Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Events of December 21 to March 17 - Chapter 29

December 21, 2012

Finding Harmony - ©William Evertson 2012

William - The avalanche snow was thankfully powdery and I felt as if I was floating. Then suddenly I was jostled by harder yet still fluffy boulder size snowballs; I could swear I heard them go “baaaa.”
Then as suddenly as it started it was over. Disoriented, I began to shake the snow off me and take my bearings. The snow began to do the same then I realized that Blue’s herd of sheep had indeed been swept off the ridge and down along with me and Fish. As hooves and tails sorted, shook off snow and righted themselves into individuals again I pulled the map scarf from my neck. Comparing the ridge outline to the map I realized I was exactly where I had intended to be… the Mulka Fields.

Slowly like the prairie dog fields I had known from my childhood, heads started popping up from the snow. First a well dressed monkey, then two more, then Lee.

To my right the barber dusted snow off his trousers and Jelly De Smelt uncurled. Mark was digging out the troll, who was arguing with a fox over whose hat was whose.
Mara was slowly turning circles and consulting her own map. She paused and stared back up the ridge we had all just tumbled down.

“Who knew we’d find Harmony?” she exclaimed.
All heads swiveled back up the slope to see that the avalanche had uncovered a rather large wreck of a dirigible.

Susan - "Who is Harmony/" Susan shouted. What trickery is she in the Dirigible? Let's dig her out!

William - Mara slowly began extracting the clues from her rucksack. Spreading them on the groaning board, we gathered around. "Hummn" she murmured, "restore Harmony?"

Mark - The troll de Smelt was handed a cell phone by yours truly. 'Keep off the grass!" he shouted into the device angrily but there was no grass in sight, only frozen tundra. de Smelt heard giggles on the other end of the line and then Susan joined in.

"I think this can be easily done" said Bill, the voice erupted from someplace deep inside him but he was was understandably astonished to see that his shadow had taken on a life of its' own. This was his voice yet not. Susan, startled by this development, stopped giggling and lifted a vile from the groaning board that had magically appeared. she dropped the mystery vial in the snow. bill's shadow grabs the bottle and begins to drink.

Meanwhile I was surfing on the pull of gravity and Daumal's fingers on the keyboard of his typewriter. The vial had been turned topsy turvy and as a seemingly striped red and white liquid careened toward the top of the vial, in front of me, triggering a feeling of deja vu, I felt compelled to help. I frantically reached, gripped, flailed and pounded the frozen snow around me with my fists and did anything I could as more and more of the dirigible became visible. We had to finish before the shadow was done consuming the ligquid. Was it absinthe? A mixture of battery acid from Bill's 8 track tape player and coincidence? The sight of Lee being released from the swollen turgid air balloon was overwhelming. Separated from the world of the Blue Squirrels that had locked her in there, now our friend Lee, our genie was out of her bottle or about to be.

Mara - Campbell soup label folded into 8ths with an 8 on it.. or was that an infinity symbol? Can shaped like a squirrel, a pair of gloves with drawings, broken prism, red boot and glove together to show a map. Think, Don't Think and Don't Believe What You Think soup cans, The first tattoo... triangle with two stickbirds, the Mountain Climber Haiku, Doublers and Twins, Mark's vial, Pandora's Blochs, Termas, Jane's crackerjacks...

December 23, 2012

Mulka Celebration, © Lee Goldberg 2012

William - I sat on my rucksack to protect my half frozen butt from fallen off and began to take stock of this, our third year Mulka festivities. Fish and Susan were sampling the grog recipe she had distilled especially for the occasion. Truth be told, although I could manage only the smallest of sips before my throat burned from the liquid fire, I tasted little difference from her everyday distillations.

Fish on the other hand was indeed drinking like a fish and making quite the scene. He had traded a hard won peradam for a top hat and monocle and seemed to be having the time of his life as he and Susan danced to the Chattering Squirrel Sound Effect Band.  The Red Boot parade marched by without a misstep followed by tiny Mulka wagons sweeping up the footprints as to Leave No Trace.

