The Time-Dragglers’ Extravaganzas

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      “Whatever you proclaim as your identity here in the material realm is also your drag. You are not your religion. You are not your skin color. You are not your gender, your politics, your career, or your marital status. You are none of the superficial things that this world deems important. The real you is the energy force that created the entire universe!”

      RuPaul , Workin’ It!: RuPaul’s Guide to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Style’

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      F LoveF Love

        At first, Sadie did not realise she was invisible.

        It was only when she looked in the bathroom mirror she realised something was missing, and even then it took a moment to register. Thinking about it later, it seemed strange to her that something as monumental as being invisible could have gone unnoticed for at least 5 minutes. Yet she had risen that morning with her usual feeling of happiness that everything was right with the world—it was a feeling she had worked hard to cultivate after many hours of selective brainwashing and meditation practice at the Academy.

        After the initial shock, Sadie realised what must have happened. Before bed the evening before, she had finally plucked up courage to do the set of exercises given to her by the Techromancer in 2222. He said it would assist her in her attempts to leave her body and explore other dimensions. Clearly, something had gone very askew.

        ”Right then”, said Sadie, trying to remain calm and rather relieved she could still hear her voice, ”I am going to have to message Linda Pol and explain the situation. I will request to be returned to 2222 so that I can have another chat with that Techno weirdo.”


        Linda Pol was delighted to get Sadie’s timely message on her e-zapper. But she had no intention of returning her to 2222.

        Not just yet, anyway.


        “Follow the elephant before it disappears again” suggested Ivan to Lisa and Fanella who were visibly distraught at Sanso’s unexpected disappearance into the depths of the marshy field beneath their feet.
        “That elephant must be connected to some sort of human civilization, elephants don’t parachute on their own,” Ivan deduced, grateful that he had watched so many nature documentaries at the village, and that he could appear knowledgeable to the frightened women.
        “Shouldn’t we look for Sanso?” asked Fanella. “Does that strange letter provide any clues? Has he been pushed through a perforation into the honeycomb? Something to do with the underground faded pale people?”
        “If we find some of the local inhabitants, we can ask them for help. If we start wandering around here in this mist we will surely get lost, or even struck by another falling elephant.”
        “Are we assuming the natives are friendly?” asked Lisa nervously.
        “Yes, at this point, we are” replied Ivan. “Until we find proof indicating otherwise. And we must assume that Sanso can look after himself, and that he will join us later.”
        “The elephant did look friendly” added Fanella. “Look, he keeps looking back to see if we’re following him. Come on!”


        Lazuli Galore looked back over his shoulder to make sure that the three travelers were following him. He retained his shapeshifted elephant form for the time being for high visibility purposes in the fog, and so as not to confuse the new arrivals with a sudden change of appearance. The first thing was to gain their trust and ensure that they followed him. His job was to monitor new arrivals and escort them inside the walled city of Gazalbion before they could start any more settlements in the free zone. The problem of new arrivals had escalated post 2014 as more and more people developed the art of teleporting, and the island to many was considered a promised land, a land of wine and cucumbers, attracting the world weary and the bored, the adventurous explorers, as well as the merely curious day trippers. Had they all been regular tourists of the old fashioned kind, who came for a determinate short stay and spent lavishly on the resident occupants provisions, it would not have been a problem, it would have been welcomed. But these people were staying, leaving only for brief trips back home to attend to their responsabilites there, and returning, bringing ever more people with them to settle in the free zone. They were arriving in droves, and it was of paramount importance to contain them, and shield the free zone from their incursions.

        Lazuli Galore was pleased to see that the three travelers were running to catch up with him. The other one would have been more trouble, and Lazuli knew he was right to despatch him to the elsespace arrangement with a perfectly executed parachute drop. It was the first time he had tried the novel approach of a parachuting elephant and was pleased with the result. It would not be long before that guy found his way out and came looking for his companions, but Gazalbion wasn’t far and Lazuli was confident that the three would be safely locked behind it’s walls before he reappeared.


