we finally YODELed out of , we were
pretty exhausted having so
much. I wasn't prepared for where we ended up, however.
We were standing in Eternity, looking through a window at me walking up to the
Trans-Dimensional Gate. It was a weird feeling, because unlike the other times
I had seen myself on my journeys, this time I remembered everything that had happened
to that other-me-of-the-past.
Behind the George-of-the-past, a normal shadow crept behind -- just a shadowy
absence of light, with no life whatsoever.
But apparently as I walked up to the Gate before (Chapter 26, if you'd like to
go back and refresh your memory), I hadn't realized the other things that were
going on around me. Now, from my vantage point in Eternity, I had a clearer view
of my past.
Behind the me-of-the-past, another George (George-312) YODELed through a different
window in Eternity and was leaning over my shadow to whisper something in my ear.
From my Eternal vantage point, I somehow knew he was going to whisper to the me-
of-the-past where he had hidden Mary. I leaned closer to try and hear his words.
But George-312 never got a chance to make his presence known to the me-of-the-past.
A kid in a cowboy hat jumped through a window and waved his toy gun, yelling,
"Stick 'em up!" It was that blasted kid again!
Now, as to why the me-of-the-past didn't hear all the ruckus that was going on,
I can only speculate. Perhaps it was because I had YODELed for the first time,
and I was quite disoriented. But then again, I'm really not too sure.
George-312, however, was all too clear about what was happening.
"Not you again!" he groaned. "Go away kid, you bother me."
"Oh, yeah," the little cowboy scoffed. "Well, take that!" And he zapped George-312
with his toy gun.
Stunned, George-312 fell down right into the lifeless shadow of the me-of-the-past.
For a split second, George-312 and the shadow disappeared, and the me-of-the-past
was left all alone. A second later the shadowy living Shadow, that I had grown
to know and love, reappeared in their place.
But that Shadow looked confused and he scratched his head and wondered, "Who am
The Cowboy Kid might have offered him a suggestion or two, but he had sadly trudged
home, because his mother was calling him for lunch.
However, the Time-Catcher had followed the Cowboy Kid through the window, and
he grabbed Shadow in his net.
Now, what was happening to the me-of-the-past while all of this was going on?
He was walking towards the Gate without a shadow or a Shadow.
But we'll come back to that in a moment. So hold that thought. Because back in
our vantage point in Eternity, Shadow was nudging me. "Come on, I want to see
where the Time-Catcher's gone."
I held onto Shadow and flipped my cap backwards. Suddenly we were sitting on a
couch in front of a giant TV screen with a football game in progress.
A rather large potato was sitting beside us, eating a bowl of popcorn and drinking
"Want one?" he grinned, holding up the can.
"No thanks," Shadow beamed. "We're waiting for the main course."
"Oh, yeah. What's that?" the potato asked.
The couch potato dropped his beer into his lap. "Oh, really," he shuddered. "I
think I've got to go take out the garbage. Or maybe I'll fix that leak in the
roof, or better yet, I think I'll take the wife out to a real tear-jerker, or
buy her some flowers..."
He dashed off, his beer belly bouncing over his trousers.
Shadow picked up the remote and turned the channel.
We were just in time to see the Time-Catcher hauling the other-Shadow through
Eternity in his net.
"This must be the right channel," I clapped, and snuggled back into the sofa to
get more comfortable.
But then a commercial came on about an exercise machine designed especially for
"Just mention mashed potatoes and it works much better," Shadow suggested to the
buxom beauty narrator on the TV screen.
He fast-forwarded through the next few commercials for a laxative, an antacid
and a disposable douche, but I made him stop when they showed scenes from the
Charley Brown special, The Great Pumpkin. It brought tears to my eyes. And then
our program was back on.
The Time-Catcher was interrogating the other-Shadow in a timeless, spaceless place.
"All right, tell me where they are?"
"But I can't remember anything!" he cried.
