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23 January 2006 @ 07:59 pm
Abe? he thinks as he shakes hands with the girl. Jesus...

It's even worse than his real name, and it pisses him off a little that the girl would have to choose that, of all things, as a handle. Worse yet is the thought that other people might come to the same conclusion. He should have thought of it, he supposes, this possibility of having such a cool name shortened to something so unhip. And here he had meant it to be a tribute to his heroes: the bohemians, the beatniks, the punks, the poets, the rock stars and troubadors, all those people who didn't fit in and frankly, didn't give a fuck.

He's not quite there yet himself, which is, of course, why he wants to emulate them. He'd never really fit in anywhere or at any stage. He'd always played the role of the outsider, it seemed, with a never-ending list of parts to his credit. The short kid until I was the fat kid, then the quiet kid until I became the smart kid, then the freak kid, and that's where I am now. He's left some of that all behind now - a combination of apathy and financial distress has left him surviving on just the nutritional basics (heat and eat is a beautiful thing, isn't it?), so now no one can claim him as anything but thin. He still puts in the piercings now and again, just to keep the holes from growing shut, but for the most part he's toned the hardware way down. He's still smart - or at least he'd like to think so - even if he had no desire to head off to college, determined as he was that it would just be a continuation of all the shit high school had to offer. He'll admit to missing the boat on that one, and to this day he's pissed at himself for it.

He looks at the bouncing, smiling girl. "Mashed potatoes all you want?" Yes, he's still quiet. It's a lingering after-affect, he supposes. She should have more than just mashed potatoes. Meat or carrots or something, whatever it is you're supposed to eat. Maybe some milk. The girl doesn't look emaciated or anything, but her behavior is a little...off. Like someone who might be lacking in mental capacity, sanity, or proper nutrition. Actually, she's a little like Delirium. He smiles to himself. Delirium, maybe, but a harmless version. One who wouldn't start fucking with reality and driving people crazy. "Lemme get you something else when the waitress comes back, ok? A salad...no. Something warm. Soup or steak or something. You like fried chicken?"

He doesn't wait for her to answer. He doesn't want an argument, because he's never been able to win those. He'll settle for silence and hope that she can read his body language. No, no debate. You're a kid, I'm older than you, and I'm not going to let you get by on just potatoes. His mouth twitches when he sees his wallet. He knew he never should have agreed to this. The food is inexpensive, but there's two of them, she'll need something balanced, and he doesn't want to look cheap. How did Wilde manage to live well beyond his means?

$110.20 minus...probably another $15 or $20...a decent tip...fuck. He blows an errant strand of blond hair out of his eyes and purses his lips. He never should have agreed to this. He should have pretended he didn't know English or something when the girl had persisted in waving her over. Well, too late now.

"Tell me what you want," he says, replacing his wallet and pulling out a pack of cloves and a lighter. They're better for you than cigarettes, anyway, and they smell...

His train of thought stops when he sees the girl staring at him. "Mina? It's Mina, right?" When she persists, he ducks away with a blush. Why is she staring at him? His eyes fall to the pack, and he looks back up at her. No. He'd feel like a jackass just offering them to her. Instead he places the pack in the middle of the table, not in an offeratory way, but casually. They're there if she wants them, but there's no pressure.
20 January 2006 @ 09:29 pm
He counts the money again then sighs, rocks back and forth on the bed, and says fuck it.

It's no longer a vague idea, leaving. It's sitting here right in front of him in the form of clothes, books, an MP3 player that can store 100 gigs, but right now only has about 20. He double checks for the adapter. Yeah, it's there.

Pocket knife. Signal mirror. Canteen. Hiking backpack. Clif energy bars, the only ones he can stand. He can pick those up anywhere, after all.

And the card holder. He turns it over again in his hands and smiles. He loves the thing, even if it is empty. He can get cards later that he can hand out once he's established. He looks at the label in the metal frame and repeats the daydream.

"What's your name?"

"Absinthe Suisse, just like it says on the card. Just like it says on the box."

"Oh my god, you're Absinthe Suisse? I love your work!"

Whatever his work is. He hasn't figured that part out yet.

Realizing that he's procrastinating, he gets up and starts packing. If he doesn't leave tonight, he probably never will. And that would be a real shame, considering that he's cleaned the place out. All perishables out of the fridge, the canned and dried stuff taken to the food bank, extra blankets and towels and bedding and furniture donated to the shelter and the charity consignment shop. When the landlord (fucking bastard, charging a shit ton for a place about the size of your average living room) walks in to ask why the rent is so late, he'll find a silent, clean apartment just dying for a new tenant. And yes, the rent will be late, but they can't exactly give him shit for it if he's not around. They can't charge you for rent if they can't find you, the person.

But it's not just the landlord. It's the town. The town full of normal, respectible, Bible-thumping, God-fearing people who had never heard of Oscar Wilde or Hunter S. Thompson, and who thought The Clash was what happened when you wore paisley with stripes. The ones so crippled with righteousness and blinded by faith that they were no longer alive. The zombies, he smiles. Fucking zombies.

He's ready sooner than he thought he'd be. One last check - it's all there, even (albeit reluctantly) his driver's license, just in case he needs it for an emergency. That, and exactly $125.82. It's all that he has to show for himself after that one last rent payment, the new backpack, the food, the player, and the card box. He's saved for months, all for this moment. He hopes it's worth it as he closes the door and walks down the hall.

And as he walks by the city limits sign, he knows it is.