        The three travelers were not the kind of people to limit themselves to safety and comfort ~ indeed if they had been, Lisa would have stayed in the village, never having met Fanella who would have stayed in Versailles, who never would have met Ivan who would have stayed in Russia. They all had an underlying courage and sense of adventure to be on the island at all. They were not, however, inherently stupid. As they approached the great walls of Gazalbion, they became uneasy. It looked more like a vast open air prison than a welcoming city.
        “I’m not sure about this” Lisa whispered to the others, “Once we’re inside there, how will we get out? It might be a trap.”
        “But you’re always saying we create our own reality Lisa, how can anyone else trap us?”
        asked Fanella.
        “We create being trapped as a reflection of restricting ourselves, that’s how it works. It’s not always black and white. And it’s not always easy to resolve that in a demanding and unsettling situation. It would behoove us to proceed with caution.”
        “That doesn’t sound right Lisa, that doesn’t sound like trust, and you’re always telling us that trust is the key.”
        “And space” added Ivan, “Space is a key, too.”
        “Yeah but what does that mean exactly anyway?”
        “Fucked if I know” replied Ivan.

        Lazuli Galore noticed the hesitation of the travelers, and decided to change tactics. They were only a few hundred meters from the entrance to Gazalbion, and it was starting to look as if the new arrivals would not enter willingly. He dispensed with the elephant form, exploding it into a pack of grey wolves which circled behind the travelers, and chased them into the city.

        “Olution! Olution!” the crowd chanted, for there was always a crowd gathered at the gate to witness new arrivals. “Olution! Olution!”
        Nobody actually knew what the word Olution meant, but they had seen it on tv so many times that they simply repeated it, and the more people that repeated it, the more the frenzy grew.
        “Olution! Olution!” the crowd screamed and Lisa, Fanella and Ivan were surrounded by the people, thousands of them, all covered in colourless grey cement dust, even their hair and faces were a ghastly dusty grey.
        “Now we’re in trouble,” Lisa remarked grimly.


        Lisa was lost in thought during the hours that they spent in the waiting room of the Processing Department. Among the many things she pondered was the nature of their beliefs that had landed them in this situation, the energy they were projecting, and the ramifications of the reflection. She was intrigued with the letter that Sanso had read out to them upon their arrival ~ underground cities had long been a particular fascination. What had been the circumstances leading to so many ancient underground cities being constructed? Nobody knew for sure, but it seemed to Lisa that they had been a means of escaping the surface. But why? Was it because of climate catastrophe, or some other disaster rendering the surface dangerous or inhospitable? Or had it been situations of siege, or hostile populations on the surface? Or had it been merely a curiosity to explore living in a different environment? An idea suddenly occurred to Lisa that she had been judging life on the surface of the planet as the ideal right way to live, the most preferable option, and life below ground as a second rate choice for survival purposes, but perhaps there were unimagined benefits to living below the ground.

        Lisa’s meandering thoughts led her back to the summer of 2014, when the seige situation in Gaza had exploded as the population of the shifting world addressed restriction and shielding energy, creating an amplified imagery at one of the main coordination points. Interconnection was coming on strong, like never before, and individuals the world over, struggling with their own self imposed boundaries, sought for release en masse and joined together to support and encourage each other.

        It had been an exhilarating time, but also a frustrating one. Interpretations of the words and messages of perceived authorities became mass beliefs, and for a time the restrictions increased. Those adhering to traditional authorities repeated the party lines, and the so called “new agers”, rooting for change but at the same time terrified of it, and in no small measure, terrified of other people and different cultures, created new mass beliefs based on their old fears. The strongest new age belief was a translation of channeled advice, construed from the vague “focus on the positive” to mean “ignore anything you can’t bear to acknowledge”. Rather than accept differences, initially masses of well meaning individuals criticized anyone endeavouring to acknowledge and accept the global situation, and pushed their advice to ignore the horrors, for fear that they would unwillingly bring anything unpleasant to their own attention. It was ironic to Lisa that the ones advocating not to judge, were the ones that judged her the most for her actions, and the activists judged her far less, while not advocating less judgement at all.


          The Meteorlogist had forecast a shower on the south-most part of the bog.
          It was such a rare occurrence that a team of magi from Karmalott had been dispatched to study it more closely.
          When they arrived at the viewpoint, the youngest one asked : “Have you ever heard a slug fart in the silence of the bog ?”


          The team of Magi from Karmalott wandered around aimlessly while waiting for the shower to start. Most of them were watching the sky, but one of them, Philichenko Potsummer the Third, was studying the ground in the vicinity of a malachite and rose quartz sundial. The sundial had a blue ribbon hanging from it, but Potsummer wasn’t interested in the ribbon.
          Sanso was here,” he announced, which got the other magi’s attention. “Sanso was here recently, and it looks like he was flattened by an elephant.”
          “There aren’t any elephants on the island, though” a young trainee magi in purple pointed out.
          Potsummer sighed and rolled his eyes.
          “Logsbottom, “ Potsummer said to the trainee, “ Sanso left a message imprinted in the energy of the sundial, perhaps you would be so good as to retrieve the message and decipher it for us.”

