908 – Pump up the Dino Puffs Jam | Otter Things Ep8
Billie takes a rest inside a castle made of cereal while Francis and Leon do research at the library, just the kind of riveting material you listen to this podcast for.
EPISODE 908 – Pump up the Dino Puffs Jam | Otter Things Ep 8
[START OF RECORDING]
SCOOTER: Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, friends beyond the binary, and my patron peeps, it’s the only time I can sing to you, my patrons peeps. Thanks.
INTRO: [INTRO MUSIC] Hey, are you up all night tossing, turning, mind racing? Trouble getting to sleep? Trouble staying asleep? Well, welcome. This is 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, things you’re thinking about…or usually, those are thoughts. Here’s the thing; I’m not even thinking about them. Like, what are you doing there? How’d you get there? So, things on your mind or within your mind or all around your mind. Feelings; those could be emotions coming up because of those thoughts or that are just there, or they’re like a wave from the day or the far past that hasn’t quite receded yet because not everything’s like a beach, you know what I’m saying?
Thoughts, feelings, physical sensations that could be related to thoughts, feelings, or just on their own that are there. Could be changes in your routine, your location, your schedule. Whatever it is, I’m here to take your mind off of stuff and keep you company as you drift off. What I’m going to attempt to do is create a safe place where you could…oh, where you could set aside whatever’s keeping you awake. Also a repetitive place. Holy…you say, sometimes being repetitive is reassuring but not reassuring. I’m not a actuary, which I’m not even positive what that is, but I think it involves numbers and stuff. You’d say okay, thank goodness you’re not an actuary. Oh, what was my…? Oh, so what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna create a safe place. I’m gonna smooth it, I’m gonna pat it, I’m gonna rub it down. The safe place, not…that’s what I’m rubbing down, and my elbows, of course. I’m gonna send that across the deep, dark night; lulling, soothing, creaky, dulcet tones, pointless meanders, superfluous tangents.
I’m gonna go way off-topic which I’ve already done, but further afield is where I’ll be at some point, all to keep your…take your mind off of stuff and keep you company. Now, if you’re a regular listener, holy cow, what’s up? So good to have you back. So glad I can help you. Thank you so much for listening to this show on a regular basis. I’m really honored to be here. Now if you’re new though, this…I want to give you some information. A regular listener, they’re already kind of used to all this nonsense, where you might not be, and that’s totally normal. So, a few things to know right up…well, kind of up front if you’re new. One, this podcast is not for everybody. It’s just a little bit…it’s not a little bit different but it just isn’t for everybody. It’s not everybody’s cup of tea. But for everybody who’s said it’s their cup of tea, it’s not like a regular tea where they say the first taste…they say oh boy, is that green mint with…or is that a…is that Vanilla Sleepytime? Oh, boy. It’s like Sleepytime but with vanilla.
This is not like that. You say well, this…is this tea? Are you sure this is tea? But then after two or three tries you say hm, this is a tea I enjoy now. At first, I wasn’t sure because I said is that some sort of bitter melon or a tea? You’d say now it’s a flavor I look forward to, if you become a regular listener. That’s what most regular listeners say, like 95% of people that listen to this podcast on a regular basis. Because it’s free, just give it a few tries and see how it goes. I really hope I can help you but I can’t guarantee it. But I do want the show to help you, and I’m gonna give you more information just so you kind of…I can try to win over your trust a little bit. So, the podcast isn’t for everybody. Even the people it is for don’t like it on the first couple tries. Other things to know; one, this isn’t a podcast you really listen to. It’s a podcast you barely listen to. This is not a…an imaginary…that imaginary nana voice in your mind when you’re going out…you’re trying to go out and then they…says oh boy, you’re going out like that?
You say, I was. Well, you’re not gonna bring this, this, or that? Do you have any galoshes? You say nana, I don’t even know what a…I don’t know what a…is it a…I don’t even know what a galosh is, or galoshes, but it sounds like the way you said it, they come in pairs. I believe…are those…I’m gonna giggle when I say this to you, nana; are those like rubbers? Like shoe…for my shoes, I mean. Oh boy, you might as well not…you’re gonna talk to somebody with that mouth and that mind? What was my point? I have no idea what my point is. Oh, this is a podcast you don’t…normally when you’re in a more grounded state, you say uh-huh, nana, I am…nana, do you want me to get you anything? A person…well-adjusted person…I’m not that person, but when nana says those things you say oh boy, yeah nana, I’m headed out. I’m headed out just like this, but did you have some advice? Oh, galoshes? Nana, maybe I’ll pick…I don’t own any galoshes, nana, but I’ll look for some while I’m out.
Or, my celebratory Midsummer Day is coming. If you want to put those under the old giving tree, that’d be great. I’d love to have some galoshes, nana. Great idea. I gotta go. Do you want…again, do you want me to fetch you anything? Butterscotch candies? Root beer? Whatever those hard root beer barrels are? Oh boy, I’ll see you soon. Can’t wait. I’ll be counting the moments. Oh, you live within my mind? Oh, so you’re coming with me. Let’s go, then. Oh, so you don’t need to listen. That was kind of listening. It would be more like a passive-aggressive version of that…when you say uh-huh, nana. Oh yeah, galoshes. Oh boy, do I. I don’t have galoshes; I have galosheseses in my trunk. A trunk-full of galoshes. Remember when I put out that song to…that 80s song or 90s song, A Pocket Full of Kryptonite? It was trunk-full of galoshes tonight and every night. But this is a podcast you just kind of go uh-huh, okay Scoots. Oh boy. Uh-huh. Galoshes, eh? You like saying that, don’t you?
