920 – Pecan Tarts, Lockers, and Clothes Racks | Otter Things 12
Frances and Leon make their way in search of Willow but along the way there is enough backstory to put a bullfrog to sleep.
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EPISODE 920 – Pecan Tarts, Lockers, and Clothes Racks | Otter Things 12
[START OF RECORDING]
SCOOTER: Hey everybody, it’s Scooter. I’m gonna start it out with saying ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, and friends beyond the binary, all our forest friends and swamp…people in the swamp, swamp-based beings, SBBs, it’s time for Sleep With Me, the podcast that puts you…it’s in his conductor voice to put you to sleep. Let’s get on with the show.
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’s keeping you awake whether that’s thoughts on…things on your mind, thoughts about the past, present, or future, thoughts from the day, repetitive thoughts from people repeating stuff, any thoughts. Obviously, I’m familiar with those. It could be feelings, it could be emotions that are coming up for you related to those thoughts or that are just there, because I guess as human beings, we emote.
I know we do ‘cause actually, I spent about twenty-five years trying to not, and I learned that doesn’t work so well. Feelings, any physical sensations, that’s another thing that can get in the way. I’m here…whatever it is. It could be one of those things, it could be time, temperature, changes in routine, schedule. Whatever it is, I’m here to take your mind off of whatever’s keeping you awake and keep you company while you fall asleep. What I propose to do, and it’s more gonna be…I’m proposing…a proposal to attempt something which is…that’s interesting. I wonder if I can make it back to that thought ‘cause that’s the story of my life, is proposing to attempt something and then I out-think myself. Some of you may be already nod…you say man, that’s something I can relate to barely ‘cause I can barely follow what you’re saying.
But yeah, I propose to attempt things all the time. In this case, I’ve followed through quite a few times on this podcast. What I’m gonna propose to attempt to do…’cause in this case it’s two ways; it has to get to you, but I’m gonna…I have a safe place here rolled out, padded, puffed up, smoothed, patted, rubbed it down, I said safe place. I can hold my hand on my heart while my other hand further smooths and pats that safe place just like you would when you’re…if you say hey, come on over. There’s a nice spot for you here. Or would you prefer this spot over…oh, you…I don’t need to pat your spot. Don’t worry. No, no. You like it cool to the touch? So, I’ll just…from five feet away, I will do a counterclockwise imaginary smoothing and patting and rubbing down of your safe place.
Or no, I could…you’re right, I could just give you a map. Oh yeah, you could just discover your safe place on your own. Sure. Whatever it is, the next step is I’m gonna send my voice across the deep, dark night. I’m gonna use lulling, soothing, creaky, dulcet tones, pointless meanders which you’ve probably already seen a few, superfluous tangents, extra words or word fragments, segments of words and sentences. I guess what’s the difference between…a fragment’s more something like you break off, right? You say well, that’s a fragment. A fragment is something that’s gone through a fragmentation where a segment, I guess, would be…segment feels more geometrical. Well, everything is geometrics. You’re right, brain. Was that my left brain or my right brain that said that?
I think it was my left brain that said I’m right. There’s some irony. But yeah, segmentation. It does feel more…could I say delineated? Would that make any sense when it comes to…where fragmentation feels a little bit more slightly chaotic? Not chaotic neutral. I’d say, what’s your character’s…I’d say well, slightly chaotic. Well, that sounds more like how you’re…that’s an alignment? Well, it’s just how my character behaves; slightly chaotic. Mostly passive. That would be my character alignment; mostly passive, slightly chaotic, generally…yeah. Very shy and introverted but comes across a little bit…like, you’d probably not know they were shy. You’d say oh boy, they got an attitude. Anyway, I think I was saying I was gonna send my voice across the deep, dark night, use lulling, soothing, creaky, dulcet tones. If you’re new, a couple things to know somewhat upfront is this podcast is very different, so see how it goes or wonder…could I see how this goes?
It’s very different, I’m noticing right away. I’m not sure how to feel about it and I’m not sure if I like this or you, Scooter. I’d say, that’s…no problem. I understand. You may be even feeling skeptical or doubtful and I’d say that’s a very normal reaction to this podcast. That’s exactly…I would be skeptical. I’d be like, wait a second…even though I make this show, I can still immediately…I say wait a second, there’s a dude…what does he do? He doesn’t…wait, there’s a eighteen-minute intro where he tries to introduce the podcast? Yep, that’s one part of it. Does he try to circle back? Well, I don’t know if he tries. Yeah, he’s an attempt…what did he say he does? He’s attempting…propose…he writes proposals…well, he doesn’t even write them.
He attempts to write proposals of attempt…of things he’s going to attempt. He’s making an attempt to write a proposal of something he’d like to attempt. That sounds like his autobiography. Now I know who you’re…okay, so that’s the kind of person that makes this podcast, huh? Well, most of the time he says one day I’ll attempt to write a proposal of things I’m going to attempt, but right now I’m feel…that’s a…this is really what happens. This is like my…you say, oh boy, that’s really stressing me out that I…can we just do that tomorrow, the proposing…attempting to propose what we’re gonna attempt, please? That’s really…happens during most of my day. I say, please…this is like, literally…this is…if you want a peek behind the curtain, you’re getting it now.
You say Scoots, what’s one thing that happens to you every day? You must have…do you listen to the bird songs and Skip the Lou? I’d say no, but you could tell I wish I did that. But you know, no. Usually, I get into an internal debate about a proposal…attempting to make a proposal to attempt things. If it was a debate, I would technically…I guess I would lose that debate but usually, it just wears me out. I say oh god, yeah, I can’t. I just can’t do it. I just can’t do it today ‘cause there’s something I’ve been putting off. It’s curious; if you’re listening and you know what I’m talking about, you say isn’t that curious? Why can’t I get that done? Now, I’ve gotten to the place…because of the podcast where I say well, at least I can be curious and somewhat kind about it.
