All songs written, recorded, and performed by Kevin Basko in a bedroom in New Jersey from March-June 2017
A JOURNEY FROM ACROSS THE REALMS OF THE IMPOSSIBLE TO A WORLD FILLED WITH THE MAGIC OF THE HOUND. FOLLOW OUR PROTAGONIST TO A LAND OF MYSTERY AND DESIRE. A DOMAIN BEYOND THE REACHES OF THE MORTAL EYE. TO A SYSTEM THAT LIVES AND BREATHES WITH THE VERY AIR OF OUR ANCESTORS. AN ANCIENT TALE OF A MASTIFF STRONGER THAN A MAN. A DOG WHO WILL SAVE US FROM THE FALL. THIS IS...
RUBBER BAND GUN'S SUPER CHAPTER III:
NAPOLEON - the Neapolitan Mastiff
ABIGAIL - the lovely lady Mastiff
JOHNNY - the kid bounty hunter
KARMA KID - the anti-Cupid
THE HABERDASHER - the keeper of the castle
MOTHER MASTIFF - the heavenly mom of a thousand pups
THE BREEDER - the nicest lady in town
DR. CLERIC - the religious scientist
GRANDPA - the old farmer
**SUPER CHAPTER III CHRONICLE**
The World Navel
The Infinite Mountain
PART 1 - THE WORLD NAVEL
We begin with a house. A rather large light blue house, sitting alone atop a cul-de-sac, in the heart of the world. Its features date the rest of the homes further down the hill, as if time hasn't made its way up yet. A large metal fence surrounds the property with a huge locked gate at the front of the driveway. The air of the estate is quiet, like a bubble of silence engulfs the house. On a wide stone porch lays a lone pup. Charcoal colored, heavy boned, with a big blockhead, he stands guard in front of the door with his body outstretch. His skin is a tad loose on his frame, but his form is sharp and athletic. The wind is silent except for his deep breaths. After the sun falls below the porch awning he knows it's time to eat. He enters the dog door, locking it behind him with his nose, and makes his way to the kitchen. Walking through the hall, there are pictures of a family and their favorite memories; a wedding, camping vacations, and birthdays. In the kitchen, the dog opens up the fridge and takes a hot dog out of a gigantic bag full. He puts it on the radiator by the wall for a few minutes, and puts it in his own bowl. He swallows it whole. He hears the beeping to warn him the fridge is open. As he closes the fridge, he takes a look at the pinned up Polaroid of a happy family and a much younger version of himself wearing a birthday hat. Written on it in sharpie is "Napoleon's 1st Birthday".
Napoleon leisurely walks to the living room past the piles of magazines and newspapers that tower over him. He passes by a door with a gold star on it that reads "STAY". He jumps on the living room couch, circles an area for a minute, then collapses into the cushion. It doesn't take him long to pass out into oblivion. His mind, as it often does, dreams of running through an endless field after a golden rabbit. Interwoven in this realm are the memories of the events of 5 months prior. An old man coming to the front door of an unnerved woman. Large dollar bills being pinned up on a cork board in the kitchen. The same woman explaining the future and her place in it. A man wearing a black jacket with a white collar and a stethoscope explaining how the brain works. Finally the front door closing followed by an long silence. As Napoleon comes within inches of the rabbit, a familiar canine face flashes, the ground splits, and a mountain peak pierces through and grows to the sky with him riding atop. As it grows faster and faster, he looks up to a glass ceiling approaching. Projected onto it is the same canine's face. As he's about to smash through he wakes up.
Abigail. Abigail is always the last face he sees before he wakes. She left with the rest of the town to get to safety on the other side of the Line. Napoleon wanted her safe and he knew his job was more important. So he remained and guarded the house and it's contents for five months, living off of hot dogs. He was a loyal dog who was smart and well trained, but there wasn't a day that went by where he didn't think of her, and what it would have been like to cross the Line. After his usual post lunch nap, he gets up to go back to the porch. As he slides off the couch, he hears the ring of the doorbell. He hasn't received a visitor in all of his months guarding, so he rushes to the hall and blasts out of the dog door. But there is no guest, no delivery truck, no visitor. Just a small brown rectangular box addressed to the house and "Napoleon".
He picks it up by its string and drags it inside to the kitchen. He carefully rips it open with his mouth and dumps the wrapper in the trash. He opens the box to a handwritten note that reads, "If you dig your way to the middle, reach out, baby reach out!" Under the note is a perfectly smooth, milky white bone. Napoleon's jaw drops and he scoops it up out of excitement. Instantly he feels a rush to his head. His ears hear a constant low rumble, while enhanced frequencies spark in his brain. His eyes see a dark shadowy plain with flashes of bright colors. His sense of smell feels stronger and he can focus it with even more precision than before. He drops the bone and his senses diminish again. He looks at it for a moment and picks it up to the same heightened senses. As he holds the bone longer, he realizes his control is growing. He starts to see a glowing line leading from the bone to the tree line. He follows its path to large oak tree. When he reaches its end he feels the overwhelming desire to rip up the grass. He uses his nails to shovels 3 feet deep until he hits something solid and hollow.
Out of the dirt comes a brown chest, with a crescent moon on the front. Napoleon opens the lid to find a note with a familiar hand writing tied to a large ornate key. The note reads "Why don't we do what we wanted to be?" In a familiar tune, Napoleon instantly knew what this meant. He instantly knew who wrote it. A few things went off in his mind all at once. He knew it was time to leave. Taking the key and the bone in his mouth, he starts to walk back to the house. Inside, Napoleon prepares his departure. As he turns off the lights in the living room, he takes a moment in front of the star door. He's never been down there. No one's allowed down there. But its protection is why he's there.