Are you gonna say galoshi next? Oh boy. Uh-huh. Then Scoots will go [inaudible]. Uh-huh. So, that’s one thing. You don’t need to listen to me. Also, this is strange, but this is a sleep podcast; there’s no pressure to fall asleep. One, I’m gonna be here for an hour so you have plenty of time to fall asleep but the other thing is, these episodes are complete so if you can’t sleep, I’m here to keep you company. I’ll be here to the very end so you can drift off whenever you want. There’s no pressure to listen and no pressure to fall asleep. I’m here to keep you company, to apply for the position of bore-friend, bore-bae, bore-cuz, bore-sib, bore-bestie, bore-bruh. Whatever it is, if you’re in San…[inaudible] for San Diegans and stuff. I’m here to keep you company as you drift off. What else? Oh, structure. That’s another thing that can throw new listeners off. So, let me tell you a little bit about the structure of the show.
Starts off with a greeting; ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, friends beyond the binary. That’s to make you feel welcome and let you know you are welcome here. Then there’s business. That’s how we keep the podcast coming out twice a week. Then there’s an intro. Sometimes new listeners particularly get the business and the intro mixed up or they say well, why do I gotta sit through the business? I say well, it’s a sleep podcast. We gotta do it up-front. But here’s the thing; if you’re new, you don’t gotta listen. You could practice not paying attention. If you’re a regular listener, I do need you to listen to that part. But so, then there’s the intro which can sound like business, but it’s really the business of nonsense ‘cause it’s just where, over 900 times, I’ve described how the podcast works and that I’m gonna keep you company. I introduce myself to the new listeners, I go off-topic a few times. Maybe I talk to the nana within my mind.
But it’s like something borrowed, something blue, and something new or whatever so that if you’re new, you get an idea of what to expect indirectly and directly, as a matter of fact. But if you’re a regular listener, you say okay, Scoot, this is gonna be a little bit different so my mind doesn’t adjust to it, the parts of me that keep me awake, but at least it’s familiar like all my other favorite familiar things like my pillows or whatever, or cupping the old elbows, like I say. [00:10:00] What was my point in there? Oh, I don’t know what my point…oh, so the intro, though. It’s about twelve to eighteen minutes. That’s what can throw new people off. They say, twelve to eighteen minutes of introducing a podcast? I say yes, a sleep podcast though, so here’s what happens; as you become a regular listener, you kind of start to experiment and build your bedtime routine around the intro. For a few percentage of listeners, they just start the show at twenty minutes or they listen to story-only versions on Patreon. For the rest of listeners, they make different adjustments.
Some listeners wake up and start listening to the podcast, some listeners start the show before they get into bed as they’re doing their wind-down and bed-prep routine. Some listeners are in bed getting cozy and maybe doing some sort of other mellow activity. Some listeners are drifting off into sleep, so you could just kind of see how it goes. But the idea of the intro is to take some distance away from the day and to ease you into bedtime. Then there’s business between the intro and the episode. Then there’ll be the episode. It’ll be our episodically modular serial series Otter Things. That’s O-T-T-E-R T-H-I-N-G-S which has a tagline ‘all will be well.’ That’s a show like a series but you can listen to it in any order. You could listen…tonight’s Episode 8, I think. You could listen to Episode 8 ‘cause we’ll fill you in on everything you need to know. Then the other episode…it would be like this is Episode 1 and the first seven episodes are prequels.
Survey says everybody loves a prequel, so seven…you say okay, you’re telling me there’s Episode 8, 9, 10, 11, and there’s seven prequels? Holy moly. I’d say yeah, that is…I’d say it’s like holy poly or something for prequels. But yeah, holy prequolies. Then there’s some thank yous at the end. So, that’s the structure of the show. I think that’s most of the stuff you need to know other than this; the reason I make this show is ‘cause I’ve been there, even recently, two nights ago. I know how it feels tossing, turning, mind racing, trouble getting to sleep, trouble staying asleep, all those things. It’s just not pleasant being tired or overtired or cranky. All those things I’ve experienced very recently, but not right now. Right now, I’m here to keep you company, so I’m happy. I feel good. That’s one part of it. The other part is you deserve a good night’s sleep. You deserve a place where you can rest and relax, and you deserve to wake up and feel ready and energized to face the day. Not every day, but most of the time, at least. I really want to live in a world like that where you’re rested because that means you’re gonna be flourishing and our world will be a better place, truly, if your world’s a better place.
That’s why I’m here. That’s what I do. Again, give it a few tries and see how it goes for you. You really have nothing to lose, I mean, other than the people that already turned it off that really don’t get…they don’t…I don’t know, even those people…especially recently, I’ve gotten more and more reviews of people that loathe…stronger than loathed me and those weren’t…that’s just my family members and other people…and then said eventually got used to…I realized oh, wait a second, I don’t loathe this podcast. It’s just different. Whatever, I thought it was tea and then I said this doesn’t taste like tea. Then I said oh, it does taste like tea, just not what I was expecting. That’s all you really need to know other than I’m here to help. I’m gonna do my best which some people would shrug at, but I’m gonna do my best. I’m here to keep you company, to take your mind off of stuff. I really appreciate your time and checking this show out. Yeah, that’s it. Here’s a couple ways we’re able to bring you this podcast twice a week.
