The Order is Rapidly Fading


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Scene Title The Order is Rapidly Fading
Synopsis When Teo approaches Deckard about recent events he gets a face full of foul language in French in place of answers. HMMM.
Date November 19, 2009

Staten Island: Junk Yard

It's drizzling out on Staten Island in spits and starts. Not really clear and not really raining. The junk yard Flint's taken up temporary residence in is a privately owned and long forgotten affair for all save the scavengers who occasionally prowl its cramped and cluttered bounds for spare parts. In the brown light cast off by the cloud cover matted silky and humid overhead, rusted out Buicks and totaled taxis are cast around indiscriminately. Hulking black shapes defined by sharp edges and glass that glitters broken against changes in light don't give against the wind or rain, and all around there's the dirty whisper of polluted runoff.

There are only two RVs present, and one has a tree plowed freshly down across its roof, chopping it nearly in half. They stand apart from the skeletons of other vehicles like beached whales, deathly white, swollen and bloated — not yet worn down to their individual parts.

Inside the Winnebago that still has a closing door and most of its ceiling intact, Flint is puzzling over a glass of whiskey, a flashlight and six deformed bullets, glasses low on his nose.

The motorcycle lights are killed a quarter of a mile out, for a reason no more dubious than that Teodoro doesn't quite trust himself to be able to guard his precious Harley from junkyard scavengers cluttering in on the old man's territory should they happen to come through the dark. A thatching of long grass and scrub is deemed sufficient cover for it, before he comes trundling out onto the weather-moisted sidewalk with muck rimming his pant legs and his helmet swinging loose from long fingers.

The Sicilian is a point of blondness moving toward the bleached white carcass of the Winnebago. Simba ventures into the Elephant Graveyard, courage gritted between his tiny teeth and eyes large and mirror full of pending adventure. Or Winnebago.

"Deckard?" He casts the name out like it's a fishing line.

It's some thirty or forty seconds before it sinks in through the thick of Deckard's skull that he's heard his name, and ten or fifteen more before he feels sure he heard it coming from outside. As opposed to in his head, or. Well. That's the only other place it could be coming from.

Scruffy head turned a little blankly after the latch of the door in the murk across the RV's far end, he reaches for a nearby box of unmutilated cartridges. Quick passes of his thumb see six fresh rounds clacked down into the cylinder, he loses the glasses, and then he's up, skirting quietly for the door with the gun snugged close to his right leg.

There's no peep hole. He finds that out when he gets there.

So, after a moment's careful consideration, he cracks the door open enough to squint out into a fine, misty sweep of rain, brow knit and eyes paranoid.

"Hi." There's a kid out in the unreliable slaking of rain, if one who is almost as tall as Deckard himself. He has both his shoulders pulled in tight against the autumnal chill, apparently unaware that the real onslaught might come from the weapon he can see and feel, secondhand, pressed by Flint's ropey fingers and long shank.

Teo squints up. There's a fat drop of accumulated rainwater hanging off his left eyebrow, threatening his cornea with its unpleasantly spongy chill, and condensation wisping out of his teeth and the long point of his nose. His hands are jammed into his pocket with unnecessary zeal, puffing out the front of the lapels into a semblance of alien pregnancy. "'M going to Russia in a couple days for another anti-Vanguard movement. What's up?"

Six feet two inches tall and only a few inches wide through the cracked door, Flint looks hale and healthy as the horse he so resembles. He's in an overcoat over a t-shirt and jeans, warm enough to be comfortable beneath the soft, buzzy roll of alcohol through his tuned-up system. But his eyes are clear and the hatchet hewn narrow of his face is hard, something blacker and more insidious than brittle paranoia stiffing through the hollow clamp of jaw while he watches Teo get rained on in the cold.

In the interest of fairness or simple unpreparedness in the face of a confrontation he wasn't expecting, he keeps the door open for long enough to look Laudani over head to toe before he closes it again. There's a muffled click when the lock turns, so loud as to be pointed despite the odds of it actually doing much of anything to keep him out.

It's a little sad, maybe, that Teo is short a few chapters of memory and aware of them, but can't for certain ascribe the locked door to personal convictions. Their relationship had never been a thing of stability, convention, and peace, and there isn't anything particularly urgent about what Teodoro said. He's going away to fight terrorists. Teodoro does that sometimes. If he was bleeding out in the middle of the concrete, Deckard would help him then!

Still, the flat-faced door is presented with a scowl. "Hey." Rap-rap-rap. The zag of Teo's knuckles drubs the door, coruscating a rattle up the hinges and jumping the bolt in its fastenings. It isn't a sincere application of force against the Winnebago's mettle. Not yet, anyway. It is, however, unmistakable objection. "Don't be a dick. I brought you a beer." I brought you a beer.

