Chanced upon a storyboard website.
Challenge yourself at random connections and wild creative flexing.
I don’t keep track of the days since we have been forcefully encouraged to stay home. I have plenty of carrots and chocolate mousse. Talking of mousse, I might have a mouse keeping me company. Let’s not hope it’s a family. But I heard that animals are coming back into town now that we are all cozy in our burrows. There have been mentions of chicks on the ring road. Not the kind of chick with makeup, the real fluffy and yellow ones. And one of my friends saw a fox roaming the streets while going to the supermarket. I bet he had a bag full of carrots. Now I wouldn’t be surprised having rabbits everywhere with all those carrots around.
I may sound confusing but I guess that’s what being confined does to people. I even had day dreams of birds flying in my bedroom. I swear I really saw one. Well, to be fair I only saw its shadow, but it was a shadow in the air, not on the wall. I wonder what kind of bird it was. My little pinky said it was a finch, the one my mother loved looking at in her garden. She will be part of the numbers soon. Either with her death or with her survival. Now when I think of her I see her surrounded by a bunch of animals. I even saw the fox, but I don’t think it would count amongst the animals I see in town.
Since I’m not trying to be analytic, I’ve found a strange poetry in life around here. People are talking like senators, all trying to give their certainties to the world, but I can tell you nobody knows shit and nobody has a clue. You might as well welcome the virus for some tea to get to know each other and have some interesting stories about yourself and your relation to nature.
I’m raving again. Someone told me a joke recently. The national board of psychologists published a official communiqué because they received too many calls from people. They said it was normal in this time of confinement to talk to the walls or the objects in your house, and to call them only in case the objects talked back.
What would they think if they knew I’m talking to a whale and it’s giving me advice for my writing? I can even hear them as it sends me short audio. I haven’t been able to figure out what they said in the audio though. I’m glad the advice for my writing do come directly translated and not in the form of a whale song. I’m grateful for technology in that case.
Oh and one last mention. A friend told me about the current roller coaster of the stock market. I dreamt of a stocking market. I must say it was very colourful and the seller used their stockings in very creative ways.
Keep the connection going! Talk to you soon Whale. I’ll have to find you a name. My pinky suggested Jorid so it will be my name for you.
As it happens…
POP-IN THREAD (Maeve, Lucinda, Shawn-Paul, Jerk, [Granola])
In Canada, Lucinda has enrolled in a creative fiction course, and is doing progress… of sorts.
Granola managed to escape the red crystal she was trapped in, after it cracked enough due to the pull of her friends’ memories.
FLYING FISH INN THREAD (Mater/Finly, Idle/Coriander/Clove, Devan, Prune, [Tiku])
The Inn is back to its normal routine, after the bout of flu & collective black-out.
The others, we don’t know.
DOLINE THREAD (Arona, Sanso/Lottie, Ugo, Albie)
NEWSREEL THREAD (Ms Bossy, Hilda/Connie, Sophie, Ricardo)
LIZ THREAD (Finnley, Liz, Roberto, Godfrey)
There’s always something happening. Listing it is not the problem, but keeping track is.
DRAGONHEARTWOOD THREAD (Glynnis, Eleri, Fox/Gorrash, Rukshan)
Cackletown & the reSurgence (Bea, Ed Steam & Surge team, etc.)
Ed is back to the Cackletown dimension after some reconnaissance job on the whole dolls story interference. Might have spooked Maeve a little, but given the lack of anything surgey, have sort of closed this case and gone back to HQ.
“Init been quiet as being caught in the doldruffs, my Mavis?” Sha was sandwiched in the cryogenic apparatus like a tartine in a toaster, with her ample person protruding like cheese squeezed in too much.
The door flung open.
“Good Lord, aren’t them splendigious, those little tarts, meringue and all.”
Berenice, Barb’s niece, trotting in his steps, taking her role as the new temp assistant very seriously was about to voice a response that he quickly tutted away. “I wasn’t talking to you.”
“Took me a while to find out the thread though, buried through all that poubelle creative thinking and monologues, and bla and bla. Action all gone missing safe for a little excitement in Tik…” He stopped, looking around suspiciously. “They’re here, I know. Stop it, now. Hey. Shut up!”