Alright, everybody, it’s Scoots here and I’m just gonna turn the mic over. This is our episodically modular serialized series that you could listen to in any order. The reason you can listen to it in any order is ‘cause our host, Emma Otter, is gonna run through everything you need to know because that’s…she’s been doing that. I said, I can’t believe I found these tapes that are perfectly ready for a episodically modular recording. That’s pretty cool. So, without further ado…oh, this…the name of the series is Otter Things, O-T-T-E-R Things. It’s hosted by one Emma Otter. Take it away, Emma. Hello, everyone. This is Emma Otter. I wanted to say Emma Otter reporting, which I kind of am doing. But this is a bit more like a personal…well, I’m talking just to you, the one here listening to this story. It’s a tale of some odd things that happened in our community. I, Emma Otter, live in a place, a swamp; a swamp-based community in a swamp, part of a greater swamp area region.
We’re all swamp-based beings. Yeah, I don’t know, I think a scientist would say that you’re a swamp-based being, Emma. I’d say well, I’m a otter. I’m also a part of my family, then I’m part of a community. I’m a lot more than those things. But sure, you could say that. I would agree with you because I’m a being based in a swamp. We’re also beings based in a swamp based in a larger swamp. You might technically say it’s one big swamp but not to us because of course, there’s other communities in the swamp, bigger towns and…River Bottom you’d say is a small city. On three sides of our community…’cause we’re right up against the border. Three sides, there’s swamps as far…further than the eye can see. But on one side of our town, it’s bisected by a road and beyond that is a place beyond the swamp where no one goes or is supposed to go. It’s bisected by a road that’s raised up out of the swamp.
Then there’s more swamp on the other side, but it’s part of the swamp we don’t go to. It behaves differently because the road is there interrupting the natural flow of the swamp. But our community and the road has been there for so long that it’s just normal to us. I don’t even really know much about it other than we don’t go on the road or to the place beyond the swamp. We’ll look at it and sometimes there’s mysterious vehicles on the road, but none of that is important right now because I’m here to tell you what odd things happened. Now, I’m Emma. I live with my family. My brother Teffe is in high school. I’m in middle school. I want to do this a little bit more efficiently; catching you up. I have some friends, Willow, Vaughn, and LJ, and a new friend Billie. My brother Teffe is in the same class as Willow’s sister Dari, in high school. We’re all in middle school. Okay, oh, so let me tell you what odd thing happened. We play a game, a roleplaying game, called Bards and Big Bunnies.
One night after our game, everyone went home. We played it at my house; Vaughn, LJ, and Willow. But Willow took a road less-traveled and we thought she moved away to start her music career. There was clues left that led us to believe she did move to River Bottom, recorded an album. It was an album that had a lot of goofs on our town and of me…I thought she was one of my best friends. That was it. We were all sad but we didn’t necessarily believe it. We said maybe…what if Emma…or what if Willow…Emma, my friend, said to me what if Willow didn’t…what if Willow took a path less-taken somewhere, like on a goose chase or something else, like in a game of Bards and Big Bunnies? While we were looking for Willow, we met Billie, a duck-billed beaver who had come from the place beyond the swamp, the Visitor’s Center, through the tunnel…I think through the tunnel. Actually, we never…did we ask her? I don’t know.
Billie had been living in the place beyond the swamp and Billie also had super powers or magic powers, or powers of…psychic powers where she could do this throat singing and it would cause different things, like cause you to freeze or touch your nose or run away, different things like that. That was happening and we said okay. Then we thought we could use Billie’s powers to find Willow, but LJ, our friend LJ said why are we messing with this Billie person when we could be…we should just be looking for Willow? [00:20:00] Which was a legitimate thing but we said no, she’s got powers and she’s nice. Let’s work together. But then recently, we set out using tuning forks, electromagnetic tuning forks to find the sympathetic vibration which we believed led to the place beyond the swamp where…or, well, we thought it would lead where Willow was, but it…really, Billie was scrambling it. Then LJ got very displeased with Billie and said so with strong words.
Then Billie used her powers to make LJ run away. Then we used strong words with Willow to say that’s not okay. Or, with Billie. I’m sorry. Then Billie ran away, or we…we kind of shamed Billie a little bit. Okay, so that’s what’s going on with me. I’ll pick that up. I went home; it was evening. Meanwhile, Dari and Teffe also over a course of time came to believe that Willow’s album was not real and Willow was someplace beyond the swamp. They discovered a big goose-bunny that was living somewhere underground and had a nursery; also a place…playhouse, a giant playhouse version of our town because this bunny’s big and a goose bunny. Also, a nursery where the big goose-bunny may be keeping – we don’t know this, though – Willow and Dari’s friend Babs, and singing to them and treating them like they were babies or dolls. Some of this is a leap in logic but I want to fill you in on everything ‘cause you would…if you…you’re getting a chance to put that leap in logic.