Le Red Boot Cirque - © Susan Shulman 2013

Being very out of drinking shape, Susan’s Grog went straight to my head and I became very pensive as I reflected on our three years spent on Analogue. The uncovering of the wreck of the dirigible “Harmony” was on my mind as I looked away from the festivities and watched Mark and Jelly shoveling and swearing as they exposed more of the bare structure.
How had it come to rest there and for how long? It’s covering was mostly gone with just a bit of the fabric remaining which was emblazoned with the Chinese symbol for harmony.

“How had Harmony come to ruin?” I thought to myself.

Slowly, a picture emerged in my minds eye; (Sammy’s eye?) of Fish emerging from the water’s edge to join the expedition and having his first conscious thought.

 Compostrophic Boxing Fish Entering a Thought - © Mark Bloch 2012

I jumped up and ran over to Maramara as she continued to place the clues onto the groaning board looking carefully at each in turn. I grabbed the can of “Don’t Believe What You Think” and practically shoving it into her face I yelled, “we’re not here to climb a mountain; we’re here to restore Harmony!”

Maramara blinked several times then reached into her rucksack and pulled a sheaf of papers gathered from the note tree. Handing them to me she smiled and said, “I thought you knew that.” “With a bit of glue you can use these.”

Mark - Angela and Kathleen were attempting to push through the once a year Mulka time slit with less than satisfactory results. Angela managed to send her voice through but sadly we could not see her. She said something about a horrible storm. Meanwhile Kathleen we could see but she was frozen in the icy tundra, unable to move and we could not make out her voice. We could have used their extra manpower for digging Lee out, or womanpower as it were, what with Maramara and Bill quibbling and Fish up to his gills in grog. But resources were limited here and so i continued to work my fingers to the bone, explaining over and over as needed that we would not have to spend a fourth year or 11th lifetime on the mountain but that it would require a bit of clever thinking on our part and Susan would have to return soon from her temporary "urgent matter." She said the current of the waves were A7, D7, A7, D7, E 7 whatever that meant and something about two men-like shapes "up on a overhanging cliff blinking from the lights of in the sky." "Bloody hell," Ria and Bill were always saying, the blinking urgency of everything, jeez, I get it people!!!! But can I get a little help over here?

Oh and i forgot-- All the while we felt horrible about Jane. She was pounding on the ice and could not get in! We tried every combination, even Susan's A7, D7, A7, D7, E 7 but nothing worked.

December 28, 2012

Susan - I looked around to find everyone passed out on the beach. The last illuminating moon for the year…the 13th moon, lit up the night brilliantly. In the distance, a lone Goatman was reciting an epic poem about our climb the past three years. His strumming was echoing across the mountains. What an adventure this has been. One by one the climbers awoke to hear the clues evoked from the chord.
And, so it begins, we search for Harmony!

The Goatman - © Susan Shulman 2012

January 3, 2013

William - Several large Maramara wagons pulled alongside me, filled to the top boards with an assortment of brightly colored fireworks. Lee’s monkeys were putting on a beautiful ariel display yet I was baffled. I didn’t know we even had anything explosive on the mountain.
Fireworks on the Mountain - © Susan Shulman 2013
Although, we did have that one unfortunate incident with Susan’s first still. I shuddered at the thought; it was a close call.

I asked the wagon master, “where did these come from?
He was a burly silverback, his words coming out in clouds of condensation on the cold Mulka field; “Found them in Yheng He’s junk.”

I thought back to 1421 as I watched the display illuminate Harmony in the twilight of Analogues New Year.

Zeng He's Junk - ©William Evertson 2013

Zeng He's Stowaway  woodcut - ©William Evertson 2013

Mark - The Baroness as a child was known as Nettie Flameninakos but she was rumored to have been dragged from her native Greece kicking and screaming in 1421 BC, arriving on the island in 1968 just as the Holy Thaw was subsiding and Mount Analog's adolescence had begun. There she grew up a tortured and brutalized woman who would hear nothing of her parent's admonishments about gratitude and how lucky she was to be growing up on such a pretty island. She saw only the frequent squalls and the encroaching tundra which threatened to extinguish the Great Fireline permanently if Fish and Pensive William Ray De Smet once a Belgian prodigy (who was now known as Smelly, of course) stopped tossing lyme on the line. But as legend has it...

