Friday, August 15, 2014

The Events of March 27th to August 11th - Chapter 32

March 27, 2014

Ria - Fish decided to swim off while the others (us) were caught on a ridge in the Goat God dilemma. 'Humans,' he thought blowing water bubbles, 'don't they know you gotta go with the flooooow.' The water surface was bright and clear. Fish could see the sun reflect in the calm waves. He decided to surface to catch a breath of morning air through his gills. As he got closer to the surface the reflection partitioned in two, but Fish knew that water could break the light easy so he swirled up, beak and fins contrasting the splashes of white foam ...... It took Fish a while to gain his senses---well, those he had---but by then his penny dropped just before he fainted, a trick he'd learned from the Belgian..... He 'd mistakenly taken the bright circle-like blue surface reflections with the blue (!) eyes of the Blochdreaded, notorious, mythical blue (!) eyed MA cat~~~~~

©Susan Shulman - Frog with Cherry Fingers

Susan - It started to rain cherries. What kind of crazy land was this? Fish was staring into the water, fixated as usual. He was such a deep thinker. Sometimes I wondered if he was just fooling us all. Looking like the sophisticated Edwardian aqua-gent but in reality I do believe he waited just long enough between pauses until one of the other climbers would come up with a solution that he would indubitably take credit for! Before I could finish observing his stillness, a frog jumped from the rock and in one split second, she chopped her hands into a frenzy of acrobatic moves swooping all the downpour of fruit and balanced them gently on her fingertips all the while smiling! Fish looked up! “Huh” he said.

March 28, 2014

Mark - I heard Cathy Nolan Vinčević say "Okay, the goat won't move and we are stuck on this cliff!" I had to rescue my friends. They were stuck. "We are spiritually incapacitated" I sent them in morse code. "Which is exactly what you are describing. Can't go left, can't go right. Cannot shimmy down. Can't pull up. Can't lay there. Can't stand up. I would say religious negotiations with the Goat Gods is the way to go." I knew this because i had been flat on my back for over two years.

Thus did I find myself digging toward the Belgian's house with the soul purpose of finally tryin to get off the island when I pulled my back out. So when I finally reached them and they looked surprised to see me, I told them I'd been in traction for over a year with the elephant tortoises looking after me in hut 8.

After I told them I'd been laid up with the worst pain of my life, spiritual OR physical, and they realized it really WAS me who had ripped the time slit in Rias garden, Mara said "Elephant tortoises? There are no Elephant tortoises. In hut 8 or anywhere else." Then who was waiting on me hand and foot? I asked her.

Meanwhile the Elephant Tortoise walked through the rain with his mouth wide open, glad that Mark had escaped from the Hut to save his friends. It had been raining frogs earlier in the season and he longingly watched THAT downpour out the window but now it was raining cherries and he was free as a bird so Aganesh didn't mind if his face or lips or even the back of his throat got pelted, he tilted his enormous head toward the heavens and it was worth it when one of the plump seedless red belly bombs landed on his tongue and he could bite down and chew to his heart's content.

©Mark Bloch - Psychic Pain Squared

Mara - I wondered, "was Mark incapacitated by the physical and psychic pain or covering up for his stubborn use of the square wheeled bike?"

March 29, 2014

William - Fish glared at me from under his umbrella and grumbled, “The forecast sounded like fair weather; I thought it was promising for a summit attempt.” Fat plump cherries bounced lightly off our fabric cones of protection and continued to roll down the mountain. Indeed, the last mamara wagon had left only an hour before after delivering the daily climbing forecast. “Fish, you forget the forecasts are predictions and predictions are sometimes wishful thinking.” I glanced at the scrap of bark in my hand and re-read the words; Life is a bowl of cherries. Protect yourself with essential geometries. I added, “These forecasts of our ability to summit are as impenetrable as a zen koan. Here, have a cherry and mind the pits.”

©William Evertson - Life is a Bowl of Cherries

Susan - “Looks pretty sunny now to me.” I yelled up to the climbers. “I smell spring just around the corner. What a glorious day to ascend.”
I heard this garbled grumbled rumbling from someplace?” I wasn’t sure if a volcano was going to erupt or, oh ya, it had to be finicky Fish. “What’s up with you Fish?”
He pointed arrogantly with his fin. Look what the rain-washed up on the shore! She was whistling through her long and elongated proboscis and swung her diving mask towards Fish. “Hummm, Hey matey, seems I just found me some buried treasure! You can call me Steampunk Rosie!”

©Susan Shulman - Steampunk Rosie

March 30, 2014

Mara - I wondered, "Have both Mark and Susan gone bonkers in the thin air? Is this the when the claustrophobic paranoid dreams of escape takes it's dark turn?" Across the Springtime mists I hollered, "Is that a fish in your slicker or just a cheap suit!" That got their attention, especially fish's. Momentarily shocked but he recovered with a rather snooty and somewhat injured tone, "Please meet Ms err Steampunk Rosie". We bowed, everyone bowed all around. "Now, let's break for brunch".

