Gay or European?


francois_icon.gif sable_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Gay or European?
Synopsis The eternal ambiguity.
Date July 13, 2010

Prospective Safehouse

There's no one person in the world who has as good an idea of where Teodoro Laudani might be at any given moment better than the Ferry does as a collective. Of course, this might in part be attributed to Wireless, with her eye in the sky at all times. Also that his gentleman consort happens to be a member, his other close friends. Also the necessity of communications to the complex and sprawling network. It only took Sable a couple questions, maybe a phonecall, to determine that the tallish European guy with the big hole in his cheek is helping to fix the wiring in a safehouse in Queens.

The house is an actual house, it turns out. Two floors, a giant wraparound couch that someone probably carpentered with grandchildren in mind, painted the color of churned butter and flanked with chestnut trees whose dander has made a richly rustling chaos out of the lawn, Martha Stewart's nightmare, but not bad if you're into that kind of thing. The windows are boarded, shutting out the stiff winds from the nearby coastline, but the front door is oddly ajar and smelling sterilely of loose plaster particulate.

Explained, shortly thereafter, by the giant hole in the ground floor wall that happens to have a dusty pant leg sticking out of it, a grumbling voice reverberating thinly through the thickness of air.

Wrack and ruin are something which, for Sable - a more than occasional squatter - produce a feeling approaching nostalgia. Not so long ago, before a series of utterly improbable events that landed her a pretty bitchin' gig as tenement layabout/asshole/constant noise complaint, this sort of dilapidated hole would have felt like a serious score. Getting to play house in a real house. Broken beer bottles and cigarette burns would collect, fellow vagrants gather, until enough real tough customers arrived that Sable had to split - a girl of her size does not constitute an upper rung of the food chain. This if she wasn't crashing at some chick's place, which was preferred, but rarely an exactly stable situation. Nothing spells the end of romance like the words 'I think you should get a job'. What a buzzkill.

The costal winds being blocked is maybe great for the huddled mutant masses, but really, temperature being what it is in the northeast heat wave, a little air would be greatly appreciated. Sable's already regretting wearing her full length cargo pants, though the real pain is the sweat that causes her dark and months-uncut hair to hang, jellyfish stinging, in her eyes. Add to this a long trip in a city bus with busted air conditioning, and she's really hoping this jackass is a freezokenetic or whatever the hell the formal term is for someone who can make a beer frosty by looking at it. At the very least he better have beer. She's carried this camera thingy all this way; what is she, a pack mule?

Still, the smell of aerosolized plaster (is there a hint of asbestos there? probably not, considering the conscientiousness of these Ferryfolk) brings back a flood of olfactory memory, and Sable's in just a good enough mood to regards these memories with fondness. At the very least they show how far she's come. She pokes her head around corners, through doors, and finally arrives in what's got to be the living space, considering how huge that couch is. But no sign… oh wait. That's a leg. The yellow eyed girl padpads over to the whole, peeking to see if that leg is attached to anything, or if she's going to be seeing Abby the EMT again a lot sooner than she had expected.

Yes there is a tallish European guy with a big hole in his cheek on the other end of the leg, as promised. He happens to be looking at her just as she gets in trajectory to look at him, and it's a little dark behind this section of wall, even with the tiny penlight protruding, very tastefully, from the puckered halves of the rift in his cheek. For a long moment, there is silence. No shooting, okay! Just silence, textured by the not-asbestos in the clouded air, and the tang of copper from the color-coded, rubber-insulated things corded like entrails in Teo's hands.

"Yarr—" he spits out the penlight, and it goes swinging on the ball-chain around his neck. "You're not Karen, are you? Replacement?

"Teo." Cordial is the easy first impression to make. He puts out a big hand, and then hooks his other arm up to grab the edge of his cave and hitch himself out. He is as much of a victim of the weather as she has been, apparently, sweat in patches on his T-shirt, flecking his forehead in opaque rosettes, though there are no streaky whiskers developing along his sneer lines or anything really alarming. Ink peeks out under the sleeve of his T-shirt, and the circuitous sweep of his eyes is reflexive, mmmmostly tactical, and discreet until he hangs pause on the camera in her hands.

"No such fuckin' luck, Handyman," Sable says, folding her arms and canting her hips in a way that she's got about two years left to keep doing before it becomes a really unforgivable affectation. Nineteen (best guess) is still 'teen', and twenty is less than twenty-something, but when you can drink you can stop acting like you're cool. Because you are cool. Drinking rules. Speaking of.

"You got a beer or something? You look like y' need it more th'n me, though," Sable grins, "If there's just one, I am th' guest 'n' all." Drinking when you're dehydrated from sweating is effective like fighting fire with fire - all you get is more fire, but at least you don't mind so much that you're dehydrated. Plus Sable still feels like the universe owes her a drink after Abby squared out on her.

Abby what! If only Teo knew. :( "No, 'fraid not. But someone might be bringing a cooler soon," the Sicilian says, thoughtfully, wiping the sweat off his nose with his thumb and leaving a streak of slightly gray iridescence across it as a consequence. He stands up, and finds himself having to look downward a fair distance. "I was on the phone bitching just now. I bet both the real terrorists and those in civil employ probably get at least beer money, every day. I watch movies; I know.

"I don't know why we who inhabit the creepy little shaded overlap in the Venn blobs don't get that, too," he declares, sounding hopefully other than wilfully unemployed. He stilts over to the toolbox laid open on the floor and shuffles around until he finds a rumpled square of band-aid tucked into the corner, the seal unbroken despite that the storage method wasn't exactly the most hygenic thing ever. He shreds it open to apply the thing to a hideous scrape on the side of his arm. "Why," he says, "do you have a camera?"

