“If you don’t pay the bill, I’ll call the police,” said the waitress, closing the door and turning the open sign to closed. She turned the key and put it in her apron pocket. “Either you pay the bill or you wash the dishes.”
Vince was just about the stamp his foot again and a look of anguish came over his face. Finton, the waitress, looked quizzically at him and reached out to touch his arm. “Are you alright?”
Then the floodgates opened and Vince collapsed in a chair, tears rolling down his face. Finton sat down next to him and put her arm across his shoulders, patting him gently until the sobbing had subsided.
“Now then, sir, why don’t you tell me all about it while you’re doing the dishes,” she said kindly, “I’d be happy to listen, and I can interrogate you too, if that’s what you’d like.”
Vince wiped his eyes and blew his nose with a crumpled napkin, smearing strawberry jam across his cheeks. Finton didn’t have the heart to tell him, and tried hard not to snigger.
“Call me Vince,” he smiled weakly, and followed Finton into the kitchen.
“But I can’t stand bloody opera singing,” Tara whispered back, “It’ll drive me mad. When they said he had a melodious voice I was expecting something more modern than this ancient caterwauling.”
“Do you want to solve this case or not?”
“Oh alright then,” Tara said grudgingly. “But your thinking better be good!” She clapped loudly and whistled. “More! More!” she shouted, stamping her feet. The assorted middle aged ladies joined in the applause.
“Yeah, you had to listen to opera with him, poor thing, but he did tip well.”
“Well, he told me a lot about opera. I thought it was a waste of time knowing all that useless old stuff, but listen: this song what he’s singing now, he’s singing this on purpose. It’s a clue, you see, to Uncle Basil and why Vince wants to find him.”
“Go on,” whispered Tara.
“Wasn’t that obvious from the start?”
“Well yes, but we got very cleverly sidetracked with all these middle aged ladies and that wardrobe! This is where the mule comes in.”
“Shh! Keep your voice down! It’s not the same kind of mule as in the opera, these middle aged ladies are trafficking mules!”
“Oh well that would make sense, they’d be perfect. Nobody suspects middle aged ladies. But what are they trafficking, and why are they all here?”
“They’re here to keep us from finding out the truth with all these silly sidetracks and distractions. And we’ve stupidly let ourselves be led astray from the real case.”
“What’s the real case, then?”
“How do you know that for sure?” asked Tara.
“I don’t know for sure, but this is the theory. Once we have a theory, we can prove it. Now, about that wardrobe. We mustn’t let them take it away. No matter what story they come up with, that wardrobe stays where it is, in our office.”
“But why? It’s taking up space and it doesn’t go with the clean modern style. And people keep getting locked inside it, it’s a death trap.”
“That’s what they want you to think! That it’s just another ghastly old wardrobe! But it’s how they smuggle the stuff!”
“What stuff are they smuggling? Drugs? That doesn’t explain what it’s doing in our office, though.”
“Well, I had an interesting intuition about that. You know that modified carrot story they tried to palm us off with? Well I reckon it’s vaccines. They had to come up with a way to vaccinate the anti vaxxers, so they made this batch of vaccines hidden in hallucinogenic carrots. They’re touting the carrots as a new age spiritual vibration enhancing wake up drug, and the anti vaxxers will flock to it in droves.”
“Surely if they’re so worried about the ingredients in vaccines, they won’t just take any old illegal drug off the street?”
Tara smiled ruefully. “Yeah, I guess that was a silly thing to say. But now I’m confused. Whose side are we on? Surely the carrot vaccine is a good idea? Are we trying to stop them or what? And what is Vince up to? Falsifying a will?” Tara frowned, puzzled. “Whose side are we on?” she repeated.
“But what if the client is morally bankrupt? What if it goes against our guidelines?”
“Guidelines don’t come into it when you’re financially bankrupt!” Star snapped. “Hey, where has everyone gone?”
“They said they had to pick up a wardrobe,” said the waitress. “Shall I bring you the bill? They all left without paying, they said you were treating them.”FloveParticipant
“I’ve been wondering …” Star tightened her lips. “No … perhaps not.”
