2007-08-17: DF: Roads Unseen

Starring:

Randall_icon.gif DFPortia_icon.gif

Summary: A couple of little fish share their little troubles.

Dark Future Date: August 17, 2008

Roads Unseen


Times Square

Times Square has fallen on hard times, it's true, but it's still not completely dead. A few brave and/or foolhardy souls still come through, and a few others are there to attend to their needs. Lately, Randall has returned to an old gig hawking hot dogs and magazines out of a foot-propelled push-cart; these days, the unlikely contraption offers the additional benefit of being more or less bulletproof, due to its metal structure.

For once, Portia's not running around invisible. She can easily become so, if she needs to, but she just needed to get out and it was nice to be seen for once. Her guitar is strapped to her back as she moves along, trying hard to focus on getting her mind off of everything else.

Randall reaches forward, grabbing hold of a hand-lettered '20 Percent Off' sign taped to the side of the cart, and waves it around in an attempt to catch the attention of passersby. He's long since given up bothering to say anything up front; people are either interested or they aren't.

Glancing over at the cart, Portia grins a little, moving over. "Can I get a hotdog?" It's casual, as if that'd been what she was out here for the entire time. "You do this a lot out here?" She asks, hands going into her pockets as she waits.

Aha, an actual customer! "Coming right up," Randall replies, letting the sign drop back into place and reaching for a fresh bun. "And yeah, when the weather's good at least. Everybody's gotta eat, and… well, there's less competition than a couple years ago." Also fewer customers, but he doesn't like to talk about that aspect so much.

"Well, that's good. It's daring to be out here like this. It's nice seeing someone with an ordinary sort of life in spite of.. well, everything." Portia watches him prepare the hotdog, a bit of a smile on her lips. "It'd be nice if more people were able to do something like that."

Randall makes a face. "Ordinary's a relative term nowadays." One condiment after another is held up for a thumbs up or down. "More people… kind of a self-reinforcing cycle, in either direction. Speaking of, what're you doing out here?" Where you might fall afoul of a drugged-out pedophile, he has the good taste not to add out loud.

Portia gives a thumbs up for practically everything, giving a bit of a smile. "Me? Just trying to get away from it all. Wanted to get out for a little while and pretend things are normal. Pretend that I'm not likely to just randomly get shot in the head any time now." She laughs.

"Most of them aren't random, they're shooting for a reason. They get ripped off, or they're afraid they're going to get ripped off…" The Buddhist Special is set into a plastic container and handed across. "Most people still have enough taste not to aim at street performers, so you're ahead of the game there."

Giving a little bit of a smile, Portia fishes money out of her pockets. "Well.. I usually don't come out and perform, but I've been needing something stress-relieving." She glances back over. "Need someone to draw you over some customers?"

Randall shrugs. "It couldn't hurt. Sense of getting things back to normal… someone has to work on the little things, anyway. But mostly I just keep moving around a lot" - in fact, he's doing that now, picking up at the pace of a slow walk. "You're welcome to come along."

Taking a moment to nibble on her hotdog, Portia follows along. "You get into much danger out here? I don't tend to.. well, I take the roads a bit more unseen when I want to come through around places out here." She doesn't mention they're unseen because she is unseen, but well, it works.

"Not as much as you'd think," he muses, leaning against the front counter as he ambles forward. "Sometimes it's good to be the little fish… especially with the sharks at each other's throats, the way they have been lately."

Portia grins. "I tried to be a bigger fish and I found out I'm not quite so great at that. So I'm sticking to being a little fish. For a while at least." She takes another bite of her hot dog.

Randall slows down as another customer wanders up, brazenly pointing to the top shelf where everything is plastic-wrapped with cardboard sheets in front. (Even in the Dark Future, some people want their porn, and some other people want to protect the children from it.) "What'd you do to try to be big?" he asks, silently making change as he talks.

"Just a little snooping." Portia states, letting the customer buy his magazines while she continues to chow down on her hot dog. "I made a mistake in following someone I really shouldn't have and get a little hurt. I'm better now but.. it could've been bad, that's the bad part of it."

Randall waits till the Hustler fan wanders off, then makes a sour face. "I can imagine. Privacy's a bigger deal than ever— what was the guy doing, anyway? And did he shoot at you, or what?" Automatically, he looks Portia up and down anew, searching for obvious evidence of recent wounds.

"Not quite. Twisted my wrist and slammed my head into the pavement a few times. He was kind enough not to shoot me, though." Portia finishes off her hotdog, noddin back over to him. "I've got friends that are pretty good at helping with injuries, though."

That gets a wince out of the vendor. "A few times?" A man against a teenage girl? That is simply Not Done. "Good thing you do, then… and you're lucky he didn't, too. If he had a gun with him at all, I wouldn't have put it past him."

"Actually that was sort of held against my head." Portia murmurs, rubbing her arms. "But I've learned my lesson. Either don't do it or don't get caught. I suppose I can go back to sticking with my music."

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