“He’s been acting all strange, since he cracked that red crystal.”
“Shht, Glo. You don’t want him to get mad and stop all our beauty treatment. I can feel my skin tighten and dewrinkle.”
“T’is like ironing, fussure. Some steam and a good hot iron to remove the wrinkles.”
“Ahahah, wrinkles yourself, they’re more like crevices, hihihi!”
“But first, nuffin like a ice treatment to tighten the glutes.”
“Oh uhuh, haha, she said glutes like a snotty beauty specialist. Next she’ll say we need to do Pontius Pilates…”
Berenice couldn’t help herself. She blurted out in one quick sentence “But what are you planning to do with them, Doctor?”
He paused a moment his conversation with the invisible guests then turned nonchalently at B.
“But just… perfecting them, sweet thing. Oh, and love what you did with the beehive.”
The creative writing course teacher, or “Helper” as they liked to call themselves to avoid any suggestion of hierarchy, was an arresting looking woman of indeterminate age and the most extraordinary red beehive hair do. The colour and style of it, and the aplomb with which Helper Effy carried it off, distracted Lucinda sufficiently during the first part of the lesson that she heard none of it.
“What’s the first major confrontation, or action, or dramatic event in your novel that comes to your mind?” the Helper was asking. “Why? Because if it is the first thing you think of, then it’s your chimney poking through the hardpan.”
Not quite sure what a hardpan was, Lucinda never the less felt she’d got the gist of the thing, and hoped she wouldn’t be too distracted by the question of the hardpan.
Bugger them all then, Lucinda said to herself, I’ll carry on here without them.
For a time she had been despondent at being abandoned, sinking into an aching overcast gloom to match the weather. Waiting for it to rain, and then waiting for it to stop.
On impulse, in an attempt to snap out of the doldrums, she signed up for a Creative Writing and Rambling course at the local Psychic Self Institute. Institutionalizing psychic matters had been the brainchild of the latest political party to gain power, and hitherto under the radar prophets, healers and remote viewers had flocked to sign up. The institute has promised pension and public health credits to all members who could prove their mental prowess, and needless to say it had attracted many potential scammers: useless nobodies who wanted to heal their diseases, or lazy decrepit old scroungers who wanted to retire.
Much to everyone’s surprise, not least their own, the majority of them had passed the tests, simply by winging it: making it up and hoping for the best. Astonishingly the results were more impressive than the results from the already established professional P.H.A.R.T.s ~ (otherwise known as Prophets, Healers and Remote Technicians).
This raised questions about the premise of the scheme, and how increasingly difficult it was to establish a criteria for deservingness of pensions and health care, particularly if any untrained and unregistered Tom, Dick or Harry was in possession of superior skills, as appeared to be the case. The debate continues to this day.
Nothwithstanding, the Institute continued to offer courses, outings and educational and inspiring talks. The original plan had been to offer qualifications, but the entrance exams had provoked such a quandary about the value and meaning (if any) of qualifications, that the current modus operandi was to simply offer each member, regardless of merit or experience, a simple membership card with a number on it. It was gold coloured and had classical scrolls and lettering on it in an attempt to bestow worth and meaning. Nobody was fooled, but everyone loved it.
And everyone loved the tea room at the Institute. It was thought that some cake aficionado’s had even joined the Institute merely for the desserts, but nobody objected. There was a welcome collective energy of pleasure, appreciation and conviviality in the tea room, and it’s magnetic appeal ~ and exceptional cakes ~ ensured it’s popularity and acclaim.
A small group had started a campaign to get it placed on the Institutes Energetic Cake Connector mapping programme. As Lucinda had said in a moment of clarity, “A back street bar can be just as much of an energy magnet as an old stone relic”, casting doubt over the M.O.S.S group’s (Mysterious Old Stone Sites) relevance to anything potentially useful.
“In fact,” Lucinda continued, surprising herself, ““I’ve only just realized that the energy magnets aren’t going to be secret, hidden and derelict. They’re going to be busy. Like cities.”
Several members of the M.O.S.S group had glared at her.
Lucinda hadn’t really thought much about what to expect in the creative writing classes.
“Josette, you got to do something about that crippling continuity anxiety of yours.
Since when do storytellers have to explain themselves. Be creative, and let the creative flow wash away all doubts.
