There are other things to see hear on this continent of Jeogeot.
“We will return.”
I tried to leave you but when I went out the front door it just became a door. I looked back. I realized all the answers I wanted were here — there — after all, kind of like Dorothy and her Kansas. So I gave up Oz; went back through the door. Laid down and went to sleep for a bit. Woke up and came downstairs to eat breakfast-dinner with the stern but still kindly aunt and the kind of stern but kind of not uncle — old fashioned they were. Asked them how I got here (eventually). They said:
“You landed here.”
I said, “Whaat?”
“In a beam of white light,” they further confessed. “You are not…”
“… from this world,” the other completed for the first, gams for gams (as we say).
I sat there, stunned obviously.
“Your eyes,” they continued. “That was the giveaway. That led to the others.”
“The other… phenomena,” spoke the uncle, differentiating himself from my aunt in tone and volume. He spoke quite a bit after that. The skin tone pink was brought up early (and loudly) in the spiel. Then the tattoo, which he wrongly called “demon”. It was “demo”. They assumed I had scrubbed off the M somehow to cover this up and then flipped my hair down over the space along with the damaged eye. This also made me a heathen in their eyes. But somehow they still managed to love me. Deeply. Alien influence, I gathered from them, some kind of et sorcery.
“The cards,” Aunt Mina then prompted Uncle Taum.
“Ah yes,” he started again, but found his mouth was tired from talking. “You tell, dear.” He worked his jaw up and down, trying to get the soreness out for the next round of words. Aunt Mina saw this. Started talking kind of for him but also kind of not. She had her own mind these days. Read up on the suffragettes thanks to Marty. Realized Muff was just a portmanteau for Mutt and Jeff, with Jett jettisoned in the process — in the name. Band on the run.
“Do you recall being on the run?” she then asked, “OTR as we like to call it?”
“Tell her about the bluebird,” spoke the uncle, able to insert that much at least.
“Cards first. Cardinals,” the aunt clarified.
(to be continued)
“I need you to go somewhere I can’t go. Not quite yet. Another 2 or 3 months is all now.”
“You’ll need to change into Miss Ouri (again). Disguise. (pause) I need you to tell someone they’re dead.”
“To you,” she attempted to clarify.
“Maybe. Maybe not.”
“Okay.” She planned out the strategy. She knew who would approach her. She found herself becoming nervous. Okay okay, she calmed herself. You’re the head librarian of a mid sized University — (a library) trapped in a castle; that’s the twist. You were instrumental in bringing a special collections room there, red-orange mahogany in outer appearance. Inside: the Arkansaw monster book. Along with a lot of other books and manuscripts obviously. But the Arkansaw one is particularly attached to *you*, being Miss Ouri and all. One or the other had to go in your estimation. Wheeler, presently in the form of his 3rd cousin Tessa — or Tessie to him — said all this aloud.
“Good good,” he expressed after hearing. “I’m going to stay here and wait out the rest of my sentence. Chop wood at the cottage I’ve picked out, etc.”
Turns out chopping wood meant just that and not a euphemism. Good for Eddy (our Edward)!
“And stay away from that pot shop!” she said while walking away. But he didn’t.
“Thanks for meeting with me, Jem.”
“It’s been a long time.”
“For the weed, you mean.” Because they’d been seeing each other lately, rendezvousing in clandestine places all over the grid. Like this.
“Yeah.” They’d only taken one hit apiece but they were out of it. Far corners of space kind of out. Jem could see Muff-Birmingham looming in front of her, the sphere that is also a cube. Light side and dark side; jungle and desert or at least plains. Plain to see, she couldn’t help add. “Where are you now?” she said, focusing on him instead of the inside. Trying, anyway. Best to communicate to the other when getting too deep. And where is there some wine around this place, the red to counterbalance the blue?
“Home,” he replied as simply as possible in order to communicate at all. 3D. 26 1/2 years it had been. He cried more when he gave it up than when he sold his childhood home, one replacing the other in a way, in a manner.
He looked over at Jem, held her hand, held it tighter. Because he realized she’d probably be dead before he went back. He’d make the most of these 2-3 months.
(to be continued)
“Black Swan Lake, Ringgold,” spoke Edward D’Aigle to the white hooty bird next to him who is also sometimes a hisser. Revelation! “And just beyond: the red-orange mahogany. We’ll know soon.”
“So you guard this thing day and night?”
“Yup,” said back the Guardian of the Water Tart, a full time job indeed. Else everyone would have a sword in Our Second Lyfe and chaos would ensue. GotWT makes sure that doesn’t happen; swords aren’t freely distributed hither and thither. He feels it is a very worthwhile occupation. Better than being a dung gatherer in Hoagietown. Like his brother.
