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Messages - Dr Greenthumb Granger

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16
Of Gall And Grangers / Re: Christmas Eve At The Grove 2012
« on: December 22, 2012, 12:19:04 AM »
Despite his love of having the house filled with family, with the festivities well under way, Humphrey had managed to drag himself away from the growing gathering of small children who always seemed to congregate around his chair on Christmas Eve to rise and mingle with the adults who had taken time out of the evening to come and celebrate with them. He didn?t ask much of his family, just that they come to him on Christmas Eve, and often most of them obliged.

Every year there were a few faces missing, and this year those missing faces were numerous. But there was one lingering near the alcohol that made him smile, however briefly. It had been more than ten years since Gigi had come to the manor of her own volition, and though he doubted it had anything to do with wiling away a few hours with family, he was happy to see that she was there.

He reached her just as she breathed her hope for some undisclosed deity to assist her, and couldn?t help offering up a comment in return, leaning heavily on his stick at her back. ?Would you like help, or just a f**k??

?What an obscene proposal. I see you?ve gotten more perverted in your age, Old Man.? Gigi?s voice retained its dry humor though for a brief moment she caught herself smiling. It was reflexive in his presence. If their family was a twisted tree, Humphrey was the sun that saw to every leaf and twig. He may very well have been the firmament that encased their whole world and stood between every Granger?s reality and the heavens.

Teddy would have appreciated the grandiose allusion. Gigi hated that no matter how far she ran or how much rage she held in her heart she would never shake free from the spell of their great patriarch. She could not separate herself from those childhood memories tied to her core of so many days spent happily in his company. Even the smell of his familiar cologne felt comforting.

With a sigh she turned around to face him. ?You?re still spry enough to sneak up on people, I?ll give you that.? She smirked. ?You should show me where you keep your swords if you?re intent on becoming a ninja this late in life.? The disconcerting eyes took a look around at the gathered family before fixing on him. She leaned in so that her next few words would be lost in the hum of noise from their merry relatives. ?We should talk.? Privately. That last word lived in the stress placed on the other three without needing to be said.

Humphrey snorted with laughter at her allusion to his sneakiness, knowing it was kind words and nothing more. But kind words, however they were wrapped up, were rare enough from Gigi that he appreciated them more than if they had come from another source. ?You think I?m bad now, wait until you see the slinky stealth wheelchair waiting in the wings for when the hip gives out completely,? he threatened through a smirk of his own, the quirk of his lips echoing that of his younger relative as he leaned near her.

Her own lean was not lost on him. Nor were the curious glances being sent their way by several of the older Grangers. Gigi?s own generation knew not to make a fuss of her appearance, but her parents? generation hadn?t yet tied together the sweet child with the prickly adult. They were also notorious gossips, most of them, and Humphrey didn?t want suspicion and difficulty falling onto Gigi?s head just because this was the only place she could have guaranteed finding him at short notice.

?Well, since you?re here,? he said, his voice loud enough to carry to the curious ears nearby but not so loud as to be obviously laying a false rumor, ?- and it is charming to see you, of course - why don?t you come into the library? It?s been a long time since you and I shared a drink over a good book.? Tactfully, he didn?t mention that the drink she?d had the last time it had happened had been chocolate milk, simply offering her his arm with a charming display of old-school manners. He had a feeling he knew what she wanted to talk to him about, and hoped she found something a little lighter to take home with her, however long she chose to stay.

With much effort she willed a small smile onto her face, one that held less bite than normal. Gigi took his arm and mentally cursed herself for momentarily relishing the more intimate gesture. Away from Maple Grove it was easy to block out any things she missed about the people and the place itself and only focus on what poisons the Granger name could carry. Here, drinking in the old sights and smells on their path to the library she, Teddy, and even Clayton when he could bear their company, spent many rainy afternoons exploring, it was not as simple to forget.

Once they were tucked away from prying eyes (though one never knew what sneaking ears lurked inside the mansion), Gigi broke free from the embrace as if Humphrey?s arm burned her. It clouded her head to be here with him and she coveted her clarity. ?You?re a good actor, Old Man. We both know I?m the farthest f**king thing from charming.? A last immature stab at rebelling against her own nostalgic feelings and love for him with the crude opening. ?I?m here because Jon may not have his memories but he?s gotten enough of the picture of what happened after his accident that I have to find Eli. And from what I gather Jon hasn?t learned the full picture,? she locked eyes with Humphrey then, ?so you?re going to want to help me find him and figure out how to clean up his motherf**king mess.?

It might have hurt him how quickly she slipped from his grasp, but the Old Man knew this particular generation of his family better than perhaps they might like. Just the fact that she was there was enough to bring a smile to his face, even if it was on business unpleasant to most. ?Crude as you try to be, Gigi love, you are still a charming young woman, whether you like it or not,? Humphrey informed her with perfect clarity of his own, letting her move away and turn to the business she had come to discuss.

The reminder of how close Jon and his wife had come to total disaster brought a faint frown to his face as he painfully lowered himself into a chair. He knew most of what went on with the family, and Jon himself had shared quite a few of the details after the ... incident. He looked up at Gigi, meeting her gaze steadily. ?I gather your search has proved fruitless thus far, then,? he said calmly, refusing to give into the temper that flared at any hint of danger to his family. ?I am uncertain, truly, what has happened with Elias. He had a laboratory beneath the Community Faith Family Medicine and Triage Center in WestEnd, though reports indicate that he has not frequented that locale for almost a year. I have also heard that he may have gone looking for vampires, in which case you may well be searching for the first Granger vampire.?