De Smet and Fish eventually disappeared, the Fireline was eventually snuffed out but it was little Nettie who kept it going for over three months. she then also disappeared and rumor had it that it was a path inside the mountain she had taken to her escape although none could confirm that such a path even existed except an old critter with the head of a goat known as La Cabra. And of course La Cabra in turn was problematic because he was banished from the mountain by The Council of Blues.

La Cabra, before he left, told of the dirigible Harmony being dug out of the snow and William the Studius's historic musings to come about how long it'd been buried there which would signal the escape from the mountain.

But how could Pighead be expected to know any of this as he accused the Baroness of being Yheng He's proxy. Screaming and snorting and gasping for air, his lungs expanded as he was about to receive a big surprise.

January 7, 2013

Lee - It seemed as tho' I was walking down/up this corridor for a very long time, not sure where I'd end up or if I was ascending or descending.  Suddenly rounding a corner I came to a door.  A door?  It seemed very old; rough wood with rusted hinges and a very large ornate doorknob. There should be no surprises left in this underground world I've explored for so long, so either I open the door or go back to the caves and tunnels.  No choice as I see it.  I tried the handle and of course it would not turn a bit. I wonder how many hundreds of years since this door has been opened...soft fur brushed my this time the ever present monkey did not startle me but is a welcome companion.  He took my hand and laid it on the door just above the handle.   I heard a rasping screech,  like the door itself was groaning.  It began to vibrate under my hand and I stepped back just in time as the door began to move.  A blinding light came from the opening.  After being in mostly dim light of the caves this light was painful but so welcome.  The door opened enough for me to slip through the opening to the outside.

The smell of fresh air was perfume to my nostrils.  As my eyes became accustomed to the bright sunshine I could see the door had closed behind me and I was on the edge of the forest of note trees. Picking up some fallen notes I was surprised to see they all said the same thing, "exit through the gift shop", that's a pretty direct message.   Now I just need to find it.   Maybe the others are gathered there in preparation to leave the island.  I must hurry, I don't want them to leave me behind.  There were several small monkeys in the trees along the path leading my way.   The trees grew thinner as we approached a clearing; ahead were vast fields.  It looked familiar until I was about 10 feet into the field...then nothing is right.

Worse still I had no idea what direction to's all the frustrating ....holy crap!!!

I'm in the 'fields of confusion'.   Oh no!  Now what will I do?  Then I heard the monkeys;  one said, "it does not matter how fast you go as long as you do not stop".   Where did I hear that before?  I forged ahead still unsure if I was going the right that humming I hear?  As the humming got louder ... it was the monkeys!!  

In my head I heard "follow-follow-follow the yellow brick road", really?  I'm off to see the gift shop!  I looked down and sure enough I was on the yellow brick road.   the monkeys scurried ahead.  They chattered, "follow follow".   I had to run to keep up with them.    I felt like I was leaving confusion behind me when I reached a rise in the road.   In front of me lay the Valley of the Balls.   I hadn't seen that for some time.   The yellow brick road continued and soon in the distance I saw the outline of the gift store.   I breathed a huge sigh of relief.   My journey was about over and I hoped the others were there with the answer to how we were to leave the island.   I continued to follow the yellow brick road......

To the Gift Shop - © Lee Goldberg 2013

January 17, 2013

Susan - The popping, ear-piercing sounds were deafening. I heard Bill screaming at the top of his lungs. His voice was high pitched and screeching next to FISH….”dig… dig, use your fins if you have to, we have to find harmony quickly before we all burn out!” The sky was ablaze from the fireworks and the flying sparks were landing all over us. The monkeys and goats looked up and started scampering for the hills. Owls started to ascend and disappear over the ocean! Maramara and Bill pointed and together they screamed “…Up in the sky, it’s a bird, it’s a plane…no it’s the fish dirigibles…and they are headed for Harmony!” We ran as fast as we could, because we knew the helium in the airships could explode at any moment from one of those flickering flares, and the party would be over………..and Harmony would be just a trace again!

Dig...Dig..Use Your Fins - © Susan Shulman 2013

Cathy - We....are...still...walking.