"Ain't it obvious?" Sable says, hefting the digital device, "I'm gonna make you a star. Chicks love dudes with scars. Yer a sure hit." She gives a sniff. "I'm doin' shit f'r the Ferry 'n' all, 'n' yer name came up, though, gotta say," she squints, "I ain't seen you at any meetin's, 'n' I figure I'd remember a face like yers." Not so much with the delicacy, this one. "Which, like, how'd you get that thing? You fuck with some bad dudes 'r somethin'? 'r didja do it yerself, figure it'd give y' 'n' edge in, like, eatin' contests?" A regular comedy routine, this one. The chatter is not so much nervous as it is slightly aggressive, though there's nothing to say that aggression can't have a nervous component.

The sun feels wrong in the sky and too warm, by the time Francois is climbing out of his car, a sleek shiny black thing with a GPS system he doesn't use that barely made a sound when it rolled up to park nearby. Basically, he's partially nocturnal today, in that mid afternoon feels a little like the morning, too hot and too differently lit to be so, but every other slightly overtired part of him is telling him differently. But it's good — he doesn't have to go anywhere today, except just now, to Queens. Bearing gifts.

Few seconds later, not right on cue but close enough, Francois is shouldering his way into the house, handling the esky cooler with the amount of grace appropriate for something so blockish and blunt, white and blue. Grey cotton on top, sleeves rolled to his elbows, blue denim below, feet in sneakers that trek no dirt inside.

He has scars too! More subtle things, considering how much attention is paid to the combination of eyes, nose, mouth — a piece missing from his ear, torn or bitten but long ago, stitched white scarring sealing up the injury. Some flat surface judders as he puts the cooler up onto it, a nod of chin upwards in Teo's direction, and Sable glanced at. And glanced at again. Okay, a camera.

Teo stands up, flattening the sticky bit of adhesive and padding on his arm, making sure its ends are settled properly, just in case the guy whose arrival is imminent gets cranky about it. He probably should have applied iodine or at least water, but when things are for show, they can afford to lack some depth and detail. "Hey, tesoro," he greets, motioning at the munchkin paparazzi. "There's a girl here, doing 'shit' for the Ferry. She hasn't told me her name yet, but she wanted some beer and to know why I have an extra hole in my face.

"So it's good you're here." That is a joke about something. Maybe the adrenal ninja story of how he got his scar, the deep hurt it symbolizes, and the terrible, scarring dangers whom he proved himself greater than in every way. He doesn't reach over and punch Sable or anything, anyway, just grins, which makes the hole in his cheek do something puckery and bunchy, reveals more of the teeth and mangled gums through the wall of his mouth than anyone really needs to see.

Francois, at least, can read the subtle sign or three that the attention isn't as easy to bear as Teo is trying to present, but that it isn't as hard as it used to be, either.

Want to hear about deep hurt? Try bleeding for almost a week every month, jackass!

Though its true she hasn't introduced herself. And her name is really much easier to handle than 'tiny intrusive brat' or even just 'that bitch'. Actually, 'that bitch' is the same number of syllables, so if you'd rather…

"Sable," she says, pointing a thumb at herself. "'n' is this glass 'f water here with th' Ferry also, 'cause if not, don't we gotta, like… kill 'im 'r hit 'em over th' head 'til he f'rgets we even mentioned it 'r somethin'? I'm sorta new t' all this happy crappy, y'know?" She peers up at Francois, then down at the cooler. "Ooooh," she says, "Beer dude. I dig. Uh… yeah…" she pat the camera in her hand, "Just, like, gatherin' whatall folks saw when everyone passed th' fuck out back however long ago that was when everyone, like… passed out." A pause, "A blonde chick was givin' me a dog in mine." There! Now they have to tell her by rule of quid pro quo.

The cooler lid is flipped open in offering, once a querying stare has been exchanged between camera-wielding girl and boy bearing torn grin, vague worry Francois has the discipline to keep both silent and out of his expression. Instead, he quirks an easy smile at Sable. His hands tuck into pockets and he backs up a couple of steps that serve to take him out of the way of sustenance and those in need of it, as well as vaguely closer to Teo. "Francois. Only part time, am I with the Ferry," he explains, a dismissive shake of his head, accent defaultly American but inevitably tinged by Europe and not just by mildly stilted formality. "But not just when people need something to drink." Hard to tell if he's carefully ignoring the talk of visions, or deciding he's not applicable for interview.

Quid pro quo sits on Teo's chest like some kind of horrible goblin and Sable's abbreviating the vowels out of every other word rattles uneasily in the spirals of his ears. He blinks a little stupidly in the dusty light of the living room, and then scratches the back of his head, rasp-rasp, blunt nails on the ragged hair growing too long back there. Emo grunge, he does not do tremendously well. (He can read Francois, too. In general, his grammar doesn't get quite that deranged, as a function of him generally not being so uncomfortable.)

Maybe Sable is similar. Teodoro has been a ninja for a great long while, now, so has learned stuff about reading people even without a baseline to interpret from. "Well," he lapses into a pause. He seems to equivocate about something internally for a few conversationally awkward seconds, before coming to some kind of decision. He lets his arm fall and flattens his sleeve with his fingers. "I didn't see anything.

"It was like I'd just gone to sleep. I thought it was the same for everybody for about half an hour."

Sable doesn't mind if she does. She gives Francois a smile. "Smooth name, my man," she says, becoming a beatnik for a moment apparently, and stooping to pluck a beer from the bowels of the cooler. "Man, all this fine European manhood's goin' t' fuckin' waste with me here. I almost feel guilty," she tucks the camera under her arm, lifts the can from the bed of ice and cracks it open. "Much obliged. Cheers." And she takes a drink. The gaze she turns Teo's way is noteworthy in that it seems a little less sharp, her attitude less tinged with inexplicable semi-hostility. "Seein' nothin'… other folks've had that too, eh?" she frowns, "Y' some kind 'f psychic, then?"

