901 – Sympathetic Vibration and Resonance | Otter Things 6
You can reflectively listen to this tale and drift off knowing all will be well, as Emma and her friends have everything odd covered.
Black Lives Matter. I cannot create a safe place for everyone without stopping to pause and look at what changes I need to make to support that fact. When I say “you deserve a good night’s sleep” it means black lives matter. I have a lot more work to do to back up my words with my body, mind, heart, and spirit. I am trying to gather more resources here- https://linktr.ee/dearestscooter
Here is a list of Anti-racism resources- http://bit.ly/ANTIRACISMRESOURCES Here is one place you can find support during this or any crisis. If you have more please share them! https://www.crisistextline.org/
I support the Bail Project – https://bailproject.org/
(Become a patron https://www.patreon.com/sleepwithme – the story starts at about 20:00)
Commission a song from the Mystery Bard or check out his podcast “As It Happens: A Song a Day” over at http://www.jonathanmann.net
EPISODE 901 – Otter Things E6
[START OF RECORDING]
SCOOTER: Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, friends beyond the binary, forest friends, everybody out there, it’s time for the podcaster that’s a bit odd, but that’s okay patrons because you support my oddness in a good way. It’s time for Sleep With Me, the podcast…if you ever feel a little bit odd, this is a place where you could feel comfortable because it’s led by an…I embrace my oddity. It’s time for Sleep With Me, the podcast that puts you to sleep.
INTRO: [INTRO MUSIC] Hey, are you up all night tossing, turning, mind racing? Trouble getting to sleep? Trouble staying…trouble getting to sleep? Trouble staying asleep? Trouble remembering? It’s time for Sleep With Me, the podcast that puts you to sleep. We do it with a bedtime story. Alls you need to do is get in bed, turn out the lights, and press play. I’m gonna do the rest. What I’m going to attempt to do is create a safe place where you could set aside whatever is keeping you awake, whether it’s thoughts, feelings, a physical sensation, changes in time or temperature, changes in routine. It could be things on your mind you’re thinking about. That happens to me pretty often. It could be feelings or emotions carrying over from the day or the past or the future. It could be any of those things. It could be physical sensations, whatever is keeping you awake, or it could be any of those other things. It could be anything. Could be something baffling.
But whatever it is, I’m here to take your mind off of that, to keep you company. The way I’m…do it is yeah, I’m trying to establish or send you this safe place whether I’m there, I’m nearby, or I’m…whether I’m in the vicinity. You know I love that word, or I’m not. You just say Scoots, I prefer you in a speaker across the room or placed under my pillow, or maybe I’m right here in your earbuds. Well, I’m here and I don’t know if you can sense it but I’m smoothing, I’m patting, and I’m rubbing down this safe place. One of the ways I do it is I send my voice across the deep, dark night. I use lulling, soothing, creaky, dulcet tones, pointless meanders, superfluous tangents, I go off…that means I go off…that means…creaky, dulcet tones means that my voice is a bit different. It’s not melodious or catchy. You say well, it’s…yeah, creaky, dulcet tones. It’s a sound you’re aware of. I mean, I always use the mourning dove…and I know there’s a lot of mourning dove fans out there but for the most part, and I stand firmly in this place, mourning doves come in and out of my awareness.
Literally, I don’t know if this would happen because I’m not a…I’m a bird…I’m not a birder. I’m a fan of birds, though. But test this out. Now, not every place in the world probably has a mourning dove, so maybe there’s another dove with a interesting sound. I don’t think I’m…a mourning dove makes a cooing-type sound and it’s very distinctive, so maybe you have a common…and I’m not saying you’re common, mourning doves. I’m using it as a illustrative point, I guess. A bird that sounds pretty often or that you assume – and I’m making an ass out of mourning doves and me, as normal – but maybe your area has a bird sound that’s pretty common. It could be…you say well, what about all the singing birds…are rolling their eyes at me, giving me the…for a bird, you could give me the side-eye. It’s probably pretty…it probably is natural. You say okay, enough with the dad jokes about birds, Scoots. For me, so, I’ve really liked the mourning dove sound. It makes me feel good.
But I’m sure that during 99% of my walks, there’s a mourning dove sound. I’m consumed with my own stuff. But every once in a while, I hear it and it triggers me to be in the moment, or I’m trying to stay in the moment and I notice it. Now, what was my…now, I rambled so much, I forgot my point. I guess my point was…send my voice…oh, creaky, dulcet tones. But you would never say…the mourning dove is a soothing thing but you’re not…it isn’t like something that’s…like, some of those tweeting birds, especially when they start early, you could say okay, enough with the singing. Great, the sun’s up; you’re happy. I get it, or you’re mating. Whatever it is, I’m not in the mood for it. With a mourning dove you say oh, there’s a mourning dove. Now, I’m sure someone has a diary of when a mourning dove moved in; the mourning dove above where I sleep or something…that someone wrote a poem or a ode, or a anti-ode. They said you know, I’ve learned to loathe the mourning dove.
I mourn every time…that’s…I mourn my sleep, so lost. But that’s not what happens with this podcast. I mean, it does for some people. So, creaky, dulcet tones are…it’s so my voice…you say well, it’s kind of memorable and forgettable at the same time. I guess that was my…I could have said it like that but then I wouldn’t have a sleep podcast. Creaky, dulcet tones, pointless meanders. I guess I don’t have to explain that because I just did an example of it. If you’re new, well, first of all, if you’re a regular listener, welcome back. I’m so happy to be here in your ears or nearby to be here to keep you company, so thank you so much for that. What was my other point? Oh, boy. I’m glad you’re here. Oh, so if a you’re a new listener, a few things to know; this podcast does not work for everybody. But for the people it works for, it usually takes two or three tries, so see how it goes is what I would say. Give it a few tries and just see how it goes. That’s what most listeners say over the years.
