Foul Water At An Angel's Feet


deckard4_icon.gif sable_icon.gif

Scene Title Foul Water At An Angel's Feet
Synopsis Two drunks spoil a beautiful public monument. Just another night in Central Park.
Date June 28, 2010

Central Park

Bethesda Fountain.

If Central Park was bad news before, imagine for a moment the unfiltered depravity it must harbor after curfew in the wake of a nuclear explosion, accelerated ice age and June the tenth's dose of mass hysteria.

At Bethesda Fountain, an angel stands sentinel over black water rippled with obsidian polish and lighter bricking. The moon is near full between unenthusiastic blotches of off-color cloud cover and it's approximately as uncomfortably humid as it is uncomfortably warm.

Which might explain why there is a man in the fountain too. He's seated alone, dark water lapping sluggish about the region of his bent knees and chest. Moonlight touches on the outward movement of lazy waves here and there. Also, the open mouth of the bottle of Crown he thoughtfully brought along with him.

Deckard looks pretty mellow for a guy sitting in a famous fountain in the dark, sunglasses black as the water, hair spiny with the damp and suit soaked. Apparently forethought only went as far as setting his boots and cell phone aside on the fountain's dry lip.

From the darkness between trees comes a drunken warble. Not an unpleasant warble. Not a tone-deaf warble. But definitely a warble. And definitely a drunken one. It's slurred in a drawling southern accent, which gives it very much a 'mournful country' type feel. Almost pointedly so.

"Iiiiii was born in the backseat of a mustang - On a cold night, in a haaaaaaaard rain - And the verrrrrry first song that the raaaaadio sang - It was 'Iiiii won't be home no more!'"

For a few seconds, the singer stumbles into one of the pools of light. What could be suspected before is confirmed. It's a girl singing, and she is not walking like a sober person. She has a bottle in her hand, obscured by a brown paper bag in classic wino fashion. Her white tanktop is cast in grungy yellow by the park light, before she shuffles back into darkness - though with each step, closer to the fountain. As she breaks the cover of the trees, and perspective is easier to determine, it becomes evident she's a wee thing. It can't have taken much to get her trashed.

It's only once she gets to the fountain's edge, about one hundred degrees around from where Deckard sits, that most of the last details of her appearance resolve. She stares at the fountain for a dumbstruck, or maybe just absent moment, then her head swings over to point at Deckard. It's then that her yellow eyes, bleary and unfocused, can be seen clearly.

"What the fuuuuck 'r' you doin' in there?" is her opening question.

Too sedate even to jolt at the warble of imminent company, Deckard is slow to turn his head after the sounds of Sable's approach and slower still to distinguish the electric blue jumble of her bones from the surrounding wood. He sighs to himself upon really sussing her out. Stature and conformation. Wide, doe-eye sockets and young joints sharply defined and wear-and-tear free even at an intoxicant smeared distance. A stir of one knee never resolves itself into the rest of the standing up process — he'd never make it out before being seen or heard, so. He resolves to sit still instead, ignorant of each fresh push of water that rolls drearily "ashore" after every slow breath or shift of wiry muscle.

So yeah. She sees him anyway. And asks the question that was inevitably going to get asked sooner or later unless he somehow managed to escape detection until he sobered up enough to want to find a nice bench to sleep on. "I couldn't find a port-a-john," he says. Amicably, even, sunglasses set against his long face about as inviting as a wasp's fixed glare. He does not have a southern accent. He does not, in fact, sound like he is from anywhere.

Deckard's words, few though they may be, take Sable a good thirty seconds to process. And even then, her reaction is in slow motion. The gradual bloom of understanding, halted midway by the distortion of her face by a grimace, which in turn shifts back into a sort of avid not-quite-blackness. That last look is the drunken version of thought. Her realization: "Guess 't won't matter much 'f I puke in it, then…"

But that part, apparently, can come later. She does an about face, complete with one foot thudding purposefully into its new position, and then plops her rear onto the fountain's rim. She stares out at the dark park, and its occasional interspersions of luminescence. The next sound to come out of Sable is a burp. The one after is not an 'excuse me'. Instead, "'r' you a crazy fuckin' homeless person? Yer awful well dressed f'r that. Y' a drunken business man? Didjer stocks crash?" she turns an accusing eye on Deckard, squinting unevenly and lifting her bottle, shaking it like a haranguer's staff, "Fuckin' go jump off a high rise 'r yer penthouse balcony 'r some shit! Don't go pissin' in th' poor man's pukin' spot!"

