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    “‘ere, what’s that bloody dog got? I fought it was a bone, but it don’t look like a bone from ‘ere, Sha” said Gloria lifting up her sunglasses to get a better look. “It looks like some kind of artifact, where’d ‘e get that then?”

    “‘E ‘ad that since before we left, d’int yoo notice? ‘e was diggin’ in the snow for days, ‘e was” replied Sharon, “I ‘int touching it, it’s covered in ghost dog ether-dribble, if yoo wants a closer look, Glor, then you ‘ave a look, I ‘int touching it.”


    Godfrey, don’t say I didn’t warn you! Have you seen today’s random quote?” Elizabeth said with increasing alarm. “Finnley! Put another log on that fire! And please put that bloody magpie outside!”

    Finnley mumbled something about job description as she shuffled over to the log basket, and then Elizabeth could have sworn she heard her mutter something about basket cases, but she wasn’t quite sure.

    “It’s a funny thing, you know FinnleyElizabeth said “But yesterday Dan asked Dory if she remembered the ‘Fuck Wits’, those lads that came to visit them years ago, and not only that, yesterday I was thinking about the storm crew and I couldn’t for the life of me remember their names.”

    “The Not-So-Random Daily Quote they should call it, eh, Liz” replied the good natured Finnley. “Oh by the way, I’d like shorter hours and more pay.”

    “Of course dear, take whatever you like,” replied Elizabeth generously, “But be sure and take that magpie with you.”


    “Is there a probable Becky still at the Serendib Facility ~ in-the-rural-mountainous-central-region-of Sri-Lanka-in-the-2030’s ~ Godfrey?” Elizabeth hurriedly included some background information in her question to appease her publisher, the erudite and enigmatic Godfrey Pig-Littleton.

    Elizabeth was amused to note that erudite was almost an opposite to rude, but as Elizabeth could vouch for, neither was mutually exclusive, as Godfrey was clearly equally at ease exhibiting both ends of the rude spectrum. But I digress, she said to herself, turning her attention to Godfrey.

    Elizabeth,” he said with a frown, “At your request I have had installed all manner of information retrieval systems, both objective and subjective, and yet you will insist on asking me questions instead of accessing the information yourself.” Godfrey shivered, attempting to wrap his velvet smoking jacket closer round his spare frame. The rich claret colour suited him perfectly, but it was clearly inadequate against the bitter cold. “Put another log on the fire, Liz, it’s colder than a witches tit in here today!”

    “Don’t be rude, Godfrey” replied Elizabeth with a sniff. “I’m too cold to move, you do it. I’ve been absolutely frozen ever since Al sent us all to the South Pole. As a matter of fact, there’s been a cold snap all over the globe, which is why” she continued “I am trying to get us all out of there and back to Sri Lanka! We don’t want to start another Ice Age, Godfrey, this has to stop.”

    “Ah, those were the days” smiled Pig Littleton. “I remember it well. It all started when Aunt Jeanne du Bappe was writing her book and wanted more ice for her G&T. Somehow it all escalated out of control, and before you could say Boo to a Goose, the whole place was covered in glaciers. A few million years later, when she’d slept off the effects of the gin, it was just beginning to thaw…”

    “Dear old Jeanne, where is she now? I haven’t heard from her for…er, aeons.”

    “Oh, she’s in fine fettle, got a job in The City you know. They say she’s quite something in The City these days, got quite a name for herself in Design & Communications.”

    “Has she now! She’s done well for herself then, last I heard she was tiling kitchens in New Venice.”

    Pig Littleton snorted. “Aunt Jeanne du Bappe, tiling in New Venice? Don’t be ridiculous, Liz, you’re getting your timelines in a twist. I expect that was one of her protegée’s, Aunt Jeanne’s been in The City for —well…”

    Godfrey was uncharacteristically stumped.

    Elizabeth wasn’t going to miss an opportunity to tease her old friend. “For how long?”

    “For a very long Now”

    “Well, I must say, that’s a fine thing isn’t it, to start an ice age and then bugger off to The City while everyone else freezes their tits off” said Elizabeth, blowing on her hands to warm them.

    “You do realize, Liz dear, that every time you mention the word Cold, or Frozen, or Ice Age, you are increasing the potential of the Ice Age in the Probability Pool?”

    Godfrey, the Probability Pool has frozen over. We’ll be skating right over the top of it instead of dipping into it, if we don’t start a thaw soon!”


    “What?” Yurick asked Dory who had left an email for them, as they had just come back with Yann from a trip to the far-off spaces of their dimension —also known as French countryside.

    “There’s snow on Salitre ! Can you believe it?”

    Sure, had not Dory showed the pictures, he would not have believed it. The beautiful mound otherwise green-looking during the most part of the year now looked just like a pretty picture of the Pyrénées mountains!

    “Guess what”, he replied immediately “we saw ‘snoow’ outside of Paris too! It looked like Russian tundra…”

    “Wow… I wonder what kind of stuff we are creating now. I should be careful what I investigate!” Dory mused…


      Of course, there were probable versions of Snettie and Snooter that remained in Spreal, as well as probable versions that left Spreal much earlier. There was a probable reality in which Snooter and Snettie, and their freinds Spagwan and Illiofilly (sometimes spelled Iliophile) journeyed north a decade previously, as indeed there are probable realities in which Snooter and Snettie journeyed north, but Spagwan and Iliophile stayed behind.