So, they’re still searching but they discovered a lot of that recently. Meanwhile, the head of our community resource team, Bull, Leon the bullfrog; we call Leon or Bull. Well, we call him Mr. Community Resource Officer…and Willow’s mom Frances have been looking for Willow. They’ve had quite a journey thinking okay, Willow’s gone, Willow’s not gone. Willow did record an album, Willow didn’t record an album. I know my daughter wouldn’t do that, except that your daughter would. Back and forth with everybody involved. They have eventually realized by deduction, inference, investigation, something’s…odd is going on at the place beyond the swamp involving Willow. That’s really where we are. I can kind of catch you up on where everybody is currently. The place beyond the swamp is actually a laboratory run by a fox named Max Modine, and they are looking for Billie and trying to figure out where Billie is, so that’s what’s happening there.
Also, they’re doing something else, obviously. LJ is at home not speaking to me or Billie or Vaughn. Willow has gone off on her own and is…was sleeping. I guess I could tell you where I’ve been and where everything that’s going on. So, I went home after the whole…we couldn’t find Billie, so we went home. Vaughn went to Vaughn’s house; I went to my house. I was seriously frowny-faced because…I said where…my friends don’t get along, I couldn’t manage it, then I lost my top a little bit and yelled at Billie who’s not from around here, so how’s Billie supposed to know? Or who does define what behavior is allowable with super powers? There’s that, and so I kind of was looking at the blanket fort where we had Billie sleeping in my basement, and I was frowny-facing. Also, kicking some pillows and just not happy. Let’s see, Frances and Bull had headed to the library in the morning, of course. They were gonna look into some things.
I think that’s everybody; Dari and Teffe, they’ve been on their own adventure which I think we…you should be pretty caught up on. They’re actually…yeah, I kinda went through all that in the last recording I made just ‘cause I had all those notes prepared. Let’s start at the lab or the place beyond the swamp, the Visitor’s Center. Doctor Max Modine and a team of larger swamp area community resource team…which is just a misuse of words because they don’t necessarily believe in soft power. They believe that power is something that’s powerful. Billie’s tied in that some way and they also believe in D-E-C-E-P-T-I-O-N, so they’ve been trying to track down Billie by listening in to everybody’s conversations because they have these big ways of collecting sound. But they decided to take a more active thing and they posed as this group that comes town to town that’s against Bards and Big Bunnies. Sometimes there’s even reporters from River Bottom or Hensontown or other places.
There’s this one reporter, Gerald. Gerald, we thought was…up until…and I don’t mean to spoil this for you; we thought was a reporter, really works for the greater…Larger Swamp Authority or something. We thought Gerald was independent of this group of concerned parents about Bards and Big Bunnies. It was like, C, concerned…C-A…CAPABA…I think CAPABA is what they’re called. They go around saying to parents in different towns…they go…they say the same thing about comic books and music, though. They say, do you know that children that play Bards and Big Bunnies believe in supernatural powers beyond our understanding and that it’s a game…they say well, my kids seem pretty resilient that play that…it teaches them resilience, right? Oh, no, no, no, the wrong kind of resilience. My parents definitely didn’t go for it ‘cause they had come a couple of years ago. My parents said well, it teaches them problem solving and performance and creative problem-solving, math, conceptualization, image…all these things.
They said yeah, but the wrong kind. Not the kind you want your children practicing. Do you want your children to believe in a world with big bunnies that might come and take your community resources and reappropriate them and that magic’s gonna fix that? Then usually, my mom says well, actually, it’s not the magic that fixes…it’s the proper use of magic within a problem-solving…but anyway, my mom just doesn’t have patience for it. This is all to say that this organization may independently exist but at this point, they had sent out a version of this organization or the actual organization going…they went to our teacher’s house, Professor Moose. They did a one-two thing on old Professor Moose who’s really good at advocating for students. But they did a one-two, so they sent the organization first, this…and they said well, we’re a group of concerned parents and we know that you’ve been known to discuss Bards and Big Bunnies.
We know that you played it as a youth, Edition 2 or whatever. We need to know what youth are currently playing Bards and Big Bunnies so we can help to balance the scales. Professor Moose said well, I don’t really know. First of all, you’re in my house or my home. I don’t know what…Professor Moose said well, are you concerned parents locally? They said no, no, no…yeah, we’re part of your broader community. He said well, whose parents are you? They said, our children’s parents and your…it sounds like we have to parent more than just our children. Then Professor Moose tried to…the same thing as my mom, but what they had in their back pocket was…out of a van came [00:30:00] Gerard, the reporter, with cameras. Now, just like anybody, you assume the cameras are running live in real-time so Gerard said hello, are you a teacher? Oh boy, holy cow, what is this you’re teaching children? Did you hear what happened in Fruferfrau?
Professor Moose said no, no; I didn’t hear what happened in Fruferfrau. Gerard said well, that was where Bards and Big Bunnies…Gerard told some tale; not true, actually. Actually, fiction or a misaccounting of events about something that happened in Fruferfrau, some forest community or something. I said, people play Big Bards and Big Bunnies in forest communities, too. That’s so cool. I wonder if any squirrels…I’d love to hang out…I would love to have a squirrel as a friend; not if any of my friends are listening. Don’t worry. But Gerard played a reporter that was more flash than substance but really, the person playing the reporter was just brilliant ‘cause they said well, boy…well, if only we had some examples like you’re saying, professor, of children who had…what if…maybe what you’re saying is right, that we need children that are using this game to learn resilience and self-esteem and problem solving; world-building.
