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The Big Gallery

Variable Tilings

The Adventures of Lulu Lizard and Bubba Bat

Bats and Lizards

Busy Beetles

Penrose Gallery



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Chapter 9

In Which Lulu Dreams of Magical Playmates

It was wonderfully light now in the parlor. It was a sort of dreamy light, Lulu thought, and rather pearly, much like the crystal ball had seemed yesterday. Bubba had searched the mountainside once again, and now he and Lulu were investigating the inside of the broken chest.

“Do you suppose the Powder of Life could be what’s in this little paper sachet?” asked Bubba, using a dexterous wingtip to pull a tea-bag-like packet from under the tipped-over chest. “It feels like pretty fine powder.”

“I bet that’s it!” said Lulu, coming to look at the packet.

“It’s a wonder she had any left if she was sneezing over it on her dressing table,” said Bubba.

“You don’t suppose she sneezed the powder all over her mirror---?” mused Lulu.

“--And then ‘reflected on it’ as the Konman’s,-- I mean the Count’s,-- will instructed? Gosh! I’d bet anything that that is exactly what happened!” interjected Bubba.

“And then alter ego or magic sister number six finally came along, the one that was always cleaning, and she grabbed a dust cloth, and then by dusting off the mirror she shut the door on the arrival of any more alter egos! Yes! That must be it. Wow! Bubba, that sachet or packet or whatever you call it is real magic!”

“Well, maybe,” replied Bubba, ever the skeptic. “But I’m not sure how much of all this I believe. Maybe we could test it out.” And with that, Bubba began squeezing the packet first with one sharp-clawed foot and then the other.

“What are you doing, Bubba?” asked Lulu. “I’m perforating the powder paper,” Bubba replied. “A few claw-holes will make it into a powder puff, or a duster.” Then, gripping the sachet in his feet, Bubba flew out into the hallway, calling, “Come on, Lulu, let’s see if we can make you a magic alter ego, a doppleganger, an avatar, a twin sister, a clone, or something!”

“Me? Really?” squeaked Lulu, trying not to reveal how delighted she was at the idea. Then she followed Bubba across the hall and into the mirror-filled living room.

Bubba was already flying around the living room, pausing to hover and jiggle up and down in the air over each mirror while the downdraft from his wings swirled a fine dusting of the powder from the sachet over each mirror, one after another. ______

“I can’t see my reflections from up here,” he called. “What do you see, Lulu?”

“I see Ernestine!” replied Lulu excitedly, “and I think Ernestine sees me!”

“Well, I sure do, Lulu honey,” said the yellow-green Ernestine, stepping out of the mirror.

Lulu peered closely at the mirror, trying to discover how Ernestine had done it, but all she saw was yet another smiling yellow-green Ernestine stepping out of the same mirror.

“You’re all yellow-green!” squeaked Lulu.

“Sure. It rhymes with ‘Ernestine’, Lulu,” said both Ernestines at once. “But we don’t want to monopolize things. Let’s see what the next mirror does.” And so saying the two Ernestines urged Lulu along to a mirror which wasn’t quite so curved as the one from which they had come. A bright yellow Willow appeared in the mirror, and stepped out of it, followed immediately by a dozen yellow Willow twins, all chattering delightedly and embracing Lulu but trying to ignore the Ernestines.

Meanwhile, Bubba was at the first mirror getting to know the geeky, and very red, Erics-the-Red who had emerged, and asking them for flight demonstrations.

Lulu hurried excitedly on to the next mirror, followed closely by all the Willows, each of whom was carrying her tail draped gracefully over her left paw, for this was something they felt sure the Ernestines could not do. A crowd of lavender Wilburs watched all of them admiringly. Soon Lulu had several bright green twins around her, each looking exactly like herself.

“Goodness!” she said. “How will we ever know who is who?”

“Oh we don’t worry about that,” said a green Lulu clone. “We’ll always know.”

“But how?” asked Lulu.

“Magic,” said the Willows and the Ernestines and the duplicate Lulus in unison.

“Oh.” said Lulu, feeling unsatisfied by the answer. “But how will I know who’s who?”

“We all answer to our names, and you’ll know you’re you because you are the only right handed one.”

“Are you all left handed?” asked Lulu, and after thinking for a moment answered her own question: “Oh, of course you are. You are all mirror images. So if I’m right handed, you all would be left handed!”

“You got it, Honey,” replied the Ernestines and the Willows.

But now a small army of red Erics, lavender Wilburs, and brown Bubbas was crowding the area.

“Next mirror. Next mirror,” murmured some, and the crowd moved on.

The mirrors only worked for Lulu and Bubba, and so they stood together in front of the next mirror. Out stepped a hand-in-hand procession of light blue Opals and orange Orvilles, and it only stopped when Bubba and Lulu could no longer see the mirror.

“Hey. That was cool,” laughed Bubba. “Let’s do it again at the next mirror.” And they elbowed their way along until they were in front of the next mirror.

“There’s a pink Priscilla and a purple Percy,” said Lulu. “I wonder why they are looking at each other that way, and why they don’t come out.”

