The Return Of Xerxes


christian_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title The Return of Xerxes
Synopsis Christian previously dictated a belief that one requires much road experience and a level temperament in order to be eligible to ride a motorcycle. When a tipsy Sicilian kid holds himself hostage, suicidally irritated from being late to work once, Christian sells him his dirtbike. Bros over principles.
Date November 18, 2008

At 8:18 AM in the morning, some 18 minutes after Teo should have been at work, the following text is incoming to Christian's phone:

'Motorcycle or DEATH. Questione seria.'

Christian pouts, somewhere out there at 8:18 AM in the morning.

Long Island City

Long Island City, a run-down neighborhood on the western edge of Queens, just across the water from Manhattan. From here, the skyline that was changed forever by the bomb is a constant reminder of what once was. A window into the past as well as a scathing reminder of the present. The waterfront is a largely industrial area, riddled with freight train stops, warehouses and shipping companies; the vast majority of which have ceased operations or gone entirely out of business in the wake of the the bomb. While this neighboorhood was spared from the disastrous nuclear fallout, it was crippled by the equally disastrous economic fallout. Businesses closed left and right, leaving blocks of abandoned facilities all across the neighborhood. As the property values took a steep nose dive, so too did crime in the area rise. Now, rife with gangs and refugees, the once bustling region looks more like a ghost town.

The concept of Teo on a bike, was frankly not particularly appealing as far as Christian was concerned. Still he wasn't about to try and dictate what Teo did in his own time, so he had resolved early on to assist his young friend to not kill himself. So he had already resigned himself to his path of action, he'd sell Teo the XR.

He'd invited Teo over to chat bikes a little earlier in the evening, and specified an aproximate time to meet before figuring out joint dinner plans. Said XR sitting pretty as it doubles as a leaning post, a particularly fashionable leaning post in its current scheme of dull green and black. Chris was wearing a proper garage jacket over an old Hoody,comfortable cargo trousers and a pair of boots that'd seen action in Afghanistan, Iraq,Georgia and four other South American countries. His satchel was still present, with or without the bike no outfit without the green bag of death.

The green bag of death stands out in vibrant relief to a city desiccated by winter's insidious approach, as if Christian's figure and reputation didn't exist in such distinction in Teodoro's head, at this point, that he'dve recognized him even without it.

The Sicilian comes down the street, on foot, one hand in his pocket and a brown paper bag containing a bottle that isn't filled with water tick-tocking in his other, a quicker rhythm than his sedate pace. Roughly one and a half swings per step, he'd say if somebody asked. No one has. People are generally wont to leave alone young man who wander around low-income areas in the evening on their own wearing beaten leather, a bottle, and a .45 implied somewhere by the back of his shirt.

At least that wasn't an accident. You'd tuck it in that way too, if you were a young man wandering around a low-income area in the evening on your own wearing beaten leather and a bottle. "Buona sera," he calls ahead, raising an arm in salutation.

The wave is returned. "Dobri vecher."Slowly Chris rights himself, stuffing his gloved hands into his jacket pockets. "Its starting to get cold, and this is the time of the year you decide you want a bike?"Its offered with a dim amusement, and the slightest hint of a smile, snagging an ancient ballcap off the rearview mirror before pulling it over his scalp. "So tell me my dear boy, just what precisely brought all of this on?"

"Since when were you a Russkie?" Teo inquires, even as he lopes up the last few squares of pavement and stops just in front of the bike and its owner, the corner of his mouth up for a moment, a ghost of a smile before it vanishes into a scowl that's only one part petulance. The other parts are hard to determine as he peers at the bike. "I was late to work," he says, frankly. "The lecture was unbearable.

"That administrator? The kids call her 'the Death Star.'

"She's shaped like it," he holds his arms up in a great bellying hoop before and around him, remembering not to drop his bottle as he does. "And a temperament roughly as sweet. I need to be able to get around faster, and I don't want anything else." There is a distinct element of defiance in the way Teo looks up, then. Clearly expecting resistance, questioning of his judgment, but he doesn't look inclined to back down. This one time, he knows what he wants and he plans to be as stubborn as a pig about it.

