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Thread: Rock Round The Clock (IC)

  1. #1
    No glasses, huh? Mooncake's Avatar
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    Rock Round The Clock (IC)

    - Day 1 -
    -- "Crossroad Blues" --

    I turn once more to those who sneer at this my city,
    And I give them back the sneer and say to them:

    Come and show me another city with lifted head singing
    So proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.

    -Carl Sandburg



    Rita Schultz (Bloble)
    Chicago, 1932, 4:23 PM


    It's a gentle train. Nothing like the iron beasts that took you out of your home, or towed you across the sea, ripping you out of gentleness. No, this train is slow and steady, the last of dying breed that puffed its way across the tracks. In some small way, as it lets you out into the station, you could sympathize.

    You know exactly how it feels.

    You've long since mastered the art of ignoring the stares that your wedding dress gives; or did you never notice them to begin with? At least in this city, people leave you alone, enough that a small space opens in the crowd around you. The paper in your hand, in that moment, is the only thing that seems real.

    Its solidity is oddly reassuring, and you take another look.

    Alveare
    Five in the afternoon
    Don't be late
    It's a short note.

    Reading the English on the station signs gave you little trouble, and you could see a map on the attendant's desk, so finding your way didn't appear like it would be terribly difficult. There was always the option to examine the stores within the station, but-

    Ah.

    You didn't exactly need it, did you?


    ----


    Josephine "Joe" Huang (Leftovers)
    Chicago, 1932, 4:30 PM


    You lowered your bat.

    The man on the ground looked like he was going to say something.

    You raised your bat again, and he fell silent. It was hard to blame him, considering his friend wouldn't be walking any time some after the number you pulled on him. You'd decided to find this Alveare place the best way you knew how, but you'd be damned if you asked some buzzer for help, so here you were.

    With honest folk.

    "Fucking chinks."

    He caught your eye and winced, a hand pressed to the bruise that was already forming on his side.

    "I'm sorry, Miss Chink, ma'am," He was practically spitting by now. "We ain't got money to give to a basket case like you."

    Pretty odd, considering they were the ones who tried to jump you, but alley rules made it easy to fudge the details. Still, it was up to you to get the goods here, or, well...

    Laying him out with a double hitter could always come first.


    ----


    Angelica Alvey (Satehi)
    Chicago, 1932, 4:52 PM


    The clock by the fountain told you five o' clock was closing in.

    You'd never been here before, but you'd been to plenty of cites in the past years, enough that they seemed to blend into each other, over and over again. They had the same manic energy, even if they were all a little different from each other.

    That's why it was a little strange to see an old man sitting on the fountain bench, feeding the pigeons that gathered around.

    It was a little island almost completely swallowed by the chaos around you, but for all that, you two were the only ones in the concrete square.

    Alveare had to be close by, whatever it was.

    You could look, or you could ask.


    ----


    Roy Wickham (Arkturus)
    Chicago, 1932, 4:29 PM


    Hate.

    It burned in your chest like a little flame, searing a brand onto the pavement with each step. Probation, they'd said, and a few vacation days. A little slap on the wrist and all would be well. They could smile all they wanted, you'd have the last laugh-

    You breathed out through your nose, nice and slow.

    They'd taken everything from you.

    Months of work, of models, of theories, all in their grubby little hands, leaving only the sketches in your head. You didn't want to think about how far you'd been set back. But it was only a setback, because you'd make them pay for it even if you had to sweat so hard you'd bleed.

    An idle glance around the station calmed you down, a bit.

    The layout wasn't bad. There was a small cafe, a bakery, a newsstand, and an attendant's desk. A hotdog shop, too, if you wanted a heart attack in a bun.

    Naturally, the trains were what got your attention. There'd been a bit of a holdup before you'd gotten off, and now you could see why.

    You'd come in on a steamer, a Nebula design. Nothing fancy, nothing like what you'd been working on, but even through your hate you could grudgingly acknowledge it.

