Haiku And Barbecue


elaine_icon.gif sw_isis_icon.gif ignacio_icon.gif seren_icon.gif ff_silas_icon.gif

Scene Title Haiku and Barbecue
Synopsis On Little Lay's Day, the hinakazari showing at the Yamagato Fellowship Center draws a crowd.
Date March 3, 2019

Yamagato Fellowship Center

Hinamatsuri is one of five seasonal festivals held in Japan, special days that still hold significance even in modern times. As a part of the culture-sharing initiatives the Yamagato Fellowship Center occasionally puts on, a particularly ornate arrangement of hinakazari has been set up for viewing inside the center. The large arrangement of dolls is set across tiers of red carpetting, the arrangement standing almost six feet in height. Additionally, a nagashi-bina ceremony is scheduled for sundown to send off paper dolls made by participants; something said to send off one's impurities.

Like most public festivals, this one is set with refreshments! Food and drink typically eaten or shared by celebrators of the matsuri can be found at stalls in the Fellowship Center, along with some barbecued items for those less inclined to partake in the uncooked chirashizushi meals.

There's another table, this one with small slips of paper and writing implements. Next to the papers rests an hour glass. "Before the modern practices of Hinamatsuri began, there was a game that courtiers played… it involved floating a cup of sake down a stream and a courtier had to finish a poem, similar to a haiku, before it reached them," Elaine explains, looking at a small cluster of people near her at the table.

"We have no great way to mimic that other than to offer a timed challenge for a haiku… those of you who finish a suitable haiku before time runs out will get a token, which can be used to exchange for treats." The redhead beams, passing out paper and turning over the hourglass.

A dainty blonde man moves about in polished, black loafers; fitted jeans; and an open gray jacket revealing a baby blue button up beneath. Despite the appealing outfit, the man with the stylishly disheveled, golden locks moves with an air of detachment - a mere meandering, if you would. Its puppet-mistress is one Isis O'Conner and she is somewhat out of sorts at this point. At some point Isis has found herself standing in this body staring at kindly person telling of the haiku challenge. Look at that beautiful red hair….

Isis-in-Dirk brushes a hand overtop golden locks and blinks back into the present. Looking at the tables provisions of pencils and paper, a small smile is offered to parties on the left and right. "Challenge accepted," Isis-in-Dirk comments cooly, indulging the moment and setting to put some quick scribbles down.

Finding something to do on the weekends is rarely a problem for Seren Evans and their best (imaginary) friend, but it's even better when there's something scheduled they can go to!

"Would you look at that, Baird?" they murmur to themselves, hands in the pocket of their coat as they peer up at the seven-tiered arrangement. Even if the history behind the event is mostly lost to them, presented for the first time in the form of informational cards by the display, they can fully appreciate the artisanship in the dolls and ornaments that surround it. "Look at that gold screen at the top of it. Doesn't that look primal?"

But Baird's interest is elsewhere, the kitten-small creature on their shoulder trying to direct Seren's attention to the haiku table. At hearing and seeing something more organized and grouplike, they skitter over in time to hear the end of the explanation. With a grin, they edge their way forward to pick out a paper and pen. "'scuse me…"

Is a cherry sno-cone the best choice for a not-quite-spring day in New York? Apparently Nacho thinks so, because he's eating one as he walks around the stalls absently. Is a sno-cone traditional in these festivals? Possibly not, but hey, something something cherry flavored.

He takes a bite as he makes his way through, not like he's looking for anything in particular, the way one does at street festivals. His eyebrows raise at the haiku challenge, and he stops to watch, though not, it seems, participate at the moment. He does catch sight of Seren as they come toward the table, too, and lifts a hand in greeting, calling, "Hey."

Elaine continues to smile, genuinely enjoying the challenge of the speedy haiku. "Once you're done, pencils down. You have until I call time. Then, hand in your paper and I'll check that it's an appropriate haiku and reward you with your token. There are several sweets at the booth over there that you can trade for." Her gaze shifts momentarily to Dirk and she gives him a look. "I expect yours to be clean, Dirk."

Isis-in-Dirk makes room for the hurried form of Seren, a stuttered stop in the way of a double-take given unto the the strange critter perched not-so-imaginarily on the other party's shoulder. "Whoah," Dirk's husky tones carry Isis's curious amazement. Lips part, but before questions can explode and bury the person and their mini chimera-like pet, someone is addressing Isis-in-Dirk.