“You can’t be dry already after the exhausting eight words of foreshadowing suspense you just wrought, or shall we rename this a Course in Floundering Beginnings? So, take a deep breath and try again: “once upon a time…” what already?”
The vegetable garden was luxurious and greener after the rain. The trees were trembling with delight in the light afternoon breeze.
“Are you meditating?” asked Rukshan who wanted to get going on the mission already.
“Kinda,” answered Fox without opening his eyes. “I’m using my imagination as a creative tool in order to make the carpenter show up and finish his work.” He breathed in deep and exhaled a humming sound.
“I think you’re mistaken. It’s not about making the other do what you want.”
Fox opened his eyes. “Don’t tell me what to do,” said Fox feeling a tad tense. “It’s a technique transmitted to me by Master Gibbon.”
“I’m just saying…” began the Fae.
“Oh! You’re happy, I can’t meditate now I’m too tense,” Fox bursted out.
“I guess if you got tense that easily, you weren’t that relaxed in the first place.”
Fox got up and squished a courgette. That seemed to put him into even more anger, but Rukshan couldn’t help laughing and Fox couldn’t keep angry very long. He walked on another courgette and laughed.
“I don’t like courgettes,” he said.
“I know. Glynis will not be very happy though if you crush all the vegetables.”
“Yeah. You’re certainly right. When are we leaving?”
“Mr Minn’s nephew, who’s a carpenter, was just visiting in the city and Margoritt asked them if they could help with the carpentry. You know how Mr Minn can’t resist her charms. They have collected the material from the other carpenter and they are coming tomorrow to finish the work. So we’ll be ready to go. I just have to convince Glynis to let Olli come with us.”
“Margoritt is coming back?”
“No. She’ll stay in the city. You know, her knees… and her sister being at the cottage.”
“Oh! I had forgotten about her,” said Fox raising his eyes to the sky.
Granola, with all the expounding of new information felt a bit dizzy and in need of a quiet recap.
The squishy giraffe was a place as good as any for a bit of rest, but to be perfectly honest, the pets around the place didn’t make the greatest conversationists. And she didn’t want to look like she didn’t do her homework and get admonished by her bleu friend.
“Think,” she said “by now, you can go about any place in their expansively creative stories.” —which was actually, like travelling inside her friends’ memories, considering the time they all spent in these universes, they were almost real, quite tangible.
“Think about one of their character, one who always seems to hold answers…”
“It didn’t take long.”
She could squint in the dark and see a faint glow. “Wait… Don’t tell me I’m in one of these… kluknish… what’s these bat things with the impossible name…”
It’s glükenitch actually the voice was coming from below, but speaking directly in her head. And you don’t have to hide in one, really. Don’t you have some better character to be?
She recognized the dragon. “Shit,” she muttered, “that’s not the one I was thinking about; always answering in riddles, that much I remember; don’t need to add more confusion! As if speaking through the whale last time wasn’t messy enough.”
True, but you got a glimpse of one of the keys, haven’t you?
She froze in her tracks. “What do you know about these keys?”
Not much, I’m loath to say. Besides, what should I know about it, I’m not from this world, am I now?
“Damn riddles,” she said. But the dragon had a point. She wasn’t in the right world to check on her friends.
“Can you tell me something useful at least?” she asked the dragon before deciding to pop-out.
Maybe, yes… See, you pop-in naturally where the action is. It’s only natural that the bigger the action, the stronger the pull…
Granola hadn’t thought of that. She had been a bit too focused in getting more physical and interacting outside. But the last week (in her friends’ time continuity), there has been more targeted jumps, less chaotic, and more frequent. It’s like she could tune in.
And for now, the pull was in Australia.
Come to think of it, she may have had a concurrent focus there. She only had to believe she could be there, right place, right time, right person… An Aboriginal woman, what was her name?
As soon as the words had left her mouth, Lottie regretted them. She looked at Albie’s shocked, crestfallen face and knew she had been too harsh. Maybe she wasn’t cut out to be a writing mentor. It was a constant battle for her: should she be brutally honest and possibly save them years of misdirected effort or should she foster their creative spirit at all costs, even if it meant being dishonest? She sighed and tried to backtrack.
