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.
Red brick buildings rise, some of them crumbling from disrepair and disuse, others patched together by repairs. Graffiti covers some of the walls near street level, some rude, most crude, but the occasional drawing is meant for a lighter-hearted reaction. The graffiti becomes a colorful, almost gaudy mural at the western end of the district, an announcement of the Regan Hope Project's presence. Trash litters the majority of the gutters, from Harbor Park in the east across to just before the Regan Hope Project's domain, where the trash is less prevalent and the buildings less run-down. Small shops with apartments in the floors above them span a block here and corners there: delis, second-hand clothes, textiles, small restaurants, a grocery store. Sandwiched between the buildings are weed-choked empty lots.
Lying on her stomach on one of the benches, feet in the air and crossed at the ankles, Bernie is currently living up to her cubname. A book is open on the bench in front of her, and she's reading it by the glow of an old green plastic Scooby-Doo flashlight. Her bag is on the ground beside her, and one of the local flowers has found a new home in her curls, just over her left ear.
Little Tim rattles his way into the park through a gap in the chainlink separating this dingy bit of green from the crumbling city around it. He makes no bones about taking his time to survey the area with a sense dominion, though the stingy streetlamps only send a dirty wash of light into the park. So the punk-of-punks sets off toward the fountain, where a bit more light blooms.
On closer examination, Bernie isn't just reading -- she's writing, as well. There's a small notebook there, and a pen in the hand not holding the torch. She glances up at the sound of footsteps, making a quick sweep with the faint beam, and smiles, recognizing the newcomer. "Hey," she calls softly through the cool air, "'sup?" Under the bench, beside her backpack, is a plastic trash bag, not full, but certainly containing something. The area around the fountain is otherwise spotless.
Little Tim ambles to a stop a few paces from the bench, Scooby's beam casting his old jeans in pale light. A lit cigarette blossoms bright orange for a moment, fading after he's inhaled, and he flicks ash right into the light - the look like tiny moths as he drift to the ground. "'Sup?" he replies, oh-so-eloquently. A brown wrapped bottle of something is tight in his fist, and he smokes his cigarette quickly, efficiently, distractedly.
Bernie shrugs, capping the pen deftly and flipping the notebook shut on it, then pushing on the back of the bench with the free hand so that she turns and rises to a sitting position. "Namuch, jus' thinkin' an' all... tidyin' a li'l. Nuttin' big."
Little Tim smirks at the notebook, as if it were a weakness, and then saunters over to slide onto the opposite end of the bench. He drags again on his smoke, his gaze spinning out over the park, searching for... who the hell knows? The bag-bound bottle goes between his knees for now, and one elbow loops over the back of the bench. "Hey. Good for you, girlie," he says, one boot sweeping out to nudge the trash-bag. This close, it's easy to smell the booze riding his breath.
"Thanks," Bernie replies somewhat dryly, arching a brow, "but do me a favour, don' call me girlie, a'ight? 'less you suddenly age 'bout six'y years." The trashbag yields easily to a toe, perhaps a third full at the most. "...or 'less I take up 'zotic dancin'. Then y'got dispensation." She stretches a little, slightly stiff from lying down for a while.
Little Tim snorts a soft, half-drunk laugh, oddly blissful for him. "Hey, can't go chop-suey on my /lingo/, sister, know what I mean? I call it like I see it, yo," he says, then adds, "But, hey, right-on, I'll do my best." He turns toward her now and takes a short drink, then offers the bottle. "Don't want family to go an' tell me to fuck myself, true?"
Bernie grins, and accepts the bottle. "True," she replies, "...sister I'm fine with, most things really..." She eyes the opening of the bottle a moment, and takes a middling-tentative drink from it. Swallowing, she blinks, and shakes her head a little, handing it back, "...thanks. So 'chupto 'side from that?"
A shrug is a good enough answer; the gesture fits Tim like graffiti on a freight train. "Eh," he says, "the usual. Knocking some heads, taking what I can grab, getting by. Just, you know, gettin' older an' makin' do." A pause, a more than hearty drink from the bottle, and then he asks, "You been practicin' your magic? Open sesame?" His fingers wiggle, for visual effect.
Max slips out of the shadows to squeeze through a gap in the chain link fence and slink her way up behind Tim with a positively auspice-worthy expression on her face.
Bernie pushes back a bit deeper into the bench, pulling her legs up indian-style, and grins wider. "Oh, hell yeah," she replies, leaning into the backboards, "...DAMN that thing's useful. I mean, there's so many applications for it..." Her eyes flicker over Max, but she forces them to keep moving, glancing over at the fountain. "...def'nitly got lotsa potential for use, y'know?"