"Me?" Dirk's batted lashes of uncertain probably come off as feigned innocence. "Well, shit." Baby blues are turned down to the little slip of paper in hand. With a huff the paper is halfheartedly crumpled and tossed to the side where it lolls half open:

Thought this might be cool.
Masturbation kind of lame.
Now what? Find you soon.

"Now I have to start over." Isis-in-Dirk sets to more scribbling.

Eyes lighting up with warmth as they peek up from their scratch pad, Seren smiles warmly at Nacho. "Hey! You taking the day off?" They gesture loosely with the pad back to the table they and a small group of other people are crowding before explaining, "I'm trying my hand at wordsmithing today. You want to give it a shot? It's a short little poem, and there's a prize if the lady likes yours best." They look back down at their scratch-pad, head tilting while they finish the last line of theirs. "It's… a game of syllables. Seven, five, then seven."

Inspiration like
A flash. It ends; and only
echoes remain now.

"Uh huh. Felt like I deserved a break." Nacho grins, lifting the sno-cone in a mock toast as he takes a step or two closer to the table. "What's the prize?" he asks as he eyes the paper and pens a little bit skeptically. "If I'm gonna write a poem I'd better be looking at getting something good."

He reaches forward to pick up a pen, tapping the edge on the table as he considers. He glances at Dirk/Isis' — Disis'? — and there's a little snort of amusement before he looks down at the paper again. He sets down the sno-cone then and begins to write.

Writing poems isn't
My favorite thing ever
But I like prizes.

"Huh," is quipped with a bit of surprise and appreciation. Isis-in-Dirk has managed to lean over and spy on Seren's work, nodding after a quick scan. Eyes of azure steal away back to the blank slip in front of Isis-in-Dirk with an intensity that wills the thing to produce some prize-worthy material.

"Clean?" Disis mutters and finally sets down the blank paper. Azure eyes are turn to Seren and then Ignacio with the casual shrug and then a flippant gesture towards Elaine. "Rude - stunting a person's artistic expression like that." Belatedly, Isis-in-Dirk turns to consider the redhead again - realizing only know that Dirk's name had been tossed out on to the table. "I aughta bow out of this one, then." Retreat! Retreat!

Seren is quiet after being asked about the take if the 'contest' is won, the feathery kitten perched on its shoulder nosing the side of their face. Its long eyebrows twitch as it peers, wondering what's taking them so long. The reality is Seren had not considered whether or not the prize was worthy, just that the contest itself proved to be fun. "Well, it's something small." they admit after thinking it through. "Some free snacks."

Looking over at Nacho's haiku by nature of their closeness, Seren can't help but grin a little once they read it. "And I'm not sure I stand a chance, compared to that!" They elbow him with a chuckle.

Nacho looks over at Seren as they think about the answer to his all important — in his mind, anyway — question. "Hey, free snacks is pretty good," he says with a shrug as he straightens up, pushing forward his amazing contribution. "If I don't have to pay for it, I'm all for it."

His lips pull up as he picks up his sno-cone again, adding, "Next time you'll know better than to ask me to enter, won't you? I have all the best words." This last makes the half-smile spread into a full on grin.

Black loafers move silently, carrying Isis-in-Dirk backwards slow and carefully away from Elaine - the way one might back up from a snarling canine - for anyone who knows Dirk too well is as equally dangerous as a vicious guard-dog as far as Isis is concerned. "Oh, hear that? My stomach demands sustenance. Incessant thing. So needy." Dirk's fingers are conducted to a quick pat-pat gesture on the front of the powder-blue button-up shirt before Isis-in-Dirk holds up both hands in a helpless fashion and turns away to eye the food selection carefully.

"Yes, you're very persuasive, as we well know." Seren drawls cheekily, setting their entry down on the table as well. They shake their head to themselves as they wait for the time to expire and the contest to be formally closed, lifting their attention to look across the hall for other activities to get into after this one. "How have you been? Business going well?" they ask conversationally.

The joke's on them… everyone is a winner, so long as they have a haiku that follows the rules and isn't ridiculously vulgar. As people turn in their haiku, Elaine quickly checks them and hands out a small gold token with a Japanese doll depicted on it. Nacho's, however, gets a bit of a grin as Elaine offers forward a token.

