Situated in the center of a large, open meadow is a clustering of six trees, a flower bed, a few benches, and a plywood wall barricade. The area where the fountain was, and presumably the new fountain will be, is currently enclosed by high plywood walls. There is a door in one of the walls, firmly locked with a stout-looking padlock. The walls enclose much of the flagstone area, now, only leaving a little around the edges of the old courtyard. Scraggly hedges line one side of the courtyard, just behind some mostly graffiti-free benches and a chain link fence. Cars on the nearby street have an excellent view of the park as do any residents of the tall buildings which line the waterfront. The park is almost constantly devoid of people as its reputation for being one of the most violent and dangerous places in the city spreads.
The murky waters of the Columbia River flow swiftly along the east side of the park. Bracketing the park to the west is First Street and the city of St. Claire. A meadow surrounds the small glade.
Kaz ambles down by the river, flute case in hand, gesturing with the other. "No," she tells the cub, "I don't know why She decided to make us morons half the month."
Bernie hehs, shaking her head, her hands currently planted in her jacket pockets. "Sick sensa humour? But my auspice, it genr'ally doesn't affect us so badly as others, right? 'cause we're kinda nat'rally less pissy?"
"Yeah." Kaz stares into the river for a moment. "I mean, it affects y'all some, obviously. But not a buttload. Lot less'n most ahrouns I can name. Y'all got an ok deal, most of the time."
"I always made out pretty well in th' PMS department too," Bernie says, grinning, "Guess I'm not fit to be Tide. Too bad, I'd really clean up. An' it'd explain my bubbly personality..." She glances sidelong at you, "...heh. Sorry. So I get the cycle thing... what else should I know?"
Kaz is, actually, quirking a grin. "Yuh-huh, Bernie, what-ever." Pausing to consider, she heads towards the bench. "Well. 'd someone already finish the Litany f'r you?"
Bernie follows, shaking her head. "Nope, still where we left off... which was, what, 'bout t' do number 7?" She breaks into a terrible Australian accent, "Rule number 6, there is nooooooooooooooooo... rule number six! Rule number seven, no pooftahs! Right then, that concludes th' readin' of th' rules..." She sits on the bench, pulling her hands from her pockets, a pack of gum coming out with one of them. "Wanna stick?" she offers.
The metis has apparently never seen Python, as the only reaction is a fairly weird look, as she climbs, again, onto the top of the bench. She lays her flute case down carefully, and /then/ accepts a stick of gum. "Yah, thanks." Unwrapping it, she considers. "Ok. 7, huh? I don't think you'll object on this'n.
'Ye Shall Not Eat the Flesh of Humans.' Kinnda straightforward, yes?"
Bernie makes a face, handing Kaz a stick of gum. "Y'know, I was never the type to keep kosher, but I'm pretty damn sure that's a dietary law I c'n stick to. Ugh. Why would anyone WANT to.... I mean, ew. That one's safe 'less I crash a plane in the Andes or somethin'. An' even then I'd go for th' leftover airline food first, and you know THAT's sayin' somethin'." She folds her stick of gum into her mouth, putting the pack back into her pocket.
Kaz unwraps it, grinning faintly, and pops the gum in her mouth. The two aren't talking all that loudly, really. "Yeah, the Alive route, you don' need. 'kay. Next. It's kinda straightforward, although they wrap it up in nice language, prolly t'make it easier to ignore." Hello, bitter? Again in that rote tone, only slightly dampened by gum, she explains, "'Respect for Those Below Ye in Station -- All Are of Gaia.'"
In the oily halflit darkness of the city park, Max ambles into view out of the coalescing shadows of a nearby alleyway. Her kneepads are fastened and dripping something less than savory. A garish and well-chewed swizzle stick wiggles at the corner of her mouth as she circles closer to the pair nearer the fountain. The result of her roundabout approach is that she slowly advances upon Kaz from behind.
Her grin returning, Bernie nods, leaning back against the bench a bit. "Don't step on th' li'l people," she translates, "...damn, there's a lotta people I useta know back home who could use having that one whacked inta 'em." She pauses, chewing her gum a moment, and adds, "Just outta curiosity, IS there anyone b'low me in station?" The movements of the shadows catch her eye a moment, but only briefly.
Barking can be heard from the general vicinity of the meadow. A rabbit bursts from the wilting greenery, running its ass off and criss-crossing its path toward one of the numerous flower gardens. Behind this hapless beast is a large, mangy dog, claws chewing up the ground and flinging dirt as it tries to keep up with the panicked hare. Heartsight is just going nuts here. Mineminemine! Chasechompchomp hoppityhopper!