January 28, 2013

Mara - "Termas. Vials. Don't Think tin whistle, Klein blue, pyramids, Dyson vacuums, loose ends, loose ends," Mara trailed off as she pulled out a bundle of the loose ends. "Meeting!" she hollered... she blew the Don't Think whistle and motioned to everyone to gather. Passing out a loose end to each, "tie yourselves to the uphill part of the dirigible, I'm taking the vacuum downhill a bit. Count off please, Now, I'm going to turn on the vacuum and run back up to tie off too.... when I get back I'll remove the Pandora Blochs and we should be unstuck in a jiffy. There is a use for everything and these loose ends will now keep us together as the dirigible slides down the slope... If Lee heard the whistle she should pop up soon... Ria, please come with me to position the vacuum to the proper angle to enhance our trajectory, you are the only one to do that with any measure of accuracy... then I'll wait for you to tie off. And excuse me but I must keep blowing the whistle for Lee, with some luck we'll all end up on a flat spot together and can commence to finish repairs. With more luck we'll find the gum tree.

William - "Outstanding, someone is taking charge, assigning tasks; finally seeing the big picture!', Fish shouted as everyone scurried to their posts. Then he looked around and quietly added, "Mara, what about me?"

Mara - "Of course, Fish you must come! Susan, would you mind letting fish ride on your lap?"

Lee - Walking down the beach with my parade of monkeys I began hearing insistent whistling.  It wasn't the monkeys as they'd left their stuff behind in the caves.  The sound is very loud.   I think it must be the others trying to round us up.   Since it's past time to leave I began to run.  I sure don't want to get left behind with only monkeys as companions.

SMACK ... Whoosh ..
I passed through a slit and came upon a frantic scene.   Still, I felt great relief to see the others , regardless of the chaos before me. "Mara - here I am" I shouted above the din.  "I think the monkeys stayed behind; no matter it's time to leave them and this place, what's the plan?"

February 10, 2013

Mara - "Tie up, Lee, I shouted.  "OK, I'm turning on the Dyson..." The gravitational pull sucked the snow out from beneath the dirigible.. it began to lean downhill. I ran awkwardly up to the dirigible and tied off... then the wind began to blow. There was a final tip and we all began a slide down the slope. Ahead there was an obstruction and we were headed directly for it. Instead of impact we kept moving, in fact we became air borne. With the wind whistling through the tattered frame work of the vehicle we sailed over the crown of rocks at the apex of the mountain. (note, I've read the ending of the story, so graciously supplied by Mark back in the day... My plan is to unload our obstacles from our rucksacks, leaving them on the rocks... the hollow men will eat them. The "evil one" mentioned by Mark in the ending will appear and will be cast out over the "Unfortunate Border".. the gum trees will provide the glue needed to repair Harmony. Susan will find the "vibration unit".... )

Susan - Why does fish have to sit on me...........

Mara - "Awkward." Mara thought, Susan is resisting fish, hunmmmm. "Fish, please please, jump into this net!" I looked at him and our eyes locked.

Susan - "He's slimy Mara: He's a fish for goodness sake."

William - "You mean Indra's net I assume? The metaphor used to illustrate the concepts of emptiness, dependent origination, and interpenetration" Otherwise, many moons ago when I was still schooling we were taught to avoid all other types," Fish blinked his eyeless lids then resumed staring at Mara's obstacles.

February 14, 2013

Lee - Frantically I ran to the tangle of ropes and grabbed the one closest to me...with a lurch it began to pull me UP and off the ground. I didn't seem to have the strength to hold on and tie it I rose higher & higher I yelled to Mara "holy monkey tails, Mara, I think I grabbed the wrong rope !!!" " heelllppppp"

Holy Monkey Tales - © Lee Goldberg 2013

March 17, 2013

Mara - Bloody Hell"! We heard as we road the framework towards the tree line. When the moguls started at each apex of a hummock I saw something.. someone hanging from a tree. Her eyes grew larger as we careened closer. The impact was softened by the rich growth of low snow covered boughs. Two shakes of a goat's tail later, Ria plopped down in the snow beside us. "Bloody Hell", she exclaimed, "I've been stuck in that tree for eons". Indeed, her shoes were still stuck to the branch above. "It's a Gum Pine." William said quietly. "Careful or we'll all be stuck". Gingerly we untangled our loose ends.

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