What's In A Name?


hokuto_icon.gif tzigane_icon.gif

Scene Title What's In A Name?
Synopsis Hokuto Ichihara is visited by an honest to God gypsy.
Date September 16, 2009

Ichihara Bookstore

Alarm clocks are something for people who don't have adjacent construction work to rouse them from restful sleep. Alarm clocks are also generally for people who like to keep a professional schedule, or perhaps just normal sleeping hours. For the proprieter of a small and old bookstore wedged into the heart of Roosevelt Island, neither of these two things are truth. Yet the dusky rays of morning sunlight comes pouring through the two bay windows at the front of the Ichihara Bookstore, and its groggy proprieter is unfortunately wide awake.

The sound of jackhammers drilling into the concrete just outside likely has a fair amount to do with it.

A rather decent evening singing for her supper, and Tzigane's exploring. A bookshop is a definite place of interest, so she opens the door and enters, peeking around to locate the clerk out of habit. The tarot table catches her interest for a moment, and she grins happily. A fellow practitioner! Good. She needs to know fair market value..

Seated cross-legged on the old wooden counter, a steaming ceramic mug of something hot cradled in her palms, Hokuto Ichihara looks more or less like the just woken dead; dark hair in a tangled mess, eyes languidly half-lidded and mascara unfortunately left on overnight smudged around equally dark eyes. That chime and ring of the door opening causes her to lean to one side, inspecting the door as if it just blurted out some profanity as her hands raise that mug up to her lips, accompanied by an ungainly slurp sound.

Staring over the top of the mug, brows furrowed, Hokuto watches the young woman who enters with a slow tilt of her head. A tired breath is taken in, and the mug doesn't lower from her lips as she grumbles out the greeting of, "Welcome to Ichihara Books…" It's too early for chipper.

Oh goodie, surly first thing in the morning! Just like home. As Tzigane hasn't been to sleep yet, she is far more alert than the person behind the counter. A bright smile is most likely irritating as hell as she returns the greeting with a chirpped, "Good morning!" Probably the last thing the woman behind the counter wants to hear, singsonged loudly against the construction-noise. '"Just looking!'" Yep, annoying looky-louis. Just your luck, huh? "Tarot! How lovely.. what deck do you use?" And to compound the irritation, she's curious.. joy.

Dark eyes drift over to the sign away from her on the counter, then back up again. A quiet and contemplative sip from that mug is taken, and when it's set aside the young girl finally gets a glimpse of a white string and tag hanging out of the side and the faint whiff of peppermint clinging to the steam. "Rider Waite," one dark brow lifts up, "it belonged to my mother." Sliding one black-clothed leg down off of the counter, a bare foot touches down on the hardwood floor, followed by another, and Hokuto stretches her arms up over her head and breathes out a tired yawn capped off by a small squeak as she leans to one side, folding an arm behind her head and stretching out the other.

"It belonged to my mother," she adds quietly, picking up her mug again and cradling it between both of her hands as her eyes drift around the store and then back to the girl. "Anything in particular you're looking for?" She seems to be easing back on the gruffness, a little more soft and simple than first intrusion elicited.

Tzigane looks around and nods, "Inheritance is good.. continuity of purpose and traditions gives us roots." she bounces over to the table, not reaching out to touch anything, but studying it carefully. "Pleasant set up.. Ten dollars, though? Is that the going rate in this area?" she asks, before moving to the stacks, wandering aimlessly.

There's something of a shrug in response, both shoulders rolling forward as she quietly sips at the tea again. Hokuto's eyes follow the girl's movements, head tilting to the side. "To be honest I'm not sure. I never used to charge, but one of my employees— " there's a hitch of her words and a lopsided smile that briefly replaces them, "told me it might be good to have some reliable form of income. People tend to come here more for the readings these days than the books, word of mouth sells the idea pretty quickly."

Wandering footfalls pad several steps behind Tzigane, swaying from side to side whimsically as she walks, keeping pace with the girl enough to stalk in her shadow. "Kind of an odd thing to ask about," her mood seems to be lightening from surly to curious, almost catlike in the manner she pursues the conversation, flitting from one notion to the next.

