Lup-O, Slush-O


eileen_icon.gif ethan_icon.gif raith_icon.gif

Scene Title Lup-O, Slush-O
Synopsis A vignette. Three surviving members of the Vanguard visit the Roosevelt Island carnival on their night off.
Date October 11, 2009

Roosevelt Island Carnival

Fwip. Fwip. Fwip.

It's the sound of lead pellets punching through paper and embedding in the corkboard to which a series of targets in alternating red and white stripes are pinned. A young woman with a thick mane of dark brown hair lowers the air rifle and studies the results with pale green eyes framed by black lashes, their shape outlined in smoky kohl the colour of the storm clouds congregating above the fairgrounds.

The carnival will be open for several more hours yet, though many of its patrons are already beginning to filter toward the marked exits, their departure spurred by a distant rumble of thunder and a singular flash of white lightning that arcs through the sky, illuminating Manhattan's broken cityscape in the background. Fine droplets of rainwater sprinkle the cement under Eileen's feet, visible as dark spots on the pavement. In her hair and on her skin, they gather iridescent in the form of fine silver beads.

She isn't the crack shot that either of the men standing behind her are, but her score is good enough to earn her one of the smaller prizes that the rifle game has to offer: a stuffed black cat with velvet fur, glass eyes and a long, kinked tail. As the game's operator is bringing the prize down with a wooden hook used to reach items on the higher shelves behind the counter, she shoulders the gun and purses her lips into an expression of disapproval.

The imposing dark clad figure at Eileen's side steps forward, scowling at the attendant. Ethan's features pull down into a scowl, before his hand goes to pull up the wooden little pellt gun, chained to the counter. The gun is then pointed at the operator, Ethan frowning deeply. "You chose the wrong one. Give 'er a giant ass panda." The Wolf growls, going to set his little rifle down after a moment of little pellet-shot threatening.

He calms down whether or not the operator cedes to his demand. His hand comes up to set on Eileen's shoulder gently. "Good shootin' princess." He smiles, looking pleased and busting with proud. "I want a corn dog next."

"Just a corn dog?" Even a casual outing at the carnival isn't safe for Ethan. Not with Raith around, at any rate. And more likely than not, that suits both of them just fine; they have a system, see. "Why not a fried Twinkie? I'm telling you, you haven't truly lived until you've had one of those. Just make sure you enjoy it, because once you eat it, you won't live much longer." Unlike the other two, Raith hasn't picked up one of the pellet guns to try his luck against the odds. His only excuse for sitting the game out was that playing 'wouldn't be very sportsman-like.'

"We're going to need some liquid refreshment in a second, too. All this standing around, let me tell you. Really works up a thirst."

"I don't want a giant ass panda," says Eileen as she reaches into the back pocket of the faded denim jeans riding low on her hips and pulls out a dollar bill, which she slaps down on the counter. "I want a higher score." The stuffed cat is summarily pushed aside in favour of more pellets, loaded into the rifle one at a time and with painstaking deliberateness. Another peal of thunder, much closer than the last, reverberates through the air and rattles the bottles carnival goers are meant to knock over with baseballs in the next tent over. If the weather gets any worse, they'll start shutting down the rides soon.

Three more shots are squeezed off in quick succession, and much to Eileen's dismay, she scores lower than she did the last round. With a curse hissed out through her teeth, she sets the rifle down but does not takes her hands off it, leaning forward into the counter instead as though taking a closer look at the targets might change the placement of the pellet holes. Beneath the sleeves of her peacoat, her arms are stiff, rigid and quaking with anxious tension. Whatever's bothering her, it's also affecting her performance.

"Fuck me."

"I don't think it would be appropriate if I did. And if this old fucker did, I'd 'ave to subsequently kill 'im." Ethan motions to Raith after Eileen's command for someone to fuck her. His eyes travel across the counter to the game operator. "Nah." Ethan mutters, going to squeeze Eileen's shoulder gently. "You killed th'target. Dead bodies don't give you scores." The Brit mutters, going to try and pull Eileen away from the stall gently.

"You want a slush-o, mate?" The Wolf asks, taking a step away. He pauses, "Or a punch in the nuts…" Though he sounds kind of deflated. Waving his hand dismissively he sighs, "Shu'up, I'm tired." He couldn't think of any better retort at the moment. "I'll think of somethin better later."

"Hey, take it easy, Lupo," Raith cautions, "That's what we're here for, remember? Defeats the purpose if you rack your brain like that. But I think you're onto something with that slush-o idea. Nothing finishes off an evening like a cup full of flavored ice." As Ethan tries to guide Eileen away from the pellet gun, and a source of apparent frustration adding to whatever is already bothering her, Raith moves himself away as well. If no one hangs around it, maybe she'll be more inclined to move as well. "Hey, I'll buy, even. How's that sound for a deal?"