      “This could go on ad infinitum Godfrey, I better rein myself in” remarked Elizabeth, more to herself than to her friend Pig Littleton, who appeared to be engrossed in scrutinizing peanuts one at a time before popping then into his mouth and chewing them thoughtfully.

      “Where were you planning to go with it, anyway?” asked Godfrey, inspecting another peanut.

      “Well, I didn’t have a plan actually. I just started writing, really. And kept on writing until I reined myself in, and then….”

      “And then what happened?” asked Godfrey, a trifle mischievously.

      “And then the writing stopped.” Elizabeth laughed.

      “How very singular, Liz dear” Replied Godfrey wryly. “You’re not making very good progress on Volume Two, I must say.”

      “Anyway, Godfrey, I’ve got a bone to pick with you!” Elizabeth pushed her keyboard away and turned to face her publisher. “You’ve been tampering with my vowels again! It’s jolly well not cricket you know, old bean.”

      Godfrey Pig Littleton focused on Elizabeth’s keyboard, a single peanut held alot as he concentrated, and the keys started to type on their own. Elizabeth swung round and read:

      “…Oonyway Goodfrey, Oo’ve goot a boon to pook wooth yoo! Yoo’ve boon toompering wooth moo vooells agoon! Oot’s jooly wool noot crookit yoo knoo, oold boon….”

      GODFREY!!” shouted Elizabeth. “Stop it! Nobody’s going to understand that Nonsense!”


      Becky sipped her coffee nervously, chain-smoking as she waited for Al and Sam to return from the crystal shopping excursion. She wasn’t sure if Al would approve of yet more characters in the Reality Play with so many loose threads already, all getting tangled up and dusty like so many balls of wool under the bed. Like dust bunnies, Becky thought with a chuckle. It was funny how the play had so many different moods, almost as if it had a life of its own. Well, I suppose the play itself is a sort of focus of attention in its own right, a conglomeration of the energies of a variety of essences, creating its own reality from its own perspective. But wait a minute, thought Becky, lighting up another cigarette, how is that different from me, for that matter? I am a conglomeration of the energies of fragmented essences creating my own reality from my own perspective too. Does that make me nothing more than a Reality Play —or, does that make the play a Focus of Essences?

      The line of thought was giving Becky a bit of a headache so she flicked through Al’s latest entries. Clever old Al had been tapping into his Spreal focus when he came up with those silly names, funny how it often worked out like that. A nonsense word here, a bit of gibberish there, none of it meaningless, and none of it meaning anything absolute, either. The secret of life, Becky decided, was in Not being Afraid Of Nonsense. People were so afraid of Nonsense, as if to be caught speaking Nonsense was a heinous crime, or at best a severe handicap, possibly resulting in some form of custody or social alienation. All you had to do was find other people who resonated with your own version of Nonsense, which happened automatically anyway vibrationally. There are thousands variations of Nonsense, and none of them make any more sense than any other, thanks to the Equality In Nonsense underground movement a few decades ago. Equality In Nonsense was started by a group of online friends a few years after the Ministry Of Common Sense had disbanded through lack of interest. It caught on quickly, making a mockery of common sense, which went underground, a few die-hards hanging on with grim faced tedium to the old tenets. Over the years, as the Acceptance Of Nonsense Rights was established, the Equality In Nonsense brigade disbanded to get down to the business of creating new variations of Nonsense, just for fun —which was of course, The Point. Nevertheless, or should I say, notwithstanding, Becky smiled, there still remained a degree of common sense in the general populace, which possibly wasn’t altogether a bad thing.

      It all got a in a bit of a muddle for awhile, until some enterprising folks published the handy guide books ‘Cooperation Within Nonsense ~ How To Communicate In Your Chosen Nonsense’, and ‘Accepting Total Nonsense ~ How To Deal With The Nonsense Of Others’.


      “Roots” exclaimed Elizabeth “I forgot the theme word!”
      “No doubt you’ll come up with an ingenioos way to slide it in, Liz” replied Godfrey with a smirk. “Pass the poonuts.”

      A disgruntled Elizabeth rewrote:

      “Rats!” I forgot the theme word!”

      Unfortunately, Pig Littleton insisted on using the OOh dimension vernacular, and Elizabeth tutted and hit send.


        “Oh no! Last night’s frost has killed all the blibilong plants!” exclaimed Snettie, shivering in the unnatural cold. “Honestly, this global freezing is spoiling everything. If blibilong plants can’t stand this cold, then nothing will grow here anymore, and I am sick to death of eating leopard seal with no greens.”

        “Ugh, don’t remind me. What I wouldn’t give for a nice fresh sun warmed bobbit fruit. All the smikkerts have migrated north as well, I haven’t seen one for months” replied Snooter. “I don’t know if I can stick around here for much longer myself.”

        “But this is our home, Snooter!” Snettie started to cry, her tears freezing on her cheeks. We’re Sprealians, we’ve always lived here. Where will we go?”

        Snooter hugged Snettie. “I suppose we’ll have to go north, like the rest of them.”

