(Death dancing after a helicopter crash.)
Certainly looks like my book about Arkansaw with the 2 marble eyes, one that’s fallen off (Miss Ouri?).
“I’m not ready to let go, Charlotte. I can’t give up Nauty that easily.”
Charlotte knew Nauty was short for Nautilus but she couldn’t help but think of other things at the time, especially the way Edward was indicating. Like Dodgey City. Poor Jem! Stuck in a dead end bookkeeping job after buying too many vowels in that game of hers she calls life. Spaceships, pheh. One day one of them will come down and save me, she said on their last day together, after the butcher shop and attached brothel shut down, kicking her out of the nest. Well, this eagle has *flown*, she declared.
Orilia the bartender couldn’t help but listen in. So this is the legendary Edward Daigle she’s heard so much about over the last week, she contemplates, ignoring her bar customers for now. Edward has become her *main* customer fer sure. She walks over.
“Anything, to, ahem, eat yet?” She was embarrassed. She felt awkwardness of mouth was a weakness and attempted to be all-time smooth in that department. Yet the throat clearing…
“Fine,” he said crisply, and raised his hands from his lap. Now maybe I can think of something else, thought a relieved Charlotte. “I’ll take a salad, extra ketchup. You?”
How rude (!). Ordering before me. “Just the ketchup,” she decided, making a quick meal of it. Besides, Edward had other people to see, she knew. Other places.
“Comes with mustard,” spoke Orilia, not writing it down. “Is that okay?”
“Mustard will be fine,” said Charlotte, “but put it on the side.”
Orilia then looked from one to the other. “Drinks?”
Just then, someone else came in the bar that Orilia would subsequently ignore. But not Charlotte, not Edward. Because this was none other than Jem of Dodgey City, also flying the coop.
She sat down at a nearby table, waiting for Edward to finish. She brought her own drink.
“Fiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnneee,” he said before the time adjustment.
Charlotte looked over as the dust was still settling. “Jem??”
(to be continued)
F- it. I don’t have time for a Jeogeot subplot this go around. Need to get back to Nautilus, figure out the limits of Upper Austra for one thing. Like this Schweet Secret Austrian village which makes me Smile — in the Green Between but does that mean Upper or Lower Austra? And Austria: Austra. How it got it’s name in the first place LINK. Wonder if Mary is still here (3rd Upper Austra post time-wise). I know The Musician at least popped in here too at the very beginning of novel 5 (1st Upper Austra post time-wise). Like we’re at the beginning of novel 33. Photo-novel too. But novel nonetheless.
Edward Daigle is in-between as well. Time to move forward and right or left to answer some questions. Decision branch; start of a new tree.
And just to round things out, here’s the 2nd picture related directly to Upper Austra time-wise in the (photo-)novels, which is really just a Real Life photo from a gallery building still in the area.
I, however, pretend it is instead a photo of a sprawling Our Second Lyfe urban area called Middletown, now defunct.
Middletown was on the Jeogeot continent, perhaps including the space now occupied by the town called Towerboro I just left there, hmm.
Maybe we’re not done yet with that Jeogeot subplot.
But first (walk walk walk, open door, walk)…
“Mary!” I had to exclaim. “I forgot you were actually here!”
“What can I do you for today,” she said, not recognizing me in this new guise. I decided to play along a while.
(to be continued)
Cardinal looks over at Bluebird happily unpacking more cotton candy swabs and wishes she would have gone into sweet as well.
“Excuse me, miss, do you have this in red?” asked Billie about the Chardonnay she holds, producing a sour look from her and driving a potential customer away. See what I mean?
Where before there was a lime colored X-1/9, sleek in design, now all our Edward Daigle (Baker Bloch in disguise) had was a lemon. The helicopter crashed to the ground, *JUMP*.
The NO Tor was just over the horizon in the distance. Something about that Tor…
Too bad Edward didn’t spot it on his visit today.