Hands coming to fold behind him in resting posture, shoulders rolling in at a shrug at indirect flattery and smile tilting more amused than polite, a warmer kind of demeanor. "Non problema," Francois italians in response to near guilt, weight shifting back on his heels as his attention turns towards Teo at that question, and there's a sound there, from the Frenchman, one that speaks volumes about whether or not he thinks the other man is in anyway psychic:

No, never, in other words. A facetious response for all that the subject matter could be more pleasant.

"Naw," Teo says. There's a pause. Well, used to be. No, too complicated. They are having beers, and that is more of a wine or whisky conversation, probably. He goes over to the cooler (cooler!) thing to get a can, too, and winds up staying there in a squat, maybe tired from having been stuck halfway into a wall for a couple hours. He pulls it open with a callused finger hooked into the aluminium. "No. I don't have any kind of powers. I think you're right— some other people did. Pretty exciting mix of kids, narcoleptics, and terminal cancer patients, 'least what I remember from the news.

"I have a pretty clean bill of health, so…" There's a grating pause, when Teo tries to decide whether or not he is going to ask Sable not to tell anybody else, but then, he doesn't know her. She said this was for the Ferry. She'd asked, he'd answered, and he is well-acquainted enough with the fact that he is generally too busy being complicated to be happy to figure that probably speaks of some secret urges. "Who asked you to do this?" he inquires, instead.

"And what's that for?" He pokes his forefinger at the can, and starts to drink, his head canted, presumably to prevent a fizzy yellow geyser from erupting out of his face.

Sable blinks, once, twice. "Now, I ain't a kettle t' be making reference t' the blackness 'f no pots," she says, "But may I ask what th' fuck that's s'ppose t' mean? Mebbe what you said makes sense in yer, like, mother tongue 'n' all but…" And then it hits her, "Oooh, y' mean… folks that didn't see nothin'," the index finger bracing her beer can uncoils and points in Teo's direction. "Y' gotta work on yer clarity 'f fuckin' expression, dig?" She lifts her beer and sets it atop her head, balancing it there, evoking both sorority girl and charm school attendee, both anathema to the rest of her mien. Her eye scoot up, as if somehow she could see the can if she looked high enough (which she can't). Maybe this is meditative for her. When she plucks it back off, she's made another realization.

"So what yer sayin', boy," Sable says, "Is that some folks figure not seein' nothin's a sign 'f, like, grim tidin' in the day's t' come, 'n', like, the Lord comin' to collect his due, so t' speak? But as y' ain't…" and then she pauses. Oh. Oh… something's coming back to her now.

This… this is the guy Magnes said he shot, isn't it? Teo = Teo.


She shrugs, "F'r the record, mind if I grab yer, like, sayin' y' didn't see nothin'? I'm tryin' to get more hits that this other chick who's doin' the same thing, 'n' told me she had a wicked competitive streak, so," she grins, "Gotta say that's just askin' f'r me t' try 'n' beat her, dig?"

Francois prefers the 'totally silent, lightless empty black room' theory, personally, and knows better anyway, watching Teo's profile before he is, instead, watching his feet, watching his feet shift away to wander and collect his own beer. Pace away again from the conversation, fingernails peeling back the tab to the satisfying crack of breaking metal and its fizzy contents. This conversation would be better for whiskey and wine, and he prefers both, but when in Rome—

"How many do you have so far?" he inquires, backing up enough and butt finding the rise of the couch's arm, perching, toes of his shoes set against the ground at lazy balance and fingernails working in a fidget around the rim of his beer can before he takes a drink.

Teo gestures expansively, or as expansively as he can considering he's holding a beer in his hand and doesn't want to aste it on the floor. "Go ahead," he says. "Good to have some information collated that we know won't be tainted by…"

Well, Sable can probably figure out how to word all that gooder. Teodoro's great history of political resistance was the kind he just tripped and fell into, and probably stayed with because he liked guns and past-midnight rendezvouses better than he could conscience without a cause greater than lucrative crime to frame it in. "Y'know." He glances at Francois, then. Furtively, just in time to snuff out the synapse that parsed the peculiarity of the girl's trailing ellipses re: Magnes shooting him. Sometimes love is blinding more than blind.

Back to Sable, the next moment, curious about her answer to that question.

"Uh…" Sable says, screwing up her eyes. "There's her… 'n' her… 'n' her… 'n'… yeah, jus' three so far," And all women, who'd have guessed? "I, uh…" she shrugs, "I ain't exactly takin' t' assignments 'n' all. Gettin' used t' all this. I'm, like, a musician." She sets her beer on the ground and fiddles with the camera, tugging open the display and flicking the 'on' button. The lens lifts up towards Teo's face, its black insect's eye viewing him with what looks both like indifference and alarm. Staring, wide-eyed and empty. Smile!

"Tell me when yer ready, th'n say yer name 'n' what y' saw, 'r, like… didn't. Y'know."

There is a light lean to Francois' body posture as if he might be able to angle around enough to see the LCD screen. Doesn't make much more effort than that, only casting a minorly sad smile across at Teo, a subtle wink, before dipping his gaze away. Silent, obviously — don't want to ruin the dialogue or force multiple takes upon the younger man.

Well, this is embarrassing. Mostly because Teo has to rather visibly fight the urge to turn his head to hide his bad side. Vanity. "What?" His eyes rove at some target off the edge of the monitor, over at Francois, and his eyebrows go right up. "Why the fuck do we have t—?

"Everybody already knows my na—" They could talk about lesbians instead, or he could write a note, sign it, type it up if that would make more sense. He stares at the camera, and sighs, recuperating from his momentary consternation with what passes for good humor, considering the exaggerating ballooning of his cheek and the flubbering of movement through the edges of the skin as he does that. Okay. Fine.