William - "Sounds like a great plan", I said as I collapsed my umbrella. I turned to where Mara was laying out a small buffet when I felt a wet slap across the back of my neck. Thinking it was Fish up to his usual pranks I took another step when it happened again. I turned and saw that my umbrella had come alive and was about to give me another wet slap with a very long tongue. "No more mischief", I shouted in my sternest voice because when a mountain spirit inhabits an inanimate object they become very hard of hearing. Looking chastised the umbrella hopped on a single leg and followed me over to Mara's blanket. I offered her a bowl of soup. Luckily Mara had warmed up the Don't believe What You Think variety. The umbrella stood and noisily slurped the soup while rolling her one large eye like she hadn't eaten in 100 years.

©William Evertson - Umbrella Monster

Mark - Cherries were bouncing off my noggin and I had to wonder, was it raining all over the island or just locally? And were they having the same effect on everyone that they were having on me? I felt woozy and so I clung tightly to the rope and shimmied along the narrow path on the mountain's edge my square bicycle wheels slam slam slamming into the mud as they rotated. All this drama was very upsetting to me and it didn't help that my back was sore and I felt like I had a fever coming on but I rode on diligently. My mission was clear, rescue my friends and get them "brunch" on the other side of the mountain ASAP. I had yanked the bike with the square wheels from beside Ria's house somewhere in Belgium, popped back into the time slit at the bottom of a construction site and now I was only a few meters from my traveling companions who, if I wasn't mistaken, I hadn't seen since over two Mulka's ago. The dirigible Harmony had been dug out of the snow, there were fireworks and monkeys and pigs and Smelly... all signaling that something was gonna give. But as I lie on my back recovering from the lower back trauma with the tortoises serving me hot sheepdip seemingly by the quart and round the clock. Susan had asked "Oh no, Mark…are these mellow yellow Marshmallows?" close to a year ago but other than that I had not had contact with anyone more like two years. Susan morphed into a dragonfly and I had been on my own ever since. I watched as orange blurry stripes expanded and contracted like a force field around her and i shouted after her, no it's not the marshmallows, it's sheep dip but I knew that it would be the last contact I had for quite some time and she probably had not heard me. 

Blue’s herd of sheep had provided the most hallucinogenic sheepdip this side of the mountain if not the world and the Mulka Fields were the perfect place to drift off into reverie. I was digging out the troll, who was arguing with a fox over whose hat was whose. I was one with the mountain when suddenly something like an electrical current surged through my coccyx and up my spine. I lunged backwards and as I tumbled into a 720 degree back flip, imagining I was at the Mountain Olympics, overhead I could see Mara in an air ship hopelessly tangled in gum trees. My co-workers trying to help me get the troll out of the ground immediately switched course and joined together in an attempt to free the ropes from the gums. But somehow everyone stopped suddenly as my backflip rolled to an end and looked at me. I didn't realize it but I had let out a deafening roar. When they heard that and saw the electrical current shooting up my spine, they all ran away in horror.

So that of course is how I turned into Pan, half goat half man. Was I Pan or just a regular satyr, It didn't matter, all i knew my legs were gone and been replaced with goat extremities. It was making it even harder now to ride this rectangular bike than it would normally be and that was plenty tough already.

But I was scooped up off the ground by an odd collection of ne'er do well blind monkeys, owls with broken wings and dazed limping squirrels working together and they are the ones who delivered me, flat on my back and unable to move, to the Elephant Tortoises in Hut 8. I explained to the head tortoise, Aganesh, I had just had a particularly odd dream. I was watching Mara in an air ship stuck in the Gum Trees when suddenly I had been transported to a cave with drawings on the walls.... the drawings are marching and suddenly I see a turtle, no a fish, fly off the wall and recognized it was Fish.

Fish decided to fly off while everyone in the climbing party except me had been caught on a ridge in a great Goat God dilemma. "That's when I woke up" I said. And I knew I had to go. "You just got here," said Aganesh and you aren't going anywhere. He called some of his lackeys to carry me off and the sheepdip treatments continued for the next two years. Over and over again I relived the various things that had happened on the island. I kept coming back to the time Bill quickly hosed down Fish ‘N Boots causing smoke to billow as letters began to form our names on all the outreached bands magnifying beyond our dimension: Susan, Ria, William, Mara, Lee, Mark, Christopher, Angela, Jane, Cathy, Kathleen, Bibiana. Fish ‘N Boots asked Bill “ So, are you still wondering who is actually creating the story here?

Somehow I knew I had a memory that had not yet occurred to tell Susan to squeeze back through a time slit somewhere, grab a machine and return in time to catch the blimp which is just then passing overhead allowing us to make our exit. But how would I know when this event was supposed to happen? It didn't make any sense but as I relived our life on the mountain it kept coming back to that. And to Born in Chicago a strange blues song I didn't even like that much. Weird.

