00370401 (party 01)
They were preparing food, of course, when the call came in. Raven and Key needed for a catering assignment. Money not an option, because this was for the big bosses, one of them anyway — I’ll get an actual name asap. All activities at the well established Wooboostook pub would have to be halted for a night. March 23rd was the date.
The day the music died.
Soon they were prepping food in a different place. Nautilus continent. Near but perhaps not in the Lemon Free State, advertised as the last vestige of the old empire within now Lime (Linden) controlled Our Second Lyfe.
“Edward should be arriving soon,” spoke Sandy Hook to Penny Mart up front, champagne on wait to be served for the occasion. “Said he had a new girl who wasn’t his girl, tee hee.” “Typical,” offered Penny from the chair, wishing he would get the f-ck here so she could have that drink. Also she was starving.
Amos T. Sandman arrived from next door in a party boat loaded down with his many presents, but he was not the one they desired despite of this. The time: 6:05. The night was young, very young.
Darn. Not even noticed, he thought, grand entrance ruined.
“Hello,” he said. No response, even though her extended legs were almost in the way of getting up the stairs in front of him. What gives? he kept pondering as he approached the house. Who is this party *actually* for if not me?
The presents were snapped up right and left as his back was turned to them. He had nothing left to give.
(to be continued)
00370402 (party 02)
By the time Shelley and Edward had arrived, Sandman, as most called him, was on his 3rd rosé served by Rose. He missed a clear look of Shelley in the dying daylight, although he had an interesting face to face with Eddie, as he called him, later on. Before this, he started confessing to Rose about some of the situation. “Presents,” he began, shaking his head. “They were all in my mind.”
“There, there,” she said, then popped the cork again and hovered the bottle over his nearly empty glass. “Another?” He waved it off. “Better head home soon. Nothing to see here.”
But before he was able to get back to the boat, Edward, having separated from Shelley, stepped in-between. “Amos,” he said, using his first name instead of last, the only one I can think of to do so. Perhaps the only one who even knew what it was.
“Eddie,” he responded. So it had come to this.
00370403 (party 03)
“There’s only one present left, Amos,” he continued. “*The* present.”
“I see.” He didn’t look away from Edward’s eyes. He spotted it in his peripheral vision, which was good enough. Red and green, he viewed. Rectangular. Life itself. Just under the front seat board. Right where he would sit when he got back in. Right between his legs it would be.
“It’s time to open the box, Amos. Everyone else has taken what they needed, which is everything. Leaving you nothing. Open the box.”
Sandman now knew that the lone box in the boat was empty. The Void, then. Could be another empty box inside the first (there was) but that would be it.
“You’ve had your fun,” Edward added. No mention of Shelley here because Amos T. Sandman didn’t know Shelley G. Struthers, wouldn’t know her from Eve beside Adam.
“It’s time for me to leave, Eddie.”
“It sure is,” Edward shot back.
“Well… step aside please.”
“I will. On one condition.”
Deep breath. “Okayy…”
“That you take that empty box over there back to your empty shell of a sim and deposit it where you can’t get to it. Also: put a big red button on it, like you’d find on New Mexican police intercoms. Make it look important even if it isn’t. Can you do this for me? Amos?”
Sandman wanted to tell Eddie to stop calling him that but bit his tongue. He had to see this through as smoothly as possible. Else: sunken boat, he knew, he gathered. No more presents at all. Time erased, even, along with attached-at-the-hip Space. End of existence. Just that important.
(to be continued)
00370404 (party 04)
Edward split the scene, went back to Shelley in the main house still sitting and gabbing with Sandy and Penny. As soon as he could, he told her what happened, coloring it a bit.
Boatman Zach Black, responsible for moving Sandman’s now almost empty vessel over to this more distant dock to make room for newer and importanter arrivals, offered his opinion on what he couldn’t help overhear in his proximity to the situation. “There’s still presents there,” he said. “Those crosshairs indicate. They’re just… hidden.”
“I know.” Sandman knew this fact. Tell me something I don’t know, he thought about the Boatman. Then he did.
“Edward is one bad mofo. I don’t blame you for not messing with him, not telling him off or even pushing him off that ramp. Bad decision if so.”
Sandman knew this. It was the next thing Zach Black said that he didn’t.
