Another ghostly Knight was showing them around. You can never completely escape the energy of The Father, the Dark Lord some call him. Red Devil in Xian terms. At his urging, they fed the function-o-meter in front of them with small copper coins — no change there — to watch TV. The ever-present ectoplasm did the work it was paid for.
“Very popular group in the 21st Century,” he rattled about the fuzzy figures on the non-machine, off by one century but only a fraction off the truth in present time, this 8008.
“Name?” tested Baker Bloch, moonburned from the larger space between the flowers. At 6’8″ he was taller than the trees. And even though bigger than birds, the bees offered minimal shade because of their speed. The present Knight again wrongly assumed he was embarrassed because of his lack of knowledge about, well, *everything*. He wasn’t embarrassed. He was just from the far far past. Like we talked about before. We apparently are still in Osse, motor dropped long ago. Like we’ve been driving around a car with no engine for forever.
Knight finally answered Beethoven, with Roll Over dropped early on from the name — even produced an early poster to prove his point. He should be the one to turn red, Baker thought.
early poster, according to Knight
Then while rolling back up the poster to put it away again, ghostly Knight, one of many in the clone hive, said he was joking and that their actual name was SODA. Another joke? Turns out: not. As Baker Bloch checked around, this SODA group seemed to manifest everything here, including the mica table (perhaps ground 00), the chairs around it, the Cavern itself, the *town* itself. Taking up the whole of a sim called Newt. Like the man, the father (of Shelley Struthers). This is, in effect, where he was born, or at least the name. And certainly the group name gives us an important clue about what happened to our society as a whole, the internal flip flopping of animals and plants and probably minerals as well (we’ll check the rounded mica table for more tips on that later). And the bearded and mustachioed Moon above it all. The Dark Lord. Without any possibility of escape via a satellite of its own, a Moon for a Moon. Bendy knows. He may be more than just a cameo figure in this here photo-novel, 38 in a series of a lot.
“We successfully,” continued Knight, “made the name illegal, *forbidden*, beyond any even seductive poser could get to. Even the pharmacists had the hoods pulled over their eyes, duck-like.”
(to be continued)
brightening the load (be like Mike)
“What now, boss? End of the road.”
She paused, then said to the foreman with shovel in hand and questions in head: “We go back. We make sure we’ve got everything correct and well rounded up to this point. We refine within.” The non-foreman beside them turned over his blueprint, looking for “within”. No luck.
“Start with mica,” she clarified a bit later as they all walked back inside together. “Mike.”
Helpful! foreman and non-foreman alike thought. They both knew the guy. From a kid’s television show of all places.
Fruit headed Mike at the center of it all stood up, removed the lemon and lime respectively from the mother’s and father’s mouths. “Speak,” he commanded. “Speaaaaakkkkk!!!”
going round the bend
Under a spell, a parade of words began to flow from their now unblocked mouths. Newt first. How he got his name. “Right *here*,” he said. Wheeler’s turn. She was Queen to Baker’s Prime Minister but this was not Baker; Baker was not the father of Shelley. “Unacceptable!!!” shrilled the fruit headed Mike, still at the center of it all, holding the lemon and lime in each hand, ready to stuff them back in if needed. And he did. He could get information through other means. He sent in Pat. They high foured each other while passing. Pat would get to the bottom of this, Mike thought. Female influence. Darker origins. Almost Knight but not quite. Getting there, though. He went out of the Cavern to have a smoke under the starless, moon filled sky. Or was it skies? A
skiier pair of skis rider-less bike whizzed by, expertly weaving through the tall flowers and small trees despite no apparent guider. A man walked up as it faded in the distance: glasses, professor looking. “I let it go. I let *everything* go. And yet, as you see, it still knows the way home.”
The bike rode into the rising sun. Mike’s lemon head went away. They were talking man to man, human to human. Knight was over.
(to be continued)
Early morning; just before the crack of dawn. Alvin Green unloads his greens and other groceries from the truck into the mart. Phyllis walks Baby Chuck in order to try to get him to shut the f- up and not wake Papa. Poor Papa, she thinks. Needs his beauty sleep for the big interview today where he goes up against Tom Finger for sub vice chief manager of roads and agriculture for the town. Of course he had to join the SODA group and correspondingly drop a letter or 2 or syllable or 2 or something from his name to rez his notes for the meeting, big privilege by itself. Honored to get even a nod in his direct from the uppity highers who also happen to be hirers. But the baby must shush. The baby must go elsewhere if not. Thus Phyllis out in the relative cold with a hopefully bundled up enough toddler, fearing that it might catch a cold. Suppress the negative! she thinks while wheeling Chuck around, reviewing in her mind the positive oriented channeling literature she read before bed. But the cold, the *colds*. Baby Chuck sneezes, making it even worse. Alvin notices, invites her to sit in the truck with the child and turn on the heat while he continues to unload. You shouldn’t be out here, he thinks but doesn’t speak. He’s polite that way; likes to stay out of other people’s business. He may know about the interview too, has put 2 and 2 together to make a mother wheeling a baby around in a stroller at 6:15 on a rather cold morning in later April or early May make sense. Can’t believe it’s May or almost May already, he thinks, trying to remember the exact date while shivering. Obliging, thankful Phyllis crawls into the truck with Chuck. “Chuck truck,” the baby says rhythmically, seeming to make him happy. It worked, thinks Phyllis. It worked, thinks Alvin. Finished with the rest of the groceries, he takes his time with the greens, letting them warm up together. And it will be warm for him when he starts again — added bonus.