I’ve probably heard it hundreds of thousands of times. Give it a few tries, see how it goes. That’s the first thing. Now, also, if you’re new, if you’re skeptical or doubtful or unsure, that’s another thing. That’s perfectly natural. That’s how most people arrive at this podcast. You say, this is confusing. This person’s…I don’t even know…is this a sleep podcast or a podcast about…oh, anti-odes? I say well, no. I don’t think I could fill fifty minutes with anti-odes. Anti-Odes, the breath mint for poets that…it’s the breath mint that doesn’t work. If there’s no poetry in your heart and you want your breath to reflect that, use Anti-Odes. You find them only in Scooter’s…for sale in Scooter’s imagination. Mm, Anti-Odes. You don’t say that when you have them. You don’t say that. Neither does anyone else; Anti-Odes. When you’re feeling good and you want to feel…you say…you don’t…you’re fed up with feeling good, have yourself an Anti-Ode. Write yourself an anti-ode.
When you think of the sound of a bird that sounds amazing, when you’ve tired of bird song, write an anti-ode. Anti-odes, tonight’s sponsor; find them nowhere. But you could imagine…you know, you could imagine it and then find it. Okay, oh, so new listeners, sorry. The show’s a bit different. It’s meant to kind of be consumed loosely, just like listening to mourning doves; that’s not a super-active thing except for maybe some people. I almost already over-explained it. You say oh, there it is again. I wa-wa-wonder why I don’t notice mourning dove songs all the time. Is it because they’re not always singing or I’m not always noticing? Is that a cosmic paradox or just one of my many issues with trying to stay in the moment? Kind of listen to the podcast in that way. Barely listen, that’s what a lot of regular listeners do. The other thing is this podcast isn’t really here to put you to sleep. It’s here to keep you company as you fall asleep. If you can’t sleep, I’m gonna be here for an hour.
If you need a lot of time, the shows are an hour to give you plenty of time to drift off, but I’m more here to be your bore-friend, your bore-bae, your bore-cuz, your bore-sib, your bore-bestie. If you’re a surfer, your bore-bruh. Whatever it is, that’s the role I’m applying for. Yeah, I’m here to just keep you company as you drift off, to take your mind off of stuff. The other thing new listeners will usually need to know is structurally what to expect. This can really throw…this can get the steam coming out of people’s [00:10:00] ears ‘cause oh boy, do they let me hear about it. I just want to tell you this and you say oh, okay, it’s been addressed or I’ll…you don’t need to e-mail me. I’ll just validate your strong feelings if you’re still here but usually those people are already gone, or they usually fast-forward to twenty minutes and then they listen for a few more minutes and then they go. It’s a legitimate thing. This structure of the show is very different.
It starts off with a greeting; ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, friends beyond the binary, because I want to greet you and let you know this is a place I’m trying to keep…make safe and greet you, and that you’re welcome here. Then there’s an…oh, then there’s business. That’s how we keep the show coming out twice a week on Wednesdays and Sundays or Sundays and Wednesdays. That’s the business part of the show. Then there’s the intro. The business is probably from minute one to minute six or something, or five. I don’t know. Then from that, five or six to twenty-ish is the intro. Now, the intro is just…it’s a big part of the show. It’s actually…yeah, 30% of the show or something. It’s a part of the method but it’s optional. Some listeners, about 2%, skip ahead to twenty minutes. It is optional, but what was I gonna say? I already forgot. That’s part of the method. Oh, but the intro, the whole idea of the intro is it eases you into bedtime.
For a new listener you say oh okay, I get the idea; this doesn’t make any sense. That’s what takes two or three tries. Then for the regular listener, they start listening to the show as they’re getting ready for bed, as they’re preparing for bed, as they’re starting their bedtime routine and their wind-down routine, or when they get in bed and they’re getting comfortable, turning out the lights, and pressing play. The intro, at least in my experience of struggling with sleep, is that it takes a while to ease off. I want to give you time to ease off and slowly take you away so that at some point you just stop listening to me. But I want to reassure you that I’ll be here, so if you wake up or you can’t sleep or you want to run the podcast all night, it’ll be here for you. That’s the purpose of the intro, is a long landing strip. Then there’s business, then there’ll be a story. Tonight, it’ll be our episodically modular serialized series Otter Things which you can listen to in any order ‘cause we catch you up at the beginning of every episode.
That’s about otters and other friends that live in a swamp together, and just them exploring their story. It’s a nice little thing. All is well, that’s what Emma Otter says at the beginning of every episode, or all will be well. That’s the structure of the show. Another thing to know is the reason why I make the show. Not only am I good at going off-topic and I have creaky, dulcet tones and I have tons of superfluous and pointless meanders – those come natural to me – but the main reason I make the show is because I’ve been there. I know how it feels tossing, turning, mind racing, trouble getting to sleep, trouble staying asleep. I’ve been through all that. If I can help, it would be my honor to help, to take your mind off stuff, to keep you company, even, if you can’t sleep. That’s one of the main things I always craved and it’s just hard even if you have a partner or you have a big family. Naturally, a lot of other people are gonna be asleep so I always felt that…a little bit feeling…I just want somebody to be there to say hey, I’m gonna be here to keep you company whether you’re asleep or awake.