    The other train in the station was old-school, running on coal and sheer determination. They'd been almost completely removed from the rails, but here she sat, the last of her age in all her wrought-iron glory. In a way, it felt like she was sticking it to companies like Nebula, and in your current mood that was something you could celebrate.

    You had some time to kill before you headed to find this Alveare, at least.

    Would you grab a bite to eat, or get out now? That was the question.
    [12:37] <I3uster> if playing overwatch would save my mother from the deathbed
    [12:37] <I3uster> id probably flip a coin
    [12:38] <I3uster> to see if i play or not

    [18:23] <frantic> spinach is like a caffeine zombie

    [18:23] <frantic> in AX he would like
    [18:23] <frantic> drink 8 shots of espresso
    [18:23] <frantic> then he'd turn to me an hour later
    [18:23] <frantic> 'frantic', he'd say, his eyes wild and his lips smug
    [18:23] <frantic> 'i need coffee'

  2. #2
    Joe Huang
    Chicago, 1932, 4:30 PM


    The trick with getting a tongue all loose and wagging is knowing to stop hitting a guy before he bites through it. So what I'm trying to say is that I'm not all that good at it yet.

    At least one of 'em isn't off to dreamland or the great beyond yet. He's trying his darnedest to but I s'pose that's the neatest manners he's got in him.

    "Now what gave ya that idea?"

    Bat wedged firmly for support, I lean on it and try to give the deadbeat a mean eye but he's suddenly much more interested in the garbage lining the alley than anything else. From the way he's clutching his ribs I'd guess he's gauging if they'd hold up enough to bug out while his kneecaps are still intact.

    Now I'm not interested in what lines the pockets of some alley-walkers and I ain't got time to thrash any cracker who's tickled by slanted eyes one way or the other, but since I've already gone and done it anyway I might as well get something out of it, low as the chance is.

    "Like your mama's beltings, this was for what you were gonna do. Free of charge. But since you're here and all you can do me a solid."

    Tap, tap. The sound of wood against the ground draws his eyes back to me. Geez Louise, he's got a fine shiner going on. Eye sockets were never meant to accommodate the business end of a baseball bat.

    "As it happens I'm lookin' for a place. A joint called Al-vee-ar-eh or something else Italian-sounding that a goombah-lookin' character like yourself might know. Does that ring any bells, Mario?"

  3. #3
    Imperial Princess Satehi's Avatar
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    Angelica Alvey
    Chicago, 1932, 4:52 PM

    Life has been, well, rough, to say the least. If you were to ask me if anything good has happened in the past couple years, then thereís nothing that really comes to mind. Living has kind of sucked. That fact used to make me pretty upset.

    But thatís okay!

    It doesnít bother me anymore.

    After today, all of that will be water under the bridge. So, it doesnít matter. Itís all irrelevant now.

    All that matters is finding Alveare. And so, staring at the unusual sight in front of me, I decide on my course of action. If asking turns out to be the wrong decision, Iíll just pretend like someone else asked me to ask.

    I make my way over to the man on the bench. My movements are slow and hesitant, uncertainty to be found in every step. My head weaves back and forth, gazing at the surrounding chaos as much as possible, like a child whoís been separated from their parents. I make sure to tighten my grip on the sash that holds my bag, as if afraid itíll be taken away.

    And so, like a lost child, I arrive at my target.

    ďU-umm! Ē Looking uncomfortable at the prospect of talking to strangers, I gaze hesitantly at the man. ďExcuse me, Mister. Do you know where I can find an,Ē I struggle, like itís a word Iíd only recently heard and havenít been familiarized with yet. ďAl-vee-ar-eh?Ē

  4. #4
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    Rita Schultz
    Chicago, 1932, 4:23 PM

    The train was like a steel womb, and Rita Schultz is sad to leave it. Stepping outside, she feels the difference in atmosphere immediately.

    The world is different, here. It is only as real as it wants to be.