Still exhausts me, still a little bit embarrassing and perplexing and confusing. You say well, yeah, I get…I can get this other stuff done; I just don’t understand why I can’t get that done. I can’t even get a propose…attempt…I say well, just…then there’s that pretty parse of you, the internal…that says well, just get it done. Just do it. Quit whiffle-waffling. I think this is…if there was…I think this is more of a pejorative term but fainting couch I think is something that used to be a thing, or it looks like a chaise lounge. They would have these in parlors. I think this was definitely invented by the…what do you call that? That patriarchy. But if there’s a patriarch that used a fainting couch, it would be me ‘cause I guess technically am I a patriarch ‘cause I’m a father? I don’t know. I’d prefer not to be in the patriarchy.
I would spend a lot of time on a fainting couch but I would use more…I’d be…it’d be more like sweating after having a rigorous debate with myself about attempting to get something done. Oh, boy, and trying to introduce the [00:10:00] podcast to new listeners but yeah, I had to get real there, new listeners, ‘cause that’s just who I am. I’m a person who attempts to propose to attempt things most of my life, even now. You’d say really, Scoots? You’re not skipping to the lou. I’d say my darlin’, sometimes I am. Sometimes you can hear my joy. I do have that, especially when I can make some…I can sneak something like that in and skip to the lou with my darlin’s, my bore-baes. I don’t know what…maybe…you say…actually, a lot of…this is true; I haven’t skipped to the loo, double ‘o’, but I might try to do that.
Let’s try to do that. Let’s just agree…like, talk about anti…whatever part of us would put me on a fainting couch ‘cause I say well, can’t I just spend five minutes doing that? Oh, no. Let’s spend fifteen minutes considering you spending five minutes because all the down…I say, okay. You know what I’m gonna start doing? I’m gonna start skipping to the bathroom; skipping to the loo and saying my darlin’. Then what I’ll do is I’ll say my darlin’ when I get to the mirror. I’ll do a double-thumb squirt gun. That should be something. If anybody’s down for that, #skiptotheloo, double ‘o’. Skipping to the loo. Probably be confusing ‘cause there’s so many…skippin’ I-N, skippin’ I-N…whatever that thing is, one apostrophe, to the loo. I might even put to da loo.
I probably spelled loo sometimes L-O-U and then you gotta autocorrect. Let’s not even attempt it. It’s just too much. I gotta lie down. But that could be fun. I’m gonna do it today, if I…hopefully I’ll remember. The good thing about the podcast is you’ll remind me. The cooler thing is, you’re far in my future so maybe by then…you say, what happened to that sleep podcast? He stopped making that. They say yeah, he’s making the Skip to the Loo cast. He changed the world. Remember how 2020 was going? Do I ever. Yeah, well, in September of 2020, late September, he was skipping to the bathroom and it caught fire. Once everybody started skipping to the bathroom, there were some ankle…twisted ankles and things.
You say, we gotta even be more careful about those toys, Junior, now that I’m…he…unfortunately, he bankrupted all of the last great fainting couch barons. They were really…everyone thought it was other things, but it was really the barons that ran fainting couches. That was what 2020 was all about. Once they were undone, everybody was skipping to the bathroom or the loo or something to the…whatever fun thing you can do that rhymes with WC or banyo. You know what I mean. Oh boy, this is…I’m supposed to be telling new listeners about the…oh, I have a tendency to go off-topic. That’s one thing you should know if you’re new. This is a podcast you don’t really listen to. That rhymed with…new and loo rhyme.
I had to point that out even though it was…it’s…some part of me is like, that’s obvious. Oh, yeah, you’re right. It is. When things rhyme, it’s obvious, huh? What about when they almost rhyme? That’s when I even feel stronger to point it out. Skipping to the loo with you; that would not be…you’d say no, just…I’m just gonna skip to the loo not with…just with me, my internal me, my darlin’, my internal darlin’. Okay, I gotta get back to the intro. If you’re new, you’re getting a really good dose of when I go off-topic, but it’s kinda silly, it’s a little bit goofy, very strange. You’re right; very strange, a grown man skipping to the bathroom can change…who would have thought that could change the world? Not many people did. Changed his world, though. You should have seen him.
He went from a total grouch to just partially grouchy. Okay, so Sleep With Me, that’s the podcast I’m in the middle of trying to do an intro for. The show starts off with a greeting. This is other things that throw new listeners off. I do a greeting; ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, friends beyond the binary, swamp-based beings in this case ‘cause this is Otter Things. Then there’s business. Business is a few minutes, then there’s an intro that’s around twenty minutes of me what we’re just doing now; we’re just talking. I kinda try to introduce the podcast and get you ready and for regular listeners, ease you into bedtime. For a new listener, you say wait a second, when’s the story start? When are you gonna get on with it? I’d say, eventually I’ll get there.
But the intro really just…as you start to become a listener, you say oh, I started…I start getting ready for bed or I get in bed, I get comfortable, then I remember I gotta skip off to the loo. Then I get back in bed, then I’m even more relaxed, and then I’m…and the podcast was playing the whole time. It’s really something familiar because the intro kinda follows the same structure every time, but it’s different every time. We’ve never talked about this before that I remember which probably means I talked about it five times in the last seven years. Man, I’m in a good mood. I really think I’m onto something. You think this could get me…is there any prizes that aren’t like a Nobel or Pulitzer prize that aren’t goofs either? You say yeah, we got you…if Joygerm Joan was still around, I bet you she’d give me a prize if I followed through on it.