Gigi refrained from rebuking Humphrey on the matter of her charm. She grimaced at the last piece of news. ?I knew he was bat sh*t crazy but I didn?t take him for a masochist.?

Humphrey's brown eyes turned concerned, deeply worried for her in that moment as he looked on one of the self-proclaimed black sheep of the family. ?Be careful, Gigi,? he warned her, sounding as old as he looked in that moment. ?If, at any time, the danger to you grows too great, abandon the search. We can live in ignorance without losing you, too.? We?ve lost too much already.

It had been so long since she experienced someone in her family exhibiting such paternal concern for her that Gigi hadn?t realized she missed it until she saw Humphrey?s expression. Little girls with daddy issues hit the pole, not the streets to deal drugs, Gigi, she reminded herself snidely, harshest to herself most of all. It pricked her though to note the weather of the years in his face. She forgot the consequences of being careless with time. It was a finite resource and who knew how many more occasions for meeting they would have.

?I...? Gigi lost her thorns for a moment but could not bring herself to give life to those words that should have been shared. She could only nod. ?OK.?

Then she remembered what started this all in the first place. A lovesick girl with a crush and a gun. ?I should have taken care of it all myself the first time.? She darkly remarked. Humphrey may not have known the particulars, what tasks Gigi and Elias split amongst them when they found Susie, but he had not been left in the dark. He knew they meant to handle it outside the law and that they thought their work finished. Their error proved disastrous. ?You will look harder too, yes?? She could not outright ask for his help, at least not without the guise of blackmail or some other threat that made them cohorts out of shared circumstance and not family.

He smiled gently, rising to his feet once more to lay a warm hand on her shoulder if she would allow it. ?I am always looking, little one,? he assured her quietly. ?One by one, I will find you - all of you - whenever you go astray, even if it takes me to the end of my life and beyond.? From the desk behind him, he took a small leather-bound book, offering it to her. ?Your Teddy gave me this the year before he died,? Humphrey told her gently. ?But the inscription, I think, was intended for you. I should like you to have it, Gigi.? His hand, so gnarled with age, was soft against her cheek for the barest moment. ?Family is bone-deep, my spiky little love. Even if you walk away and never look back, there is always a place for you, here at the heart of it. All of you.?

?You?ve still got balls.? Her gaze ticked down at his hand on her shoulder but her words were quiet. Not soft by normal standards, she carried too much steel and iron in every part of her needing protecting for softness to stick to her words. But they lacked that jagged edge meant for the barbs she usually chose to spit.

Her fingers wrapped too tightly around the book and gave away her eagerness for the gift. Another relic of her brother?s who grew more saintly every year her memory was all she had left to know him by. She did not dare to read the inscription now. Whatever her brother left there could entirely undo her with the memories it might trigger. ?All right, Poppy, all right.? The ?thank you? that belonged there would have to be heard in the fact that she slipped into calling him by the childhood nickname for him. Humphrey had served as another grandfather regardless of the technicality.

?Well, my darling, without my balls, this family would be a lot smaller,? Humphrey chuckled, appreciating the childhood nickname more than most would imagine he might. But then, only the Grangers ever saw this side of the Old Man - the gentleness that tempered his own steel, offered freely to those of his blood and those they had chosen to make their lives with. Even when he dressed someone down for their behavior, he never lost that milder side that softened the blow. ?Now that we have that serious business done, would you indulge an old man by matching me drink for drink at the bar, little one??

?May as well make a f**king Christmas miracle out of it.? Gigi paused to qualify her point. ?I?ll stay but can?t promise I?ll behave.?

That would do for today. Humphrey offered her his arm once again and guided her back into the common room, his twinkly-eyed charm once more in full view, knowing he couldn?t hold her there for long. But however long she chose to stay, it would be enough. She had her place here, like all the others who had come before and would come after, a last bastion of the family she had almost eschewed for good.

[size=9]((A giant thank you to Humphrey's player for working on this with me, lots of fun!))[/size]

17
Of Gall And Grangers / Re: Christmas Eve At The Grove 2012
« on: December 19, 2012, 11:40:23 PM »
?oh but you?ll be very proud?

How could Teddy be proud of her now?

This was the thought Gigi shoved back and swallowed down as she left Royan Field where her brother was buried with many Grangers before him. She finished reading to him from the book of Christmas poems she had picked up for their new tradition now that they could not dance and sing ?Noel Noel? around the tree. Even during her time in Jenli she always made sure to come back to RhyDin to sit aside the marble monument for her brother, the carved slumbering boy with the strange little smile and Dickinson?s verse at his feet, and read a holiday tale Teddy had loved out loud to him.

Unfortunately this year, Gigi needed to pay a second visit after spending the morning with her brother.

She avoided Maple Grove Manor as if it held the origins of the fever that periodically ravaged the city. But she had no luck so far tracking down her cousin, Eli, and though she doubted he would show up for the family holiday, she did believe one person there might have been able to open a new door. Humphrey had resources she didn?t, especially when it came to keeping tabs on their family that grew like weeds.

Weeds? Maybe a virus.

These were the bits of black humor swirling through her head when she darkened the doorstep. Her appearance at Maple Grove would be suspicious on any day. At least today she could leave the vast network of relatives who might notice to speculate that perhaps her heart had softened.  Perhaps she had been more widely forgiven or had come to plead her way back into the fold.

Gigi scoped the scene out. Her first priority before finding Humphrey was to make sure she did not cross paths with her parents. Her tailored black pantsuit might have been more fitting for a funeral than a holiday.

