That Lonesome Whistle

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- 6/14/2015 7:29am

I really like sodas. You take one sip and WOOSH, your tongue is washed into a bubbly world of sugar and caffeine. And there are so many colors: bright reds, pastel blues, unstable pinks, concerning yellows, beckoning purples, outrageous oranges, and energized greens. There's almost as many flavors as @i am the champ's assorted candies. If somebody painted a picture with sodas the resulting picture would either be an eye-sore or the manifestation of dreams!

There's something off about original Mountain Dew soda though. Whenever I buy a bottle of Mountain Dew something odd happens. Once, a giant glob of uncooked cookie dough floated through my room. Another time, every electrical object in my family's apartment building exploded. It's been five years since I had Mountain Dew. I had assumed the curse would have expired, or at least gone flat by now. But this soda bottle I grabbed keeps writing abbreviations in the bottle's condensation.

NOB... LSE... RCL... EDTA... SOS... FFFS... FLE...PUR...TUM....

What does any of this even mean? Maybe I'll just chuck the bottle out the window before something bad happens. I really don't need another inanimate object haunting me. *glares at floating blue pen*

- 6/14/2015 3:48pm

Dear Somebody,
A lot has been happening around campus. I've seen several different posters in several different hallways mentioning several different things (although I've forgotten what the posters were about), the entire school smells like pancakes (unfortunately they smell like sprinkle-less pancakes), and someone hit me on the head with a bottle of Mountain Dew! I'm rather upset about that last one. There I was, walking along the grounds with my cat, carrying a jar of sprinkles, when PLONK, out of nowhere, a bottle of Mountain Dew comes flying out of a window and strikes me on the head! I might possibly have been invisible at the time. But still.

In other news, Claude never did get to play Backgammon with that student again. I think whoever-it-was left the school for the summer or something. He is getting better at Backgammon, though. I think the main problem for him is rolling the dice; it's a little hard to do with paws, and he's too stubborn to let me roll the dice for him.

Also, Vacation starts tomorrow! Claude and I are traveling to the Sprinkle Factory via Ley Line, as there are some standing stones somewhere near the school; Claude said he knows where they are.

Farewell for now,

- 6/15/2015 1:42pm

...I used to like soda. I really did. Then that weird haunted Mountain Dew bottle appeared. Then a weird galaxy cat stole it. Then when I went to replace it, the vending machine exploded.

Some things in this world just aren't meant to be. Dogs aren't meant to meow. Robots aren't meant to love. Homework isn't meant to be fun. I'm not meant to enjoy delicous, bubbly sodas.

Does anybody know how to get soda stains out of clothes? My uniform is so sticky now.

Gladstone Services
- 6/24/2015 10:47pm

Dessert Course:

Too Concerned for Pudding
Nevermind Parfait
Mamma's Good Webbed Hands
Ahab Twin Sundaes
Tri-Colored Milk
Celebrity Steamboat Accident

Fresh Mountain Dew Bottle on Ice

- 6/30/2015 6:44pm

From The Gladstone Car Diaries, June, 1927

Peaches continues to give me grief for not letting her out of the trunk sooner. Without the proper papers, however, I don't believe she could have made it through the last border check. Those customs men were particularly vicious and slobbery, with far more the number of tentacles and rows of fangs than their usual ilk.

Peaches shouldn't have to spend any more time in the trunk, though, as it's a straight shot from here to the capital. Nothing but miles and miles of desolate moonscape and the regular clickety-clack of the wheels on the track. I believe she may even have a chance to visit the bar car on this stretch, which would be smashing as we've run out of our own gin and it would certainly calm both of our nerves.


- 9/13/2015 7:26pm

It's weird being back in school full time. I'm hitting all my classes - not even late once yet this year! - and getting all my homework done... but at the same time, it's like I'm not actually here at all. Somehow I'm also still riding in the Gladstone Car.

For pretty much all of July and August I rode the rails. And not just hoping box cars, but riding in style in the Gladstone car. And when you're in the Gladstone Car, time and space seem to rapidly lose meaning.

Which is why now that I'm back on campus, it's like there's part of me that's still riding in the Gladstone Car. You know how the ancient Egyptians said that people had five souls? Well it's like my Ka is out there, still riding in the Gladstone Car, while my Ba is here on campus, in my dorm. Here. Me.

But at the same time I'm still riding on a richly upholstered bench in an antique rail car, or hanging out on the handrails where the cars connect, watching the scenery pass by.

Somehow I'm both there and here.

- 9/15/2015 11:07pm

"Knock knock"

"Who's there?"

"@Gladstone Services"

I didn't order anything from the kitchen.


I open the door. There's a serving cart with a silver bucket on it. In the bucket there's ice and an empty bottle of Mountain Dew.

The train gently rocks and clickety-clacks.

I look up and down the narrow corridor but the attendant has gone.

I wheel the cart into my suite and step out into the corridor, shutting the door and locking it behind me. It's night. Some kind of lights are passing by outside.