        Snooter and Snettie gazed around at the deserted city. Alabash had been built around the shores of Lake Flom, in the mild and temperate regions of central Spreal (later, much later, Spreal was referred to as Gondwana, but Snooter and Snettie didn’t know that. And they certainly didn’t know that the remains of their civilization was to disappear under masses of ice for so long that all memory of them was long forgotten, and that anyone mad enough to suggest that they once existed would be considered a bit of a nutter).

        Snettie, I think the time has come” Snooter said solemnly. “I think we have to go north. There’s only old Spagwan left here now besides us, and his daughter Illiofilly. We’ll never survive here with just four of us, even if it didn’t get any colder, and it is getting colder, every day. Why, the first four floors of all our buildings are iced up now for heaven’s sake. What happens when the ice reaches the top floors? Then what?”

        “We’ll all be dead by then, Snooter” Snettie sighed “By rights we should probably be dead now. When we run out of furniture to burn to keep warm, then what? All the trees are dead and buried in ice.”

        “We’ll come back though, when it warms up again. This can’t last forever, and when it’s over, we’ll come back.” Snooter said optimistically.

        “How long do you think it’ll be?” Snettie asked her husband.

        “Oh, not long, a few years at most. Don’t worry, you’ll be back home before you know it, but for now, let’s go and find some warmth and some decent food, eh?”

        “Ok, but first I want to leave something, some message or clue or something, in case anyone comes back here before we do, so they know we’re coming back”


        In reply to: Scrying the Word Cloud


          Lots replied whispered story… :yahoo_praying:
          Journal nothing. :yahoo_raised_eyebrow: :yahoo_confused: :yahoo_shame_on_you:
          Wanted great surely.:yahoo_thinking:
          Week told high, easily real :agreed:
          Wrick sake :cocktail:
          :crystal-skull: Comment skull notice change hill


          “Well, Sanso” said Zhaana a trifle breathlessly, her flushed with wonder. “ The Elsepace Arrangement was certainly an eye opener, if eye opener is the right word. So what next?”

          Sanso laughed uproariously. “What next? What next, AHAAAHAA HA HA! What next indeed!”

          “What’s so funny?” asked the little girl, her face starting to crumple.

          “Oh don’t do the old crumple face, Zhaana, I’m laughing at myself as much as anything” Sanso replied, giving her a quick hug. He couldn’t bear the sight of crumple faced children.

          “Well, I still don’t understand why you’re laughing” she replied with a pout.

          “It’s actually a very good question, and one I sometimes find I ask myself. Well, I used to ask myself “what next” all the time, as if it was somehow important to know where I was going next, to have a destination or a plan.”

          “But if you don’t have a destination, how do you know where to go next?” Zhaana was confused.

          Sanso smiled. “It doesn’t matter where you go next, little one, because you’re always at the centre of everything. You can go in any direction you want and you’ll always be at the centre of everything.”

          “Well if that’s the case, why not just stay right where I am, then?”

          “Do you want to do that? Stay right where you are?”

          “No! I …er….no! of course not!”

          “Why not?” Sanso asked with a gentle smile.

          “Well, if I stay right here, and don’t go in any direction, everything will always be the same” she replied, frowning.

          “And what would be wrong with that?”

          Zhaana had to think about this. “Well, it wouldn’t be wrong I guess, but it would be boring. There wouldn’t be any surprises…..”

          “Ah so you like surprises, then!” Sanso was grinning.

          “Yes, I love surprises!”

          “Well then why do you want to plan where you’re going next?”

          Zhaana opened and closed her mouth like a goldfish. Sanso was confusing her, and she didn’t know what to say.

          “OK then, Sanso, you are always wandering around, how do you decide where to go next?” asked Zhaana, rather cleverly responding to the difficult question with a question of her own.

          “I get an impulse, or I see a sign, and I follow it.”

          “What do you mean, a sign?” Zhaana understood about impulses: after all, she had followed her impulse to leave horrid old Uncle Grishenka and follow Sanso into the cave. She wasn’t sure about signs, though.

          “I’m not sure I can describe a sign, really. They just appear, and so I notice them.”

          “Well, after you notice them, then what?”

          “Well” said Sanso “Then you interpret the sign however you want to, and then you act on it.”

          “You can interpret the sign however you want?” asked Zhaana with a hint of disbelief in her voice.

          “Yup” replied Sanso. “That’s about the size of it, Sweetpea.”


          “Oh Godfrey, I’ve been trying to get the theme word into this entry and I’m just not getting any closer.” Elizabeth sighed, and pushed her keyboard away. Quickly she pulled the keyboard back so that she could write what Godfrey replied.

          “Have some more peanuts, Liz” he replied with a laugh.

          Elizabeth pushed the keyboard away again and passed Godfrey the peanuts .

          A few moments later Elizabeth pulled the keyboard back and wrote:


          Sanso, a word just popped into my head, do you think it might be a sign?” Zhaana asked excitedly. “It just popped in from nowhere!”

          “Sure it’ll be a clue, and what was the word?” he replied, trying unsuccessfully to suppress a chuckle. He had heard the word too, and knew exactly where it was coming from, but he wasn’t going to spoil the moment for his little friend.

          “Moonbeams!” she announced proudly. “I heard the word moonbeams !”


            “This is a long process, Godfrey , a very long process” Elizabeth said with a wry chuckle. She had left her characters to their own devices for so long she didn’t know where to jump in again with her directing.