He might have more qualms about this if he knew about certain Magneses shooting him, just in case that isn't clear to observers who are in-the-know. "Okay go," he motions with his beer, and then gets the beer out of the viewfinder in a slight fluster. Go.

"Hi," is mildly ridiculous, he realizes a moment later, although he had deliberately avoided saying 'Ciao' to avoid that. "My name is Teodoro Laudani," looking slightly blue, bleached-out along the halfway line defined by the stupendously proportioned bridge of his nose, overexposed on the side of his profile closest the window. He blinks at the camera, then over at Sable's elbow under it, then the edge of Francois' shoulder, but no further. Seems to have a difficult time considering himself the actual subject of the video in session.

"In my blackout, I didn't see anything."

"'n' where were y' when y' blacked out?" Sable asks with the dull sound of recitation, looking at Teo through the display, a second hand rendition, "Don't gotta be too specific, just, like, neighborhood 'r whatever."

Francois is a pretty good audience. Beer becoming tepid in hand and mostly not sipped from, now. There's a glance towards Sable as she takes her her role with bored ease, and he folds an arm over midsection, rests other elbow against that, can't help but glance towards Teo's wrists despite knowledge that fixing wiring probably is not one of those dress up events. Kind of nice if it had immortality, is all.

Yes there is silver around Teo's wrist, braids and cords between three equidistant links. A nice bracelet: expensive, not too flashy, terribly inappropriate when you are skooshing around a hole in a wall. It's anyone's guess whether he'd decided to keep it on or forgot to take it off. His eyes go to Sable, showing the camera the whites. "I was on the bridge. Williamsburg, but still over the water near Manhattan."

Francois is a pretty good audience. Beer becoming tepid in hand and mostly not sipped from, now. There's a glance towards Sable as she takes her her role with bored ease, and he folds an arm over midsection, rests other elbow against that, can't help but glance towards Teo's wrists despite knowledge that fixing wiring probably is not one of those dress up events. Kind of nice if it had immortality, is all.

Yes there is silver around Teo's wrist, braids and cords between three equidistant links. A nice bracelet: expensive, not too flashy, terribly inappropriate when you are skooshing around a hole in a wall. It's anyone's guess whether he'd decided to keep it on or forgot to take it off. His eyes go to Sable, showing the camera the whites. "I was on the bridge. Williamsburg, but still over the water near Manhattan."

And that. Is that. Sable snaps the display shut and flicks the camera off. Her eyes return to the real-life Teo and she gives him a nod. "Right on," she says, "Thanks f'r that. Seems mebbe a little stupid but hey," she shrugs, "I could have a real job, eh?" Her grin is crooked, offered as indication that this is a joke, and maybe you can smile at it if you feel like, but at very least… don't take her seriously. She stoops once more, taking her beer back up. "Well, I'll get th' fuck outta here, leave you gents t', like… fixin' this place 'r tearin' it down 'r whatever the fuck it is yer doin'. Bottom's up!" Naming the maneuver, she proceeds to perform it, head tilting back to make a clear passage from mouth, down throat, to stomach. A nearly straight drop. She doesn't even have to taste it! There's a moment of interior froth, and she gags once, lifting her hand to her mouth to avoid spilling, but no worries - her gracelessness has its limits. Guuulp. A chest thump precedes a suppressed burp. She tosses the empty can back into the cooler.

100 percent pure class.

Well that was a wholly unappetising display of— whatever that was. Not obvious enough to set his beer aside or anything, but not finishing his right away either, Francois waits until she's done to offer words. "It was nice to meet you," is spoken with that mix of politeness and sincerity, swift to get those words in before Teo's, on the back tail of the empty can clattering about the interior of the cooler. Only then does his attention swoop on over towards the hole in the wall — it is a little hard to tell what renovations the house is undergoing.

Also! Unscathed. His sympathy for Teo might not extend so far as to extract him out of a situation where he has to tell some unknown audience that he might be dying in November, but enough to recognise he doesn't want to do it either. The sofa judders a little as he takes his weight off it, long fingers spidered over dented tin can.

Teo glances back at the wall, brow furrowing. Hey, it doesn't look that bad. Just because everybody else is used to homes that everybody else fixed up for them— Christ. He turns around to explain, but Sable has beer in her face and Francois is looking a bit green around the sensiblities, so he's left to huff a little sigh, and nod. "Yeah, nice to meet you too. I feel the same way about," he says, "'real' jobs."

His eyes go slightly thin around the corners to reflect a certain degree of amusement as to this fact. Playing with conductive copper is something like recording the probable-prophesies of a dozen refugees. You know, even apart from confusing the shit out of the French. "Maybe we'll see you play some time," he says, wiggling his beer in a gesture that's less an immediate good-bye than acknowledging her imminent departure. "Your band has a name, right? 'Least one?"

Sable squints at Teo, like maybe she thinks he's making fun of her, but she's on to him. A look that says 'yeah, I'm on to you, buddy, if yer makin' fun of me'. That kind of squinty look, exactly. Very specific. There's a fairly long pause, pregnant even, and then she gives a shrug. "Can't figure one out yet. You try 'n' choose a name when yer bassist 'n', like, other foundin' member keeps tryin' t' push 'Batman's Thong' 'r some shit as what should be up on th' marquee. I try 'n' be nice, tell 'im that sorta thing's just bad f'r yer market share, 'n' all.

"Trouble is, I dunno what sorta music we're gonna make, so choosin' th' right name f'r our, like, target demo ain't easy t' figure. But I'll work it out," she taps her temple, "I've got th' knack," she taps her nose, "'n' the direction," she taps the spot over her heart, "'n' th' will."