I’m here, I’ll be taking to you, telling you a story. That’s why I make the show, is one, I know how it feels there in the deep, dark night. The other reason I make the show and it kind of goes on the flip side of that, is I believe you deserve a good night’s sleep and that the world, your world and our world will be a much better place if you can be rested and if you can live a fuller and flourishing life. Being rested is just a part of that, one small step. If I can help, that would be my honor. It really would be. It’s just something that is very worth it to me. I’m here to help and yeah, I guess that’s it. Give the show a few tries, see how it goes, but I’m really glad you took the time to check this show out. See if it works for you. Give it a few tries. Yes, I’m repetitive. I repeat myself, but I’m here to help. Thanks so much for coming by. I yearn and I strive to help you fall asleep, and here’s a couple ways we’re able to bring you this podcast twice a week.
Alright, hey everybody, it’s Scoots here and this is our ongoing episodically modular series, Otter Things. I’m not actually the host of it so I’m turning things over. But I just want to tell you, you can listen to this in any order. Emma Otter is gonna be coming up. She’ll fill you in on everything that’s happened in the series thus far. If this is your first time listening, don’t worry. This is episodically modular. It does have some seriality but Emma takes the…it’s great ‘cause then you could listen to the earlier episodes like they’re prequels. You know you love prequel movies. I’ve heard that. You say okay, I listened to Episode 6 and now I want to hear…now I want to go back. ‘Cause even books now, especially YA, the second or the third book is the prequel. ‘Cause you say well, I really want to know…how did Teffe and Dari become…you say okay, go ahead. Listen to Episode 1,2,3,4 or 5 after this. This, without further ado, this is archived audio I discovered from Emma Otter.
Hey everyone, this is Emma Otter here. Thanks for giving me a moment of your time. I’m here to tell you the story of my town, my friends, my community, and some odd things that happened to us. I’m Emma Otter. I live in a community, a swamp-based community. Some of you might say well, what’s a swamp-based community like? I’d say well, what’s your community like? Are you in a riparian community? A forest community? A wetlands community? You’d say okay, well, maybe you’d know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, you could do a little research and say, what is it like? But I’ll kind of give you the overview. We live in a swamp. Some of swamps are underwater and some aren’t. We live in a greater swamp region, a swamp within a swamp region in a town that exists within the swamp. Just like you listening, we’re all highly intelligent beings and we have our own consciousness but we live together in community, individuals within a community that supports one another.
That’s one thing to know. It’s a greater swamp area so there’s bigger towns and cities within the greater swamp community, and it stretches in three directions very far. But we just happen to be very close to the one direction the swamp does not stretch any further beyond which we call the place beyond the swamp. Seems like another swamp; we don’t really venture beyond it. It’s bisected by a road rising up above the swamp. I think they call it some kind of duct, viaduct or something like that. But it’s a road. On the road travel occasionally strange, giant vehicles with no one driving them. But that’s worked into our childhood myths, so it’s just a strange thing we avoid. We have cognitive dissonance so we just learn to say just don’t go near the road or on the road, because why would you go on a road where at unpredictable times, strange driverless vehicles drive by? Now, I know more than I knew when I was a total child, so I would have thought they were their own beings or something.
We had other myths and a lot of our myths are based, for my friends and I, on the game Bards and Big Bunnies, a roleplaying game. But beyond the road is what’s called a Visitor’s Center and a bog walk. Then beyond that, I have no idea. There is one tunnel under the road; it is a secure tunnel. As kids, we grew up and we always wonder…we’d dare one another to go in the tunnel but you don’t do it, especially ‘cause there’s a gate there. I live in a house with my parents, my youngest sibling, and my older brother Teffe who…we’re otters. Teffe considers himself the handsomest otter in town. [00:20:00] I’m just rolling my eyes. That’s who I live with. My brother Teffe is in high school. I’m in middle school. Originally, I had three best friends. Now I have four best friends. Of course, I have my best friend, top of the…but really, who says all…why does it have to be…? There’s no bestest friend. It’s just best friend, so maybe I’ve created space to have more than one best friend, or maybe my secret best friend that’s listening, in their heart they say well, I know I’m Emma’s best friend.
Maybe you, dear listener, feel like a close, nearly, or a best friend of mine and that’s great. But my actual friends are Vaughn, who I also call V. He’s a little bit silly, a little bit goofy, very intelligent but known to be wacky, an otter being in his own way, just like all of us here. Then my friend Elijah; we call him LJ. Elijah is kind of our most principled friend. Elijah believes in the truth, believes in being honest. Elijah probably has a little bit more courage than the rest of us. I’d say our leader but then I’m telling the story, so I’d say okay, maybe we’re all leaders. Elijah’s probably the most grounded one of us too, though we all play roleplaying games. You say, with a sense of imagination. My other friend is Willow and Willow lives…now, Willow’s from a family that’s an important part of this story. Willow lives with her mom Frances and her sister Dari. They’re beavers and they live together, the three of them. That was what our life was like. I had my family, I had my friends, went to middle school, lived in my town, played Bards and Bunnies on the weekends or summer breaks.
It was a pretty happy life and then something odd happened. Something odder happened and that was that someone arrived…well, okay, a couple things happened; we played a game of Bard and Big Bunnies. Vaughn, Willow, and LJ left and on the way home, Willow took a path less-taken. Quickly to summarize, we thought when she took that path less taken, she took a…she met with an agent or something and then became a star, recorded a album making fun of our town, and moved away to a big city like River Bottom or something. That’s where her dad Lenny lived. We were all very upset ‘cause the album was discovered. Most of the songs were making fun of us and our town and it was a bit embarrassing. But some of us suspected…well, we also suspected because we…also, on the night Willow moved away, we looked for Willow…or the night after ‘cause we said Willow, where are you? We didn’t know at the time. We hadn’t found the album.