The problem would be I could skip to the loo myself, but the idea of the Skip to the Loo Foundation or something, that’s too tiring. Sorry. I better just do this intro. That’s the intro and for new listeners, it’s understandable. It can be…you could have strong objections to the intro. Some people…and I don’t exactly know why, but they get…they feel like it’s one big advertisement or something. It’s like no, there’s ads at the beginning of the intro and after the end of the intro. But in between is eighteen to twenty minutes of content that I more-or-less put some work into to ease you into bedtime. Then after the intro is business. That’s how the podcast structure works. Then there’s a story. Tonight, it’ll be our episodically modular series that you can listen to in any order at all, Otter Things.
It’s totally relaxing and very sleepy. Then there’s the thank-yous at the end. That’s the structure of the show. The other things you really need to know which we kinda covered; you don’t really need to listen to me. You just kinda barely listen and eventually, you’ll adjust. It takes two or three times to get used to this podcast. That’s what most listeners say. Thousands and thousands and thousands of people have told me it took two or three tries. First, you kinda got on my nerves, and I accept that. Some people…a lot of…you’d say, what do you mean I got on your…I’d say, are you kidding me? Of course I got on your nerves. I’m a bit different. I have creaky, dulcet tones, and I overuse things like skipping to the loo. I don’t know if you could say skip to the loo.
You could try it without…and be in a bad mood. Somebody will say…I mean, I can say it enough times…put some people in a bad moon. But again, maybe then it’s like oh, this just wasn’t the podcast for me. I prefer march to the loo. I say okay, yeah, that makes sense. That’s probably a different…you’re probably…yeah, you might be looking for something different, then. Though if you marched like a robot, then you’d say well, no, I think you’re a Sleep With Me listener. I could see that, marching to the roo, robot…that’s where a robot…a marching robot goes to the bathroom; the roo. Then they say rue, rue, rue, sweet pickles. Okay, so structure of the show, don’t need to listen. No pressure to fall asleep, either. I’m gonna be here for about an hour.
This podcast doesn’t even really put you to sleep; it keeps you company while you drift off. Or if you can’t sleep or if you wake up and you need some company, that’s what I’m here for. I’m gonna be here making the show to the very end. There’s the story, there’s thank-yous. That’s the structure of the show. The reason I make the show…I think this soliloquy or whatever we went on points it out. I do a lot of over-thinking. There’s parts of me that are very…not easy to deal with. [00:20:00] I spend my whole life dealing with them at bedtime and during the day. I don’t know, they’re there and they’re just parts of me. I say well, I’m just trying to get some sleep now. What I learned is if I can get something outside of me to take my mind off of it, it makes it easier for me to fall asleep.
But I do know that when you can’t sleep whether it’s one of those reasons or just something baffling, it can be really frustrating and that’s why I want to help. That’s one reason. The other reason is because you deserve a good night’s sleep. You deserve a place where you can get some rest. If you do, the likelihood…people who get a good night’s rest are 98% more likely to consider skipping to the loo when it’s proposed to them on a sleep podcast. That’s a future fact, maybe. That’s why I make this show. I want you to get some rest and have a nice place and be able to…that your life’s a little bit brighter and that bedtime has a little bit less dread. That’s why I make the show, because you are important. If I can help you, it really would be my…it would make me want to skip to the loo. Like, what else would it?
I know how it feels. I know how it feels; lonely, frustrating, and all that other stuff. I want to help if I can. Unfortunately, like I said, this podcast doesn’t work for everybody but I really, really hope it works for you. Give it a few tries, not for me but for you just to see how it goes ‘cause I really appreciate you coming by. I really work hard. I yearn and I strive and I just want to help you fall asleep. Thank you again, and here’s a couple of ways I’m able to bring you this show for free twice a week.
Alright, hey everybody, this is Emma Otter here and I’m checking in. When we last left off, we’re kind of in the middle of…I mean, I don’t want to spoil anything. I don’t know…I don’t think our story will come to a close on this broadcast or this tape that I have, however you’re listening. I don’t know where you are, but I know where I am. I want to remind you all will be well. Oh, I forgot the person that introduces the podcast. Welcome to our ongoing episodically modular series. I’m Emma Otter. This story’s called Otter Things and it’s a tale of a town and a place beyond the swamp that…oh, what does episodically modular mean? You could listen to these in any order even though the episodes are numbered. You could listen to them sequentially.
You may enjoy them even more if this is your first episode, starting with this one and then listening in any order you wish. But yeah, it’s about odd things that happened in a place…our town which was…we’re swamp-based beings, my friends and I. I’m Emma. I’m an otter. Nice to meet you. I have a older brother Teffe, also an otter, of course, and my parents and my sib…youngest sibling. But I also have best friends; Dustin, LJ, Willow, and Billie. I mention those in no particular order or where they lie on the best friend scale. All best friends, of course. My bestest best friend knows whom they are and that we don’t even need to speak about it, or they don’t say I just want to double…if you’re wondering if you need to double-check that you’re my best friend, that means you are.
They say well, I just wanted to…don’t ask because it means you are. You say well, you didn’t even list me there. I’d say, really? But yeah, that means you are, of course. If you’re confidently saying of course I’m Willow’s best friend, that is correct. Both of those are reactions my best friend may have. I’m secretly saying both so you know whichever reaction you’re having confirms your best friendship of me. Just in case you listen to these broadcasts, you want to send me a letter; I thought…I say, of course. Oh, if you’re thinking you thought we were best friends, we are, of course. This is just a little test in the middle of when I’m supposed to be…this is a show called Otter Things where I recap some odd things that happened to all of us in the place beyond the swamp where we live.