“What about the little pixies here. Can’t they give you at least a bathroom break every now and then?” Must go in his pants, Jem thinks here. Like a spaceman, yuck!
(So I guess he’s also a dung gatherer in that disgusting way. I don’t see much difference in the brothers’ jobs, then.)
The guard didn’t know what pixies were so he kept silent. Oh… the *fairies*, he realized. The worthless things. Probably attached to the sword tart, he thinks, a long held theory. Their flight seems to be confined to the immediate region of the manifesting pool.
“Oops. There it goes again. She’s flung the sword back into the water and given us the piss off sign.”
GotWT knew it wasn’t flung anywhere. It merely disappears from her hands. But he thought that at the beginning as well. Until he studied the hand motions more, the path of the sword. He doesn’t correct her on this. Along with the piss off sign, as she put it, actually being a peace sign. Piss… peace, he then turns around in his head, free associating but for a reason. Can’t… wait.
Jem turns toward him. You’re not saying much guardian. “Oh dear,” she realized, standing back and studying the strained look on his face. “You’re not… going.”
“As I said,” he managed.
“Not what I meant.”
a series of Daffy Duck films
He’d finished reading the paper (finally!). The phone rang. It was so old fashioned he didn’t know how to answer it. “Jem!?” he called. “A little help here, Jem!”
Afterwards, Jem returned to the computer. No progress on the Miss Ouri front yet, with Tessa failing to turn into the appropriate form outside the library according to her call. She forgot to bring the needed cactus doll! What an oversight, pheh. Back to square one almost. They’d have to erase her presence there from everyone’s mind and basically start over. Would take a couple of days, days she didn’t have much of, she knew, sand running out fast in her beautifully figured hourglass of life. If only… NO. She can’t go there. The cartoons were *lurid*… *nasty*. John L. Brown couldn’t save her and she knew it, despite the promises, despite the plotline of the comics.
And yet… she had Dafney, who may have been named after a duck. Ducks were her salvation according to John’s stoopid, lurid *junk*. Yellow, just like her friend. She decided she needs to phone her up, see what she’s up to after the wedding to George. George, ha. So funny. Always misplacing his clothes. Dafney never seemed to catch on that he was doing it on purpose, just biding his time until the end of the war when his unkilled comrades would come home to roost. They took out a knee but at least they were able to grow his finger back. Good ol’ Dr. Diper. Diapers, she then thought, free associating. *That’s* what the guardian needed.
The phone rang in her pocketbook. She pulled out the banana, put it to her mouth. “Hello? (pause) Hello??” She remembered to put the other end to her ear and then heard this:
(to be continued)
The waterfall was relaxing. That’s why I decided to choose this cabin over the others, including the one where I could chop wood. Oil heated but that’s okay — I could use (cleaner) kerosene. Jem should be home soon. Out pretending she lives in the big treehouse I suppose; answering old phones, playing with someone else’s computer, overlapping screens on top of theirs. It’s all good fun, though. There’s no no trespassing signs around here. Eveything is open, all the way from Towerboro to these neighboring woods. And no dummies to worry about either here — that’s a big advantage over town. I can focus on Jem and Jem alone. Especially after Tessie (our Tessa) left for the castle to find that book. I wish her luck!
Water sounds; I can get sleep for a change.
“Minus 125,” he cussed mildly downstairs after a nap. “Out of ice cream.” Oh well, he thinks. I can make some later out back with the cream and the strawberries here. Prefer chocolate, though, or vanilla at the least. Maybe run into town and get some. But the dummies…
“Tired of your book?”
“No. It’s just I’m a little depressed.”
“Because… didn’t you wonder where I was today?”
“I figured you were at the treehouse. Pretending we’re better off than we are.”
“I was in *town*.” How blind could this bastard boy be? she thought.
“Town, eh? Oh yeah. I think you mentioned that.”
“I *did* mention that. Do you remember where I was?”
“You said ‘town’.”
“No. Where I *was* in town.”
“No I don’t think you did. *Oh*”, he realized. “The *hair*.”
“Yes, Bob cut a lot of it off.” Finally! she thought. “Wellll?”
He wanted to go into town to get some proper ice cream and Jem came back with a doo that looked like a big scoop of vanilla was dropped on her head. What could he say? “The bob looks great on you, honey.” He tried to reach over and stroke it for reinforcement but Jem knocked his hand away.
Later we find him chopping wood at that nearby cabin. At least he had himself tonight. How was I to know that Bob was the hairdresser instead of the style, he thinks. I need to pay attention better.