That’s where we met a character, a duck-billed beaver named Billie who has powers, magic powers through throat singing, or bill singing. I don’t know if she’s singing in her bill or her throat, kind of like Professor X or something. She could move things with the mind, she can cause people to do stuff, all those kind of things. Billie also revealed to us that she thought she might be able to help us find…or she knew that Willow…yeah, that’s what it was. She knew Willow was somewhere else, somewhere called the size-down. We said, is that like the tower? The size-down is another world inside of a…maybe a…a wizard’s tower or the tower from the Southern Swamp Trilogy that goes down and up and is organic and also has powers. We’re not 100% sure but we know Willow’s in a place like that, and she did not move away and record an album. We’re dedicated to finding her and we had just talked to our professor about how we would do that at the Community Resource Festival.
Meanwhile, Willow’s mom Dari…or Willow’s sister Dari…Willow’s mom Frances was obviously…my daughter moved away without telling me and recorded an album and started a career? Well, that’s very disappointing. It doesn’t seem like her character. Then she didn’t believe it and she started communicating with Willow through windchimes or Willow was communicating with her by pop song through windchimes. No one believed her, obviously. They said, your daughter that moved away is communicating with you through windchimes. Also, Frances was suspecting she was seeing a big bunny outside her windows and maybe a bunny with goose something, goose feathers. That was connected to Willow as well, a giant bunny. Because a lot of kids play Bards and Big Bunnies, including Willow, people said okay, that’s interesting, too. Willow’s ex…Lenny had come to help but Lenny’s kind of no-good, I’ll just tell you the truth, though he’s trying to help right now.
That’s where Frances was, wait a second, I don’t believe this but everybody’s telling me my daughter did head out to start a career…that’s a little bit of a tough thing to deal with. Now, her daughter Dari…when Willow first moved away, Dari’s instinct was to convince my brother Teffe to borrow my uncle’s car so they could drive out to Lenny’s house in River Bottom and see if Willow was there. Their friend Babs came with them. Willow was not at Lenny’s house. When Dari left Lenny’s house, she found Teffe and my brother and Babs, Dari’s best friend. They were K-I-S-S-I-N-Ging. Then they drove and then Babs went for a walk but again, very similar to Willow, where they said did she really go for a walk? ‘Cause this doesn’t make any sense. Since then, Dari’s been convinced…people, again, have said well, maybe Babs just moved away to the big city, too. But Dari’s been convinced that that’s not the case and eventually her and Teffe found that yeah, there’s something else beyond the swamp with a giant bunny print and the sounds and singing involved in this, somehow.
One other person we have to check in really quickly is Bull the bullfrog, Leon, but goes by Bull. He’s the head of our community resource department and helping mitigate anything; disagreements, and solve problems. That’s Bull’s job. Bull at first was just trying to say okay, well, it looks like Willow moved away. I’m sorry, Frances. I think Frances and Bull at one point were dating a long, long, long time ago, and trying to solve…Bull was just doing Bull’s job but eventually Bull said, something strange is here. There’s too many things. Bull discovered, one; the album was not real. Willow, my friend, sorry, Willow. The album was not real and it was never recorded. It was a fake. It was just a autotuned performance from a talent show and that the place beyond the swamp, the Visitor’s Center, was actually…Bull knew that it was part of a larger community resource effort, maybe an offensive community resource effort by the greater area swamp authorities.
But they said, there’s nothing to see here, no Willow. Don’t know what you’re talking about. But Bull didn’t believe that. Bull eventually snuck in there and saw that something was going on, something with portals, dorm rooms, cafeterias. Right as Bull had made the discovery, Bull was sung a frog lullaby to go to sleep. That’s kind of where we start but I just also want to tell you that don’t worry, all will be well. I always want to remind you of that, is that one thing to remember in this story is that all will be well. Without further ado, is our Hollywood announcer who starts these shows out, the most famous person in our town, Mr. Antonio Banderas. Ladies and gentlemen, the boys, the girls, the friends beyond the binary, otters, beavers, muskrats, porcupines, [00:30:00] foxes, turtles, frogs, even the weasels, it’s time for another episode of Otter Things. Splish splash. Thank you, Mr. Banderas. This is Otter Things and I’m Emma Otter.
I guess when we last left off in our story, we were…we had fallen asleep talking to our Professor Moose. Professor Moose had put us to sleep with some meandering analogy about the Southern Swamp Trilogy and organic beings that are also buildings and saying well, that’s a tree that grows up, it grows down. Also, how would we find something like that? Something may be resonance or vibrations. I don’t know, but we had fallen asleep and then we had woken up and decided to go home and leave the fair even though the fair, the Community Resource Fair, which is a…was really fun and seemed like it was fun, we wanted to kind of go back to my house and figure out how we were gonna track Willow down. We did that; we had a sleepover. First, we said okay, we’re already asleep. Let’s go home and go back to sleep, to my house, and then we’ll get up the next day. Now meanwhile, also the next day, it was morning everywhere where we lived because we were all in the same time area.