You’re saying that even these children use some sort of…Bards and Big Bunnies teaches them restorative methods of justice and right and wrong, and nuance. Wow, I’ve love to interview them. Turn the cameras off. Let me just talk to Professor Moose. Then Professor Moose said well, really, if you want to do that, yeah, if the cameras are off…and send those fake parents away. Professor said well, these are some of the students that have really…I see benefitted from playing Bards and Big Bunnies. Gerard said well, thank you, professor. Wow, you’ve really…and then the vans drove off but really, they were from the Visitor’s Center in the place beyond the swamp the whole time. So, what they did next was they…professor told them…Vaughn, LJ, and me and Willow. Then they started watching our houses to find out if Billie was with us. That was their plan. They had our houses watched out. Now, we had already left my house in the morning.
We had rode our swamp water bikes over to LJ’s house to…Vaughn had come to my house and said you need to go to LJ’s house and apologize because you raised your voice first and all that. We have to work it out. We have to stick together. But we went to LJ’s and LJ just really believes strongly in finding Willow and not using Billie or then…also, I said well…I said listen, I was wrong. Can we go find Billie and then we’ll find Willow? Then LJ said don’t you…haven’t you been listening? We’re trying to find Willow, not trying to find Willow and LJ, or Willow and Billie. Billie’s the one that got us into this; that whole thing. I said well, I can’t agree to that. I want to find…then LJ said well, then if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to prepare to go find my friend Willow. You can go find this Billie, a duck-billed beaver that I don’t find trustworthy. I will go find our friend Willow who apparently is my best friend or at least, I’m Willow’s best friend by my actions.
We headed off in our separate directions but as we left…we didn’t register it, but in the back of LJ’s mind…LJ registered that LJ saw a van that said that on the side of the van…whatever, COBA…COPACOBA or whatever, Concerned Parents About Bards and Big Bunnies. It even had on the side of the van the reverse…‘cause sometimes in the old school days, Professor Moose…they had spray-painted vans with cool Bards and Big Bunnies murals spray-painted on them. But this one had the reverse of children frowning. Surprisingly, it didn’t catch our eye but…and even LJ said well, I guess parents are out looking for comic books and Bards and Big Bunnies. One move they would do if they had enough funding, which only happened after Gerard report, was they tried to buy all the…they’d go around or they’d have a turn-in. We were on the Edition Number 5, so what you could do is…you could tell they didn’t know anything about the game ‘cause you could go to garage sales and build up your…this is free advice for anybody that’s listening.
You build up your collection of first, second, third, or fourth ‘cause you say well, it’s pretty cool ephemeral to…ephemera, or whatever. But they would come and they’d offer candy or gift certificates or toys. They say, turn in your Bards and Big Bunnies or your comic books. Again, you could just get comic books you already read that aren’t your favorites. Well, I read that once so I don’t need to read it again. That’s probably why LJ remembered it, but obviously we had more things on our mind. Now let’s see, Willow…oh, not Willow; Billie. I’m having trouble with the names right now. Billie woke up and Billie had slept out in the…what we call Darken Wood, the woods where Willow took the path less-taken and the woods that go pretty close to the road beyond the swamp. Billie woke up and then Billie was frowny, just like I was in some sense, ‘cause Billie had felt like we were all becoming friends.
Then Billie had some self-blame for making LJ run away and saying well, I don’t want to go back to the place beyond the swamp, so I don’t want to lead them there. But there was also something deeper going on with Billie. But you also have to remember, Billie’s just a kid, just like us; middle school age, so not wholly equipped to deal with all of this. First, Billie kicked some leaves and threw some acorns and looked in the…a lake and said, frowny frown or whatever; swamp. I know we live…we call it a lake even though it’s in a swamp because it’s within…you know what I mean, just a isolated area of water. Then Billie started walking, thinking as Billie started walking, think…one, thinking about…that’s morning-time for sustenance, but also thinking about…flashing back to when Billie lived in the place beyond the swamp below the Visitor’s Center, and that after Billie had discovered the signs on the road and then the big sign that has a…this tower of sorcery that went up and down.
Then Billie had kind of heard something as Billie had headed down. Then this was a little bit after that, and Professor Max Modine or…yeah. Is it Professor Max Modine? In a lab coat…the fox said okay, Billie. You gotta go and make contact and go all the way down. We need to find out if this tower…the part of the tower growing…going down is organic or what. But also, what are these other being…is and what’s down there? We need to get to the bottom of it, so I need you to get to the bottom of it. Billie said, I don’t know. Professor Max said, don’t worry. I’m gonna be here and you’re gonna be able to do it, and it’ll be just fine. Billie said oh, boy. Then they went into the…one of the places down below the Visitor’s Center that Billie had been before, this sonic chamber…this big part of the lab. But it has this sonic baffling that both baffles sounds and sonically enhances them with Billie’s powers.
When you’re inside of it, it’s so quiet that it’s almost like…I don’t know if you’ve ever been in someplace so quiet that it’s not comfortable, but that’s how quiet it is. But then also, all noises are magnified. You can’t hear anything outside but you could see outside, so it’s just not…especially for a kid that was slightly younger at this point than middle school. Also, there was tons of people – [00:40:00] which normally is not the case – observing from different greater swamp authorities and greater…I don’t even know; mammalian? I don’t know, people with olive and navy and buttons on their suits. Lots of lab coats. Then also, it was a celebratory atmosphere so they even had this band, The Rivertime Funtime Band, a very famous band. The band was playing the same song that Billie had sung; the signs song, and then playing another song, You’ve Got the Power. Also, Billie said are they saying getting…it’s getting, getting kind of hectic?