Gigi?s second priority was downing a shot of tequila and taking a deep breath as she absorbed her surroundings.

?Lord, f**king help me.?

18
Of Gall And Grangers / Re: Christmas Eve At The Grove 2012
« on: December 19, 2012, 11:36:55 PM »
Some people chose the New Year to reflect on their actions and decide if they liked the person staring back at them in the mirror. These thoughts nagged at the corners of Gigi?s otherwise numbed conscience several days prior as Christmas with all its cozy comforts wrapped the city in cheer and good tidings. She saw her brother Teddy in every festive shop window and every home draped in twinkling lights.
 
What nagged at her more though was imagining what Teddy thought if he could see her.

The kid sister he knew laughed freely and smiled openly. The girl he knew once cried when she first discovered the trees that went up at Maple Grove Manor and her family?s own mansion, Raleigh's Yew, had been chopped down from the forest.  When she sobbed to Teddy that the trees must miss their family he wiped her tears away and read her a poem he had recently unearthed in their grandfather?s library.
 
?Little tree
little silent Christmas tree
you are so little
you are more like a flower?


What memory her mind retained of the quality of Teddy?s voice, its richness and warmth even in its youth, still heard the words as he read them to her that day. She opened her mouth back then to wail louder that she already knew the poor tree was precious and why was he rubbing it in? But Teddy only held up a finger asking her to wait while he continued reading, his voice never breaking its steady rhythm.

?who found you in the green forest
and were you very sorry to come away?
see I will comfort you
because you smell so sweetly
i will kiss your cool bark
and hug you safe and tight
just as your mother would,
only don?t be afraid?


Gigi once grieved for the trees? pain at an ax chopping them down.  These days, she did far worse to people. Teddy always soothed her nerves. Now, Gigi frayed the nerves of others.

?look       the spangles
that sleep all the year in a dark box?


Teddy held the spine of the poetry book in one smooth hand and used the other to motion for her to open one carton of Christmas decorations their mother had pulled out for them. Gigi and their eldest brother, Clayton, used to tease Teddy that he had the skin of a baby?s butt. Clayton had the rough hands meant for an heir to Raleigh Granger?s lands, an empire under the rule of their father, Thaddeus. But not Teddy. His hands did not belong on fields, in barns or amongst the mills? machines. They had been fashioned for page-turning, for pointing out lessons on a blackboard.

Gigi hiccupped, the last remnants of her sobs, but obeyed him without protest and peeled back the lid on the box. She usually let Teddy guide her, often without the protest and loud-mouth retorts she would give anyone else trying to get her to do something she felt no inclination towards doing.

?dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,
the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,?


Picking up a fat ornament, glittering and round, Gigi examined it with new eyes. ?I never thought about what the decorations wanted?? The poem?s verses drifted over her, washing away her previous sorrows for the tree. Teddy smiled over the page and carried on.

?put up your little arms?

Gigi furrowed her eyebrows at the strange request but shrugged and raised her arms. Teddy laughed in that way that rivaled the flame?s heat in the fireplace. ?Not your arms, Geeg, he?s talking about the tree. Don?t you see the tree?s little arms??

?Ohh yeah.? Gigi touched a finger to a pine needle?s tip, a place marker for the branch?s end and a measure of its ?arm? length. Teddy repeated the line where he left it.

?put up your little arms
and I?ll give them all to you to hold
every finger shall have its ring
and there won?t be a single place dark or unhappy?


Gigi began stringing the decorations up on the parts of the great big tree that she could reach. She skipped around and remarked to the pine tree on how beautifully bejeweled it would look when they finished dressing it. Teddy made a hand available again to slip a silver bell onto a higher branch and recited the last few lines.

?then when you?re quite dressed
you?ll stand in the window for everyone to see
and how they?ll stare!
oh but you?ll be very proud

and my little sister and I will take hands
and looking up at our beautiful tree
we?ll dance and sing
?Noel Noel??


When the tree was finally trimmed, Teddy reached for Gigi?s hand. They circled the evergreen, giddy with tinsel and the heady scent of pine, screaming their heads off with silly holiday songs. Clayton got caught up in it for one lap around before he remembered his teenage disdain for anything so childish. Gigi and Teddy laughed at him and sang ?Noel Noel? at an even louder pitch until their father and mother both yelled for them to quiet down.

It became an annual tradition. They outgrew many things during the years but never let themselves feel too old to dance and sing around the tree after decorating it. The hardness that encased Gigi now almost completely showed its early signs even back then, before Teddy?s death, when she would feel how calloused and chaffed his hands had become from working for the GrangerGuild. Everything vital came from the grounds Raleigh first mastered. Thaddeus wanted his children to learn about the piece of the pie they would one day inherit from the ground up like he and his father before him did. Clayton flourished along with their crops while Teddy suffered silently.

?there won?t be a single place dark or unhappy?

These words still held true on Christmas through the years for both of them, no matter how many other days of the year proved otherwise.

Until the farm and the fire claimed Teddy.

Until Gigi torched what that fire had spared once Teddy?s blood had dried in the earth.

((Poem by e.e. cummings))

19
Of Gall And Grangers / Re: Time To Say Goodbye
« on: March 07, 2012, 06:21:51 PM »
Gigi?s dark eyes took careful stock of the changes in Gabi now that she was so close by.  It went beyond the alterations in hair and clothes. They were different, yes, but only an outward reflection of an inner rebellion. Gabi had squared off head-to-head with Grief and had come out the winner in Gigi?s book (though how many would agree with such a tome was debatable).