It was a Thursday when I awoke and explained to Aganesh, as I had so many times before that once again I had just had a particularly odd dream. I was watching Mara in an air ship stuck in the Gum Trees when suddenly I had been transported to a cave with drawings on the walls.... the drawings are marching and suddenly I see a turtle, no a fish, fly off the wall and recognized it was Fish.

Fish decided to fly off while everyone in the climbing party except me had been caught on a ridge in a great Goat God dilemma. "That's when I woke up" I said. And I knew I had to go. "Then Go!" Aganesh shouted, "There is no time to waste!" What about my back I asked him but he assured me it was still recovering but he was sure I'd be OK. Follow the fish he said. 

And so I did. I dove into a shadow next to a coral reef that revealed itself outside the hut. "Ria, William and Mara in scuba gear are under the water holding on to the same long red rope" he said but it was a lie. I followed him anyway. Fish swam for what seemed like an hour and then got closer to the surface as the reflection partitioned in two, with Fish sure that water could break the light easy so he swirled up, beak and fins contrasting the splashes of white foam ...... .... He 'd mistakenly taken the bright circle-like blue surface reflections with the blue (!) eyes of a notorious, mythical blue eyed MA cat and so I knew this was my jumping off point. I leapt into the time slit, grabbed the bike with the square wheels and then spotted the Rowboats with the climbers aboard peering down into the water as I turned a corner. But Ria, William and Mara were not in scuba gear under the water holding on to a long red rope. They were stranded on the side of the mountain with no where to turn. Danger was all around them. They were nervously peering off the side of the mountain and vertigo was setting in. That's when Cathy made me aware I had to switch places with that rigid old goat and rescue them or their waffles on the other side of the mountain would get cold. And no one no one likes cold waffles, least of all this bunch. And I was not going to be the one to tell Ria, cat or no cat.

April 10, 2014

Susan - “Awwww”. I was relaxing in this secret “CENOTES” I accidentally found in the cave while I was collecting those cherries to make some pies. I carelessly floated inside the crater of teal blue foamy salt water full of musical notes. John Lee Hooker “blue notes” were echoing and reverberating between amber stalagmites. It was a religious experience! What a trip, lost in an ocean of nirvana.
Then I was startled. I started to notice eddy waves surfacing and swirling from some disturbance in my sea of calm. What the hell is going up there? It sounded like thunderous hooves crashing, galloping up and down the crackling rocks above me. The vibration was causing formations to fall around me. I better find the others and get out of here pronto. I think the kraken has awakened.

©Susan Shulman - Kraken

May 11, 2014

William - As Fish and I rounded the stoney outcrop partially interrupting the narrow trail it became obvious that we weren’t the first to explore the western face. Clinging to the steep slope like a mud wasp nest was a hut; or at least a facade built to protect a small niche in the mountain from the wind and weather. We shouted a greeting but only an echo returned our call. Fish pushed his way inside and we found a rock wall chamber not larger than a monks cell. Furnished simply with straw mats on two wooden bed frames, a chair and a table. But on the table was an amazing sight; an ancient Corona typewriter. The thought of someone carrying a typewriter this high on the mountain could only mean that a very serious author had spent time in this hut. 
Fish squinted at the machine and asked, “What does it do?”
I replied, “it’s a typewriter; you press hard on those keys and letters are stamped onto paper.”
He blinked his lidless several times and said, “it’s like that skinny cylinder I see you pressing onto paper and making squiggles with?”
I blinked back, “you mean my pencil? And those aren’t squiggles, those are my thoughts, my observations, a recording of our travels.”
“You’re pulling my fin! Those black scratches I see you making mean something?”
I banged my head on the table a bit then replied, “It’s like when we talk, only more permanent; it helps us to remember things or to communicate with someone who isn’t present. What did you think I was doing all this time?
He put his fin to his mouth, made a few gulping noises then said, “well, you spend so much time doing it I just assumed it had something to do with your reproductive cycle.”
Fish continued, “show me how this word picture machine works, I have some things in my head that you should see.”

©William Evertson - Machine #15

May 14, 2014

Susan - There was a lot of laughing, giggling, banging and gargling permeating into the stillness of the serious zen-like cave. While Bill was banging his head on the table like he was at a rave, a flurry of multicoloured feathers were flying into the cave entrance. They blew onto the protruding tips of the letters and gathering along the front of the delicate black and red banded ribbon. They plugged up the spools and prevented the keys from sticking to the inked strips. "Bill started screaming, what the bloody hell is going on here" A huge head with two large sunny side-up eyes ran inside the cave screeching to a halt and ogled at Fish. A bunny with RED BOOTS hollered."Did you miss me…I'm back!"

©Susan Shulman - Red Boots
May 17, 2014

William - I blinked through the settling cloud of feathers at Susan. I couldn’t think of what to say so I said, “You rode an ostrich into the hut.” It was one of those obvious statements we blurt out when the spell of making elaborate word pictures fails us. Susan, whose passion aside from art was evolutionary biology has investigated some of the more extreme examples of animal adaption to high elevation. 
Susan said, “isn’t he remarkable? The Analogue ostrich is as sure footed as the mountain goat and many are capable of carrying loads of up to 65 kilograms.” The large bird bobbed it’s head this way and that, then banged the picture machine so hard the Sisyphus key flew off through the window and started rolling down the hill. “Sorry about that,” Susan said, “their eyes are bigger than their brains and they can be a bit ill- tempered.”