As conversationally proficient as the average slab of cow shit baked out flat in a grassy field, Deckard only dips his head at the news that his personal cooling system is probably about to be vomited in. He looks resigned, maybe — whiskey bottle curled in closer to his chest and frown muzzy in the shadows blacked in long around his scruffy jaw. The moonlight touches on bristles of silver here and there, distinct against more neutral contrast about his suit and the statue cast cold at his back.

"I'm a secret agent," muttered in his own miserable defense too many beats later, he sinks deeper into his sit via slouch and mops a sopping sleeve sluggishly across the grizzled edges of his overlong mug. "Go puke somewhere else."

Sable lacks the energy to be skeptical. This dude is certainly fucking with her, but that's cool, she'd do the same thing in his position. "Fuck you, G-Man," she states, and produces the requisite lifted finger, holding it out, rather unsteadily in Deckard's direction. "I know m' rights. I'll puke wheeeeerever I feel like, jus' like every other goddamn Amer'can citizen." There's a section in the Constitution about freedom of regurgitation, she's sure. At least she thinks she's sure. Civics class is little fuzzy at this remove.

"Whas yer name?" is her next question. Getting to knooow you, getting to know all abooout you. "'r' yer codename 'r whatever. Do you have a license t' kill 'r anythin'? Is there 'n exam f'r that sorta thing y' gotta pass?" She squints, clearly on to something. "Do y' have t' kill someone t' get it? 'r… would that not work 'cause y' wouldn't have the license yet?" That does present a problem for her hypothesis. She takes a moment to consider this chicken/egg conundrum, and takes a decent-sized swig from her bottle to help get the ol' brain juices flowing. A trickle of liquor leaks out of the corner of her mouth, dribbling down to her chin and then dripping into her lap.

"Flint," says Flint, who is too quietly wasted and too apathetic to fuck around with lying beyond what comes naturally. He absorbs the finger like he does most things: in reclusive silence, sunglasses too matte to offer up much of a reflection of the deed back at her. Water drips off his chin in a dwindling drizzle to mirror her dribbling and he too takes a draw off his bottle. "I'm not allowed to carry a sidearm anymore."

Having thus demonstrated himself to be the most ineffectual and boring self-proclaimed secret agent ever, Flint sinks the rest of the way back under, right hand held aloft with bottle neck to avoid contaminating What Really Matters before he rises back up from the depths. All 6'2" of him this time — not just the scruffy head part and shoulders, suit clung to his lean frame like an oil slick while he balances unevenly to his feet.

Sable stares with goggled eyed amazement as this Flint character disappears under the surface of the water. Is he coming up? She's not sure. She half expects him to down there, rigor mortis keeping the bottle aloft. Which means she'll have to decide whether or not to pry that Crown Royal from his cold dead fingers… Oh wait, no, he's alive. And he's a tall em effer. Sable looks up at the drenched secret-aaagent-man with amazement that's less goggle eyed and more just dumbstruck. But not for long, not for dumbness or amazement.

"Diego!" Sable declares, rather cheerfully, thwacking herself on the chest with the end of her bottle, hard enough that it would hurt if she weren't el drunko. The cheerfulness fades fast though, with profanity bursting from between bared teeth. "Shit! Shit shit, no! That's not me. 'r, rather, it is, but yer not s'pposed t' know that. Shit, shit! I ain't s'posed t' be goin' backwards. Thiiis is my last step in th' wrong, like, forward direction."

She accosts herself with the bottle once more, but this time she uses the mouth of the bottle to thwack her head. And this time she feels it. "Ooooooow…" she groans, mewls really, and takes another swing as a palliative. Hair of the dog that smacked you in the forehead. "Iiiii'm gettin' a new soul t'morrow," she informs Flint, sounding rather proud of herself, "'n' I guess yer gettin' a new suit, huh?" Something occurs to her, rather late in the game. "Sidearms a gun, right? Whyzit y' can't carry a gun? That seems like a shit deal f'r a, like, secret agent. 'course… yer sort 'f a shit secret agent f'r, like, tellin' me. 'n', like, lackin' the means t' kill me after tellin'. 'n' all." It's not the nicest thing to say, but she says it with a tone of sympathy. How does that feel, buddy? You okay, pal?

