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"Well that one wasn't very tasty." Skip bumped into his three new friends as they all walked back to the park. Skip assumed from Ed's comment that they'd learned how to eat for themselves, but there didn't seem to be any food around.
"Oh hey guys, did you figure out how to eat already?"
"Oh. No, Ed was just commenting metaphorically about the value of our therapy session by comparing it to our sense of taste. I don't think the metaphor worked very well, but we don't know what else to compare anything to as we've only been here since this morning."
"Actually, I was fantasizing that we were killer pigeons and ate Dr. Vifps for breakfast."
"Aww Ed, I liked Dr. Vifps."
"Oh, I know, he isn't so bad, it's just I was so hungry and I didn't know who else to eat since he was the only one in the room."
Skip had little idea to what extent the pigeons were being creative versus the possibility that their ideas actually became reality the more they thought them so, and figured he might be able to use the skill to his advantage if he could master its subtleties. "Ah, well, I did much better, as I found a million dollar bill and a free hooker lying just next to the Developing Arts Council just a moment ago!" Skip checked his pocket. Nothing there. Skip looked backwards toward the DAC. No hooker.
"No, no, you're doing it wrong."
"How's that?" Skip thoroughly checked his pocket and looked backward carefully. Still nothing there.
"I... I don't know, you just sort of, do it, you know? Like the Star Trek TNG episode where Q loses his powers and describes what it's like to change the gravitational constant of the universe with a thought rather than a set of scientific procedures." Skip frused as he almost remembered the episode as Ed spoke of it, even though it likely didn't exist until Ed had thought it up. If the pigeons could create reality with thought alone like the unrealistically tuning power of John Murdock in the 1998 film "Dark City", what the hell was the point of being a professional writer who just comments on everything? Perhaps that's why a great frwoa was so important, because anything less wouldn't really do much of anything around here. He looked sad, and Todd thought he needed some saving after all the pigeons had contributed to Skip's troubles. He thought up a way to spin the event towards optimism.
"Yah, but Q's suggestion prompted Geordi to think up a scientific solution to the problem. So maybe we can inspire Skip to think up some basic writing methods that'll help him."
"Then he can finally write some bread crumbs and a way to eat them into our scenes!"
"But if we're so smart, why can't we think up the same thing?" The pigeons looked toward Skip as he seemed to have all the answers, if not the ability to delude a million dollar hooker into existence. Everything seemed to have an answer from the frangle that life is a story, but none of the pigeons could figure out what could possibly be wrong with a story in which everyone lived happily ever after and had been doing so since the dawn of time.
"Hunh, Skip?" Ed asked.
"Hunh, Skip?" Eagle asked.
"Hmmn," Todd nodded solemnly at Skip's answer as if he should have known it all along. It was the same demeanor he'd adopted in Office B, and Skip wondered if he'd already been robbed of an innocent youth of whatever sudden event the blue button had prematurely pushed into the very dawn of Todd's life, just like Skip had been robbed of the experience of developing his writing skills from a talented young age. Skip realized it was for the same reason, as well as the reason for all his own troubles since 1:11 that morning in addition to his loss of writer's innocence.
Todd nodded with Skip again, doubly thoughtful. Skip smiled a bit, realizing he had probably spoken the very first instant of exact repetition for an emphatic poetic effect ever spoken, and someone approved of it to boot. It was a clever invention, which hence begged to be shot down by an inexorable critique.
"Oh, say it twice, that'll help me figure out what the hell you're talking about. And what's with you, Todd, you turned all boring ever since you saw that button. If you were that curious, why didn't you just flupple up to it and push it to see what it did?" Todd ignored this.
"So what now, guys? I keep getting this feeling I have to write this important story ever since Eagle mentioned it, but the more I start to figure it out, the more lost I seem to get. I get more lost every mot, which by now I can only assume means 'moment' or something like that."
"More, lost, every, mot, trains-to-tie-them thought by tot..."
Eagle almost seemed to be hopscotching up into the air a little higher each time, his task taking up most of his tiny little brain leaving little room to worry about the sophisticated literature that the fate of Flutonia depended on. Skip's evolving methods of launching the Great Flutonian Flwoa were no less fluttery.
"Maybe you need some more poetic disjunctive rhetorical alternation irony," Ed offered, only a little more concerned. He was fluttering up better himself, though Eagle seemed to have a wing up on him. Ed risked a few glances now and then when Eagles's back was turned, trying to peck apart his technique..
"You're cheating, Ed! No copyducking!"
"How in Nonbeing did you--"
"I have eyes in the back of my head."
"And eagle eyes at that." Todd a step forward. "Look, Skip, don't get so down. Maybe you've been around longer than us--"
"Or at least got a little more done while we chased bread crumbs all morning..."
"But from what I've seen around here, things are exactly like they're supposed to be, so don't worry about being so important all the time."