We actually live in the swamp; it has to do with the place beyond the swamp. Let me see if I can give you the short version. My friends and I were playing Bards and Big Bunnies, a roleplaying game we normally play. We played ‘til late one school night, a Sunday. Not late, I mean, 8:40. My friends headed home. On the way home, Willow took the path less-taken and became…was led on what you could define as a wild goose chase by a goose-bunny. That’s right, a bunny and goose, probably from another universe or created by some other powerful force in another universe. Willow was made to be in a crib. Also, my brother’s kind of…someone my brother had gone on dates with named Babs had also been…taken that path less-traveled.
Now, I might as well just keep going in that if you did take that path less traveled, we found out with Babs is that you can…something about this is some place that’s on the border, like tracing paper between our universe and another universe. It’s underneath the swamp or maybe also in another world, but that you can slowly be migrated to that world, that universe, and then a doll — at least in this situation — will remain in your place. I don’t know the mechanics of it because I don’t think it’s even earthly. I don’t know if it’s…I don’t know what’s happening. But I do know that we were trying to catch our friend Willow and get her back with the help of Billie who we had met not that long after we started looking for Willow. We found out that Billie is…well, we now know Billie’s a platypus.
We thought Billie was a duck-billed beaver. That’s a pretty easy mistake to make especially since we’ve never met a platypus before. Technically, according to research, platypuses are not…they’re from across the oceans. But so, we met Billie. It turned out Billie lived in the place beyond the swamp which was a secret lab of the greater swamp authority where they were doing things to try to figure out…because usually, we have a community-based resource way of living. They were trying to figure out more of…someone used the term – and I don’t know exactly what this means – military industrial complex, but I don’t know if that’s accurate. But something like that where they said well, we gotta…we need to use these powers. Now, Billie actually has powers. You could say they’re magic powers.
You could say she’s a magic-user or you could say something else, but she can throat sing or sing and do things that normal swamp-based beings can’t, like move stuff, slow stuff down, make things deflate. When she sings a song…like, oh, the example would be Pump Up the Jam; something would be pumped up and then jam would come out of it. We were hoping to use her powers to help us. Now, at the same time, my brother Teffe and his friend Dari, they were…they…we all said okay, we’re gonna all work together to get Willow. We found out where Willow was which was both in the place beyond the swamp and in the parallel world, so a bit confusing. The adults said we’ll handle that because the idea of parallel worlds or universes is a little too much for you kids. Typical authorities.
But Dari and Teffe, they realized that the big bunny was still in play. They set forth to distract the big bunny. I think they ended up in a cargo net but they did distract the big bunny, I think, long enough…hopefully, but we don’t know right now. We just know they set off…well, I do know that they distracted the big bunny. They also had help from Babs’ friend…or Dari’s friend Babs who had somehow sent a projection of herself into an Ottie Ruckspin doll to help with leading the bunny away. That way, that…Leon…oh, Leon’s our community resource officer and Dari and Willow’s mom Frances, they had headed to the place beyond the swamp. They dealt with the authority figures there. I believe they did some smooth talking so that they could start to go look for Willow in the place beneath the swamp [00:30:00] where whatever this tracing paper universe…these two universes are co-exist…they’re not co-existing, I guess, but they’re overlapping.
That’s where the adults are. They’re getting ready to go in, I think. Dari and Teffe are in a cargo net and we’re at our…we’re at the high school, not our school, where we had track…we had used Billie’s powers and built a soundproof room…dome to find where Willow was so the adults could go look for her. Now we’re just kinda sitting around, the four of us. I guess you could say, boring. But basically, so…I guess…oh, wait, I…our…welcome back to the most famous resident of our town. He’s smooth, he’s cool, and it’s Mr. Antonio Banderas. Thank you, Emma. The ladies, thank you everybody for your kind words. Yes. It’s been a while Emma and plus, I’m used to dealing with Scooter. This is interesting. The ladies, the gentlemen, the boys, the girls, the friends beyond the binary, it’s time for Otter Things. Splish splash. Yeah.
Thank you, Antonio. We were sitting around, so we knew the adults were gone. It’s pretty typical, especially middle-schoolers. They say well, leave those middle schoolers…they’re on their own once again. We were on our own and what did we do or what was going on? Well, what happened was first, we were just sitting around. Huh, where is everybody? Oh, they’re all gone. Well, hopefully they’ll get back with Will and everything will be great. Then we said huh, yeah, what are we gonna do? Then Vaughn and LJ said, let’s go…you know at…they get those mini-pecan pies with walnut dressing that they put on…it was a school dessert you could purchase. Vaughn said, I know where they keep those. Vaughn and LJ went and they were looking for the pecan…he calls them pecan…pecan or pecan pies.
They went to go get those and then Billie and I were alone. I had been thinking a lot about Billie because we just met, but I feel like I knew Billie for a long time. I think we talked about it on another…I mean, I just really felt connected to Billie. I wanted to be closer to Billie. I was having feelings. Billie was very quiet. Billie would say stuff but not a lot of stuff. I said jeez, when this is all over…I guess I was speaking without asking, but I said you know, you could come live at our house. I’ll live in the basement in the blanket fort. You can have my room. But you’d be close to Teffe’s room and he kinda…even though he uses cologne and stuff, body spray, he kinda…he’s a boy otter that passes gas. Billie said, passes gas. I said, like farts. Then I made the smelling sound. Billie said oh, okay.