“Curious adaptation”, Fish said, as he eyed the bird well out of range of it’s undulating neck, but I’ve never really understood flightless birds. “I mean if you’re a bird without flight you’d almost think you’ve devolved. Who wants to grow up to be someones sherpa bird when you could soar to the summit?” 
I glared at Fish since on more than one occasion he’d wandered off leaving me to haul his kit up a difficult pitch.
Never one to leave well enough alone Fish plunged on, “What next Susan? The discovery of Cirque du Soleil birds walking tightropes and swinging on trapezes.”

Susan looked miffed and said, “it’s difficult to predict the characteristics of as yet unobserved phenomena, but given the variety of terrain we’ve encountered that specific set of phenomena seems likely”

©William Evertson - Bird on a Wire

May 28, 2014

Susan - "Man, what's all the fuss about…Just chill" the pink fish spouted as it bobbed gently, moving gracefully along with the swishing waves towards the beach. "You all gonna split a vein the way you keep banging your brains" I looked at the creature weaving the foam of the warm azure sea. It was the most calming sight I had seen in a while.

©Susan Shulman - Pink Fish

May 30, 2014

Susan - Springtime had finally come to the Mountain and we all watched as the King Bees were coming back to the island!

©Susan Shulman - King Bee

May 31, 2014

Mara - I spend quite a lot of time wondering here. What is it about this place that brings a sharp focus to every little thing? Slowly I repacked the remains of our lunch while keeping an eye out for the monkeys dressed in silk.

June 3, 2014

Susan - While Mara was packing I contemplated “Living On The Edge”. That’s what the Mountain was to me. Living on the edge of insanity, the edge of learning, the edge of loneliness, the edge of completeness, the edge of beautify, the edge of despair, the edge of inspiration, the edge of illumination, the edge of creation, the edge of miracles, the edge of the edge of the edge, the edge of …if only I could see just a little beyond the cliff, just a little bit more, I would know. Then Fish said, “Susan, can you just lighten up and let me down”

©Susan Shulman - Lighten Up Susan

June 4, 2014

Mara - Fondly I let my hand trail over the Corona's keyboard then slowly pulled it's cover down snug. Sorry old friend, can't take you along. You were on loan and must leave everything the way I found it or I'll have to leave the island permanently. Per instructions I dropped the typewriter over the side and watched as it hit the center of the target, the slippery slope that led directly to the Writer's Westside Hut.

June 24, 2014

Mara - I turned to the path and began to walk, without perceiving it consciously the way became narrower and narrower stopping abruptly at a large boulder firmly lodged in the way. I couldn't go over it or around, nothing left to do but move the obstacle. I moved off a little way and sat down facing the dull grey roundness. Shrugging off my rucksack I fished inside and found what was needed, the collapsable crow bar. Arranging a fulcrum and digging out a bit from the bottom edge I roughly jiggled the the crow bar firmly into place. Recalling the recent dream instructions I pushed down on the tool rhythmically. Slowly slowly the boulder began to rock and "POP" gave up to roll out of the way. I heard startling high pitched bitching and sputtering from the vacancy underneath. I had uncovered a creature. This was the mooch I'd heard scuttling about, jabbing and tripping me during long tiring trail hauls. Here was my chance to rid myself of the pest. I sent it packing, because once truly seen the bratty creature has no more power to annoy. "That," I thought, "is that." Finally on to new vistas!

©Mara Thompson - The Bratty Creature

July 26, 2014

Susan -  I was deep within myself. Lost in TM. It had been so long since I had thought about when the Maharishi gave me my mantra in the agency days. You never forget that secret word. Never. I was contemplating life on the edge of nothingness when a loud screech abruptly shocked my chakras. It took me a few minutes to adjust and realign my body and my blurred eyes to the vague shadows dancing in the pitch-black sky outside the entrance. Screams were echoing from one cave to another. What the hell was going on tonight? One is never supposed to be shocked out of a meditation. I crashed down with such force from my float that even the rug and sand did not prevent my fall and subsequent sore derriere. Bibiana's voice came into tune. “We are being invaded on the mountain, hurry everyone.” 
"William and Mara,what do we do?'
The roar of laughter filled the air.
“Bibi…………it’s a FIREFLY…haven’t you ever seen one before”

©Susan Shulman - Firefly

August 11, 2014

Susan - The jagged rocks were slick from the dew and I lost by balance. I slipped on something slimy and sticky, like a squishy banana peel which I knew was impossible unless Lee’s monkeys were back. That was always trouble. A rope whipped around my waist stopping me from tumbling. Hummm, must be Mara or Bibi from one of the caves above. I regained my composure and looked behind me. There was nothing. I heard a low hissing noise and every nerve in my body was terror stricken, waiting to explode as I attempted to keep still, afraid to breath. I had heard there were snakes here but had never seen one. I was frozen, fearing for my life. The last time I encountered slithering reptiles was in the swamps. The time I drove into some secluded town in Louisiana thinking I was going to some Woodstock-esque music festival! What I encountered were some down home creepy crawling soul-sucking bluesmen that brought the swamp down to its knees with deep grinding haunting tunes. Ya Halleluiah. I was never more scared in my life… but the music, ya was rich!!!
I snapped out of that revelry as it spun me around. I came face to face with the sound. Not sure what it was, because it looked a bit like a chameleon, but it smiled at me and showed me its big teeth. I put my hand down and let it lick my fingers. The blood started to circulate back to my heart. I wondered if the climbers will let me keep it.