She said, Dr. Max Modine, I’m getting kind of hectic with this singing. Dr. Max said don’t worry, the band is just there to kind of keep our…I thought you’d like it. Billie said, I don’t. Dr. Max said, why don’t you get in the sound baffle barrier amplifier thingamajig? Think of a lullaby. Then when you get there, whatever it is, sing it a lullaby. Sing yourself a lullaby. You’re gonna be fine. This is all just sound-based projection. It’s not real. I don’t want you to worry about it. You do have the power just like they said. You can sing a lullaby and you’ll be fine. Just go find out what you can. I need you to do this for me, okay? Really, I care about you deeply. Of course, I would only have you do this if it was necessary in my view for the greater good of all of the swamp and areas even beyond the swamp, and also because I’m intensely curious. Billie said okay, fair enough, I guess. Billie started getting settled in the baffling thing. Now, while Billie was doing that, Leon and Frances had gone to the library to research Dr. Max, and the Visitor’s Center, and the road, and the place beyond the swamp which…Leon had already been there.
But they kind of dug a little bit deeper and they kind of said okay…Frances said okay…this was after they…okay, here’s what I’ve found; this Dr. Max is big on these human theories, these old…the idea that humans once walked the Earth and maybe the road and the vehicles are hold-overs from humans or that humans are still around. They never really left. Leon said well, it’s been proven that humans were never real, I thought; that it’s all just a myth. They said well, I’m just telling you what this Dr. Max…this was in Dr. Max’s younger days. Looks like Dr. Max was raised in a home that had that as a belief system, that humans were part of it. But then again, Dr. Max took it to a different level. Leon said well, that’s interesting, Frances, ‘cause what I’ve discovered is some of the ways this place is funded…it’s funded by the greater swamp authority and some other business, businesses and…he goes, it’s really strange.
Some businesses that don’t even believe in community resource sharing, but that Dr. Max has been getting funding from both sides of a community…and even individuals that say okay, we believe in the community and sharing and flourishing model. Those that believe in a more defensive, single-minded, all-or-nothing module. In some sense, this fox was foxing both sides for funding and seemed to be doing investigations based on…well you, one…yeah, the idea that humans could exist was one thing keeping the defensive side funding them, but also the possibility…what would our community do? I say well, even in the…every human story, they don’t like swamps. They said well, that would make sense why they built that road through our swamp if their humans were real. Well, it’s interesting because…Frances said, because it looks like Dr. Max also had this rebellious side and had a zine about Bards and Big Bunnies as a teen or a university student, and was big into the magic and stuff like…almost like…the zine is almost like a real historical accounting of Bards and Big Bunnies events even though it was a zine.
Leon said well, that’s really interesting because that’s what kind of work Dr. Max had been doing down there, looks like…is saying okay, the whole thing about humans and then looking at different non-swamp beings. There’s a river dolphin that was…they were working with for a long time down there. Then something called a platypus or something and that…from…that doesn’t even live even anywhere…it lives from thousands and thousands of miles away, beyond an ocean. A couple other ones, but this platypus is a mammal that lays eggs but it’s also…it’s a duck-billed beaver which brings up that question of didn’t someone say they…I don’t know, but I guess there’s something…well, that’s…Bull, I know exactly what you’re gonna say ‘cause I was reading about that. The dolphin and the duck-billed beaver, they all have either other systems or organs that have powers; electro…the platypus, I think, has…they have the ability to detect things, almost like another organ and sense beyond what we have, so like sound, touch, smell, and taste.
Yeah, that the sound is a big part of that. A lot of them are based…or frequencies beyond…that…yeah. Okay, that makes sense, Frances, ‘cause they were doing work there. Yeah, it mentions platypuses and it looks like this one dolphin’s name is Desiree that quit and even filed…said, I don’t…I’d never worked there. Do you think we could go talk to this river dolphin? I think so. While we were talking about it, I looked it up. Yeah, the dolphins…lives not too far away. If we get driving now, we could go check it out. Oh, one more thing is that Dr. Max was also funding this operation with music companies and other affiliated non-profits. Someone was looking into it, a reporter, but then they gave up. They were posting these anonymous blog articles. Okay, well, let’s get to the…let’s go look. Let’s go talk to this dolphin. They headed up to talk to the dolphin and meanwhile…let’s see, where should I start? Let’s see; I could tell you that LJ set out and started…still using the electric…electromagnetic tuning fork to follow the sympathetic vibration.
Then LJ realized that it was heading towards the place beyond the swamp. Then LJ went to the gate of the tunnel that goes underneath the road that we’re never supposed to go near. LJ used a stick and stuff to see if the gate was locked. LJ couldn’t get the gate open, but it was definitely…LJ was like, this is where Willow is. Then LJ crawled up the embankment towards the road. Now, this road is like, holy cow, do not…there’s just mysterious vehicles, gigantic ones that just go on this road. We’re just told not to think about it, that it’s something we don’t need to know about. If we go on the road, there’s no chance telling when a vehicle’s gonna come, so don’t go there. [00:50:00] LJ knew all that, but LJ was determined to get to Willow and to the place beyond the swamp, the Visitor’s Center and the bog walk. LJ put LJ’s ear to the road before crossing and then heard something coming very fast. LJ heard it…of course, when you put your ear to something, it seems closer than it is.