We were kinda laughing. I said, you know, at a time like this, some people hold hands to comfort one another and to feel close, because I already feel close to you. Billie said, I feel close to you, too. We sat a little closer together, then Billie put her head…her bill…her head on…not her bill. Her bill was down…put her head on my shoulder and I put my arm around her. We just sat there in the gym. Billie started to slowly fall asleep. I was holding her up, kinda thing. She was sleep…now, to be honest, it was both riveting and I had to try to keep my…it wasn’t relaxing. There was a part of me that was like, wow. I like being this connected to Billie and her relying on me to comfort her to sleep. She’d had a long day. But I was also like okay, now she’s leaning on me.
I don’t want her to wake up and…so, now I have to maintain a posture. It would have been more ideal if I said…if she said oh, I’m gonna fall asleep on you; get in the most comfortable position where you could still support me, then I’ll fall asleep. I was trying to…they say, pull in your belly button and stretch out…sit tall. I was trying to do that. It took a lot of focus and I was wondering where those two were with the pecan pies and if one of them would feed me a pecan pie. Then I said, I hope they bring something to drink. Then they came back with tons of pecan pies and I made the shush sound. They were shushing, which is hard for Vaughn. Also, Vaughn tripped and dropped a bunch of pies. They’re not actually pies; they’re tarts, I would say…and then came into the room and we sat down.
I said, what do you think the adults are doing right now? I said, that is a good question. Actually, I could tell you what they’re doing now ‘cause I know all will be well, though we have still a journey to travel. Leon and Frances were getting on these…they had made a deal with the…Dr. Max who runs the lab in the place beneath the Visitor’s Center and the place beyond the swamp. They were putting on these suits. They said, you gotta wear anti-goop suits into this world ‘cause it’s full of a strange goop from the goose-bunny. Bull said like, goose droppings? They said, no. Like, goose droppings and feathers mixed with ectoplasm. Bull didn’t realize that ectoplasm was actually a goop, not…he said, that’s my favorite flavor of icy punch. Dr. Max said, what do you mean?
He said, you didn’t have that when it was a thing? It was promoted. It was delicious. Dr. Max said, strange; I can…I mean, Leon said strange, I can remember the taste of it to this very day. Probably, it was…he said well, what is it like? He said, like fruit punch with melon, maybe. I don’t know, or orange. It was just good. I don’t know. Then Dr. Max said, was there any fruit in there? He said, no, no, no. Probably wasn’t even a fruit drink, they probably said. Simulated fruit drink? Then Leon said, yeah. Dr. Max said well, I’ll leave you. Thanks for the information. What we didn’t know at the time was that Dr. Max was headed our way with the…Dr. Max actually was gathering all these weasels Dr. Max worked with and getting them ready to come see us to take Billie.
But I think that Leon had a extra plan, but let’s stick with Leon and Frances. They got on their suits and then they had to head through this goop hole which was basically a hole filled with goop in the wall right by the part of the lab where Billie had had her quiet room, ‘cause she had opened up this hole when she was running from the bunny. Again, this gets confusing ‘cause I said well, I thought that was in her…that was real or was in her imagination? I guess some of this stuff, it happens with your mind projecting into other worlds which would make the stuff with Dari and Babs make sense. They had asked Dr. Max how they get there, and Dr. Max said, you gotta go up into the wizard’s tower and that’s where things will get strange. They headed up.
First, they headed through a tunnel, then the tunnel started to spiral up. As they were spiraling up, they saw little windows like they were spiraling up a tower. But the windows didn’t really…they said, that looks like we’re…aren’t we [00:40:00] underground? Because…they also said the further they progressed…even though it physically looked like they were going up, they felt like they were going down. Frances even said, my ears are kinda feeling like I gotta swallow to clear them. They kept spiraling what they thought was up and down at the same time. Finally, they came out of a…bottom of a tower which they said, well, we’ve been going up for like, twenty-five minutes, but it felt like we were going down even though we were going up and passing windows with a view of something.
Again, they said…looked like a flat, grassy area. But when they exited this tower, they looked up and there was this giant wizard’s tower, the tower of sorcery, behind them. In front of them was a berm which looked like the road outside of the Visitor’s Center that separates our swamp from the swamp the Visitor’s Center’s in. Everything was made of mud, so it was kind of like this version…and then they said, are we sized-down? They actually were, but there was nothing to compare…they had shrunken down because this was the same smaller version of the town. Or, well, this is outside of town that Dari had seen earlier. I think for them, they traveled through that tower. It had to do with them sizing-down. They saw a berm with a road.
There was a vehicle on the road, just a toy vehicle made out of mud or some sort of…something like that. Bull started to have a little drift back in time ‘cause it was a station wagon on the road. He could remember the time he was like…when him and his family were moving to River Bottom and he was packing the car. He really wanted to get on the road because this was his big shot at becoming a lounge singer. He felt like his…and his little daughter said papa, papa, can…don’t forget to put my Cinnamon Spice Bodacious Bakery play set in the car. I was playing with it this morning when I made you breakfast and I don’t want to forget it ‘cause I had to make breakfast. You didn’t eat your breakfast either, papa. He said well, we gotta get on the road. He had a deeper voice back then, or tried to.
He said well, I was just putting my guitars and my amps in. Those are the precious cargo. It’s gonna create our life in River Bottom and then I’ll have time for breakfast, sweetums, when I have reached the pinnacle of local performance stardom as a lounge singer. But I’ll try to find some space. Run along, use the potty, and let’s get going here. Who knows if this was on purpose or an accident, but he put the bake center…he had the tailgate of the station wagon down. He put it underneath the tailgate to plan on…and we don’t know if he put it on the roof or he just drove away with it down there. Who knows if he accidentally or on purpose forgot it or he was just so caught up in his dream is kinda the real thing.