Monologue complete she rolls her shoulders, passing the camera from hand to hand like a basketball player handling 'the brick'. "Yeah, figure y' do, seein' as, like I said, never see y' at any of those boring-ass meetin's they have, 'bout tactics 'n' logistics 'n' shit. Think my boy's got th' right idea. If I'm gonna do secret society shit 'r whatever, I wanna do either th' cool stuff, like savin' chicks 'n' blowin' shit up, 'r the real lazy shit, like this," she lifts the camera in both hands, "'n' whatever th' hell yer doin'. Which like… what th' fuck are y' doin', exactly?"

Sable is a chatterer not just out of natural inclination or lack of social grace, though both apply. She's a talker because most people find it hard to get rid of you when you keep the conversation going, as telling you to leave straight out would be considered rude and most people find it surprisingly hard to be rude to strangers. The flick of her eyes betrays her reasons for using this stalling technique, honed over years of mooching. Her glance is towards a beer. Just how loaded can she get, she wonders, before staggering back to the bus stop that will return her to Gun Hill?

"I'm fixing the wiring in the wall. The lights are all fucked up on the ground floor," Teo answers clearly, —but not prissily, shooting a sidelong glance at Francois, a moment before he steps forward. Reaches to close coarse fingers around another beer, waving it in Sable's direction. "Been breathing dust awhile, though. I'll walk you to the bus, if you want. If I hold this down here," and he angles the can down to hide at the side of his pant leg, "no one will notice we're breaking whatever-statute-shit with the not carrying around alcohol in the open.

"I don't go to the meetings because they tend to be far," he adds, in a friendly tone of voice, an answer that probably seems to simple to make sense after ten minutes of offhanded evasion. He starts loping toward the door as a demonstration of how to get there, in case Sable is really planning to use persiflage as an excuse to stay around and guzzle down all the beer Monsieur Allegre bought them. Also because maybe he thinks Francois could use a couple seconds, maybe picking up the rear, or else staying watch over the house to compose himself; that still isn't the easiest topic to talk about. "We live in Manhattan.

"We're gay too," he adds, relevantly.

Sable leans out to snag the beer, cracking it open and sniffing the fizzing aperture, an addition to the ritual that was maybe occasioned by Teo's offering it rather than her snagging it herself. Is this a good one? Smell like poison? No? Okay. She lifts it in that minor 'cheers' gesture again and takes a sip.

"No paper bags?" Sable asks, then peers at her beer, "Figure that works best f'r tallboys, though. Dunno. Yeah. And whatever, I c'n run pretty fast. 'n' pigs don't tend t' chase y' down for small shit, 'specially with everythin' being as it is." General upheaval, parts of the town in total lawlessness, you know. As things are. Interesting times.

She only follows Teo with her eyes at first. And when he makes his statement, vis a vis sexual orientation or maybe good mood if he's old school, Sable lets out a sharp bark of what is maybe laughter. Sounds sort of like it.

"No y' ain't." Because apparently she's the authority.

Conversation is walking out the door, and Francois is not particularly needy enough to not let it. Having already given his parting words to the girl, he's moving for a different door — less because he needs a few seconds and more because he's curious to see the rest of the building. And it won't be the first time he's letting the young things talk. Floorboards creak beneath scuffed sneakers but otherwise, his departure of the room is quiet — though his exeunt does flag a chuckle at the end of Sable's declaration.

Could have fooled him, and other witty responses — all of which summed up neatly in light, unassuming laughter before he's taking his beer around the corner.

"Finish it before we get to the intersection, shouldn't be a problem," Teo says, tugging at his shirt collar because it is sticking disgustingly to his neck. "Lot of vacancies in this neighborhood, not enough cops in this state." Welcome to New York in 2010. The silver lining is, one can walk out of a fledgling mutant safehouse with alcohol, nnno problem.

The porch has good acoustics. Makes Teo's tromping footsteps sound like they belong to a man thrice as heavy. "What do you mean 'No y' ain't?'" Teo only thinks to ask after he's finished debating to himself whether or not to lock the door, and he decides not to. "I'm not making fun of your accent," he adds, after a moment, with that sensitivity that every ESL necessarily show, even if there is a little bit of indignation in there too.

He takes a step down toward the dishevelled lawn, then skips the next one, sliding slightly on concrete. "I mean: what do you mean? How do you know?"

Hey! Come back here! Sable is forced to give chase to drive home her point, heading to the inner threshold of the porch and peeking out at the man whose statement of sexuality she has just denied. Which is a real nice way to treat someone you've just met. Let alone someone who may or may not be alive in the next six months. But politeness is a tactic Sable employs case by case, and there is something weirdly meek about this man that makes her want to press an aggressive advantage. Plus she's tipping towards sloshed, which has never had a precisely bolstering effect on anyone's inhibitions.

She looks like she's leering at him. In fact, with beer in hand, a tipsy grin in place, leaning on a half-wrecked house as the porch is baked in the sun, a leer seems like the only appropriate expression. Dudes on the front step. Cat calling. Bullshitting. And, true to theme, her next question is:

"When's th' last time y' fucked a gal?"

Teo stands on the path, however blurry its edges may be, indistinctly defined against the overgrown grass and a lot of dandelions turning brown in the heat. He squints thoughtfully at the medium distance. Or at Sable's crotch, depending on how one supposes. "Uhh," he concludes, after a long moment. "Is that the sole determining factor? I thought things like, you know.

"Social pressures and politics can explain that part. There are many pieces presented in the Cannes Film Festivals about it." Heavy conversation for moderately-priced beer, right! Kind of. Maybe. Teodoro is looking reasonably concerned, peering at the young woman from underneath a hand visoring his forehead, his drink dripping in the other one.