“What? Spit it out,” said Rosamund.
“It’s nothing … just that … I interpreted my remote view as New Zealand but perhaps it wasn’t New Zealand per se, and by that I mean perhaps it was a symbolic representation, a clue if you will, and i was too quick to rush in and give it meaning.”
Rosamund screwed up her face. “You lost me at Purse Eh.”
“Me too, dear!” said the middle aged lady. “Does she always go on like this?”
“Worse usually. Yabba yabba yabba them two. How about I swop you dental floss for some lippy?”
“Don’t yo mine those rudy poohs,” said Tara, who was starting to sound a little slurred. “What’d ya see, Star, eh?” Star’s remote viewing skills never failed to amaze her, and, to be honest, she’d been surprised when Star made such a horrendous hash of this latest attempt. Once she had sobered up she might feel compelled to apologise for her rude outburst. She snorted into her drink. Not bloody likely!
Before Star could answer, there was an excited scream from the waitress.
“Look, who’s here!” she shouted. “Look everybody! It’s only Vincentius come to join us!!”
“Why, thank you. What a welcome!” said Vincentius in a deep melodious voice. He sauntered casually over to the bar, seemingly oblivious to the effect he was having.
“Oh. My. God,” said Star.
Rosamund who was using the lipstick to write her number on the burly bouncer’s bicep gave him a shove. “Get lost, Loser!” she hissed.
“Over here, Vincentush! Whover yo are!” shouted Tara before falling off her bar stool.
“Now then ladies, what’s all this about?” The burly bouncer appeared, blocking the doorway.
“Nice tattoo!” he said appreciatively. “Why, I even have one myself just like it!”
“On your buttock?” asked Star incredulously.
“Why you cheeky thing,” replied the bouncer with a smile. “No, as it happens it’s on my ankle. I left the cult before I reached buttock bell bird status.”
“Wait, what? What cult?”
“The same cult as you were in,” he said, turning to April. “Am I right?”
“I don’t know what you mean,” stammered April, reddening.
“What the hell is going on!” shouted Tara. “Are we the only ones NOT in the damn cult?”
“Looks like it” smirked the waitress, pulling her blouse up to reveal a bell bird tattoo on her belly.
“That’s it, I’ve had enough of this! I’m going back to the wardrobe!” exclaimed Star.
The bouncer and the waitress exchanged glances. “Unwoke sheeple losing their minds,” the waitress said knowingly.
“Oh my fucking god,” Tara said, close to tears.JibParticipant
Shawn Paul looked suspiciously at the pictures of the dolls in the Michigan forest on Maeve’s phone. He had heard about the Cottingley Fairies pictures, supposedly taken a long time ago by two little girls. The two little girls came out long after confessing they had staged the whole thing. Some said they had been coerced into it to keep the world from knowing the truth. It could well be the same thing with the whole dollmania, and Shawn Paul thought one was never dubious enough.
He noded politely to Maeve and decided to hide his doubts for now. They were resting on sunbeds near the hotel swimming pool.
“Do you want another cocktail?” asked a waitress dressed up in the local costume. Not much really, and so close-fitting. She was presenting them with a tray of colourful drinks and a candid smile. Her bosom was on the brink of spilling over the band of cloth she had around her chest. It was decorated with a pair of parrots stretched in such a way their lubricious eyes threatening to pop out at any moment.
Shawn Paul, who had the talent to see the odd and misplaced, forced himself to look at the tray and spotted the strangest one. He pushed his glasses back up on his nose and asked without looking at the waitress.
“What’s that strange bluish blob under the layers of alcohol and fruits?”
Maeve raised one eyebrow and looked at her companion with disapproval, but the waitress answered as if she heard that all the time.
“That’s a spoonful of honey from the blue bees. We feed them a special treat and they make us honey with remarkable properties that we have learned to use for the treatments we offer.”
“Oh,” said Shawn Paul who did not dare ask more about the treatments.