          Lucius Logsbottom gulped, and nervously approached the crystal sundial, hoping that he would be able to read the message and translate it to the other magi’s satisfaction, but suddenly the shower started, and everyone turned their faces to the sky.

          F LoveF Love

            Except for Lucius, who was too intent on deciphering the message imprinted in the energy of the sundial to turn his face to the sky.

            “I’ve got it!” he announced jubilantly. “It says: ‘It’s going to rain’ “


              And the rain fell.
              Being on Abalone could give you the feeling of being God, in His youth.


                The tiger slug, which was the one Lucius was referring to when he asked his question, seemed oblivious to the dirty reed boots that had suddenly appeared on its territory. It was so used to the changes of the land that it was expecting them to go without notice.
                They weren’t even edible, and they smelled.


                  Vertice Rottring was a trained observer for the Remote Vision Network of Karmalott, RVNoK for short. She had been sent along with the team of magi to bear witness of the meteor shower.

                  A joker had carefully placed a note with confusing impressions about an imminent rain, hoping that the magi would undress and actually take a shower, falling pray to the disruption of the mass belief cloud protecting them from the transitional power of the bog.


                  The heat wave on Abalone was making everyone sweaty and grumpy. With the recent ban of fans, considered a sign of sedition by the P’hopery, wind retailers were thriving more than in the last series of years.

                  Arona, whose hair had a tendency to curl when wet, had found that the only solution was the “Dry air out of an oven” bottle.
                  Before the last gushes of air were out, she asked : “ Mandrake, would you like some air ?


                    The P’hope was closing his eyes on the wind business shadow market, as he was of course getting a share of the profits. There were not per se any physical currency in Karmalott, but people did their exchanges based on good faith, which was actually better than gold.

                    The good people had taken the habit to say that transactions were paid in bises, which was supposed to be a vague approximation for “Belief Support”, and a reminder of the city’s blazon, which was party per pale argent and vert, a waterbee eradicated counterchanged —which is easier seen that said, obviously.

                    The more bises people got, the likelier they were to manifest what they wanted.
                    So long as people were not too rich in bises, the P’hope’s power wasn’t threatened, and he kept a close eye on the biselords who always wore ample bear furs as a sign of power, and their invented coats of arms on their bellies, to harness the wishful power of their bises-ness.


                      The Chamberlain was in panic.
                      The King have disappeared, what shall we do, what shall we do…

                      He had scoured the many places of leisure and rest he used to visit, the baths, the game rooms full of _bises_-slut machines, the taverns, the knights’ training grounds, the wish-fulfilling room, even the folly at the top of the castle…

                      Worse, there were signs that he had gone somewhere, on his own. He hoped it was not that beanstalk idea again… If the King went down the beanstalk unescorted, it could mean a lot of trouble.

                      Until he was found, the P’hope couldn’t know about it.


                      Arona knew she was being followed even before Mandrake started to psst her about the dark haired cloaked stranger.

                      She took a quick turn right (less perilous than left), and quickly grabbed the stranger by the throat when he came through, readying herself to punch him in the throat in a snazzy move she’d learnt from an old racoon-fu master.

                      “Who are you, why are you following me, creep?” She felt a rush of rudeness washing over her in a delicious arousing way.
                      The stranger had a cocky smile and a nicely trimmed pointy beard, and a set of gorgeous eyes of different colours. The right one was blue, and the left one green. His face had a golden tan, and she could feel his body was strong and lean.
                      Get a grip, Arona she exhorted herself mentally, sending the telepathic equivalent of a cold glare at Mandrake’s soft tittering.

                      “Well, you looked like one in search of an adventure, and I want one too. I need a guide from out of the city walls.”
                      “What about a magus, that would be an obvious choice, and a sure one?” she retorted, smelling something not entirely honest from him.
                      “I don’t trust the magi… And I don’t want people to….”

                      “Don’t care” she interrupted rudely, leaving him hanging there, quite sure he was not here to rob her of her bises. The rest wasn’t her concern, she was on a mission.

                      “Just don’t follow me, or you’ll regret it.” she said before hurrying Mandrake in the sunny alleys leading to the walls of the city.