Lenny had been staying at Frances and Dari’s house and Lenny was sleeping on the couch. Lenny woke up and said wow, I need to get myself in the shower and maybe a swamp swim. Who knows? Meanwhile, Frances was cleaning up and she found that Lenny…one of Lenny’s other qualities; Lenny doesn’t pick up after himself. Frances was cleaning up after Lenny ‘cause Lenny left his fancy leather jacket lying around. He had also been in Willow’s room at different points. I mean, the door was open and all the…he had taken down some of the windchimes but then Frances says, don’t take down the windchimes. I like them. They make me comforted. He had tried to fix where…anyway, he’d done a lot of stuff but nothing really useful. But Frances stuck out in his mind that Lenny had been in Willow’s room. When she picked up his jacket…you know when you pick up a jacket off of a couch, you…sometimes you shake it out just to get any dust or fur off it.
Something floated out of Lenny’s pocket and floated to the ground. You might know the kind of floating that a napkin does, and Frances knew it was a napkin. At first, she said, just like Lenny; put a dirty napkin in his pocket instead of doing something with it. But as she hung his jacket up, she went to reach down to pick up the napkin and she saw that there was crayon drawings on it, or writing. As she unfolded the napkin, she saw…and it triggered a memory in her of a different time when Frances, Lenny, and Willow were all out eating lunch together. This was when Willow loved to sing. Willow always loved to sing, just like we all do. Lenny had been encouraging Willow. Frances had gone off to talk to some of the neighbors that were eating nearby, and she saw Lenny and Willow writing in crayon on a napkin. She had looked and she kind of smiled; she said oh, what a nice moment…rare moment for my daughter and Lenny to share where they both seemed happy and he…they seemed to be in serious conversation.
When she went back she said oh, what are you two working on? Willow looked at her mother with great pride and she said well, we’re working…when I become a music star, this will be my big moment. This will be when…I’ll need an agent and dad’s gonna be my agent, so we’re working on a contract. Frances said oh, yeah, you…that’s great to start planning for the future. But part of her mind said I think…is this a serious discussion? But it was written out and she said, look at the deal dad made me; only 12%. She said well, don’t usually agents take 10%? She said yeah, well, dad’s gonna…she said, don’t…and then she said well, it’s just…we’re just imagining, mom. We’re just playing. Lenny said yeah, we’re just playing. Willow had always kept that in her room but it had totally left Frances’ mind. She said well, that’s strange that Lenny has that in his pocket. But as she was folding the napkin back up and putting it in Lenny’s jacket, he came out. He said, what are you doing with my jacket?
She said oh, I found…she goes, what are you doing with this napkin contract from when Willow was little? He said oh, I found it in her room. Frances said well, Willow…she goes, did you…what are you doing with this, though? It’s weird. He goes oh, I wanted to see if we both signed it. She goes oh, you did? ‘Cause she looked and it said, Willow and Leonard whatever. She said, you’re not trying…he said listen, if Willow’s really signed these albums and made these albums…he goes, think about…he goes, we deserve some of it. We supported her career. Frances said, we supported her career? She’s a kid, one, and ‘we’ is a very loose usage of ‘we’. Lenny said come on Frances, why don’t you think about Dari? He goes, we could use the money so Dari could go to school and could use it to fix up the house and stuff, a percentage of it; 2% or so, and then I’ll take the other 10% and invest it. Frances narrowed her eyes and looked at Lenny; said, this is really why you’re here. You’re not here to help.
You’re here to capitalize on…and then she said, you need to leave right now. He said wait a second, and then she ripped up the contract. Lenny’s stream came out his ears and she said, please leave my home never to return. She sent Lenny on his way. Lenny stomped out of the house, frowny-faced. He had strong words for Frances, but Frances wasn’t hearing them because they weren’t the truth, though he did try to heighten Frances’ concern that Willow actually did record an album and move away. He was successful at that, she thought. The only reason he wants to capitalize on this is ‘cause it really happened; Willow did move away, start a career without telling me and record an album. Now meanwhile in the morning, Bull woke up. Now when we last saw Bull, he was in the lab below the Visitor’s Center. He woke up on his couch super-sweaty with a bunch of bog water nearby, one of those famous things he’d drink too much sometimes of. He said what in the heck?
Where have I been? Why am I so sweaty? It’s like I’m…can barely breathe out my skin. He said, where was I? He said wait a second, did I have too much bog water last night? But he knew…he said well, the last thing I recall was being at that…below the Visitor’s Center. He kind of started to pace around, and he stuck out his tongue and it didn’t look like a normal frog tongue. Then there was a knock at his door and it was two of the other resource staff social workers that work with the community resource department. They said hey Leon, why aren’t you at work? Why weren’t you at the community…you weren’t even at the Community Fair. You missed the entire Community Fair. You’re supposed to…you’re…he said oh yeah, I’m under the weather. I’ll have to submit a…I’ll drop my own acorn later. I’m just not feeling great. They said, are you okay? He said well, I’m under the weather. Look at my tongue. They said oh boy, your tongue does look non-optimal.
[00:40:00] He said well, what do you want? They said well, we…a couple things. The music…the owner of the music store…there was a line in front of the music store, people waiting to buy…’cause this is launch day of a bunch of albums. The owner of the music store didn’t show up. There was a lot of people trying to get stuff so eventually, we let ourselves in. There was a letter from the music store owner saying they took a job with that same record company for a distribution or something, and that the record store was closed and had been sold to another company, some company with a bunch of letters and numbers at the end of it. People were not happy ‘cause they said, where are we gonna get our records? Also, we wondered what are we gonna do…who’s gonna take over? He said, that’s a prime downtown piece of real estate. Leon said okay, okay, what else? They said also, funniest thing; Babs’ parents heard from Babs. It was only a voicemail but she said she’s with the record company and she had moved away.