But Phyllis was desperate. Seeing the keys dangling from the ignition, she must have gone into some kind of trance, put her lead foot down after taking it out of neutral, and just FLEW. She even let go of the wheel, crazily trusting that the truck would have guidance on its own.
She saw a rider-less bike ahead while zooming into the just rising sun, the ultimate warmth as it were. Who would reach it first?
She opened the red doors. She came down the stairs to face him. He looked at the different hair.
“I– I thought you went… away,” he rasped.
“It’s the future, right? *I’m* from the future. Not the present. I’m not a present to be opened any longer.”
She knew he wanted to see. So she showed him. His “boys”. “Do you understand? Now?”
He wilted at the sight. “Y-yes.”
“I’m DJ-ing at Kedas Klub tonight. I want you to come. I want you to *see*.”
“Kedas?” he mimicked.
“Yeah. Another one owned by the Horns. The Nightsity location shut down.”
“And bring Pat if you wish,” she thought to add while walking back up the stairs to go outside again.
She barely made eye contact with him to acknowledge his presence. Cyberpunks, hmph, he thought. “Business good tonight, Lexi? Selling many sodas on top of the regular alcohol?”
“Whoa whoa there daddy blow. One question at a time. Try again.” She kept dancing to the beat that hadn’t started yet. DJ was still relaxing and chilling and drinking before the gig. While she had the time.
He skipped to the most important one. “Have — you — sold — many — *sodas*? On top of the alcohol which I know will do good,” he sped up.
“Two Hills,” she instead said.
“Two Hills.” And she pointed to the left, the opposite way of the horn.
“Oh yeah. It’s a promotion.” He breathed a sigh of relief, knowing it could have been something else. Too early! “Now back–”
“Why does there have to be two?”
“*You* have two,” he wanted to answer, but then thought better of it. Maybe she didn’t. Was she a girl or boy? He never figured it out. I guessed she’d have them either way — doesn’t matter.
His lemon-lime drink awaited at the table. He looked around, seeing a lot of soda imbibing with his own two peepers. One over in the far corner had a Dr. Peeper. He resisted the urge to rush over there and swat it outta his hands, causing a scene. No scenes, his brother Benny Right Horn warned. “Tonight must go nothing wrong.” His words, not mine, Jer thought. That’s why he’s not here. Too drunk and coked up to make a proper showing of himself instead of a proper spectacle of himself. Typical. Cokeheads not allowed.
“Anyway,” he finally answered Lexi the bartender, still dancing to an imaginary beat or a beat from the future perhaps that only she can hear with her futuristic head and ears, “it kind of goes along with the idea of doubling the fun or doubling the pleasure.” He locked briefly with her sci-fi black within green within blue eyes. She was finished with him, he knew.
He sat down beside her. The Hills came square to the camera, a horn curled against one of their cheeks.
“How is the wine?”
“Pretty tasty!” She downed another guzzle.
“Load up while you can. But not — too much. Take a swig of soda every now and then. People are watching.” He indicated the ads beside them. “Can’t let down the Hills.”
“Mike should be showing up soon.”
“And Pat,” she said. “I also invited Pat.”
“Maybe. We don’t know!”
It was so cold in here you could see your breath. But people didn’t mind. Celebrities in the audience!
“Good morning afternoon evening everybody!” Her standard opening line. “Welcome to the klub that’s going to put Kedas back on the map!” And then the requisite plug. “Brought to you by Sprite lemon-lime drink. The drink soo clean…” and here she paused to pull one of their sodas from her dress somewhere and chug. She retreats the can from her mouth, aaahs loudly, then: “…Grant *Hill* recommends it!” Cheers from the audience. Grant Hill is in attendance. He makes eye contact with me from where he’s sitting across the reflected green floor. Just briefly, enough to make me know he’s aware of what’s going on, if only in an unconscious way right now. Two Hills, PHEH, he may be saying internally. If he could only turn over the blueprint to his life he could see.
“Dreaming again on that plank, Ted.”
“Just leave her this time. No need to tell Al.”
“Got us into a lot of trouble before.”