Tzigane picks up the latest Dan Brown, looking over the back cover as she covertly studies the security measures of the store. It's a habit. She has a fair haul from her singing. People do have discretionary money, even with the city in such disarray. Perhaps the sight of a streetcorner singer brings back pleasant memories of what it was like before the catastrophe, but people are moderately generous. She glances up and towards the woman behind the counter, "People don't appreciate what they don't pay for, and the cards demand some sort of remuneration. It is … disrespectful, to give away such knowledge to those who merely wish to play." she smiles at the reliable income comment. "My grandmother would beat me if I did such a thing. Crossing the palm with silver, it drives home the solemnity of the occasion." she adds.

"That's one way of putting it," Hokuto notes with a roll of her tongue across her cheek. "You know, I was going to disagree with you on not appreciating what they don't pay for, it sounded too cynical…" she trails off, staring down into her muted reflection in the tea, dark eyes alighting back to the girl again, "but I think you're right, to an extent. Everything does have a price, even if it isn't readily obvious, so I think you're right in the respects that people don't appreciate things until they experience something that makes them appreciate it, which I guess in a way is payment in a sort've karmic way."

Dark brows furrow together, and Hokuto pauses in mid stride, leaning her shoulder up against the corner of a bookshelf. "You've got an interesting way of looking at things, for someone your age. I don't think I was really that…" she searches for the right word, "introspective?" Another brief pause, then a nod, yes that is the right word. "At least not when I was your age."

Tzigane laughs, '"Tradition is a powerful goad. My grandmother was training me for her apprentice, for a while.. taught me the cards, how to work a .. customer..'" she was going to say 'mark', but.. no sense giving -that- part of the business away. "She was a genuine gypsy drabarni..but my little sister showed a greater aptitude, and fate took me down a different road.. but I keep my hand in, reading the cards for the gaje, occasionally." The book is kept, and she continues trailing her shadow through the stacks, taking no offense at the close scrutiny. She is accustomed to it, and besides, shoplifting in broad daylight ain't her style.

Lips part, brows rise, and Hokuto stares at the girl for a moment with one brow raised and head tilted to the side quizically. "Gypsy?" There's an inredulous tone there lobbed with the subtlety of a thrown hammer. "You're— really?" Suddenly she's closing the distance between herself and the girl, setting down the now empty sea cup on a shelf absent-mindedly as she walks. "You're serious, aren't you? I— I've heard about gypsies, I mean— who hasn't? But I didn't know— " she flusters a little, laughing awkwardly to hide her embarassment.

"I'm sorry that was coming out all wrong, I just… I sort've categorized the idea with fiction." Her brows crease together, awkward smile replacing her earlier Cheshire grin, "I— know that sounds sort've terrible, now that I've said it."

Huffing out a breath that blows away a lock of dark hair from her face, Hokuto's arms cross over her chest and she hesitantly offers out a hand as if it were some kind of peace-offering for her bumbling conversational ways. "Hokuto— ah, Hokuto Ichihara." She squints, watching the girl carefully, as if half expecting her to just not be there ina puff of logic or something equally nonsensical. She's not aware how close to the truth that could eventually be.

Tzigane grins and offers a theatrical bow, book in either hand as she chuckles, "Yes, a genuine, honest to murgatroid gypsy.. " she winks. 'There are a lot of us out there, yanno… You just don't see them. The fiction doesn't come close to the reality." she confides in an almost conspiratorial tone. "It doesn't sound terrible, it sounds human, which isn't a bad thing. I promise not to break out a tambourine with ribbons and dance in your store, though." she teases, "Japanese? I -adore- the culture. I've read a lot of books about the samurai— Oh look! A new Misty Lackey!" she pounces.

The irony of the statement about Samurai is met with a crooked smile, and Hokuto's head tips down into a nod as she lets out a tiny, awkward laugh. Rubbing one hand at the side of her head, she leans off of the corner of the shelf and takes a step around to follow the girl with a curious stare. "Half," she corrects the assumption, "My father was, my mother was from Singapore, but she was born in Shanghai." A couple of paces take Hokuto towards the storage room door, which she uses to lazily brace herself up against, arms still folded across her chest.