It's time I made my way up to the Engine.

- 9/18/2015 12:21am

From The Gladstone Car Diaries, May, 1911

We've set up camp on the roof of the Gladstone Car in order to try and get a reading on the engine - or the caboose for that matter. It's a whiteout, and with the windchill it's roughly 350 degrees below zero.

Cherry has set up her equipment but it remains to be seen if she can detect anything in these conditions. Very difficult to operate her gadgets with these mittens on, but to remove our protective clothing for even a moment would be deadly.

A typical day starts at 8 with breakfast at 8:30. We have porridge, tea and coffee, bread and butter and some dish such as fried seal and bacon or scrambled Truth-egg. The tents are warmer now that we've set them mouth to mouth, but getting out remains a challenge.

After breakfast we start work immediately, which consists of cutting sections of biologic time stock, learning German, using the microscope, writing the diary or reading books. When fine I go for a walk up or down the line, but the icy roofs of these train cars can be treacherous as the locomotive speeds along. The ponies are exercised regularly or given simple word puzzles to occupy their tiny minds.

Cherry puts in the day on her electrostatic gadgets, setting them up or repairing them or taking them down. We are beginning to suspect that the train is infinite, with no engine or caboose whatsoever, but without some kind of data it's all supposition. Sunny Jim takes his photos, developing them in the tiny darkroom in his tent, but in this weather they come out nothing but white. We continue with our work.

Lunch is at 1:30 and consists of bread (or biscuit) and butter with potted meat, jam and cheese on alternate days, also tea and cocoa. Dinner is at 6:30 and is always a 3 course meal -- soup, meat and pudding. After each of the meals we sit at the table smoking and talking for a long time, posing unanswerable questions to one another in absurd accents, or just listening to the gentle clatter of the train and the howl of the wind.


- 10/8/2015 11:51am

From The Gladstone Car Diaries, November, 2343

On Tuesday, Cherry, Sunny Jim, Pyotr, myself, and Lieutenant Lawson, attended by four servants, with five dogs, and four horses laden with provisions, ammunition, and other necessaries, left the bar car for the purpose of endeavoring to effect a passage to the Engine. I personally carried the ritual arcana, safely packed in its individual velvet bags and secured within the rucksack slung over my shoulder.

We crossed into a common passenger car, where our retinue and livestock seemed to raise no eyebrows whatsoever with the natives. There were many mumbled apologies and Sorry's as our small caravan squeezed through the narrow aisle, and this activity seemed to continue on for an inordinate time, the length of the car itself telescoping to the horizon before us. However, upon reaching the threshold to the next car I checked my timepiece and found the journey had taken less than two minutes.

Cherry firmly believes this journey is pointless, and that the train is in fact infinitely long, with no engine or caboose. Furthermore, it is her theory that the train extends not only linearly in two directions forever, but that each car itself is a nexus for another, parallel train, running perpendicular and in all other directions and dimensions around it. If indeed this hypothesis is correct, then is it possible for us to cross into one of these non-euclidean "parallel" trains? Perhaps even accidentally? Could it be that with every car we enter, are we in fact boarding an entirely new and different train? A vast switchboard of paths - wherein our apparently linear journey is scrambled again and again through shifting pods of locomotive cryptography? It baffles the mind. And raises the question if we can ever again return to the same world we left.

We continued on, moving forward in the train through a vast range of biologic time environments, including a trophy room, a spa car, a small strip mall, swimming lessons, birthday parties, funerals, first dates, and a jungle atrium (complete with faux ancient stone temple, serving delicious-looking drinks with tiny umbrellas and mouth-watering pu pu platters). I have run out of ink with which to keep up these diaries, and am currently using the juice from the maraschino cherry in my Roy Rogers with which to write. After paying the bill we hope to locate a sleeper car in which to accommodate our band of travelers for the night.

Meanwhile, the train continues to hurtle on through the darkness.


- 10/30/2015 5:57pm

Undertrumblearth Travelogue: Day 289

The train cars continue to get more and more unpredictable. The transition from passenger cars to restaurant cars to bar cars to observation cars to increasingly larger garden cars, cathedral cars, mountain valley cars.... Recently I was unable to locate any limit to the size of the car (it seemed to extend into long rolling prairie in all directions) but thankfully discovered a door built into the ground and continued to move up the train.

But it didn't really seem dangerous till I had to cross the war zone car. Cannons, tanks, horse mounted cavalry, foot soldiers from fifty civilizations shooting, diving for cover, making alliances, hiding in fox holes and in the smoke.

I ran into a group of civilians - surveyors, or explorers - who helped shelter me and usher me through the battle. They got me to the door on the other side, but didn't follow me through. In all the confusion, I ended up with somebody else's bag. It's full of little antiques, each packed in its own velvet bag. I'm afraid whoever has my bag didn't fare much better.

But now I'm back to some more traditional cars, where I sit for as long as I dare, maybe take a nap, find a bite to eat, then keep heading up the train, onward, upward, toward the engine.

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