The next night he tried to make up but she wouldn’t have any of it. “I’m going to go see John tomorrow,” she said, her mind set. She needed to find out about that duck. Finally!
At least I can move back into this cabin and listen to the waterfall and stop chopping wood, he thinks. Wait… *whaat*? “John??” he parroted. But maybe it was another hairstylist or a hairstyle at the least.
No. It was John.
the picture resolves
Ebony and… Dove?
I thought I saw someone standing behind my sister today on her rock.
I’ll have to ask her about it.
“Ivory?!” she calls over in her wee fae voice from her huge oak stump. No answer. That wasn’t the name of her sibling pixie any longer. Thanks to Greenleaf.
There! “Who’s that then!?”
“If you just *become* Greenleaf for a while — shedding your wings when needed — then maybe we can figure out this whole Ebony-Ivory confusion. I recall the salt and pepper shakers at Starbucanneers.”
“I’m going to stop you there, Baker Bloch,” says Wheeler from her opposite side of The Table. “I have to go see how our Miss Ouri is doing.”
“Oh okay,” he complied, knowing how important all that was (as well).
She moves just across the green.
“Dad-dy. We’re still *here.* And there’s not even a town to escape to now. The castle is isolated (!).”
“Shush babydoll,” he whispers, also placing his finger over his lips. “Daddy’s trying to read.” He returns to such. Almost got it now. MOA is…
She’s heard enough for now through the coke machine. Kactus too. MOA… right down the stairs beside her in the basement of this very building. The key to rebuilding the town itself. Files inside, he said. More buildings. Many more.
Locked away until the right time to spring forward again. Maybe next spring, then.
Unless she destroys it first.
The bees attacked from below. A mud dauber threatened from above. The toys agreed to stay perfectly still until I returned to keep down damage, but what could have been an event so special and wondrous turned out to be quite disastrous. Aloha (village name) seems to mean goodbye as quickly as it does hello. Looks like we’ll have to regroup and move again, pheh. Unless… no, can’t do that. Must respect the woods and the denizens already there. Like spoon snake. Like *hisser*. But the day was not without its casualties. Eye for an eye? NO… can’t go down that road. Just no.
Lisa Smipson the Vegetarian front and center…
… certainly a bright spot of the day.
What could have been. A town centre. Silver Surfer reclaiming the glory of a Blue Mountain thought to be over and done with.
Joker is wrongly imprisoned for the deeds. Bees! he cried behind the bars. Wasps! And it turns out he was right.
Aloha: the whole shebang.
Rock that was thought to be sheltering, pheh. PHEH.
with Rotate and Bob
“I don’t think Jem is going to return again tonight, Bob,” red headed Rotate spoke over from her orange mushroom, not wishing to currently fly because of sadness. But Bob was more uplifting.
“He has his wood (bob up). He can chop (bob down up). He’ll be fine (bob down up down).”
“Master Daigle doesn’t think John is going to do a *bit* of good in this matter,” Rotate insisted. “I heard him talking to himself last night through the leaves and the limbs.”
“You should leave the trees to themselves (up down up down). Soon you’ll have deadwood on your hands. Like Ebony (up).”
They weren’t suppose to talk about Ebony and both knew it so the matter dropped. But what about Dove? Rotate thought. But what about Ivory? Bob thought.
The blue haired and blue clothed latter hadn’t gotten the news received by the red former. The white pixy had changed her name, thanks to Greenleaf, the opposite of Deadwood. And then the alphabet spread out before them on the forest floor under a big maple like soup, ready to be spooned.
“Mmmmmm dead,” one of them sung softly when tasting.
“Why do you always say that when we’re about to play?” the other asked, rolling the dice. 12; 2 six shooters. As high as you can get without careening a car over a bank into Thirteenville, as the locals say. Already on L, she thinks. This could be another quickie.
Edward Daigle discovers riches underneath the larger of the 2 castles on the property. So quickly becoming a Midas figure and never having any money beforehand, he decides not to tell Jem about the find, keeping it all for himself. Maybe they’ll get married now, maybe they won’t. And anyway, she probably has only 30 good days left in her, maybe less. It was actually ten, about the same amount of days it will take for me to complete this here photo-novel, 33 in a series of, so far, 33. Totally serial about that. Jem will be dead, he thinks, and I’ll have all these gold nuggets and gems and such as consolation. If I can keep this a secret.
He suddenly has a desire to go sledding in all of it.
“What did you do while I was away, Edward?”
“Nothing. Nothing at all.”
“Oh you had to do *something.* Did you chop wood? I suspect you chopped wood.”
“Yeah, that’s it. Chopping wood.” He even recalled a pile chopped earlier he could point to for an alibi.