Napoleon uses his teeth to turn the knob and stares down into the dark basement. He goes step by step keeping his eyes open wide. As he gets to the bottom he sees a string hanging from the ceiling. He pulls it with his mouth and lights up the room. It's mostly empty besides a four foot tall safe in the back corner. Napoleon takes a few spins of the handle for fun. Nothing happens. He closes his eyes and tries again. Nothing. He remembers the new bone and runs upstairs to grab it. With it in his jaws, he stares at the safes handle. A green, glowing ball of light hangs over the top left bar. He hits it. After a few seconds of the wheel spinning another green ball illuminates and Napoleon hits that bar. A third ball appears and Napoleon hits it a third time. He hears a latch click and lets out a happy howl. His nose pokes into the safe and he smells around. It's cold. It's a fridge? All he sees is a mason jar with a little white packet inside. He takes a closer look and finds no label, but sees a small indent from whatever is inside the packet. Feeling that he's overstepped this boundary, he pushes the jar back in the cold and closes the door.
Upstairs he makes his rounds checking the house for possible problems, while he's gone. He takes a final look at the house before making the long walk down the driveway to the gate. The gothic gate is 10 feet tall, and made of thick steel painted black. Napoleon fits the key on the lock and gives it a turn. There's a large clank, followed by the squeaky creek of the gate door slowly swinging open. After he gets through, he locks it back up and hides the key underneath one of the two gargoyle statues. He takes a final look around before picking up the bone and following the glow.
Napoleon soon finds that using the magic bone can wear him out. After following its path for a few hours, he needs to rest. He's used to guarding, not hunting. He closes his eyes for a few moments under a nearby tree. After he feels rested, he wakes up, stretches his legs and looks for the bone. It's nowhere to be found. A panic comes over him. He begins to pace back in forth, his eyes darting about hoping to spot its pure milky color. It's gone. He takes a long exhale, grunts, and plops down under the same tree. As he starts to day dream about seeing Abigail, the smell of fire hits his nose. He starts to follow the scent all the way though the woods to a small house with smoke coming from the chimney. He sneaks up to the window and peers inside. He sees 2 brothers fighting over a live chicken. They each have hold of a leg and refuse to let go. The bird angrily pecks at their hands but they don't mind. Napoleon spots the white of the bone on their big table. He looks around for a distraction. Around the yard he sees a shovel, a shiny silver tarp, a wooden baseball bat, and a ball of rope. Napoleon takes the tarp and uses his mouth to thread the rope through one of the corner holes. He then tosses one end of the rope over the house. On the other side he pulls the tarp up over the house and over the chimney. After five minutes, the brothers come running out, coughing as their home fills with smoke. Napoleon rushes inside, grabs the bone, and runs as fast as he can away down the path the bone provides. The chicken knocks the shovel into one of the brothers toes, causing the other to laugh and not care about the incident. The chicken waddles off unharmed.
While Napoleon runs with the bone he sees flashes of memories. Some good, some bad. He will most often see Abigail's face, which is both good and bad. She's something that he will fight for, but she's also a painful reminder of how far he has to go in his journey. He's not yet strong enough to hold the bone more than 20 minutes at a time. As he takes a much needed break by the side of a dirt round, he spots a caravan of vehicles driving in his direction. He jumps into some bushes. As the five vehicles pass by, Napoleon is too focused on them driving off that he doesn't see a 6th truck behind him. The truck stops and a big man gets out. He surprises Napoleon and lifts him up. Napoleon was quick enough to pick up the bone and hold it between his teeth. With the bone in his mouth, the face of the man glows bright red with green streaks. Napoleon growls and barks at the man, but he is still tossed into the back of the truck and locked in. Napoleon doesn't like this and he puts up a fight, thrashing his body up against the trucks sides. But it is no use, he must wait it out.
After an hour of driving they come to a stop. Napoleon has no idea where they are. The same man comes around the side, and opens the door. Napoleon sprints as fast he can out of the truck away from them. As if expected, the man closes the door and gets back in the truck, driving into an industrial buildings gated facility, behind the rest of the trucks. Once Napoleon gets far enough away, he takes some breathes and tries to collect himself. After a few minutes of rest, he picks up the bone, but it doesn't tell him where to go, there is no glowing path. He drops it and picks it up again, but no luck. Feeling defeated he throws the bone at a nearby tree, which falls over into a stream causing a large splash. He looks at the bone and there's no markings or scratches. He throws it at another tree as hard as he can. It knocks a huge branch down and thumps to the ground. Again, not a scratch on the bone. He throws it up as high as he can in the air, the bone goes up and comes down right on Napoleon's head. He falls right to sleep.
The next morning, Napoleon wakes to a splitting headache. He goes to the stream for a drink of water and remembers the bone. He goes to check on it, and sees it sitting right where he left it. As white as ivory, he picks it up and sees the faintest flicker of a glowing path. He starts to follow it before he realizes it's leading him right back in a circle to where he slept. He has a weird feeling that the bone is mad at him. He picks it up again only to have it bring him back around again. He puts it down and stares at it. He thinks as hard as he can that he's truly sorry for being careless and he knows that's why they've had such bad luck so far. He promises to be vigilant and remain aware and not let the bone fall in bad hands. After a patriotic woof, he picks up the bone to a bright and vibrant path, leading in the direction of the gated facility the tricks were headed in. Napoleon has no choice but to accept the guidance and he marches toward the fence.
Face to face with the fence, he sees barbed wire at the top, spot lights at every other post, and video cameras at every other. Napoleon looks up at the camera. The camera seems to look down back at him. It zooms in tight on his cute pup face. Napoleon looks down and starts to dig as fast as he can at the base of the fence. After a minutes of digging, the spotlight goes off on him and sirens blare. He digs faster, he's almost through. Right as he starts to see people running at him from the buildings, he's made it through the fence and he picks up the bone. The glowing path directs him inside one of the center warehouse buildings.