            “The process is the point, dear” Pig Littleton replied dryly. “Pass the peanuts, would you?”

            “There are hundreds of probable possibilities, in fact there are so many of them that I hardly seem able to find a place to start.”

            “Start anywhere Liz, and then stop when you’re finished.” Godfrey said with his mouth full of peanuts. “Ideas are like peanuts, you can savour them one at a time…”

            “Or shove a whole handful in your mouth at once, eh Piggy” retorted Elizabeth, frowning as Godfrey tried to munch, swallow and speak all at the same time. “If I shove too many in my mouth at once, I can’t remember each individual peanut, it all becomes a glob of sticky….”

            “Peanut butter spread? And what’s wrong with that?” Pig Littleton smiled.

            “Well for one thing Godfrey, all those bits of peanuts stuck in your teeth is rather off putting you know.”

            “Why?” asked Godfrey.

            “Why?” Elizabeth repeated, perplexed.

            “Yes, why? Why do you perceive the physical evidence of my enjoyment of peanuts captured for a moment between my teeth as off putting?”

            “When you put it like that, dear Piggy, I confess I don’t have an answer” Elizabeth replied with a snort. “As a matter of fact, I have no idea where this conversation is leading at all!”

            “Aha, and there you have it!”

            “Have what, Godfrey? What on earth do you mean?”

            “Well, why should it be leading anywhere in particular? The process is the point, Liz, not the destination!”

            “Hang on a minute, are you trying to tell me that this conversation about peanuts is a meaningful process with a point?”

            Godfrey Pig Litteton laughed, spraying bits of peanut everywhere and nearly choking. “Who said anything about meaningful?”

            “Well what’s the point of it if it isn’t meaningful?”

            “If it’s meaning you want, you can read all sorts of things into it. On the other hand, if it’s fun you want, why worry about meaning?”

            Elizabeth shook her head, perplexed. “Is it fun that I want?”

            “Don’t you know?!” asked Godfrey, in mock surprise.

            “Well of course I want fun! Everyone does, surely!”

            “Then why” Godfrey said with exaggerated patience “worry about meaning?”

            “I’m not worried about meaning, Piggy, you’re twisting my words, you tricky rascal!”

            “My dear Elizabeth, I quote you: ‘What’s the point of it if it isn’t meaningful’”

            “Pfft” she replied. “I might delete that comment. Trouble is, if I do, the rest of it won’t make sense.”

            “Worried about making sense now, are we, dear?” said Godfrey with a sly grin.

            Godfrey, you’re making me sound so old fashioned, worrying about sense and meaning! Pass the peanuts.”


              Tina!” At last Tina answered the phone. “Oh Tina, I’ve been trying to reach you all day! There’s something going on with Al and SamBecky blurted without so much as a How Doo Yoo Doo.

              “What now?” asked Tina sleepily. “You woke me up, you know, I hope this is important.”

              “They’re making funny tea, I’m sure of it” Becky replied. “Have you seen the latest entries they’ve made to the play?”

              “I just told you Becky, I just woke up. I seriously doubt that anything in that play would surprise me, though. And so what if they’re drinking ‘funny tea’ anyway? Look who’s blimmen talking, Becky!”

              “Precisely, my point exactly! They’re not sharing it! I want some too, don’t you?”

              “Not really, Becky. I would quite like to go back to sleep though” Tina replied. “Why don’t you focus on your own entries to the play?”

              “Oof, er pffoott” spluttered Becky. “Good pooint, Poubelle. Soorry I wooke yoou!”


                Dory, there’s no asparagus, can we go and buy some?”

                “Asparagus? Whatever for?” replied a frantic looking Dory, almost hidden behind arms full of pillows and quilts.

                “For Will Tarkin, Mac said he likes asparagus” young Becky replied.

                “Who the bloody hell is Will Tarkin? I’ve got enough to cope with trying to get ready for Granny Hill!” Dory sounded uncharacteristically flustered and impatient, and Becky recoiled slightly from the sparky energy.

                Will Tarkin is the mouse, DoryBecky said in a tone that suggested it was inconceivable to have forgotten who Will Tarkin was.

                “Will bloody Tarkin is getting a bit too big for his boots!” snapped Dory. “He’ll be wanting caviar next! I’ve got a time travelling mouse camped up behind my microwave, and Granny Hill’s frightened to death of mice; the room she was going to stay in is full of baby geckos, and you know how scared she is of lizards, not to mention the dead rat that was outside a moment ago, appearing from nowhere, and now I’m trying to get Peppy’s house across the road ready so Granny Hill can stay there instead, and none of the bedding has been washed and it’s still raining, and now you want me to take you shopping for asparagus for a MOUSE! And not only that, there are dead rhino beetles all up Peppy’s driveway, I can’t imagine why, and I’d be willing to bet that Granny Hill is afraid of rhino beetles too, so I suppose I’ll have to sweep up rhino beetles today too, as if I haven’t got enough to do cleaning up dead rats and baby geckos. Granny Hill is afraid of gas heaters too, so I’ll have to take an electric one over to Peppy’s”

                “Granny Hill sure is afraid of a lot of things, Dory. Why is she scared of everything?”