Indifferent to running dialogue and self-abuse by a minor(?) as he is politics, warning labels and daytime television, Deckard fords the remaining span of fountain at a disconnected slog, wake foaming briefly white after the slow churn of one calf up over and past the other. He's coming closer. Indirectly closer — outward progress at a fifteen or twenty degree angle away from Sable's post. And his cowboy boots.

Upon closer inspection, the hood of his brow has a cromagnon cast to it over dark glasses without wiry hair bristled up to offset the length of his hollow face, everything all flattened to muscle and bone and dead clothy weight when he steps unsteadily over the fountain lip and manages to set himself down in a sit on the edge using only the one free hand for support. His feet are bare, and after a moment spent slouching vacantly at the bricking all around, he reaches aside to set his booze down next to him.

"I shot a co-worker." Another secret agent. That's the most logical conclusion to come to. "You going to kill yourself?"

Sable holds her bottle high, a mimicry of Deckard's own preservation technique, as she scoots a few feet over in the man's direction. She's loud as all get out - her previous singing stands as proof - but a conversational distance will make things a little easier on vocal chords worn out from aforementioned singing. The lofting of the bottle is a totally useless gesture, making sense only through drunken deduction, but she's drunk enough of it that her wobbling arm causes no spill. She tugs her legs up and turns to face in Deckard's direction and sets the bottle down with a sharp 'thock' sound before her, her hand gripping what must be the neck of the bottle like the hilt of a sword buried in the fountain's stone. Whosoever shall drink this entire bottle shall henceforth be right King of England!

"Was he a prick?" Is Sable(Diego?)'s very sharp question, "Did he fuckin' have it comin'? Didja shoot him down, shoot him down?" This last is spoken with a cadence that is allusive, but mostly comes off as plain old loopy. Of course, she hasn't answered his question yet, so in the interests of fair play, she ponies up for the quid pro quo.

"Naw," the drunk girl says, shaking her head so vigorously that her shaggy head suggests damp canidity, "'t least not in, like, any fuckin' typical sense. More, like, a death t' what I once was 'n', like, am right now. Full 'f lies 'n' hate. Y'know… You say she's a virgin? I'm gonna be the first in. Her fellah's gonna kill me? Oh fuckin' will he!" The way she says this, its like she's quoting a proverb. Maybe somewhere deep in her head she realizes that maybe this doesn't communicate, so she poses yet another question. "What's yer favorite miserable song? Th' song that makes y' feel shitty in th' best sorta way?"

"I dunno," says Deckard.

"No." He hadn't spoken to her before he shot her and hasn't since. But she seemed okay. A little stupid. Water tracks in fine, fractured starts away from his temples and under his collar while the disturbance behind him smoothes back into glassy tranquility and angelic reflection. He seems shabbier by comparison. Sunglasses only go so far and even wolves tend to look ragged when soaked to the bone.

So he trades a negative for her negative, less verbose by nature if far from disapproving of her mentality. Appreciative acknowledgement of her future philosophy lines in flat over a lift at his brows instead. Been there.

A scrape of glass on cement marks him moving Crown Royal from one side to the other, with no swigging in between.

"I don't listen to music to be miserable."

Sable looks at Deckard like he's the crazy one. Which, if he is, would make her the crazy two. The moment of acknowledgement, a kinship in having both at some point decided that self annihilation was the only way to live, is effaced by her stark disbelief in what Deckard professes. Her innards nearly twist themselves into knots as he speaks the first five words which, by themselves, would be the most profound of heresies, a sin so deep it is its own punishment. The three following, the infinitive plus adjective, at least reassure Sable that she's speaking to someone identifiably human. But it's the difference between a mortal and a venial sin, and Sable isn't in an indulgent mood.