“Wonderful evening we’re having otherwise,” he said. “Not a star in space as I’m eyeballing it.”
Backwards from normal, Sandman noticed. Interesting now. He looked up. Indeed clear. Indeed starless. Bible black.
“Do you know of his new girlfriend, friend?” Zach continued to talk. “The golden girl he’s been calling her. Even though she’s married to another. Did you know that?”
Sandman didn’t know this. Please continue, he thought, peering up again.
(to be continued)
The present had been opened, plain lavender box inside the first, soon to have a big red button attached to it which also meant nothing. No Thing. The toys, having done their part, could move back from end to beginning. Aloha (we’re not finished with it (!)).
00370406 (party 06)
“Soo *Edward*,” half giggled Penny Mart at the table. The salad Benjamin Bright tossed was about to be served again, like it had 16 times before in his short life as an animesh cook from Drakaina. “What’ve you been doing with yourself lately?” Obviously Penny had a crush on the handsome boy with his rugged features. Housemate Sandy Hook on the other side of him too. Across-from-him Shelley wasn’t jealous of the attention paid to her escort to the party by what she thought were prettier girls than herself. Not really. And, anyway, she could make this part of her romance novel. She was almost 1/4th into her 5th. Hubby Arthur didn’t know about all those things yet.
“Oh, this and that, here and there,” he vaguely answered with a smile, soaking in the admiration. He was also still basking in the victory over Sandman down at the docks. Shelley, with her ultra sharp Umbrella Club funded eyes, saw it all from her chair at the house. Edward didn’t know about those things yet — couldn’t see them from his angles of observation; hadn’t hit the right light yet. Starless. Bible black.
Shelley reviewed it in her mind as Edward kept talking about recent frivolities: the face to face confrontation, the lack of presents in the boat, and then, from even a further distance, this Amos T. Sandman, as he called him afterwards, opening the final present to find a box within the box. Lavender. This was foreshadowing pure and simple.
Edward was finished. He looked over, suspicion in his own eyes, although he didn’t know what of yet. Just a hunch. That girl is up to something, he knew.
(to be continued)
00370407 (party 07)
Penny kept leaning over, even stealthily unloosening her blouse front a little bit. But Shelley saw (of course). So did non-Umbrella eyed Sandy. It would cause quite the fight later between the two. Housemates no more after that. Edward just had that much power with his looks.
“Ohhhh, Penny, Sandy,” he uttered, making sure to mention both of the hosts, “can’t eat another *bite*. How about you, Shelley? You done?” Shelley was still picking at the last of her meal but she knew this meant they had to move to the next stage of the party beyond food. Edward had what he wanted from this location. The sweeper appearing behind him mysteriously muttered “fo’ fo’ fo'” just as Shelley was thinking this.
00370408 (party 08)
In the past, Amos T. Sandman had always been invited to the Hook family parties, always brought over presents like a seafaring Santa or something. Tradition, let’s say, honored down through time since Benny and Marsha Hook moved here from Pennsylvaniaboro over to the west of the south of the continent. But this party was thrown not by the parents but the daughter. Two of ’em, in fact, since Penny really had become an adopted sister to Sandy in the past couple years or so, at least up until this particular shindig when the dispute over Edward finally drove a wedge between them. Edward, in his sadistic way, actually enjoyed stringing the two along like this, knew his powers of attraction. He looked across at Shelley when thinking this, knowing she was the same, even though she didn’t realize it, at least most of the time. Penny, Sandy — didn’t hold a candle to her, he thought in the moment, staring at her, not noticing the Umbrellas in her eyes but getting there. If they would just step out of the light and into the night he could see. But this particular revelation would be left up to Sandman.
Anyway, back to him. He saw the lights and sounds of the party, instantly thought that his lack of invitation was an oversight — happened once or twice before as he recalled — and loaded his boat down with the presents and headed over. Boy at the dock: unresponsive. Girl in the hammock chair just up from him: the same. Even had to dodge her legs to get to the next level and still: nothing. He had a glimpse of The Void even then. Meeting cold Penny and her lack of words was the last straw. To the bar! he decided. I’ll at least get a few drinks under my belt before I make my exit back to my lonely, neighboring abode. Bartender Rose was the only one there he met who paid him any attention, a paid friend as it were.