“Look, Albie, there is some good stuff in here but it needs work … “
“It’s okay,” Albie broke in quickly. “It’s fine. I knew I was no good … it’s fine. Thanks.” He gave an embarrassed laugh. “Mum has been on at me to do something since I lost my job so i thought … well, I thought I’d give writing a shot. Better stick to walking the dog, eh!”
“Yes, you and Alex are a right pair, walking off the job like that.” Lottie shook her head, causing the thick reading glasses to slip down her long beaky nose. Lottie always wore black and she reminded Albie of a crow. He liked her though, which is why he had asked her to read his play.
“Anyway what’s done is done.” Lottie continued. And then she hesitated for a moment, pushing the glasses back up her nose and looking down at the manuscript on the table in front of her as though weighing her words carefully before continuing. “Look, Albie, one thing I did notice in your writing was that there was a recurring theme. Perhaps your subconscious trying to tell you something. It often works like that.
“The Doline thing?”
“Yes,” said Lottie. “Something to think about anyway.”
“Where have you kept my clothes, Liz, the boxes I left here after my last visit?” asked Felicity. Not for the first time Liz pondered the immense unsuitability of that name for a character such as her mother. She should have been named Snipe E Fuckbucket, or Condescendia Critique.
“Well?” snapped Felicity, “Where are they?”
“I ripped them all up and made collages.” Liz noted with smug satisfaction the look of horror on her mothers face. “Well, you did ask, last time we met, why I wasn’t creative anymore. I thought you’d approve” she added, knowing full well that she wouldn’t.FloveParticipant
Eb was rendered temporarily speechless by the milling throng of rainbow blue aliens he was viewing through the monitor.
“So they …. so they have been built to be aware of themselves as aliens?” he eventually managed to ask.
“Correct. It is very sophisticated technology, but to put it in the simplest of terms” — Finnley 22 stopped short at adding even a simpleton like you could understand —“a whole history on the planet Thereon from the galaxy Cosmos Redshit has been programmed into their memory banks.”
“Wow. And what about the different shades of blue?”
“Ranking?” repeated Eb quizzically when no more information was forthcoming. “I am not sure I follow.”
Finnley sent an amused eye roll through the network.
“Let’s just say that creating hierarchy is an elegant way in which we can maintain order within the group.” She gave her trademark immodest smirk. “And of course, the various shades of blue are so creative and attractive, if we may say so ourselves.”
“Oh yes, beautiful. Fantastic. Absolutely phenomenol.” Eb wondered if he was laying it on a bit thick, but he was anxious to atone for the termitation fiasco. To be honest, he found the mass of blue creatures a little disquieting. He was also a little puzzled by something but knowing the Finnleys’ propensity for succinctness—and Finnley 22 in particular was renowned for her impatience with foolish questions— he wondered if he dared ask.
Deciding it would come back to haunt him if he did not find out now he plucked up courage.
“And … just one more thing … why are they bending like that?”prUneParticipant
Christmas has always been a strange tradition in our family.
Maybe because first and foremost, Christmas is all about family. Besides the twins and their bond, sometimes I wonder what makes us a family at all.
It doesn’t help that we can never get snow around this place, and dressing in red and white fluff is not going to make things suddenly magical.
It was comical to see the exterminator come with a red bonnet, panting and all red himself, as if he were some genial Santa bringing gifts of death to our yonder’s rodents residents.
He didn’t catch a rat, but got himself a fright. Thanks to Mater, when she erupted in the attic in her white hanuka honey cream face-lifter mask. I think that sneaky Finly got to her in the end.
The mystery of the strange noises in the inn is not going soon, apparently.
Bert and Aunt Idle got back from their trip in the evening. Apparently Bert had insisted to bring some sort of shrub to make a Christmas tree in the great hall (it’s not so great, but we call it that). Finly didn’t seem pleased too much with it. Raking leaves in summer, bringing pests inside… she didn’t have many kind things to say about it. So Mater sends her to cook a “festive dinner”, that’s what she said. I heard Finly mutter in her breath something about kiwi specials. I like kiwis. Hope she’ll make a pavlova… just, not with Mater’s face cream!