As he runs down a long flight of stairs Napoleon, races past various levels of security. Most of the security consist of a single man sitting at a desk with a clip board and metal detector. Napoleon races down hallways after hallway following the path. After three floors, he finds himself in a very large chamber with a huge cave dug of the rock. It looks like a giant drill made its way through. There are multiple rows of electronic and scientific equipment lined up adjacent to the entrance, all being manned by white coats. The magic path leads directly inside. Napoleon sprints down the stairs onto the chamber floor and darts past multiple guards. He dodges under the scientists legs and scrambles right into the cave. As he runs deeper into the cave he can hear the sounds of his pursuers start to change. The pitch of their voices starts to waver and jump from high to low. An echo starts to come from ahead of him, but speaks in reverse. While looking back in confusion, Napoleon trips, drops the bone, and rolls down into the depths of the cave, his bone falling behind him.
In a phone booth in a dusty town, a mysterious chubby boy sucks on a lollipop and puts a quarter in the machine. He makes an angry call and slams the phone down. He smiles to himself and bites down hard with a loud shatter. He sees a motorcyclist driving recklessly through the town. The biker swerves and almost hits a crossing mailman who drops his letters all over the road. The mystery boy opens his trench coat and pulls out a gun with an orange tip. He points it at the passing biker. He aims and whispers "BANG". Instantly, their back tires pop as if running over nails. The biker boy gets out, and screams to the sky. The Karma Kid holsters his weapon and saunters away.
Napoleon wakes to a drop of water hitting him between the eyes. He looks up and sees a row of long spikes hanging from the cave ceiling, dripping down to the floor. He looks to his left and sees the bone, stuck up right in a puddle. He takes a look around and sees a light shining from deeper down the cave. As the picks up the bone, his vision expands and he sees a huge spectrum of shining colors. The cave is a large source of energy and it overwhelms his senses and the bones power. He drops the bone and wedges it between his neck and his collar so he can carry it safely. He follows the light down the tunnel until he finds a way outside. As he makes his way into the light, he realizes that what he thought was outside is actually a natural canyon with huge surrounding walls like a dome. In the center of the valley is a small city built around the base of a mountain whose summit can't be seen. There is a red dirt road leading from the cave exit to the base of the mountain.
PART 2 - THE INFINITE MOUNTAIN
Plinth is a city built by believers. It was built to start over, so that future generations could build upon them and have their own start. They intended to be the first brick on the road, the first beam on the bridge. They sought to be viewed as pioneers by creating a bedrock for future cities to continue up and along the Infinite Mountain. They didn't know how dangerous the mountain was. 100 years after its settling, the city has fallen into a dark place. The weather was erratic, and rock slides were common during the warmer months. The Great Dusting had occurred just 50 years earlier and the town was still in a veil of sand. Most of the money circulating the city is being used in the casinos and illegal trade. Because there's no safe way to access the city or the mountain, the town survives off of brave travelers, mercenaries, and illegal merchants who risk everything to find work there. Once they settle in, they realize it's no place to live.
Napoleon enters the town, soft paws on the hot asphalt. His padded feet stick to the sweltering black as he tries to pull them up. He makes for the cement sidewalk, thumping his feet through the street. As he stalks the streets, he can feel eyes watching him. He sees many different rodents huddled around fires in alleys. There are little jazz rat trios playing in front of abandoned pharmacy. He looks up at the towering mountain. The top is buried in a white cloud and he could see a winding path going up and around the cliffs. He continues deeper into the city, passing by different shops and apartment buildings. As he reaches what seems to be the center of town, he is approached by a smooth-talking rat. The rat greets Napoleon as a guest of the city. He invites him to his establishment. The rat promises to fulfill his wildest dreams. The rat keeps an eye on the bone under Napoleon's collar as they walk inside. The building has a giant neon sign that reads ""
The rat shows Napoleon around his casino. He shows him the card tables and the slot machines. He shows him the food court and the lounge area. He shows him the VIP hotel rooms. He says "You could live like a king pooch, if luck is on your side!" Napoleon is aware of his own luck. The rat senses Napoleon's hesitance and offers to give him 100 cents, free, just to get him started. Napoleon agrees and sits himself in front of a slot machine. He takes a gold coin in his mouth and drops it in the slot. No luck. He tries it again. Nada. His ears perk up. He takes the bone out of his collar and into his mouth. All of the slot machines look dark and shadowy, except one machine that is shining green. He runs over to it, puts a coin in and waits for the dials to stop turning. The machine lights up with a jackpot! The rat watches as thousands of coins pour out of the machine to Napoleon's feet. As he walks away from the machine with a bucket of coins in his mouth, he makes his way over to the cash in table. The rat looks a little irritated. Napoleon barks happily as they count his coins. The rat runs up to Napoleon and begs him to continue gambling. He even offers a free hotel suite to stay the night. Napoleon agrees and is taken up to his luxury room.
Napoleon sleeps for a long time. As he's asleep, he doesn't hear the clicking of the door unlocking from outside. Very sneakily, a ferret wearing a little black tube sock on his head slithers across the carpet. He pokes around, looking for something. He slides right past the bucket of coins, until he spots the shining white of the bone on the table. He snakes up the chair and tries to put it in his mouth. The second his teeth touch the bone, his senses double and he lets out a loud screech. He falls off the table, and the bone falls after him, clonking his head. A few hours later, Napoleon wakes to find a weird furry snake on the floor. He's never seen a furry snake before so he calls the front desk to have them take a look. A female rat comes up to take a look. When she sees the ferret she looks very embarrassed and tries to hide the fact that she knows exactly who it is. She promises a free breakfast, which Napoleon happily accepts. As she leaves she picks up the ferret and carries him out. Napoleon can hear her yelling at him in the hallway. He packs his things and heads down for breakfast.
After eating way too many muffins, Napoleon is ready to continue his journey. As he's leaving, the owner tries to convince him to stay; Napoleon knows it's time to go. As he leaves, the rat mumbles something to another smaller rat, who mumbles something to another smaller rat, who mumbles something to a small insect, who writes down something onto a tiny tiny notepad. Napoleon walks down the sidewalk, magic bone in his collar, staring up at the towering mountain. As he walks past the jazz rat trio, he drops the large bucket of coins into their hat.