"Yer shhhhhittin' me!" The sibilance smeared out in unpleasantly apropos fashion. "How old is yer sorry ass? C'n you remember, I dunno… bein' some age b'fore the Man tore yer fuckin' soul out 'f yer chest 'n' promised t' give it back in bits, like, f'r yer fuckin' pension? C'n y' mebbe recall bein' heartbroke or betrayed 'r just blue, 'n' needin' t' listen to a song that put yer pain outside y', that made it somethin' beautiful 'n' somethin' shared? That made it like a gift?"

Her bottle is waved as close to his face as she can get it. "Yer a fuckin' liar, 'r so I fuckin' hope f'r yer sake, 'cause otherwise I fear what it is those shithead G-Men did t' y' to take that away from y'."

Somewhere in the last several seconds, Deckard's respiration has picked up into a hoarse hitch. Overlarge right hand poised forgotten around his bottle's throat, he presses the left cold and clammy against his brow and the bridge of his nose while he is assailed with broken poetry re: The Man and souls and being fucked over, which is something he looks like he knows a lot about.

Through the same course of discomfort his slouch becomes a hunch and his hunch becomes a head-to-knees affair all the way until he finally gives in, leans away and unplugs.

Fortunately for Sable's already twisty and alcohol-slick guts, he does not vomit loudly.

There's a sieze at his middle and watery splash — no food in there to mitigate mucous and sick — then a second less spectacular than the first, punctuated by an ellipses of dribble and a feeble spit. The sour stink of it is familiar to anyone who's ever spent a Sunday sunrise wrapped around a toilet. And especially to him.

He sits hunched over at a lean like that for a while before he reaches back to cup water from the fountain into his face, sunglasses manuevered off and eyes closed so that he can guess: "Forty-five," and reiterate earnestly that, "I don't know what you're talking about."

"Oh Jesus," Sable says, her hazy vision and warped personal interpretive grid making of this particular upchuck rather a lot. Talk and thought of souls and spirits run wild circles through her head, and the scent of stomach acid is enough to make her own burble in sympathy, though she's not quite there yet.

"Yeah, man," she says, her encouragement sounding heartfelt, though drunkenness tends to help with that, "Get that shit out. Whatever they pumped int' y', get it out. Better out th'n in, man. Get empty, see if somethin' better can't get poured in 'nstead, eh? Here…" she tips back her bottle and takes a drink of very ill advised length, the burning aftermath making her give a short wretch out simple gag-reflex, spilling whiskey (the smell and color are unmistakeable, not Crown Royal, but something yet more gut-rotting) over her chin and onto the stone between her legs, spatting her cargo pants. Guuuulp. "Iiiii fuckin' join y', just gimme a sec."

Though she doesn't take another stupidly large drink. Her body is maybe interceding on her behalf (though such an intercession is also highly self-interested). Her vision swims before her and she goggles at the spilled booze before her, like someone who's just realized they're bleeding. Unclear as to whether that only happens in movies or not, with real blood and real wounds.

"Fordyfive-" she echoes, "Thass a long time y' were given t' fuck yer life up. Or did yer life come, like… uh… pre-fucked?"

A claggy snuff drags viscous stuff back into Flint's sinuses once he's cleared his throat and spat again. It takes some scrubbing to get the worst of the residue out of his scruff, bony knuckles pushing crudely around his mouth until he's satisfied enough to fumble his sunglasses back on. There was no readily apparent reason for him to be wearing them when they were off. He looked over at her sidelong for a beat and went back about cleaning himself undeterred.

He sighs once they're back in place, though, post-vomitous relief late to sink in, maybe. All to the glunking tune of Sable poisoning herself and commiserating companionably at his side. "I dunno. Yes and no." Voice weathered rougher than before through a throat freshly corroded, he makes a slowish face at the taste in his own mouth and swallows thickly against his tongue. "Can I borrow your cell phone?"

Suspicion is not currently queued up in the rather slow moving line of Sable's present cognitions. The only barrier between her getting the phone to Deckard is her own difficulty in managing the velcro on her pocket, which gives her much too much trouble and occasions a few curses that can't really be taken for special frustration, considering the general blueness of her speech. She finally pulls it out, sets it on the rim of the fountain, is about to try and skid it across to him… then has enough self awareness to realize she's much too drunk for that to be a good idea. So instead she scootches even closer. Again, suspicion is taking its time to arrive on the scene. She stretches her arm out, leaning over as far as she can, and sets the phone as near to him as possible - close enough that he can reach it without much difficulty.