Grief had given her cousin an added strength and depth. Maybe Gabi couldn?t see what a boon that was now but Gigi could.

"I thought it was time I started to live a little, but I got a bit crazy for a while there.?

Gabi?s sheltered existence might have cracked in the face of Grief but there still remained a certain wholesome innocence to her. The statement brought a fleeting smirk, ?Sh*t, cuz, you may have gotten a haircut but you haven?t gone crazy. Don?t let anyone tell you otherwise.? When confronted with Grief Gigi on the other hand had steamrolled straight off the deep end; the case could easily be made that she was still there now, drowning.

The thank you and hug surprised Gigi but cemented what she saw. Gabi was altered by Frank?s death but remained a shade of her sweet, if na?ve, self. If a battle with Grief only stripped away what was clutter in a life but left the core of a person intact, Gigi had to wonder what that said about who she herself had been even before Teddy?s accident. The things she took pleasure in now ? the power in knowing how many different ways through words or knives she could cut deep, the rush of narrowly navigating her way through the drug trade ? she wondered if she would have found these delights with or without Teddy dying?

She stiffened at the embrace but did not shake it off. When Gabi released her Gigi folded her arms loosely over her chest. ?You want to live? Let?s start now. I?ll teach you to ride unless you?ve got something even more daring in mind.?

Gigi knew no one wanted Gabi on a bike, especially in light of Cian?s accident. But Grief made it possible to block out what everyone else wanted. If Gabi wanted to take risks Gigi had no mind to stop her. She only figured she?d give the girl a few tips to better her odds of surviving her newfound freedom.

20
Death is at once the most personal and the most objective type of destruction.  People die all the time.  It?s a fact that when you ante up to take a shot at the game of living you?re going to have to cash out at some point.

Christ, that?s f*cking clich?.

What I?m trying to get around to is that it?s an odd paradox.  Sh*t, I kill people everyday, one injection at a time (or otherwise). I know it. I?m surrounded by the slowly dying and those going out in a bang of gory glory. When you get into this side bet we?ve got going in the yola trade most if not all the players involved are going to bite the dust and high five their chosen Maker eventually.  It?s inevitable.  You can?t leave the table without closing out.

F*ck, I need to quit making drops to my gambling cussies in casinos.  It?s not helping my metaphors one bit.

Let me try again.  People die.  This usually is the norm.  So why is it that certain deaths sting us so bad?  Or why is it one death can mean so little to me and another mean so much?  We all know I can?t shut the f*ck up about Teddy dying.  I?ve been cut too deep and when my heart does scab over there?s too much scar tissue to save what?s left.  On an abstract level reserved for professors and philosophers stuffing their pipes with that sweet opium, on that level, sure, I wonder how I can hang on to this anger about it for so long too. But then I think about my brother ? the dreamer, the poet, the teacher ? bleeding out all over Raleigh Granger?s oldest field because my father is an assh*le who turned his own flesh into manure to grow more profits than have him break off on his own.  Teddy's mangled body under that tractor he would never have chosen to ride for a living without Thaddeus? forceful hand.  

Maybe that?s part of why I can?t stop dreaming about Hattie?s dead baby.  That strung-out b*tch is so far gone she left him, I?ve named him Thomas when I think of him, broken and twisted in that shoebox. Teddy and Thomas, two sweet souls with the life wrung out of them by f*cked up parents.  

I didn?t do enough to save Teddy from our father.  I did too much to help Thomas fall at the hands of his mother.

Maybe these deep wounds aren?t meant to ever heal.

21
Of Gall And Grangers / Re: Time To Say Goodbye
« on: March 02, 2012, 04:39:42 PM »
Gigi didn?t come to the funeral for Frank. To be honest, which she so painfully could be, she felt indifferent to his death.  Gigi never was close with him and hadn?t cared to try to be when he was still living. It would be a load of horsesh*t for her to weep for him now because she could see his casket.  

Gigi had come for Gabi.  Madion hinted at concern over their cousin and while neither of them could be labeled the maternal, nurturing type, Gigi understood how it felt to lose a brother and Dee?s particular worry compelled Gigi to show her face today. It was easier to move in and out of a Granger gathering of this nature without drawing much blood.  The solemn air combined with the sacred made it possible for this black sheep to stand under the same arched roof as those who detested the sight of her.  She took advantage of the situation, the same way she did with her street dealings and everything else in her life.

She hung back and waited outside once the sermon ended.  When Gabi emerged Gigi reached out to lightly grab her elbow to pull her aside. She had her reasons but the way she planned on going about providing solace for her younger cousin would likely be misunderstood if not despised. It was nothing new.

?I heard you wanted to learn how to ride a bike, cuz.?

The slow drawl of her voice meant to coax Gabi off the path paved out before her and into the shade outside the chapel with Gigi.

22
((Warning: Some graphic imagery included.))


There was something restless under the grower's normally stoic exterior tonight when she reached the Inn?s porch where Bjorn and Anya stood. Gigi started for the door but pulled back with an odd hesitation and dug out a joint from her pocket instead. She was itching for something worse so she gave her hands something else to do by lighting it with a frown and a lean against the porch rail.