LJ jumped very fast up to the top of a sign, the sign that says ‘No stopping at any time for any reason. Animals not friendly in this area.’ At first, LJ was gonna climb back down ‘cause oh, it was just my imagination or maybe it was somebody sneezing or something. Then a giant truck came and the only things LJ saw was that there was nobody driving it; no animal driving it or mysterious human, and that the top of the truck also had these giant, reflective panels which I could just tell you are solar…that’s how the trucks are powered, I guess. Then LJ climbed back down and got closer to the bog walk, ran across the road, climbed another tree that saw down into the Visitor’s Center. Then Vaughn and I, we headed out. We were searching the woods and yelling. I said hey, Billie, where are you? As we looked for Billie, the next thing we knew, the kids…some of the kids from school that aren’t nice that I told you about that think they were in the River Bottom Funtime Band and they act like that…weasels is really what they are.
They found us and they started chasing after us. They ran us all the way to a different part of the road. This was at the same time, just like…but we were so far away from where LJ was, we didn’t know it. There was no vehicle but they said go up the road, to me. I said well, I can’t go up the road. That was pretty intense. Now meanwhile…oh, Bull and Frances went to talk to the river dolphin. They drove all the way out. I don’t know if it was…I don’t know what the name of the place was, but it had a…it was a…beyond the swamp where there was deeper water…technically a river within a swamp where this river dolphin lived. Eventually, they did some splashing and made some sounds. They tried to talk to this Desiree the dolphin about it, but dolphins can’t sit still. Also, neither one of them spoke dolphin. Desiree didn’t seem to want to communicate in whatever, common. But also, they said wait a second, this…I don’t know, they got the sense that Desiree had been through a lot dealing with the place beyond the swamp because Frances just said jeez, Willow was…what happened there?
Then the dolphin would go backwards on its tail. They say well, please, we’re just trying to figure out where my Willow is. Then the dolphin would…Desiree would splash them with the tail or shoot water at them. They said, there’s nothing cute about you flipping us off. Flip off. That was kind of fruitless, other than the fact that it planted a seed in Frances’ mind. Now remember, all will be well. I only tell you these stories ‘cause all will be well. But it planted something in Frances’ mind that she…what if…I don’t want Willow ending up running around like a dolphin, just splashing me. I thought dolphins were enlightened beings, but…’cause also, the dolphin’s making farty sounds and stuff. ‘Juvenile behavior from an adult river dolphin’ is I guess what Frances’ exact words were on the drive back. As they drove back, they got a call on the radio. Leon said yeah, what is it? It was the Community Resource Office. They said yeah, we have a restorative case we have to work on.
Amends need to be made. We need you here to help mediate or arbitrate as soon as possible. Leon said, I don’t even got time for it. Who’s even involved? They said Dari, mostly, Willow’s sister. Then Leon said, oh boy. Then Frances said oh, daughter. It’s my daughter. They said, anyone else? They said Teffe the otter, that smooth otter, the smoothest otter in town. Frances said, drive very quickly back there, please. They headed back. Now also, Billie was walking around. Billie found one of the…one of our community stores, Find and Dine. Billie headed in there. Billie kind of looked a bit different; nobody’s seen a duck-billed beaver before. Billie was also wearing one of Teffe’s warm-up suits but it didn’t fit, so we had to cut…people were staring at Billie. Billie felt them staring. Also, he had never been in a Find and Dine. It’s like a grocery store and an everything store. Billie was looking for someplace, and then Billie came across a display for Pump Up the Jam Puffs, the version Billie had seen an ad for; Pump Up the Jam Dino Puffs.
But it was in…it was…and this is just strange synchronicity; it was a tower because this month coming up, Dino Puffs Pump Up the Jam was a tie-in with Bards and Big Bunnies. Billie went in there and hid in the tower. It was a tower of cereal boxes. Billie was looking at the backs of the cereal boxes. Then the manager was like, excuse me? Are you a duck or a beaver? Can we help you? That’s a display. Billie had already started to go back to when Billie started looking…so, Billie had discovered within the song Signs, singing the song, and the tower, which was this thing. It said, Go See the Wizard’s Tower or The Tower of Sorcery. Just like Billie’s last visit, Billie went and climbed up and then went in the tower, and then headed down. The tower was…it looked like it was originally just supposed to be on the sign but it had this crusty thing going down into the earth. There was light and Billie headed down there and headed deeper.
Didn’t like it but again, Dr. Max…Billie trusted Dr. Max, so Billie was humming a lullaby. But Billie heard something and saw carrot shards, and also sensed some aliveness beyond that, that something odd was happening. Billie kept going though, because Dr. Max had asked her to. Then Billie got down and headed in a direction, and then started to hear some hopping. The tower or the tunnel had gotten bigger. All will be well, and Billie kind of was singing a comforting lullaby. But then Billie senses bouncing coming towards…and Billie knew the bouncing had heard Billie. Now, Billie was very smart, so Billie sang and did…she had these powers, so…now, Billie didn’t know the game Bards and Big Bunnies, which was amazing, but Billie used this power to do this thing called a mirroring spell, or double image or something. I think it was…Double Image was the song. I don’t know the song, to be honest, but Billie sang a throat song that created a mirror image or a illusion image of Billie lying down, sleeping.