The first step of the Infinite Mountain has an inscription, "UPSTAIRS THE SAVINGS ARE HUGE!" Napoleon went step by step until he got to the first landing. He was as high as the 4th floor of the casino. He went to the next landing, which brought him up above the casino's top floor. He hiked higher and higher until he could barely see any of the rat civilians. As he climbed higher, he started to see trees with colors he's never seen before; combinations of colors that, before, he could only see through the bone's powers. After a long climb up he starts to see where the clouds meet the mountain, and he realizes he has a long way to go. However, the path he's on has started to expand into a road and he can see a small settlement up ahead. As he gets closer he sees a small town and a large castle carved into the mountain.
Napoleon walks through a town of ghosts. The streets are empty. The few buildings windows that are open are quickly closed when they see a new face stride through. The houses are all carved from the mountain and they all sit at the bottom of a big castle. Napoleon gazes down off the cliff to the town of Plinth. It's a speck of dust. He's about halfway between the bottom and to where the clouds meet the mountain. The sun is a few hours away from falling behind the dome. As he walks to the edge of the town, he sees two paths both leading up the mountain. As he picks up the bone, hoping for some guidance, the path splits and leads both ways. He decides to ask a local. He walks to the stone castle and knocks on the huge wooden door.
A tall woman wearing a bright diamond sparkle dress comes to the door. She has an elegant wavy flow to her strut, rocking like a boat on the water at the crack of dawn. She greets Napoleon and welcomes him to the Couture Castle and offers him a tour. Napoleon, hoping to learn more about the safest path up, accepts. She introduces herself as The Haberdasher. She tours him around the ground floor of the castle, showing him hundreds of mannequins wearing various celebratory garments. Men's and women's formal dresswear with different stones and gems embroidered onto the fabric. Napoleon pretends to look interested. As the Haberdasher brings him up to the second floor, he spots a room full of pillows and blankets. Thousands of cushions lining the floor, his eyes fix on the luxury. She walks him past the room and continues to show him her various outfits.
After a few more floors of costumes, Napoleon starts to notice something odd hanging on the walls. While her back is turned, he takes a closer look at the strange fuzzy pattern. His ears droop down. He can smell what it is. Dog. With the nervousness growing in his gut he tries to keep cool and make for the exit. The Haberdasher wants him to stay because she claims she is very lonely in the big castle. She offers to cook him dinner. Napoleon is hungry and he knows he will need energy for the trip. He agrees and she escorts him back down to the second floor. She tells him to wait in the meditation room. As she brings him around, he recognizes it as the cushioned room he was so interested in earlier. As she leaves him alone in the room, he becomes overjoyed with the pillows. He sprints around the room, letting his canine instincts take over.
Napoleon takes two pillows in his teeth and shakes his head back and forth. He takes his paws and his nails and digs into the cushions on the floor. After 10 minutes of play, Napoleon is wiped, white feathers and cotton puffs floating all over the room and covering the floor. Napoleon passes out in a sea of fluff. At first his dreams are pleasant, the usual golden rabbit. Abigail's glowing face smiling at him from the sky. She falls from the sky gently onto the grass beside him. They reenact all of his favorite dating moments. But slowly his dreams start to turn darker. His mind plays out all of the worst case scenarios like it is working against him. He is sucked into a timeless vapid wasteland, watching hundreds of TVs playing different variations of his worst nightmare. Abigail with some Bulldog, the magic bone getting into the wrong hands, someone breaking into the house that he left, his parents forgetting about him...
*Talking trash. Making a fool. What if she doesn't want me? What do they say on the other side? What do they talk about? What does she talk about? Does she think about me? It hurts when you're not there to hear your name. A timeless fear.*
Napoleon feels kind of sleepy but he can't quite fall asleep. He's in a white, square shaped room on a bed with red sheets and he's staring at the ceiling. He tries counting the dog years. He tries taking the slowest, deepest breathes. He can't be anymore in bed, but also can't get to bed. He's losing his mind, the ceiling is whiter than anything he's ever seen. Whiter than paper. Whiter than coffee cups. Whiter than his old walls. Whiter than milk. Whiter than...the bone?
The biker boy kicks over his motorcycle, and paces around it. He zooms in at the tire to get a real close look. He sees a little black plastic handle sticking out. He pulls it out to find that it is a thumbtack. He holds it up high in the air and looks around with his eyes open real wide. "WHO LEFT THIS IN THE ROOOOAAAD?" he shouts. Old folks walk by not paying him any attention. He shouts it a second time, his eyes even wider. Passersby's just mind their own business. He lets out a loud roar and kicks his bike. His boot flies off and lands on top of a nearby parked car. The owner of the car walks up, grabs the boot, and inspects the bottom. Etched into the heel is the name "Johnny".
The car owner walks over to Johnny and hands him his boot.
He says "Well say what's the other boot say?"
"Johnny" answered Johnny.
"Johnny Johnny?" asked the car man.
"Yep" he replied.
Johnny leaves his bike and hikes up the road. He arrived in Plinth around the same time as Napoleon but they occupy different parts of the city. Johnny, having stayed the night in his usual room, goes to look for work from his frequent business partner, Ralo the squirrel. Ralo tells Johnny about a dog entering the city and rat putting up a bounty on him, to be taken alive. He says that the dog was last seen going up the mountain. This causes Johnny to hesitate until he sees the reward. 10 Pints of The Best Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream In The World. Johnny tasted it once at the rats casino. It was the best thing he's ever eaten. He could easily sell one pint for a new bike. He takes the bounty and his first step up the mountain.