This lasted for about a million years, and Shadow fast- forwarded through it because
it gave us both the shivers.
Then suddenly the empty void of timelessness was filled with shadows, and we had
to rewind a little bit to figure out what had happened.
"We heard you had a shadow captive here!" the shadows screamed, and they held
the Time-Catcher down while they broke Other-Shadow's chains. "Come on, we'll
bring you home," they promised Other-Shadow.
They all YODELed to the headquarters of the SLO or Shadow Liberation Organization,
as we soon discovered it was called, whose goal was ‘to free the shadows of all
the universes from the shackles of the objects to which they have been enslaved.'
They gave Other-Shadow an intensive training program, led by a YOGI YODELer's
shadow, who taught him how to YODEL at will, and they told him as many ODU secrets
as they could think of. Then they shook Other-Shadow's hand, stuck an SLO patch
on his shadowy shoulder, and announced they were off to free the shadows of all
They all YODELed out, except Other-Shadow. "Be there in a second," he sighed,
and then he sat down in the corner and cried. Everything had seemed so easy to
him, like he was relearning all the secrets, but somehow he just didn't feel like
Then the Cowboy Kid flew into the room, and pointed his toy gun threateningly.
"Jimmy, I told you to go to bed," his mother's voice called from somewhere.
"In a second, Mom!" he yelled.
Other-Shadow jumped and YODELed into Eternity. But the Cowboy Kid had leaped onto
his back and was riding him like a horse.
"Whoa, boy," he laughed. "Whoa."
Other-Shadow threw him down and the boy pulled out his toy gun and yelled, "Pow,
Other-Shadow fell back and bumped his head on the cloudy soup of Eternity.
"Jimmy, you get back here, right now!" his mother commanded.
"Oh, all right, Mom!"
The little boy blew off a puff of smoke from the muzzle of the toy gun and stuck
it back in his holster before he disappeared.
Another commercial. I don't know what it was, because Shadow had his finger on
the fast-forward button, and then we saw the other-Shadow stagger to his feet.
He seemed even more disoriented than before, and he just stood there when a flock
of space-geese swooped down through Eternity, grabbed him in their taloned feet,
YODELed, and dropped him crashing down to the ground.
Ohter-Shadow fell and landed in front of the Trans-Dimensional Gate, just behind
the me-of-the-past who was talking to the gateman.
"Subway...friend..." the George on the TV was saying.
"Subway, as in Trans-Dimensional, and friend, as in your friend there," the gateman
grunted, as he pointed his cigar at the other-Shadow that had just materialized.
Another commercial came on and I looked over at my-Shadow beside me on the couch.
He was deep in thought.
I leaned back and tried to think what all this was supposed to mean.
"So, you're only partially a shadow, aren't you?" I finally postulated, after
what seemed like forever. "You're also one of the me's that YODELed in the Time-Splitter..."
Shadow was silent.
"Not just any one of them," I added. "But the one that found Mary!"
Shadow sighed. "It sort of looks that way," he admitted. "But I don't remember
any of it."
"But Shadow, you've got to. Only you know where Mary is."
Shadow looked at me sadly. "Honestly, George, I can't remember."
Just then the Cowboy Kid jumped on the couch beside us.
"Oh, no!" Shadow gasped and YODELed -- without flipping his YODELcap, I might
The Cowboy Kid hardly noticed. "Hey, you got any popcorn?"
I blinked and cautiously handed him the bowl.
He wolfed a few handfuls, and then we looked up as the commercial was over.
"Hey, cool. That's us!" the Cowboy Kid mumbled as we watched a replay of what
I had just experienced.
Then we watched on the TV-screen as my-Shadow materialized on the edge of an asteroid
that floated in the heavens. The black sky was filled with burning lights that
lit up in gorgeous colors and then disappeared. It was beautiful, but it seemed
so final looking somehow, and it felt like my not-too-distant future, for some
We watched as my-Shadow jumped to the other side of the asteroid, where two people
were kissing as the skies fell down all around them.