Then Edward showed up and things went from bad to baddest, skipping right over the middle degree.
(to be continued)
00370409 (party 09)
They hadn’t met since college or perhaps high school. Perhaps both (variable realities). No, let’s go with college. Amos was 2 grades up from Edward, but they stayed in the same suite in the same dorm at New Hampshireville State Institute of Klubs. Actually let’s go with Crabwoo — Crabwoo University, commonly abbreviated Woo U. Woo Woo U. some say, because that particular institute specializes in the study of the weird and kooky, like the Loch Ness Mobster or the New Jerseyvania Devilburg Man. But it wasn’t all fantastical criminals. There were the saints as well, and Edward knew several, growing by the moment. All females of course. Amos knew one. His future wife. The late great Edith Pickey, always picking at her food after the others had long finished and thus her nickname for a name. Shelley would remind Sandman greatly of his former partner.
She spied him from the pool while Edward kept carousing with Penny and Sandy, drawing them closer and closer to the blows that would come later, with one black eye and one blue chest the result. “That up there on the balcony is the man who left the party,” she said to herself, staring up, almost meeting his eyes but not quite. “The one Edward called The Great Antagonist. Why?” She had to find out.
(to be continued)
Jem (cousins and more (party 10))
A guest arrived very very late in a private propeller seaplane, so late that no one really took notice of her. She was looking for *Edward*; heard he came here with another gal. The gall! But turned out it wasn’t her Edward but someone named Eddie, although very curiously, very curiously indeed, still named Daigle, but with an apostrophe inserted between the D and a in his case, making it D’aigle. What gives? she had to think here (in the script).
fidgety (blue pill (party 11))
He was trying to stay in the present and read about horses in a row but his mind kept going back to Evelyn. Evelyn Hart. She was the center of his world; the love of his life. His name? I’m picking up on Murdochh, yess, a Middletown moniker. The plot thickens more, like a vanilla shake turning chocolate and beyond. This man was a link.
If only the toys would stay still enough for a proper portrait (dramatization).
“Inter-resting,” spoke Ruby to begin. “A drawer who is not a drawer. 2 places at once.”
“What does it *mean*?” asks Baker B., shaking as much as the apparition. Not fidgety, then, as much as plain out scared. Shakiest gun in the west. Which meant: on the other side, they were as much ghosts to him as he to them. At least Baker B. was.
“Stop shaking,” requested still pretty calm and cool Ruby Fantasie the soothsayer from Spirit Witch who was more use to these things. “Settle down. Look where the gun is pointing.” She meant to say planchette but let the mistake stand. Channeling.
“At *you*! Pull the trigger. Go ahead (she also spoke to the one on the other side of the veil): pull it. It won’t hurt him. Finish the act of the drawing. Finish it up. End it. Go ahead. Goo aheadd…”
Baker B. couldn’t do it, Ruby Fantasie realized. There would have to be another time on the opposite side of the Great Cycle, as I’m just now calling it. One great cycle = one photo-novel, 37 in a series so far. The 37th is also a romance of a novel thanks to Shelley and her Umbrella Klub funded eyes. Club. And then the manifested magic works its way back from end to beginning. Aloha.
TOM (gold topped or tipped pyramid (halfway up))
Gold face? he thinks.
“AVOCADO,” came the booming voice back, reading his mind. Everything was out in the open here, nothing hidden. She, Elvira, addressed Baker as Mountain Man.
Yes: Mountain Man. A fellow drawer. He must help (2 places at once). Showing him an easier way to the top is a *beginning*.
Then there’s the other side.
00370414 (party 14)
At 1 AM all the important people at the party gathered around Penny and Sandy at Terrace #2. They made sure Edward was as much at the center of it all as possible.
“Edward,” said Penny over to the sprawled out model of a dude across from her, “you start. We’re going to play a game.”
“The game of life,” Sandy sitting behind Edward continued for Penny. “3 things that you’re most proud of. Then 3 things you aren’t, or have the most regrets about. The others have to guess if you’re telling the truth or not. Go ahead, Edward. You’re the most important.” Everyone had a polite giggle, since they knew this was truth. It was all about him. It wasn’t his birthday, but that might have made the day even more special. A celebration of the man just for the man himself, without any reason, any rhyme. Like a thunderstorm popping up on a clear afternoon. Out of the blue, they decided together last week. Invite *everyone*.