No answer. No reply. It's initially quiet enough inside past the pitter and pattered drum of rain against the roof that he's probably still standing close to the opposite side of the door while Teo rattles and drubs.

Then there's the heavy tread of boots moving over dirty vinyl tile. Away from the door. Back to the cramped table in a makeshift kitchen with its sink ripped out and disemboweled on the couch, but rather than take a seat, he jerks a rucksack up off the floor and sets to scraping damaged bullets and glasses and whatever else inside.

Outside, Teo stops bashing around long enough to recognize the silence and then its abrupt cessation. He frowns. Glances back over his shoulder at the sepulchral array of squashed cars, derelict bins and eviscerated parts behind him, suspicious of unsavory company, as if he isn't prone to keeping such.

As if he doesn't qualify as a little unsavory himself, sometimes. Clink, scuff. The frenetic tickle of other noises from within turn Teo's head back. His brow creases deeper, giving in to nearly childlike exaggeration in the privacy afforded by being shut out in the rain. The lone blot of water aggregating under the hang of his forehead finally looses, careens earthward. He takes a look inside, through Deckard's eyes. Flashes on the bag in the old man's hand, a cupped grasp shoveling the miscellany off thet able.

Another frown recurves his mouth, and he begins to stilt hesitant footfalls back from the door, allowing Flint his exit.

In everything goes save for the revolver and the glass — Flint downs the rest of what's in the latter and tosses it after the ruined sink, approximately where he found it. There's a ratty blanket rolled up on the damp mattress in back. He takes that too, but leaves the dust-filmed Mi casa es su casa sign on the cracked counter, having no use for it. Mi casa es mi casa, would be a more accurate mantra. Su casa es su casa.

Then he waits, bag fastened on his shoulder, revolver sheltered in his coat pocket. He waits forrr…seven and a half minutes, according to his watch, which is half as long as the fifteen he was intending to wait for when he turns the lock and shoulders deftly out into the cold to stalk deeper into the automobile graveyard. There's a semi in here, somewhere.

There's a bit in the Lion King where the tiny prince is scrambling along in the wake of his saturnine, scar-faced uncle while gabbing his fool head off, and that, too, finds its approximation when Teo swerves into the older man's wake. His memory hurdles over the stumbling blocks of potential reasons for this uneasy quiet. Normally, he thinks— normally Deckard doesn't mind so much, when Teo tramples off the su and onto the mi.


"Vecchio. Wha— what's going on?" Teodoro makes a broad gesture of his arms that the older man can't see thanks to the technical difficulties posed by the act of trailing helplessly after somebody looking further afield for an escape vehicle. The collar of his shirt is getting soggier and soggier. "Are you in trouble? Are you mad at me?"

Long strides and a disinclination to linger under the freezing pepper of rain at his face and neck make for a Deckard that moves quickly through the mire of mud and knee high grass and rusted things that comprises the span of lot that isn't crusted thick with vehicular slaughter. He isn't doing a fast walk. he's just walking quickly. Purposefully. Awayfully.

But he's not deaf, as much as he might like to be. The vecchio slows him down. The are you mad at me stops him enough to turn, left hand wrapped firm around the strap of his pack, right still bound to the grip of his gun as if he expects he might actually have cause to use it.

Unfortunately, there's little in the way of answers to be read in the way he's raking Teo over with his glare — like he's looking for a few answers of his own. Or just one big one.

There's an answer in Deckard's question. Teo hadn't asked his out loud either. It had been sort of a suspicion, chilly, and somewh— somewhat cowardly. He stops his tracks before colliding with Deckard, his boots squishing watery grit in saccadic rhythm below him.

Explanation time. Teo's jaw creaks open, allowing ingress to a slice of wet wind.

Explanation time, and he comes up starkly short for a few scrabbling seconds, mostly because by now he gets it. It was indeed something he'd done. It does the gravitas of the situation some disservice that he can't physically remember what that was. A brief foray of speculation into wondering why or what Abigail may not have told him short-circuits on recent recollection, with a painful flare. His gaze shies downward, almost concludes in a pointed stare at the gun in Flint's hand.

"I had my memory wiped," he finally says, in a blurt, louder than conversational because the weather's sticky, staticky interference. "I was going to go to the NYPD and confess, but I didn't want to endanger all of you. It didn't work out, somehow, so… I have to figure out another way."

"Fils de pute," sounds a like spit in your eye if you listen close enough, intent clear enough if the literal translation might be hazy. Long and lean and with hatred marked clear into the flat lines worn in fierce over his brow and around his mouth, he stares Teo down the way wild animals bristle up at snakes: rigidly confontational without actually getting close. Or blinking.