                “Good question, sweetheart” replied Dory, relaxing her energy as she brought her attention back to the moment. “She’s one of the old ones, from the Victim Mentality Days and the Age of Medical Suggestibility. They’re always afraid of everything, and Granny Hill’s a good example. Afraid of her money in case she can’t keep control of it, afraid of her car for the same reason, afraid of the food she eats in case it contains hidden poisons and afraid of the hospitals in case they’re dirty and dangerous. She’s afraid of strangers in case they have knives and stab her, even though in all her life she’s never seen a person threaten anyone with a knife, she’s even afraid of people in other countries, just in case they come and drop a bomb on her.”

                “She must enjoy being scared, then, mustn’t she?” asked Becky. “Otherwise she wouldn’t do it. Doesn’t she realize she’s creating her reality herself?”

                “Well, that was the trouble in the old days, honey, they didn’t know that back then. There’s a lot of people who still don’t know it now”

                “Wow, really?” Becky said incredulously. “That must be weirdo!”

                Dory had to laugh. “Believe it or not, neither did I for years. I keep forgetting it even now! Some of us used to say things like ‘think positive’ which wasn’t far off the mark, or ‘behind every cloud is a silver lining’, or ‘this too will pass’, that was always a good one for when you felt like it was all out of control. Alot of people prayed to gods too, thinking that their life was in the hands of the gods. I never knew much about praying myself though, we didn’t do that in our family, but it was very popular.”

                “Maybe they were asking their own essence to help, that would make sense” replied Becky astutely. “Praying probably helped.”

                “Yeah it probably did but there was alot of baggage that went along with praying, it wasn’t something you could do on your own in your own way, you had to go to a certain building to do it, and say certain words, even wear certain clothes and eat certain things. It was all very complicated, didn’t really work out in the end. The funny thing was, they were always fighting with people who prayed differently in different special buildings and who ate different special things and wore different special clothes, it was bizarre really.”

                “Who is Granny Hill anyway, and why is she coming to stay?” Becky was bored with the way the conversation was going, and curious about Granny Hill who came to stay every so often, and always seemed to rattle Dory. “Whose granny is she?”

                “Buggered if I know really, BeckyDory replied. “Every family has one, I don’t know where they come from, they sort of just appear every so often and want to come and stay for a while.”


                Everyone had been disappointed that the Day of the Dead Party had been a wash out, cancelled because of the torrential rain. An alternative date had not yet been set for the boulder moving party, and the interior of the mysterious mound was to remain an enigma for a while longer.

                Dan had been frankly relieved about the cancellation, preferring to get sodden on the Volderama golf course instead. He’d been delighted to meet Sergio Garcia there, especially as his old friend Juani Ramirez had had a dream several years previously about him and Sergio.

                Dory and Becky were disappointed though. They’d both been consumed with curiosity about the mound and it’s blue tiled interior and were eager to explore the inside physically, rather than with the customary psychic investigations and meditations. Never the less, they were both aware that when the time was right, everything would slot into place.

                There was much to keep them occupied, what with the time travelling mouse that was camped behind the microwave oven, and the impending arrival of Granny Hill.
                Becky had named the mouse Will, short for Will O’ The Wisp, but that was before she knew that he was a time traveller. She left him a variety of tasty morsels next to the toaster, which Will took to his hide-out — Marie biscuits, dried cranberries, little chunks of Swiss cheese, and sometimes an almond or two. She left him a piece of lettuce and two sweet corn kernels once, but he hadn’t been at all interested. Obviously Will wasn’t a victim of nutrition beliefs, and Becky was impressed.

                Wondering what else Will might like to eat for variety, and because she was beginning to realize that this wasn’t just any old ordinary mouse, Becky sent a message to Dory’s friend Mac Brock, who always seemed to be able to pull interesting information out of his hat. Mac’s wife Wanda replied first, confirming Becky’s impression that this was no ordinary mouse, but in fact contained an energy fleck of Tarkin, the Brocks non-physical friend from the future. Shortly afterwards, Mac replied, saying that Will-Tarkin liked asparagus.

                Asparagus! Becky found that quite funny, because ‘asparagus’ had been the code word that the time travellers had said that they would use. She had been looking forward to meeting a time traveller. Little did she know that the first time traveller to come and stay at her house would be a mouse!


                  “We must go to the Elsespace Arrangement” Sanso repeated “At once.”

                  “OK” Zhana shrugged and smiled up at him. She was enjoying wandering around with Sanso and was in no particular hurry now to reach Nishanti.

                  “We can use the Elsespace Arrangement to get to where we need to go” Sanso said and Zhana asked where were they going anyway, to which he replied “We’ll know. Whatever pops into your head will be a clue.”

                  “A clue to where we’re going?”

                  “Oh not necesarily, it might be a clue to something else entirely” replied Sanso.

                  “Well doesn’t that get a bit confusing? How do you know which clue is a clue to what question?”

                  “What?” asked Sanso, frowning. “What was the question?”


                  “See you on Saturday then, Barb, hasta luego!” Bea said, hanging up the phone. “Baked Bean Barb wants to bring a few friends to the Day of the Dead party, Leo, I said it was ok”. Turning to Leonora, who was hunched over the computer. she asked “Ok with you?”


                  “I said…”

                  “Friends of Baked Bean Barb? Have you ever met any of them?”