©Susan Shulman - Chameleon

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Events of October 16 to March 15 - Chapter 31

October 16, 2013
©Susan Shulman

Susan - HEY…………anyone left here on this mountain? I yodeled out, hearing my incredulously perfectly pitched voice echoing between the peaks. I started singing at the top of my lungs, the reverb between the mountains electrifying my vocal chords as purple pulsating notes shot out of my mouth releasing words in perfect harmony. “Picture myself in a boat on a river with tangerine trees and marmalade skies. Somebody calls me, I answer quite slowly…a girl with kaleidoscope eyes..” oh…the Beatles would be so proud.
I sang my heart out, hoping for a musical comeback. Everything appeared so foggy and strange with orange blurry stripes expanding and contracting like a force field around me. I felt deliciously vibrant and hungry all at the same time. My range of perceptions and concentrations were acute as I penetrated the tiniest incredibly significant quark of sand for clues about the other climbers and the meaning of life. I was one with the mountain. Damn, these must be some good mushrooms!

October 17, 2013

Mara - It seemed as if months had passed. I brushed leaves off and gently shook my head to wake up. A couple of squirrels poked up out of my pockets, clearly annoyed that I botched their cozy nap plans. Turning to my left I saw a wall.. no.. it's the side of a boat.. wood from the tangerine tree...

I peeked over the edge... I'm in an air ship actually, with all the loose ends hopelessly tangled in the gum trees. Various implements were scattered over the ground as if someone had been working to free the ropes from the gums. Instead, an odd growing sculpture had developed as each tool stuck in turn. Apparently the work site had been abandoned.

November 20, 2013
©Susan Shulman

Susan - “Ech, yuck, that tickles, get that slobbering slimy crap off of me!”
I heard Bill and Mark yelling and freaking in the background.
“Chill out” I screamed as I pulled out my trusty mother of pearl and gold gilt monocular to get a clearer view. ”Its just Fish’N Kiss’s Blues. Look at all those magnificent schools of iridescent jewels swimming and flying our way breaking through the waves. The Tides have changed and I think Harmony is trying to untangle this mess!

December 2, 2013

Mara - Ideally, my finger drew a line in the sand. The beach tree rustled with promise of more. (Correction: "Idolly")

December 27, 2013

©Susan Shulman

Susan - The unexpected sounds of swishing and swooshing became louder and bolder. I heard what sounded like a gentle clucking, like the soft tut-tut blowing of a harmonica amidst the broken sounds of humming and grunting. I tried to make it out... was it some low down guttural blues? It came into view. That tutued adorned Kanga Roo from down under. "G'day matey, you got any bush tucker?" I looked around to see if anyone else saw her!

December 30, 2013
©Susan Shulman

Susan - Then the jester showed up......

January 20, 2014
©Susan Shulman

Susan - And the Olympics were starting on the mountain!

February 27, 2014
©Susan Shulman

Susan - Like a rolling stone...the monkey man was making its way to the mountain!

©Mara Thompson

Mara - I awoke after a particularly odd dream. With a dream hangover I unzipped my sleeping bag and slowly stood, hanging onto the vestiges of fleeting images. Well, I'm still in the now... air ship still stuck in the Gum Trees. Closing my eyes, I sat down on the bag again. Somehow hanging onto the dream images seemed very important and since I at least know I am safe above ground I can relax for a few. The dream.... Caves with drawings on the walls.... the drawings are marching, marching and also attempting to organize and reorganize themselves. I'm there holding a clipboard. Quickly I began to write down and sketch my impressions of the drawing's movements. I dug my "real life" sketchbook out of the rucksack and put down the impressions.

March 15, 2014
©Susan Shulman

Susan - March 15 the Ideas of March.
As I sat on the beach with the waves tickling my toes I was daydreaming about the date. We kept track of the years and days using Bill’s sundial. Mara kept an accurate diary and logged our adventures, thinking some day some one would be interested. She is so organized. Hummmm…today is the Ides of March. Should we be aware or beware? I was wondering?
No the “Ideas of March” Fish whispered. Anything is possible. When fish fly he said..well……….Susan..look in the sky. That ain’t superman.!!!