But as he was drifting back into that memory, he was wondering too, and he was kinda cringing as he saw himself so cavalier with what he now realized would have been important to him if he was who he was now back then. He felt that forlorn feeling of realizing those facts. But he also felt some acceptance in his heart that he couldn’t change the past. Also, he…because he knew he had to be in the present. Also, Dari’s mom Frances was elbowing him saying Leon, Leon, are you here? We gotta climb over this road. As they climbed over the road, they saw down into our town. Now, this was…what was very strange for them was this was a mud-constructed play set of our town, but they were shrunken down to the size of our town.
It was covered in goop and it was the exact size of a play set that a giant goose-bunny would play with. Now, I don’t know if the goose-bunny made it or someone made it for the goose-bunny. Those are answers I don’t have. I just can tell you all will be well in the end, and all will be odd. They said okay, we gotta find your house. Frances said well, that’s pretty easy ‘cause this is just…but then there was details because they were sized-down. It was all facades, but it was all very detailed facades. They headed through town and they walked to the outskirts of town. I don’t have to…the…step after step, passing piles of goop. Eventually, they said this place is weird. Then they got to Frances’ house and she said, my front door is open. They walked up to the front door and it was a muddy front door. It was open, though.
Or, I guess dried mud, you’d say. She said, my back door is open, too. He said, let’s not go in the house. Let’s go around and see what’s going on with the back door. They went around the back door and she said, there’s shreds of carrots and peanut butter everywhere. She goes, what’s that, a cargo net hanging from the tree. It looks like it just got cut open or something. She said, is this all made from mud or sand? Leon said, don’t think about it too much. He said, I think this is Dari and Teffe distracting the bunny ‘cause…he said, there’s giant bunny prints. Then Frances said, what are these other prints? Leon said, those look like tiny otter prints. He actually was interested. Then Frances said, they…the tiny otter prints lead the bunny away from the cargo net and off away from my garage.
As Leon was looking, he said, this is weird; it’s like these aren’t otter tracks at all. They’re Ottie Ruckspin tracks, a doll that was popular twenty years ago. You remember Ottie Ruckspin? Frances said yeah, it was popular nine years ago, actually, or eight years ago, whenever. Dari had asked for it but it was just too pricey and spendy. He said okay, well, the bunny went away from your garage but we gotta find…where was Willow again? Frances said, in the…Willow’s studio’s in our detached garage. That’s where her and her friends would record audio fiction. They always wanted to play Bards and Big Bunnies there but I said no, not outside. You could record your audio dramas ‘cause that’s more active, but play a game inside somebody’s house ‘cause I knew when we were at that age, we were much wilder, huh, Bull?
Bull said yeah, so they started to head towards the garage. They opened the garage door which was…again, it opened but it…also, they got a bunch…they said, good thing we got these goop suits ‘cause there’s…now we’re tracking carrots, peanut butter, ectoplasm, and other stuff all around. The first thing they saw when they opened the garage was…well, one, the garage went back much further than…at first, they couldn’t see anything other than a crib. Well, two cribs; one was empty and overturned. The other one still had a doll that looked exactly like Babs. Frances said, this doll looks just like Babs. This was the one that Billie had seen. Then she looked into the eyes of Babs and she could see Babs moving as Ottie Ruckspin; really disorienting for Frances…and looking back and the bunny chasing it.
She said, that’s an Ottie Ruck…those are Ottie Ruckspin arms and legs. Leon said, which way do you think…Frances said, towards the school where we left the kids. He said, oh boy, just like I kind of accidentally planned. She said, what do you mean? He said, don’t worry about it. Then Leon switched on the lights which still worked in a weird…it kinda gave a weird, otherworldly light, but the lights went on in a cinematic way where you turn on the lights and then lights keep going on progressively further into the distance like it’s a test in perspective. This garage went back what seemed like lights were going on miles and miles back [00:50:00] into a distant perspective. Frances said well, this is strange. This isn’t really my garage. Leon said yeah, this is definitely not normal.
She said well, we gotta figure out where…Willow must have flipped over that crib and headed this way. Then they saw tracks. She said okay, this isn’t my garage at all. Leon said well, what’s the next thing you would see in your garage if you were really there? Frances said well, the racks of clothes they use for…oh. Then they…she noticed…it wasn’t like they appeared there; they were there, she just hadn’t noticed which is even more…you say well, those weren’t there, but they are. There was racks of outfits that Willow and I and the rest of us would wear when we did our audio dramas ‘cause we did it in character. She said, but there’s thousands of racks of these clothes. Leon said, maybe the goose-bunny made them or maybe they’re for playing dress-up? This is weird. But it’s real and not real.
Frances said yeah, but we need to find Willow. Leon said, I don’t understand; they record themselves on a audio…like they’re making an album but they still dress up in clothes? There’s no…they’re not performing a play? Frances said yeah, they’re playing…it’s like a version of playing dress-up or method acting, getting in the role of a character. Wear the clothes and you become…you get…and Leon then started to drift away again. As Leon turned, he saw a rack of leisure suits and ruffled coats. He reached out…or ruffle…shirts with ruffles and polyester wide collars. He started to touch the suits but he started to remember being in River Bottom and coming home and had spent a lot of money on a new leisure suit, and his partner saying, what did you mean, you bought that suit?
He held the bag and he could…he was watching himself say, this is what I need. This is gonna make the auditions go so much better. She said well, how much did it cost? He said, it was not…he goes, we’re gonna have to make some changes around here. She said, that’s the kind of price tag a big-time lounge singer…she goes, but you’re not a big-time lounge singer. You don’t even…you’re not…he said, you gotta pay big-time to play big-time. She goes, don’t you think you should be rehearsing or doing voice lessons? Then he said…this is a very toned-down version of it but he said, I have talent. But even as he was watching this unfold, he shook his head and realized wow, I was not teachable. I didn’t know how to try; I only knew how to fantasize and made…I got a lot of amends to make. Holy moly.