“Well *I* found John.” Oh yeah… in the excitement Edward forgot why Jem had actually left for a couple of days. John. Wait… “John?!”
“Yes: John. The John. With an L in his name.”
“Is (long pause) he dead?” But then Edward remembered that Tessa had the actual 6 shooters attached to her waist and became less worried about that.
Another roll. 2 sixes again. It was becoming clear why they call her the shooter. She moves her red piece to X and pops a stick of Wriggleton spearmint gum into her mouth, irritating Edward further with the subsequent, slightly open mouth mastication. He rolls. 4. Then a 2 then a 3 then a 2. He’s on N still. She’s on W — or maybe it was V — anyway, not only ahead of him in the alphabit (as they called it in those days) but one ahead of him in rounds. When it comes to 3 or a little after he gets so upset he rakes the pieces off the board with his hands and pulls his own 6 shooters out, aiming them all around, toward apparently just observing Edward (the other Edward who, to us, remains Edward after the game and into the present), toward Tessie (our Tessa all grown up). He’d been saving them up his sleeves for a cheat. Dang, Other Edward, he thinks, knowing the 3rd pair of watching eyes joining him and Tessa near the beginning wouldn’t allow him the chance. The Edward who afterwards, to us, becomes Eddy throws one 6 shooter die at one and the other at the other. “Die” he says to each in turn, earnestly but of course without results. Is this some kind of curse? non-participating Edward thinks, rubbing his forehead and feeling a little bump forming there. This is some kind of curse, game dominating Tessie knows, feeling her own bump rise. She’d seen it before. In a bar in Midas, Nevada during the gold rush of the late 1800s. A man became so crazy he went sledding in it. In the middle of July. In circles. She’ll never forget that image, even though it’s from a different life. Rosebud.
Head still smarting, she looked down at the 6 sided die that had fallen in her lap, with 6’s on all sides, 3 visible to her in the instant. This is where it ends, she knows. She decides that her long pondered over and even inevitable tattoo will point there. She will hold ultimate power from now on, 13 always devolving to 12 when push comes to shove. And it will.
(to be continued)
I have been welcomed by neighbors on Rooster’s Peninsula more than I could have hoped for. I have a new home.
Many more stories to tell here, but perhaps not in this current photo-novel, 33 of a set.
Except maybe the library, the center of it all for me. Use to be anyway. Frozen center now. Controlled by MOA down in the basement. Let’s take a look through head librarian Miss Ouri who comes to us by way of Illinois-Kentucky. Characters are compacting; memories condensing. Soon 6 will be the same as 9 and visa versa. Compacting, compacting. Where’s 7 and 8 (and so forth)?
I told my similarly castle dwelling neighbor to the south that there used to be a 3rd castle in the area, largest of all and most unique. Never Sleep it was called, which I’ve translated into my own peculiar Our Second Lyfe mythology as Roost Never Sleeps, a corruption of Neil Young’s 70s album title “Rust Never Sleeps”.
Right over there on that leftmost, now barren beige peak it was, highest of the peninsula. Dominance in former days. The legend lives on.
And now me in the middle of it all. Back to the library…
He came down in a beam of white light from the sky.
Mr. Bean, but not that one. That’s just a stand-in, basically a cardboard cutout of a 3D person.
The real one had blue eyes. At birth. Now…
But who’s that over there sitting at the visiting scholars table?
The dead man in the teepee-tent doesn’t bother me any more.
I pick up my blue feather pen again and begin to write.
I know it was you in the woods today, sending me a message. Thank you. With the rolling orange mushroom head you were telling me about the path and the correct way to go through your precious ferns (kind of). You are protective! Very.
I will attempt to construct a Circle of Peace at Aloha. I know now that you would want that (yes). Guide me in choosing the rocks I need.
head and heart
IMPORTANCE OF CLEAR INSTRUCTIONS
I asked the patient’s mom about the skincare regimen they were using, including their choice of soap. The parent said they were using Ivory soap. She said the previous doctor said to use either Dove or Ivory.
Now that would be an odd thing to suggest. Typically, one might recommend a less drying cleansing product to an atopic, but Ivory wouldn’t normally be at the top of that list. Almost undoubtedly, the doctor said to use “Dove, not Ivory.” But it is quite understandable how a patient could misinterpret what was said.
Port Ivory is a coastal area in the northwestern corner of Staten Island, New York City, New York, United States. It is located on Newark Bay near the entrances the Kill van Kull in the east and Arthur Kill in the west….
The area bore the name of Milliken originally, and became locally known as Port Ivory after Ivory Soap, one of the best-known products from Procter & Gamble, which operated a factory at the site from 1907 until 1991 when the soap making operation was moved to Mexico.
