Sunklands 2022 More Middle 02


when Aloha turns to Alpha

“Here it is, Wheeler. Another portal of some sort.”

“Looks like butterflies. Rainbow colored!”

“It’s not rainbow colored, I mean, butterflies. I checked (the description). Wisps instead. Wisp spirits to be precise.”

“Hmmm,” replied Wheeler. “I’m going to call them butterflies anyway.”

“As you wish,” conceded Newt, knowing Wheeler’s ways and her stubbornness. Besides, he’s bound to serve what with the new name and the recently revived Table at the Lebettu Castle and all. “Go ahead. Go through it.”

“*You* go through it. I’ll watch. You know I like to watch.”

Newt shakes his head slightly. Poor Wheeler. She won’t realize she’s being controlled from the other side until it’s too late. Thinks she has ultimate power now.

“Sure.” And then he walks into the multi-colored swarm, emerging on the other side about 10 meters west. Wheeler then follows him.

She turns in her purple sock hop dress. “Fascinating. I feel revived, reinvigorated.” Then she realized the secret of the Other Side. Her brain is not the boss!


impressionable

“There’s nothing in the church birth registry about a Paul Duck, Snowbob. Or any kind of duck atall. Looks like we’ve wasted our time here.”

But Snowbob thinks otherwise. He’s figured out who his *real* parents are.

They’re the same as his children.

(to be continued of course)


the green and the yellow

“So here we are again, Wheeler. Took us a while.”

“The tic tac toe board.” She looks over at it, notices her missing X now. The game remains unfinished.

“Let’s talk about what’s happened so far. Kind of ironic that way back in photo-novel 03 you chose to discuss ‘Billfork’ over ‘Pumpkintwisters’ at the second Table meeting. Now the latter becomes the key to (understanding) the duck. This is the first 2-n-1 — I’m saying this for the reader or readers more than you, of course — but the movie ‘Wavetwisters’ has a weak point in the middle *perfectly* filled in by the ‘200 Motels’ animation sequence called ‘Dental Hygiene’, featuring, in part, a duck. *The* duck.”

“I agree. I wish I could go back in time to change things.”

“Mabel really enjoyed (the second Table meeting),” countered Newt, formerly Axis-Windmill. “This is obviously the same duck or same kind of duck in ‘The Point (of the Wall).'”

“Agreed.”

“And then in ‘Down and Dirty Duck.’ All three are made by the same animation company. Let’s see (checks): Murakami-Wolf. We don’t need to go into details. The reader or readers can double-check all this for himself or herself or themselves.

“Then we have something else enter the picture. ‘Duckman’, an ahead-of-its-time animation series from the mid 1990s. The three we mentioned before are from the early to mid 1970s. What has changed? Zappa was in his prime in 1971 when (his movie) ‘200 Motels’ was released, when ‘The Point’ was shown on TV to a rather massive primetime audience, thanks in part to participant Ringo Starr, who also, ahem, starred in ‘200 Motels’ koinkidinkally enough. ‘Down and Dirty Duck’ features a comedy musical duo named Flo and Eddie who played for Zappa during “200 Motels” (and acted in the movie), and were most famous for being a part of rock group The Turtles before this, ‘Happy Together’ as their signature song. Anyway, Flo was the duck, the Dirty Duck of the title, who remained unnamed otherwise. Flo is Mark Volman and Eddie is Howard Kaylan. A huge Zappa head rises over the horizon behind the duck at one point in the movie.”

“Drugs,” added Wheeler. “All 3 ducks — who are the same duck, agreed — are reached through drugs. And now (our) Paul Duck: the same.”

“Correct. And ‘Duckman’ *has* to figure in here. Erik Duckman is a private dick who is basically incapable of solving cases without the help of his Joe Friday-like assistant Cornfed, a pig. And here we go: Zappa was quite involved, musically and maybe conceptually, in season one but died of cancer before the series’ first episode aired, which was dedicated to him. Zappa’s son Dweezil is the voice of one of the sons of Duckman. We must extend Dirty Duck now into this new duck through Zappa. This is his *wish*; how he can survive death itself. Incarnate into the duck.”

“Don’t forget Paul Drake, the private dick detective of ‘Perry Mason’. Most direct line to at least the name Paul Duck.”

“Raymond Burr, the actor who famously played Perry Mason, ‘wakes up’ as another character (murderer Lars Thorwald) in ‘Waits for No One,’ I mean in the movie ‘Rear Window’. He looks directly at the camera which is the same as Jimmy Stewart across the courtyard. ‘The sleeper has awoken’ — another Paul. (Frank) Herbert’s Paul (from ‘Dune’).”