Bjorn parted his lips briefly, attempting to scent it out - probably in order to see if he was going to bother her to share whatever it was. ?Haven't seen your face around here in ages,? he told her, pulling out one of those indecipherable, imported 'cloves' that smelled like unknown spice intermingled with a few more familiar scents, subtle, but heady, slivered up in slow-burning leaves, finger-sculpted. Putting one in his mouth muffled his next question, and although he spoke to Gigi, he had not forgotten Anya was there, watched her here and there from the corners of his eyes while he tugged a match out of the other end of the case where a floppy book had been pinned, half out. ?Your pretty face fall off the edge of the earth, or what? Gigi, that's Anya.? Chin-nod. ?Anya, Gigi.?

It was then that Geist strolled loose from the alley, although he'd been maintaining an even stroll for far longer than he'd care to show, from sheer restless energy. The scent from the porch brought a slow, sentimental smile and a sidelong glance to the grower, with little more than a stoic nod before sliding through the door.

"I know how to stay off the radar when I need to. Most people prefer it and don't ask." She inhaled the joint and blew the smoke out the side of her mouth with a nod at Geist's passing. Perhaps a future customer one day when she had business on the forefront of her brain. "We've met." This about Anya. "And you know pretty is a f**king overstatement." But for her dry tone she held up the joint to him as an offering if he wanted it.

Anya respectfully nodded to both of them. "Thank you. We have met once before." Name confirmed. The piece of paper Camilla left for her at the bakery immensely bothered her. Fingers drawn from the rail and pushed inside her pockets. "It was nice seeing both of you again. I wish you safe travels." Hood drawn up to hide her hair. Descending the stairs and setting a path to the bakery.

If it was marijuana, Bjorn accepted it and put his own crap away. Hell, why not. It'd been awhile, and he wasn't a regular, but it wasn't as if it was crack or something. Had a good pair of lungs, that man, and he held it in for a long time, added another shorter draw to fill his lungs up all the way, and passed it back. Stayed close, like she might keep sharing it, but not so close that they touched. For some reason, Bjorn frowned after Anya, briefly watching the street - but as smoke started slowly slivering out of his mouth, he'd keep talking, ?Or an understatement, but it don't offend me none if you can't take a compliment,? easily, like it was a B-thang. He'd been in mostly a damn good mood all day, somehow. ?By most people, you must mean the womenfolk. They're a wily lot. What you been into??

It was that homegrown green and Gigi took the joint back for another hit when he relinquished it. She ran her hand through her hair and frowned at his question. "Too much these last few days. Seen something I can't shake and I've seen a lot of f**ked up sh*t. So I'm here for milder distractions." Distractions from the replayed image, distractions from dipping into her own yola supply. The need for distraction made her more honest than usual.

?I find disappearing into a bottle of whiskey helps with that,? and Bjorn wasn't endorsing whiskey so much as he was endorsing the unhealthy habit of disappearing into one's favored habit until the bad feelings started to fade out. No accent, though, or if there was, it had nothing to do with Europe. ?Or doing some #$%^&* you ain't proud of so you have something else to think about.? Honesty begets honesty, seems like, and his index finger, his thumb, invited another pass. ?You want to talk about it??

Gigi passed the joint back to him and rolled her neck. "I've seen a lot of f**ked up things but I can't shake what I saw yesterday. I don't know that you want to imagine it too if I describe it."

?Girl, word on the street is people're carving my face into dead bodies and I saw a friend of mine scrape her fingers down to the bone painting on a concrete wall off the harbour topless before a shadow-whatever busted her face open,? he told her before he took another hit, deep, long, held it in and spoke in the way smokers did when they weren't ready to release their lungs yet. ?I doubt you'll surprise, shoot.? Bjorn'd had enough of his own crazy, and seemed more than open to hearing about someone else's.

"That's an odd way to pay tribute." She meant about the carving his face into bodies with a twitch of her nose. She ran her fingers through her hair again and worked on telling the story while leaving out the details of her business that might get her in trouble to share. "I went to see this chick... about something she owed me. She works in a brothel, a cheap sh*tty one at that. I... busted in unannounced while she was with a customer letting him do something to her that was f**king disgusting, but not the part that bothers me." Here now she reached for what little was left of the joint to kill it before she could continue.

He didn't Snoop Dogg it because, chances were, she needed it a whole lot more than he did ? he yielded it, his thumb pressing it to her index finger while his moved out of the way, sliding off slow so her thumb could come in. He might not have been a 'regular', but he'd had enough experience in this arena to seem proficient. ?What's the part that bothered you?? Patient, easy.

"I expected she might be working. And the screaming and the surprise at seeing me." She took it in a seamless exchange and sucked down what she could before stamping it out. "I saw this shoebox pressed up in the corner of the room. I thought what she had of mine would be in there so I ripped it open." Her caramel skin came as close as it could to blanching. She almost looked like it might be her turn to dry heave on the porch before she swallowed the thick lump in her throat.

That had him undeniably curious about the disgusting kink she'd had the misfortune to witness, but she hadn't added it so he assumed it to be irrelevant ?or somehow connected ?to what would come next. If he felt concern for her at all, he did a good job of keeping it from his face, but he did watch her closely now, reaching to grab the bottle of Dalwhinnie while she finished off her joint. Unscrewing it, he moistened his mouth first and offered it over. In kindness, Bjorn gave her time to compose herself, let that hang in the air, before he asked, ?What was in the shoebox??

She took a deep drink with a slight nod of thanks. "A baby." Gigi?s fingers tightened around the neck of the bottle.

Considering, he'd let her hold on to that damn fine, properly-aged alcohol for a little while longer. In times of crisis, he shared freely. A baby in a shoebox ? babies didn't seem like they were supposed to fit in shoeboxes, unless it was some seriously big, big feet, so he didn't assume it was alive. ?What all exactly did you see, Gigi? ...did something?? Bjorn caught himself short, was quiet, let her sort out what she needed to say.