"Boy, I asked you a question," Sable says, narrowing her eyes, "'n' y' surely ain't stupid 'nuff t' think I don't know that when someone dodges a question by sayin' it ain't important 'r' relevant 'r' whatall else, it's 'cause they know it don't jive with their initial fuckin' presentation. So I ask y'," she grins, "Gay… when's th' last time y' fucked a woman?" Woman this time, not 'gal'. Being more general. Less colloquial. Giving him less dialect to hide behind.

She has gone from catcalling and bullshitting to giving him death eyes from the porch. That's slightly alarming. Teo waves his arm, gesturing for her to come and do that from closer, because there is a bus stop to stand at, somewhere over there. He turns around. "I'm trying to remember the exact date," he says, so that she doesn't think he's being evasive or whatever, although she already thinks he's being evasive, so. "Ummm."

He knees aside the tiny, wrought iron gate— nothing that would ever keep FRONTLINE out, if FRONTLINE should ever descend upon the butter-colored house and its precious hypothetical inhabitants. It squeaks rustily, a sound that belongs to this weather, along with rattling flyscreens and shotglasses set down hard. "What's the average across two years before I don't count as straight anymore?"

He's getting away! Sable was quite comfortable where she was, in the shade, but she is not going to let this go. She patters after him, falling into a brief jog before catching up, sidling to come up alongside Teo, head tilting to let her sidelong glance get a clear line to his face. Up there. Beer can held at thigh-level, the position of surreptition, just as Teo himself suggested. With this shift, from porch sitting in-your-faceness to slinking illicit booze transport, comes a similar shift in tone. No longer a confrontation, at least in the way she says it. Conspiracy, instead. Confidence.

"Did y' enjoy it?"

Like she's going to answer his questions. Those are just derailers, distractions from the point she wants to make, which is the only point she's interested in honing. Keen and uncomfortable as points ought to be.

The bus sssstop iiis… over there. Teo tips his head forward and glances down the sidewalk, and then starts to navigate along the concrete, plugging the beer into his face while Sable changes interrogative methods.

Many words. Relevant quesions. The answer is Yes, coincidentally. "I was trying not to think about a guy for a dishonorable amount of it. I mean, I succeeded, but." He glances sidelong at her. Well, sideways and down a little distance. "Surely," he pauses to wipe an unattractive sluice of moisture from the giant hole gouged in his cheek. "That is a factor. Right?

"You hear about gay men living lies. Just because you met me sticking out of a hole in the wall with no future doesn't mean I'm this honest in all aspects of my life." This declaration is punctuated with a squaring of lean shoulders, and he scratches his fingers through his hair. For the first time in some months, he finds himself regretting his dishevelled and over-long coiff. It is far too hot to be doing the emo scraggle, particularly when being antagonized by a tiny girl-shaped burr.

"Jesus, what th' fucks this?" Sable says, peering at Teo, "Y' gettin' philosophical on me? Yer obviously fuckin' confused 'bout whatall y' are if y' get so fuckin' flustered over a simple fuckin' question as t' whether 'r not y' enjoy pussy. Christ, boy, I ain't gonna judge anyone f'r likin' pussy. Likin' a dick up th' ass is more what I gotta sorta suspend disbelief 'bout imaginin' as enjoyable."

She takes another draw on her beer. The aggression of her questioning ebbs, but the questions themselves don't stop. "What I'm left wonderin' is, as yer clearly committed t' bein', like, confirmably fuckin' queer, why is it y' fucked a girl in th' first place, when y' had t' go t' all the trouble t' not think 'f dudes while y' were at it? I mean, if that ain't th' height 'f strange thinkin' - wantin' but not wantin' what yer wantin' - enjoyin' but only with like, effort t' enjoy it as yer s'posed t' - I fear the madness of th' further peak, know what I mean? Why not just fuck dudes? It's a fair sight easier from all I've seen 'n' heard. Women are work, 'n' I'd know."

The Sicilian blinks at something in the sunshine or that the wind had pitched into his eye, or something, and then turns his eyes at the young woman talking at him again. "I'm not flustered," he says. "I'm telling things to a fucking stranger because they're easier to talk to than people you know. Although, I guess, there's kind of a hole in my plan because it seems like you know Delilah, or someone who knows Delilah and talks a lot about Delilah.

    "I don't really mind if you don't think I'm gay." It isn't tremendously polite or anything, but a lot of Teo's friends aren't. Helena has the tact of a falling brick. Deckard is pathologically Deckard, and the little coven of murderers he hangs out with at the rundown pharmacy over at Staten Island is— what it is. "I don't really remember exactly why I did it. I mean obviously," he stops trying to lift his bangs off his forehead. "Getting off was an objective, but I think I was trying to make something complicated simple.

    "It's hard to explain if you've never tried to get away from something you weren't sure you regretted before. But it was like that. I nearly got my mom shit, and some other things. Oh," his elbow bends in the air, bounces off Sable's shoulder. "I don't regret her, so don't fucking start."

    "Jesus," Sable says, "Yer gettin' more prickly th' moment I stop gettin' in yer grill. Not too, yer sort of meek 'n' mild in that way I figure Europeans," pronounced you-roe-PEE-ans, "Get trained by mommas they don't regret which, like… do I want t' know? Jesus. Anyways, yer timin's off, boy. Missin' yer cues. Seems like y've got a problem with that. Fallin' out of synch. Take a minute, I'll give it t' y'." And she pauses, counting down sixty seconds one one hand - one finger, two, on to five and then closing to start over - while the other swishes her beer to her lips, finishing it. The last ten seconds are spent crushing the can against the top of her head and tossing it to the side of the street. Evidently someone doesn't give a hoot.

Teo watches the can accordion flat at the top of Sable's head with quizzical curiosity. "I," he says, falling into a brief silence. "What?" He finishes off his own beer a little hastily, realizing at the curb he'd pointed out earlier is coming up. "I don't mean my mom-her. I meant the last-girl-I-fucked-her. Although I don't really regret my mom, either, except the part where I might have gotten her shot." Scrrrk. The can flattens between Teo's hands, which is considerably less impressive but whatever. He tosses it underhand into the next pea-green bin he finds sitting on the sidewalk. "I'm not being prickly.