Eileen snatches the stuffed cat off the counter as Ethan pulls her away, producing a shrill squeak from somewhere inside its belly. She falls into step alongside the men a moment later and tucks the prize inside her peacoat to prevent its velvet fur from getting too wet. Too old for most childish things like toy animals, the cat is likely to find a more permanent home with one of the Fulk children at the Lighthouse, but for now it nestles comfortably against the young woman's breast and the silk lining of her jacket.

"I thought you wanted grandchildren," she leers at Ethan with a curled lip, though there's no real malice underpinning her words. If anything, she sounds like she's being facetious. "You even gave me a family heirloom to pass down, remember?"

Ethan lets out a harsh and awkwardly short laugh at the little squeak. His own hand darts forward to squeeze the fuzzy cat before he is tucked away into Eileen's coat. He lets his hand drop to his side as he walks alongside Eileen. He lets out another chuckle at the grandchildren talk and heirlooms. "Too bad we're not actually family, 'ey?"

"If you really wanted, I could probably get paperwork making that an established fact," Raith adds casually. However, he doesn't stay on the topic for very long. "You think they'll have cherry? That's a superior flavor. But strawberry's also good. That's, second superior flavor. So, cherry first, but if they don't have cherry, then strawberry. Yeah." Often times, Raith can be sensible. But every so often, he has a penchant for being very, well, Raith. How else would you describe it? "What about you? Cherry is best, yes, no?"

"Tragic," Eileen says in implicit agreement with Ethan. Her voice has adopted a flat quality — if it had a visible texture, it would be gunmetal matte. What little emotion her tone reflects is subdued, and as she lifts her eyes to Raith and arches one sculpted black brow at his question, there's a hint of circumspection in the shape it makes. "Spearmint," she says after a beat. "Or mango." Then, "Maybe lime. They'll have lime."

"I like th'blue one." Ethan weighs in tucking his thumbs into his belt. His breath trickles out rapidly in a soft sigh. "I gave you an heirloom?" The Wolf asks with a brow arch of his own. He scans the area slowly. "I wonder if Feng goes to Carnivals. That would probably be 'sentimental'." The last word is said in a nasally accented voice, Ethan's retarded impression of Daiyu Feng. "Anyway. Christmas is coming. I want an iPhone."

"We're giving each other the gift of telecommunications this year? Alright, I can play that game." Now you've done it, Ethan. Now, Raith is all worked up over, what? Cell phones? "I'll take an Instinct. Or, whatever. As long as it's on Sprint. That's my only real requirement, I guess. Assuming any of us can, you know, actually get decent contracts with anybody. But Sprint, if we can. And if we're just doing phones, I'd also like some coupons to Applebees."

Under most circumstances, Eileen would have no trouble following Ethan's conversational leaps from lily pad to lily pad, but with the crowd pressing around them and the ambient whine of machinery in the background, she's more distracted by their environment than she normally is. Invoking the Daiyu's name closes her up further, and it's with and air of umbrage that she mumbles under her breath, "You whittled me an heirloom."

No input on what she might want for Christmas. Instead: "What's an Applebee?"

"There's an app for that."

The statement is said to nothing in particular, and more just for the reason that Ethan really likes the phrase. "Obviously it's a rare type of insect that instead of collecting pollen collects apple seeds and is black and yellow with a big stinger." He grins broadly. "Oh, roight."

"Yes, that's exactly what it is," Raith replies to Ethan's answer, "Or, it's a chain of restaurants where you can get a deep fried onion blossom. A giant onion that they…" That they… what do they do with it? Raith spends a moment gesturing with his hands to try and explain to his companions, and to himself that the chefs take the onion and cause it to… "Blossom. And then they batter it and deep fry it, serve with a pepper sauce."

The tight knit of Eileen's brow and dubious slant of her mouth suggest that she very much doubts the existence of Ethan's elusive insect, but on the off-chance that he isn't just yanking her chain, she glances at Raith, who in turn provides her with a more plausible answer, though she doesn't look like she believes him either. "Onions grow in the dirt," she maintains, voice a murmur in comparison to the din crashing around their ears, growing fainter and fainter the deeper they move into the throng. "They haven't got flowers…"

The rain is coming down harder now, cold and wet, spattering against the material of their clothes and the cement pathway on which they walk. Buying a drink composed entirely of ice and flavoured syrup is probably the worst thing they could do with their money at the carnival, but this is the Vanguard remnant.

They don't exactly have a history of making the best decisions for themselves.

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