She’s actually on tour, international tour. I don’t even know what that means but she’s very happy and she said to check their bank account. She had already deposited a bunch of money into her parents’ bank account and that they shouldn’t be concerned, and that she would be in touch, maybe relocate them to live with her once she had a lake house. She’s moving out of the swamp to a lake or something, Leon. He said, which record company? They said, the same record company as Willow. Doesn’t that make perfect sense, recruiting…? They found our town to be a hotbed of talent or something. He said okay, interesting. Then they said, well, are you gonna come into the office? He said no, no, no, I gotta go…I’m not…didn’t you see my tongue? I gotta go soak my tongue or something ‘cause I can barely…I’m breathing through my mouth and not my skin. I’ll see you later. They said okay, thanks, Leon. Then they got to their car. They said man, he’s acting odd.
They go yeah, I don’t know what’s up with him. How did you miss a Community Resource Fair when you’re the community resource officer? They said well, it’s a good thing our town is resilient, so we didn’t really…that was a great fair. They said oh yeah, did you go on the…remember when we raced each other on the super slide? They said oh boy, was that fun. Now, while that was going on, we were waking up in my sleepover at my house and we were having a conference to say okay, we gotta track down Willow. We said Billie, do you know anything about this tower, about size-down? You kind of said…but Billie was really quiet. We said, what about this place? How do we find it? Billie said, I don’t know. We said well, we gotta track it down. If it’s a tower and it’s…and then Vaughn said well, what about…he goes, okay…he goes, sympathetic vibrations. We said, oh, sympathetic vibrations, right, totally. He said, resonance. We said, okay. He said, get out your tuning forks.
‘Cause we all have tuning forks or some people have different things so they can tune their…so you can tune your instrument or your voice. But most of us have tuning forks ‘cause they always work and they make good keychains. You can kind of…anyway, so, we all had it. He said, put your tuning forks down in front of me. He said okay, now hold them in your hand, in your right hand. Everyone hold your tuning fork. We said okay, nothing’s happening. Then he said, you can’t visually see a tuning fork moving. He said, hold them near one another. He said, that’s what a sympathetic vibration is. But we said well, what…are they even vibrating? He said yeah, hold them to your ear and then everybody sing the tune. We all sang the tone we were hearing, barely detectable on our tuning forks. We said, all of them are making the same sound. He said yeah, and there’s no vibration. He goes, we didn’t…none of us hit our thing to start it vibrating. We said, okay.
There was a long pause, like…that okay, Vaughn. He said, there has to be a strong vibration coming from somewhere to vibrate these. They just can’t vibrate…you can’t have a sympathetic vibration without a vibration to sympathize with. We said, okay. Then we all looked at Billie and we said, do you…we realized it wasn’t Billie causing the sympathetic vibration. He said, this is coming from the tower. We said, so…? He goes, we have to find a way to be guided by…he goes, we have to find a way to determine the strength…he goes, remember that one project where we made electromagnetic tuning forks? We said oh yeah, with the lantern batteries. Remember, we thought we could use them to…yeah, he goes, we thought we could make them into…we could use it to, you know, crack glass and speed up our bikes or stop the bullies. But it just ended up as a more powerful tuning fork. He goes, we could use those and we could see that will monitor the strength and we could just try to find the tower through that.
We said holy cow, that is a brilliant idea. Now meanwhile, back at Leon’s house after the other community resource officers had left, the first thing Leon did because Leon wasn’t 100%, was call his old job. They said, Café Noir Chardonnay. He said yeah, hi. I’m just calling to see who’s performing tonight. They said, who’s performing tonight? Well, hold on. Which show? Because we have three shows booked tonight; a 7:00, a 10:00, and an after-midnight show. Which show? He said, uh…the person on the phone said Leon the legend, is that you? Is that you? Are you still…what…and then Leon hung up the phone and he sighed. But then he paused as he hung up the phone and then he started taking his phone apart, wondering…remembering back at the whole lab below the Visitor’s Center. Then he realized that they were probably listening into him somehow so he started searching his house for listening devices.
He actually thought about when he was at the school ‘cause they had the giant sonic ear, so it was a giant saucer collecting…so, he started going through all his plates and bowls, lamps, anything saucer-shaped that could collect sounds. He was tearing his place apart. Then when he thought he had given up, pretty much…and he sighed. He realized that there was one cabinet that he…the top two shelves of the furthest cabinet…you know the cabinet everybody has that you can barely access anyway. Up there was his great-grandmama’s tea set that he had never used because it was fancy tea and fancy saucers. Maybe once when he took a cat home, he gave it a saucer of milk, but he never put that saucer back, anyway. He started digging through there and of course at the back of the thing, he found a little tube that went out from…it was using the vibrations to listen in on him from the tea set, which…a very fine, great idea but he didn’t disturb it.
He just kind of looked at it and then said oh, okay. I think I’ll have myself a glass of tea, clear my head. What a dream I had last night. So unrealistic, couldn’t possibly have happened. 100% my imagination. No more bog water for me. Then he turned on his radio; said, I’m just gonna sit here and lie around and listen to the radio all day long, listen to the old sports casting and talking stuff. Then he turned on another radio in his bedroom, one on the talking stuff and one on the sports stuff, and then he headed out. [00:50:00] He was headed in the direction of Frances’ house. He drove all the way over to Frances’ house, and Frances knocked on the door. Frances was already in a not-great mood because of everything that had happened with Lenny and she thought it was Lenny knocking on the door again. When she opened the door, Leon held up his finger like shushy-shushy-shushy-poo. In his head he said, this…your house is full of windchimes and they could be listening in through any of the windchimes because those probably collect sound really well.
