[Serene] Sitting on the Dock [Deg 1.4]

Deg, you and Vet are sitting on the bridge over the river.


He's got a glass jar with mead and a loaf of good brown bread, hardly any chunks, pretty damn fine chunk of jingle he shelled out if you ask me.

There's huge fucken crate of shiny metal discs here with pictures and letters. You two are taking turns throwing them and trying to hit them with rocks. Do you know many people who can read? Who's winning your little game?

One of the waterwheels is close, you passed it and the sound of the water and the work gang is loud and relaxing and strange all at the same time. Do you prefer noise, or silence? Louise got an opinion?


After a little comforting while, you two are sitting close. He lean-bumps you with his shoulder, smiling a happy smile and oh my god do you know how far he'd follow you? Look in his eyes and tell me you don't see it. "Can I still call you Green when we're alone?" Some of the bread is still left, it's nice to tear off a piece and dip it into the mead, but you've gotta keep the lid screwed on otherwise bugs will get in, smelling the sweetness.


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    I'm one of the few people I know who can read. Don't tell anyone. Fluke, anyway. Old man I knew taught me. When I was young. No one knows but me. Well, Louise knows. Pretend I can't. Easier that way. Folks get ideas if they know what you can do.

    Same reason I let Vet win. I wouldn't miss. Ever. Vet, though? He hits sometimes. I make myself miss most times. He doesn't need to know what I can do. Folks know. Then they want.

    Like the noise of the wheel. Like noise. Quiet ain't right. World is noisy. Quiet ain't right. Louise likes quiet. She ain't right. Thinking about it when Vet bumps me.


    I think. Pacify him? Set boundaries?


    "Sure," I blurt out. "Call me whatever."

  • edited February 2016
    "Green," he says, lazily gazing down the river. "I missed you, girl." He puts his hand on yours, fingers meshing. "What's Deg mean? Is it a name you earned, took, or was given?" It's sweet, his curiosity.

    Do you know why he goes by Vet? He ever tell you?
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    Names are names. They don't mean anything. Don't know why he's Vet. I'm Deg because that's what Louise calls me.

    End of story.

    "Um. Deg is nothing. Just a new name. For a new job."

    Cringing. Feel the lie coming.

    "I'm still Green."

    Why. Why. Why did I lie to him. Will Louise be mad? Why did I lie.
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    Deg, my dear, to whom do you lie?

    Green is dead, isn't she?

    I ate her all up.

    I love you.
  • Vet throws another disc thing, it spins in the air and catches the light. There's a hawk or something tries to catch it but changes its mind when it sees that it's not food. "A new job that makes you change your name? That's weird." He shrugs like it's no big thing, just one more weird thing in the world don't make sense. "What's the job? Do you like it?"
  • edited February 2016

    Yes. Green is dead. Eaten up. Nothing left. Lying to keep things easy. Easy is good. Easy means less suspicion. Just protecting you. Protecting us.

    I love you.

    Turn to Vet.

    "You've seen. Just protection detail. For the caravan. Deg's a good name for that."
  • "So you don't like it." He''s leaning back on his arms now, looking up, out the window, not at you.
  • edited February 2016
    Like it fine.

    "Like it fine."

    Why's he have so many questions?
  • "Are you mad at me or something? It's so hard to tell what you're thinking with that bandanna. You could be smiling or sticking our your tongue like a brat." He pokes you in your side, fooling a little. Are you ticklish?

    He was a good kisser, Deg.
  • edited March 2016

    I giggle. Just a little. Ticklish. Very. Very. Ticklish. And he knows it. Fucker. Fucking Vet. He knows me so well. No. He knows Green so well. I just... Share some of her traits. Not many. A few. Ticklish.

    I push him away.

    "Not mad. Just... don't always wanna talk."


    Wince as soon as I say it. Green talked. Now I gotta explain. Damn.

    "I mean, sometimes I do. And I'm not doing anything under here. Just wear a mask now. No big."

    Can feel myself not making sense...
  • edited March 2016
    Vet shakes his head, a sneaky grin peeping through the whiskers. You notice he's capped the honey and set down the bread and he looks like he's gonna getcha. Maybe for tickles, maybe for nookie, maybe for just ... one ... kiss.

    The rumble of the waterwheel hiccups and slows, for half a fast breath it's quiet, some vagary of the river. Then it rushes again, the murmurs and vibration a comforting blanket of sound.

    Where are your weapons right now, Deg?

    What do you do?
  • Deg
    Tense up.

    Hand instinctively moves towards machete. Damn. Just a little further away than I want it...

    I... never do that. Always right there. Let guard down. Because of Vet. Fuck. Got to learn.

    Not going to use it on him. Just want to know its there.

    Turn away from him. Hopefully he gets the idea...
  • Oh yeah, Deg. Homeboy gets the clue. Loud and clear. Even though you're not looking at him, you hear his smile die and the play of his posture collapse like a betrodden flower. You hear the tension grow in him.

    You hear a whisper of cloth as he pulls away from you. You hear a soft clomp of rubber as his boots draw together like he's hugging his knees.