                  “One or two, yes,” replied Bea “They were quite a colourful bunch, I thought”

                  “Colourful!” Leo nearly choked on a mouthful of coffee. “They’re colourful alright! Smelly too, most of them”

                  “Oh don’t be such a snob, Leo! You’d be smelly too if you lived in a car.”

                  “Good job the party’s going to be outside, that’s all I can say. Anyway Bea, have a look at this” Leo turned back to the computer. “This Reality Play thing I’m subscribed to, they’re spitting out new entries left and right this afternoon, I can hardly keep up with it”

                  “Shove over then, let’s ‘ave a look”


                  Day of the Dead soon, Leo, might be a good day to go through that door” Bea said.

                  “Well that’s the day that Baked Bean Barb is coming round with that book she found, Bea” replied Leonora.

                  “She can come with us, the more the merrier eh! We could have a bit of a party you know, maybe have a bonfire on the top of the mound and then go through the door, might be fun.”

                  “It’s all very well you saying we’ll just go through the door, Bea, but it’s not that easy.”

                  “Why not?”

                  “Because it isn’t a door, that’s why! It’s a pile of boulders blocking a cave entrance!”

                  “All the more reason to invite lots of people to the party then! It will be a boulder moving out of the way of the door party, and when the door way is clear, we can all go through it. Aren’t you dying of curiosity to see what’s inside that mound?”

                  “Yeah, I am. And we have to do it soon, because Jose will be back and then we’ll have to move. Might not be so easy then. Ok, let’s go for it. I’ll make a list who to invite.”

                  “Some nice big strong strapping lads is what we need.”

                  “No kidding”

                  “To move the boulders, I meant” Bea said, rolling her eyes.


                  “You tempestuous fool” Becky cried and slapped Gayesh soundly across the face. “Don’t give me those unspoken looks!”

                  Gayesh sighed. “Ah, the infinite pleasure I had in mind is naught but an elusive dream.”

                  Elizabeth read the last two lines she’d been working on to her publisher, Godfrey Pig-Littleton.

                  Godfrey snorted. “Elizabeth, really! You jest, I hope.”

                  “Well, I was just trying to fit each of the four themes into one chapter, they all seemed to fit together so easily” Elizabeth replied. “Why not? Tempestuous, Elusive Dreams, Unspoken Looks, and Pleasure”

                  “You seemed to have fit them all into two sentences, never mind a chapter. And your characters sound like characters in a play.”

                  “Well they are characters in a play, Godfrey” replied Elizabeth.

                  “Ham actors, that’s what I meant. Anyway, Liz” Pig-Littleton said with a slightly mischievous grin, “What if Gayesh doesn’t want his face slapped by Becky?”

                  “What do you mean?”

                  “What if Becky doesn’t want to slap Gayesh?”

                  “Well, she will if I write it into the play, surely!” Elizabeth started to frown. She knew that once she invented her characters that they continued to exist in a reality of their own, being free to create their own realities in whatever probable dimension they found themselves in, but she had never really stopped to think about the ramifications of her continuing to write incidents into their lives.

                  “Maybe Becky has moved on from where you left her last time you wrote about her, in a completely different direction” Godfrey continued “And maybe she doesn’t want to play along with your theme word game. I mean really, is it fair to make her? Maybe she was having more fun doing whatever it was she was doing while you weren’t even thinking about what she should do. Quite rude really to interrupt her just so that you could do your word theme games. Bit of a cheek, I’d say.”

                  “Oh Godfrey, that’s easily explained” Elizabeth had remembered Probabilities, which was always a handy excuse in continuity disputes. “Another probable character will do what I write for them to do, there are probably hundreds of probable characters now, all going in different directions.”

                  “Is that wise? Really Elizabeth, that sounds outrageously irresponsible. Hundreds of probable characters running amok, and you have absolutely no idea what they’re all getting up to.”

                  “Well they’re not my responsibility Godfrey, for heavens sake!”

                  “Well if they’re not your responsibility, then who’s responsible for them?”

                  “Nobody is responsible for them!”

                  “Well that sounds like a recipe for chaos if you ask me” Godfrey said with a sniff. “You’ve unleashed hundreds of probable Becky’s into reality, not to mention Leo’s and Bea’s….”

                  “And Pig-Littleton’s” Elizabeth interjected under her breath.

                  “… and Sanso’s and Dory’s” Godfrey, who hadn’t heard Elizabeth, continued to reel off the characters names. “I mean how big do you think reality is? The rate you’re filling it up with probable characters there’ll be no space left!”

                  Elizabeth started to laugh. “Oh Godfrey, you’re a case. Ahahah! They don’t take up any space at all! Anyway, GodfreyElizabeth turned back to her notepad. “Listen to the latest chapter and tell me what you think:

                  “You tempestuous fool” Becky cried and slapped Gayesh soundly across the face. “Don’t give me those unspoken looks!”

                  Gayesh sighed. “Ah, the infinite pleasure I had in mind is naught but an elusive dream.”

                  Godfrey Pig-Littleton was impressed. “Elizabeth, how perfectly you incorporated the four themes into one brilliantly short chapter”

                  Elizabeth closed her notebook with a satisfied smile and yawned. Let them all do whatever the bloody hell they all want to, I’m off to bed. Plenty of probable characters available in the morning, waiting in the wings.