"Borrow means borrow," Sable reminds him, this particular recitation a callback to elementary school, a educational experience she actually did participate in, "Got booty call numbers on that. Y' run off with that, 'n' I'll come after yer prick with a pair 'f hedge clippers, swear t' fuckin' God."

As she waits for him to take it, talk of violence sparks a thought in her addled mind. "This bein', like, m' last night 'f bad behavior 'n' all - y' wanna, like, have a fight 'r somethin'?" She proposes it with the same cautious hopefulness you might suggest playing a board game with a new acquaintance. Like she's not sure if he likes Monopoly, so she's just suggesting it as an activity.

Deckard is too mentally worn out to bother overmuch with impatience in the here and now. Also, sniping at her may make her less inclined towards cooperation, so. She fumbles and fails at velcro and readjusts her approach and he sits still and watches her without speaking, long face washed pale in limited moonlight and glasses no less black than before.

"Noted." When the phone is finally sent forth, he grasps casually after the plastic brick of it and (just as casually) tilts the screen in towards himself so that he can trip his way through the menu system to Recent Calls.

He's not that good with phones. It takes him longer than it would take her. Also, there's a steady pause in there somewhere when he winds up on the background picture again and dimly registers Magnes's stupid face gawping back up at him. He has to physically shake it off, grizzled hair gradually starting to bristle its way back up into disorder.

But delays are just that: delays. Eventually he highlights the number most recently contacted. So that he can push send instead of dialing in one of his own.

He looks back up at her once he has, uneasy resentment knitting into his brow at this latest suggestion. Why 'resentment' of all things, God and the last little girl he hit only know, but the totality of his non-answer while the line tries to ring through is probably a pretty good answer in itself.

The recent calls list goes like so: 'Magnes Magnes irish Magnes irish irish d d Magnes irish snowgirl' (all sic).

At this hour, any God-fearing American citizen in this time zone will have their phone set to silent while they sleep (though doubtless not the alarm that will wake them for their honest, red blooded 9 to 5 job). The contact dialed, the phone rings until voicemail, whereupon Deckard learns, via recorded message, that 'snowgirl' also goes by the name Holly Parker.

Meanwhile, Sable has decided that maybe the best way to start the fight she's after isn't politely suggesting it as an evening's entertainment. Usually goading and taunts work a lot better if that's what you're after. So she switches gears.

"Don't be a fuckin' gentleman on my fuckin' behalf. Y' already pissed 'n' puked yerself, how tough a scrap can y' possibly fuckin' be, eh? Don't hide yer sorry ass b'hind what mebbe yer tellin' yerself is, like, cccccchivalry 'r somethin'," her mouth cracks into a wide, toothy grin, "Iiiiii betcha y' can't even land one fuckin' punch. I betcha…" she looks down at her person, seeing what she might possible have to bet. Oh, look! A bottle! She lifts it. "This. 'gainst yers."

There are other numbers to try. Just. Given the sheer percentage of them that are Magnes Flint doesn't bother to try, buggy eyes rolled moonwards behind his glasses as he ends the call and sets the phone back down between them.

As far as more persistent sources of irritation are concerned, he seems fairly immune to taunting. Could be the source. Or the fact that he is used to it. Like animals at the zoo get used to bored assholes through pennies at them. Whatever the case, accusations of being pissy and pukey don't leave much of a dent and he is increasingly exhausted and increasingly cold besides, suit still dark with clinging wet in the open air. So far as he's concerned, her little alien skull is permanently set into a wide, toothy grin because there is no other arrangement for her mandible to be in. "You can have mine."

Not so permanent. Sable's face falls like that of a child whose ice cream has just teetered off the cone and landed on the pavement. And then, still fitting the simile, it screws up into a mask of furious upset.