“The first episode of ‘Duckman’ is key,” says Wheeler. “Can I place my X back in the corner?”

“Not until we talk to Mabel.”


00340204

“What are we looking for here, *partner*?”

“You’ll see,” standing Wheeler responded to sitting Baker Blinker. Or should I say, Flip responded to Magika. Because both were Beans in the moment, thanks to their “matching” hair. Wheeler/Flip kept hiding her bad eye to the camera behind a wooden pole of the ruins they were in, what some erroneously deemed brown to pair with a mismatched blue in a classic case of heterochromia. Actually the affliction she suffered from was anisocoria, or an enlarged pupil, making one eye appear darker than the other.

The graveyard across the rushing stream showed no signs of activity. “W-who are we looking for?” asked Baker Blinker again, rephrasing the question from What. “Zappa? I’ve heard that Zappa is around.”

“Maybe,” replied Wheeler. “We’ll see.” She knew the woods were labyrinthine and cryptic for a reason. Labyrinth, eh? That was the first real clue she belonged here, back in Jeogeot and away from Ontario for a spell. Baker Bloch remained asleep and unable to participate. Thus the presence of the Other Baker, perhaps, the female one.

“I want you to think long and hard about the red and the green, Baker Blinker,” said Wheeler Wilson to her side as she shifted her weight from one leg to the other, which also switched observing eyes. Time to see in the dark now.


County Park again

As reported earlier, found this little 8″ or so f-er 4/5ths the way up a local 700 foot mountain about a week and a 1/2 back and thought: someone made quite the effort to get this gnome here and perch it for all to see on this rock visible from a primarily biking trail. Went back today specifically for a revisit and, after quite a search, found him instead peering at me from behind a tree across the trail from the rock. Funny thing: that mote or speck of dirt in his eye formerly seen…

… was now gone. I could almost hear him laughing.

Gnomes, pheh; bastards know too much.


00340206

He sat in that hard-to-find, tucked away cafe in Ontario, sipping his coffee and waiting for the morning fog to clear so he can safely explore more of the city. Perhaps it never will this time, story finished for now (again).

Meanwhile, over in Jeogeot…

… clear as a bell.

Let’s begin with the manor.


00340207

I just *had* to get away from those *sweet* people for a while, take a break from that *saccharine* talk; think for myself. Oh great, here comes Bestie Vanessie to see what I’m up to, why I left without telling her. Strawberry shortcake it was for her the last time I checked, after a couple of glazed donuts, a piece of licorice, and a big wad of cotton candy. But who’s counting when it comes to Sweetieville. Not a salad in sight, no meat, no potatoes. And the (resulting) chattering! Nonsense basically; fantasy world stuff. Who needs structured activities when you can just hop and skip around with each other while holding hands until you fall down from exhaustion. I wish I were somewhere else, someplace sour —

“Oh hi, Tiana! There you are. I thought you left without me.”

I did, she thought, feet dangling purposefully off the box seat of the old, weatherworn wagon. She knows what she’s doing; this is not sweets induced fidgeting. This is pure agitation. “Hiii Vanessa,” she uttered lowly, turning her sour look toward her which emitted a small gasp for the more sugared up mate, her no. 1 friend since they were 7 and climbed that apple tree to rescue the pie thrown up there by Jasper. Always Jasper, she thought. Never Newton.

“What a look!” Vanessa said. “Aah, one of *those* moods — the I’m sick of the whole Center of Woods extravaganza. Not partying like the rest as usual. Wellll… I brought you something to cheer you up. A piece of Mabel’s pecan tree pie, fresh from the forest.” She points. “Right over there; just getting ripe. Best to pick ’em when they’ve just sprouted and let them sit for a day. Had one myself before coming to look for you, yum yum.” She rubs her belly with this, and then stands beneath Tiana, moving two fingers up each side of her mouth to produce an even wider smile. “You try it now!”

She wasn’t incapable of smiling but her dim view of the world had to turn upside down first. “*There*,” she said, forcing it of course.

Vanessa was thinking this was even worse than the scowl. Unnatural. “*Anyway*, I’ll just leave the pie with you.” She reaches into her pocketsack to produce the wrapped up food item. Tiana waves her hands in rejection.

“I’ll take my chance on the 2 day old version. I just need (sigh) a *break*. One day. I can just sleep out here under the trees and stars. She leans back. “Just go away, please. One day,” she reiterates, and climbs into the wagon bed to lie down.