"It's a gift and a curse." There's a brief pause there, before Nacho amends, "Well, actually just the first one." He tips the sno-cone cup back then, draining the contents before tossing the empty cup into a garbage can near the table. There's probably one of those around, right? This is Yamagato Park, after all. Things are clean.

"As well as it ever goes," he continues in response to Seren. "If I had to pay rent I probably wouldn't stay open. But some people've been commenting on your paint job, so thanks again for that." He starts to go on, before he notices Dirk's backing away. "Not gonna stay to see if you won?" he asks. "You could get it for free if you do." And hey, look! He takes the token from Elaine, the grin returned. "Nice to see my talent is recognized," he says. Though it sounds like a joke. Mostly.

And he might have gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for the meddling kids and their… imaginary flying squirrel-monkey? Isis-in-Dirk pauses at Ignacio's inquiry and glances briefly back to the table where the half-crumbled haiku lays lonesome and abandoned. "I assumed our lovely hostess was going to disqualify me on account of taste." Baby blues flit warily towards Elaine. Time to play nice and hope for the best. "Besides, I smell barbecue."

"Mmm," Seren intones, their eyes shimmering. Baird's form, too, shivers with color — oranges of the kitten-owlet darkening to browns before melting into the purple at the creature's feathery edges. "Barbecue." They turn to Nacho, coin held up with interest.

"Think these are valid there?" Grinning, their footfalls are already carrying them behind Isis-in-Dirk in the hopes of finding a lead to a most excellent snack. At the last moment, they turn back to wave to Elaine. "Thank you!"

"I am checking for two things when I check a haiku… that it's in the proper haiku format and that it isn't ridiculously inappropriate for public consumption," Elaine says with a grin. "I was merely making sure you understood the latter." Her gaze goes to the others, grin still there as she turns to her colleague to let them take over instead. Once they have taken over her job, she makes her way towards the center of the general area to survey what's going on.

"I think she's probably heard a lot worse than masturbation," Nacho says as though he's the expert on what Elaine knows and doesn't know, and he looks toward her expectantly. Right, Elaine? Right? Of course right. "Nice use of a 4-syllable word, too. Good job. And yeah, thanks." This last to Elaine again, with an inclination of his head reminiscent of a bow, though not quite that deep.

He straightens up and flips the coin up in the air, catching it in mid-flip as it comes down as he looks to Seren again. "Let's hope so," he says as he tips his head that way, eyebrows raising in tacit question.

Festivals are always a great opportunity for an aspiring restaurateur to get the word out; Silas had leapt at the opportunity, and, judging by the delicious smells of cooked meat lingering in the air and the smile on his face, business has been good so far. He's wearing a fresh white apron with 'Raise the Steaks' emblazoned across the front, grinning amiably at any and all passersby; a sign at the top of the stall reads, 'Southern Style BBQ'.

Isis-in-Dirk gives a helpless sort of a shrug. "It wasn't my best work, anyway," comes Dirk's nasally voice in a teasing way. Having apparently started some trend, the loafers make a pivot point upon which the blonde man spins back around. How many days does it take in a foreign body before you just start to think: Well, fuck it! Eight. The magic answer is eight.

"This way. Just follow my nose!" Isis-in-Dirk taps an index finger to the side of a pronounced nose and continues on a bee-line for the BBQ Man, short parade and all.

And so the parade follows. Seren beams as they come up to the out-of-theme stall, brow arching upward in interest regardless. "Southern BBQ? Ooh, I've never had the pleasure." they gush, turning the decorative coin over in their hand. It's so cute it might make a good momento on its own. Baird sniffs the air and mewls at the scent of the cooking meat, purple tail swaying behind Seren's shoulder while they approach.

The blond man's stomach does truly emit a quiet growl as they come up to the front of the table. Wait. With a look of confusion Isis-in-Dirk looks down towards the button-up shirt and gray jacket. /Grrrrt. Grrrt./ With a tentativeness that suggests there's all the possibility of a venomous snake residing within, Dirk's hand is directed into a jacket pocket…

Withdrawn is a simple cellular phone. "Huh." Isis-in-Dirk seems legitimately surprised that the little device is ringing, or vibrating as the case may be. There's a last, longing look at the selection of barbeque before that forlorn expression is turned to the tiny parade. "Have one of me," Isis-in-Dirk manages as if with a last, dying breath and then punches a button on the phone and raises it to his ear.