                      King Artie had decided he would be George. That would be his adventurer’s identity, his nom de plume (if he ever gets out of his adventure alive and manages to write novels out of it, that is).

                      He’d packed in a hurry, taking advantage of the guards’ shift at midday to disappear from the castle unnoticed.
                      The bag full of his stone collection was getting heavy under the sun, and the exertion took his toll and dulled his usually quick reflexes so that he was taken by surprise when the girl grabbed him. A strong woman… Now he was smitten.

                      He’d noticed her leaving under the most peculiar of cloaks, taking her at first for a male adventurer —he had assumed being followed by a stray cat meant it was a fish-smelly adventurer too. Her gait sure wasn’t very feminine, but her face was pretty; even prettier when she looked angry was something he would have loved to tell her if she’d given him the chance.

                      He chose to ignore her last remark and continue to discreetly follow her. She knew her way around, and seemed headed out of town. At least she was a better bet than being under the thumb of the P’hope’s minions.


                      A series of powerful meditation sessions with Greenie (Gwinie had told Irina she didn’t mind the moniker) had Irina more and more sure-footed in the strange reality of the island.

                      There was always confusion when she tried to change her surrounding too forcefully. All the transitions seemed like traps to dull her senses back into old familiar patterns, such as securing the perimeter, and idle talks with Mr R. Simple things like changing her focus from one object to another was proving challenging, and she had to keep herself awake grounded in shifting sands, staying clear from the comfortable dreams.

                      Thoughts of the light city in the clouds carried her, and she’d programmed Mr R to help her with reality checks. Mr R, unlike what she’d thought initially, was not completely immune to the effects of the changes of reality. She surmised it was because it was an evolved AI, and he probably incorporated evolved perception constructs into his programming. In a sense, he was programmed to chose between alternate realities to fulfil the expectations of those in his care. Without this choosing program at his core, or whatever speck of consciousness it was, he probably would have been immune as any piece of inanimate matter —but also probably less useful, as her reality would have been irrelevant to him.

                      Irina had found out that she was actually lucky to have found Greenie, since during her long sleep, she had maintained a sort of ground reality based on the blueprints she was familiar with, which seemed quite close to what the City called “reality”.
                      Meditations had revealed, by parts that Irina had interpolated, that Greenie was trained to be part of an order of people, who betrayed her and left her for dead. Her training had helped her survive, and even in Greenie’s quasi-autistic state, had helped Irina too.

                      Irina decided (and hoped it was the first time she had) to go to the cloud city, and help Greenie return to her rightful place.
                      It did cross her mind that it was maybe what Management had wanted her to do all along, and that her island could only be her gift if she claimed it.
                      Feeling the thought leading her towards unwanted manifestations and slumber, she snapped out of it.

                      “Mr R, prepare everything, we are leaving at dawn. To the beanstalk.”
                      “Madam, everything is already prepared, as you asked hours ago.”
                      “Very well Mr R. Then let’s make dawn happen and let’s paddle.”


                        Jack was astonished when the neighbour appeared at the gate to inform him that one of the dogs had escaped the enclosure. Big Fluke, the scruffy buffoon of the dog pack, too daft (or so Jack thought) to even know there was anywhere outside the tall fences, has somehow managed to escape and was wandering around in the road. Jack checked all the fences ~ there was no sign anywhere indicating a break out. There were three tunnels in the compost heap though. Could he have tunneled his way out?


                          Jack gave Fluke a slap as he ran past and shouted at him, laying the law down about it reminding the dog that he was not allowed to leave the perimeter of the enclosure for his own safety, and for the peace of mind of his own responsibility guidelines, not to mention what Lisa would say if she found out when she got back from the island.

                          As soon as Jack was finished laying the law down, he called Fluke over and gave him a big cuddle, not wanting to give him a reason to try and escape again.

                          Still puzzling it over, Jack went back inside and resumed perusing his intercon. BREAKING NEWS!!! he read. ““Those who are still continuing in directions of control are expressing it louder and louder very similar to a screaming child trying to gain the parents attention after the parent has already expressed No.” Disengaged Global Authority On Everything Comments On Global Affairs.

                          Well, that’s food for thought, thought Jack. I expect I can hamster wheel with that all day.


                            ““It’s going to rain” is an anagram!” Lucius announced, although nobody was listening. The others were all in various stages of taking their clothes off, although Lucius wasn’t sure why.
                            “It’s an anagram for Start Bog Snorkeling” he revealed proudly, looking around for approval. Nobody noticed.

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