again. He doesn’t like people eating when he’s explaining something and Wheeler knows it. “This is,” she says with mouth full and muffled speech, “Collagesity.”
(to be continued)
The first thing to be destroyed in the dismantling of Fordham’s Collagesity was the 128 meter long spaceship of skybox 03, intended to be used to pack up Collagesity itself in just this very event. It remains clunky and unpractical for its purpose. Gone after saving to inventory.
Baker also deletes the skybox 03 base cubes, including the teleporter needed to reach it, and drops down to skybox 02. More painful here: Baker is quite attached to this aerial town centered by the golden calf that is Claudette: the grassy arena where Peter Ladd performed his lame comic routine to an audience of his Uncle Babyface and perhaps others; the abbreviated Kidd Tower on the other side of town that acts as the residential unit; and then…
Baker Bloch can’t do it. Not tonight at least. He has several more to decide. The clunky spaceship was an easy choice. Now it gets more difficult when we move closer to the ground.
And then, heading down to skybox 01, there’s the problem of the Nautilus map and its over 100 strategically placed pins now. My idea: to transfer all this to the “Iowan hypercube” displayed in my GoogleEarth file (Oracle) but it hasn’t been successfully accomplished yet.
Seems like, to me, as I ponder this further, that Collagesity has at least another month to live. I’ll renew my membership on a month to month basis. Subtracting the rental connecting the two parts of Collagesity — the main 8 and the now disattached 9th representing the Temple of TILE and its grounds — frees up 15 dollars a month, reducing the total cost from 50 to 35. New decision date: early May, when novel 32 should wrap up. Synchronization remains important.
“Live around here?”
“Nooope. Pietmond,” he said. But Sunklands’ Pietmond had been destroyed long long ago. Something was up.
“Live around here?” she tried again just around the corner in a “secret” nook.
“Naah. Just here to study,” the long haired man across the loaded down table said hoarsely, as if he’d just sang a rock n’ roll concert for a 100,000 people.
The other sitting there even turned her back on the child, not wanting discourse and hoping her Goth father was about ready to split this boring town. So that takes care of Pietmond Boy, Osborne Well, and Lou…
… moving us into the opposite corner of the new Collagesity library containing an estimated 100,000 books, a book for each person at one of Osborne’s concerts to put it another way. Here: Tronesisia.
“Live around here?” she tried once more to the former pleasure bot turned tame, this child named Shelley who had given up her castle to construct this building, be with these people. But blue eyed Tronesisia was having a vision and couldn’t answer immediately.
Where had she heard this before? Blue *and* green. It didn’t compute: something was ill fitting; broken even.
“Arkansaw,” she said softly, starting to figure it out. “Arkansaw,” she said again, one blue eye changing, seeing beyond the other, seeing North beyond South.
In the center, Missouri appeared — Miss Ouri. The new librarian.
(to be continued)
One of the first things Miss Ouri does in her new role is to make special collections part of the library, despite protests from some in town that the structure is an eyesore sticking up there on the side of the square, pheh. But no one actually threw up at the sight and the addition was passed 4-3 in a special town council meeting held just below to emphasize the safety of the thing.
So let’s go inside and have a look.
The first visitor to the newly attached collections is none other than Our Second Lyfe creator Philip Linden himself, who was curious to find out what had been written about him. He can’t select one item or the other, drawing suspicion from reading room manager Swanie Rivers, here also seen alarmed at discovering his “Don’t be a Prick” coffee mug he brought in with him.
No drinking in special collections and no foul mouthedness, whether verbal or written. She tells Philip all this in no uncertain terms, threatening to expel him if he doesn’t choose an item to study and get rid of his coffee and mug. He downs the coffee in one long swig and then additionally eats the mug. “How’s *that* for special?” he replied to the exasperated swan being. It’s always about him, it seems. The rare book and manuscript he subsequently selects and brings back to the now empty table was full of it.
(to be continued)
Select one. Sit a spell.