But then he started to move from rack to rack and move away from Frances. Frances said Leon, stop moving. This is something…where are you? He said, right here. She goes okay, well, be right here with me then, ‘cause we’re in some sort of giant clothes store or something. He said yeah, this is exactly like…he goes sorry, I keep drifting back to my time at River Bottom. She goes, and things appear. She goes, this is somehow tied into our memories and our relationships and our families. What else are you remembering? He goes, leisure suits. There was leisure suits here but there was leisure suits…I don’t know what I thought of first. She goes well, what was it about? He goes well, I spent the birth…the money for the birthday party for my daughter on a leisure suit. He goes, I know, I know.
She goes well, it makes sense your family’s in River Bottom and you’re here. But that’s a mistake; we’ll deal with it another time. He said yeah, I probably should deal with it at another time. She goes, what…by the way, it’s not the best time, but what happened to this suit? He goes, they hid it. He goes, well, I thought they hid it on me but really they made…he goes, my partner, she made a birthday present out of the suit ‘cause it had really nice lining but I didn’t even realize it ‘cause I was so distractable. She goes wait a second, what did you say about the suit? He goes well, I thought they hid it and I searched everywhere. Frances froze and she goes, hiding. She goes, when we used to go clothes shopping, especially when I would go clothes shopping for Dari, Willow would hide inside the clothes racks when we were in the…when we were in that…we’d drive to River Bottom to go in the big store.
He goes, Hills or Ames? She goes, both. She would hide in between the clothes racks and it was almost impossible to find her. Sometimes it would make me have to say Willow, come out right now; I can’t find you. She would be laughing, not knowing that…how well she could hide in clothes racks. She goes yeah, sometimes I was shopping or I’d get caught up in conversation with somebody, so it was a way to kind of have power over your parent. Leon said well, what are you saying? She said, she’s probably hiding in one of these clothes racks. Leon said well, it looks like there’s a million clothes racks in here. She goes well, I don’t suppose I could just think of Willow and she’d be in this…nope. Willow’s not in this clothes rack I’m standing behind. She said wait a second, where…oh, no.
She goes, well, she would want us to find her, though. She would pick clothes racks that no one could find her but us. Leon said okay, well, would that be like princesses or the clothes racks from the audio drama like a astronaut or undercover…? Frances just kept saying, no. What about a leprechaun? I see some leprechaun…leprechaun? What are you talking about, Leon? Pirate? Then Frances went into her…and she said no, no, no, bad, bad, bad bards. That’s where she’d be. She goes, what would a bad…he goes, well, that would be a pirate, kind of; a bad bard. She goes no, no, not just a pirate; like a coat or a cape. He goes yeah, yeah, or a cloak. He goes, remember those sloaks that person that’s got…Scooter came to town trying to sell those sloaks.
He goes, were those slacks and cloaks or…? She goes, that’s what it would be, a cloak or something. He goes, what would make it…why is a cloak bad? She goes, no, it’s not. It’s practical. If you’re a bad bard, you probably have to be…you want some practical wear and to be able to go under the cover…stay warm, stealth, style, flexibility. Also I like to use as a blanket or to sit…I don’t know how many bad bards have picnics. They started racing around the clothes and eventually, she found cloaks. She pulled the cloaks away and she said, these are the cloaks. They’re very…they’re so dark I can’t tell…she’s like, these are the color of night sky. I don’t know if it’s black or purple or blue. He said yeah, these are like velvet. They started pulling them away. Then actually, Leon said I wonder if…this one’s nice.
I wonder if this would fit me. Now meanwhile, Frances was saying Willow, Willow, Willow. There she is, behind these cloaks on a…curled up in a cloak. She said Willow, Willow, can you hear me? Can you hear me? Willow didn’t say anything. She noticed that Willow was cycling in and out of being a doll and being her daughter Willow, a beaver…to doll hands and doll arms and doll legs, like a doll…like a baby doll. She said Willow’s cycling in and out, Leon. What do we do? What do we do? But then Willow was also like, mom, is that you? Mom? But she was…the call was coming from the eyes and not Willow’s mouth. Then she saw Willow in the eyes, wandering. She said Willow, can you hear me? She goes yeah, but there’s something between us like a [01:00:00] TV or a window.
I can hear you through a TV. She said okay, come to my voice. You’ve gotta get back in your own eyes. You have to look at me through your own eyes. Then Willow said mom, I can’t find you. I can’t understand. I need something more, mom. They were going back and forth. Now meanwhile, while this was happening, Leon again had another non-positive flashback, though all will be well. He remembered his…he finally, after the suit incident, decided he was gonna start rehearsing instead of just auditioning. His daughter said dad, would you sing me a song? He said no, no, no, I’m rehearsing songs. She said, I could sing it with you. He said no, I…I’m not singing with you. I’m singing…rehearsing.
That memory went back and forth, not the greatest memory to have, but what Leon realized was that that memory was so potent that not…after that had happened and after Leon had moved back to our town, he had swore he would never sing again because of that memory. It hurt his heart. He said, how could I do that to a little kid? Just say no, no, I’m…my singing’s more important than yours. That’s why he’s never sang ever again. But meanwhile, Frances was trying to call Willow back and she was kind of…she was choked up. Then Leon’s thinking about his singing and his life. Frances said Leon, I need your help. I need you to pull yourself together. I need you help me. Willow’s in between the two worlds and cycling away. But I think if we sing together, we could get her back here.