    Walking through the crowds, her dress just barely clearing the ground and her stare drifting past objects and people alike, she begins to see herself as a ghost, an insubstantial mirage that incites stares and whispers but little else. But then, perhaps they are the ghosts instead; she has no intention of moving on. She does not drift aimlessly. The paper, her purpose, is as good an anchor as any.

    She takes a slight detour before seeking her destination. There is a certain habit Rita has developed, for its own sake rather than hers, and she might as well indulge if there is time to spare.

    A Chicago corner store is not much different from one in New York or Boston. A small, stuffy place peppered with advertisements and colorful products of varying uselessness.

    She strolls through the door much like a wraith and makes a beeline for what will certainly be there. She picks up a simple carton of cigarettes depicting a cheery desert animal, holding it as if it might shatter in her fingers. Turning it over, Rita nods, finds it to her satisfaction, and deposits it on the counter. Next to it she leaves sufficient currency for the exchange: a dime and a nickel.

    She'll return to the attendant and the map later. First, it's time to say hello to Chicago.

  5. #5
    Roy Wickham (Arkturus)
    Chicago, 1932, 4:29 PM

    A growling sound rose from my stomach as if to answer my internal debate. It seemed like my body had already arrived at the conclusion that it was time to eat.

    I sighed heavily and I sauntered over to the hotdog shop, pulling out my wallet. The bakery looked nice but one whiff of the sizzling hotlinks was enough to get my mouth watering. Eagerly I ordered two hotdogs from the cashier and thrust the money into his greasy hands before sitting down in the nearest available seat.

    When was the last time I had a good meal? It wasn't like a hotdog was a five star Michelin meal but I just didn't have a lot of time to cook for myself let alone eat out. After the incident, I just sorta locked myself in my garage and banged pieces of metal together until the sun came up.

    Cathartic stuff, really.

    Ah if only I had a nice gal to come home back to; someone I could to about my problems with, cook tasty meals, and keep me company. My Mom had been pushing me to settle down. Probably wondering 'bout when she'll be able to see grandchildren.

    My hotdogs arrived in a basket, wrapped in steaming packets of aluminum foil. I opened one to let it cool off and began working it over with assorted condiments. Finally, when it had cooled down a little I took a bite. An explosion of flavor occurred as the juicy hotdog burst in my mouth.

    Ah...Forget what I said about marriage. This was the life.

    I took a few more bites and relaxed a bit, gazing out the window at the old steamer sitting on the tracks.

    Hang in there, old-timer.
    Last edited by arkturus; April 13th, 2018 at 01:33 AM.
    I play hetero every once in awhile
    Spoiler:
    <~Katie> dude who gives a fuck about girls being gay, sometimes girls aren't gay and that decision should be respected
    Spoiler:
    [12:21.40] that might be a top tier post[12:21.45] frantic[12:21.47] post of the month, even[12:21.48] this right here[12:21.49] is MC [12:21.56] johnny has nothing on this dude[12:22.00] he's the MC of the nisio half[12:22.12] so wait[12:22.15] [ ] is, after all, my rival character[12:22.16] am i the gag heroine[12:22.20] yes

  6. #6
    No glasses, huh? Mooncake's Avatar
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    Joe Huang
    Chicago, 1932, 4:33 PM


    The brow-beaten boy goes red, then pale, eyes darting between you and your baseball bat. A battle between racism and reason is raging behind his eyes, and it's writing itself on his face.

    "I, you, they-"

    Now that you looked closer, he wasn't much of a man at all, behind that shiner. He must have been twenty at the most, one hand on his ribs, the other trying to keep hold of something that had slipped behind his pocket.

    A final glance at his unconscious friend and the, dare it be said, menacing expression you're wearing makes him fold.

    "I ain't no goombah."

    You can see some of the fire go out behind his eyes, and he spits to the side in a last masculine gesture of defiance.

    Honestly.

    "Three blocks down, two to the left."

    You could take whatever he was hiding, to be sure, but a baseball bat was a good tool for making honest talk, and he seemed to be on the level.