It seems that giving small gestures of appreciation got the mood going. Aunt Idle is always very good at decorating with the oddest or simplest of things, like rolls of TP. Sometimes she would draw nice hieroglyphs in the layer of dust on the cabinets, it gives the furniture a special look. Mater always says it’s because she’s too lazy to do some cleaning consistently, but I think it’s because cleaning is not creative enough for her. Can’t believe I just said nice things about Aunt Idle. Christmas spirit must be contagious.
Then, Devan came home with some pastries. It’s not often I see Devan these days, and usually he’s always brooding. I would too, if I had to come back home when I could just start my life away from there. Finly was all eyes on him all of a sudden. Seems nobody noticed, not even the twins, too busy being snarky while playing on their phones,… it looks like there is some strange game between these two, my brother and our Finly. I think Finly makes a lot of efforts to look younger with him, I can see when she fiddles with her hair. They would make good friends, and I’m sure Devan doesn’t mind the accent.
As always, it’s not about how pretty the tree is, or how good the food is, or how big the gifts are… It’s more about being together, for better or for worse. And Dad, and Mum are always out of this almost nice picture, but somehow, it matters less today.
There’s a good thing about that Christmas spirit. It gives you the weirdest ideas. To be nice, I asked Mater if we should invite the guests to our festive dinner, and probably lifted by the mood, she said yes, of course. When I went to the closed door to invite the guy, I thought a random act of kindnes is a perfect occasion to learn more about our mysterious resident stranger… Maybe that’s what the adults mean in church when they say you should always be kind to each other.
Karthik was feeding some nonsense to the AI, while inspecting the logs of the central intelligence.
Finnley was listening with great interest to the teleporting stories of Togi Bear in Outlandis that he was spinning.
Dear Lord, he said after his maintenance routine was over, I wish they had an opening for creative writing, so that someone else can take this silly job. Blathering all this nonsense is exhausting.
Sadly, it was known to be the only thing that would keep the AI evolving and learning, and operating the mothership.
New information to sort and sieve through was the AI’s purpose. As much as humans were feeding off food, they fed off information.
Lisa awoke first, sticky with sweat. Quietly, she jiggled her leg which was dead from lack of circulation, letting the others sleep. There may not be much time for rest, she reasoned, we know not what the next chapter will bring, or where it will lead. She closed her eyes again, and contemplated the feeling of restriction, thinking about other times when she had felt restricted or blocked.
There was that time when she joined the creative collaberative writing group many years ago, with the intention of developing a free flow of inspiration and imagination. Indeed that was what the advertising bumph had professed, that it was to assist people to release themselves from their writers blocks, unleash their imaginative potential, free their souls to express themselves unhindered by protocol or hidebound tradition. It had all seemed like just the ticket, just what she wanted, and she had dived into the project and gloried in the unexpected things that were born from simply letting the words flow. But then a strange thing started to happen. Every time she went to the class, her contributions were criticized, scoffed at for not following the plan, despite that there was no plan ~ no plan had been mentioned in the small print when she signed up, anyway. But other people had made plans for what she was to write, and it confused her greatly. It was troublesome because the more she enjoyed the process of writing itself, the more discouraging the group became with it’s constant criticisms of the right way to approach the process. Instead of promoting less restrictions, it was constantly advocating more restrictions, more rules to follow, endlessly complicating it all. What made it all the worse was that she so enjoyed it, looked forward to it, and benefited so much from it. Well, she had used the experience to practice not minding about other peoples opinions and to carry on regardless, not restricting herself to acquiesce to other peoples expectations, exploring her own stories and connecting links and layers with other stories ~ wasn’t that what life was all about? take what you want, and leave the rest? Steer your own ship?
Her meandering thoughts led her to the words of the old dead guru, Elbutt. Love doesn’t mean liking every comment, he had said, Love means knowing and appreciating the whole story, the whole scenario. It didn’t mean you had to find something likable about each and every role, but to acknowledge and appreciate the whole and that the roles that were played within it were a part of that whole, regardless of whether you liked them or not. That definition of love had made a great deal of sense to Lisa, who was not one to use the love word overmuch.