First, he started looking around through all her…she said, what are you doing? He said shush, shush, shush. He said oh boy, I’m…he made a fake voice. It’s me, Lenny, again. Harumphety-harumph. Don’t I know every…he’s just doing his Lenny imitation. She was kind of going along with it. Don’t you think Willow…he knew…he had a different take but he was like, don’t you think Willow should’ve…be direct depositing her paychecks into my account for management? She goes oh boy, Lenny, you’re a genius. I’m so sorry I kicked you out earlier. They played along like that while he looked and then eventually, he gave up. He said, oh boy. Then he was thinking and then he was saying…they were trying to think. Then they figured out that they could turn on all of the fans in Frances’ house which would make the windchimes go. She said, what are you doing? I’m waiting for Willow to talk to me through the windchimes. He goes, you’re right about Willow.
Stand by a windchime and a fan, in-between the two…he goes no, no…he goes yeah, by the fans. He goes, not behind the fan or in front of the fan; to the side of the fan near a windchime and we’ll have a conversation. She goes, why? He goes well, I’m afraid the wind will blow…otherwise…he goes, yeah. He goes, this is the way we won’t be…he goes, they’re listening, the place below the Visitor’s Center. She goes, place below the Visitor’s Center? He goes, the album was a fake, Frances. The whole thing is a fake. There’s no record company. There’s no album. You were right. Something strange, something odd is happening. He goes, I’m sorry. She goes well, thank goodness mother…my mother’s instinct was correct. She goes, what it this…? He goes, beyond the swamp there’s a Visitor’s Center. It’s part of…he goes, it’s a cover. He goes, there’s a greater community resource thing for the greater swamp area. He goes, instead of community resources, they have a more stricter view of defending the community against invasive things or whatever.
But he goes, they haven’t quite gained traction to take over our departments and move away from a community-based resource-sharing model. She goes, I don’t understand. He goes, never mind. He goes, so below the Visitor’s Center…he goes, is an entire operation; cafeteria, offices, computer stuff, mops. She goes, okay. He goes, dorm rooms, kids’ dorm rooms. She goes, kids’ rooms? He goes, yeah. Then he was talking about stuff he saw and the music, and the posters, and stuff. She goes well, that doesn’t sound like Willow at all. None of that sounds like Willow. He goes, that’s weird. She goes, it’s odd. So, she goes, there’s kids down there? He goes well, I didn’t see any kids, just signs of kids. She goes, but no sign of anything that would be distinctively Willow’s? She goes, what do you think the kids were doing down there? He goes, I got no clue. He goes, I did read all these strange articles, you know, the rumors about humans and stuff, and powers, and the power of music.
She goes, and Bards and Big Bunnies? He goes, what’s that? She goes, the game all the kids in our community play and some parents believe that it leads kids to make poor choices even though it doesn’t and actually boosts their self-esteem and resiliency and imagination. He goes, what? She goes, it’s a game that kids play and music has magical powers. He goes, I don’t know. He goes, but there’s this one…he goes, what if the whole time…he goes, I’ve been trying to find Willow but instead I’ve been looking for somebody else? Frances said, okay. He said, let’s go to the library, do some more research and figure this out. She says okay, okay. Now, while that was happening, we had headed out with the electromagnetic tuning forks. We were out there in what we call Darken Wood, looking, following the tuning forks. We were two-by-two, so Vaughn and LJ had one and Billie and I had one.
Vaughn and LJ…again LJ is saying, don’t you think something’s going on with that duck-billed beaver? Vaughn said, I don’t know. Said, it’s acting extra-odd. They’re acting extra-odd. Vaughn said, I suppose. Now meanwhile, when I was walking with Billie, Billie said, can we go back to your house? I need a snack. I said well, we brought some snacks. Why don’t you have a…? She goes well, I prefer a snack…a different snack. Also, a nap; I think I need a nap. I said well, we gotta keep going right now, Billie. I understand it, but just try to do a walking meditation or something and rest that way. Then Billie drifted away but it didn’t stick out to me ‘cause I said do a walking meditation, and I started to kinda do one. I think Billie was singing a little bit. But meanwhile, Billie was going into a lookback, a flashback, they say, to another time with Max…Dr. Max, when she lived there. They were in the lab or a room and Dr. Max was saying okay, so you’re gonna sing this song and I want you to close your eyes.
I want you to read what you see. Billie said, read what I see. Dr. Max said yeah, close your eyes and walk. You gotta keep walking and read what you see. Here’s the song; I’m gonna play it a few times and then you start singing and close your eyes and sing along. The song was a song about signs, everywhere there being signs. Not good for…always good for the scenery. A lot of the signs weren’t positive but in this case they all had either numbers or letters as Billie started just walking and singing the signs. Some signs were shaped like shields and some signs were triangles. Some signs were octagons. Then Dr. Max said, now read the signs. So, Billie said yeah, A1A. Dr. Max said good, good, good, and he’d write them down. She said, 60, 29, 17. Stop. Dr. Max said okay, the numbers and letter…528. Billie would see these signs and just say the numbers; 4, 192, 417.
But meanwhile as we were walking, we eventually got back to the…behind the transfer station where they had found Willow’s albums. LJ said wait a second, we’re back at the transfer station. I thought we were headed towards…there’s no tower here. There’s not even barely any trees here. This can’t be the right place. Then we said, get out the tuning forks and the electromagnetic tuning forks and just see…how did we get so lost? They said okay, try the batteries. Then they said, get out the battery-tester. Then we realized that they were all working but yeah, they were showing the stronger…we were like, almost where they should be. Then LJ said wait a second, and he pointed one of them right at Billie and it shot [01:00:00] up to full power. He said, your throat singing, I can hear your throat singing now. Then said, you led us here to the transfer station. You’re leading us astray. What exactly are you doing? Why are you making us lost? At first, Billie said no, I didn’t.
