2007-02-22: Not Every Bum Wants To Knife You


Hector_icon.gif Eliana_icon.gif

Hector and Eliana share a bench and discuss the validity of horoscopes and the weather. Good will gestures are traded, whether intentional or not.

Date It Happened: February 22nd, 2007

Not Every Bum Wants to Knife You

New York City, Central Park

An early evening walk in the park hadn't been on Eliana's to-do list for the day, originally. She walks with her head bowed and her hands deep in the pockets of his peacoat. The flared legs of her dark jeans flap a bit against her boots as she walks, and her light pink hair is tousled by the wind. Something is on Eliana's mind. Something is making her nervous. Something is making her heart beat fast enough to produce an invisible cloud of mind-altering gas around her in about a five foot sphere.

Seated on a park bench on the path ahead of Eliana, looking tossled and all around rather homeless in a threadbare grey suit scuffed boots, Hector is reading a copy of the Times. A copy that looks like it was dragged out of the metal trash can positioned next to his bench. The only conspicuous thing about him is that he is not wearing a heavy coat, and not frozen to death, or even shivering. He turns the page.

It's amazing how quickly walks turn into wanders. Heaving a sigh, Eliana unintentionally slows her heart down enough so that the gas begins to ebb. She lifts her head in time to see Hector and his paper. A homeless man who's literate can't be that harmless…right? But there's the chance he's not, and so Eliana makes a point to sit on the end of the bench, putting as much distance as she can between herself and the current-event conscious bum. "Anything interesting in there today?" Eliana asks idly, staring at her boots. Conversation is conversation, and it's exactly what Eliana thinks she needs to calm down enough to go home. She can only hope that Hector is as harmless as he seems. Still, Eliana's right hand curls around the bottle of mace in her coat pocket.

"Not really," comes Hector's even reply from the opposite end of the bench. He smells — if not as terrible as one might expect a bum to smell. Maybe a bit like wet dog and cigarettes. A sideways glance cast over to measure Eliana, he sniffs to himself when his eyes settle upon her pocketed hand, and then goes back to reading.

Eliana tries not to screw her face up when the smell hits her, and she succeeds in a way, turning her head to watch a man taking his dog for an evening walk. "Tell me what my horoscope is then," Eliana says after a moment, desperate for small talk. "I'm a Pisces and an Aries."

The man with his dog gets a bit of a glare over the top edge of the paper, but Hector glances back to Eliana at the order. Faint annoyance creases in around his mouth under the salt and pepper of his scruffy beard, but he does as he is told, turning back two pages to seek out the horoscopes in question. "Pisces," he states after a short pause, accent discinctly British around the word, and coarse in the cold. "Your assistance is vital to getting things done today, so look around and figure out who needs you the most. Your energy is perfect for filling in gaps or figuring out what's needed to finish projects." He lifts a brow. This is his skeptical face.

One corner of Eliana's mouth twinges upward with a smirk, and she follows the man and his dog with her eyes until they're on Hector for the first time. "You know," she says, looking back to her boots almost immediately. "I know those things are bogus, but they're still creepy sometimes, you know?" Her right hand relaxes a little, but her fingers don't leave the cool metal cylinder.

"If you are vague enough, and clever enough, approximately anything can seem true for anyone." Hector, for one, persists in seeming somewhat less than convinced in the level look he spares her between readings. "/Aries/. You're feeling a bit of pressure at home or at work to take care of responsibilities that are boring but vital. It's a good day to get them out of the way — there's not much happening to distract you."

Eliana narrows her eyes some, then leans her head back to look up into the dimming sky. "You're right," she says, but then grows quiet for a few moments, clouding her meaning. "I wonder what comic book I need to pick up in order to get certified in whatever the hell it is would qualify someone to write that stuff. I bet it pays decent, especially if it's syndicated, you know?" Another pause, and Eliana turns her head, keeping her neck on the back of the bench. "Aren't you cold?" she asks with a searching expression. Or maybe it's just the smell.

"Comic book?" is the inevitable inquiry, and Hector flicks idly back to the spot he left off at, a few pages down the line. "Astrology is a profession with its own field of…dubiously scientific study. Very serious business." Faint cynicism low in his voice is the only indication that he is very much lying. He clears his throat, and glances to the sky, which is…well. Grey. "Freezing."

At least it's a darker grey than it had been. Eliana turns her head to look back up at the sky, pondering in silence for a few beats. "I don't think my coat would fit you," she murmurs. "But it'll be warmer before we know it, I bet. In like a lion and out like a lamb, isn't that what they say?"

"The thought is certainly admirable." More difficult to read now that they are on the subject of him and not Eliana's fate according to the times, Hector draws in a deep breath and expells it in the form of a quiet sigh. "That is indeed what they say."

Conversations made up of long pauses normally drive Eliana crazy, but in this instance, when she's the one taking the time, the annoyance isn't so grating. With a decisive not, she takes her right hand out of her pocket and reaches into her coat with it. After some fumbling, she pulls out a couple of somewhat wadded ten dollar bills, which she sets on the bench before she stands up. "The lion can bite pretty hard though, so it might not be a bad idea to give the thrift stores a once over, you know?" Eliana smiles weakly before she nods to Hector again and walks off.

Brows lifted in mild surprise at the appearance of the wadded bills, Hector reaches to take them after a short and slightly baffled pause. His soiled paper folded neatly closed, he tucks the bills into the interior of his coat and manages to produce a "Thank you," that is quite genuine, all things considered.

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