"You need to be doing this because you -have- to be, not because you want to be."he nods, its fuzzy logic but it works for Chris. "and if this is what you need, not what you -want- then I will help you do this in a manner that wont kill you. Just remember, this is life on hard mode."he would bring up the death star thing another time, if only to imply thats the sort've chicks italian men desire."I reckon we should investigate bikes, but do you have money for riding gear? Will you wear all of it in a hundred degree heat, and show up soaked in sweat?"His gaze is steady, not unlike the same sort've poker face he produces when he's got somone who knows something tied to a chair.

Teo doesn't know anything. Really, he doesn't. Dumb if not ignorant, in a lot of ways. Blue eyes meet Christian's, still squinty from bracing for some sort of verbal impact, accusations, scatology, rebuttal, contempt, before he changes his face with a blink of feline surprise, a few seconds belated. "'Life on hard mode,'" he repeats, a little quizzical; the corner of his mouth curls upward.

He sniffs, doesn't break line of sight though his head does essay down and to the side an inch and two degrees. "I have some money saved up. I don't know a lot about riding gear, but I do well in heat." A fragmented pause. "Grazie, amico. I don't want to die." He doesn't expect that to be news, but it bears mentioning; if not for Christian then to remind himself.

Christian points, finally like a schoolteacher might. "Now you listen here Teo, you budget about eight hundred bucks for gear. "Casually he produces a pair of motorcycle keys left dangling from a carefully braided length of 550 parachute cord. Yes, Chris can braid. "You can have the XR for what I got in it. Its not fast, its not cool but it will survive a wreck far worse than you will. Its freshly rebuilt, has about forty miles on the new motor. Tires, brakes, fork, Springs, seat, engine. The whole bike has been gone over and fixed by hand. I built it for me originally, so it was done all paranoid. Its not really what I wanted in the end though, so either I can sell it or I can give it to you for what I've got in it. Your call, Chief."

Teo can braid too. He knows a lot of knots. He doesn't only curse like a sailor. His eyes focus on the thing dangling from Christian's hand for a protracted moment, gaze inching up and down the braid for a moment before falling to the key, its teeth bared at him like a leer under the yellow electric light of the streetlight, handle showing clouded by fingerprints.

His fingers curl, squeeze shut for an instant, the briefest of warnings. The next instant, his hand snatches at the keys like a dog-snap, a grin on his face: simultaneously a Yes and a joke at the expense of the older man's reflexes. If he doesn't act fast.

It's not quite so easy, as Chris deftly pulls them back into his fist in the blink of an eye. Old man had mad skills yo."Three fifty, and I see that you can ride the god damned thing in a manner that wont kill you in a week. This is a dirtbike, so I'm gonna free up some time so we can actually get you some dirt time. Make a day of it, I know a few trails. I want to get my Husqvarna wound out and dirty for one time before I sell that fucker too anyway. So, deal?" He slowly tucks his gloved hand back into his pocket, stepping aside and indicating towards the bike. "sit, make sure it fits you halfway decent."

Teodoro stops still instead of recoiling, his evaded fingers in the air and his feet a half-step forward out of where he'd been standing. Old man does have skills. He subjects said skills to a critical squint before finally, slowly, straightening and rocking back on his heels, grin flaring out, teeth showing to the gums for just a moment.

"Thought you didn't do days," he says, sticking his bottle in his face for a moment, considering. "Sure. Price is fine." As long as he isn't expected to shell out almost a thousand for gear in one day, though he doesn't mention that out loud. "And weekends were made for that kind of thing, no?" Obligingly, he steps across the pavement, swings a long leg over the top of the bike and drops his heel down the opposite side.

Stands over it a moment, glancing down at horn button, light switches, mudguard and handlebars. A breath, he relaxes his right knee, drops onto the seat. "Why are you selling everything?" he asks after a moment, elongated by the distant Doppler peal of a squad car. "Getting something new? Bored?"

"Get offa it. Put your left foot on the left footpeg, stand up on the peg and then swing your leg over top. Don't stand on the ground and swing a leg over, its a dirtbike," he quickly corrects, but he stays right where he is. "I do days when I can, I was really going to try and get some racing in rallymoto this year but I wont have the time. There's a local supermoto club though, so I've already got my 510RR through tech inspection and ready to race. My days, are usually occupied by practicing for or racing. I think though, I can probably open up a day for you."