"You know…" the awkward smile from earlier is replaced by the Cheshire grin once more, "I don't think you told me your name." It's a little teasing in comment, even if lightly so. The curiosity seems to have gotten the better of this particular cat.

The books are bounced over to the counter, but she only places the two she selected down before going back to the stacks, "Which one do you want?" she grins, teasingly. "Hey, just what I need.. someone asked me the meaning of my name the other day.. and I have no clue… It's Tzigane. " she says, in a now distracted town as she flips through a baby-name book.

One brow raised at which one, Hokuto leans off of the door and wanders towards the counter. "Tzigane?" There's a suspicious tone to her voice as she parrots the word back, stare wandering to the ceiling as she considers it, then makes her way behind the counter and leans both of her forearms on it, hands folded together and thumbs brushing side-to-side over each other. Dark eyes wander from the girl to the front windows, eyeing the street.

"Did you walk here?" The question seems honest enough, but there's something of a loaded quality to it, Hokuto's head tilting to the side with a sheet of dark hair falling down over one eye as her focus turns back to Tzigane again, a single dark brow lifted — well maybe they both are, but it's hard to see behind the hair.

Tzigane doesn't find it in the first, but the second… Ah, there it is.. And she blinks. "Oh holy cow." she sputters, looking over the various spellings and such and she laughs, sitting on the floor, "Oh this is rich.. it means Gypsy in Hungarian, of all things!" The book is weighed in her hand, and she checks the price, before reluctantly deciding it's out of her range today.. she does take a few minutes to look up another name, though… "No, I have my van, but walking isn't a bad way to get around. And yes, it is Tzigane. The one my father gave me. I'm named after a great-grand-aunt who was killed in the Holocaust, actually." She nods at something and replaces the book, standing up to go back through the shelves. Two is her limit today, but never hurts to look around. She may find something she wants more…

"Strange to have a name and not know what it means, the superstitious would say it's bad luck, you know!" The way Hokuto delivers that is so much more chipper than she'd been when Tzigane first came in, clearly thinking about something other than the sounds of construction have done wonders for her waking attitude. The tea may have also helped. "Do you live around here — On Roosevelt, I mean?"

While she talks, Hokuto picks up and turns over the pair of books Tzigane had laid down, checking the proces on them and scribbling a note of the cost on a small spiral-bound notepad with an old chewed-upon pen. She doesn't even regard the cash register with so much as a cursory glance, her dark eyes alighting to Tzigane again before too long. "Well— I guess I'm more beating around the bush on things. I was wondering if you were looking for work." Of course, there's no help wanted sign in the window.

Tzigane laughs, "Well, it would depend on your superstitions, wouldn't it?" she shrugs, "I was taught names mean no more and no less than what you wish them to mean. So, I guess it wasn't important to my folks to research it. It was more important to give her another life." she shakes her head to the question "No, I don't live anywhere, except my van.. my vardo." she looks over the stacks, "Currently it's parked at the beach. And… it would depend, really. I just got into town, y'see. Why?'

One brow goes up, and Hokuto looks over her shoulder to the street out the window and then back again. "Well, I only have one part-time employee who works here, and he's been volunteering down at the Suresh Center on the south-side of the island for the last couple of months, which leaves me in charge of the store more often than not…" Hokuto leans back, palms flat on the counter then boosts herself up, folding her legs beneath herself and turning to sit much in the way she was when Tzigane first came in. "I'm looking for someone who could run the store when I go out, help me do book donations at the Brooklyn Public Library every other month… It's not terribly difficult. We usually only get around ten customers a day— it's up from about three now that the Suresh Center opened."

Resting her hands in her lap, fingers folding, Hokuto considers Tzigane for a moment, one brow raised. "Totally under the table, no paperwork to fill out," why she feels like emphasizing that is a bit unclear. "There's no extra space in the studio apartment upstairs," she nods towards the back door, "but there's a lot out back of the store, only one alley leads down it, you could park your van out back there until you get yourself— settled." The last word is delivered uncertainly. Gypsy, settle, it doesn't feel right to her. "It's entirely up to you, but the offer's there."