"What do you mean, 'exactly like they're supposed to be'? "
"I just mean, this whole place just doesn't seem to know what to do with itself, and quite frankly, neither do you. What other type of life is there, really? This place--like any other place I can think of--is kinda here, and there, and--"
"Here and there and everywhere," Eagle riffed as he flupper-scotched into the air. "Hey Skip, you should write a story about Square One!" Skip took this to mean some fictional suggestion, and figured he'd add the brilliant epiphany that the vifa world above the train station actually was Square One. It seemed a brilliant plot twist seeing how Eagle hadn't mentioned anything about where Square One was. He was proud of the idea and decided he might be able to mimic the pigeons reality-creating thoughts finally.
"Square One? That's what the square outside is called, isn't it?" It definitely felt he himself had named the entire Square above--even if Eagle had thought of the name--just as the pigeons seem to have thought up the square to begin with, or at least thought they did. It wasn't much, but to the best of his memory, it was the first truly creative idea he'd had other than just uselessly narrating world around him. It was a good feeling until Ed fluppered up toward a sign on the station wall that had been there all along with an arrow pointing toward the stairs that said "<-- TO SQUARE ONE".
"Look! I bet he saw it earlier and forgot!"
"Hey, what I do?"
"What'd I do? I didn't even say anything."
Only a need for Todd's advice--if his pigeon brain could muster any more--caused Skip to shrug off the need to mentally calculate whether the sign might actually have been there before, or whether Ed had competed with him by thinking up the fact that the sign had always been there, when in fact Skip actually had named the square above.
Todd now looked like he was reaching downward in the back of his mind to access some pool of aged wisdom, but could only seem to scratch the surface, and to boot he could barely verbalize it anyway. "Look, what are the top frwoas that thrust us into a confusing mush of bird turd and proceed by tying it all together as if the writers had planned it all along, when they probably just scribbled out the first half of the story on the back of a napkin, then got stoned and tied everything together later?" Ed and Eagle, still air-hopping, answered in a creative fluppery high.
"The Matrix Trilogy!"
"Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy!"
"Yah, stupidest out-of-nowhere plot twists in history. I'm a cylon, my best friend's a cylon, my dog's a cylon, my entire extended family on my cylon mother's side are cylons..."
"Don't forget the other side!" Eagle flupupled upward.
"Great frwoas just throw us into a heap of mush and explain everything when they gets around to it. The chaos of a fresh new world is the only thing worth dragging a reader into! What great work of art ever started out all normal and obvious and explained the whole problem clearly right from the beginning?"
"Fellowship of the Ring!"
"Star Wars IV!"
"Wheel of Time!"
"The Book of Revelations, The Republic, The Declaration of Independence..."
Skip became increasingly troubled with each allusion as if each was a gunshot straight into his competence as an aspiring writer.
Eagle stopped air-scotching for a moment. "What?"
"Alright, well, at least half of them start off with a bunch of random !@#$, right?"
"Probably less than 10%, Todd..."
"More like 5!"
"If you two don't shut the duck up I'll think you right back into oblivion!"
"Fine with me, at least we won't be hungry there."
"You couldn't do it anyway, Todd. There are two of us and one of you."
"I thought up a whole park, didn't I? What have you two done? You thought up the word 'idiot' and bickered like a bad rerun of The Three Stooges all morning!"
"Wouldn't that necessitate a third stooge?"
"Todd can't count very well for park-creating demi-god."
"Whatever the percentage, Skip, the story of your life is one of them! And a superb example it is to boot. You should feel lucky; your story may be as confusing as hell, but what way is there to tell the story of a clueless dolt with amnesia, other than to instantly drown the reader into the seventh circle of confused, terminology-unexplained lobotomized duck-brained oblivion? It's the only thing that the story of your life--or at least the past few minutes--could possibly do, to accomplish your freer-drawing medium. Nothing else would break the fourth wall."
"Psst, what's a wall, Ed? Am I supposed to know that by now?"
"Not sure. Maybe we should try flying into one to find out."
"But Todd, couldn't it also be the scenario that those writing my story actually are just writing a bunch of random nonsense with only a vague sense of style loosely connecting it all, and an empty promise that it will all make sense in a couple billennia? How could I know the difference?"
Eagle accomplished his highest flutter in the air yet. "Maybe it depends on your point of view!"
"Eeg, I think that's the only intelligent thing you've said all day."
"Well Ed, I'd be wondering about now whether that's a compliment or an insult, but I suppose I'm too idiot to ever figure out the difference."
"Maybe it depends on your point of view, Eeg."
"Thief! Police! That wasn't even a creative alteration of my brilliant philosophy! That can't possibly fit under Fair Use! Is there an cop anywhere? Officer! I'm being robbed!" Eagle flew up the stairs, given that they had all been, incidentally, at the train station that Skip had originally stepped off for quite awhile now (if that wasn't already apparent from previous clues). Ed ignored Eagle's fleeting fleeing as a brick-wall crash back to his unenlightened idiocy--or possibly a dive into the deep waters of going too far for a lame joke--and used the time to attempt to match Eagle's record breaking height without being further accused of ripping off his technique, which he could now rip off freely and thoroughly.