“Even Old Man Sand next door?” spoke Penny using his old man nickname, wanting to clarify the list even at this very early date. “Your parents would.”
“My parents are *dead*,” said Sandy to this. “Or else… visiting relatives back in Pennsylvaniaboro. Yeah, that’s better.”
“Thought so,” replied adopted sister Penny, knowing her parents were on too much wellness medicine to be sick, much less dead. They could afford it — why not protect themselves. If their girls have to go to a mid-level college like New Hampshireville State Institute of Klubs instead of top notch Crabwoo because of the cost then so be it. Plus they weren’t a big fan of woo woo, except for the medicine, it seems. Elderberry laced with Vitamin C and Zinc night and day. Poke them and they might bleed a little purple. Dark bleeders we could call them.
“*Anyway*, we can play the game of life; learn more about our mutually desired boyfriend.”
“He’s soo secretive!” said Penny to this. She knew Crabwoo held many secrets. And Edward, or so he said, was a star pupil back in the day. He’s in his early 30s now. Let’s see exactly how much he remembers of the magic.
(to be continued)
00370415 (party 15)
“One of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t kill the whale myself and then lay it out in the central mall for all to see. And *smell*.”
“Good one, Edward,” spoke Penny approvingly, marking it down in her head. Edward is *vicious*. Probably a tiger in bed as well. She imagines taking her clothes off and laying beside him. And certainly not for the first time.
“I hate to interrupt, Shelley, but are we inside the novel now or still talking about reality?”
“Both,” said Shelley to Sandman standing beside her, both somehow listening in despite the distance, despite the noise of the party elsewhere. “Don’t you remember?”
“That’s the first, Edward. 5 to go. Pick a category, either proud of or not proud of. Or regrets.”
“But we have to guess *this* one first, adopted sister of mine.”
“Yes,” said Sandy to Penny. “Of course. Wellll… I vote yes.”
“Yes it’s true?” Penny, always the clarifier.
“Yes.” They both turn to Edward.
“Truth,” he said, getting a laugh from everyone. How vicious! they all think. The rest of the girls started to swoon that hadn’t already and the rest of the boys that already weren’t scared got so. What would he do to *us* if we crossed him? Some of them had already seen what he did with Sandman down at the rear docks. Sent his tail running back home!
“One thing I want to clarify here if I may. I’m *only* 2 years older than Edward — Eddie — mid 30s as opposed to his early ones. The ‘old man’ appellation doesn’t really apply.”
“Do the *girls* know this? You have a streak of gray in your hair after all,” said Shelley, defending the names in her novel that are the same in her life right now. She’s acting through them all.
“2nd, then, Eddie — can I call you Eddie? Edward thought for a second. No he decided, but then changed his mind looking at the disappointment on Penny’s face. “Tell you what: you, Penny, can call me Eddie but Sandy has to keep calling me Edward. How ’bout that?”
“How ’bout that, Sandman?” asked Shelley still standing beside him on the porch near but not next to terrace #2 where the others were. Noise all around, as stated. Pitch black the sky was even though it was clear. Looking into her altered eyes at this right angle in the night light, Sandman could only nod.
(to be continued)
00370416 (party 16)
Then Sandman made his pitch, which meant Shelley made the pitch for him, still writing, still scribbling down ideas to be written out properly later. “I have a whole sim out there, down there, up, over.”
“Oh yeahh?” she decided to say. “Tell me about it. Can I come?”
“Precisely what I was going to say.”
“Through me,” she said. “Pitch it.” She closed her eyes to the pitch black sky and listened. The noise of the party died away. Edward’s game of life was over. The 6th turned out to be false, unlike the first 5. It wasn’t all about him. Butterscotch, he loved butterscotch. Didn’t hate it.
So he brought out the red and green box, showed it was empty, and then brought out the somewhat smaller, lavender box that use to reside inside it and also demonstrated its emptiness by–. “What it needs, Shelley–” he said, laying it down between them now.
“Don’t tell me. Let me guess.”
Sandman turned away from the rail, dared to look in her eyes again now that they were closed. Put a lid on it, he thought. Close it up. She opened her eye. He stared into infinity.