"L√Ęche. Pathetic. What happened to you? What bullshit excuse are you still leaning on from ten years into an empty future that makes you think you were chosen by God to reach into people's lives and fuck them over for some kind of noble quest that only you are perspicace," French is mocking, this time, a shattered, jaggedy-edged and multi-facted reflection of Teo's own Italian interjections, "enough to understand." He's not yelling, either. He's not even loud, which may make the way he's staring all the more uncomfortable, blue eyes ringed pale with incredulous, disheartened — disdain. If not disdain, pure and simple dislike. The kind that comes of faith worn down to the bare bones and then through them to cold, formless marrow.

The rain bounces off his head and soaks down his neck, grizzled hair buzzed too short for it to cling and mat. It spines against itself instead when he gives it a stiff canine shake, darker and flatter on one side than the other. Deckard sniffs sharply against the cold or some sinus trouble he might coincidentally be having at this moment, whiskey breath expelled out into a fog in much the same manner. "Whatever happened doesn't matter. Time's changed. Accept it that soon you'll be drenched to the bone."

Before Teo has even begun to speak, he already knows that this isn't a sentence he's going to finish: "Jesus fucking Christ, Flint, If I didn't fucking do anything to you, why…"

—then he doesn't know what he's supposed to be defending himself against, precisely, and finds himself equally unable to tell whether his slippery and hitching grasp on the observations delivered to him is because his self-perceptions are deranged and self-loathing, or deranged and arrogant, or if, potentially, Deckard is suffering some sort of relevant derangement. He is, after all, cursing Teo out in French, and whether or not Deckard is right seems as important as it is utterly irrelevant when the Sicilian knows precisely what he's talking about and simultaneously has no idea. Someone was supposed to have warned him this was a potential outcome of paying housecalls.

Someone should have been able to anticipate this, anyway. This resentment seems too large, too cold, too old to have descended in, crystallized the breathability of the air and crushed anything that happened to be living in the area under its white mass, to have locked up the interpersonal space between he and Deckard without anybody having noticed the signs. It takes Teo a few minutes to remember how to move his face and hands, transfixed and numbed by surprise.

His hand goes to his nose. "I t-try not to fuck people over. That's… I try not to fuck people over," he repeats, slow and ungainly to realize that's the first thing he needs to make understood, the last thing he's like to succeed with, and further elaboration a fool's errand.

"Do or do not. Do they still have Star Wars in the future?" It's a rhetorical question — there will always be Star Wars, just like there will always be infomercials and there will always be crying babies on airplanes. Deckard isn't having any of this. Denial or another excuse or whatever he takes it to be; he's already taking a step back, rust-stained mud sucking at the flat tread of his boot when he turns to go.

If there were signs, they were tenuous ones networked into the bigger picture. Absences and disconnects. Taciturn withdrawals and snarling, aggressive outbursts. The kinds of minor deviations that blend into normalcy when you stare at an unfinished painting for too long. Maybe that's how it's supposed to look.

There's definitely a certain familiarity to the slope of Deckard's shoulders on the retreat, if the haze of his breath isn't usually cut as short by angry, corrosive frustration.

They didn't really have that much Star Wars in Italy where Teo grew up, but he isn't unwise enough to bring that up in response to Deckard's question even if it has some symbolic value.

You know. Teo wasn't raised right, that's all. Teo wasn't… was— can't be expected to something-something, except evidently he can, and the realization slows gradually into harsh focus internally even as his corneas blur and wad colors because he forgot to blink against the unremittant drive and needling of rain.

He swallows hard, and the bump of his Adam's apple rebounds queasily on contracting sinews. The turn of Deckard's back is business as usual, ugly business, and awfully personal. "Why won't you tell me what I did?

"I'm not persp— I don't know. But maybe I could fix it." The stride Teo takes out of the widening gap between them is a prophylactic for Deckard's immediate departure, but not his eventual one. Neither long nor swift enough to make real progress with approach. Maybe he is a little less codependent now than he was this time last year. That is kind of like mental health. "I'm not trying to fuck up your life. I've never tried to fuck up your life, not then," when, "not now."

"No. You're always trying to make it better. But you can't anymore. You're broken. Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye? I have quotes for everything now," he half turns in the course of his persistent tramp through mud and earthy puddles, an erratic gesture with the revolver indicating the broken assortment of memories and personalities imbedded like splintered glass in his own, "I could do this all night."

His gait goes unbroken all the while, by mud or by distraction, and despite the thickening weight of his overcoat as it takes on smelly water, he doesn't seem bothered by the cold.