"Yyyeessss?" can be heard, taunting and inquisitive alike, as Isis-in-Dirk turns off and slip away into the mingling throng of passersby.

Elaine rolls her eyes. Dirk never ceased to get that reaction from her in general. At least he didn't try and hit on her! Her attention goes to the barbeque stand, however, as she moves in that direction. She might as well check out the food while she's not running anything. "It certainly smells good, that's for sure," she posits as she gets close.

"You probably take your chances getting Southern barbecue in New York," Nacho says with slight warning in his tone, though he holds up a hand to Silas as though to apologize in advance. "No offense," he says. "I don't even know what Southern style really tastes like, so don't listen to me." He shows the token to Silas, eyebrows raising. "What can we get for this?"

Silas's smile widens as he spots customers inbound — a gaggle of em, looks like. His eyes are drawn first to Baird, his smile fading a bit, replaced by a questioning look. He's… not sure what's going on there. Or if he's seeing right. But hey, maybe it likes barbecue. More mouths mean more sales, mean more funds and more exposure. His smile returns… but even as he watches, one of the oncoming gaggle turns aside, distracted by the siren song of a cellular whatsis. Ack! Time to start with the sales pitch.

He grins as he hears someone comment on the smell, his gaze shifting to find the speaker, a familiar-looking redheaded woman. "I think so, at least," he says —

— right before he places who it is that's speaking. He's seen her before. On the Ark… and then vaporized at Sunspot.

His expression falters again for a moment, but it's brief. His gaze shifts to Nacho as he speaks, eyes twinkling with amusement. "Good time to find out, then." He eyes the token, smile widening. "One piece, pork or chicken."

Seren looks down at their own coin with a thoughtful hum, turning to consult Baird. Like one does, when they have an imaginary friend to use as a sounding board for ideas. "Right," they murmurs decisively, confidently, turning back to Silas with a broad grin that lights up their grey eyes. "We'll try the pork. That's the typical fare, right?"

They're not oblivious to the quick overwhelmed look on his face, they just imagine it's maybe because he suddenly has so many customers! Seren offers out the coin good-naturedly, doing their best to be an ideal patron instead of a demanding one.

Elaine moves forward as well, stepping out of the way to let the others get to the barbeque before her. She's more than happy to wait her turn while she converses. "It all does smell pretty good, if you ask me. That's one of the perks of working events like this, though. The company pays for a little snack now and again."

"Chicken," Nacho decides, and hands over the token. Once he's gotten his food, he steps to the side to let the others try it as well, looking from Silas to Elaine and then back again at the former's look. His eyes narrow just slightly, though more in thought than with any sort of unpleasant connotation, before he shrugs, taking a bite. "Good, bro," he pronounces, reaching over to offer a high-five to Silas, should he accept it. If he does, great! If not, well…either way, Nacho pulls his hand back and nods to those still present. "Enjoy," he says with a grin before he turns to wander away, munching on the chicken as he goes.

It still shakes Silas a little every time he sees someone whose doppelganger he knew… which is understandable, really. That should be the kind of thing that sticks with you. But! There are customers. Silas opts to focus on the fact that he's got customers at the moment wanting food, rather than one of them being someone he saw erased from existence. If nothing else, the grin from the kid with the critter is infectious.

Silas grins back at Seren and Nacho. "Pork's kinda the standard; it's well marbled and generally considered a milder meat, so it benefits more from the sauce than some others. But! Chicken's got a good flavor of its own, too!"

He takes both of the offered coins with a grin and slips them into the cashbox. "Coming up!" he calls, grabbing a paper plate and heading to back of his stall, where a couple of large, closed grills sit. It takes him a couple of moments before he returns with two plates — one chicken, one pork — and presents them to his diners. "Bon appetit. Feel free to nab a business card if you like; spread the word!" he chuckles, indicating a small stack of cards sitting at the corner of the counter.

His grin widens as he high-fives Nacho. "Glad you like!" he calls, grinning as Nacho departs. His gaze shifts back to Elaine. "How about you?"

Seren hms at the plate they're offered, peering down at it and stepping aside to Elaine can get her order. All the better for them to eye sauces left out to douse the meat with. A sniff is taken from one bottle, and then the other, before they settle some aside. A small bit of the pulled meat is pinched between fingers, offered up to Baird — who appears to nibble and take a good portion of the bite — before Seren pops in their mouth the exact same pinch they started with.