"What the fffffuck is wrong with you people?!" she howls, gesturing wildly with the bottle in her hand, bad enough that she manages to send a few small gouts of liquor into the night air, scattering in droplets, marking pavement, stone, and further fouling the already hard-done-by water in the fountain's basin. "What th' fuck 'm I s'posed t' do t' make someone take a fuckin' swing at me? I fuckin'- fuckin'- pull hair 'n' try 'n' steal their woman 'n' say the worst sort 'f shit to 'em, 'n' break hearts 'n' act like a bastard but no one 'll fuckin'- fuckin'-"

Perhaps it's all the 'fuckin' that's being evoked, a horizontal mambo too much, but it's here that, instead of issuing words from between her lips, Sable chokes up a mouthful of spew. Her reaction is pretty damn quick, considering. She flips around and vomits whole-heartedly into the fountain's water, adding her own stomach's interior to the sickening brew that has been cooking in Central Park tonight. Her arms support her on either side, and her bottle clatters against the stone, lying lengthwise beneath her hand, spitting up a bit of its own contents as if in sympathy with the girl.

When it's over, Sable lets herself slide down to her knees, forehead coming to rest against the stone, not as soothing as she'd like, warmed by her body and wet with whiskey. She gives a few unpleasant burps, then takes a hitching breath, something between a hiccup and a sob.

When arguably good-natured (relatively speaking) taunting rolls over into a more venomous diatribe, Flint draws deeper into himself and looks away. There are black ants he can't see inspecting the drying etches of his vomit cake and dead trees and lamp posts that were never alive to begin with. Also illicit acts, although none near enough for him to occupy himself with once bile auffers a turn towards the the literal at his side.

It isn't until the impossible-to-mistake hiccupsob that he really gets uncomfortable, though, face downturned and broad shoulders stooped. Too awkward to look at her.

There's only one of those, a mercy to the both of them. It's followed by uneven, shallow breaths, but with each inhale they grow more even and less shallow in an approximately direct inverse relationship. It's not so long before she's taking long, calming breaths of air that, while not exactly clean and free of stench, certainly beat the in and out of liquor, health wise. It's a while longer, though, before she lifts her head, and wipes at her vomit-smeared mouth with the back of her arm. Yellow eyes blink up at the angel's feet. This would be a great time to find God. But tonight's not the night for sappy horseshit like that.

"I think mebbe," Sable croaks, "I'm gonna go home now."

Deckard is still sitting there when she looks up, gaunt profile illegible behind shadow and glasses and beard growth. A breeze that's gradually picking up steam has begun to dry at his fringes. It also does something for the smell, floating parcels of Sable's stomach contents stirred placid across the fountain's pond.

"Okay," he says, bare toes curled in to match the rest of him once he's drawn in a steeper breath, shivery edges not quite stiffled by his ongoing hunch. "Goodnight."

"I'm gettin' a new soul tomorrow," Sable informs the angel overhead. The second time she's said this. Maybe it needs to know, needs to arrange the trade-in with the big guy upstairs. Her head turns towards Deckard. "Y' want me t' hook y' up with one, too?"

Sable gets to her feet - unsteadily at first, but she manages it. On the one hand is her phone, on the other, the bottle. She's not sure she can manage to snag both. So she decides to take the phone. This could be seen as a symbolic gesture, friendship and human connection over the vice of blahblahblah. It's really a simple economic decision: she can't afford another phone. Once it's safely pocketed, she turns and gives the man in the sunglasses a wobbly salute. "Flint," she says, actually remembering his name, "Yer okay f'r a G-Man." How she came to this insight, only Johnny Walker knows.

This said, she begins to meander back into the dark, hopefully taking a course that will keep her free of this place's many after-dark predations. As she goes, she pipes up with another warble. The same song, a different section.

"'m pullin' off the road, 'm openin' the door - 'm giving y' the pavement, 'm tellin' y' what for - Yer no more than a thought - 'n' yer gettin' smaller in my rearview mirror - Yeah, yer gettin' smaller in my rearview mirror - Yeah, yer gettin' smaller…"

"I don't think it works that way," is a long way of saying 'no thanks.' It sounds like the sort of thing that might invite argument too, if Deckard said it more forcefully than he does.

Boots sized up at a distance once Sable's out've the way and he can see them again without looking through her, he considers them only for as long as it takes him to decide he's better off staying where he is for now. Drunk with no gun in Central Park at fuckoffoclock is kind of a naked feeling now that he has the spare headspace to think about it, and rather than risk motivation for muggary, he pushes his hardly-touched bottle plonk into the soiled water without its cap. That doing so clears out enough space for him to eventually stretch himself out supine along the fountain edge is probably not a coincidence.

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