    "Am I?" he squints against the glare as if the frequency of light is going to give him answers. "Sorry. Who gave you this whole blackout-recording job, anyway?"

    "Yer regrets ain't my interest," Sable informs him, brushing aside the topic with the same pointedly carelessness with which she disposed of her rubbish, "'n' whatever. Shoot yer mom. Get her shot. Fat lot of good those bitches ever did us, bringin' us int' this fuckin' world. Coulda kept their legs shut but noooo…" The elongation of words is a sign of rapidly increasing intoxication. Two beers consumed with such rapidity gets the job done with a frame like hers. Slosh slosh sloshed. "Mebbe not. Y' started t' cuss at me, which I'm bein' told more 'n' more is, like, sign of bein' pissed 'r prickly, which, like Iii didn't fuckin' know… Fuckin' squares…" The sentence never completes itself, lapsing into a resentment whose specific object(s) may be uncertain maybe even to her. "Aaanyhow, uh… right," she glances at the camera, tracing the steps of intention that brought her here in the first place, "Colette, up at Gun Hill, which is where I live 'n' is a fuckin' odd place t' be sure. Dunno if it's heaven 'r' hell, but it ain't of this earth - more a place 'f the mind, all wildness 'n' whim whipped up in th' wind, if y' follow me," which, like, who wouldn't, right?

    A sidelong squint gives a moment's warning before another question is sent Teo's way. "Y' really int' this whole thing we do?" she's talking about the Ferry, "'cause, like I said, I ain't seen y' at meetin's 'n' I fuckin' sympathize if y' ain't 'cause I get the feelin' at times there's like… I dunno… something dishonest 'bout it all. Like, everyone's got their own fuckin' reasons but all get t'gether t' build it up int' some sorta cause apart from like those real fuckin' reasons. Not that it ain't all f'r the good 'n' all, but… dunno."

    This is a misgiving Sable didn't necessarily realize she possessed until this one drunken moment, with this stranger - easier, indeed, to talk to than people you know. And people you suspect are 'into' this whole thing they do.

Having his regrets summarily dismissed and his mom violently as well, in the same sentence, Teo sighs his woe and then stops tidily at the stop sign, looking this way, then that. "I know Colette," he says, nodding over the zebra crosswalk. "We aren't exactly friends, but I like her." This information is volunteered without any apparent assertion that who Teodoro likes is her interest, either. "I wasn't swearing at you. I just swear sometimes."

    He kind of pours himself out onto the street, the next moment. Christ, it is hot, even for his sensibilities. Up ahead, there's the edge of a cloud's shade moving in an unclear direction, and he rather obviously hastens to catch up to it, trusting or — hoping that Sable will just sort of slosh along. "I don't go to the meetings because I don't think it's that— important for me to go to the meetings.

    "I get memos about what they need me to do, cross my fingers that the people who pick council chairs and divide up the supplies and run guns are doing their jobs. I used to be in Phoenix," he flips a twining limb of bougainvillea as they pass by its brilliant plumage, "so I think I know what you mean about building shit up about a cause then, pfft." He makes a flapping gesture that either means he wants to be Tinkerbell when he grows up, or characterizing the fall of the once-mighty 'terrorist' organization. "Because it's fundamentally just a bunch of variously maladjusted kids and veteran evading justice together.

    "On the other hand, you don't have to care a lot about a cause to be part of it. Sorry," he adds, realizing a crinkling magenta petal of the aforementioned bush fell onto Sable's head a moment ago. He reaches over to pinch it off.

    "Good. I fuckin' swear all th' fuckin' time!" Sable declares with celebratory cheerfulness. The truth is, mostly her profanity comes free flowing, without thought, woven into the fabric of her expression. But in her drunken attempt at cleverness she pointedly used an extra 'fucking' in that declaration. Get it? Yeah.

    She eyes his hand as it reaches down to snag the petal. There is a moment's suspicion reserved for the 'gay' man's reach, but he makes up for the potential het-ness of it when the gesture itself turns out to be more than acceptably faggy. I mean, magenta? Really? "See, I miss th' days when bein' maladjusted kid meant y' started a fuckin' punk band. Even if y' sold out, at least no one's gettin' blown th' fuck up. It's like… what the fuck happened? I even prefer th' apathy-dealy 'f Grunge - least they made music. All this gun-knife-bomb bullshit… only guns I care f'r 'r then ones used in the 1812." She's talking about the overture, not the war it refers to or the contemporaneous war during which D.C. burned. Sable's more interested in the British invasion of the 60's.

Um. :D

    "Okay," Teodoro nods despite not knowing very much about music and therefore missing out on most of the value of what she just said. He gets the gist, which is probably good enough. He scrunches up the magenta in his fingers, and fails to bat an eyelash at the little bit of self-contradiction manifest in the short-lived suspicion on her face. After a moment, he decides not to ask about what happened with the guns in 1812. "I dunno. Where I grew up, we threw sports riots when we were maladjusted and young, but there weren't usually guns or premade explosives or anything, just— excited people. I can see what you mean.

    "Would it make you feel better if they were honest?" Teo twists his head to look through a gate at a lawn that has actual garden gnomes on it, then back at the girl again again.

    "Yeah, I think I fuckin' might," Sable says, nodding, "'cause then people would call a spade a fuckin' spade. Yer pissed so y' like to blow shit up? Yer a psycho and, like, that's cool. But don't fuckin' pretend y' ain't a psycho just 'cause y' hang out with other folks got th' same psychtosis- psych- psy- aw, hell, y' know what I mean. 'n' mebbe, if they figured out it's 'cause their parents fuckin' died or they never felt loved 'nough, or they got some sort 'f dark fuckin' past 'n' terrible crime t' hide away… mebbe if they fuckin' admitted it… they'd just get wasted 'n' play country music 'r some shit. I'd be okay with that. Mebbe they'd made country that didn't suck so bad as it tends t' now."