Agent 47 has already perused Frank Herbert’s “Dune” and found it applicable to Fordham’s Collagesity. The movement of the town from Rubi to a lifeless ridge of Nautilus is like the movement of Paul, Atreides, from lush Caladan, his home world, to the brave new world of Dune, ultra rich in spice but ultra harsh in environment. No Rubi Woods here to protect and balance. There’s a small park owned by the neighbor to the immediate east but it’s not quite the same. Fake green. Beige landscape dominates underneath it all.
New book: Well, it seems to be about a man who grew up in coal country Virginia and became a Tennessee detective. Biff Carter. Now recently retired and off the force but still acting like a private dick. Teresa, hmm. Who are you? Did that cause the breakup, like the separation of McMillan from Wife? Rock was gay — couldn’t help it. But what about Biff?
Getting sleepy, he thinks. Better put the book down and go find a bed or at least a floor.
He’s done as much work on the library in the skies as he needs to tonight. Now to crack the back of the book before him while Swanie’s on lunch break.
Chapter 1: “Marbles Fall, Marble Falls”. So much to learn. Oops. There goes the other marble, rolling away almost through the wall. Swanie will not be pleased; have to try to stick it back on before she returns.
Maybe I can just use one of my own eyes, he thought crazily, but then did just that. He stuck the blue eye marble in the now empty socket and started to see the future, the North beyond the South. Miss Ouri! This must be kept top secret.
Making his viewer a square, he shields his eyes from the Abyss to the west. And the east. Only center is safe. Center Point center.
(to be continued)
the Long and Yd of it
It was a particularly clear day at the library castle in the skies, kind of completed tonight, or as much as I want to flesh out right now. You see, this is a window into the past. Or the future. Man About Time stands before a portal. He’s on Rooster’s Peninsula. Several other castles *could* be seen in the distance — both west (the titular Roost Never Sleeps) and south (Arkaig) — if only the fog were just a little less thick. It never is; this is as good as it gets. And so Man About Time — MAT — enters the castle to oblivious folk who don’t really know where they are, and, by this point, don’t really even care. But one thing’s for certain. It’s not just a library any more. It’s a fortress, a Center Point that Collagesity desperately needs in the present. Because the Temple of TILE just wasn’t hacking it in that role.
MAT’s looking for a particular entity, let’s say, a Man who is also a Rump, and a big one at that, really big. His Huge Ass plane almost grazed the top of the temple after he moved it from lowest to highest in the village about, oh, about 2 months back I suppose (CHECKING). Yes: a little over 2 months. He wants to give him a piece of his mind if he can find him. He understands he could be locked up in a key-less cage because he is the key himself. But where?
Back to the library to start his investigations, he decides on the spot. The castle gate raises in response.
Just past the gate the fog increases. Man About Time can’t find the front door of the library — blocked in the direction he thinks it should be. He’ll have to find another, more indirect way inside. No flying on this parcel, or at least he pretends flying is verboten. Oh well. This way he’ll get to know more about the castle, he rationalizes. Right off the bat, it appears we’re working with lemony ways to get from one point to another here, much like with the Blue Feather and a couple of other Collagesity structures. But especially the Blue Feather — maybe they’re related in other ways. We’ll know soon enough.
He steps through the first door encountered in the opposite direction and ascends some stairs. This could take a while. And it did, since he hung a left instead of a right at the top.
He’s starting to think the idea of banning flight in a pretend way was a bad one.
A larger outer tower encountered. He decides not to investigate potentially upper floors and just circles around an enclosed inner wall to find an exit to this porch. He crosses a wooden board.
Interesting. Perhaps a dead end here too, he ponders while rounding another corner.
(to be continued)
big red machine
“Lou, be a dear and buy your old man a drink while he’s studying, would you?”
“Dad-dy,” Lou replied, arms still crossed. “We’ve been here *3* days.”
“Keep it down, keep it down,” father Osborne Well says over more in a whisper. “Other people are here too.”
Lou Well stays quiet this time.