I use to have a dog, Edward thought while staring down at the masked man’s he was standing uncomfortably close to. If he were in his same time zone.
Funny how he can’t recall what kind. Must be an exotic type.
“Catchup,” Edward Daigle exclaimed after waking up beside Mary. “The dog’s name was…”
“Don’t say it.” A flood of memories came back for the avid fisherwoman. Pitch! How could I have forgotten. She springs up out of bed and stares down at Edward, straightening her skirt. How could *you* have forgotten.
Edward wakes up in Towerboro and, looking down at the Arkansaw book he was sleeping on, remembers to jot it all down.
Curious, Orilia the bartender does a search on his name back at the apartment after her shift was over.
“He is an eagle too!” she exclaimed when seeing the result. Just like Charlotte. Just like… she can’t recall the name of the other one that had flown the coop, far far away from Dodgey City now, they said. She thinks: Catchup; but then remembers that’s just what they ordered. Extra ketchup for him, just plain ketchup for her. And the time zone thing. Wieerd. Creepy. Just like that book which keeps popping up here and there around town. Towerboro is cursed! she couldn’t help finishing her thoughts with.
“Where are you trying to mail it to this time, Gladys?”
“Let’s try… Fayetteville.” She produces the needed cash from her purse and hands it to Bob who just gives her that stare again.
Kactus tries out reality amidst will o’ wisps. He points and mutters in his drunkenness, “I use to *live* there, he he.” Man About Time should have put an end to him while he had the chance. Now he’s been let loose upon *our* world. US of A/Iowa/Ringgold County. Should have never let the link happen. Fo fo fo.
“*Duncan*,” George cried in the shack in the forest. “Duncan is dead!”
The boy decides to do something about it.
“Who are you?”
“My name is George,” he said to her with his newly minted lips, reading her mind of course. Since it was his mind as well. “And I am your future husband.”
“No it has to be one of those other colors,” Denisce decides, which was in her name after all. A decision maker she was, a go getter. And blue wasn’t in her
name aim. George neither.
“Aw, *rats*,” he says, and starts moving toward his clothes.
“Blue,” George begins, floating like a ball in his Southwestern pool as Little George, thinking of Michigan and some other stuff. “And yellow — *that’s* what did my beloved Duncan in, Marty.” George looked over at the red topped Beetle, checking to see if he was actually listening. Because he often wasn’t. He was currently looking at his soaked shoes and wondering how to slip them off and make his feet bare, like young George’s tootsies over there. He was wondering how he could Be Like George.
“Are you hearing me, Marty?”
“Um, sure sure. Blue, right.”
“And…?” George prompts.
“Um… *yellow*, yeah yeah. Real reet.”
George actually shakes his head with this while floating in the water. George thinks that Marty isn’t black. He should stop trying so hard. The Mann, pheh. “So that leaves…?” he prompts again.
“Red and green.” Marty was starting to pick it up. The Annaberg balloon; Blue and Yellow seeing a yellow sunrise with his two blue peepers. Duncan didn’t look the other way this time. This was all about TILE.
“You disappeared into that rock over there, you rocker. Do you even recall *that*?”
He recalled… something about a Cyclone. Blue and yellow. Then red and green. Oz.
The elimination of George.
Harrison remains. *Barely*.
“They got his knee, which knocked out the rest of his leg — sorry. A thumb was missing from the hand but they were able to regrow it with the intact others. Don’t ask about the procedure. It’s messy, complicated. But without that hand, that regrowth…”
“He wouldn’t be able to play the guitar,” the other in the room finished for Dr. Diper, fresh from the surgery. “Thank you.”
“The red and green almost got him this time,” warned the doctor. “Best not to send him back out to war.”
“Oh, we won’t. Denisce just made a bad decision sending him over there. It’s in her name, you know, bad and good.”
The doctor paused with this, then said, “oh yeah,” as he got it. “Denisce. I forgot it could be spelled that way.”