Otherwise, we’re gonna lose her. We have to sing her back here. He said well, what song? She goes well, this is what I need you to do. He goes well, what song? She goes well, it’s a song Willow wrote called Mom’s Diner. It’s based on another song, Tom’s Diner. She goes, I just need you to do the do-do part. She goes, do-do, do-do, do-do-do. Like that. Can you do that? He said, I can. Then he started to do that do-do-dooding in a more musical way like you’ve never heard before, in a steady way almost like a percussion instrument mixed with a woodwind or a…I don’t know. Then Frances started to sing, trying to remember the lyrics that they had written at the breakfast table and that Willow would sing; it’s always nice to see you. You’re here to make my breakfast. I’m your daughter.
My name is Willow and you sing right to me. Then the do-do-do-do part. Then Frances would sing, I fill her bowl with extra Sugar Puffs, Willow. Then she said Willow, I need you to sing. Come to us; help us sing this song. Take it from your mom and then, like a miracle, all will be well. Willow curled up in a cloak on the floor of a clothes store or garage and said, I’m drawing on my paper while my sister, she’s rushing and I’m thinking of my best friend and of all my clothes. Best buddies. When I feel my mommy patting me right on the head. Then Willow was back and mom was saying oh, Willow, Willow. She was cradling her daughter in her arms. Willow’s saying mom, mom, where am I? Where are we? What’s going on? She was saying don’t worry, honey, don’t worry.
Then Leon was shaking from his drifting away and wrapping Willow up in extra cloaks including the one he liked which I don’t think was an accident, either. It also was the only cloak I’ve ever seen that has a collar ‘cause he still wears it to this day. But he wrapped them up and then they headed out of the…they went back the way they came. Now meanwhile, we were at the school and we were eating pecan tarts. Eventually, Billie woke up and we were all covered in crumbs when we heard something pull up. At first, we thought it was the adults. We looked out but it was tons of weasels and Dr. Max and a whole crew. We said okay, we gotta hide, fast. So, we created a trail of crumbs going to a bunch of classrooms and under the bleachers and then into the ventilation system.
Then we backtracked while we heard them trying to get in and we hid in some lockers. Now, it was so cozy in the lockers. At first, we were like, we could feel one another’s breaths because we had found that…we didn’t realize this but a lot of lockers had false backs so the school could walk up and down and check the lockers from behind. But we were in this area and I don’t know, we were all warm and cozy. We all got cozy and drifted off. But while we were falling asleep, Dari and Teffe had come back to the school and they’d seen it surrounded by the weasels and Dr. Max. They said okay, well, does…that’s the people from the lab. We gotta do something. They have them surrounded.
Teffe said, if there was only a higher authority. Teffe was kind of joking, hardy-har-har, but Dari said you’re right, a community…they’re the greater community resource authority. There’s gotta be someone much greater than Dr. Max. She goes, I got an idea. She called the main community resource office. She goes, you know how sometimes we talk about the military industrial complex taking over our schools and stuff? They said yeah, that’s just a thing, Dari. Dari said, they’re taking over the school. I think they’re getting rid of all our textbooks and…I just thought you might want to go and check. Then our community resource team which takes longer ‘cause it’s not…they started to gather and head over there. Then Dari said okay, well, I got another idea. Just play along with me.
She must have known some sort…she called this secret number that you’re only…that she knew about. She’d heard about it somehow, that’s about the high…that they supposedly…the greater, greater, greater swamp authority listens to. She left the phone off the hook but she pretended like…she put it against something and she said…she dialed, then she looked at Teffe and winked. She said well, I’m not gonna call. Forget it. She goes, it’s a bad idea. He goes well, yeah, you…but you’re gonna…he goes, I don’t understand. She goes, I think we should just go with Dr. Max. I mean, if Dr. Max catches the goose-bunny and has the super-powered platypus, he’s gonna be more powerful than any other leader. Not just in the swamp but everywhere. Teffe said yeah, he’s gonna be powerful.
She goes, we’ll all just be working for him so I don’t think I should tell anybody that…what he’s up to. Teffe said, it’ll be like he’s like…would we call him King Dr. Max or Max King, the doctor? She goes, I don’t know. You just call him Your Majesty or my lord, I guess. Teffe said, I don’t know, I think we should try to stop him. Dari said nah, we’re powerless to stop him. He’s got his whole weasel force. They’re loyal to him and they’re just…they just gotta go get the…what is it? Platypus at the high school. They have those…there’s not even a…that platypus doesn’t even really have powers; it’s [01:10:00] the bunny that has the powers. Teffe said, I didn’t know you knew that. We were trying to keep it secret that the platypus doesn’t even have superpowers.
We’re using the platypus to distract people. Dari said yeah, the platypus is just a regular kid but it’s the bunny, the goose-bunny, that has the magic powers. She goes, Dr. Max is just so brilliant. He is the most…we should go see what he’s doing. She goes, if we go pledge our fealty now, we’ll be in a good position to keep working for him. Then Teffe said, did you hear him say if he believes he does…not only does he believe in humans, but he said he would work with humans? Dari said, no, no, no. First of all, no one believes in humans. But anyone that does wouldn’t work with humans because even if they were real…I think it was just a test balloon. Teffe said, what was a test balloon? She goes, it was to see who believe…I don’t know, but yeah, maybe we should get going to the high school.
I just won’t call and tell on him to the…I mean, I was hoping somebody could put a stop to it; let the kids go and just send him home without his dinner, Dr. Max. Hardy-har-har. Let’s go, Tedward. Teffe said yeah, let’s go, Daronda. They walked off and they left the phone there. Who knows who was listening on the other end? I don’t know. But meanwhile, I was in a locker right next to Billie and it was like, our humidity of our breaths was mixing and we were slowly drifting off for a short nap to just rest for a little while. Goodnight.
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