"Maternal isn't a word I'd use to describe myself but..." she took another pull from the bottle and returned it. Gigi's gaze went from Bjorn's face to her upturned hands as if she still held that shoebox. "It... I mean, he, I think. He was so small and twisted. Like a broken bird. And purple with old crusted blood from his nose and his mouth."

Glass shattering inside the crowd Inn; Bjorn had heard it. But he didn't look toward a window or away, lion's gaze attentively hooded, the generous mouth that was more poet (while the rest of him, the chiseled lines, the strong jaw knew nothing of softness) remained fix, shut for a time, unreadable. Only once did he look apart, brief, very brief, when the hooded creature came out and bounded by. ?You don't have to be maternal to flinch inside at seeing something #$%^&*  awful,? he told her, calmly, taking the bottle back and a drink for himself. Now he really wondered what had been going on in that brothel, what all Gigi'd seen, the whole story around it but the bits she gave him, he knew they must've been bad enough. ?He wasn't...? Alive, he'd meant to ask.

She shook her head once. "No." How long his junkie mother had left him there to take care of her own work was anyone's guess. Gigi held her arms loosely around herself for warmth. She considered how she could explain why she felt complicit in the heinous crime. "She's not in a right mind, even before I found the shoebox I knew that. It's what made her take what she did from me." It usually came back to drugs and money for the black sheep of the Granger clan. The prostitute had stolen yola from Gigi despite the semi-frequent displays of her handiwork on thieves, rivals and unruly sliders.

Bjorn remembered the offer Gigi had made to 'Leo' ? to him, all messed up and put back together wrong for awhile, but it'd still been him; a part of him, parts of him that hadn't had the memory of him now. Didn't mean he didn't have the memory of Leo, though. It helped him draw a few assumptions, ones he didn't stay attached to, ones he didn't know if they were correct or not, and if there was a sliver of guilt in her voice, hiding underneath the stoned but shaking bravado he witnessed, he'd have somewhere to start. It'd been long enough that he already felt the dull prickle of a buzz start up, the haze of the whiskey smoothing out some of life's rougher edges, and it made him decide to quit the bottle while he was ahead - offer her more, before he'd think of capping it. ?You saying she took something from you that helped her into that wrong mindset?? Quietly, but without judgment.

One more sip and Gigi put the bottle down on the railing between them. "She'd been taking plenty of things from me that put her in that mindset. It was gradual. But I was there because she'd crossed the line and taken what was not available to her without permission or payment."

?So long as she knew what she was stepping into...? Bjorn started, half-turning to cap the bottle; from his coat, he grabbed a pen but had no paper, offered a hand for hers to lay down in if it would so he could get to the palm. ?You can't blame yourself for other people's actions, or choices. Still, what you saw would've made anybody with anything in them's skin crawl and there's no shame in that. Sometimes, helps to talk.? And maybe that's the only thing he could give her, besides whiskey, if she'd let him - an open line to someone to talk to. ?About what's bothering you, or about anything but what is.?

Gigi took a leap and let her hand nest in his palm up so he could write on it. She fell silent and watched, not questioning his motives with her normal suspicion. She was talked out for now. "I should get on my way, Bjorn." The slow drawl held a touch of something tender when she used his name and not her own terminology. There was an implied debt of gratitude in there somewhere.

Bjorn scrawled out his phone number there, small but neat numbers in blue ink across a lifeline. ?I should, too.? He told her, avoiding sentiments that might've been somehow misplaced for all her vulnerability - like taking advantage, he thought, maybe. Pen put back in his coat, he was for his bottle to take with him, but at the top of the stairs he told her: ?And I know what's it like around here, vishya? I'm a man that can keep a secret.? A half-smile, something nice, that'd known kindness before he hit the steps to hail a taxi. He'd been gone hours more than he'd planned, but him and bars had a strange sort of relationship.

Gigi held the hand with extra ink up in a still wave at him. When it came back down she squinted in the dark at it to see if the numbers were clear. She slipped her hand with more care into her coat pocket and opted to walk home.


[size=9]((Thanks to Bjorn Andrews' and Anya's players for the scene!))[/size]

23
Of Gall And Grangers / Re: re: Childhood memories
« on: August 15, 2011, 02:12:28 PM »
Cor's dream is amazing! I got such a good laugh... Gigi on the otherhand, I don't know how she'd feel about it...

Just keep me in the loop about when you guys are planning something and hopefully I can make it! But my schedule can be erratic so I don't want you to plan anything around me.

24
Of Gall And Grangers / Re: re: Childhood memories
« on: August 07, 2011, 11:44:40 AM »
I'm down for filling in past memories! As for having Gigi over for dinner now... that's probably possible but just hope Jon boy isn't too attached to any of his dishes, etc. in case they wind up being thrown in a fit of anger at some point.  ;-)

25
Of Gall And Grangers / Re: re: Childhood memories
« on: July 18, 2011, 05:25:49 PM »
Cool idea! Would the black sheep of the family know they existed? (She would have probably skewered the poor messenger who tried to give her a tracking device).

26
"Pour out thy wrath upon the nations that know Thee not, and upon kingdoms that did not call out Thy name, for they have consumed Jacob and laid waste his habitation."
 