But then Billie covered herself in dirt and kind of curled up in a corner. But as she was doing that, she heard the bouncing bunny had already started to echo Billie’s lullaby, so then Billie got sleepy and fell asleep hiding [01:00:00] and drifted off. Now meanwhile, while Billie was drifting off in her flashback, the manager of the store was saying young lady, come out, please. Come out right now. Billie was actually absentmindedly eating Super Dino Puffs: Jam Edition from the box. Said I’m calling the Community Resource Office, so Billie just grabbed four boxes at the base of the tower, and the rest of the tower of the cereal tumbled over on the manager. Just light cereal, but enough that Billie started walking out of the store with four boxes of Super Puff Dino…Super Jam Dino Puffs or whatever. Then the manager said oh no, no, no, you’ll clean this up, blah, blah, blah. Then Billie sang Pump Up the Jam and then the boxes…the jam started popping out of the boxes and then that got all sticky, so it slowed the manager down.
Billie left, headed out back into the woods to eat the Super Dino Puffs. As Billie was eating four boxes of Super Dino…you know, Billie was hungry. Billie drifted back into that memory because Billie had been asleep from the big bunny’s singing, or lullaby singing. But then Billie started to hear the big bunny…very strong words…upset…where did you go? Billie woke up and opened one eye and saw the bunny…that her image was fading, the spell had worn off, and the big bunny was not happy about it. The big bunny had gone from curious to…it also had two…it was not just a bunny; it was also a goose. Then Billie must have opened…Billie just barely moved and then the bunny turned, and the two goose heads looked at Billie. As a middle schooler – this is already a strange situation – Billie did not like that. Billie’s reaction to having powers was use her powers all at once. She kind of created…now, I don’t know this for a fact, but Billie sang at the same time in her throat from a distance, going out of…coming out of the dark and groove is in the heart, all at once while she was running forward.
I don’t know if Billie was creating a sonic drill or melding whatever this was that she was in because we have…from reading this other swamp trilogy, we wonder…even though Billie was in…according to Dr. Max, just in an image…sound-based image, Billie was also in a physical place which is a bit complex to understand until you accept the theory that there’s multiple universes. Really, Billie was in a universe like the soundless realm even though there was sound there. But Billie wasn’t just tunneling through the sound realm; she was tunneling through the space in-between universes. I can explain this to you so you know that all is well…to get back to where Billie thought Billie was gonna be most secure which was Dr. Max, but Billie was actually already with Dr. Max, so she was only using her mind and powers. Within the room that she was in with…below the swamp…also, everything started shaking. I don’t know how far this was, but pretty far. That’s what’s kind of mind-bending.
Meanwhile, also, the big bunny…the goose-bunny was following Billie. Basically, Billie opened up…and not just one, but…‘cause also, there was places where there was bedrock or whatever, so Billie had to go around or…tree roots. I don’t know. Wasn’t like from Point A to Point B. Then the hole opened inside the lab. Now luckily, there was ectoplasm involved so it sealed itself, kind of. Of course, Dr. Max said well, that’s impressive and strange and odd. Billie said, what in the heck just happened? I thought you said all would be well, Dr. Max. Now I need a nap. But as Billie was in this drift-back, she heard us running from the bullies. So, she headed towards them and while she saw the bullies talking me towards the road, that was when the vehicle just happened to be coming. I had stepped out there, not even think…I was just more focused on the bullies. But Billie also was there and so Billie floated me up in the air to fly. That’s how I saw the back…I saw the solar panels.
I said well, those are in a science magazine, as the truck went under me. Then Billie cast some sort of song of perpetual…The Crying Game or something on the two…the weasels so they couldn’t stop crying. So, they went home crying. Billie took me down and I helped Billie ‘cause Billie was exhausted. I said, let’s go back to my house and we’ll all go in the blanket fort and sleep. We headed back but then while we were headed back, Billie said I’m the one that opened…the big bunny…goose-bunny is here because of me. It’s all my fault. I said, don’t worry, Billie. We’ll figure this out together. It’s not all your fault. Billie said actually, it is. But really, it was Dr. Max’s fault. I mean, come on. But as we went into my house, the people from the place beyond the swamp were watching ‘cause they were watching from the van…the anti-big bunnies van. Now, just while that was happening, they were calling in to the lab to the place beyond the swamp and saying hey, get everybody together.
Get as many vans and as many non-soft power authority figures you have and get over here. We found the duck-billed beaver. Well, they knew it was a platypus. But LJ was watching at this time, so LJ saw them all go out and get into vans. Some of the vans were labeled Parents Against Big Bunnies or whatever, and that’s when LJ made the connection. Wait a second; they were parked out in front of my house, too. They must be headed back, but this must be related to my friends and Billie. LJ headed out to run back to let us know. We had headed back to get some rest. That’s a good place for all of us to rest, I think, for right now, is to rest and we’ll be back. I’ll be back to tell you more odd things soon, but all will be well. I’m here right now telling you this story, relaxed and calm so you know that you’re well and all will be well. As well as can be ‘cause odd things happen but it’s okay, ‘cause I’m Emma Otter here talking to you. Goodnight.
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