Ria -  A passage from Khong Lo will explain this:
I've found a land of dragons
And snakes to settle down in,
This rustic pleasure brings joy
The whole day through.
At times I climb to the solitary peaks,
Sending forth a long whistle
That chills the universe.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Events of March 24 to July 14 - Chapter 30

©Mara Thompson_ The Gum Tree's Lopsided Shuffle
March 24, 2013

Mara - The dirigible Harmony needed extensive repairs. Bill opened his rucksack to retrieve a scraper and container to gather some pine gum. We heard moaning. "No, nooooo nooooooo!" Shaking it's head vigorously, the Gum Pine lifted its roots and began a lopsided shuffle downhill and away from us.

Ria - 'Ow great,' Ria grumbled, 'now how am I gonna get my boots back?'

March 25, 2013

William - Fish stared after the rapidly departing Gum Tree and said, "That's one fast tree, William, if you don't catch it how will you restore Harmony?"

© Mara Thompson - Red Boots in the Gum

Ria - I sighed, went through my pockets after drawing down my pants, they'd ridden all up because of the fall and my undies were all out. 'Here,' I said, 'I still got a red rope ... let's lasso him in?!'

William - The Gum Tree was picking up speed as it shuffled downhill. When it paused to look over one of its shoulders Ria's lasso managed to catch a tap root and the mighty Gum went sprawling into the Note Tree. I thought to myself, "not bad, I think we've invented sticky notes." Mara dispatched a wagon to retrieve the gummy notes for use in the repair effort.

I watched nervously as Ria wrestled the Gum for her boots. The squirrels seemed to get more notes stuck to themselves than the wagon. I crossed my fingers that there would be enough left to make patches. The wrestling, loading and grooming went on well into the night.

March 27, 2013

Susan - As the noises continued to explode up from the mountain I wondered does anyone really care about harmony?
I was waiting to catch sight of this renegade Pine tree and trip it if need be! Secretly, I was crossing my fingers, hoping I wouldn’t see it, because I was entertaining my spirit, wading in the clear and calming ocean, kicking the waves as the tide rolled in. I detected boisterous slurping and gurgling noises coming from where my feet were dragging the undertow as I carelessly walked against the current. I looked down and searched the blues and saw FISH swimming, actually doing the breaststroke, alongside my ankles, and swallowing the waves as they flowed through his mouth/gills. I was not sure if he was gagging or trying to puff up like a blowfish. Suddenly he regurgitated and pink bubbles were drifting up past me into the atmosphere. I watched and stumbled back onto the hot white beach. I sat down on the damp shore and started to hear “Castles made of sand, as I hummed nostalgically to Hendrix. Fish said,” This is how we build universes Susan, create what you want now and watch what happens next!” I took the red shovel and started to dig!

© Susan Shulman - Castles Made of Sand

March 30, 2013

Mara - "Bonjour! Au secours! Ici, dans l'arbre!!" As we chased the Gum Pine we looked towards the sound, there in the branches was a very curious sight. Stuck to the tree, was a monkey in a parachute. "I am, errr, Le Monkee. I come from the prison island where I graduated from dirigible school and have been paroled for good, very very good behavior. I'm in the hoping of starting with legal career. Oh, my tail is cold!"

March 31, 2013

William - Fish absently doodled in the sand with a stick while Susan busied herself with the sand castles. After a long silence he spoke so softly she barely heard, “Your adventures are recorded you know, I’ve seen them written. All the snippets from your journals leak out into the world....the others too.

She looked up and said, “who reads them?”

“I don’t know who but they are there for people to see....if they look hard enough. The bigger question is when...... because Time has become so........ malleable”

Susan went back to the small pyramid she was making...."isn't this Now?"

Mara - Mara smiled. "Look what I've got! Ria's boots, a parachute full of Gum Pine and... our pilot".

William - "Mara." I don't know about this; the improbable has become commonplace.... but are we really going to trust a monkey who wants to start a legal career?"

Susan - I turned my head and gazed at the bulbous eyed aquatic creature waving and pointing his fin frantically at me. “Fish, I know, I know… you don’t have to whisper, I remember the illuminated manuscripts! And, anyways none of those pining monkeys can hear you with all that ishgebibbleing happening up on the gumshoe ridge!
It is crystal clear, Fish, that those mysterious messages dropped by the note trees, are perpendicular and randomly changing the directions as outlined in the original coded parallelogram I cracked with my eggs this morning.” Your reflections are starting to materialize again Susan….stop daydreaming…its time to leap back to the mountain again. William is summoning me again!” Fish started to roll his eyes in concentric circles, speeding out of control then slammed his lids shut which was difficult since gill bearing creatures do not have lids so he put on his sun glasses and started to whistles, pursing his huge lips together.

© Susan Shulman - The Parallelogram I Cracked with My Eggs

April 2, 2013

William - “Trees,” he shouted before he left, “trees…don’t you see? All this talk of perpendicular and parallelograms, those are lines, I’ll grant you that, but you haven’t thought once about the tree-line. 
The first lesson you learned was to climb high but sleep low. That’s what the trees have been doing; they’re sleeping at the Tree Line waiting for the right conditions to summit. The right place between being and becoming. That’s the kind of line you need to find; find your Susan Line”

Then… poof he was off again.

