Lacie got up and turned around to find herself on a wide, dimly-lit and contorted balcony. The sides of the balcony went in twisted strips of wood up through the ceiling, and then down to the ground floor of what looked to be an old theater for plays. There were sporadically-placed, glossy wooden seats everywhere. Chairs below were randomly ripped out, and the floor was like fixed waves, like a picture of a storm at sea, but with old wood instead of water.
"I'm not a young man, and my name is Lacie." Lacie said, putting her scope-eyes back on.
"I'm sorry. I've loaned out my spectacles so I can only see through this telescope."
There was an X made with masking tape near the center edge of the balcony, on the ground, in front of the largest gap in the railing.
"Your voice, it sounds familiar." Lacie scratched her nose. "Wait.. you mean these microscope eye things?"
"Don't walk anywhere but towards that 'Z' I made with masking tape."
Lacie took a step and then stopped for a second. She looked around before cupping her hands on the sides of her mouth to shout, "There's only an X!"
"Well just step on that." The old woman's voice echoed.
Lacie walked towards the X. Two cameras on tall tripods on either side of the tape stared towards the walls at nothing in particular. Lacie couldn't tell if either of the recording devices worked.
The old woman was covered in shadow, completely hunched over, and looking through a large telescope combined with a sewing machine. The opera house stage had its back wall busted out, a sky with scattered clouds gave way to a burning field of lights; some stars closer than others, and a floating white laundry bin on wheels with donuts painted on it. The woman looking at the dark heavens was so still, it was as if she might be a mannequin. Her outfit had excessive shoulders, triangular tidal waves made of plastic and felt, almost like wings. Curiouser, she could almost be taken for someone Lacie knew, maybe older.
"No one introduces themselves around here." The astronomer said, her words caught by a microphone duct-taped to the side of the telescope. "My name is Verga, young lady."
"So you're the person that gave me these." Lacie held the lenses in her hands; the cameras on the sides turned to film her and fell over the railing.
"Put them down on the X please." Verga said.
Wood was always creaking from different places, like something in the place wanted to reform; it could've been the faint voices and whispers coming from rock knows where, that might've once play with the shape of the opera house.
Lacie did as she was asked and noticed that the tape was now in the shape of a Y.
"Your boyfriend doesn't make milkshakes like my boyfriend does. You are at your happiest when your no longer attached to circumstances, and you rise above them like the steam above fallen empires. I was once a flatulent ducktopus fishtick." Verga muttered to herself.
Lacie decided to ignore this remembering why she was there. Her voice followed suit, "Where is She with a capital S?"
Verga chuckled before she spoke, "Hardly anyone knows of that troubled soul. She leaves the donut shop around now to go towards An Abandoned Apartment."
"How do I stop her!?"
"Nobody knows of any way to stop her. She is the reason skeletons litter that street.."
Lacie rubbed her nose.
"I'm all out of tissues so go ahead and just pick it."
Lacie hesitated and then covered her nose with her hand..
"Not in front of me! Have some decency, please." The old woman said, though her back had been turned from Lacie the entire time.
Lacie turned around, greeted by Kanji labels on the glossy wooden chairs around the balcony. She took a step towards her right which caused familiar rips in her vision of the world around her. Her one mistep seem to alter reality into something more alive but discolored, as though her surroundings were trying to fade into a self-destructive vintage film. The girl returned her feet near the line towards the Y.
When Lacie was done picking her nose, she turned back towards the woman.
"I've been entertaining caves for 3,000 years. You will never match my randrum. Beepita bobipita Disco-Italia." Verga said to herself.
"What's the sewing machine for?" Lacie asked.
"The cape on the tape, don't break it since its late. I am a giver. The golden technacle told me to give it to the one who thinks he can eat leather."
Lacie looked down, remembering the voice she had recently heard in All-Mart and the story of the little boy's cape. She took the cape in front of her, it had been mended by fishing string and its red had mostly been painted over in blues.
"Can you take me to She?"
Verga straightened her back as she turned around with Lacie's lenses on her withered face. The astronomer motioned with her left palm up, fingers pointing, "I'll do what I can. If you'll just step to the right."
* * *
In the living room of the house on springs, Geoffrey had fully reverted to his old self, a bottle of bleach next to his foot.
"I can pay you back." Geoffrey said.
Jeffrey sat down on the recliner in front of three screens displaying the outside, "Man.. you saved my life!"
Jeffrey was ecstatic, "So just get me some pizza."
On the left television, The Midnight Brigade traveled with dripping blue paint. On the right screen, the Super Sexy Task Force casually wandered with a strange looking tank in front of them and a handful of them sitting on it. One of the guys on the tank had a boombox playing loud, he was shredded and wearing pink.
"Sounds good dude." Geoffery replied, looking at the center screen, which faced 'All-Mart' or what letters had not fallen off the sign.
Jeffrey flipped through an instruction manual he had found in the cushion crack of the recliner, "..and then you can buy me a 30 pack of beer."
Geoffery hesitated for a second. "Okay."
"And a cybernetic ninja suit." Jeffrey pressed a button which caused the house springs to shrink down in tension.. "And we'll be good."
Geoffery checked his wallet.