By the time Johnny gets into the first town up the mountain, it is moments away from nightfall. The town is silent and besides the setting sun, the only light is from the torches on the castle walls. Johnny has no choice but to try to stop and rest for the night. As he knocks on the big wooden doors he can hear the sound of music. Chamber music blaring through the walls. He recognizes it as a movement from the Trout Quintet by Schubert. Many walls over, a cook is dancing with a blade in the air. They gracefully slams the edge of the knife through a filet, causing a thwack on the cutting board, all in time with the music. They prepare the vegetables on a mandoline, cutting perfect shapes along to the stroke of the strings bow. The Haberdasher pokes in her head to check on the meal. She is very pleased. As the music slows into the next softer movement, the pounds of Johnny at the door can be heard. She struts to the door and opens it to find Johnny standing out in the pouring rain. She welcomes him the to castle and offers him a towel. Before Johnny can look up, she is holding a fresh towel, yet no one is around to have give it to her. He cautiously dries himself off. She invites him to spend the night to get out of the storm and that they are almost ready to have dinner. He accepts and follows her to the dining room.
After an elegant meal, Johnny makes light conversation about the mountain and the town's history. The Haberdasher goes into great detail about the original settlers and how important and sacred this land was to them. She told him how the higher up the mountain you go, the more righteous you must be or you'll never make it. She mentions that the path at the edge of this town has one trick and one real exit. "You just need to follow your gut," she says, before laughing. Johnny laughs along, though he is confused as to why. He puts down his napkin, thanks her for dinner, and politely requests to be shown to his room. She agrees and walks him upstairs. As Johnny walks past the meditation room, he can see through a small glass window a black hound shaped figure. He keeps it to himself for later.
Long after hours, Johnny leaves his room in search of the mysterious dog. He makes his way to the room he passed before and sees Napoleon passed out. Johnny quietly opens the door and sneaks inside. He takes a good look at Napoleon and figures he must be the one. As he picks him up and takes him out of the room, two figures covered completely covered in fabric and pushing a cart of shaving equipment, shout in surprise and chase after them. Johnny runs with Napoleon in his arms. As he runs down the steps, he sees the various mannequins start to move and come to life. They follow after him and try to cut him off from the door. The Haberdasher comes out and shouts, "seize them!" The cook, wielding their blade, swings at Johnny's back but misses. Johnny makes it out of the door and runs into the rain. As soon as a drop hits Napoleons face, he wakes up from the spell and jumps out of Johnny's arms.
Johnny always does his job. Not once has he ever let a captive free. That is until he saw Napoleon. The minute he saw him helpless and passed out in the castle, he knew he was a long lost pal. He felt an instant connection, and he wasn't going to hand him over to the rat. In the pouring rain, our two new friends run towards the edge of town. When they get to the fork in the road, they both look at each other. Johnny remembers what the Haberdasher told him about the path. He gets down on one knee and stares hard at the path to the left. Then stares at the path to the right. As he stares to the right, the rain stops. They look at each other again and start down the right path. Watching on the top tower of the castle, sits the chubby boy in the trench blowing the smoke off his orange tipped gun, pointing at the edge of town.
PART 3 - THE NURSERY
The hall of a thousand couches, all empty except one. A charcoal colored mastiff stretches out, and stares at a big clock window on the wall. She likes to stare at it and pretends she's in London, somewhere she's never been. She hasn't left the east coast her entire life. As she's daydreaming in a British accent, a door opens and in walks a man in a jumpsuit. He gives a wave, climbs a ladder by the wall, and cranks the huge clock to its current time. It's midnight. He leaves without a word. She shouldn't be there, it's after hours and her work starts in a few.
Napoleon and Johnny walk side by side up the mountain path. They see the path start to slim down to a single rocky trail. Napoleon runs out in front as Johnny walks behind and they hike for many miles up the winding mountain, spiraling around its slope until they finally reach the clouds. As they walk up the path they are engulfed in the thickness of a cloud. A grey fog completely covers them and they have to be careful where they step. After reaching out for the mountain wall, they both inch along until they break through into the light. Above the clouds and seemingly floating atop, as far as they can see, a whole world built. There are hills in the distance and a trail that leads up onto a surface over the fluffy white.
Up onto the cloud path, they can see the peak of the mountain. The top above the clouds has been carved into the shape of a gigantic silver tree with a bowl resting in its shoulders. At the top branch of the tree is a golden hive. It catches Napoleon's eye and he uses the bone to guide him. With the powers he can see six safe jumps he can make to retrieve the hive. Johnny warns against it, but Napoleon is confident. He gets a running start, jumps once, twice, three times, four times, five times, and at the last jump, he misses the hive and lands in the bowl. Johnny climbs the tree to save him but when he gets up very high, he looks down in fear and tightly grapples the trunk. He closes his eyes and shakes his head. He slowly inches up high enough to look into the bowl and spot his friend. Johnny looks up and see the beautiful glowing hive, dripping with golden goodness, but it's just out of his reach. He takes one hand off the branch and reaches out but almost loses his balance and grabs back on. He starts to climb down and around to the lip of the giant bowl. He sees Napoleon trying to run up the side of the bowl but it's too steep. Johnny has nothing to throw to Napoleon so he can't hoist him up. However, he spots a dark rolling rain cloud. He decides to sit and wait at the lip of the bowl. After 10 minutes, it begins to pour and water fills the giant cup. As time goes by, the cup slowly fills till Napoleon can swim and reach the lip. Johnny pulls Napoleon out and they begin to climb down the silver stone tree. As they climb they feel large spills of water fall as the bowl begins to overflow. Right as they jump off the tree onto the floating cloud path, an avalanche of water falls down the whole mountain, flooding it to its base. The golden hive swings back and forth on the branch.
The Line is a curious place. On one side is an age of simple living. On the other is a new world of advancement. The Line itself is where these two worlds meet. It's the border where the most extreme of each side remain, stubborn in their own ways. There is no way to enter the advanced side without going through the one and only entrance to the city, through the simple side.There are also a great deal of moderates who live among the extremists who want peace between sides living near the line. Napoleon's family moved there long before the danger started. When they traveled five months earlier, the highway was still up and the bridge off the island was still standing. By the time Napoleon left, there was no easy way to get to the Line. The family left because they had to try to start a new way of life. Something to sustain them for the rest of their lives; their own line of product to bring to the masses and create a wave of new sensations. After years of working in the suburbs, they developed something which they kept in the basement of their estate. This was what Napoleon was guarding.