It takes a moment to savor and really appreciate it, but their eyes light up. "I recommend the pork, yeah. This is pretty good." Reaching for a plastic fork to more properly eat the rest of what they have, they chuckle. "I told myself I'd try something new while here, and I guess I technically have, still!"

Elaine glances between Seren and Silas. "I was thinking about the chicken… but given that there's already one happy customer with the pork, I'll have the same. Pork it is!" She seems quite content. Seren gets half an extra look, but is mostly taken as is. Nothing weird to see there at all! "It's nice to have some vendors we haven't had before. The variety is nice." She reaches over and takes one of the business cards and gives it a once over.

"Pork it is!" Silas says, again nabbing a plate and fetching a chunk of tender pork, presenting it to Elaine. Her comment about variety draws a grin from him. "Yeah, I was thinking about doing karaage, given the theme, but… barbecue's my specialty, and I really felt the itch to do some grilling." he chuckles. "'Sides. Standing out isn't necessarily a bad thing when you're trying to get your name out there," he says, a bit more soberly.

He hesitates a moment, then clears his throat. "You, uh, happen to have a token, or you want me to put it on your tab?" he asks, raising an eyebrow and grinning.

"Kara-age," Seren sounds out, raising an eyebrow. New, but that sounds interesting for the future. They hang back for the moment, rocking on their heels pleasantly while they listen to the back and forth.

Elaine offers over a token. "Probably easier to just give you one of these than putting it on the tab so to speak." She nods. "But standing out isn't bad. Especially if you're showing off your best skills." She glances over to Seren. "Karaage… it's similar to beer battering something." She explains. "It's quite good."

Silas nods, taking the token. "Obliged," he says, nodding and slipping it into the box. "And yeah. Karaage's a way of frying; most often it's chicken, but there's also squid and octopus and the like." He frowns thoughtfully. "I like the chicken best, personally." He grins. "Maybe next time you see me I'll be doing that; hard to say! Trying to keep busy 'til we can open the restaurant."

Seren tilts their head thoughtfully in return, glancing to the cards and shuffling their plate to one hand so they can take one. "Hey, that sounds great! I'll have to look out for this … do you know where you guys are opening? I can take these to work and spread the word!" Baird purrs on their shoulder, hunkering down like it means to take off shortly and lead them both on their next great adventure.

"Fried octopus is fantastic… all chewy and stuff." Elaine taps on the card with her finger. "Yeah, do tell. I'm curious as to locations… and also what you might be serving. I hate trying to cook just for myself so it might be nice to have somewhere new to frequent."

Silas's grin broadens. The only thing better than customers enjoying his food is satisfied customers offering to spread the word after enjoying his food. The questions about the location of his restaurant bring him back down to earth, though. "Probably going to be awhile before the big one opens up, unfortunately; it's going to be a dinner theatre type operation, and I'll be handling the dinner end of it." He is silent for a moment, seemingly considering.

"So far getting that one going has been… a bit rocky, though. For now it's just the odd festival. Maybe a meals on wheels type service, if I can find people to deliver for me… hmm…" he trails off. That last one had been mostly a spur of the moment type deal, but it seems like something that might have potential.

A quick thumbs up is flashed in Silas's direction before Seren goes back to holding the plate with both hands. "That's an amazing goal." One they seem genuinely impressed with. Being an entrepreneur is a lot of work, after all — especially with the current state of the Safe Zone. "It's a bold risk, but with bold rewards if it all pans out. I'll be cheering for you." They seem like they're preparing to segue into a proper farewell, but the kitten-small creature on their shoulder spreads its stubby purple and sienna wings and takes off, forcing Seren to do a doubletake between their conversation and where their friend is headed off to.

It looks like their thoughts are running ahead of them this time. Or flying, in this case. "It was nice meeting you! Baird thinks we should finish eating before that ceremony thing later, so — it looks like—"

Well, it looks like they've got to go.

"I'll let you know if I've got any leads or connections for you." Elaine holds the card up for a second before tucking it into her purse and making sure to scoop up her plate of food. "I'd better go too, I'll get glares if I'm away for too long. Good luck with the cooking!"

Silas chuckles, waving as they take off. "Later!" he calls after them. At Elaine's comment, his smile widens even more. "That'd definitely be appreciated; I'll take all the help I can get."

"Good luck to you too!" With, you know. Not being vaporized and such.

Thankfully, this isn't one of those kinds of occasions.

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