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Chap 1.3 - Page 2frangles: 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 thought 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 be sure, and when none came for quite awhile, shrugged and walked up the only exit: a staircase leading upward into a pool of daylight above.
            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.

            "Dammit.  Dammit.  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 reality."
            "Look up."
            "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 experience.
            "So, uh, you guys wouldn't happen to know--"            
            " '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 getting increasingly 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 before?"
            "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 novelist."
            "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."
            "Huh, Todd?"
            "Huh, Todd?"
            "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 figure out how to teleport the pigeon feed into our mouths or something?  I'm already hungry again!"
            "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 the 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 Parody."

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