They had arrived to Tikfidjikoo just before the confinement had been declared all over the world, and they had a moment of hesitation to take the last plane with the other tourists and go back safely to Canada. But after the inconclusive adventure in Australia, Maeve had convinced him they had to stay to find out more about the dolls.
They had met those three old ladies and one of them had one of the dolls. Sharon, Mavis and Gloria, they were called and they were going to a smaller island of the archipelago, one that was not even on the maps apparently. That should have given them suspicions, but it seemed so important to Maeve that Shawn Paul hadn’t had the heart to leave her alone.
“I have a plan,” had said Maeve, “We’re going to follow them, befriend them and learn more about how they came to have the doll and try and get the key that’s inside of it.”
“You’re here for the beauty treatment?” had asked the girl at the counter. “You’re lucky, with the confinement a lot of our reservations have been canceled. We have plenty of vacancy and some fantastic deals.”
Maeve had enrolled them for a free week treatment before Shawn Paul could say anything. They hadn’t seen the ladies much since they had arrived on the island, and now there were no way in or out of the island. They had been assured they had plenty of food and alcohol and a lot of activities that could be fitted to everyone’s taste.
The following is an e-mail from the past, composed on July 01, 2010. It is being delivered from the past through FutureMe.org
The Absinthe Cafe
Dawn and Mark had a bottle of Absinthe (the proper stuff with the WORMwood in
it, which is illegal in France) but forgot to bring it. Wandering around at
some point, we chanced upon a cafe called Absinthe. Sitting on the terrace, the
waitress came up and looked right at me and said “Oh you are booked to come here
tomorrow night!” and then said “Forget I said that”. Naturally that got our
attention. After we left Dawn spotted a kid with 2016 on the back of his T
shirt. We asked Arkandin about it and we have a concurrent group focus that does
meet in that cafe in 2016, including Britta. Dawn’s name is Isabelle Spencer,
Jib’s is Jennifer….
The Worm & The Suitcase
I borrowed Rachel’s big red suitcase for the trip and stuck a Time Bridgers
sticker on it, and joked before I left about the case disappearing to 2163. I
had an impulse to take a fig tree sapling for Eric and Jib, which did survive
the trip although it looked a little shocked at first. As Eric was repotting
it, we noticed a worm in the soil, and I said, Well, if the fig tree dies at
least you have the worm.
At Balzacs house on a bench in the garden there was a magazine lying there open
to an ad for Spain, which said “If you lose your suitcase it would be the best
thing because you would have to stay”.
Later we asked Arkandin and he said that there was something from the future
inserted into my suitcase. I went all through it wondering what it could be,
and then a couple of days ago Eric said that it was the WORM! because of the
WORMwood absinthe syncs, and worm hole etc. I just had a chat with Franci who
had a big worm sync a couple of days ago, she particularly noticed a very big
worm outside the second hand shop, and noted that she hadn’t seen a worm in ages
~ which is also a sync, because there was a big second hand clothes shop next to
Dawn and Mark’s hotel that I went into looking for a bowler hat.
Arkandin said, by the way, that Jane did forget to mention the bowler hats in
OS7, those two guys on the balcony were indeed wearing bowler hats, and that
they were the same guys that were in my bedroom in the dream I had prior to
finding the Seth stuff ~ Elias and Patel.
And another Time Bridger thing; a while ago, Jib and I had fun planting some TB stickers at random places in Paris (and some on a wooden gate at Jib’s hometown).
Those in Paris I remember were one at the waiting room of a big tech department store, and another on the huge “Bateaux Mouches” sign on the Pont de l’Alma (bridge, the one of Lady D. where there is a gilded replica of Lady Liberty’s flame).
I think there are pics of that on Jib’s or my flickr account somewhere.
When we were walking past this spot, Jib suddenly remembered the TB sticker — meanwhile, the sign which was quite clean before had been written all over, and had other stickers everywhere. We wondered whether it was still here, and there it was! It’s been something like 2 years… Kind of amazing to think it’s still there, and imagine all the people that may have seen it since!