    This ramble possesses the logic of loose association. There are connecting themes, related ideas, that bridge the gaps in the actual argument being made or opinion being elaborated, but they're not terrible tight or close.

    "Sports riots… guess that's better. Still think y' should do somethin' else. Bring back Opera. Have another Vivaldi. Yer Italian, right? Or am I makin' that up?"

Teo actually looks slightly pleased that she figured that out. He is totally Italian. Sicilian, more like, but he's been in America too long to bristle over people who don't acknowledge the distinction.

    "Yes," he says, beaming, which makes the hole in his cheek stretch out kind of gross but just kind of. "Francois is French." Europeannnns. He leads the kind-of-wobbly dradle of a girl across the next street, then stops beside the bus stop. Nobody else waiting to get to Manhattan, which may or may not have something to do with the fact that it's the middle of the work day and they are useless unemployed terrorist fucks. "Personally, I'm a little psycho, I guess.

    "But I also think that people escaping from justice because they have kids who are mutants that could get dark-holed for nothing should have running water. And giant holes in their temporary living room walls." He tries to sidle into the slight shade offered by the sign, before realizing there is a medium-sized tree coming through the fence over there, and backing in to hide under it. "You?"

    "Ain't none 'f that need a bomb t' do. 'nless there ain't a hole in th' wall already 'n' y' need t' make one," Sable opines, "So I'm merely fuckin' suggestin' maybe we stick t' that. 'n' t' make music, too, when y'r feelin' psycho. Only safe way t' be a psycho, y'know? 'n' musicians only kill themselves, so… I figure that's a better way t' be. Psycho-wise. 'cause I know I'm crazy. 'cause I keep pickin' fights and no single fuckin' person will fight back. And that pisses me off. But I haven't killed no one. Yet my fuckin' former roommate 'n' comrade has. Music's the better way."

    She has hit rambly drunk. Which she was already at, but it's on full power now. "You seem like yer on th' latter end 'f somethin', boy. I think all Europeans are kinda like that. Everythin's already happened. Y' always 'r livin', like, in th' twilight. Y' could use some music, bring y' back t' life. Like happened in Britain when they picked up rock 'n' roll. Gave those Brits back some fuckin' spark."

Teo lifts one shoulder, drops it again, half-shrug. "I don't really make things," he says. Except babies! But you know, that's consistent with his adding, "It isn't really my calling. I admire people who do, though. What's your band like?

    "My friend— uh, Catherine Chesterfield," he isn't sure if she may have seen Doctor Chesterfield at the Ferry meetings before, and for a moment he finds himself a little uneasy that he is touching on a topic or acquaintance that's like to set Sable off, but. Well he's probably survived worse. "She's into music. Has her own recording studio, I think. Never got a good look inside, but that seemed to be what it was built for. I'll introduce you two, some time. She'll have the best flash in the Ferry, if she had one she won't mind sharing.

    "Her power is photographic memory: she'll remember every little thing. It's fucking creepy, sometimes." He wiggles the heel of his shoe on a tuft of grass coming up through the pavement, which was dying anyway.

    "Like nothin' even we c'n a name to," Sable admits, bandwise, "Too many fuckin' influences. 'n' it's a labor f'r me t' stand t' give away even a speck of creative control, but it's an exercise in m' personal betterment. I've been tryin' t' be good. I… prob'ly shouldn't've gotten drunk. Thass th' old way," she lapses into momentary quiet sadness. Mood swingy. But the mention of Cat makes her perk up. "Know 'er," she says, "Gonna ask her t' back m' own small label," she grins, already improved in mood, "Which is how I'm managin' the problem 'f creative control. So wits will prevail, eh!" She cricks her neck, peering out to see if the bus is maybe coming, that quick lean of the habitual public transit taker. "That 'n' love, trustin' in it's bein' true."

Her prayers are answered, if her prayers involved air-conditioning and a chance to reconstitute in the shade, anyway. The front windows of the blocky vehicle's shape are flashing a few blocks down, shrunken tiny in the vanishing point of the residential grid. It's like you can see right across Queens before the humidity in the air blurs it out. A moment after she pitches back onto the sidewalk, Teo does too wiping his nose on his forearm. "Oh," he adds, after a moment. "When you get a chance, you should— maybe ask Francois about his, too.

    "I think it's probably something he needs to fucking get out there." He makes an expansive shaping gesture with his hands that probably doesn't mean anything as large as that gesture is normally wont to define, but things don't have to be matters of life and death! to be very important. He squares his hands into his pockets, listening to the gassy push and grumbling metal as the bus draws nearer. "Good luck with the prevailing. Sable, right?"

    "What, that dude back at your place?" Sable says, shifting from foot to foot, readying herself already for the arrival of her conveyance. She slips a hand into her pocket, readying her change without taking it out. "He had one 'f them?" she sniffs, "Didn't know. Guess… I should have figured. I just sorta- knew I had t' get yers. Damn. Fuck, I'll have t' track 'im down. What a pain in the ass." Sable gives a soft huff, the heat starting to chew at her stamina, eased in no way by dehydration due to drinking. The bus pulls up, and the doors hiss as they open their air conditioned arms like an angel of clunky mercy. "You too, boy. You work on yer timin'. 'n' listen t' some rock music." This is what she's leaving him with. The wisdom she's granted him. Lucky Teo. She ascends the stairs, pulling her coins out of her pocket and slipping them into the toll taker. "Keep on truckin'," is the last gem she tosses him before the bus doors slide shut.

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