Little Tim nods, eyes drifting lazily out over the park. "Yeah, I know. I used to fuckin' jack shit up with all the magic I gots - sneakin' in places, jumpin' dudes when they ain't seen me, all that. Used to a world-class snoop, man, but I quit playin' with that shit awhile ago." Another shrug, emotional detachment, and he knocks back another deep drink before sayin', "An' what you been up to, Max, babe, 'sides tryin' to sneak up on folks?"
Max isn't deterred by the eyes in the back of Tim's head. In fact, it looks as though she was expecting it. Still, she leaps upon Tim's back, piggy back style, and wraps her arms around his neck with a snort of laughter. "Yo Terminator. Dude." She grins over Tim's shoulder -- if she's not immediately deflected to the ground -- at Bernie. "Hola, Chica."
Bernie snickers, and grins back at Max. "Hola chiquita, que pasa?" she drawls, accent not too abysmal. "...'s new an' fascinatin' on th' Max front?" She moves her legs again, folding them up next to her as she turns a bit to face the others closer to head on.
Little Tim does not dump Max headfirst on the ground, though it may seem that way as he leans forward to balance her sudden weight on his back. The booze may help here, smoothing some of his edges - instead of cursing, he laughs, almost a giggle. "The Timinator," he snickers, still leaning forward, unsteadily trying to keep Max upright. Despite the inconvenience of it all, Tim tries to reach down to the ground to retrieve his mostly butt cigarette from where it landed when Max attacked.
Max clings tenaciously, encouraged by the lack of smack down. She grins broadly. "Well, y'got the shit goin' down on 4th. Stupid fuckers got some good shit 'n they got no brains 'bout things like .. uh.. BeeGees shit." She shakes her head. "'n Zee's bein' all Chris Columbus all over the place. You /gotta/ know: Go cooks the best fuckin' steaks. I been moo'in in my sleep." She moos beside her elder's ear and grins again, clinging like a vine. "Word witchoo, babe-o-rama?" Her attention swings back to Bernie and she winks at her fellow cub.
"...th' Timinator?" Bernie replies, with a quick giggle, then a truly awful Ahnold voice, "...I'll be back..." She shakes her head, "so whatcher sayn', Max, is Go's gotcha cowed, huh? Sounds like a loada bull t' me..." She stretches, grinning again, "...been gettin' trained up, mostly. Learnin' shit, plottin', all that jazz. Excitement, adventure, an' really wild things..."
"Th' fuck you two talkin'?" Tim manages to grunt as his fingertips tweezer the butt, lifting it with deft gentleness, even as Max rides his back like a cowboy. "'Go'? Moo? Bee Gees? Sounds like god damn Disco Fever, Wisconsin-style."
Max grunts melodramatically and drops off Tim's back with a pained expression. "I ain't no cow-poke, no-fuckin'-way, no-fuckin'-how." She points her finger at Bernie then and mimes shooting. "You're killin' me, Burn." She drops to the bench close beside Bernie anyway and stretches out her legs, crossing them at the ankles and folds her arms across her chest, looking for all the world like a co-conspirator. "I bet you got the moves, Timmy. You just ain't into showin' 'em off." She pushes at the limits of Tim's intoxication, second nature.
Bernie nods solemnly, looking at the other cub, "Yeah, I bet he's jus', y'know, hidin' his light un'er a bushel, or barrel, or whatever that sayin' is. Keep us from feelin' bad an' all. Think?" She moves slightly, slipping her book and notebook into the backpack beside the bench, and then moves back to a comfortable position.
Little Tim stands crookedly, eyeing the cubs for a moment with a steady grimness, measuring something about them. Then a yawn breaks the spell, and he pushes a fist to his mouth in a futile effort to halt it. "Yup-yup. Hidin' the light of my sweet-ass kung-g'roo-fu in my pants. Wanna see?" he leers, but ends up smirking his usual smirk, self-deprecating and wry. "C'mon, try me drunk."
Bernie blushes a shade or two, hard to see in the dimness of the park, but laughs, "...kung-g'roo-fu, huh, sensei? Sounds fascinatin'..." She stifles a yawn herself, and mock-glares at the cliath, "Damn you, don'tcha know those things're contagious?"
"Pass it on, huh," Tim says, nodding. "Seriously, though, try me, see if I gots the moves." He bobs and weaves for a second, head and shoulders shifting, left-right, left-right, like a boxer. "Or, like, d'you want to see somethin' else, somethin' more like magic?"
Bernie tilts her head curiously at the other Ragabash, and nods. "Magic, def'nitely," she replies, "I've seen plennya fightin' already."