“Almost,” replied the other. Probably Marty at this point, since he’s so concerned with the hand and its dexterity. “Will he lose any chords? I don’t mean vocal chords obviously (Dr. Diper snickers here, since both knew the head wasn’t involved — nice break in the seriousness) but guitar chords. Can… will he be able to play…”
“All your songs,” the doctor finishes a sentence in turn. Like tennis they were this day, battering concerns back and forth across a net that is the separation between people. Good and bad. Sometimes it’s absolutely necessary. “Wellll.”
Nurse Jem comes in, celebratory drinks in hand. Vodka for Diper and a, let’s see, Russian Roulette for Marty, a new drink he claimed to have concocted on the spot back at the hotel after the San Francisco concert in Candlestick Park, knocking it out alongside a couple of new ditties: the embryonic form of “Back in the USSR” and the unreleased and seldom heard “Moby Prick”. A baad song, Georgge Martin proclaimed upon hearing it back in England. “Hey, we’re the f-ing Beetles, Martin. Leave us alone!” exclaimed Marty after the judgment, but then the others admitted it was sour instead of sweet too and he let the matter drop, song unrefined and left in a raw, unprocessed form. They all secretly felt it was about Marty and his character, though, but to voice this out loud would be character assassination. He was just that much of a prick. At the time — he mellowed out later. After he died.
(to be continued)
“Lemme start again, heh. One two free fo five… wait, lemme…”
“It’s *13*,” I spoke down, having determined this long ago. “You keep saying 12 — at best. You keep saying that and you’re *dead*. You understand??”
“He starts again with a laugh and a snicker and a hiccup. In his drunkenness he decides not to even try this time. “Oooonnnee, he he.”
“Just stop.” STOP
“Gentlemen, I was wondering today if you could talk about what happened in A54?”
“Wellll,” started the first under the A. “Fiiiiiiinnne,” the other said to end.
“It was the only place I felt really safe in all of Dodgey City: Charlotte’s dust filled attic with the telescope that she often pointed to the Moon, Mars and other heavenly bodies to also escape the stardust glitter all around.”
“Stardust,” said the doctor, now a therapist. “Interesting term. Can you elaborate further?”
“They made… *cartoons* out of me. It was awful.” The sobbing began again. The doctor-therapist offered her another kleenex from the second box used today. “They thought it was *funny* (sob sob sob, blow nose, sob sob, sniff).”
“There there,” said the dr.-therapist. “Take your time.”
“I — (sniff sniff) don’t *want* to go back.”
“No one’s sending you back, Jem. Take your time,” she or he emphasized again. Probably a she… because of the nature of the events that took place there.
“Those cartoons you spoke about,” she started carefully once more. “Did you…”
“*NO*,” stated Jem firmly, guessing what the doctor-therapist was going to ask, an almost prescient moment. And perhaps it was.
The doctor-therapist decided not to bring John L. Brown of the Browns into the picture today. She looks up at the clock, pretends the session is over even though it is 12 till the hour. “That better be it for today. You can take that box home with you.”
“Thank you,” BLOOWWW.
Second Life rebirth. I’ve heard about this — the return of Philip Linden. If only this guy would stop screaming at the TV every time someone kicks a little ball around a field I could concentrate.
“Can I take this outside?” Edward Daigle indicates the paper.
“No. Have to read it here,” replies Doris, who’s running the bar tonight in place of Debbie. Soccer is her thing and soccer you’ll enjoy here while she’s working. No Masterpiece Theater for her, no basketball or any other sport either, although when the Olympics are on she’ll sometimes switch over to rugby, which currently only features women’s matches. “Rugby is similar to football,” she’ll rationalize to the attendees at the time. “Women need support too.” But the support only lasts until the next soccer game of any gender variety revs up, which always takes precedence. Good to have your priorities straight.
“When is this… *sport* over with?”