“I do not want to come out there if I have to be next to any Orville or Opal. And I don’t like being right next to Percy this way either! “ said a frowning Priscilla, just poking her head out into three-dimensionality.

But all the Opals and Orvilles were backing away anyhow, apparently feeling much the same way about both Priscilla and Percy, so out she stepped to snuggle up to a Wilbur.

“Gee. I just naturally thought that everyone would get along with everyone else,” commented Lulu. “Is anyone else, ah-- sensitive that way?”

“Well, yes,” replied the Ernestines and the Erics the Red as well as the Wilburs and Willows almost in unison. “We don’t like being right next to them.”

Lulu thought this over. Neither the Erics the Red nor the Ernestines wanted to be next to any Wilbur or any Willow, and the latter two felt the same in return.

A little distance was all they needed, they said. Just not right next to one another. The Priscillas and Percys, several of which had by now emerged into the three dimensional world, had even more dislikes. Priscilla and Percy did not want to be next to each other, nor even next to duplicates of themselves. And neither Percy nor Priscilla wanted to be next to either an Opal or an Orville. But both of them got along fine, separately, if next to Bubbas, Lulus, Wilburs,Willows, Ernestines or Erics.

“My, but these relationships are complex!” exclaimed Lulu. ‘How will I ever remember them?”

“You could make a seating chart, the way a teacher does,” suggested Bubba. “And then you’d soon remember them.” Then he added, “Boy, it’s sure getting crowded in here.”

But Lulu, lost in thought, was drawing something on the floor.

“What’s that, Lulu?” asked Bubba.

“Well...” Lulu replied, “If I made a few of those circles with the lines slanting across them for No-Nos, I’d make one with two Sk’s in it for no Skinny Priscilla or Percy with another Skinny Priscilla or Percy. And a second circle with an Sk and an Sl in it for no Skinny Priscilla or Percy with either a Slender Orville or a Slender Opal And last, I’d make a third circle with an Fa and a Ch in it for no Fat Eric the Red or Fat Ernestine with either a Chubby Wilbur or a Chubby Willow. Then I’d just remember the three circles like this,” and she drew them on the floor, “and I’d have no trouble remembering who shouldn’t be next to whom.”

Here is what the No-No circles looked like:

“Well, I’m not sure I’d call Eric fat, though I guess his outline is, and he goes with Ernestine who surely is fat,” said Bubba.

While they had been talking they had wandered about in front of the various mirrors, and many more alter egos of each of them had stepped out of the mirrors into three dimensional reality. It was so crowded now that they could hardly move.

“Oh my gosh,” said Lulu. “Dinner! How in the world are all of us going to find enough food?”

“Not to worry, Sweetie,” said a nearby Willow. “We magical ones don't eat, we just enjoy it when you eat, and that’s quite good enough, with no mess involved.”

“Oh, that’s a relief!” sighed Lulu, for she had envisioned her mother’s dismay were she, Lulu, to bring all these guests home for dinner. Magic seemed to be the convenient answer to everything, and she remarked to that effect to Bubba.

“Yeah,” replied Bubba. “It answers everything. So it answers nothing. I’m not sure I believe any of it.”

“Oh, how can you say that?” responded Lulu. “Look!” she twirled around, “It’s like a dream come true! All these wonderful playmates, and I love every one of them!”

“It’s like a dream, all right.” said Bubba reservedly. “What are we going to play?”

“Well, with my ‘Through The Lattice’ outlook on the world, I think it would be fun if everyone snuggled up to four others and we’d see if we can completely cover the floor with no gaps or overlaps,” said Lulu. “But first, let’s everybody roll all the mirrors back against the walls.”

All the magical bats and lizards, who had been listening to Lulu, noisily agreed that the game sounded like fun. The mirrors were rolled out of the way and then they all went busily about finding four partners to whom they could snuggle up, side to side, in comfort. Soon the floor seemed to be wholly covered, and only the real Lulu and Bubba were left standing.

”Grab a ride, Lulu,” said Bubba, “and let’s see what this living carpet looks like from the air.” Then on Bubba’s wings the two of them sailed high over their fitted-together magical friends.

“Ooooo! You’re all just beautiful!” cried Lulu from high in the air. “There’s not a bit of floor showing!”

“Yep. A perfect tiling,” commented Bubba. “Up and at ’em, everybody, make another pattern.” And ever obedient and cheerful, the magic ones did it. They all had a wonderful time snuggling up to one another in different combinations to form design after design. In one area the five sorts of lizards formed all-girl patterns. Of bats, there were long chains, like conga lines, and many gorgeous big rosettes. There were rosettes, too, in which everyone participated, and endless numbers of quilt-like patterns in all the brilliant colors of the magic bats and lizards.

Lulu was all eyes, and as excited as could be with the brilliant and kaleidoscopic patterns and their endless variety. She was flying, and it seemed as though she were dreaming, --dreaming,--------dreaming. Oh, it all was so wonderful! She wanted to remember every pattern! Like a precious d r e e a a m m m--

On to Chapter 10!

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