|Chap 1.3 - Page 2||frangles: Skip book 1: Writer's Bricks|
Skip stepped off the thought-metal under his feet that had
only whimsically held him up during his trip, and strode into the
relaxed atmosphere of Imagination Station. He knew it was Imagination
Station partly because he remembered the name, but also because there
was a large sign just to his right that said "WELCOME TO IMAGINATION
STATION". It was mostly vacant but for a few benches and overhead
lights, and a new soda machine engrossed in an intense introspective
debate of what
its contents should be, how much it should initially charge for them,
and what the highest rate of increase was that it could get away with
and not be too expensive to bother with by the time interest
rates were sky-high.
Skip looked around with the gut
feeling that there might be someone waiting for him, and when he saw no
one, sat down for awhile just in case; there didn't seem to be much of
anything else to do. After quite awhile, a second train of
stopped, and the only person who got off was an old blind lady being
led by a bright neon German Shepherd who looked like it had better
things to do then help drag an old hag to the drugstore for some
denture adhesives. Skip decided to wait for a third train just to
sure, and when none came for quite awhile, shrugged and walked up
the only exit: a staircase leading upward into a pool of daylight
Outside was a brightly lit open space that
stretched out with no walls but for a distant vague idea for a horizon,
that wasn't sure if there were enough buildings around to block it from
view. Above was a bright, distant wall of poufy white
slightly-tangible things and a vast stretch of unspecified color, which
if it was anything might have been something in the realm of green or
blue or purple. Directly around him was a relatively bored city
square. There were a few shops and tall buildings, but the buildings
didn't seem to be used for much, and the few magazine stands didn't
have much more to sell than a child's lemonade stand would. There were a few
bored city goers wandering here or there at leisure, and one slickly
dressed business man hurrying to get wherever he was going whom the
people he passed by gave a small frown at.
He had the
thought that he was supposed to be involved in some sort of terrible
crisis and should probably be hurrying around himself, but for the life
of him couldn't think what it could possibly be or what he could do
about it. Instead, he strode over to a short park tree where three
pigeons were circling some stray breadcrumbs by a bench next to it.
They didn't make any motion to peck at them, but simply paced back and
forth as if they'd starve to death before they figured it out.
Alright, maybe if we encouraged them to jump up into our mouths..."
"How are we going to do that, Todd?"
"I don't know, you think of something. I thought up the Park, didn't I?"
"Yah, and a helluva lot of good that did us. At least when
there was no Park we didn't have to worry about eating anything, now
we'll probably starve to death because it didn't occur you to think up
a method for actually eating the pigeon feed you thought was such a great idea."
"As always, you let your stomach get in the way of your common sense."
"What do you mean 'as always'? We never even had stomachs before."
"Hey there, fellas."
"Ahhhh! The crumbs are
talking! Quick, what's the pigeon first crumb contact protocol?"
"Don't be ridiculous. Why would pigeons have developed
a first crumb contact protocol? These are the first talking bread
crumbs any pigeon has ever encountered, since we're the first three to
have thought up a park. This isn't some damned Blorkk rerun."
"They aren't talking to us anyway, you're probably imagining things."
"Oh, I suppose you've been around the Park long enough to know
whether bread crumbs can talk or not. Anyway didn't you hear it say
'Hey there, fellas' ?"
"Yes you did, you're lying. You're putting yourself in denial!"
"I'd rather eat the pigeon feed
without guilt that I'm committing murder than have a firm grip on
"Ah, another human! Hello sir, what are you doing all the
way up there? Which one of you thought this guy up? Do you happen to
have any pigeon feed?"
"Pigeons can talk?"
"Humans can talk??"
"Bread crumbs can talk!?"
"Ducks can--!? Wait, a
duck! Run for your brief dumb existential lives!"
"(Good one, Todd, I didn't know you could throw your voice that well)."
"(I've been working on my duck impression since we thought one up)."
"Why should we run from the duck? Can't we fly?"
"Yah, but the duck can fly
too. And he's bigger, so he's probably better at it."
"I guess I've never
thought about it. Where the hell's this duck anyway? Wait, are you sure pigeons can fly?"