I've been thinking about this psalm the last few days, mainly because I dropped by the good Rabbi Yitzraig's last week when he was preparing for Passover. I like the Rebbe because he's spiritual and a stoner. It's a perk of the job I guess, how many people with such varying beliefs will talk to me, if only for long enough for me to hook them up with what they need. My stoners are the easiest to shoot the sh*t with; they're not like my slider babies. Poor things, sliders can't help it if they want to smile and shank me at the same time if it means shoving that yola into them that much faster. They're wired for it. Doesn't mean I let them and it sure as sh*t doesn't mean I'm not above bashing in their skulls if they're too far gone but I know it's not personal. Nothing in this game is personal except the demons that drive us all to this same point in time.
 
F**k, there I go, waxing off without any nearby pothead to blame it on. Where was I? The Rebbe and the wrath. He was showing me the new Haggadahs his wife wanted to use at their Seder this year. The big difference was instead of kicking it old school and reading the whole 'pour out thy wrath' section, which happens to be one of the better sections in my opinion, the new book had it rewritten as "pour out thy love upon the nations that knew you." What the f**k?
 
I hate all this soft heart bulls**t. I rip up too many ethical lines to ever pretend that I'm religious but I have a spiritual interest in the world. I don't know if I will ever understand it all but sometimes it's nice to think there's something bigger at play and maybe if the day does come for me to be judged, well f**k it, I'll make my case and let the chips fall where they may. So I don't make this commentary as a devout religious worshipper but as a third party observer. I get that there's this theme of Passover about taking in anyone who wants to be part of your Seder and welcoming them. Go ahead, love all you want. But let's not forget all the wrongs that happened to you to teach you that kind of empathy.
 
Sometimes, you've got to flex some muscle to make people believe. The good Lord, or Lady, or Lords AND Ladies, whatever higher powers you want to pick, can't be any different. Take what happened in Egypt. Why wouldn't a being that powerful take out Pharaoh in one shot? He could have.  He didn't need Moses to do it. And yet over and over again just when things were looking like good old Ramses had gotten the point his heart would harden and he wouldn't let Moses' people go.  
 
That kind of brilliant mastermind is someone I'd pray to any day.  He put on a show, continuing to harden Ramses' heart to justify further displays of his awesome (yes, there's that word again) powers, not only to teach Pharaoh a lesson but to hammer the point home to the Israelites.  
 
YOU DO NOT WANT TO F**KING CROSS ME.
 
Ten plagues, dead firstborns, an army of Egyptian carcasses floating in the Red Sea, and forty years of wandering for not keeping faith later, the point got made.

"Pour out Thy rage upon them, and let Thy fury overtake them. Pursue them in anger and destroy them, from under the heavens of the LORD."
 
So do I feel bad about what happened to Susie Trevor? Not really, no. If anything I wish I could have made more of a public display out of her.  I would have strung her up naked by her heels in the Marketplace with those big brown eyes she used to stare at Jon's image so obsessively stabbed out if it'd been prudent to do so. It'd be a helluva lot more effective than politely asking people to please leave the worthwhile members of my family alone.
 
Then again, I never got all the details about why Elias needed her alive... Perhaps my demented cousin's gone above and beyond the call of deities.

27
Of Gall And Grangers / Re: The Soundtrack of Our Lives
« on: April 22, 2011, 02:42:32 PM »
My Chick Bad - Ludacris ft. Nicki Minaj

[Chorus]
My chick bad
My chick hood
My chick do stuff dat ya chick wish she could
[repeated]
My chick bad, badder than yours
My my chick bad, badder than yours
My my my chick bad, badder than yours

[Ludacris - Verse 1]
I?m saying my chick bad
My chick hood
My chick do stuff that your chick wish she could
My chick bad, badder than yours
My chick do stuff that I can?t even put in words
Her swagger don?t stop
Her body won?t quit
So fool pipe down you ain?t talkin bout s***
My chick bad, tell me if you seen her
She always bring the racket like Venus and Serena
All white top, all white belt
And all white jeans, body looking like milk
No time for games, she?s full grown
My chick bad, tell your chick to go home

[Chorus]

[Ludacris - Verse 2]
Now your girl might be sick but my girl sicker
She rides that dick and she handles her liquor
She knock a bitch out and fight
Coming out swinging like Tiger Woods' wife
Yeah she could get a little hasty
Chicks better cover up their chests like pasty?s
Couple girl friends and they all a little crazy
Coming down the street like a parade Macy?s
I fill her up balloons
Test her and guns get drawn like cartoons
Doh, but I aint talkin bout Homer
Chick so bad the whole crew wanna bone her

[Chorus]

[Nicki Minaj]
Yo, now all these bitches wanna try and be my bestie
But I take a left and leave them hanging like a testi
Trash talk to em then I put em in a hefty
Running down the court I'm dunkin on em Lisa Leslie.
It?s going down, basement, friday the 13th guess who?s playing Jason
Tuck yourself in you better hold on to your teddy
It?s nightmare on Elm street and guess who?s playing Freddy
(My chick bad)
Chef cooking for me, they say my shoe game crazy
The mental Asylum looking for me
You a rookie to me
I?m in dat wam bam purple Lam? damn bitch you been a fan.

[Chorus]

28
The RhyDin Post / Re:
« on: March 30, 2011, 12:30:15 PM »
The whole chat log was HI-LARIOUS but this was my favorite part:

Quote
salvadordelahada: rekah take off caps
XxReKaHxX: I?M NOT WEARING ANY. THEY MAKE MY HEAD HOT.
HunBun82: Ooooh~ You know what caps are awesome? Berets. I?m gonna get one tomorrow!~


Great job!