“Lot of paperwork.”
“Anyway. Why don’t you enter her mind and see what’s going on.” So John the Mind Reader did. After a pause:
“Soo, what’s happening?”
“Apparently,” John surmised, “the past. Or a version thereof.”
“In-teresting.” They both had changed their minds about Al. The uppity higher up needed to be informed of this. New development!
(to be continued)
While Ted went to get help, I watched her start jumping up and down on the thing, the alien object — whatever it was.
At the same time nearby:
I tried to turn off the noise of the bouncing bed springs but couldn’t. Something was coming to a peak. Grant!, she shouted. Grant!!!
We were back.
lordy lordy lordy
“Nah, I think you boys have it backwards. Go back and check. Pull Ted in with you this time, John, since he has the better peepers. Go up the stairs or down the stairs or however you do it — together.”
“Down,” said John to this. “I always head down.”
“Well there you go.” And Al was finished with the story for now and waved them outta his palatial office. Tom showing up in 1/2 an hour, one the more uppity uppers. He had to prepare, emotionally as well as mentally. Brace himself for what is coming.
The truck that had turned lime green in the meantime arrived at the Dorr’s house in Tyrone, New Mexico just south of mural filled Silver City where it was rented day before yesterday’s last week by the Horns.
Finally united for a common cause, they cautiously made their way up to the azure blue front door, Horns of Hatton activated. They paused at the bushes; peered around the corner to see what Good they were up against. The portal opened creakily from the other side. They turned away just in the nick of time. They noticed one of the angels was sight challenged — in shadow — while the other with his big, lidless eyes definitely could see the truck if not them. They had made a huge mistake in driving it here.
“Dude,” read that one to the other in the doorway. “Not Dud. Al was right. It wasn’t the *past*. It’s the *future*.”
The Devil couldn’t get away with it this time. He’d have to exit Grant. He took depossession of the body. Grant was saved by the powers of the door. Of the Dorrs.
(to be continued)
Mike and Pat
“We have arrived too late.”
“Too late,” said the other, just as frustrated with him as he with her. One AM and one PM. But they couldn’t remember who said what. Thus the mutual blame game, which would spill over with the toys before bedtime. Because there was nothing left to do but sleep.
“Twelve hours you.”
“Twelve hours *you*”
It was a retirement gift of sorts but I needed to
brighten clean up the place.
Getting rid of the big dark box in the fronting lake helped.
Because Lemon Free State may be going away soon. Fruit headed Mike ponders possible futures without it. And perhaps without Pat as well. They get along so well together, though! Table meeting, then. Before it’s too late.
“Woman -from -the -future!” he began in a clipped way, making her respond that she’s just across the table and not far away in time. No need for shouting or such clear enunciation.
“Clear,” he said to this. “Big Box.”
“Yeah, that’s done.”
“My… boys.” He cocks his head while looking down a bit.
He looks up. “Pat. Pat, yes. Pat just join. AM for PM. W-whatever that means,” he admits.
“Oh okay,” says the woman from the future, who we’ve called Eyela before, because of the supposed singularity. But really she has 2 eyes — just covers up one with gears and pretends it doesn’t work. So, different from that show she’s derived from. Speaking of which…
“‘Futurama’… dead,” he sputtered, looking at her hair now.
“Yeahh,” she acknowledges. “Jokes didn’t land hard enough. Unlike *yours*.”
“Ermmmm,” he says, which could mean agreement or disagreement or nothing at all, reader’s choice.
“‘Adventure Time’. I’ll say it if you can’t. How close are *you* to your source character? And — I think us cartoon characters should stick together. Not war with each other. I can co-exist with you.”
“Ermmmm (must mean disagreement or displeasure because of what’s to follow). Pat,” he insists. “You get up now. Buh bye, now. Buh bye.” He waves her up. She huffs but raises from the chair anyway, prepares to leave. His eyes go blank for a second.
“I-I have summoned Pat. Pat will come now.”
“Not what I’ve heard,” Eyela, this woman from the future attempted to joke.
She shifts her weight, ponders another possibility. “What if Iii…” She ponders some more.
“… do *this*.”
She took her leave with this after pitching an attached deal about a descent into Microcosm. Pat came as requested.
“Future… woman from the future…”
“… was here. I know,” said Pat. They kept in touch.
“I am (his head started vibrating)… *sorry* about before (stopped vibrating, as if hard-to-express emotions caused it — probably do).”
“PM,” she pointed to herself, “to AM,” she pointed to him. She then also pointed with the other hand and then alternated points with each in a playful manner. He hesitated but then joined in the fun. They were, in essence, poking at each other from across the Table. Everything was okay. Then he told her about the pitch. Did Pat know already?