    "Okay," he says softly. Mostly to himself, not to you. He's hurt. You hear him get to his feet, like he makes to walk away from the bridge, from the pretty shiny disc things, the bread, the honey, and you.

    What do you do?
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    Don't want this. Don't know what I want. Want... Dammit.


    Fucking mouth. Works before brain.

    "Just. Let's just hang out. Okay?

    Maybe that will do it.
  • Oh, Deg.

    Deg, Deg, Deg. You've got him wrapped tight round your finger. Who is pulling the strings now?

    Vet pauses, and half turns. You just can see the edge of his face. "What'd'you want to do?" He wants the happiness, Deg. But you have such weapons for his heart, and he knows it, and you know it, and he knows you know it.

    Do you know how he got that tattoo on the back of his neck? Or is it new?
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    Have a friend. Talk to someone. Fuck, maybe, sometimes. Long as the mask stays on. Feel a connection. Companionship. Love.

    "I don't know, just... let's hang out. Don't be angry."

    Touch the tattoo. A little design.

    "Nice work here. Where'd you get it? What is it?"
  • edited March 2016
    Vet's tattoo looks like this:

    He reaches back to touch your hand, hungry for your touch, to close the gulf. "Okay," he says. It won't be okay forever. "Maybe we should go back to town, hear some music maybe get high?" He's reaching.

    "Do you like it? I got it eight moons ago, a, uh, woman in Ften Lu."

    Know anything about that place, Deg?
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    Nod when he says go back to town. Start following him.

    "Where's Ften Lu?"

    Damn. Shouldn't have asked. Then I realize.

    I want to know. Where he's been.

    Louise won't like that.

    "I mean, what have you been up to? Since... we last saw each other."

    Hands sweat. Gonna piss her off. Doesn't like me talking to others like that.

    But... Vet.

    I want to know. I do.
  • Vet gathers up the rest of the bread, careful, and puts the small cache of honey in his pack, slings it up tight. He's not sure if you want to hold hands. Do you?

    Your footsteps are clomping together in sync on the bridge, toward the burble of the waterwheel. Sunlight is dappling through the trees, lots of sneaky motion out in the corners of your eyes.

    Vet says, "Ften Lu is, hmm, maybe two weeks in that direction, depends on roads and weather. He points with four fingers to the northwest. He's always been good with directions and maps, remember? "They have good fishing there, and shelter up in a big metal tower. Not as many people as Sparks, but they've got clean water and music... but not much more than that. I remember scaving for bullets for them." He shakes his head, trailing off a memory, maybe biting his tongue. "There's slavers and cannibals and worse out in this world, Deg. It ain't a pretty thing. Sometimes all you can do is run. Leave everything and run, you know?" He's staring off at nothing.

    Does Louise feel a little tighter to you, Deg? Do you ever clean her? Wash the blood off?
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    Louise. She does this. Want to reach back and take her off. Clean her. Not with Vet here. He sees me. Sees what I am now? He won't walk next to me.

    Want to hold his hand. Badly. Hate myself for it. Feel helpless. At his whims. At his mercy. At her mercy. Pulling me in opposite directions.

    Louise wins. She hides me. She'll always win.

    "Yeah, I get that. Running. What I did, after all. Um. Sorry bout that. I guess."
  • Vet doesn't miss a step, but he's quiet for a minute. It's obvious to you that he's biting his tongue and trying to figure out what to say. "I'm sorry too," is what he finally says. You can tell he wants to push more, to find out why you left, what you've been up to,

    Your hands are close, Deg. His warmth and flesh are close, easy enough to just move like half a foot and close that gap, huh? I guess it's still there for now. You two walk on a bit, saying nothing.

    Back to Sparks, then. Hanging out, listening to music and getting high are on the list. What kind of music do you like? What kind of high do you like? Is Louise closer or further away when you're high?
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    Music isn't my thing. Green liked music. Deg, not so much. Just sounds like noise now. Can fake it, though. For Vet. Keep him unsuspicious.

    See folks drinking. Like to drink. Like being drunk. Only drink alone now. Drinking means Louise comes up or off. That doesn't happen. Not when I'm with people. People don't see me. Still. Wish I could get drunk. Might be nice.

    Eyes search crowd. See something better. People breathing smoke. Some folks can mix herbs. Burn them, folks get high. Not my favorite. Can do it without taking off Louise.

    Always a risk, though. Get high. Sometimes its like she's not there. Just for a few minutes.

    Other times? She takes over.

    Gonna risk it. Want to get high.

    "Vet. Let's breathe some smoke. Looks fun."
  • Vet's amenable to breathing smoke with you, Deg. You two make your way over to the stall, not really a stall, but an overturned congregated plastic tub and a bin with a lid to keep the herbs dry. The old herb lady reminds you of Asphalt from the Caravan. "Hullo, hullo, young sweeties," she says in her old-lady voice. Jewelry, bits of brightly colored metals and plastics, jangle across her chest over the shapeless faded muumuu thing she's wearing. "What can Mother Jones do you for?" She cackles at her joke and smiles a broken smile, missing a slew of teeth on one side from an old fight.
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    "Um, just gonna have some smoke. We can trade for it."