Little Tim is less surreptitious than Max - he clatters through a ragged gap in the chainlink fencing separating the park from the street without a care in the world. The horrific reputation of the place has little effect on him, as he casually trudges in a vague line toward the central area of the fountain, cigarette smoke trailing him like exhaust.
Kaz does not notice Max, given doggish Garou and Tims wandering around. She gives both of them a wave, then shakes her head ruefully at Bernie. "You're a cub, kid. Lowest of the low. But you get over it quick. Y'just gotta be all nice, is all, for a couple months."
As her face comes into Bernie's clear view behind Kaz, Max gestures elaborately with both hands along with her swizzle stick. What she might be requesting of the other cub is less than apparent. Then, with a studied expression, Max solemnly reaches down the front of her shirt and pulls something back out that is small enough to fit in the palm of her hand. She's directly behind Kaz now.
Poor rabbit. The Jaws of Death snapping close to its fluffy tail, and two-leggers all over the place, the creature is about frightened to death. It suddenly stops and hunkers down near the chatting girls. The lupe's momentum isn't as easily stopped, though, and Heartsight tries to put on the brakes, but ends up rolling tail over muzzle several times, several yips of surprisefrom her before coming to a halt.
Little Tim prowls closer to Kaz, now that he's spotted her. Slouching into his thrift-shop sweatshirt, greedily pulling on his cigarette, Tim swings out, around, coming in behind Max. Like the set-up for a Three Stooges bit, maybe. He eyes the cub dubiously.
Bernie glances briefly over Kaz's shoulder at Max, and it seems like she's considering a moment, but the Amazing Somersaulting Heartsight grabs her attention, and she bursts out laughing too hard to say anything about it, even if she'd intended to. When she does manage to speak, what comes out through the giggles is, "9.8, 9.8, 9.6, 9.9, oooh, and a 4 from the tough Eastern European judge..."
Kaz is almost about to follow Bernie's gaze herself, but Julie's antics also grab her attention, and she snorts, once. "Ain't the Olympics, it's a Fox hunt. Kinda like th' Fox and the Hound, or Lady an' the Tramp, or somethin'."
So intent is she on Kaz, Max doesn't notice Tim's approach behind her. Her cupped hand slowly turns over, palm-down now, and by the tail it appears she is holding a young brownish gray rat which flails just a bit in the air before relaxing and stretching it's little nose to smell at one of Kaz's famous ears, tiny whiskers twitching.
Little Tim cracks a crooked grin around his cigarette when he spies Max's little friend, but he makes no move - other than to cross his arms over his chest. An expectant gesture, waiting for the punchline.
Heartsight gets up and shakes herself, and gruffs at Bernie. I meant to do that. A flick of tail, and she is trotting the last few yards over to the group.
The metis is ticklish in general, and more so when her guard is down, so her reaction to Max's rat may not surprise Max very much. It may surprise other people considerably, though, as she emits a loud squeaking sort of noise, whirls around on the bench, and completely loses her seat on said bench, falling over onto the cub. They both go tumbling to the ground, Max holding the rat out in one hand to somehow keep it from getting squished.
Bernie who had just managed to stop laughing, gets out a highly amused, "Mmmhmm, 'course," to Heartsight before the commotion begins, and she cracks up again, coming quite close to falling off the bench herself. "You, you 'kay?" she gasps after a few seconds.
With a bark of laughter that turns to a grunt as she hits the ground and then directly cushions Kaz's fall, the wind knocked out of her while the little rat swings safely in the air by its tail, held out to the side. The cub wheezes a bit, catching sight of Tim. The swizzle stick lands in the mud a few feet away. "Zee, meet Satan. Satan, Zee." It's a hoarse, gasped introduction as Max looks over to Tim. "It's St. Nick. Got sumpin' for me?" The cub smirks backward and upside down up at Tim, almost hiding the sparkle to her greeting in sarcasm.
Heartsight adds herself to the pile, wet nose snuffling and poking, and tail wagging profusely. Ha, fall Ears and cub down, too! And the rat finds a furry back under its tiny paws.
Little Tim peers down at the mess Kaz and Max have made at his feet, quirking one eyebrow. "Shit, ya'll're falling all over each other to see me. How sweet." Reaching into a pocket he retrieves a handful of Werther's candies; these he drops into the cub's lap, sprinkling them like plastic-wrapped drops of rain. "There, girlie. Enjoy."