Doris checks the clock behind her. “10,” she answers. “8 now. Quite a wait for a read.” She takes a better look at the rugged, broad shouldered man in front of her; leans in closer. “Tell you what, buy me a drink at 10:05 and afterwards I’ll find you a nice, quiet place to skim your newspaper.” She picks up one edge of the paper and expertly flips through all 20 individual pages in a split second, like it was a deck of cards. Talent. The woman has talent with her fingers, Edward thinks here.
While Edward mulls the offer over and the possibilities involved, the man on his right side starts pointing to the screen, saying in a non-shouty voice, “Blackjack.”
“Blackjack,” he repeats, still pointing. Doris is mixing another drink for the actual shouty man. Great, he’ll probably just get more boisterous now, Edward ponders, as he screams at another kick or something.
“Wrong sport,” Edward says to the pointy, non-shouty customer.
Doris glances at the screen while still shaking her drink. “What are you saying, Donald? Do you want to switch to cards? You know we can’t do that here. That’s a Debbie thing.”
“Blackjack,” he says in the same tone of voice, no higher no lower. Debbie keeps looking at the TV, trying to figure out what he wants or what he’s thinking. She knows Donald is a special case. Highly psychic, some say. Most say, “plain nuts”, but a good number of people in town, a growing number at that, respect his talent for numbers especially. If he, for example, says there’s 12 frames to that queer animation continually playing over in the Towerboro Record Store, then that’s how many frames there are. Stranger named Daniel found that out just the other day. Car careened over a cliff into Thirteenville next door just afterwards — bloody mess. So if Donald says this is 21, let’s say, then Donald is most likely on to something.
“Blackjack.” Edward thinks of cards, of the paper, of the flipping. Doris realizes there are 21 players on the field, not the regulation 22. Blackjack. A whistle sounds from the referee.
“Blackjack,” he says over the call.
The infamous talking rooster of Towerboro, an obvious tourist attraction. Currently owned by
Wanda Debbie Prichard. Prichard? Must be a last name. We’ll determine a first name soon enough for the purveyor of the lone antique store of town, another monopoly.
Jack doesn’t like the rooster. Jack heard it says his name. “Jack son special,” he crowed to elaborate just afterwards.
“He he,” his father laughed, “that’s *us* son. I’mmm Jack, and you’rree Jack, see? (he points to the respective parties here). Jack’s son, ha ha.”
“And you certainly *are* special, young man,” wife
Debbie Wanda Prichard (Prichard again?) added while pecking his cheek with a couple of quick kisses. The rooster leaned forward, seeming to want to peck Jack Jr.’s cheek as well. “Special,” he clucked to reiterate.
“Show’s over, Prichard,” said the purveyor at 5 o’clock while setting down his cage on the floor and opening the door. “Time to go home.”
Cardinal decided to quit her job in the wine selling business and instead work for her brother Redbird making sandwiches more in the heart of the village, turning her chronic sour expression not sweet but at least neutral. Sometimes she could crack a smile now, like when Redbird made one of those off-color jokes. No color — that was the key. Let’s listen in…
“Alright, Little Jack. Time to choose. White meat or red meat?”
Oh boy, Cardinal thought, here we go again.
On top of everything, the boy had to have a little whine before deciding.
“That baby need a corking!” her dough rolling brother expressed over his shoulder in the middle of it, breaking the spell. Good ol’ Redbird, she thought while grinning. White it is.
Some say the name Dafney originates from Daffodil, others from Daffy Duck of Bugs Bunny fame. All because of her love of yellow, as in scarves, as in pocketbooks, as in hair. She’s dated both Redbird (Smith) and Bluebird (Jones) in the past. Now she prefers neutral — yellow in her case — although Redbird will still call her up to tell one of his patented, on-the-spot off-color jokes that always makes her laugh. Bluebird: so serious in contrast, a true philosopher/metaphysician. He prefers keeping in touch with writing, notes scattered here and there through town in places he knows she’ll frequent. Texts too; often makes her cry they’re so deep. Dafney is hard to forgot, hard to get out of your mind once she’s in there. If only she could find a phone in her glaringly yellow pocketbook, a pen and pad perhaps, to communicate back her love for the two, even though she must remain in-between and unavailable. Like many single women her age, she’s holding out for The One. 41 today. 42 tomorrow. Everything cannot be known.