                  “Hey, Leo, look at this here in the newspaper ~ my book’s being made into a movie!”

                  “What book’s that then, Bea? Not that dreadful ‘T’eggy Gets a Good Rogering’, surely.” Leonora replied dismissively.

                  “Oh they’re not calling it that for the movie…..”

                  “Bloody good job if you ask me” Leo interrupted, and then exclaimed “OH!”


                  “Book sync!”

                  “Book sync? What book sync?”

                  “I forgot to tell you, Baked Bean Barb called…”


                  “You remember, we met her in that bar down on the coast awhile back, remember? We got talking over a few tapas ~ found we had some mutual friends back home and all…”

                  “Funny how that happens, eh ~ small world, innit? So what did she call for then?”

                  “Well, it’s the funniest thing, she said when she was rummaging around on the rubbish tip….”

                  “Oh now I remember, you mean Baked Bean Barb! The one that’s lived in her Ford Fiesta for 15 years, and finds food in dustbins? That one? On the run, wasn’t she?”

                  “That’s the one! On the run for 30 years because of that Baked Bean Incident that was in all the papers”

                  “You meet all sorts down here, eh. So what did she call for?”

                  “Well” continued Leonora “It’s the strangest thing! She said she found a book on the rubbish tip, which was in English, so she says she took the book ~ she reads alot you know, Barb does, even though she’s only got one eye. Dunno how she manages it really, her glasses are always so dirty…”

                  “Will you get to the point?”

                  “Hang on, hang on, I’m getting there….she found this book, right, so she goes back to wherever she’s camped up, you know, with the other travellers, all them old hippies on their way to Morocco for the winter I expect….”

                  “We should go with them next winter Leo, might be fun”

                  “I reckon it would Bea ~ well with Jose coming back soon from that island, we’ll have to go somewhere ~ anyway, as I was saying, Barb starts reading this book, she says it’s the most peculiar book she’s ever read, never read anything like it, she says, but she can’t put it down she says ~ well, you’ll never guess what!”

                  “I can’t guess, Leo, I’m waiting for you to tell me.”

                  Barb says we’re in the book!”

                  “What do you mean, we’re in the book?”

                  “We’re in the book! ‘Leonora and Beattie’ are in the book! Renting a finca from a ‘Jose’ and living in the mountains in Andalucia!”

                  “You’re having me on!” exclaimed Bea. “I’ve gotta see this to believe it.”


                  Norm! NORM!!” Sue Flay shouted. “We’re filming the garden scene now, where are you?”

                  But Norm was nowhere to be found. He’d stumbled upon an unexpected problem while filming T’Eggy & Phlynn with Sue Flay ~ a problem too embarrassing to mention, and one he could hardly keep a secret, given the nature of the P Movie. He’d managed to excuse himself during the last scene, feigning illness, but what if it happened again today?

                  “You’re focusing on what you don’t want again, Norm.” The voice made him jump. He’d thought he was alone in the treehouse, he thought no-one would find him hiding there in the leafy depths of the spinney, high up in the foliage. He looked around, wondering where the voice was coming from.

                  “You haven’t generated me physical, Norm, but you can if you wish” the voice said.

                  “How do I do that?” asked Norm.

                  “Allow, that’s all” the voice replied.

                  “Oh what rubbish!” Norm said in an agitated whisper. “What stupid advice!”

                  “Ha ha ha! As you wish, my friend” replied the voice, sounding rather amused.

                  “If you hadn’t just given me such stupid advice I might have felt more inclined to ask you for some advice about this awful problem” Norm whispered crossly.

                  “Are you asking me for advice or not?”

                  “Well if you’ve got anything USEFUL to say, then say it!”

                  “If you go down to the garden today,
                  You’re sure to have a surprise.
                  There’s a herb growing there and you don’t have to pay,
                  It’s growing in front of your eyes.
                  The magic you see is everywhere
                  It never runs out of stock
                  Go down to the garden, if you dare….”

                  “I asked you for advice, not a daft bloody poem!” Norm hissed.

                  “You wish to be hard as a rock?”

                  YES!” spat Norm in frustration, blushing furiously. What’s the friggen garden got to do with it?”

                  “There’s a herb in the garden called Horny Goat

                  “Oh PulEASE…..” Norm rolled his eyes.

                  “Horny Goat Weed will do the trick.
                  And straighten up your droopy…”

                  ENOUGH! Good Grief, I get the message. What am I supposed to DO with it, roll in it? Eat it? Smoke it?”

                  “It matters not, my friend. That’s the magic of it all. You can choose any method”

                  “Are you sure about this?” asked Norm, who was willing to try anything at this point. “How do I know I can trust you?”

                  “Ha ha ha! Trust youSELF, Norm!”

                  “Who are you anyway?” Norm asked suspiciously.

                  But the voice chuckled and faded, leaving Norm in a quandary in the treehouse.

                  “Oh bugger it, I may as well give it a go. I can’t stay here forever, and anyway, I’ve run out of cigarettes.”

                  Norm climbed down the tree and marched over to the the film crew.

                  “Oh THERE you are Norm!” Sue came rushing up to him. “What perfect timing, we’re breaking for lunch.” She gave Norm a spontaneous hug. She really was rather nice, Norm thought, smiling at her.

                  “Would you like some soup? We put lots of fresh herbs in it from the garden.”