"Anyway, I'm selling the XR and the big Husq for a more practical bike. When I got that 610 I was doing a lot of blasting around in like Colorado, Idaho, Alaska, you know places where ten minutes and I could be out of cell service. I don't get the chance to experience that sort've stuff anymore, so I need a bike that's a little better suited to city life. I put the order in for a Triumph Scrambler a few months back, its due in like later this week. I'd keep the 610 if I had like a garage and shit, but hey thats how it goes."

Despite that Teo's concerned he might not have the balance to do something like that if the bike falls over, he's aware that positing the theory that the bike would fall over could be construed as some type of artistic insult. As such, he loops his frame back over and back on the ground, standing beside it like a chastised schoolboy long enough to satisfy himself that this is take two, separate, page turned.

Second time's the charm. "There's a local supermoto club? Where?" he asks, phasing back into the conversation with a glance of genuine curiosity. "What kind of people go there? Enthusiasts? Illicit gun-runners?" The possibility of a Federal pencil-pusher rubbing shoulders with gang-baners isn't half as humorous as a Federal pencil-pusher who looks like Christian does, built like a Viking.

Teo isn't a weedy child himself by any stretch of the term, but he'd go over the skyline if Christian jumped on the other end of a balancing scale. "That's too bad. That you won't have time to rally." Though he isn't surprised. The way things are. PARIAH in the Financial District, heroin ODs in bowling alleys, some schmucks equipped with an apparently domesticated Evolved serial killer trailing Abigail. "'Least there's something."

Christian shrugs, staying silent for long enough to bring a match to a short cigar. "I'd have rather'd a nice KTM, but thats a whole 'nother long story." He tucks his hands back into his pocket. "Mainly guys who were wearing mohawks a few years back, lot of country boys. The whole scene is built on guys who were punks and cityslick farmboys who cant stop loving dirtbikes. There's actually four clubs, but one rents a Go-Kart track every month or so and runs track days. There's some really killer tracks upstate too, Tons of'em in the midwest. You interested in riding supermotard?"His own interest piqued. "You need to ride offroad first, for the bike to make sense."

Brown paper scrunches in Teo's hand as he lets himself make an idle fidget, glancing down at his side. His fingers loosen, tighten around the bottleneck twice and he glances up as if suddenly remember the calendar date, the street name, or that Conrad was talking to him. "I don't know," he answers, after a beat. "I guess it would be something to do. If I have time between work and class and—" —co-chairing Phoenix, he thinks but doesn't add. "Fuckin'… whatever else.

"Sounds like something I'd do, though. If I didn't die first." Without that qualifier, it'd sound like something he would have done eight years ago. Idly, he lists his weight to the right. Doesn't fall then, either. Dropping his foot to the pavement, finally, he pulls himself off with a growl of rubber on concrete. "You don't fit into that constituency." It isn't a question.

"I'll die a farm boy Teo, I don't stop being a farm boy when I stop living on a farm. You don't fit yourself though, so anyway— let's go for some Chinese or somethin. You look and see when we have a few hours next for some training, and when that's done I'll see if I cant free up enough time to get you into the sticks some. " He reaches across, pulling the strand of a spider web off the bar end. "'Sides, you need to be really badass to ride motard on the street. "Not that Chris didnt ride Motard, because after all Chris was a badass right?

If you know he's a veteran of war, particularly. Teo probably ought to stop hanging out with Evolved ex-soldiers who have enough military experience under his belt to be able to kill him just by squinting at him from a certain trajectory. He looks at the spidersilk come off the bike for a moment, blinking as if he's a little slow. The look suits him because that's generally what he looks like; even if his hair hasn't grown out long enough for the blond to show.

"Fair enough," he states, after a moment. He squares his shoulders with what looks like effort, scrubbing the side of his head with thinly callused knuckles. "I don't know what that's slang for.

"'The sticks.' But I'll give you a text. Food sounds good." There's a lingering look at the motorcycle, wordless and largely inscrutable, severed with a blink. "I'm way too old to be wondering what my Madre would say," he remarks, motioning with his beer down the end of the street where commercial lighting gradiates closer. He saw restaurants that way. The Jade Sparrow, the Golden Light; the Asian cuisine equivalent of 'Joe's.'

November 18th: Do You Think He Likes Me?

Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…

November 18th: Tainted Memories
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