Christopher regarded the veiled woman across from him, the same woman he was speaking to last week…
Christopher: All right, I’ll try not to spoil the story for myself or others. (He looks like he has serious misgivings about this.)
Gabrielle: You’ll be happier if you do.
Christopher: I hope so. How about we talk about the current form of you I’m speaking with? Gabrielle, the woman who becomes my mother?
Gabrielle: What is there to say? I own the Navel, center of all things bizarre. Look for the bizarre within yourself upon the Navel’s shelves.
Christopher: That last part is new.
Gabrielle: Heh, I just came up with that.
Christopher: What wares does the Navel carry?
Gabrielle: (perking up) We’ve got these chicken-headed deities whose crowing will follow you into your nightmares, freeing you from whatever reality you’re trapped in.
Christopher: I’ve seen those. (He shakes his head.) I’m not sure how effective they are.
Gabrielle: (leaning forward) We’ve also got these metal rooster-headed guardians to ward off spider entities.
Christopher: (shudders) I’ve noticed.
Gabrielle: (lowering her voice) Guess you’re still arachnocratic enough to be disturbed by those. Damian hated them.
Christopher: ‘Brie, I’m not sure if anyone likes them other than you.
Gabrielle: Really? (a bit deflated) There’s the hand-painted porcelain chickens if you prefer something more cheerful.
Christopher: Could we discuss some of the Navel’s items which aren’t poultry? Please?
Gabrielle: (slumping back in her seat) No one appreciates the poultry. Yes, there are other things like those hand-painted tarot cards in carved wooden boxes which Damian painted or the skulls he crafted by hand.
Christopher: Those are beautiful.
Gabrielle: You’re disturbed by my chickens but you think the skulls are beautiful?
Christopher: They’re part of someone or they once were. Why wouldn’t they be beautiful?
Gabrielle: That someone isn’t around any more. The skull is proof of that.
Christopher: Part of them is. The skull is proof of that.
Gabrielle: These skulls aren’t real skulls. They just represent a former part of someone. They’re made of clay, not bone, shaped by Damian’s hands.
Christopher: (eyes swimming with emotional memories) Yes.
Gabrielle: You’ve got it bad, my boy.
Gabrielle: Never mind.