I wasn’t all that keen on flying and procrastinated for ages about the trip. I
flew with EASYjet, so it was nice to see the word EASY everywhere. I got on the
plane to find that they don’t allocate seats, and chose a seat right at the
front on the left. The head flight attendant was extremely playful for the
whole flight, constantly cracking up laughing and teasing the other flight
attendants, who would poke him and make him laugh during announcements so that
he kept having to put the phone down while he laughed. I spent the whole flight
laughing and catching his mischeivously twinking eye.
I asked Arkandin about him and he said his energy was superimposed. I got on
the flight to come home and was met on the plane by the same guy! I said
“HELLO! It’s YOU again! Can I sit in the same seat and are you going to make me
laugh again” and he actually moved the person that was in my seat and said I
could sit there. Then he asked me about my book (about magic and Napolean). He
also said that all his flights all week had been delayed except the two that I
was on. He wanted to give me a card for frequent flyers but I told him I
usually flew without planes ~ that cracked him up
The Dream Bean
Eric cracked open a special big African bean that is supposed to enhance
dreams/lucidity so we all had a bit of it. The second night I remembered a
dream and it was a wonderful one.
(Coincidentally, on the flight home I read a few pages of my book and it just
happened to be about the council of five dragons and misuse of magical beans)
In the dream I had a companion with magical powers, who I presumed was Jib but
it was myself actually. It was a long adventure dream of being chased and
various adventures across the countryside, but there was no stress, it was all
great fun. Everytime things got a bit too close in the dream, I’d hold onto my
friend with magical powers, and we would elevate above the “adventure” and drop
down in another location out of immediate danger ~ although we were never
outside of the adventure, so to speak. At one point I wondered why my magical
freind didn’t just elevate us right up high and out of it completely, and
realized that we were in the adventure game on purpose for the fun of it, so why
would we remove ourselves completely from the adventure game.
In the dream I remember we were heading for Holland at one point, and then the
last part we were safely heading for Turkey…..
The other dream snapshot was “we are all working together on roof tiles” and
Arkandin had some interesting stuff to say about that one.
There were alot of vampire imagery incidents starting with me asking Eric if he
slept in his garden tool box at night, and then the guy who shot out of a door
right next to Jib and Eric’s, in a bright orange T shirt, carrying a cardboard
coffin. He stopped for me to take a photo (and Arkandin said it was a Patel pop
in); then while walking through the outdoor food market someone was chopping a
crate up and a perfect wooden stake flew across the floor and landed at my feet.
The next vampire sync was a shop opposite Dawn and Mark’s hotel with 3 coffins
in the window (I went back to take a pic of the cello actually, didn’t even
notice the coffins). Inside the shop was an EAU DE NIL MOTOR SCOOTER Share, can
you beleive it, and a mummy, a stuffed raven, and a row of (Tardis) Red phone
I had a nightmare last night that I couldn’t find any of my (nine) dogs; the
only ones I could find were the dead ones.
The trip to Balzac’s house was interesting, although in somewhat unexpected
ways. (Arkandin was Balzac and I was the cook/housekeeper) The house didn’t
seem “right” somehow to Mark and I and we decided that was probably because
other than the desk there was no furniture in it. Mark saw a black cat that
nobody else saw that was an Arkandin pop in (panther essence animal), and Dawn
felt that he was sitting on a chair, and Mark sat on him. (Arkandin said yes he
did sit on him The kitchen was being used as an office. Jib felt the house
was too small, and picked up on a focus of his that rented the other part of the
house. (The house was one storey high on the side we entered, and two storeys
high from the road below). There were two pop ins there apparently, one with
long hair which is a connection to my friend Joy who was part of that group
focus, and I can’t recall anything about the other one. Dawn was picking up
that Balzac wasn’t too happy, and I was remembering the part in Cousin Bette
that infuriated me when I read it, where he goes on and on about how disgusting
it is for servants to expect their wages when their “betters” are in dire
straits. Arkandin confirmed that I didn’t get my wages.
The garden was enchanting and had a couple of sphinx statues and a dead pigeon ~
as well as the magazine with the suitcase and Spain imagery. Mark signed the
guest book “brought the cook back” and I replied “no cooking smells this time”.
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