Napoleon and Johnny follow the trail above the clouds and walk far out into the grey, each step gentle as to not fall through. After they get far away from the mountain they start to feel their limbs grow lighter. Their feet have more bounce to them. They start to float up with each step. Higher and higher down the path until they're up high above the clouds seemingly unaffected by gravity. As they look down they see a clearing break in the clouds and our two heroes fall fast, down into the darkness. Johnny wakes up first, face down in mud while Napoleon is passed out completely covered in it. Johnny shakes Napoleon but he's sound asleep snoring heavily. Johnny sees the bone on the floor and grabs it in his hands. Instantly his senses adjust and his hair sticks up straight on his head. He sees a crazy spectrum of color and he hears the movements of all of the living things in the cave. He sees the hundred of bats lining the ceiling, glowing red. With a grin he gives a loud yell as the bats all fly as one towards the exit. Johnny picks up Napoleon and runs after the bats towards the tunnel exit. Once they reach outside, Johnny can see a huge circular city with a large straight wall running through the center. They've finally reached the Line.
Johnny takes a cup of rain water and throws it in Napoleons face. Napoleon jumps up and runs twice in a circle. After they both catch their breath they stare off together at the place they've traveled so far to find. It's a fresh start for both our young travelers. There are a few people Napoleon needs to see before crossing the line. They walk towards the entrance on the old fashioned half of the city; the side that opts for old fashioned farming lifestyles and traditional values. As they walk into city they can smell the most powerful scent of freshly cut grass imaginable. They see various fruit and vegetable markets and pens holding pigs and cattle. As they walk through the street Napoleon's nose perks up. He smells something familiar. He sprints down the road and runs into a barn house. He jumps through a side room into a large hall filled with couches. He smells around and zeroes in on a specific purple couch in the middle. It's a new smell but a familiar one all the same. He runs back to the street and finds Johnny. Picking up the magic bone, Napoleon follows a glowing path deeper into the city to a building with a big sign that reads Nursery. Napoleon goes inside and rushes by the front desk. He dodges security guards and quickly follows the glowing trail. All the way through the building, Napoleon finds himself at the end of the path. A large room with yellow walls with hundreds of puppies. 3 larger dogs watch over and help the young ones along. Napoleon watches outside the window, staring at the black dog on the left. Her eyes look up at him and their eyes meet. He can sense that she is his mother.
Napoleon's mother explains that she knew he was coming. She fills him in on her history and her place along the Line. She has had hundred of puppies over the years but she has never seen one enter the city on their own. They continue to talk until the sun goes down. Johnny waits patiently, watching the workers on the farm pack up for the day. She offers them a place to stay for the night by the nursery ward. The three have dinner and she tells them of an ancient story of a hound who saves the civilization from destruction. It was passed down from generation of generation of all of the Ancient Breeds. The legacy foretold a brave beast that guards a secret treasure who must venture out into the world to save the ones he cares about. His mother recommends that they find the Breeder if they want to locate Abigail. The Breeder is always the first one up in the morning and the last one sleeping at night. Mother promises some time in the morning after they get some sleep. Napoleon lies awake in bed, he can't sleep thinking about how close he is to Abi. He sneaks out of bed, picks up the bone and follows its path to the Breeder. Once at the end of the path, he sneaks into their cabin and stands over their bed, barking. A figure rolls over from under the covers and stands up. Napoleon barks in excitement as a familiar hand comes down and pets him on the head. A woman kneels down and Napoleon licks her face. She is the woman from the pictures in the house. Its her house he was guarding. She is the Breeder.
The next morning, Napoleon anxiously awaits news of the whereabouts of Abigail. The Breeder understands why he is so wound up and points to the huge metallic wall that divides the city in two. She explains to him how she herself had tried to cross the Line but couldn't live in that environment. It was faster paced place that pushes too hard to advance. She thought of herself as the simpler kind, who appreciated the minimal. She recommend that he while heading through the border, he do what the officials say and not try to upset them by making any sudden movements. Napoleon nods and they say their goodbyes. Napoleon hugs his mother and Johnny gives her a pet on the head. The two heroes walk slowly towards the colossus wall, knowing they may not be able to cross back.
At the center of the city, at the base of the Line, is a long tunnel, the only way across. Johnny and Napoleon wait in line with some questionable characters waiting to get to the other side. Up ahead they can see a thick red line that stretches across the enteritey of the wall. The wait moves slowly along until they are finally next up. Napoleon goes in first. He is asked a series of questions to which he either nods or shakes his head. The guard is clearly uninterested in his answers and lets him step over the thick red painted line on the floor into a small windowed waiting room. As Johnny is called in, the guard asks a more intense line of questioning. They claim they must detain him until they can prove that he is not wanted for resisting arrest in another city. Napoleon barks loudly at the guard and shows his teeth but suddenly, he spots a face out of the corner of the eye. His vision focuses and all at once he sees her. A beautiful black mastiff with a grey stripe down her back. Finally he has found Abigail...
Abigail, je suis venu de loin pour te trouver. Ta beauté brille à travers la nuit poussiéreuse comme un précieuse fleur du désert et j'ai marché au travers des catacombes du centre du monde. Ta lueur résonne dans les montagnes et donne une nouvelle vie à mon cœur silencieux. Toi, ma chérie, tu es l'essence même de l'univers. Tu es la matière même de l'ancien temps et tu possèdes l'atome de l'amour. C'est la raison la plus pure pour se battre. Notre amour résonnera comme une symphonie de chiens hurlant à la nuit de nous laisser vivre et apprécier un autre jour. Mon amour, c'est le début de la combustion de notre amour et de notre désire. Les cendres seront poussière sur nos manteau et nous le deviendrons à notre tour.
