Lev.DN......Index......Mail.....................Lev.UP, page 4.....(c) 2005 Lee Skidmore.....................................Lev.UP

Chapter 2.0

The glitter, the sparkle, it nearly blinded him. The boom, boom, boom of the adnet's 
rockware roared at him.

A VR barnet had surfaced in the streetnet sea. As big as a house the words "FIVE 
WATERS" orbited a flashing pentagon that bubbled all around Eller as he dove into the 
lush green world provided by the bar's private net. It triggered one of those heavy old 
memories. "that sticks with you forever, squeezing you dry. . ." as he had been known to 
describe it. It hit him hard. Stopped him. With his panic run dry, Eller's forebrain 
clicked back in.
     "Should have planned to run it this way all along," thought Eller, mocking himself as 
he came to a halt at the bar's entrance, where he was covered by the adnet's display of 
greenlife that filled the barnet's section of the streetnet. A profusion of leaves, nuts, and 
berries was all around him. Along with tree-dwelling rodents and dinos seeking nuts 
were scores of small bright buzzing things that were themselves hunting endlessly. 
They leaped or flew, filling the air all around him. Branches shook from the rush of 
quick little feet. The riot of greenlife pulled him in, urging him toward the entrance to 
Quint's--as the bar was known to its faithful flock. 
    "If things haven't changed too much I should be just fine in here." thought Eller.    
"The dogware won't sniff this place wrong," subbed Eller to his always there govware. 
He knew the sprawlnet still had the log-in files on his past at Quint's. Without success, 
he had tried to force himself to forget that Quints had ever existed. Perhaps the wasted 
time spent hanging out at Quint's, would actually be of some help. He thought, "After I 
cache the comp I'll be Zero K. Super Cool."  

Eller paused in the entrance to the cool, deep green, final succession, splendor of the 
bar's net. Faded memories turned crisp and clear at the autumnal sight. His throat 
tightened, his heart had second thoughts, but that tiny part of his brain was too insistent. 
He lingered, dreamlike, eyes clouded by the old mem files that were replaying so static-
    "Hey! Click in, will you," boomed the giant fire-haired, golden-tanned Woods Lord in 
a thunderous voiceware generated bellow complete with hall surround and echo, "I don't 
know what channel you're on, but all mine have an exit that doesn't exit."  
    Eller bounced out of the way on his pre-stressed muscles. Old instincts came back, so 
he didn't have any problem finding his way to the same bar that was still VR'd in to 
appear as the fallen, decaying trunk of a giant redwood, dotted by upended logs that had 
shadows of stools within. 
    A musty burnt smell lubricated the atmosphere of the place. Absorbed from the years 
of exposure to the radiations of its customers, the odor restored all his old memories to 
perfection. Then, he knew why he hadn't planned it like this.   
    Eller looked back out the entrance to the streetnet. The great figure of the Woods 
Lord was gone. In his place a slender golden fem-form danced along the entrance ramp 
to the snail-way. The molten mass of hair that crested the tiny fem-form whipped in the 
wind as she was rushed away by the ramp Eller had exited.
    "Ding. . . a-ling! ding-a-ling," sang Eller's phone.
    "Hacked again. Whoever gave netware to preschoolers," grumbled Eller. "Hey," said 
Eller, sub vocally, "Why do you let them do that?" He blinked against a sudden


Lev.DN......Index......Mail.....................Lev.UP, page 4.....(c) 2005 Lee Skidmore....................................Lev.UP