“Weelll?” her father prompted, a typical reply and a play on their last name he loves to utter when he can. He beams a wicked smile. She still doesn’t return the smile but rises from her chair with a small huff and does what he asks. She inserts a quarter, hears a bottle drop. Or is it a can? — she can’t tell if the sound is more glassy or metallic. Queer, she realizes. And — great — she can’t get the door to open at the bottom of the thing. “It’s broke, daddy. We’ll have to go into town for your sody pop.” *Finally*, a possible way out of this prison of books for her.
“Then leave it,” he decides, learning winning over thirst and sugary desire. He’s about to uncover the deepest, darkest secrets of the great tentacled one. He conveys this to his daughter.
“MOA,” she replies without thinking. “We’ve been there already. We *know* what it is.”
“Shhh,” he reprimands again about her raised voice, but then realizes she’s right. It *is* MOA he’s searching for: Most Old Ancient.
Man About Time wakes up but remembers what they said behind the wall. He’ll return another night in another dream to this spot. This portal is *key*.
The cracks of thunder behind the door should have been a clear warning for danger ahead, along with the illuminated cracks in the wall beside it. But Joey ignored them all, going through door after door to reach the ultimate end. John L. Brown tried to warn her, albeit faintly, albeit sarcastically. “Don’t go,” he whispered over after she went through, and then had a giggle. Count him among the nefarious agent types. Joey: good. But Ontario had become malfunctioning thanks to the deletion of half the town and so she was back here, trying to retrace her steps to the… tree. Or whatever the thing was: family tree perhaps, like in genealogy. She had to fill in the memory gaps. She resisted the urge to become plastered beforehand; wanted to keep her mind open just like the doors that were presented to her, 1 2 3.
Onlooking John, seen by us but unseen to Joey, tried to determine what species she was and correctly guessed Venusian because of the blue-green skin. Or blue and green skin. But orange eyes. Alien obviously.
There she goes!
“Don’t go,” he whispered as the door closed behind her, even hitting her rump a little bit. The giggles begin.
There it was, plain as day. Between the Whac a Pirate and Pack Man. And bottles at that, or so it said. She’d been fooled before. Dare she? She approached the portal, prepared her quarter for entry into the proffered slit. More channeling tonight, because Joey was about to turn gay. One touch of the magic pop to her lips (*drop*)…
Now to ditch this bitch wig and find the next door.
There! Behind the Hook A Duck.
She ain’t scared of no witches (but she should be).
(to be continued)
It was getting foggy again. They must be close to the library. “Who are you?” she demands from the nefarious agent before her — ‘nother one — on this 3rd of levels, with yet another door to go through to reach the absolute end. “47,” he said, still reading, which was a lie because he was 23. Woman now: no hair on the lip atall. Thanks to the drink. “Reading about you, actually.”
“Oh yeahhh?” She was trying to act tough, heard gays or lesbians tend to do that. Stereotyping, even though she is one of ’em now.
“Um, yeah,” he answered plainly back, wondering about the posturing. She adjusts and leans left. She thinks it is the right thing to do — to back down from this man who seemingly has a plan. “Panama,” he continues to follow that last sentence. “Bridge between North and South.”
“Phooeysticks,” she barked, and then actually covered her mouth, wondering where the words come from. Phooeysticks? What kind of childish utterance was that?
But then she remembers saying it, long ago. In a crib by the silver shore. She said it to her Pop.
She looks toward the end which is not quite the end. “What’s behind the curtains, Pop?” She was talking in her head to her long dead father, going on 20 years now. “Oz,” came the kind voice back. “Or Ozzie; whichever you wish, darling.” She now knew she was dreaming but couldn’t wake up still. “Go to the pulpit and see,” requested the voice again. Agent 23 remained silent and frozen, his role done for now. She proceeded forward and sat.
She still held the pop in her left hand, which was the channeling device. She still heard Pop in her head. “Feel the landscape, feel the *ground*,” as the lightning struck all around the picture before her. The tree! she thought. The swamp tree, but a… tamer one. One I can actually deal with. Not the one…
She recalled the last level. Sykes.
No need to go there now.
Well, Eric is not standing but the sentiment is definitely there. He’s reconstructed his Delta based blue and yellow tent in the Collagesity library, either skybox or ground, take your choice. Even both or neither if you wish, reader’s option. It could be time to get more of his story. “I’m assuming you’re a man, and not an Erica.”