Little Tim shrugs, one hand unconsciously burrowing in a pocket of his sweatshirt for smokes. He lights a cigarette and says, "Well, kiddo, there's folks who say we can't ever get too much fightin' done, know what I mean? What with the world the way it is an' all. But, hey," he says, with another shrug. He's full of the things tonight. "C'm'ere. What magic you already got?"
Bernie leans over a bit, crossing her arms and resting them on the back of the bench. "Jus' th' one, y'know? Th' openin' things thing. Which, y'know, 's pretty cool an' all, like I said." She considers a moment, "Few people mentioned some other ones..."
Little Tim nods, then sucks hard on his cigarette, inhaling a great lungful of tar-laden smoke. He holds it in for a moment, then releases it all in a rush, the expelled smoke swirling about him, clinging like fog to his form. In a blink, Tim is no longer clearly visible - it appears the smoke has erased his edges, blended him with the dark night of the park behind him. "Cool, huh?" he says, but it's hard to pinpoint his location once his mouth stops moving. It's almost as if the eye was deflected around him.
Bernie's eyes widen a bit, darting to try to catch the blurred edges, and her lips part slightly, suitably impressed. She breaks into a grin, then, and nods, "Totally! Yeah, I'd say that def'nitely registers on th' cool scale..." She watches a few more moments, "...how d'ya do that?"
Little Tim shrugs. "Y' just... learn it. I ain't taught it to nobody before. 'S called Blur th' Eye, or Blur /of/ the Eye, usually. Old Mike, dude who done taught me, he called it Slidin' Eye, but still - all the same, right?" Another drag, and he fades back into sight. It's disconcerting, as if watching film special effects from three feet away. "I usually got to use smoke, or shadows to, like, trigger it for me. It don't make you invisible, just hard to see. Might as well be, if you standin' still."
Bernie watches closely, with definite fascination, almost as if she's hoping to be able to spot how to make it work. "...'s still really cool... think tha's th' one 'licia mentioned t' me couple weeks 'go... you gotta stay c'mpletely still for it t' work right, seems like?"
"I guess I dunno," is Tim's response. "If you move, it ain't like you invisible or nothin', but you still hard as hell to see. I usually use it when I'm jumpin' some piece of street-trash, bust him good 'fore he knows what's what. Or to sneak. I should figure out how to teach it, huh?"
"Def'nitely," Bernie replies, with no hesitation, "...feel free t' 'speriment with teachin' it t' me if y'want..." She stretches a bit, and leans down to collect her bags, lifting them to the seat of the bench alongside her.
Little Tim nods, another yawn breaking his face wide open. He stretches, both hands going high over his head, fingers interlocking, then says, "Straight, yo, but for now, I'm about beat. Better go sleep off some of the juice." One boot rises to knock over the now-empty bag-wrapped bottle, and then, stricken by a fit of conscientiousness, he bends over to pick it up and drop it into Bernie's trash-bag. "You look me up tomorrow night. I'll have it figured out by then. That kosher?"
Bernie nods, "Prolly so, yeah. You be roun' here or what?" She lifts the backpack and slips it over one shoulder as she stands, hefting the plastic sack in the other hand.
Little Tim nods vaguely. "Yeah, sure. Here, maybe hittin' up Andy for some old 'nuts, maybe Medina's for some coffee. You know the theater, too? The Rialto, just up the street? It's where some of us crash. Maybe I'm there tomorrow." Blowing some smoke exhaust, he says, "Ask around. I ain't a stranger."
Bernie nods, "A'ight, yeah... I know where mosta those are, figure I c'n find th' other one... so 'less I get held up doin' somethin' else I'll come find ya, yeah? Otherwise like Sunday maybe? Soon anyhow. People keep takin' me t' teach me shit now, which's better'n when no one was 'round t' do it, but it's hell on makin' plans anyhow."
Little Tim nods, his boots already carrying him back toward the grimy city. "Straight, whatever. Keep it rockin' 'til whenever," he tells the cub. "Don't be stupid." And, with that kind farewell, he's gone - one final rattle of chainlink fence signals his exit.
[Regan Avenue East, Downtown]
Rina leans against a post of the fence, watching the streets. She glances over her shoulder, perhaps responding to a sound or movement, ot just instinct.
Bernie wanders out of the park, backpack over one shoulder as usual, hefting a large black plastic trash bag in the other. By the looks of it, it cna't be more than a third full of whatever might be inside.
Rina turns, then, flashing her a warm smile. "Hey," she offers. "Trash? C'n I help you with that?"