29
Of Gall And Grangers / Re: re: Childhood memories
« on: March 28, 2011, 10:39:07 PM »
[quote:c2cd0647a5="RileyORourke"]The Index Case

Powerful posts, Gigi.  A very good read.[/quote]

Thanks! And thanks to Jon and Elias' players for the inspiration. Is it wrong that I realized after I posted I went "Oh crap! I meant to have Gigi also break Susie's kneecaps with the hammer."  ;-)  But I think there's enough gruesome in there as is.

30
Of Gall And Grangers / Re: The Index Case
« on: March 28, 2011, 06:36:40 PM »
((Warning: Some graphic violence included.))

?W-who is it?? A decidedly female voice came through from the other side of the door. One brown eye blinked through the peephole.

?Delivery.? Gigi kept the flowers in front of her.

?Who are they from??

?I?m not a f**king singing telegram, lady, I?m just here to deliver them. You want these or should I toss them??

?Sheesh, do you kiss your mother with that mouth??

Gigi half turned away from the door. ?Whatever. I?ll keep them for myself. This job doesn?t pay enough for me to play twenty questions. Whoever this guy is going to all this trouble to send you flowers now needs to get his head checked.?

?What guy?? Gigi could hear the woman slide the deadbolt open. Women. We?re all suckers for any hint of romance.  While in this case her gender?s predictability helped her cause, Gigi did grimace for a moment at how easy it was to pique a total female stranger?s interest. She pretended not to hear and took another step out back towards the main hallway.

The door cracked open. ?What guy?? The voice, now accompanied by a straw blonde head, asked with more persistence. From her angle she couldn?t see the demented grin crossing Gigi?s caramel face for only a moment. Gigi doubled back in no time flat and wedged her foot in between the door and its frame.

?Jonathan Granger.?

An involuntary excitement flushed over the pale face at the name before an alarmed fear washed it away. It was all the confirmation Gigi needed to justify her next move. Gripping the flowers and bag tighter against her side she wound up and struck the bridge of the woman?s pug nose with the brass knuckles. Dazed, the woman staggered back with her hands in front of her now bleeding face.

?P-p-please, you?ve got the wrong person, I don?t know what you---?

Gigi shoved her way inside and took advantage of the woman?s stupor to take the time to put down the flowers and bag without breaking anything. The only destruction Gigi was interested in was stuttering right in front of her. The woman was reaching a hand blindly behind her. Gigi soon saw the .25 caliber semi-automatic pistol and lunged not for the weapon but for the woman. She grabbed the blonde hair at the back of the woman?s head and yanked it back.

?Not today, sweetheart, we?ve got to get you ready for my cousin.?

Gigi dragged the woman to the shabby dining table and forced her back onto it. The long blonde hair was wound and roughly knotted along a table leg closest to her head so that she was stuck staring at the ceiling, her head partly off the tabletop.

?It was an accident! Please, I swear, I would never---? The pleas and protests only earned another punch with Gigi?s knuckles. She never had much luck keeping the brass clean and today would be no exception. She put the blood-stained knuckles back in her pocket and went to pull out the rest of the items she bought at the superstore.

?A mistake in your case. You?re a sh*tty shot as luck would have it. And speaking of luck and accidents, perhaps my cousin will have a happy accident of his own when he?s done with his experiment.?

Gigi turned back with a roll of duct tape, a hammer and two long screw-shank nails in time to see the woman scrambling to reach her arms up over her head and try to free her hair from the table leg.

?That?ll never work. Now, this won?t be pretty, but it?ll have to do. I?m cruder than my cousin. He?s the scientist.? She climbed onto the table and pinned the woman?s limbs still with her knees, straddling her torso.

?WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU---? Gigi tore a piece of the tape off and slapped it over the woman?s mouth. Next she held one arm up above the woman?s head, palm out and proceeded to drive the nail down into the palm with a swing of the hammer. She gave it a few more hits on the head because she wasn?t sure how well the nail would hold up but the wide-eyed terror staring back at her and the muffled screams behind the duct tape told Gigi it did the trick. She repeated her handiwork with the remaining hand, hammer and nail. Leaning back, she wiped her forehead with the back of her gloved hand and studied the display. She started to laugh.

?You look straight out of that Prufrock poem Teddy used to read to me and Jon boy. How?s that part go again? ?The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase, and when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin, when I am pinned and wriggling on the wall, then how should I begin?? Well, I don?t know how you began, baby girl, but I have a good idea how you?re going to end.? She climbed off the table then and took a moment to take a good look around the room. There on the mattress and the moth-eaten sheets was an open scrapbook, both visible pages filled with magazine clippings with Jon?s picture in each one. Confident the now barely conscious woman wasn?t going anywhere Gigi walked over to pick up a wallet next to the scrapbook. An ID card to some office she didn?t recognize the name of was inside and more importantly, the name of Jon?s attacker and Gigi?s victim, depending how you looked at it.

?Susie Trevor. Jonathan Granger?s biggest fan. I?ll tell you what, Susie, before I go and let my cousin have you I?ll give you one parting gift. It?ll be just like what Jon boy has now.?

Gigi stalked forward and swiftly removed the switchblade from the waistband of her pants. She leaned forward over Susie stretched out like a worm for the dissecting and gave her scars to match Jon?s. She dug the blade into Susie?s left shoulder to carve out an ?X? and then made an equal cut, though not as deep since she had promised Elias she?d leave something for him to work with, in the dead center of Susie?s forehead.

She took the scrapbook with her but left the flowers. They had their own meaning and message to the wicked botanist. She had been wrong. It only took her thirty-eight minutes.

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