“Correct,” he says in his dreams to us. Because he only exists on Delta and has those memories during sleep. When he wakes up, POOF. Gone.
“I ran out of money what can I say. Life’s circumstances. But I got too far out, saw too many things.”
“UFOs?” I guessed.
He looked out his tent toward the New, toward the regulated pine forest across the meadow across the river. What he saw was inside that. We have more information.
Erik wakes up. He later sits at his visiting scholar writing desk watching the tent start to glow in his mind. “Strangest dream,” he mutters to himself. “Something is not right.”
jot em down (Pine Apple)
Could it be true? The tent would have been potentially facing that direction: toward the thick Pine Forest. But Mystery Cave to the north and Fern Wall to the south could also be involved. Maybe even *triangulate* between all 3.
Spongebub might know, if his last name is actually Triangleslacks and not the more obvious. We’ve already met his wife, his son in this here story through the similarly dreaming Leforest Bresford over at Ontario village. What happened to her?
“There are rumors about a big floating can seen in the park or thereabouts, Ms. Bresford, sometimes with a woman’s legs and head attached to it. Some reports put it with 2 other figures, both cowboys, sticking out the can’s top alongside the woman’s. Others have two children, still others have red and blue dummies or mannequins. Others… well, you get the picture.”
“Yes. We: Can!” the blue one to her left wanted to reveal freely to the Big Wig before her. “You *can’t* do it,” countered the red figure on her right, knowing it was the wrong thing to admit. The only thing she could decide in the moment was that she had to choose. The world opened up in front of her. A bullet that had formerly been frozen in reality caught her square in the heart, the center. Bart had the last evil laugh or at least aberrant chuckle.
Another agent would have to be sent in. Or not… maybe just forget about the Ontario village sub-plot — for now.
Cone grew up in Pine Apple, Alabama, with a population around 100. He attended Moore Academy, a one-room school from kindergarten through high school. He did not play football because there were not enough people to field a team.
He emerged from the blue and yellow tent in another dream, a blue and yellow type dream himself. He closely studies the pine cone atop the book tree we found Agent 47 (or 23) reading beside a bit earlier, remembering something about his father. Pine cone… pineapple cone, he free associates. My father lived in one. The cone became the same as one of his eyes. The Other: The Mother.
“I’m worried about my son,” Snowmanster confessed to her bartender at the town’s Hole in the Wall. “He’s built this whole fantasy library around this Kactus figure he made up when he was a kid and still believes in. He *is* Kactus… at times. When he’s playing that role he doesn’t remember who I am, who his parents are. His whole life becomes a blank.”
Now kimono clad Miss Ouri waited patiently for Snowmaster to come around to the obvious, and the prickly green doll she held in her arms. Maybe she needs a coffee mug or t-shirt to spell it out better. Don’t be a prick! The white swan turns into a black swan.
Wheeler wakes up and instantly remembers to jot it down thanks to a strategically placed poster. Good ol’ Arkansaw! Back to reality, phew.
Swanie is finally asleep and dreaming up her own characters to play with. Center of the night: time to crack into that Monster Book for real, but caarefullly so as not to jar loose the remaining marble again. (Got in) so much trouble before!
He opens up the book in the middle which is the same as the beginning. Just then, the “front door” of special collection slides forward. Someone enters.
“Ross C.!” Man About Time exclaims in a rare outburst. So mild usually.
“I’m glad you made it back, sir,” she said in her robot way, continuing to dust around the shelves and making up time for last week’s snowstorm. Ross C., Man About Time ponders. Haven’t seen her since…
“Sir?” MAT still doesn’t respond. “Sir?” She approaches the reading table. “Oh dear, he’s gone a bit *glassy*-eyed, hehe,” and then dusts him off as well while she’s there.
Pretty good joke for an interloper.
“Oh look,” she continues while looking down at what he’s studying. “Abner again.”
The marbles fall out of his eyes and he can see. But Ross C. was gone. Ross C. was never there.