George is here if you need him, ma’am. A safety net. Still looking for his clothes.
The next day, Dafney met new bestie Jem for a celebratory birthday breakfast at Ted’s Sweet Shop next to the open market. Both had turned 42, years for Dafney and weeks for Jem, since she was a simulacrum, with a much shorter life expectancy than true humans. Thus the strong desire to see the world and not stay in a dead end bookkeeping job in Dodgey City before it’s too late. Plus the lurid cartoons based on her of course that we’re not suppose to talk about or see, orders of her doctor-therapist.
“How’s Jim?” Dafney began the serious talk after the meal was over, flapjacks for Jem and mustard over easy for the yellow one, a canary today, a freebird. She’s heard that 42 is the year you learn about everything and anything, with no more “mine over here” and “yours over there.” Everything blends, everything rotates around each other, like 6 is the opposite side of 9, the same figure. She’ll start with Jem — they will be as one today.
“Jem’s fine,” Jem speaks in the third person about herself. “I’m here aren’t I? Eating breakfast with you. I probably have 60 good days left for me.”
“No — *Jim*,” insisted Dafney. “The Brown one. Like I’m yellow.”
“I don’t know about Jim, but *John* can go to hell for all I care (!)” He was the one who published the cartoons. Jim is his twin brother. John is spelled with an L, Jim with an A. Both stand for nothing, which is of course the opposite of everything. They suck in life just as much as Dafney exudes it, Jem thinks here, glad for their friendship.
“I’m… sorry.” Dafney begins to cry. Or is it laugh. She searches for the phone again, determined to call Redbird or text Bluebird to see which one.
(to be continued)
1st (singing): “I’m getting married today, today. I’m getting married…”
2nd (joining in): “I’m getting married today, today. I’m getting married…”
All together: “WE”RE GETTING MARRIED TODAY, TODAY. WE’RE GETTING MARRIED…”
Marillia walked out of the mirror to help Denisce. “Oooooo,” she exclaimed, “I can’t *decide* (squeal). The green dress looks oh so *yummy*. But the RED.”
Marillia didn’t tell Denisce the actual colors were aqua and pink. Marillia needed a sale today to probably keep her job. Because marriages were far apart in this here Towerboro, known for its division instead of addition, subtraction instead of multiplication. Yet the figures keep spinning, the numbers keep changing. Her boss Wallace D’ass figures sales have to turn around, law of averages. Love over hate, joy over competition. Substitute bartender Doris might know. If she could pry herself away from the constant soccer and rugby tugs-of-war. Dafney might figure it out. If she could stop thinking of herself and go with a different color.
“Ooooooo. Can’t choose!!” The wedding was called off. To save the business, Marillia married her boss instead. The dick.
Suddenly — just like that — the war was over, and sunshine and happiness returned to formerly dark and dank Towerboro. Vet and alternate substitute bartender Walter Hotdog walks out of apt. 15 looking for his phone so he could tell Doris he loves her.
Mary texts battle scarred Dennis to say she forgives him for Abbie and says she’ll try that thing in the bedroom he wants to do and she’ll even buy the toys for him on the way back from work. Toys, pheh. Crowding in again, but in a good way this time. Jenny tells medal bedecked Builie that she understands now 2 plus 2 equals 4 instead of 5, and that 6×9 will never equal 42.
And Dafney… Dafney…
But let’s move to Charlotte.
“Will you… marry me Charlotte?”
“Is Charlotte a first class hooker?” she answers retired captain-colonel Kurt rhetorically, Dodgey history finally put behind.
Addition: It *was* reconstituted George she married. Who needs clothes when you got each other (*smooch*)!