Soon, it will occur to Teo that touching something actively causing pain and grief is not preferable to pleasantly blank distance, numbness, the safety of indifference. Any time now. 'All night' seems increasingly longer with time. Burrhus Skinner wouldn't know what to do with him, really; negative reinforcement seems to be having difficulty with correct interpretation to Teo's blond-roofed cortex, dragging him in unsteady footfalls after the older man, the space between them oscillating in measurement around a fairly stable mean.

By now, Teo has forgotten that Deckard is in search of a vehicle, doesn't remember himself well enough to scan the darkness for signs of its emergence. He has turned pale in a way that he couldn't entirely blame on his father's Finnish ancestry, the blood throttled out of vessels by the sympathetic nervous squelch of grief and the constriction effect of cold. Conversely, and just as unpleasantly, the beer stowed in his breast pocket has likened itself to body temperature. It is a spectacular role-reversal on a couple levels. Deckard looks like he's feeling well, for all of his revulsion and disappointment.

'You're broken;' that particular insight make Teo's lungs sag scratchy in his chest, so his voice comes out all wrong when he finally does haul together enough disparate sharp-edged thoughts and hammer them into a roughly continuous answer: "That verse is about judging others, but I'm trying to help now. That isn't the same thing. That isn't even about the same thing."

"It goes on," says Deckard. "There's more. …So long as you stop before you get to 7:8; I don't really care much for the philosophy from there down." And how it posits that ye who asks should and shall receive what they ask for, presumably inclusive of the answers to niggling and potentially important questions like the one he's very much ignoring now.

For a few soggy sweeps of wind, the drizzle dwindles and dies off to nothing, clearing out the view ahead enough to reveal the primer-peeling hulk of an ancient semi, replete with moth-eaten, moldy cabin bunk and open driver's side door. Flint adjusts his course and the weight of the soggy pack on his shoulder, nearly there.

"You tried to apologize before you burnt off the memory. Tried to make it right with yourself. Je t'emmerde. I've seen what you are." Then he's hoisting himself up, grip pressed recklessly against the rusted door amidst bare springs and rent metal so that he can swing himself in and thunk it closed after himself.

A few seconds too late, Teo realizes what's afoot. Or more specifically where the older man is about to alight his. He comes out of his effortful reverie of Bible recollections, pays attention long enough to scramble forward, collide palms-first with the dust-muddied window. Thump. Wet bone and glass meet around a percussive noise. He couldn't tell you what he was planning to have done if he managed to get there before Flint shut it, anyway. Fuck, it's almost nauseating, the visceral awareness that the old man thinks this encounter has been done before, that it is fruitless and pathetic in its sameness, inevitable in its conclusion, a facetious biological pattern, junk code in the corrupted program that constitutes his mind.

The curl of his fist laminates a larval imprint against the window, faintly striped with the grain of his skin and its inherent oils but sincerely violent intent is absent from the gesture. His shoulder twinges at the waste of force, reminds him of Eileen, which reminds him of what Deckard said just now. He can barely see Flint's elongated profile through the stippled sheen of raindrops. They can't really talk through a car door but Teo tries it anyway. Last ditch. He yells:

"You're the fucking healer. Why don't you fix me, then?"

Clack-whunk. The locks still work. Flint discovers as much when he clubs the butt of his gun neatly over the switch about a tenth of a second before Teo's shoulder in the door and his hands are on the rain and grime streaked glass. Convenient.

There's something like relief in the slow rise and fall of his chest that follows before he tips his perception outward again, familiar eyes penetrating where the grizzled length of his face is obscured by grit of similar color and consistency. He breathes again, still slower than before, fogging the window, gathering himself while he watches the Italian like something of only passing interest in a prison. The safety glass might as well be three miles thick for all the distance it affords, and he seems confident enough in the lack of light thick in the cabin that his expression is inscrutible when Teo's raised voice muffles muted and hollow through the metal door.

"Physician, heal thyself," is barely audible in return. There's a flimsy door at his back, behind the stick shift. He reaches to ratchet it open, and in a few seconds, he's out of sight entirely.

For about half a minute longer, Teo follows parallel on the other side of the semi-truck's corrugated wall. The starfished points of his fingers streak the window a short slash of inches, soon enough recovered by the membraneous slick and growth of rainfall anyway. The addition of more water to his soaked pants makes no difference, objectively or to subjective comfort. Strong swimmer or no, he's a drowned rat out here, and. There's no real 'and.' Full-stop. Un point, as the French say. His French is pretty good. Little was lost in translation.

If Deckard knew he was peeking in through his eyes, well. It's not like Deckard was physically capable of getting much more offended anyway. He stops following with his feet, after another moment, continues to turn his head as a Deckard flattens an errant scrap of garbage that got in his way to the couch. One sympathizes.

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