"Well, I just always
assumed... You know, I'm not quite sure. I don't remember ever
trying it." Skip,
having no idea whether humans, pigeons, bread crumbs, or invisible
ducks should be speaking at all--let alone who they should be
speaking to--felt a tad
unsure whether he should be pursuing a conversation. Perhaps
pigeons were the dominant form of life in the universe and he had
violated a strict code of conduct by even getting off at their train
stop. Having little sense of class boundaries or social etiquette
to guide him, he decided he shouldn't quite give up just yet.
Perhaps a night in a jail cell would be an interesting life
"So, uh, you guys wouldn't happen
" 'Guys'? Sexist,
isn't he, I suppose he knows what a pigeon penis looks like."
"Are we guys? I hadn't thought about that either."
"Maybe gender doesn't apply to pigeons."
"No bread crumbs and no sex. Now I'm really pissed at Todd."
"I mean, I'm looking
for--you know, I'm not quite sure what I'm doing here. I don't
even know exactly where here is."
"Join the club. You
probably have a better idea than we do.
You're bigger, after all. Your brain's probably like...
well, I'd think of a pigeon-to-primate brain mass ratio but I don't
suppose I'm smart enough to be able to count." The pigeons were
frustrated at their task, and one of them even fluttered upward and
back down a bit to demonstrate its frustration. It was an awkward
landing, but it did manage to get airborne for a few moments.
"Hey! That's great! How did you do that?"
"I'm not quite sure.
But it didn't help me get any closer to the pigeon feed."
"Can you guys really
not... Can you really not... haven't you ever eaten a bread crumb
"Nope. This is our first day. I don't suppose you could..." Six beady pigeon eyes were instantly re-focused on their suddenly honored guest.
"Uh, sure... 'Skip picked up the few bread crumbs and held
them up a foot for the pigeons to grab at. For some reason they didn't
seem any more satisfied at their first meal than your usual hungry
pigeon, and immediately glanced around the park to see if there
was anything else lying around.' "
"What the hell was that?"
"What you just did. You said exactly what you were doing as
you did it. What the hell was the point in that? Are you a loony?"
"He was narrating,
dumbass. He must be some type of schizophrenic freelance
"But why would anybody do that?"
"Why not? Maybe it gets the creative juices going in a place
like this and helps bring the Park to life. We should try it. Hey
what's your name, big guy?" The pigeon fluppled upward a foot in attempt to match Skip's height and beamed with pride. "Hey, I did it too!"
"My name? Well... I'm not sure actually."
"Alright, skip that question then."
"Skip the question! We'll call him 'Skip', then!"
"That was so contrived."
"Oh come on, I'm sure his name already was Skip
and someone somewhere bent the dialogue in order to re-name him. 'Skip
the question'? No one would ever say 'skip the question'."
"How do you know?"
"I just know."
"And knowing is half the battle."
"Gggeee, Iiii, J--"
"Well, I guess I'd better
off. It was nice meeting you, Todd, and, uh, whatever your names
are." Skip moved to leave, but having two pigeons hurry in front
of him without any sign of moving if he were to walk right into him
made it quite difficult. The other kept trying to leap up
into the air to save time but kept falling over.
"Wait! You have to
help us! We'll die of starvation as soon as these bread crumbs
wear off! Can't you just stick around long enough for us to
how to teleport the pigeon feed into our mouths or something? I'm already
"I second that."
"I th--I--godammit! How do these things work?"
"Well, I suppose. Don't have
much else to do. I have this odd feeling like there's some important
crisis I'm supposed to be hurrying to fix, but I can't remember what it
is or what I'm supposed to be doing about it."
"I think we should all sit
down over a round of beers and introduce ourselves."
"Yah, that sounds great! I bet
there's a bar or restaurant or something right around the corner."
"What makes you say that?"
"Just a weird feeling. I think it's, uh.. that way! Come
on, Skip. Why don't you narrate as we go in case it helps think up some more bread crumbs."
" 'Skip and the first
three friends he could remember meeting with any degree of certainty
progressed toward the area where they all figured there might
be some sort of place to sit and eat and drink. Skip by foot, and
pigeons half in the air who kept stupidly fluttering upward
with commendable initial progress on learning how to fly.' "
"Mr. Writer, I think this the beginning of a beautiful friendship."
"Isn't that line copyrighted?"
"Let Skip think for a bit
on which words to change and I'm sure he can fit it under Right of
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