Kaz rolls off of Max, trying not to elbow her unnecessarily, and right into Julie's muzzle. "Hey, Jules! Howyadoin'?" She reaches out to scritch her again-packmate, and then rolls over again, leaning on her elbows, chin on her hands, to watch the two no moons.
Max releases her hold on the rat which expertly clambers over Heartsight's furry back, investigating and in a constant search for food. Now Max is grinning, albeit crookedly, up at Little Tim -- at least until she mocks a grumpy expression. "I was thinkin' something larger in the Gift category, Nick-/rhya/." Deftly she unwraps a candy as Kaz rolls away and pops it into her mouth, glancing to Bernie. "Yo 'n shit."
Kaz jerks her head at Bernie. "That's Bernie," she explains, loquaciously, and then adds, "An' yeah, Bern, I'm fine. I do tumblin' acts alla time."
Ooh, an Ears in front of her! Slurrrp! A tongue-lolling wolfgrin, and that tail's still a-going, smacking haphazardly into anyone foolish enough to be in its way. Heartsight lies down on her belly, letting the rat climb around. Only that tail just won't stop swinging.
Little Tim shrugs, one shoulder hitching awkwardly inside his ragged sweatshirt. "Some other time, maybe, kid," he tells Max, then turns his own gaze toward Bernie. "Hey, big girl," he tells her. "Name's Tim."
"Hey," Bernie replies, still grinning, though she's managed to surpress the laughing, and gives Max a little wave as Kaz introduces her. "...nice ratcha got. Cute." She looks Little Tim over at his greeting, though she doesn't seem offended; the smile remains as she greets him with another, "Hey. Niceta meetcha..."
Kaz, newly wet, tumbles over a little as Julie slurps at her, and chortles quietly. Leaning on one side, she begins a true scritching of her packmate, being careful not to intrude on the rat's space.
"Yeah yeah.." Max complains without much feeling. She follows Tim's greeting back to Bernie while crunching loudly on the hard candy in her mouth, her dark eyes glinting assessingly as she looks the other teen over. Without looking away from the cub, she tosses some gold candies Kaz's way, apparently as comfortable in Heartsight's company as she is with the other Gnawers. "Yeah. She can whup ass onna cheeze whiz can," she tells Bernie. ".. but she ain't got n'attitude yet." Satan scrambles all over Heartsight then goes up on her back feet to sniff at Kaz again, looking far too docile to live up to her name.
Kaz explains, to Bernie, before the rat starts in on her again, "Tim's a no moon. S'prolly you'll get t'know him at least a little." Once Satan finds her, though, she goes entirely mute and tries not to flinch away from those /whiskers/. At least, not /too/ much.
Ooooh, feel so gooood, she rumbles, melting into the ground under the scritching. Been good, chase hoppers, find food, bark at two-leg packs. Fun day. Heartsight is happy for the time being, anyway. How long it'll last is anyone's guess.
Little Tim nods at Kaz's further introduction, and says, "I'm a stupid son-of-a-bitch, though, so you won't like me much. Ask Max." He jerks his smoke toward the other Ragabash cub. "She keeps tryin' to hide from me."
Kaz's scritching stills to almost a complete halt as Satan investigates her ear in an echo of the Totem Quest last night. The metis attempts to remain utterly still, but nonetheless manages to quiver from silent laughter anyway, until she finally gives in and removes the rat manually, looking up at her with a grin as she dangles from her hand. "Y'/vicious/," she tells it, admiringly.
Bernie nods, looking back at the other cub, and replies in a perfectly earnest tone, "Could come in handy, I heard on th' news th' other day, processed cheez spread c'n kill ya..." She grins, and blows a reasonably sized bubble with her gum, pulling it back in before it can pop all over. Kaz's comment draws her attention to the guy, and she looks at him again, head tilting slightly to one side as she pushes one of the many stray curls back behind her ear. "Well, y'carry Werther's, y'can't be THAT bad."
Heartsight rolls onto her back once it's free of the rat, and wiggles around, grunting as she scratches her back herself. Then she flops over and onto her feet. Heartsight go now.
Max, caught grabbing Heartsight's tail, lets go as Tim addresses her and pushes to her feet, ignoring smears of mud on her clothing. She sets a hand on her right hip and slouches in that direction. "Yeah. He's got the corner on the ass-'n-a-half market, Burn. Suck it up big time." She deadpans this while looking Tim over. Satan, on the other hand, manages to look indignant as she's pulled away from her investigation of Kaz. Her legs clamber in the air futilely while her nose twitches. Max looks over to Bernie with an aghast expression. "Blasphem-fuckin'-y. The Whiz's a food group all isself."