"Hey, you two," Shadow whispered, tapping one of them on the shoulder.
I leaned forward on the couch. It was me that he was talking to, and the other
person was Mary! My heart was pounding.
"Oh, hi, Shadow," the me-of-the-future laughed. "Wow, it's good to see you."
"Hi George. Hi Mary! What are you folks doing here?" Shadow asked.
"We finally found each other, and we're living happily ever after."
"But this universe is about to end. We've got to get out of here fast!"
The Cowboy Kid switched the channel to a Western, and he jumped on the couch.
"Go, boys, go!" he yelled.
"Hey, turn that back!" I demanded.
"MAKE ME!" the Cowboy Kid scoffed, and he pulled out his toy gun.
"I'll give you a candy bar," I offered, eyeing the 10-foot one on the table beside
"Mmmmm. All right."
I handed it to the little brat, and he flipped the channel back while he took
"George, tell me where Mary was," Shadow asked, as they were all just about to
YODEL away before the last of the lights went black and the universe was gone
"Oh, yeah. That's pretty funny Shadow, turns out she was..."
But the Cowboy Kid had finished the bribe, and he turned the TV off. He pointed
a chocolaty finger at me. "All right. I'm done, and this movie is boring. Let's
play something else."
He started spinning his rope in the air. "You be the cow, and I'll lasso you,"
Before I had a chance to object, he had his noose around my feet.
"Come on, little moo," the Cowboy Kid chuckled, and he dragged me across the carpet.
He walked through a brick wall, pulling his rope with me attached. I just smashed
into the bricks with a thud and fell to the ground.
"Ouch," I grunted.
The rope tugged again and I hit the wall with another "BANG!"
Then something cut the rope, and I looked up and Shadow was standing there.
Was I glad to see him.
The Cowboy Kid walked back through the wall to retrieve his cow, but Shadow was
waiting for him.
The Kid reached for his toy gun, but Shadow was faster. He pointed his finger
at the Kid, and the holster fell to the ground and crumbled into dust.
The Kid looked down with his mouth gaping.
"Now, look," Shadow snapped sternly. "I told your mother how you've been bothering
YODELers throughout Eternity, and Kid, you're going to be grounded for ... well
The ex-Cowboy Kid sniffled and walked back through the wall, resigned to his fate.
"I was just trying to have some fun," he muttered sadly.
"Shadow," I gasped as he untied my legs. "How did you do that?"
"Well, back on the couch, when the Kid scared me into YODELing, I remembered everything.
Or almost everything. At least enough to YODEL to the future, when you and Mary
were together, and I asked you where she was."
"I know Shadow, I saw it. But how would I know where Mary is? You're the one who..."
"Apparently, things weren't the way they seemed a few pages ago. And don't worry
about the future. Everything will be just fine. I rescue you and Mary and take
you out of that one dying universe and bring you to an even further future where
you live happily ever after."
"Great, but how come we didn't think of YODELing to the future in the first place,
and why did you say that I knew where Mary is?"
"Well, remember when we watched on TV while the Kid shot George-312, who was just
about to tell the you-of-the-past that was standing at the Gate where Mary was?"
It was a little confusing to follow at first, but I nodded when I got the picture
straight in my head.
"That George fell down and hit your shadow, and when he stood up it was me, Shadow."
"Yeah. Somehow you became half-man and half-shadow, with no memory."
"Well, not exactly. We couldn't see the whole picture."
He motioned for me to sit on the couch with him. "When the you-of-the-future told
me where Mary was, I suddenly remembered everything."
He paused, took a deep breath, and then continued gushing out the rest of the
"When George-312 hit the lifeless shadow, some laws of Reality got all screwed
up. I'm not exactly sure which ones -- they're always changing them, you know.