Vanessa joins her. “I guess… it wouldn’t hurt if I take a small break as well,” and throws the piece of pie back into the woods from which it came.

Pause. Another kind of belly rub now. “Wanna make out?”


00340208

Before the shooting day, Wheeler explained to Sugar her motivation for running her shack out in the center of nowhere. “It’s about the citizens and denizens of these woods,” she indicated, “the fresh pies you can harvest from the pecan and apple and cherry trees about this time of year and how pleased they are that you can bring such joy into their otherwise rather empty lives by filling them with your, erm, lovingly prepared food.”

“I think I get it,” she says in her not near as deep enough voice. Wheeler tells her she needs to change it before Donald shows up and the cameras switch on. “How’s this,” she tried again almost an octave lower.

“Better. Keep practicing. We have an hour.”

—–

7 o’clock. Donald is preparing pancakes and muffins wearing only a thong; his duck costume hadn’t come back from the cleaners yet. Ace the Gopher was assigned to run over there and check on its status. Yet the cameras were rolling. “We can add the costume to this particular scene post-production,” explained CGI specialist Forrest Ferment. “The cost will be low as long as he stays perfectly still or almost so.” As the scene basically demanded, lucky for them. Sugar had just popped several of her freshly plucked pies into the pre-heated oven and took the opportunity for a break. This is where the dialog begins. Donald to her side was engrossed in recipe reading. “Stay that way,” guest director Wheeler said, filling in for a sick Baker. “Just cut the 2 places where you whisk and beat.” Baker would not be happy later when she reviewed the day’s reels in her bed. “Movement,” she complained. “Keep the eye engaged and moving. That’s what the whisking is there for, that’s what the beating is in place for.” Then Donald’s costume shows up from Clyde’s and everything is back to normal. Time for the denizens and citizens of these here woods to wake up and smell the coffee, namely Sugar’s patented cinnamon recipe with a dash of nutmeg and a pinch of coconut. Nostrils flare, bedroom slippers are slipped on. Soon all will be here, ready for their pancakes and whatnot. Center of Woods stirs to life.

(to be continued)


White Tree Village

—–

“She comes and sits by this stream every day on those rocks over there, the dreamer. Should we reveal ourselves?”

“Not yet,” directs Baker Blinker, back in the saddle after a day of rest.

“How’re you feeling, by the way?”

“Better.”

“Good to lay off the sugar every now and then anyway.”

“I suppose.” She coughs softly. “Bit of angina still,” Baker Blinker admits.

“Oh.” Wheeler Wilson peers over at her, like it might be the last time they see each other, which is, of course, ridiculous. They have too much in the world to do. Like jointly direct and produce this theatrical extravaganza. White Tree Village. Act II, Scene 1.

“We better move on down the stream. Might be something happening at the cemetery tonight.”

“Idea,” counters Wheeler Wilson, raising her finger to make a point. “Why don’t we send Bluebird instead. Bluebird of Sadness.”

“Awww,” emits Baker Blinker with a pout at this new idea reversing the happiness one.

“We could have Venus and Mistress already there, maybe digging up graves for something.”

“Jewelry?” poses Baker Blinker. “Something incriminating?”

“They’re lesbians of course. Like Tiana and Vanessa, our stars from Act I.”

“Co-stars,” says Baker.

“But Tiana and Vanessa,” continues inspried Wheeler Wilson, “are not really lovers but friends at the bottom of it. Things just *happen*.”

Baker Blinker stares over at Wheeler Wilson. They sure do, both think at the same time.

“We better get into costume, then.” Wheeler sees her emit another small cough. “You *sure* you’re up to this?”

“Okay,” says Baker Blinker, which is only half an answer since she was choking a little at the same time. She knocks her hand softly against her chest. “It will be all right,” she says to Wheeler but also to herself.

“Maybe it’s the caffeine this time more than the sugar.”

(to be continued)


00340210

Bluebird heads down the stream, going further than she’s ever been before in this direction.

Then she reaches somewhere familiar but keeps on walking, spurred by the thrill of the unknown. Vanessa and Tiana had long gone from the back of the wagon, their unexpected and unrehearsed rendezvous complete. Return to Sugar Town for the 2. We’ll catch up with their continuing story soon.

Options present themselves. She again chooses what she deems the straightest path away from White Tree Village, her home now in virtual reality, thanks to Mistress, thanks to Venus. But she’s never seen or met her benefactors. That could change tonight, depending on the color of the script, white being the safest bet.