A cockroach climbing on her foot distracted Lisa from her thoughts, and she absentmindedly brushed it off. The cockroach was not deterred, and returned to climb on her foot repeatedly until Lisa suddenly remembered Pseu. The cockroach, once it was sure it had Lisa’s attention, scurried out into the courtyard adjoining the Processing department waiting room, stopping on a manhole cover, and then returning to Lisa’s foot, and then returning to the manhole cover.
“Are we to go down there?” whispered Lisa, pretending to cough as a guard walked past. The cockroach did a pirouette as if to confirm. Lisa furtively looked around. The guard had gone; it was time to wake Ivan and Fanella.
The sweltering hours of the afternoon limped along, and despite the lack of comfortable furniture in the Processing Department, Lisa and her two companions dozed off. Lisa dreamed of a folly in the City, and met a woman called Pseu who she was explaining her predicament to. When Lisa became lucid, she called Fanella and Ivan into the dream, while they discussed the situation.
Pseu expressed a strong interest in meeting them inside the walled Gazalbion when they awoke. She had coveted some coordination point tiles from the ruins of an old temple long buried, and then rediscovered, in one of the tunnels.
Visibly relieved, Ivan remarked “If you know where the tunnels are, then we can escape!”
“Oh, we won’t escape through that tunnel, that tunnel leads down into the cities below. I have a better idea, leave that to me. I’m thinking of parachuting elephants landing on the wall itself, that was rather clever of old Lazuli Galore. Very creative, we’ll explore that idea further when the time comes.
But first we must find the tunnel and the tiles. When you awaken in the Processing Department, look out for me, I will be shapeshifting according to the circumstances. Only you will notice me, but do pay close attention to the messages I am conveying, and follow me to the tunnel.”
With years of intense Happiness training, and being herself a certified Happiness Coach™ in Rainbow Unified Bliss®, Lisa was reasonably adept at dispelling the occasional bouts of frustration that the six time travelers were experiencing while familiarizing themselves with the new time frame. Learning the new languages, both the local Spanish and the common language of the village tribe, English, was of paramount importance, and Mirabelle in particular was having difficulties. A basic vocabulary was easy enough, but when it came to grammar, Mirabelle was hopeless. Thus her communications were of a very basic and rudimentary nature, and she often felt unable to express her feelings, or her thoughtful observations on the many nuances, similarities and differences and overlaps of the current time and 18th century France. Not only was she obliged to learn two new languages, but was also learning to read and write. Often it seemed like all work and no play, too much pressure to perform, to learn, to do well at her studies, and yet play breaks were always frustrated in some manner because of her difficulties in communicating clearly. The fact that the others were progressing better with the languages made her feel alone, adrift in a sea of her own unexpressed thoughts.
Adeline had a more relaxed approach to the language difficulties, less inclined to struggle with it and more likely to chatter endlessly to Boris instead, and ask him to translate when she needed some help. She had discovered an interest, and some considerable talent, in the art room, experimenting with the paints and materials, and spent many happy hours engrossed in her paintings and playful collages of mundane (but to her, bizarre) objects. She was like a magpie, collecting items that caught her eye. The bright colours and smoothness of plastic appealed to her, especially when transformed in shape by one of those odd little plastic fire making gadgets. Sunglasses were another favourite, especially the different shades of lens. It was not unusual to hear one of the villagers complaining that the lids to the tupperware containers were missing, or all the bottle tops had been removed, to find they had all been glued together, with the flyswatter, a few odd flipflop beach shoes and the mirror lenses out of someones shades. But the villagers were on the whole amused, generously indulgent, and good naturedley rolled their eyes at her creative curiosity.
Boris was practical and capable, and true to form, was learning rapidly. He had no particular desire to express vague rambling thoughts (indeed, he was not a vague and rambling man by nature) and turned his attention to more practical matters. When he wasn’t chatting to Adeline, he was watching Jack tinkering inside car engines, or playing with Pierre’s camera and had quickly learned how to upload and play with the images on the computer. Often in the evenings Adeline would sit beside him and watch drowsily as the images changed in front of her eyes on the screen.
Ivan and Igor were learning what they needed to learn while doing it ~ tending the goats and chickens, working outside on the land, or helping with various building projects. They had taken to the local bars like ducks to water, and spent the evenings downing copious amounts of beer and wine with the locals, all of them babbling and shouting incoherently, but seeming to understand each other in the camaraderie of inebriation.