They jointly decided she needed to be banished… to the 512 they also owned in the sim. “Poison,” he said. “Poison,” she said. They could have been talking about a sugary soft drink but weren’t. So much to that show as probably opposed to “Futurama”. So dang funny! Often lands hard.
Bakers… and Wheeler
I think we have a new candidate for an alchemical experiment going wrong that you originally assigned to Bart Smipson here in photo-novel 09.” They were in the past. Which was also the present.
“Lemongrab, yes. I’ve heard,” the female Baker replies to the male Baker. She reads the blog even if she hadn’t appeared in it for a while. “Sink into Sunklands”. It’s taped to her bathroom mirror so she’ll remember at night. Just before bed. She understands they, the Baker family of avatars and friends, are struggling to establish Lemon Free State in the middle of Nautilus. Thus Lemongrab, who here goes by Mike. And Lemongrab 2 is his now female (?) mate Pat. Both found quickly on the Our Second Lyfe marketplace through a search for complete avatars using keyword “Duke.”
“Does that make you Princess Bubblegum?” He pivots his head, takes her overarching pinkness in. “You always wanted to be a mother, Baker Blinker. You always wanted… *boys*.”
“Not *those* kind of boys,” she shot back.
“Oh sure you do. You were jealous of Wheeler from the beginning.” He knew to let the matter drop after that. They’d been through the transference a 1000 times now, reviewed every aspect. In the early days of such analysis Baker Blinker was trying to assert herself as the queen ruler again, with Baker Bloch by her ever-side as Prime Minister. Like in the UK as opposed to the US, which had just gone to hell. Wheeler, early on again, was kind of like 2016 Trump happening at the same time, the new ruler, the wannabe *dictator* — obvious to them if not a big chunk of the country still surrounding their safe patch of virtual irreality up in the main world. Where Mike and Pat originally come from in Missouri, North Carolina and Tennessee respectively. This was all fate.
And she’s still married to original “king” Karoz Blogger — that hadn’t changed, despite all the other stuff that has occurred since they tied the knot in photo-novel 02 and originally started dating in 01. It seems to be one constant of the blog and attached photo-novels. Perhaps the ultimate one. The ability of two to manifest at once and live and interact together as husband and wife. Then: Wheeler.
She ditched the remainder of the crazy blue outfit, made the scars in her face deeper and more off-putting to fit into this world better.
“Last Drop, good,” she said, staring at the the sign of the place on the edge of the Fissure, which some call the Fracture just to be ornery about established protocol. “I have a place to eavesdrop on new gossip.” In particular, she was looking for Jed, who now seems to go by John (the Mind Reader) or perhaps Incognito, obvious enough nod to a disguise, a covering up of an origin rooted in one of those complicated North-South type disputes. And *Stitches.* “Ted,” she mouths his own new name aloud while thinking about all this.
She twirls in her tracks.
“Is it really you, Mother?” he called from across the court. “Alive and in the flesh again?” Ted, aka Stitches, couldn’t believe his ever-wide peepers.
“Come to Mama,” she said to this, and he flew into her open arms, micronized in a flash. Microcosm. She had a subject after all.
And a new character. Ratcatcher of the Fracture. *Not* the Fissure. She extended the story backwards and forwards to give it solidity. Two caught rats in a backpack cage — *not* pets, even though she’d given them names by now: Billy and Corgan. Story about that too. “Pumpkintwisters.” And, come to think of it, two more subjects I suppose, if she wishes.
Noise from the “cafe”. Two people she’d missed before, making a plan Stitches told her in her mind. She couldn’t make out the conversation herself but she knew the ever-aware, lime green teddy would give details later if she’d just hold her position without being disturbed. Physically, not mentally, because it was too late for the latter. Better add another scar or three and maybe the same with the rats, she thought, looking at what was coming her way. Al and John the Mind Reader (aka Jed aka Incognito we think) were only the first to arrive. Weekly meeting of the Last Drop Gossipers we have here. Including long forgotten Jackson Bloch, no kin to Baker. And apparently Ted numbered among them too. How could she explain the micronization? Was that even a word?
“Don’t worry,” she heard him say, still one through it all. “They can’t see you while I’m with you. Just sit over there in the center and *listen*. Takes two to know.”
(to be continued)
the coffee knows
“Here come the rest,” says John the Mind Reader to his character supervisor Al. “Better wrap this up.”
“Beans,” Al says to this, which encapsulated everything they just spoke about in a word.
How can a path be so straight, he thought, and be aligned with that old rusty object. In his mind he was picturing something else, something woodsy. Not this; not the apocalypse. But there was resonance. He continues backwards…
North Yd. He must be heading to North Yd. He’d heard about the place. Bad things. Rotted out Tilers for one.
But he was facing the wrong way.
and now the woods
He laid down his walking stick to take a picture of what he’d just been through. He was ahead of himself in the virtual world. Time to catch up!