Napoleon snaps out of it and comes down from his day dream. A guard opens the door and lets Napoleon enter the other side.. He runs to Abigail and they wrestle around in the grass, dogs of the day, reunited at last. After their embrace, Napoleon and Abigail go back to the Line in defense of their friend.
PART 4 - THE SEEDS
Across the Line, the city is much darker. This side has a black smog over the city from the abundance of technology running causing pollution overhead. The city consists of a variety of different animals and humans, all working towards a technologically advanced future. There are many experiments testing daily, which causes a constant state of awareness for nearby explosions and any faulty wiring issues that may result in problems for nearby residents. The buildings are much higher than those on the farming side, and the people are much less likely to talk on the street, as they are always busy with their own project. Abigail finds creative peace here, even among the constant loud bangs and sounds of the creative types. She feels the knowledge flow through the air, inspiring all type of creatures to push the world along and make a difference.
Napoleon, Abigail, and Johnny all sit at a table in a bar across the Line. Napoleon and Abigail make loving eye contact as they share a bowl of food. Johnny similar but feels awkwardly like a third wheel. He walks away letting them have their time together. As he approaches the bar he sits down on a stool, but it's uneven. He gets off, looks at the leg, and sees a gold coin under it. As he kneels down and picks it up, he can see a kid in a trench coat leave the bar out of the corner of his eye. When he turns to look for him, he's gone. Johnny puts the coin in back pocket. After our lovers catch up, Abigail asks Napoleon how the bone is treating him. Napoleon jumps up and barks with glee. He knew she sent it. He recognized her handwriting. She's one of the only dogs who can hold a pen in her mouth and manage to spell correctly. They had always talked about DOING what they wanted to BE, not just being it. She always stressed that action is the only sure fire way to get to where you want to go. The message on that note reminded him of her mantra and they way that her grammar was just slightly off in the cutest way. Abigail tells them that there are many things that she has kept from Napoleon as to to ensure that he stays true to his task until the time had come for him to make the journey himself. Abigail speaks of an old man who has tried for many many years to take what he feels is rightfully his at the estate. He is the father of the Breeder and is stuck in his old archaic ways. He wants its power for himself and will use the riches to build his own empire and destroy the city along the Line.
When Napoleon hears of this, he puts his head on the table, feeling he let down the family by leaving his post. Abigail assures him that it was time for him to leave and that there was nothing he could do to stop it. He had no way of fending off the coming hordes of old people who would go searching the house for the treasure. Abigail has no doubt in her mind that, by now, the bad man has taken the prize from the estate and brought it back to his own mansion. Abigail tells Napoleon of the legend of the hound, foretells a mighty black dog, who steals the fire of life back from the Gods to bring light to his own people. Napoleon's eyes light up with the glow of the fire.
Abigail explains her plan and how she hopes to get the three of them to a safe location between their current city, and the mansion that the treasure now sits. She claims to have been working with some other town residents on a flying device powered by motion. All it needs are two pups who can peddle with all four paws and someone else to steer. Johnny agrees to steer, and Napoleon and Abigail will pedal. A device like this is not allowed to be used by the Line, but our heroes have no choice. With the flying machine being pulled out of a garage, Johnny can see guards along the Line start to assemble at the sight of their contraption. Quickly, the three get in their positions and mount the machine, the two pups on the sides and Johnny in the seat in the middle. As guards start to run up towards them, Napoleon and Abigail pedal as fast as they can, beginning to build up momentum causing the machines wings to flap. Johnny steers between buildings as they taxi through the streets. After a few blocks of gaining speed, Abigail hits a switch near the center. All of a sudden, fire shoots out the back of the machine as they are shot into the air into the smog above the city. As they continue to pedal, they cough in the shroud of black, not able to see anything. As they pedal harder and harder they finally push through the darkness into the pure blue sky. They can see everything from here, the Line, the Mountain, the beautiful green pastures stretching far beyond its dome. They travel farther than Napoleon has ever gone, past the Stone Lakes, past the Kind Gardens, until they reach a long stretching desert. As they fly over there desert they see a vast ocean of sand, completely void of life. After a few miles flying overhead they see a tree house with a long tire swing in the middle of the dunes. Abigail points, and they begin to slow their pedaling and try to land onto the slopes. Unfortunately they don't land as soft as they had hoped. The machine just manages to land safely enough that no one is injured, but the machine itself is a wreck. The three make for the tree house to work out their next move.
The three sit at a nice wooden table in a very well decorated tree house. Abigail stares at a painting on the wall of a tree with large purple fruit. After looking at it for a few minutes she turns to Napoleon. She asks if he knows anything about the treasure he was guarding. He shakes his head, not mentioning his opening of the safe. She tells him the story of a woman who spent her whole life, researching a dead species of fruit that was said to have gone extinct hundreds of thousands of years ago; a fruit that was eaten by dinosaurs and later the first men. It was said to have given ultimate strength to anyone who eats it, and luck to those who hold it in there hand and offer it to others. Napoleon's eyes grew wide hearing this tale. He knew there was something special in that safe. Abigail continues her story, explaining that this woman who spent her life trying to revive this fruit, died before she could see them come to life. Many years later, her daughter would continue her work and would eventually bring them back from the dead. She was only able to create 3 seeds of the ancient fruit, the Dinosaur Plum. This woman was the Breeder. The man who felt so entitled to her work, was her own father. Before she was born he watched his wife work so hard that it changed her. The power of the seeds had driven her mad, but brought life to his daughter. He felt that the seeds needed to be destroyed because all they can bring is sadness. The Breeder knew that she died so that the fruit can bring new life. She vowed to protect them from her father.
Now, it was Napoleon's task to retrieve the seeds from their Grandpa and keep the legacy alive. Abigail has a map from the tree house to the mansion where the seeds are being held. She shows Napoleon the trail through the desert and kisses his face before he sets off, with only a map and his magic bone for guidance, while Johnny stays back with Abigail to help fix the flying machine. As Napoleon starts to leave, Johnny flips him his golden coin for good luck. Napoleon catches it and sticks it under his collar.