Then I kind of took Billie’s side; I said hey, LJ, no. Calm down. It’s just high stakes. Then we had a strong discussion about it, so strong that I said, do you want to have a dance-off? Then LJ said, do you want to have a dance-off? But then Billie didn’t know what a dance-off was, so then Billie started singing the song Impulsive, with Billie’s powers. Then LJ started acting impulsively which mostly meant running around and then running away. Then we said, what did you do? You just made him run off without…he even forgot his tuning fork. I said, you did lead us here. What were you doing? Why are you making my friend act impulsive…you’re not supposed to use your powers against us. I said, what are you such an oddball for? Which I greatly regret at this time. Then Billie ran off and as Billie ran off, Billie was having another memory back…another flashback to yet another time when Billie was…had a second time.
They said okay, at the place with Dr. Max, they said okay, that really worked well. Dr. Max had given Billie a stuffed animal. He even said, that went so good. Now, we want you to look at some bigger signs. He even showed Billie this map. He said, I want you to kind of try to follow these signs. I want you to look for these ones, these numbers and this…shapes. Follow them and then tell us what you see, the other signs that you might see, even handwritten signs or anything you see. They also would put Billie in this waterbed which is like a real waterbed. I don’t know, that’s like something from the 70s and 80s where you feel like you’re floating. This waterbed was blue like a cloud. They even got a nice, weighted blanket for Billie to have. They said, just float on the waterbed and picture the signs and sing the song, and tell us what you see. Actually, at this point, Billie even had this extra power. Wouldn’t learn this ‘til many conversations with Billie, that Billie didn’t have to speak at this point.
Billie could transfer it into a TV, the images that Billie was seeing. Just the sign images; not everything. Billie started singing and floating on the waterbed and walking. At first, it was the signs they had told Billie. Even a couple times, Billie took wrong turns and it said U-Turn or whatever, No Passing Zone, Breakout…Breakdown Lane. Then they say okay, no, look for this number. But as Billie was going, the more signs started increasing. Billie started seeing these bigger billboards, is what we call them. We don’t have a lot ‘cause they’re not that great to look at but wherever Billie was, there was a lot of these. Billie said, save money. Have you ever had a flat tire? Call this number. Do you need a place where there’s 1,000 T-shirts? 1,000 T-shirts today. Visit the sands of Sandy Shores Beach. As Billie went along…then Billie saw further down…it was broadcasting those billboards but Billie saw about ten signs down this one blinking, reddish light. It was like, blinking, drawing Billie.
Then Billie was reading the other signs, you know. Have you ever had a…have you wanted to make a go-cart go? Go here. Do you want the largest Ferris Wheel…but meanwhile Billie saw this blinking and then she saw this tower. This was a billboard but it was a three-dimensional billboard with a tower. Billie didn’t broadcast this one just yet ‘cause Billie had gone into another level of zone. It was a tower going up off the billboard, like, three times the size of the billboard, this real-looking tower. It was a Wizard’s Tower and that’s what it said. It said, experience something with…falling off the wizard’s…Tower of Sorcery, I would think it was called. I call it the Wizard’s Tower. At the top of the tower there was a window and that’s where the light was blinking, like a blinking candle. Apparently, I guess it was solar powered and said, can you pass the…can you become a…again, there’s letters and words missing, but pass the tests what awaits you?
Wonder…something, something not great, journey into the Tower of Sorcery. It had these people smiling, dressed like wizards, kind of. But still, the light blinked and that’s really what Billie didn’t know, was it was a solar powered light and said, what is that light? Can you get in that tower? Billie walked up to the billboard and there was a ladder going up the…then Billie noticed that the tower actually extended down into the earth, next to…on the back side of the billboard, the tower all the way went down into the earth. Billie said well, that’s…it’s, oh, magic. That was another thing that caught Billie’s eye. Billie had a flashback within a flashback to getting a magic kit one time from Dr. Max with a dancing rope or something, and cups…or make balls disappear. Billie was like, I gotta find out if this plight is magic. Billie climbed up the tower, the…well, the billboard, and then was looking for way to get into the tower and found this door.
Then there was a spiral staircase going up the tower. Now, this normally in the past would have been to service the light but the tower had changed with time and maybe something else. The tower was a little bit more organic. As Billie started going up the…the light was making a sound, on and off sound, from inside the tower. But then Billie noticed that the tower also went down and that it wasn’t stairs; it was more of a ramp going down into the earth. Then Billie thought Billie heard the sound of crunching carrots and a twitching…then even a sound of a beak closing. Billie looked up and because the tower was…the sound traveled so strange, Billie said oh boy, I don’t…not sure I enjoy these sounds. Billie said, it’s time for me to not sing the sign song anymore, and said, take me home, take me home. Then Billie woke back up on the waterbed. She said, I don’t…but, Dr. Max and the team of scientists or whatever, lab coat-wearing people, were taking tons of notes and saying oh, boy.
That is a lot of information. We just learned about this. Holy mackerel, this is interesting stuff, really important stuff for us to write down. Great job, Billie. Billie said, I need to sleep. Billie clutched the stuffed…which, with irony I tell you now, is a stuffed bunny, and fell deep, deep asleep and rested. That’s where we’ll leave off for right now, with Billie sound asleep, so nice and cozy. Goodnight.
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