Susan stared at the ground, bent to pick up his sunglasses. “Stupid Fish always forgets these,” she muttered to herself.

Ria - 'Ow Lord, thank God, my booteeboots. WooPeeh. Let me put those on and rejoice at whatever happens on the mount,' I thought. Jeeeeezzz, climbing barefoot with Fish is a chore you don't want to know about, "where's the map,' I asked, wanting to get my bearings, all looked up at me. Cows looking at a train. 'Ow, for crying out loud,' I shouted, 'what HAVE you been doing while I was stuck in that bloody tree anyhows? Snap out of it. STAT!'

William - Jelly d'Smelt was the first to speak, "Damn it...she's got all them loose ends stuck to her!" He shuffled off shaking his head. Then the Gum Tree spoke up, "I'd like those back if you don't mind."

William held up a mirror for the Belgian, "You've got Jelly on the back of your neck. We're going to need some strong solvent, someone find Susan to see if she has any grog left!"

Ria - 'ow great, good luck with that,' I thought, just get me a waffle, the dough will get me right up to speed, no need to bother the Canadian in her high,' .... 'hey hold that thought, the gum tree is heading for the ship isn't? Salty waters with slow him down no problem.'

April 24, 2013

William - The climbers slowly worked to repair the damage to Harmony. Fish and Mermaid proved invaluable as the gum needed to seam together the paper from the Note Tree didn’t seem to stick to their fins. Maramara wagons made the trips down the icy route to collect the notes without incident. 
Our work might have been faster but we had voted to read aloud each note as it was gummed into place. There was much debate concerning the placement of each note; especially the loose ends.

© Susan Shulman - Me and Marley

Susan - It has been such a struggle living in multi dimensions simultaneously. The magic of appearing and disappearing in time and space has taken its toll. The pressure was building to cloak my visage against the prevailing forces of time. Fish knew instinctively the tides and currents of Mount Analogue. On the mountain, time has stood still. No past, no future. Just the NOW. The climb … as it should be. But, when I stepped off the shore, the tides turned and the dreaded reality of the dreaded future loomed into the dreaded horizon. The dark ominous clouds rushed forward, forming the threads of the calculating web unraveling as time sped up. I heard Sistah Salty Waters sing in the background. ”Weave it girl…weave it” So I started to gather the dreads in the sky and twist and intertwine them into my hair as I heard Marley singing “Everyting will be al’right” But, for both Rasta Bobs, it was not all right. Time had no start and no end. It was in flux. I yelled to Salty Waters as the winds picked up and splashed waves of briny water into my sea soaked eyes. “And, if I had just never left the mountain, nothing would have changed, nothing would have happened, just one inspiring adventure after another. In no other place can the magic of time stand still!”

I quietly squeezed back through the hidden underground sea cave that led up to the chasm. I had found this eroded entrance so many years when I was swimming but until this day had forgotten about it. The rest of the climbers were too busy to realize I had vanished. I had left a red braided ladder rope dangling from the top so I could climb back to join them. In my pocket I had placed some precious illuminating scales that Fish had lost during his metamorphosis. O ya, B flats, E’s and G’s to place on the note tree to recover my, ours, everyone’s HARMONY again.

© Susan Shulman - Sistah Salty Waters

April 26, 2013

William - The Mountain presented many faces and we had to determine the true face. Many on the mountain claimed that the search for Harmony was the reason for their climbs on Analogue. I saw documentation of this explanation many times. Cathy, the Note Tree librarian collected the fallen notes each fall, sorted, collated and bound them into folios. Many of the folios could be best described as climbing journals of unnamed explorers. Their recollections were detailed and their lives prior to dedicating their lives to the climb shared a common thread. Their place in the world was tenuous and the purposes that their fellow being engaged in seemed banal. They were out of step and out of time. It was as if their fellow beings only looked at the ground under their feet and that they were the only ones who searched the clouds. I stood by the Maramara wagon and gently pulled another page from a folio and read it out loud before handing it to Fish. 

Spring 1427
“I felt as if I were a tightrope walker. I am suspended on a rope with each end out of sight. Dragons swirl in the mists and I catch a glimpse of the summit.....”

That’s all there was to that entry...perhaps the Note tree would drop another thought from that explorer before the next Mulka.

April 30, 2013

William - I gauged the craft as half covered…or was it half uncovered. I wasn’t sure whether I was an optimist or a pessimist after so long on the mountain. I finally decided that it was a useless dichotomy best left to Fish to ponder. Our biggest problem was still to come. For if Harmony was to be restored didn’t that imply flight? This dirigible was ancient and probably had once achieved flight by its load of helium; or perhaps hydrogen. I shuddered at the thought of producing hydrogen here on the mountain as you never knew when the monkeys might decide to set off more of the fireworks they pilfered from Zeng He’s junk. 