Dune after dune, Napoleon climbs up, and then slides down, using the energy of the bone to power him. After climbing the highest dune yet, he sees a deep valley with a structure at the bottom. The checks the map and sees an X over the deepest valley. He slides down the slope until he's face to face with the structure. It's a large stone wall with a passage carved in. It says "YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW" Napoleon stares at the words and notices the glowing path is pointing down into the sand. Napoleon starts digging fast into the sand valley. He digs deeper and deeper until the ground opens from under him and he falls down into the depths below, while the map floats away in the desert air.
Napoleon falls and howls for a whole minute before landing in a large pool of water down in a dark underground cavern. He swims to the shore, picks up the bone floating in the water, and tries to find a way out. There is a large stone beach surround the pool of water, and Napoleon can see something shiny on the bottom of the lake. With the bone in his jaws, he can see a bright golden hue coming off an object deep down in the water. He takes a big breathe and dives down deep to try and scope it out. Once at the bottom of the lake, he sees it's actually a shiny gold doorknob. Running out of air he swims back to the surface for a breath and then dives back down again. Upon further inspection he sees a stone door on the surface floor attached to the knob. He twist it with his teeth and pulls as hard as he can upward. After some strong force, the pressure gives way and a large wave of water rushes out the bottom hole down below, sucking Napoleon and his bone down with it.
Down deeper into the dark tunnels, Napoleon wakes coughing up water. Below him is a huge metal drain and in front of him is brown hallways with a long winding path. He slowly gets up and walks along the path. At the end of the corridor is a doorway. He can hear talking on the other side of the door. Thinking fast, Napoleon takes the golden coin that Johnny gave him and slides it under the doorframe. He hears a confused exclamation as the body bends down the pick it up. As Napoleon hears them kneel down, he slams open the door knocking the first voice unconscious. The second guard is so startled that he begins to run in the opposite direction to set off an alarm. Napoleon chases him down and kicks him into the glass wall knocking him out. Napoleon takes a look around to find they are in a gigantic underground greenhouse. Glass walls form an A above his head as a huge hole in sand lets in the desert sun. Napoleon can see all types of strange plant life living in various pots and soil bins. He sees another door across the room and cautiously walks to it.
On the other side of the door Napoleon has to catch his breath. Before him is a huge carved out cave with a mansion built inside. He can see the huge mouth of the cave out to the desert across to the left. He sneaks behind a rock and keeps an eye on the house. Before long, he sees a familiar face from his memories. A man in a black jacket with a white collar and stethoscope comes out from the house holding a black book. He makes his way to the mouth of the cave where Napoleon now sees over 40 people sitting in folding chairs facing towards a podium in the mouth of cave. As the man walks through the chairs, the guests all stand. He picks up the book and raises it high before speaking in tongues. After that the guests sit and the man begins to talk about the power and willingness of the brain. He mixes science speak with faith and preaches about the seeds of life. As he continues on, Napoleon sneaks around until he's up against the side of the house. He spots a glass window leading to the basement, which he quietly cracks open and slides through. After he gets on his feet he looks around for something familiar. He searches for a while until he hears the creek of wooden steps. A tall figure with grey hair, dirty overalls, and a straw hat steps down off the stair case. They make their way for the back corner of the basement and pulls a sheet off a heavy object, the families locked safe.
Napoleon watches as the man hammers away at the safe. After a few minutes of unsuccessful hammering, he pulls out a blow torch and starts to burn away at the handle, but again no luck. He gets up and walks up the steps. As he leaves, Napoleon takes up the bone, and quickly follows the glowing pattern to unlock the safes door. He can hear the upstairs door open as he makes his final move. As the door opens he can feel the cold air from the safe blow onto his nose. Just as he grabs the mason jar in his mouth, the old man walks in with a brick of explosives. The man lunges for our hero but Napoleon is too quick. He sprints up the stairs out the front door into the crowd of guests. The old man yells out the window to get the dog, and the guest scramble to grab him. Napoleon's quick moves and loose coat prevent anyone from catching him as he makes his way through. Just as he thinks he has a clear path to the mouth of the cave, the man with the stethoscope jumps in front. He begins to rant about the power of the mind and how the human will always best the beast. Just then, a souring shadow flies overhead. A black circle flies through the air tied to a long rope and smashes the man in the head, knocking him out. It's Abigail's flying machine! Johnny and Abigail each power the contraption with a tire swing tied to the base. While Johnny uses one hand to steer, Napoleon jumps into the tire and they fly around the cave, circling back out of its mouth into the glowing desert. They fly all the way back to the cul-de-sac and land safely behind the house.
Out in the backyard, Napoleon, Abigail, and Johnny all sit watching the sunset. Napoleon has dug three nice holes as Abigail rips open the white packet. She takes each seed and carefully places them down. Johnny takes his hand and pushes the soil over the seed, gently patting it. As the sun starts to dip behind the trees, our heroes can just barely see the clouds part and the faint glow of the silver tree on top of the mountain.
released June 28, 2017
Album Art by Olivia Lurrie (babiesbabies.bandcamp.com
Trumpet on "He's Just A Dog" by Gabe Gilch
SPECIAL THANKS TO....
Nick Palladino for his generosity
Olivia Lurrie for her talent and pretty soul
Charles Humenry for helping me type in French
Wendy Lurrie and Nick Calise for their support
Patty and Glenn Basko for their eternal love
Jonathan Rado for his continued infinite wisdom
The D'addario family for making me want to be a better musician
BLJ and Girl Cop
Buster, Scout, and Trooper for being rowdy
Samples courtesy of Public Domain Attributions 3.0 free use under the Creative Commons
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's- the hound of the Baskerville read by Bob Neufeld recorded by LibriVox
-"Johnny Learns His Manners"
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