                  “Oh My God” exclaimed Bea. “I had a dream about the DOOR!”

                  “Oh, well done! The question is, did you remember it?” asked Leonora.

                  “As a matter of fact, Leo, I did!” replied Bea with a happy smile. “As a matter of fact, although I’m not too sure how factual matter really is, but anyway, I did remember the dream, and I wrote it all down.”

                  “Gosh, up early this morning, weren’t you?” asked Leo, who was sipping coffee at the kitchen table and watching the sun come up over the mountains through the open door.

                  “Oh I didn’t write it down this morning, silly! I wrote it all down last week.”

                  Leo placed her cup on the table and rubbed her eyes, frowning. “Wait a minute, let me get this straight…..”

                  Bea laughed ~ she was in rather a jolly mood, despite the early hour. “I had the dream last week, Leo, but I only just realized this morning that the dream was about THE DOOR

                  “So what did you learn about the door, then?”

                  Bea frowned. “Well I’m not really sure. But it seemed so significant because it was that scary door, you know, the dreams I’ve been having for years about that door in that bedroom that’s too scary to get near, never mind go through….would you like to read it? Maybe you can interpret it for me.”

                  “If I must” sighed Leonora “You better pour me another cup of coffee then and pass me those cigarettes.”

                  Leonora read from Bea’s Dream Journal:

                  I was sorting winter clothes out on an upstairs landing of a cottagey gabled house,
                  and decided to use the upstairs bedroom instead of the downstairs one.
                  The bedroom was a recurring dream one, gabled attic with dormer windows kind of room.
                  Then I saw the door and remembered this was the door I was always too terrified
                  in dreams to open; it was so scary that I always wanted to use this bedroom
                  but never could because of that terrifying door and whatever lay beyond it.

                  “Didn’t you do a waking dream and go through that door?” Leonora asked. “Oh, yes here is is…”

                  Remembering that I had done a waking dream and gone beyond the door once,
                  I marched up to the door, flung it open and strode through.
                  Suddenly an almost overpowering fear and dread stopped me in my tracks
                  but I carried on anyway.

                  “Oh, bloody well done, Bea! Good for you, girl!” Leonora could be a bit waspish at times, but she was a kind old soul underneath.

                   It was a bit like a old slightly shabby but once grand hotel foyer, high ceilings
                  (not the same as when I went through in the waking dream, which was then rows
                  of closed doors on either side).  The foyer opened out on the left into a large old
                  fashioned restaurant dining room, with one person over on the far side sitting at
                  a table.  I carried on straight ahead through opaque etched glass double doors
                  onto an upstairs outdoor terrace.  There was a city scene below.  On the left
                  was a shallow ornately shaped ornamental pool.

                  “Reminds me a bit of our trip to Barcelona, this does, eh” Leo commented.

                  “Yeah, I’m sure that had something to do with the gargoyle imagery” replied Bea.

                  A woman squeezed past me holding a small thick book and I knew she was
                  going to jump off the terrace which was several storeys up.  She collapsed into
                  the pool, writhing backwards, baring a flat white breast and dropping the book.

                  “Flat breast, hahah Bea, that weren’t you then, obviously, was it!”

                  Bea chuckled. “Not bloody likely! I reckon that bit slipped in the dream because I can’t find a comfortable bra lately”

                  “You and me both” replied Leo. She continued reading from the journal.

                  I picked up the book, and somehow ended up with two books, which seemed like guide books. I couldn’t hold onto the two books with the creature in my hand, which was weird, like a very heavy small furry grey reptile, or gargoyle.

                  “Maybe it was a baby dragon?”

                  “Don’t say that!” retorted Bea, who had a horror of dragons. “The thought did cross my mind too, though” she admitted.

                  I was holding it with one hand round its middle and the fat grey belly of it
                  was bulging out under my fingers.  It was unbelievably heavy for such a small creature
                  and I didn't want to hold it, so I passed it to a boy. (Twice I was holding the creature,
                  and twice I passed it to the boy, but I can't recall the other time)
                  Back inside the building, I followed the boy down a big wide staircase that
                  curved round to the right at a landing below.  I started to fall down the stairs and
                  knew it was because of the book that I was holding that the woman had been holding
                  when she collapsed into the pool, so I threw the book down the stairs to save myself,
                  and felt the tumbling down from the books perspective, although I stayed in
                  the same place, clutching the banister.

                  “Well I am amazed that you remembered so much, Bea! Going through the doors and finding the books reminds me of Jane’s Library you know”. Leo was starting to go into an altered state.

                  “Are you going into an altered state, Leo?” asked Bea. “Are you channeling Juani Ramirez again?”

                  “The creature, the gargoyle, was representing ‘a different species of awareness, of consciousness’” continued Leonora, as Bea hastily started taking notes. Leo wouldn’t remember what she’d said while she was channeling Juani, so it was essential that Bea record what was said.

                  “The weight was a marker to help you recall the creature, as well as being symbolic of denseness”

                  Bea couldn’t help making a snirking noise. Dense eh, she said under her breath.

                  “The door” continued Leonora “Is a signpost, a marker.”

                  Just then the phone rang, snapping Leonora out of the trance. Bea picked up the telephone, but there was nobody there.

                  “Pffft” said Bea.

                  “More coffee?”

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