Bernie blinks, startled, and then relaxes a little -- though not completely -- as she recognizes Rina. "Oh, hey. Yeah, I was tidyin' some... an' I dunno, y'know a good dumpster 'round here I c'n toss this inta?"
Rina nods, giving a little jerk of her head toward the streets. "Yeah..." She reaches for the bag. "There's one over by Bridge Street."
Bernie allows the woman to take the trash bag, with a quick nod, "Thanks... I still got some 'splorin' t' do t' learn where ev'rythin' is, y'know?" She shifts the bag on her shoulder a little.
Rina nods, and makes her way over toward Bridge Street, finding her way to an alley.
Bernie follows, to mark the location for future reference. "...so whatcha doin' out so late here?" she queries.
"Lookin' for trouble," Rina answers, flashing a shy grin to the girl. With the trash bag over her shoulder, she looks like a demented, late Santa Claus.
"...find any?" Bernie queries, after a moment's consideration.
Rina shakes her head, glancing down. "No." Her expression sobers. "There's been a new dealer on the south side... just kinda lookin' around to see where he's doin' shit." Her jaw tightens a little.
Bernie nods, following along. "Wha' for? I mean, gonna stop 'im or jus' reconnaisance or what?" She slips her hands into her jacket pockets, it's -cold- out here this late.
Rina shakes her head. "Don't know yet. Dunno what he's got backin' him up... but I owe him some grief, so I'm gonna keep an eye out. See what I can see." She reaches the alley, and opens up the dumpster with her free hand; a turn of her body throws the trash over her shoulder, into the bin.
Bernie nods, thoughtfully, and eyes the alley a moment. "Soun's reas'nable," she replies, and stifles a yawn. "...'scuse me. 's late, was on m'way back t' th' House."
Rina nods. "Whose house?" she asks quietly, glancing over as she heads out onto the street again. "You staying at Sig's, or where?"
Bernie shakes her head, "Nah, mostly at th' farm now. 's where," there's just the barest hint of a pause, as if she might've rewritten the sentence, "my friends mostly are... plus there's jus' more room an' all, y'know?" She shrugs, and then grins, "...also people there've more time t' show me stuff."
Rina nods, offering a sidelong glance. "Want me to drive ya?"
Bernie considers that, taking a quick look around. "...looks like you were walkin', yourself, though...?"
Rina laughs, and shakes her head. "Nah. Bike's around the corner. never know when I might need a getaway vehicle, y'know?"
Bernie nods, with a fleeting grin. "'s a point. Beats tryin' t' outrun people..." She glances at her wrist, where a watch isn't. "...yeah, if it's not, like, an inconvenience or anythin'? Tha'd be nice."
Rina grins, baring her teeth, a slight edge to the expression. "Any excuse t'go for a ride," she says lightly. "'Specially with a babe." She leads Bernie up a block, turning the corner, and there is the Ducati, parked near a lightpost.
Bernie blushes slightly at that, eyeing the other woman a tad uneasily as she follows. "Well... um... 'kay, then. Thanks." Looking at the bike, she grins, "...man, I swear, ev'ryone's got cool wheels but me. I oughta pick up a tricycle at Goodwill or somethin'..."
Rina lends her a helmet for the long, cold ride. She drives thrillingly fast--sometimes a little /too/ fast--on the unoccupied country highway.
On the straightaways the girl leans forward a little--just enough to coax a tighter hold from her passenger. When they hit stoplights, she takes that moment to blow on her gloved hands, to warm them.
Bernie holds on snugly, not, of course, having any desire to make an unintentional dismount. She makes a mental note to zip her jacket first, next time. At the forst stoplight after that thought, she quickly acts on it, returning her arms to the proper position just in time as the light turns green.
Rina's hand slides over the girl's for a moment, in warning--making sure her passenger has a good hold, before she returns her grip to the bars to get moving again. This time she puts on speed, fast and hard, racing up Sunrise to the farm driveway. It's less than a minute or two, when she slows and finally stops at the side of the road.
Bernie relaxes a bit as they come to a halt, and sits up a bit, releasing the driver. "Thanks," she says, undoing the helmet, "..'s 'bout twenny times faster'n walkin'..."
Rina flips her visor up, and nods. "More fun, too," she answers, offering a quick wry smile as she takes the helmet and straps it into place on the passenger 'seat'.
Bernie unzips her jacket again, hands sliding into the pockets, and nods, with a quick grin, "Yeah, def'nitely, that too. So, see y'round I guess... thanks 'gain, hope y'find th' guy you were lookin' for an' make 'is life hell."
Rina's answering smile is a flash of teeth. "Night. And... take care." Then she flips her visor down and pulls out, turning the Ducati on a dime and speeding back southward.