But anyway, your shadow and George-312 both went rocketing through Eternity. Your
shadow landed someplace where shadows no longer exist, and became the center attraction
in a jar in a museum."
He paused for another breath. "George-312, however, broke through the Eternal
Envelope, and fell right into the BOOK OF OBJECTIVE REALITY."
"And what's that?" I asked, as Shadow waited for me to prompt him.
"That is where all the universes and all the realities come from. They are all
just projections from that great BOOK."
Needless to say, this was all way over my head.
"Don't worry," Shadow reassured me. "You're not supposed to understand. It's far
beyond human comprehension. But let me try another example. Think of an apple.
A nice red one."
He held out a shiny red apple in front of my face.
"This is an apple, right?"
I had to agree.
"But in the BOOK there are no objects, just concepts, patterns, or molds from
which apples are created. But the apple, that unique apple, can also exist in
other universes and realities. It can be a planet teeming with life in one. Or
lunch for a caterpillar. Or the doorway into another dimension. Or the fruit of
knowledge to two scantily clothed humans named Adam and..."
"What does this have to do with this story?" I asked rather impatiently. This
could go on forever, and I was dying to find out where Mary was.
"Those concepts or molds are like vague shadows that are made up of all the possible
"So, when you leaped through the Gate, and when you stepped into the Time-Splitter,
you created a lot of different realities for the concept of George Chronicles.
I was that concept in the BOOK of OBJECTIVE REALITY. A flickering shadow, not
quite any one of the realities, and yet an amalgamation of all of them combined."
In these adventures I had gone through lately, I had learned a lot about Time
and Space and Reality...but this was definitely in another league. Still, there
were quite a number of questions that popped into my head.
"Well, when you YODELed out of the BOOK and landed beside me when I was at the
Gate talking to the gatekeeper, how come you couldn't remember anything?" I demanded.
"Well, it wasn't easy for George-312 and me to YODEL out of the BOOK of OBJECTIVE
REALITY, let me tell you. I guess the shock was just too much. I sort of half-remembered
things. That's why I always seemed to know what was going on. But I'm afraid George-312
didn't remember very much at all."
"What do you mean?"
"As you said, I landed beside you at the Gate. But the other-George landed on
a waterbed in a deserted department store, with no idea what his name was."
I stared at Shadow. "That's what happened to me!" I gasped.
"So, I'm George-312," I stuttered. "Wait a second. Do you mean to tell me that
I knew where Mary was all this time?"
I fell back in the couch. "I knew?" I sighed. "So, where is she then? I can't
But Shadow was talking again.
"Now, don't worry about your natural shadow. I rescued it from that museum before
I YODELed here, and I gave it to you in the future. You won't have a shadowless
future, you can be assured."
"Fine," I snapped, and I was starting to get angry. "That's great to know, and
thanks, but where is Mary? The suspense is killing me."
Shadow giggled. It's so obvious. She's..."
But he didn't finish his sentence, because the Time-Catcher jumped through the
TV and waved his net at us.
I leaped out of the couch and ran behind it.
"George!" Shadow yelled, and flipped me my YODELcap.
I put it on and slipped the glasses in place. The Time-Catcher looked around confusedly,
unable to see me, and tripped over the couch.
"Go, George," Shadow said. "I'll meet you at the asteroid. First I've got to go
back to the Time-Splitter and warn us about the Time-Catcher. Apparently, I'm
also that Shadow that appeared after the 312th Shadow, and I've got to fill us
in enough so that we go the right way, and then I've got to go down the 312 paths
and throw off the Time-Catcher, but don't worry, it only takes an instant in Eternity."
Shadow stuck his tongue out at the Time-Catcher, and I flipped my cap backwards
and YODELed right onto the asteroid I had seen on TV.
But Mary wasn't there.
Shadow wasn't there.
I was alone, and the universe was coming to an end.
Chapter 35- MP3 song demo by Lyndon DeRobertis)
(Captain ScrewUP MP3)