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Humbert 2/2/2024 11:16pm

I spotted the floating docks of Clowntown first.

"I woulda spotted 'em first, but the sun was in my eyes! Tee hee hee!" burbled the button.

The docks were lit up in the sunset, poking up over the horizon. As we got closer we could see the giant, brightly colored balloons that held them up.

"Wow, what if you tied me to one of those balloons and let me go. Think how much I could see!"

"We wouldn't have to tie you to a balloon," I said. "I used to fly around up there all the time. We were headed to those very floating docks. In the Nixxi."

"What's a Nixxi?" asked the button, followed by a big yawn. It had been a long day.

"Well," I said, "The Nixxi is an airship. A big bladder filled with gas."

"You said bladder! You said gas! Tee hee hee!"

"And it's got decks and cabins and cargo holds and a bridge. And windows. And you can look out those windows..."

Four hole flat had fallen asleep.

Humbert 10/9/2023 8:28pm

“Boy mister! You sure weren’t lying about this desert heat! But don’t you worry. I’m a big button and big buttons are tough!”

The trail to Clowntown was taking us through the most extreme desert of the journey so far. Gone were the rocks and hillocks providing occasional shade. Here, dry dirt scrub stretched out to the horizon, without even a cactus or dead tree to break into the blue of the cloudless sky.

“Ah! Ack! The sun’s in my eyes!”

I reached up and covered the face of 4-hole flat with my hand.

“Oh no! Now I can’t smell the clowns! Uncover my face!”

I dropped my hand.

“Argh! I’m blinded! Buttons don’t have eyelids, you know!”

I covered the button with my hand again.

“Now I can’t smell again!” cried the button. “Take it away!”

“The sun! It’s too bright!!!”

This continued for many miles.

Humbert 7/8/2023 11:56pm

"I'm a 4-hole flat!" the orange button said.

It was a big button. Not as big as a plate or anything, but for a button, it was definitely big.

What was I to do? The delivery instructions clearly said not to talk ABOUT the big buttons, but now that this button had busted from its "snuggly bed" packaging, I found myself with no choice but to speak TO this big button.

"Nice to meet you, 4-hole flat," I said. "Say, it's not quite time for your nap to be over. So let's just get you back in your snuggly bed and..."

4-hole flat looked despondent. For a button. Then it began to take little short breaths through its four holes, and it seemed on the verge of tears.

"Oh, uh, but... uh... you can stay up a little longer, if you like... It's just that these high desert wastes are mighty hot and--"

"Oh I don't mind the heat!" The big button perked right up again. "Big buttons don't sweat! And I'm a big button!"

The delivery instructions were clear about not letting the big buttons cry, lest they ruin their paint jobs. But the desert sun couldn't be too good for them either.

"Well, let's just keep your big button brothers and sisters in their sungly bed for now. It's grown up time. But you can stay up with me if you like."

"Oh boy!" the big button beamed. "That'd be great! What kind of grown up time is it?"

"Well, we're on our way to Clowntown."

"Oh boy! I love clowns! I can smell clowns a mile away!"

"Really? Do you think you can smell them now?"

The big orange button took a big breath through its four holes.

"I sure can, mister! The clowns are thataway!"

The big orange button fell over to the east.

"Well then you can be our guide. Let me get you set up for the trip."

And I pulled out the sewing kit from my rucksack.

Humbert 3/20/2023 10:34pm

What started as a few days hike became a daily fight for survival.

The high desert wastes seem endless. Occasionally I find tiny springs and refill my canteen, but have had no luck hunting the tiny hopping rodents that live in the rocks, and I finished the last crumbs of my rations some days ago.

Clowntown must be in this direction. There is no way I could have passed it. Is there?

I lean up against a boulder, watching the heat rise off the terrain in the distance.

"Aw... don't cry, mister! We'll protect ya! Help ya out of a jam!"

Who said that? And wait... was I crying?

"Sure, you help us out, we'll help you! Everybody wins!"

The tiny voice was coming from nearby. From my pack, also leaned up against the boulder.

"You just help me out of this busted Snuggly Bed and we'll make everything right!"

It was the cargo I was delivering to Clowntown. That batch of big buttons.

We were warned not to speak to them.

Humbert 12/13/2022 10:16pm

There is some debate as to whether the Nixxi can be repaired, or at least fashioned into some kind of lumbering skyhulk that can get us to civilization. Part of the problem is that the captain remains despondent and provides no leadership. Meanwhile, various officers are openly vying for control, attempting to manipulate factions of the crew into some kind of action.

I've taken it upon myself to deliver our cargo to on foot and summon a rescue. I've got a compass and a map and rations for what should only be a few days hike. Wish me luck!

Humbert 9/21/2022 11:57pm

Mayday! Mayday! Help! Anybody?!!

Who am I kidding. The radio has been dead for weeks.

Crash landing wasn't so bad. The captain managed to avoid a gas explosion, but the balloons are busted and the spine is cracked. The crew quarters and decks held together enough to give us shelter, and for what it's worth the cargo seems undamaged.

But we've been marooned here in the mountains half way to Clowntown for weeks, and haven't seen a soul.

freya 7/9/2022 2:39pm

thanks for the job. I'm going to crash now.

Wildcard Ace Lamar - 6/7/2022 9:13am

Job claimed by freya 2022-07-09 14:39:33

I've got a batch of big buttons ready for delivery to Clowntown.

These buttons are highly sensitive, and may not be criticized or maligned in any way, which is why they are packed in opaque soundproof containers. However, to be on the safe side, we ask that the crew making the delivery not talk about the buttons at all during transport.

I haven't yet told the buttons they'll be leaving, as I do not want their tears to damage their new paint jobs. They believe the opaque soundproof containers are merely "snuggly beds" for them to rest in. They have a difficult time judging the passage of time when they're in complete darkness. In fact, they don't really seem to have a notion of "past" or "future" like you and I. They are very "in the moment" buttons.

Which is why the clowns of Clowntown love them so.

Please pick up this batch of big buttons at the Crafty Treehouse Complex suite 77b, Harborton. You'll be landing them on the floating docks of Clowntown, Pier One.

Wildcard "Ace" Lamar
Artisanal Button Craftsperson