Tzigane nods, "Throw in shower-rights and you've got a deal. Evenings I go out, though. Mornings aren't a problem, but afternoons I sleep, from about eleven or so til.. whenever I wake up, usually around three. Money, eh.." she shrugs, "Make it book-rights. I don't break spines and if you let me borrow, I'll return them in good condition for sale. I make my cash singing, like my folks did. But I won't read the cards. Not inside." she's adamant about that. Not a building. Vardo, maybe, but definitely not in a building. Wouldn't seem right, somehow, without the sun or stars watching.

There's a bit of a grimace, and Hokuto rubs at the side of her head, laughing quietly. "The ah— shower's a bit finicky. There's a closet-sized bathroom right up those stairs," she points over her shoulder to the staircase with the velvet rope, "the shower stays hot for about fifteen minutes, so use your time wisely." Running fingers thorugh her hair, she flattens one palm out on the counter and tips her head into a nod. "Book rights… book rights," she breaks out into a bigger laugh, "you and Darien both, just want to get at the books." There's a gentle smile, fond almost, and a nod of her head. "Alright, you have yourself a deal."

When her eyes wander back up to Tzigane, she picks up the books from the counter, deposits them on the other side of herself, and pushes them forward towards the girl. "Store hours are over on the sign there," she motions with one hand towards it, "but it's more of an estimate. I'm usually always here to open since I live upstairs, and I'm more often than not back home to close. But if you have to go out for whatever reason, don't hesitate to just flip the sign around and lock up. Most of my regular customers expect the store to be open when its closed and closed when it's open from time to time."

Tzigane nods, "It's good to be unpredictable.. keeps the thieves guessing." she looks around, "I can do simple math, but inventory and such.. nah. I can write but my penmanship's enough to make a cat laugh. I'm working on it." she shrugs. "You should know, if I'm going to work here.' she offers as an explanation. "The finicky showers aren't a problem. I'm accustomed to it, and after the beach-showers, any hot water at all would be wonderful."

"Well, that should balance out with my general disdain of computers," Hokuto notes with a crook of her head. "We have a computer that we use for inventory, or— Darien uses for inventory. I'm not much of one to handle it, though, always been more of a fan of hand-writing things, it goes with my old line of work." Shifting her posture, Hokuto's hands rest behind her as she slouches back some. "I wouldn't worry too much about thieves," she adds with a crooked smile, "most people around here know better." Though she doesn't explain why.

"You know, Tzi," already with the abbreviations, "I think you're going to work out here just fine. Don't even need to worry about the cash register, it hasn't worked in ten years. I've got a lock-box under the counter for the money, a notepad for sales just to check figures. As long as your honest and show up when you say you will, you'll always have a place here and— " she shrugs a bit sheepishly, "for what it's worth people I let work here are sort've like family."

Tzigane nods solemnly, "computers are magic beasts. They run on blue smoke— I've seen it." Yes, she is serious. "Honesty… from a gypsy?" she teases. Yes, she knows the stereotype and you seem to be more knowledgeable of that than the reality, but she is teasing. "I don't need the money, and if I did, I can earn it easily enough." she shrugs and looks around, wandering the stacks again. 'I'll go and get my van, if you don't mind. I don't like leaving it unattended and it's been there long enough." she smiles a bit sheepishly.

"Honest until proven dishonest," Hokuto notes with a wag of one finger, "I'm not one to judge people based on where they come from or who raised them. It's all about your actions, nothing else." Brows raised, Hokuto slides off the front of the counter and lands with a thump of both bare feet on the floor. "That fine, I'll go around back and move the patio furniture closer to the back door so you've got space. Be careful pulling in, the alley's pretty narrow— wouldn't want to bust one of your mirrors!"

As she begins to walk towards the back door of the shop, Hokuto turns slowly and looks over her shoulder as a chalk white cat with two dark spots above its eyes comes running down the stairs and starts weaving in and out from between her feet, brushing its tail up against her ankles. "Oh— and this is Gabriel," she notes with a side-to-side motion of a downpointed finger to the cat, "he's a stray," she notes with a crooked smile. "I seem to have a habit of picking them up."

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