    Some time left til' five o'clock.


    ----


    Angelica Alvey

    Chicago, 1932, 4:53 PM

    His face is lined like well-used leather, cracked with the passing of ages. He looked even older than you felt, all things considered, and seemed content to mumble incoherently and feed his birds.

    You've ran into some creepy types before, and are rightfully cautious, tiny hands clutching tightly onto your bag, but the old man makes no sudden moves. A minute of polite inquiry into his muttering makes little headway, but you think you catch his name, something like Fennel.

    You repeat the question, privately ready to cut your losses and get out, but the old man shakes his head and seemingly startles himself out of his rut.

    "Alveare?"

    He's still mumbling, but he seems to have taken notice of you now. One hand combs through a long white beard which, to be frank, is a little disgusting.

    The man needs a bath.

    "That way," He points a long finger with some authority due east of the little park. "You be careful now. Trouble comes as easy as good from those places."

    The rest of him may be a mess, but his eyes are clear, and free of deception. From what you can tell, he seems to be a lonely - and maybe slightly mad - old man.
    Last edited by Mooncake; August 4th, 2018 at 10:20 PM.
    [12:37] <I3uster> if playing overwatch would save my mother from the deathbed
    [12:37] <I3uster> id probably flip a coin
    [12:38] <I3uster> to see if i play or not

    [18:23] <frantic> spinach is like a caffeine zombie

    [18:23] <frantic> in AX he would like
    [18:23] <frantic> drink 8 shots of espresso
    [18:23] <frantic> then he'd turn to me an hour later
    [18:23] <frantic> 'frantic', he'd say, his eyes wild and his lips smug
    [18:23] <frantic> 'i need coffee'

  7. #7
    Imperial Princess Satehi's Avatar
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    Angelica Alvey
    Chicago, 1932, 4:53 PM


    Just as I begin think that this approach was a total waste of time, the old man finally responds.

    Guess he wasnít so old as to have completely lost it, although his appearance and rather dulled reaction suggests the day it happens ainít going to be so far off. Frightful concept, really. My sincere condolences to all those who find themselves on the cusp of dementia.

    That said, now that Iíve gotten the information I need, my business with this guy is done. Itís almost 5, and while itís certain that this guy isnít going to be much of a threat to me given his current state, Iím not fond of keeping company with people of poor hygiene. Itíd be best for me just to hurry on ahead to where I need to be.

    But against my better judgement, I decide to stay just a little longer.

    I guess it couldnít hurt to get a little more information, especially since there was still a lot I didnít know. And if it was taking too long, I could always excuse myself and run off.

    ďThank you for the warning. Iíll be careful.Ē I give a small bow, before asking again. ďBut, how do you knowÖ?Ē

  8. #8
    No glasses, huh? Mooncake's Avatar
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    Rita Schultz
    Chicago, 1932, 4:30 PM

    Ghostlike, you drift through the crowds, and they part around you. Every eye at some point falls onto you, but they do not linger. No one wants to associate with the crazy woman in the dress, someone who looks like they've seen too much too young.

    Even the guard outside the corner store tries to avert his gaze, all while sneaking peaks at you when he thinks you aren't looking. It's funny, in a sad way, but you haven't had much time for humour.

    Not since Klaus.

    A cigarette is already between your fingers at you cast your gaze at the map of this windy city, the attendant finding any excuse possible to avoid you. Alveare... it's a little surprising to see it labeled on the map, but you look at the little icon next to it. A honey store.

    A fair front, indeed.

    The whole world is open to you now, but in your heart there's only one place you'd like to be.

    And in the end, that place is gone forever.

    It's time to go.


    ---


    Roy Wickham (Arkturus)
    Chicago, 1932, 4:31 PM

    You hit up the hotdog stand like a man who's done it every day of his life. You haven't, of course - you've tried your best - but every American worth his or her salt knows the value of a street dog, and this one's looking mighty tasty.

    So tasty you grab two. Lucky you.