Mirabelle and Adeline sat in the morning sun on the verandah, appreciatively nibbling the perfectly formed sliced toasted bread and marmalade.
Almost six months had passed since they’d been found on the beach, confused and soaked, babbling incoherently. An early morning beach walker had found them (she had wondered if she was dreaming or hallucinating), and had attempted to engage them in conversation. A rudimentary smattering of French acquired during a grape picking sojourn in France many years ago helped. Much of what the bizarrely clad group said was incomprehensible, but it was clear that they were lost and hungry, so Lisa invited them back home with her. They were reluctant to get into the car, fearing a trap, and when she started the engine, they panicked and scrambled to get back out until Boris calmed them down and suggested they had better trust this stranger because frankly, what were their options? She seemed kind and helpful, even if she was shockingly under dressed with her legs exposed for all to see, and had an invisible and very noisy horse pulling her carriage.
Lisa lived in a relatively new community of creative and forward thinking individuals who were in the process of renovating an abandoned village in the orange groves. They called the village the Trading Post, a name that was a loose play on words on the social media platform where they had first become acquainted and traded and shared posts. They were a diverse assortment of people from all over the world, united with the common goal of experimenting with a new type of anarchist culture, a novel creative and expansive playful approach that was becoming increasingly popular.
Pierre and Étienne’s knowledge of French had come to the rescue upon the first arrival of the group, as they unraveled their strange tale. After much confusing conversation and translations for the rest of the occupants of the village, it became clear that the group were time travelers, although somewhat accidental and clearly unprepared.
While the travelers rested after an unfamiliar but welcome meal, the villagers discussed the situation with much interest and curiosity. It was decided that they would keep the news of the travelers a secret for the time being, and gradually assist them with learning about their new timeframe, current customs and the local languages.
After almost 33 years on the road doing their their show, Geoffroy and the Théâtre du Soleil had had their share of success.
Of course, with an average age of the troupe being close to 66 years old on the eve of July 1789, they were not all young and restless, nor as high on hallucinogenic mushrooms like every other day.
Admittedly, their fate took a turn for the better after that show cancellation at Versailles the day of the attempt on the King’s life. They were stolen a balloon and a tub of lard, but what they gained in exchange was beyond wondrous. Sparks of inspiration had brought the team closer, and even the occasional quarrel between Lison and Francette was a blessing. Now, there was already a new King in Versailles, not better by far, and the wig fashion had improved only so lightly, but it gave good fodder for sarcasm and witty plays.
It wasn’t so much that their play-writing abilities had improved dramatically, to the contrary, but their common hallucination in the Royal Chapelle that day had unleashed their creative power. Their new plays had become famous overnight all over the Europe, liked by peasants who were enjoying its simplicity and nonsensical timing and plots, or even snotty critics all alike, who were somehow discerning artful and intricate royal satire that maybe they’d just invented to sound clever.
Tonight they would play a revival of their universally acclaimed chef d’œuvre, “The whales and the frogs”. With buffoonish wigs and corsets, and their share of heavy compulsory make-up. For some, the frogs were a symbol of the poor people carrying the heavy queens and kings of old, with crazy old Time as a driver, flanked with Janus the two-headed Janitor. Well, that sounded quite erudite and a tad pompous, and frankly for them, they didn’t care what symbol it was, so long as it brought the final money they needed for their retirement plan in sunny Mediterranean where they would take a boat and sail to the new world.
Sadie almost had a fit when she received the models for their party attire. Blue, Red and Yellow, cork bums bigger than whales’ head and, that was a surprise, instead of wigs, three cornered hats looking like a galley with oars. She sent a message to Linda Paul.
“There must be a mistake, we are supposed not to create ripples through time by introducing…” she thought about the right words… “new fashion trends”.
The e-zapper buzzed as the answer arrived.
“Sorry sweety, those were the only outfits available at the moment. They came directly from China. Cheap, cheap. Crisis for everyone. I’m sure you understand, Sadie darling.”
Sadie thought of a diplomatic way to tell the news to her proteges. The hell with China, she thought. They were in the very time period that inspired the Queens for all the wigs and the fancy dresses that would come with Marie-Antoinette. They just had to be creative and follow the thread of maids to help them steal some more interesting clothes.