She gets twisted around. The sky suddenly turns dark. She’s at the Mattress Tree. And someone is waiting for her.

(to be continued)


manor

“My turn next on the typewriter. I have ideas too.”

“Of course (type type type pause type type pause type type type type bell sound/carriage return).”

“I’ll just keep filing my nails till you’re finished (type type type).” Mistress was patient. But she also didn’t have all night. Or did she?

“Did (type type type) you realize that Mistress is very close to Mattress?”

“I sat on it all night,” Mistress returned matter of factly. “Waiting on Bluebird, the sad sad girl.” One hand done. Perfection. “Very close indeed I was at the time,” she said while admiring her work.

“No no (type type). I mean the word.” Venus didn’t realize Mistress was trying to tell a joke. Maybe she should have thought of a better one. “Switch out the a with the i, switch the s with a t: the same, then.”

“Oh. Suppose (type type type). Is that what you’re writing? I’ve focused so much on my nails now that I can’t see that far. Tell me what the newest is for Bluebird, for Sugar Town, for the rest of the Big Woods.”

“New name, yes. Big Woods (bell sound/carriage return).” Venus lifts her hands from the keys, leans back.

“Funny how it’s not really that big,” interjects Mistress. “But it seems *huge* on the ground.”

“Labyrinthine,” reinforces Venus. “Just like, erm…”

“Baker?”

“Wheeler I think.”

Pause. “Are we saying who we are now?” asks Mistress, serious this time. Totally serial.


at least a large mouse

They pulled into the manor about 07:15, fresh from a trip to the west coast and toting some stolen art in the trunk, not surprisingly. But never mind that now. Benny the valet hamster rushed over and took the wheel after they got out and walked toward the gate. He asked for a job with such but this wasn’t what he expected. He’s grown into the work, though: up to about a foot and a half now, abnormally long for his species. After some on and off moments at first, he can now manage the brake and clutch together and Mr. and Mrs. Gold could switch from an automatic to a straight drive, which they prefer especially for longer trips. Like this one. They’ve been gone almost 2 weeks. *Plus* Benny helps them pawn off the stolen goods they collect here and there on their journeys across the continent to well placed black market dealers. He seemed so grateful for the position they assumed he’d never turn into a rat. A hamster he be and a hamster he is. The little stretching exercises on the rack they had handy in the basement commenced early on. Benny would not be denied.

Until today. They shouldn’t have turned their back on him so soon after a lengthy vacation. Because, as you can plainly see here as he drives the Rolls Royce Dawn convertible not to the garage, but to a pawn shop accessible from an alley downtown, Benny had been compromised.

“Monolith”, Adams or otherwise, would never make it to that perfect spot above the dining room table between the mounted bear and deer. He’d found the price that turned his head.


Newt

He thought she was going to wear her new hair, but purple’s cool, purple’s cool. He wasn’t going to bring the subject up. She had her reasons. Instead he decides to talk about the girls.

“Venus is working hard on her novella.” He could hear her typing all the way over here.

“Novel,” corrected Eyela in a sweet but stern voice. “And Mistress is helping with it too.”

“Sure, sure.” He looks over at the townhouse on the northern edge of the property, (the girls’) home away from home. “I’d like to read it.”

“Well they don’t want you to.”

“*You* can.”

“*I’m* different.” That seemed to be a dead end subject too. Maybe switch back to the hair. He pointed.

“I thought –”

“Don’t start with the hair,” she requested, knowing what he was doing. “I — didn’t like the way it, ahem, set my eyes.”

He didn’t ask for explanation of this cryptic reply. Was there another subject he could broach while they sat in their hot tub, waiting for the guests to arrive? Tonight was the big night! He decided to talk about that.

“Tonight’s the big–”

“Don’t,” she cut him off. “Just don’t.”

—–

He was reminded when he walked back into the house after their long vacation that they had too many servants, perhaps way too many. But, to their credit, they were all still hard at work, manning their various posts. Gregg the Greeter in the foyer, now waiting for the first guests to arrive.

Sam the Scrubber up on the second level, still trying to get the last of those blood stains out of the wooden floor. Almost got it.

David the Duster as well. If only those damn dogs all about the house would stop shedding, he constantly thinks.

And Cookie the Cook, waiting for the tea to boil. Guests start showing up in about 30 minutes. Tea had to be hot but not too hot. Water might have to be reboiled but he’s ready if so. Bags just in that cabinet over there. He measures the steps to reach it. 7 he’s counting. And 5 bags for each pot. And 8 guests due to arrive. Two pots, then. Better put on a second kettle.