My eyes suddenly caught sight of a slight rippling along the top of the airship. The paper notes that we were gluing in place seemed to billow out and pulse a bit, yet there wasn’t any wind. 

I was shaken from my reverie by a new song Mermaid was playing on her harp. The canopy of paper covering the dirigible began collecting the notes and it lifted slightly almost imperceptibly. I scowled as I recognized the tune, then the Belgian nearly deafened me when she shouted, “Bloody Hell!!!” 

As the notes of “Hotel California” collected under Harmony skin it was beginning to lift off. 
I caught the worried expression on Fish’s face as he and a young owl, who was helping weave a gondola under Harmony were suddenly 30 meters in the air. 

The red climbing ropes that we had been using to access the top of Harmony were still trailing along the ground. 
We chased after Harmony as Mermaid reached the refrain, “You can check in any time you like. But you can never leave!”

© William Evertson - Harmony Takes Off

May 8, 2013

Susan - Notes after notes were tumbling around me! I didn’t realize when I scaled up the red ropes I was climbing into the basket that Harmony was secured and anchored to. I started to scream,…………”FISH where are you?” The air around me was whirling with wind and dragging up all the flats and sharps again. In the distance I heard “Hotel California”. A humongous merman creature started to evolve and morph through the waves below dragging along all the ocean life clinging to his torso as he shot through the aqua froth. “ Who has summoned me?” he bellowed! “I HANDSOME OF THE SEA, and who has unleashed Harmony.” Quickly I scanned the space around me. I opened my sore arms wide ready to fall over, back into the abyss once more and taking my chances in the darkness before the wrath of this titan might fall upon me. I thought I heard the fluttering of wings!

©Susan Shulman - I Opened My Sore Arms

May 31, 2013

Susan - "The blues just happened on the mountain. It materialized a long time ago when Fish eagerly splashed through the blues ocean and scared me the first time we met. He startled me as I was crossing over the water carefully on that branch and he jumped up flying through the waves. “Hey, you powder puff with the long nose” He gurgled at me! I gasped and an explosion of air flew out my nose and created a symphony of magic. Beats and notes blew up into the sky and music filled my ears. I had never heard those sounds before. Life would never be the same on Mount Analogue, tales of the blues!"

© Susan Shulman - Hey, You Powder Puff

June 17, 2013

Susan - “Surfs up” I heard Fish gurgle and grumble! “Life would never be the same on the Mountain if we let those surfers dudes rip here.” “Hey Bill, Mara” I yelled through the crashing noise of the breakers, I think some of them are your friends and I think they are finally bringing Harmony back to the island!

© Susan Shulman - Surfs Up

Ria - Nope, you will never leave. How silly. Who said that? Why would you even consider leaving? This is Life. Right here on the mountain. With all the fauna (omg! yaya something fishy as well, aye) and flora .... 'Tis salty waters and tis surf I guess,' said le Fish, cos he'd gone native, casting a glance at me, he'd know I'd be critical.' WTF,' I yelled all hot and bothered, 'Everybody just snap out of it, there's climbing to be done and by God, we'll summit, oy, even if I have to eat waffles!'

June 20, 2013

Susan - Awwww..the sun, the surf, the waterfalls…ya..couldn’t get more jiving on the sands. Ya, “Boogie Chillen” on Mount Analouge, Tale of the BLUES! …is that someone calling..for climbing....

© Susan Shulman - Jiving on the Sands

July 4, 2013

Mark - I was intrigued as I cooked my marshmallows by the fire. There was a rumor circulating on the island that an awkward looking box-headed fish species would soon signal an escape hatch for everyone who wanted off the island. They were known as the sea braggarts because they loved to boast of their achievements but this was also just a rumor Susan had heard that they were quite charming and humble. Bill told Ria at the campfire they were called Borg-gettes and that led to a discussion about The Borg, a fictional nemesis on the old Star Trek, the Next Generation tv show. The Borg were apparently a giant entity with each member of the whole comprising a tiny piece like a holographic community. Ria did not understand nor did I but unlike Ria I just listened intently until Bibiana jumped in to explain but between her Spanish and Ria's Dutch, Ria got frustrated and walked away. I leaned in as Bill and Bibiana, who were both already well acquainted with the phenomena spoke about it in English more fluidly now that explaining it to Ria was out of the picture. I hooked up a Dyson™ information grab attachment hose and sucked up what they were saying because i thought i might be alble to use this later in a collage i was working on in my sketchbook. That was when Mara appeared and took the bag of marshmallows I was holding and said "they are getting squishy". I was not sure if she meant the marshmallows or Bill and Bibiana.

July 14, 2013

Susan - Succulent, squishy, delicious, mouth watering warm toasted marshmallows! A rush of summertime memories flooded my mind. I don’t know what overtook me, but I had to have one of those white gooey morsels. I slurped it into my mouth and before it slid down my throat, I started to feel my body shifting. Oh no, Mark…are these mellow yellow Marshmallows? The change had started and all I could do was burp a note before I morphed into a dragonfly.

© Susan Shulman - Succulent, Squishy, Delicious

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.