Odis awoke on his vacation bench. He was shivering with goosebumps while the payphone next to him rang incessantly. Someone had put nine more goggles on his head in creative ways while he was sleeping. The snowdrift in front of him and subsequent crystallized snow piles around him had grown a few feet, his lower legs surrounded with free-form miniature igloos.
A man with metal hands or gloves was pounding on the wall outside screaming, "Let me out! Let me out of here!"
The voice of a woman was underneath the volume of his, "If you buy one receipt Phil, you'd get two free. Phil--"
A chrome mechanical bird, with no front section of its beak, twitched around the floor with ice formed around it. The bird's free wing waved a toothpick flag with a bubble-gum wrapper comic. Odis shook off the snow from his warmed feet, pulling his legs out of the drift and burying the robotic avian by accident..
Odis picked up the phone which had been painted over in sparkling blues and then with thin, dim yellow lines, "Yellow?"
"Red!" Said the voice on the other line, as if the caller could see dying glow of the tilted over pop-machine obtruding the Men's Restroom.
The store speaker above rang out as well, "Moowahahahahahaa!"
Odis eyed the public address noise-maker with the phone still up to his mouth, "Oh shut up, you."
"How rude." The voice on the phone replied.
"Or two receipts.." The woman outside murmured to her husband. The man continued hitting the cement with his gauntlets and shouting as if he was trapped inside the outdoors.
Odis stared curiously at the door and changed his tone, "No, not you."
"Who are YOU!?" Odis asked.
The caller hung up.
"Pumpernickle.." Odis put the phone back on the hook and stood up. He looked down the surface of the floor that was dusty, dirty, and in some places lacerated.
It was less than a minute before the phone began ringing again.
Odis picked up, "Hello."
It was Victor, his voice stressed.. "Odis, its Vigiorno, meet me at 2-20, 2-20 Riley Street, between Aisle 67 and The Department of Unnatural Affairs. Bring sweet-rolls."
"Where am I supposed to get those?" Odis asked, wiping his hand down the stubble on his face in apprehension.
"Just meet me there old friend."
* * *
The clothing aisles were tidy and well-kept, but it was rare to see hangers used. Instead, the clothes were folded over the metal racks in suspended piles. Cuithbeart stood outside of tan dressing rooms glaring around in uncertainty. The dressing room in the middle had giant fans in place of walls. Same, the mannequin, occupied the center-row dressing room while the fans went full blast. The artificial girl had her arm newly patched up with a couple hinges-- and with The Midnight Brigade's paint supply, she transformed herself in various tints and shades of sparkling blue.
A conglomerate of malicious kids were scattered around the store creating general revelry and disruption. The lighter shades were the youngest between five and six, two girls who painted with azure and deep sky blues, and a boy who used dodger blue. Twin girls around eight mostly did curlicues in alice and maya blue. There were eight through ten year-old boys who were maliciously fond of the medium shades of glaucous, royal, and iceberg.
The shadows of words in a single phrase shifted high-above across the ceiling as a letter from the phrase occasionally burnt into the metal: "No originality."
Also in the group of kids: presiding somewhere were two boys between eleven and thirteen with the darker shades of yale and ultramarine, along with a thirteen-year-old girl who dabbled with persian blue. Lastly, nearing the darkest spectrum was a fourteen-year-old girl and fifteen-year-old boy-- the girl often found using sapphire and the boy using midnight. Each member of The Midnight Brigade was most-dressed in and named after the main color they used to paint, and nobody-- not even "Cobalt" or other older members, were really in charge of the group and its disarray.
Far away to the right Cuithbeart noticed there was a non-member around eight and his lax mother both standing on their heads as if it was commonplace. The mom had grabbed a package of chocolate-covered wafers and was about to put them in the cart.
"Put it back! You already have a treat." The eight-year-old scorned.
The Scotsman heard and noticed Dodger talking to a clothes rack, "Just 'cause I painted you, you can't join. Those are the stiputations."
Cuithbeart turned to his left where he was startled to see 'Thee Chaotician'.
"How am I supposed to get out of here? The room is surrounded by fans." Same inquired, having entered the room before the walls had shifted into familiar, cool-breeze outputting devices with no discernible exit.
The Chaotician turned towards Same and Cuithbeart upon hearing the dilemma. "In another tale I believe, blue was a stable hue. But here, such material-- if it does not deceive, might allow one to pass through."
Same and Cuithbeart stared at the newcomer mutely wondering where he had came from. A thin trail of white smoke faded off from the left side of the dark and flashy figure; he leaned against the tan dressing room to the right, his bulky cane to his side in similar manner.
Cuithbeart looked at Same, "Well.. its up to you Statue Girl!"
Same raised a foot slowly towards the great fan in front of her. Parts of the metal casing began bending, screws loosened, the center motor and attached blades fell to the ground, and a hole big enough for someone to pass through formed in the ruins of the once binding device.
"How fantastic!" Same examined the fan-door after stepping out of it.
"How did you know that?" Cuithbeart asked.
'Thee Chaotician' responded with a question, "What is a fitting conclusion to be absolved from that which was once confusion?"
"Ah." The cobalt Scotsman replied in jest.
"I think I saw someone like you before, before they disappeared in a puff of smoke." The blue mannequin stated to the black-clad poet.
The Chaotician straightened his cane with his hand atop the highest point of the chaos star, "Some people disappear in puffs of smoke. Maybe because they have personal expiration dates. Personally and not as a joke, I have never been on a date with expiration.. Maybe I'm already expired, to make the quizzical correlation."
When his words ended, a puff of white smoke surrounded 'Thee Chaotician' and he disappeared.