Kaz gives Julie one more scritch behind the ears, since she's got a hand free, and then rises to her feet in a surprisingly agile motion. The rat begins an investigation down Kaz's arm and onto her shoulder, and soon Kaz is leaning over near Max, Satan on her back. "Maaaax..."
Heartsight whirls around once her tail's released, and pounces on Max, slurping heavily before backing away and nuzzling against Kaz one more time. A look at Tim, and she woofs a goodbye to him, then swings her muzzle toward Bernie. A tongue-lolling grin of black lips to the cub, then she's trotting off.
Little Tim shakes his head, for once seemingly too good for the conversation. "Hey, look, I got to skin out toward Kim's to gank some grub. Anybody wanna put in for some Chinese?" Second-hand stuff, but top-of-the-dumpster."
"Ah," Bernie replies, leveling a finger at Max, "see, now, I'm not denyin' it's King of th' Crackers, but that stuff's been _domesticated_, captured an' all. Now, y'run into it runnin' free an' wild? Diff'rent story." She nods solemnly, and adjusts her glasses with one finger. "Anyhow, pretty sure there's only four food groups... choc'late, caffeine, hostess, an' fast food..."
Bernie looks concerned, and adds after a slight pause, "...wait, I'm sure meatsticks oughta be in there somewhere too. Oh well."
Without pause, Max reaches for the rat, scooping her off the back of Kaz's neck and petting Heartsight with her free hand before the lupe heads off. She looks to Tim, considering the offer a moment before shaking her head. "Save me 'n eggroll." She then mumbles something to the rat which gets stuffed back down the front of her tanktop which is mostly hidden behind a ragged looking zip-front sweatshirt. Some wiggling ensues and then it stills. Max wanders around the bench toward what's left of the fountain, climbing atop some broken cement to consider Bernie's food pyramid with some thoughtfulness. "'n Za," she notes. "But not with nothing veggie." She shudders at the mere thought of such sacrilege.
Kaz mutters, under her breath, "Shrooms," and climbs over the bench again to perch on top of it, despite its proven precariousness.
Little Tim nods, kills his butt underfoot, then fires up another cigarette: a veritable chimney tonight. "Word, Princess. I'll hit Tony's on the way back. Nice meetin' you, Big Bernie." One tattooed hand waves lazily, and then he's off the way he came.
"Well, 'shrooms aren't really veggies anyhow," Bernie comments, "They're fungi, I mean, not even plants, so, y'know, exception. I was puttin' 'za in th' fast food category, but I dunno, if we're gonna go beyond four I'd give it it's own." She glances to Tim, and waves casually back. "Chinese," she adds, "woulda hafta be under th' fast food 'brella too."
Kaz asks, "And salad would be..."
Chewing on her lip, Max considers Bernie while she converses with Kaz, finishing the elder Gnawer's sentence fluidly. ".. Mother Nature's puke-on-a-stalk."
"A buncha veggies onna plate you gotta get through b'fore they serve th' actual food?" Bernie suggests, simultaneously, and shrugs.
Kaz nods thoughtfully at both responses. "Yep," she decides, "Y'all'll do. You gonna join?"
Max hops off the broken cement block and meanders over to Kaz on the bench, circling behind, then leaning in behind one of her shoulders, to peer around at Bernie quizzically while asking Kaz, "Join?"
Bernie turns a bit, the better to face the other two, and replies, "D'pends what -- th' Society for the Prevention of Produce?" She pulls one knee up onto the bench as she gets more comfortable.
Kaz shakes her head. "SHA." She pronounces it more as 'shya'. "Salad Haters Anonymous."
Max snorts quietly. "Be more fun to go 'round blowin' 'em up."
Bernie grins, and pronounces it the same way, "SHA... right. I dunno, it sounds like a twelve step program..."
The metis hops off her perch and slides into an actual seat on the bench. "Nah. More fun'n that."
Max finds out where Bernie's being 'kept' then notes she has Things To Do and promises to come spring the other cub as soon as she's not on 'Signe's die-die-die list', whatever that means. The cub heads off into the night, telling Kaz she'll see her in a few hours.
Bernie waves a hand after the other cub, calling just loud enough to be heard as she heads off, "Seeya, Max... an' by th' way, I liked th' paint job..." before turning her attention back to Kaz.
Max is gone soonafter, muttering to herself something about squashed bugs.