    While you chow down, thinking about a happy family of mechanics, your eye catches something strange. A woman with a white wedding dress - and she is a woman, however pale her skin and however dark the circles are around her eyes - emerges from the corner store, like a wraith amidst the living.

    You watch for a minute as she pauses by a map, lights a cigarette, and is gone, the station seeming to breath a quiet sight of relief.

    The cheerful noise of the steamer starting up breaks the spell, and in its huffing and puffing you swear you hear some kind of pride, some feeling that Nebula can put it where the sun don't shine.

    You can sympathize.


    ---


    Angelica Alvey
    Chicago, 1932, 4:54 PM


    You adjust your bag politely as you let the old man finish his meandering. This could have been you, one day, and the thought is a little startling. More than anything else, you just feel pity, and a vague sense of superiority.

    Before you head out, you give a polite bow, asking for just a moment more of his time, and...

    When you lift yourself from your bow, there is no one there.

    No bread, no pigeons, and certainly no old man.

    Even the stone where he was sitting, you observe, in a moment of strange clarity, still has a layer of dust on it, like he was never there in the first place.

    You clutch your bag closer, almost unconsciously, a chill running down your back that has nothing to do with the evening air.

    It's getting late.
    [12:37] <I3uster> if playing overwatch would save my mother from the deathbed
    [12:37] <I3uster> id probably flip a coin
    [12:38] <I3uster> to see if i play or not

    [18:23] <frantic> spinach is like a caffeine zombie

    [18:23] <frantic> in AX he would like
    [18:23] <frantic> drink 8 shots of espresso
    [18:23] <frantic> then he'd turn to me an hour later
    [18:23] <frantic> 'frantic', he'd say, his eyes wild and his lips smug
    [18:23] <frantic> 'i need coffee'

  9. #9
    Imperial Princess Satehi's Avatar
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    Angelica Alvey
    Chicago, 1932, 4:54 PM


    Eh…?

    I stare blankly for a moment, at the spot where the old man was- or now, used to be. A chill runs down my spine, and I can feel my fingertips run cold. I quickly take a couple steps back, my earlier etiquette completely abandoned.

    I don’t think I’m dimwitted enough as to have missed an old man like that getting up from his seat. Not to mention the missing pigeons and the dust on his seat. The most logical answer would be that everything now was all in my head, but…

    I…

    I decide to turn my attention to other ventures. Namely, getting out of this place and to my destination as soon as possible.

    Better to arrive earlier than later. Anyone who was looking just now would have just seen a little girl talking and bowing to empty air, and I don’t want to attract any attention. And I don’t have the luxury of standing around and waiting if my head’s playing tricks on me.

    Without any better clues, I head in the direction the old man last pointed me in.
    Last edited by Satehi; August 4th, 2018 at 04:40 PM.

  10. #10
    Joe Huang
    Chicago, 1932, 4:33 PM


    Whaddya know, a swing in ten can make your luck even down in the gutter.

    "Hey-hey, much obliged."

    I stand upright, and a swift kick to the bat that I was leaning on gives it a nice spin in the air before it lands on my palm with a smack. I'm tryin' not to enjoy how this fella's eyes follow its orbit right to the involuntary winch when flesh meats wood but he's making it real hard for me. Doesn't help that his twitchy hands and face practically shout that he's still got things to hide.

    Some time left til' five o'clock, eh? Ah well, it's good enough I won't be stumbling wherever Windy City blows me without a clue where to go. Time's a-wastin' in back-alleys.

    "Ain't got nothin' with you if you're a Mario or a Hans anyhow," I tell him as I walk past. A final lesson of love and tolerance I impart on this misguided soul. Let this nitwit lick his wounds, think twice next time he's spouting trash.

    Yeah, as if.

    His fiddling hand makes a satisfying crack when the bat slams on it almost as an afterthought, and he howls anew. I'm not sure if he heard me promising to make all this seem like love taps if he keeps calling people chinks and gooks, but I'll count this as a lesson learned.

    And so, off we go.

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