    Sit next to Vet. Inhale deeply. See what happens.

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    Rolling custom move
    (Rolled: 2d6+1. Rolls: 2, 5. Total: 8)
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    The smoke fills my brain and I enter into a strange, dizzying haze. I am reminded of a time with Vet, back when I was still called Green and we lived among happy people. One would not know it to see me now, all lean muscle, a purely functional body, but back then I was a dancer with a more fleshy body to move around the fire. I remember dancing at one such gathering, warm shine in my stomach, my brain pleasantly clouded like it is right now, and telling a story with my body. A story of the sun and the trees and the rain that surrounded and loved our people at that time. I feel my body sway, ever so slightly, as the memory floods back to me. I see Vet's face in my mind's eye, and recall our lovemaking that night.

    And I know she knows.
  • Deg, it's feels almost like she's sleeping, all curled up in a blanket, squirming underneath like something alive. You feel like she's just poked an ear or eye out from under that warm smoky blanket, but is still too comfy to do anything other than snooze and rest... and bide her time.

    Vet's got a distant, relaxed sort of vibe to him, but you know that one part of him is still tense a little. He blindly reaches a hand out to yours, warm flesh on flesh so you two can trip a little together.

    Mother Jones folds her hands over her ample bosom. "Another satisfied customer!" She looks canny, a shark. "Want some more? 'Course you do!" Her hands start to get busy prepping her herbs, and the mumble of the crows starts to raise in volume as you focus some.

    How are you gonna pay for this, Deg? Or is Vet?

    Also, I'll offer you a +1 on that custom move if you take another hit while high, right now. Maybe Louise will go to sleep and we'll see Green. That scare you?
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    My brain floats, my soul is released. Of course I will have more. I can pay for it, if she needs jingle. Maybe Vet will chip in, too. I can also trade for it. Do something for her. Doesn't matter, though. Going to take another hit. It's been so long. So long since I could feel like Green. It's strange, but I wouldn't mind, just for a minute...
  • taking another hit...
    (Rolled: 2d6+2. Rolls: 2, 5. Total: 9)
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    Another memory as my mind flutters. It's strange. I have forgotten something. I... I am a good cook. I remember building a small fire outside of the place I shared with Vet. I'm peeling potatoes, cutting onions, we even had some meat I can throw in. I remember sitting there, with Vet, our mismatched, cracked bowls, talking, laughing, telling stories, as we ate the stew.

    I turn to Vet and smile.

    I realize.

    He can't see it.

    My hand reaches up towards Louise, almost instinctively. I stop myself.

  • Vet's looking at you almost blankly, Deg. He's stoned and really can't see much of the subtle joy you probably have in your eyes. Louise is in the way of your face and your smile will soon be lost. You sense that Louise is somehow looking through your mental recipe box, finding things she can eat.

    "Greee...." Vet's pupils are dilated something serious, and you see a bit of drool coming out one side of his mouth, but he's smiling.

    Can he handle his drugs? Did he ever have a bad trip? Are you worried?
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    Hand moves away. From Louise. Half there. Halfway to being her. But not. Shake my head. Try to get some control. Still fuzzy. Still foggy. Not unpleasant. Look around. Vet is stoned. He gets handsy. Amorous. Horny. Move a few inches away, subtly. Hope he doesn't notice.

    "Maybe we should head back."

    Come on Vet. Find someone who's not me. Not her.
  • Vet blinks slowly at you, you can almost hear the grit at his eyeballs slide around to you. He drops his eyes to your tits and smiles like a happy dead man. He staggers to his feet and reaches out to you, almost falls down, but he catches himself on your shoulder. He's leaning his head on you, breathing into the hollow of your neck. In a minute he's gonna have his hand on your ass.

    Mother Jones looks at you with the sharp eye of those who high-and-fly, ready to call down Ula thunder if you try to skip without paying. "Time to pay the piper, dearies," she says in her old-lady voice. It's still a kindly dealer herbalist voice, but it doesn't reach her eyes.

    What do you do?
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    Ignore Vet for a sec. Mother Jones needs to be paid.

    "Course, Mother. What do you want? Need me to do anything?"
  • Deg, Mojo is still wary, but she's not going to pass up an opportunity. "Jingle or barter, dearie. Got anything worth giving? Or if you want to go herb-hunting, my knees ain't what they used ta be." She leans in closer, whispering. Her breath smells of anise. "And if you want to send the green-haired seller back to the flowers, I'd keep you in smoke for a week." Her voice is bitter.

    Vet is staring at a mandala-looking design on the stall wall, swaying slowly to invisible music. He has one hand in his pocket, almost like he's reaching for his junk.
  • edited April 2016
    I nod.

    Green haired seller.



    "Sure. I'll do it. Where, when, and how quiet?"

    Why not? Better than paying.
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