And, closest to them presently, Willie the, um, Watcher. Waiting for his wife to get out of the tub so he can slip a robe on her. He probably needs to go first. But that was also her special request, the last one hired. Don’t think he can then be the first to go. Can he?

(to be continued)


Tesnus

The Wither Tree comes for all, even clockwork people like Billy, a native Iowan and thus a long way from home indeed. A rocketship brought him to the Jeogeot continent. *Not* a well pump, as some of those fantasical forest people claim. That’s just the sugar talking, as they like to say.

Safe over here directly west off Mainland, though. “I think I’ll stay,” he says into the Korean Channel reverse sunset, Ichelus at the point here, but Zebrasil and the continent’s infocenter just behind. This is where he landed; this is his original, virtual home. Before vacationing Sugar gathered up his little, cute robot body and took him to the woods, made him a kind of pet. Fate, she deemed it. “The red and the green!” she exclaimed to thong-less (daring!) companion Donald at the time while looking down at the two-toned inner tube (“TIT”, *giggle*), also a type of pet for her. Trouble is, he’s so sleepy there all the time. Dreams the horrible, scary dreams even in daylight. *Especially* daylight (thanks again, Mistress!).

Then: the Waterfall of 10000 Lions (good one, Mistress!) comes to Big Woods, washing away the gloom, at least enough to allow the mechanical boy to return and not be riddled with cryptic, undecipherable nightmares and, especially, daymares. Maybe.

07:15: Sugar and Donald, humming a happy tune, rustle up some more of those breakfast special blueberry choco chip pancakes for arriving guests. 4 waiting. Maybe up to 8 later. Breakfast at 8.

She tests one, makes a sour face. “Donald, more sweetener on the next batch please.”

“Okay.”

“Don’t make me GRROWL at you,” she joked.

“I won’t,” he said, pulling up his baggy pants. She’d stretched them almost to the verge of unwearability. And perhaps that was the point (*titter*).


00340215

‘There (!). At the corner of the cemetery. Just like you predicted.”

“Just like I *directed*,” corrected Baker Blinker. Back in the saddle as I said, mysterious incapacitating illness over. Zapppa it was, but with an extra p. We’ve seen him before.

He turns. They’ve seen him and that’s all he wanted. Now to find that grave which told him everything, how it begins, how it ends, all the stuff in the middle.

There were quite a few to examine…

… not even counting the 3 tombs marked Henderson, Williams, Bennett. Those don’t sound right to him, though.

But *this* could be it.

He starts digging.


00340216

Benny meets something huge and inexplicable in the heart of the woods and instinctively turns into a flower to camouflage himself, just like he transformed from hamster to rat (or large mouse) before over at Newt and Eyela’s manor. Ends up that the monster before him is also named Ben, and also a shapeshifter ta boot. He’d just changed from a grizzly bear into a samsquanch to make himself bigger for an encounter with a detected rodent, spotted in his peripheral vision, he thought. They were scared of each other is what I’m saying, which caused the transformation in both, offensive versus defensive. Do they afterwards become friends? Not immediately: Ben doesn’t see Benny since the flower disguise is effective. He thinks the rodent has scuttled back into the forest, if he didn’t imagine the whole thing. And he can’t change back into a bear for 48 hours because of the involved energy drain. Same for Benny actually — he has to remain a flower for the same amount of time. It’s just the way things work for these kind of kindred shapeshifters, so different in size now but so similar in other ways. Yes, I think they have to become friends. Sugar’s shack will attract the 2 at the same time eventually and they’ll sit down and have a talk and find out how much they have in common, including — yikes! — both having secret *monoliths*. “How’d *that* happen?” they might simultaneously ask each other in this created scenario, probably so full of sugar by then that they don’t know what they’re saying or revealing. We’ll see how it plays out.


It worked! The thing is moving away.


Zappp Adams

“GRROWLLL!”

“What the?! — oh, hi Ben. You scared me you joker. I thought Eloise over there had come back to life!”

“GRROWLLL!”

“Yeah, I know. You’re probably starving. Been gone for 2 days. Where’ve you been… Ben, he he?”

“GRROWLL?”

“Well come on in and tell me all about it, then. We’ll eat breakfast and share stories. Because *I’ve* got something to tell *you* too, something you won’t believe.”

—–

“I don’t blame you, Ben. I don’t want to get too close to it either.”

“GRRRRROWWWWL!”

“I know. I’m scared too.”