"Yeah, Skip," Todd continued, "Eagle has a superb point. Maybe you're chained down with the idea that Flutonia is all supposed to make some sort of sense; or at least, that whether it makes any sense or not is a solid, clear, disjunctive alternating truth.
"So maybe it's not one or the other, but rather both and neither?"
"Makes sense to me. And until you meet your confused philosopher again--or your midget friend who seems to be more with it but still not have a clue what themes your story should have or how you should write it--I can't imagine a better world view to help you keep your sanity around here."
"But Todd, what does the the story of my own life have to do with the one I'm supposed to be writing?"
"Well... well.. I really have no idea! But at least now you're running through a world of chaos with a more open mind that it may or may not make more or less sense than you originally thought it might. What better setting for a writer to concentrate and be inspired?"
"And realizing that is definitely enough dynamic character development for my third sour as a sentient being, I'm sure."
"Glad I could help."
"Dammit!--" Ed had gotten a quarter-inch to Eagle's record height, and was frustrated enough to consider flying after him to stalk him for some more techniques, eyes in the back of his head or not. Perhaps it was still a profitable accomplishment to beat someone with their own tricks. Skip looked left and right in confrusion as if the tot to the next sour of the day had already come and gone a dozen times in the past minute and he had simply missed it by thinking too hard on Todd's words.
"But--oh Todd, where do I go from here? Great All Important Friter and I haven't the faintest idea for a character or plot. Or even a structured medium in which to write! Life has seemed to line up in sours of seven; I keep having the same seven bouts of deja vu, and I can only assume from the pattern life lines up in some sort of repeated patterns of seven..."
"Why the hell would you assume that?"
"...And I can only guess that that's how things work around here. Even if I'm right, and stories work in sevens--and hence that's the structure the story I must right should have--how can know what type of medium I should be writing in? Am I supposed to write a poem? A novel? A napkin-scribbled frwoa screenplay? Even if I know all that, how do I even begin with characters and plots and themes and style? I only have a vague idea of how those should work to boot, and only then if fiction closely mimics the structure of reality! For all I know the Greatest Frwoa of Flutonia has nothing to do with the structure of my life, and is a 9 line hai-ku!"
"Or just 3!"
"Let it be just one! How should I even know what this frwoa thing is or how to go about creating one? Having increased clarity that everything around me is more fuzzy and relative than I ever suspected it was is a plus, but I'm afraid I just haven't a bird-brained spec of a theory of a hint of a clue on how to even start this whole 'frwoa' thing! I still don't know what the hell a frwoa even is!"
Todd took a deep moment to rack his tiny bird brain. He seemed to be reaching down inside his psyche to access some deep, unconscious pool of wisdom, as if he'd been a great, wise wizard whole lifetimes ago, and that only the wisdom was relevant here and not the exact details (which would ruin the story of Todd actually being the sixth-age wizard Mezoro Moldorin around the sixth period of the Sixth Age sometime around Frangles book 661). There was only a sliver of surprise or annoyance that Skip was begging for the aid of a brainless pigeon; it was as though Skip already picked up that Todd would have the answers from a great experience that he entirely lacked, not to mention everything else that he could possibly have forgotten--or not had at all--to begin with. It occurred to Skip that perhaps any advice the pigeon might be able to dig up for him would be aided by Todd himself being vaguely in Skip's situation, and could relate to it more, and mix the old with the new, just as the phylor had sort of done. Then again, the pigeons hadn't said a whole lot about where they were from; perhaps Todd actually was the Emperor of Pigeon Oblivion and wasn't digging deep at all, but simply taking a moment to carefully decide what to say to a clueless peasant who accidentally wandered into the castle courtyard.
Whatever type of time there was in Flutonia seemed to pause indefinitely, and Todd's calm allowed Skip to wait with near-infinite patience, save glancing left and right occasionally at the vifa very late train which also seemed to be waiting patiently for Todd's reply before it decided to arrive. Skip turned and noticed that Ed had already became bored and flown out after Eagle. Perhaps the peer pressure was getting to Todd, because finally, he fluttered up as if to leave and gave Skip the most useless answer he could possibly give him.
"Beats the turdshit out of me!" And with that, he was up and away as he called back the best of luck to Skip and his hopes that they'd meet again soon. Just as he was almost out and the slivers of light from above lightly draped on him (almost as a pigeon angel if he hadn't blurted out a completely useless and idiot answer devoid of any sort of angelic aura whatsoever), he decided it wasn't quite enough to leave Skip with. While he may have had all the answers and decided to thrust Skip down a path for his own good or was just plain revealed to be the bird-brained pigeon he really was, he decided it would only be polite to offer Skip just a little more than absolutely nothing to aid the greatest crisis of his life. Skip would have to decide whether it definitely meant one or the other, or was sort of both and neither, and which it was if it was any of them at all.
"Skip Square One, Skip! Skip Square One!"
The ensuing train of thought was the most memorable and irrelevent Skip had ever been on to date.
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