“I knew you’d be back. *Boyfriend*.” Mexican standoff.
“You know what I’m here for.” SHOOT SHOOT POP POP.
Red at the waist.
“Nice hair. Is that your natural color?”
“You can get your food to go, you know,” she shot back. She’d had enough of this stranger in town, who showed up at 7. 7:15 now. 10 minutes to order, 10 minutes to look over the menu that had only 3 items. Bar owner made it sweet and simple to save time.
“Martian,” Wheeler continued the absurdity. “Greentown — should’ve known.”
Jamie hadn’t read any Bradbury so she didn’t get the reference, and probably wouldn’t want to if she did. The dinger dinged on the stove. Wheeler’s fries, extra cheese were ready, burger extra blood still cooking. She wanted to make sure it had as little blood as possible now.
“In town for a funeral, thanks for asking,” Wheeler then said, rummaging around in her purse. “Man named Arthur, Arthur Kill. Strange thing I know. Because he was actually killed — murdered. Mexican standoff.” She pulled out a pistol. “Killed by something much like this.” She plopped it on the counter with a loud clunk beside the just delivered fries, barrel facing forward. Jamie turned back around, saw the gun, stared at Wheeler.
“You can’t bring that thing in here,” she started to say but then changed her mind. She could take the gun from Wheeler, she calculated — confiscate it in effect, since a town ordinance forbids firearms inside the city limits. Would be close, though. Then, hehe, she could *back* Wheeler out of the bar with it and tell her to not come around here any more and to get her ass out of town, funeral or no. But as she was thinking this Wheeler picked the weapon back up. She’d missed her chance.
She looked it over a bit. “Yesss. I think it is exactly this type of gun that did our poor Arthur in.” She pointed the gun in the direction of the far wall to her left. “Ping ping… *ping*,” she produced with corresponding, fake recoils, then blew pretend smoke from the end before reinserting it back into her purse.
“Out!” Jamie wanted to issue. “Done!” she shouted instead, turning around as Wheeler stared into her more-dairy-than-vegetable fries, devising a plot on the spot. The burger was off the grill and into a day old bun faster than a Wyatt Earp burp (local expression?), then plate on the counter as loud as the pistol was earlier, clunk for clunk. Wheeler took the plate and deftly dumped the contents into her purse as well, making a bloody mess (but not as bloody as Wheeler wished). “Thanks!” she said pretend sweetly and made her way out of the bar to Jamie’s exasperation, leaving the dirty, empty plate spinning at a booth near the door. It spun and spun and finally settled down on the formica table top after Wheeler walked up the street, down another, and into the town cemetery to meet a waiting (or awaiting) Baker Bloch.
It wasn’t much of a cemetery, but then Arthur Kill wasn’t much of a man. “Where’s Tessie?” Wheeler exclaimed, hardly making an effort to pay honor to the deceased via her casual pose. “She should be here.”
“Tessa’s at the town psychic,” Baker Bloch said, assuming a more deferent stance over the grave. He truly liked the actor playing the character and hated him to be killed off, as it were. Though perhaps Lemont Sanford can come back later as someone named Kill van Kull, he pondered, a brother or maybe another one of those twins, cousin or not. Anyway, it wasn’t fair. It was suppose to be a Mexican standoff in Ontario or at least Lake Ontario, above New Jersey above New York and not visa versa. One shot from the shooters went north to the head, the other south to the heart. Yet Tessa survived. That damn third eye just took in Arthur’s bullet and… absorbed it! Then the pyramid appeared. Then another pyramid appeared here. Tessa had to go. Soon Wheeler Wilson and Baker Bloch would learn what actually happened, eye for eye.
Time to bury the dead. Tessa missed her chance.
Wheeler decided to throw in her purse as well on top of the lowering coffin. Fire should be getting pretty hot already.
“Any money in there?” queried Baker, waiting for the inevitable.
“$1500,” she replied. “I figured he might need it for some air conditioning, ha. Final gesture. Fat chance though, right? Am I righht?”
Baker couldn’t help but emit a small smile.
“Just kidding (of course). I wouldn’t give that sorry slimeball any of my hard earned cash. Actually it was just his cursed pistol — good riddance (like him). And some food for his arrival.”
Soon enough, the burger inside began to sizzle again, blood continuing to withdraw and pistol rendered even more useless. Tessa’s duplicate, on the other hand, still worked perfectly. She was using it right now to defend herself again, this time from a fellow 3rd eye being posing as a psychic posing as a detective. But that’s another story for another photo-novel, it seems.
END OF “SUNKLANDS 2022 MIDDLE”!