2009-11-06: The World Is Not Enough



Date: November 6th, 2009


Dustin sets up his fortune telling booth outside of Enlightenment Books. Cass gets her fortune read and Dustin gets a new job.

"The World is Not Enough"

Enlightenment Books

It's a New York day in East Village. It would want to be. But by New York day, that means, a) overcast, b) polluted and c) dense with people. Dustin sees no issue with this - as long as it's not fucking raining. Rain is the worst. Wind would be a bitch too, but today, the air stays stagnant in the air as if this were a courtesy, one of which he would salute the sky for if he wasn't preoccupied.

Across the street and a few buildings down, there's a kid of some ethnicity Dustin couldn't pick out playing a drum. A wooden cylinder he keeps clasped between his knees, swarthy hands slapping the hide and the polished sides, and sometimes his own thighs to an indefinite beat that certainly has rhythm. He has more money than Dustin is making, but that's alright too.

A rolled cigarette that smells mostly of nicotine with traces of something else curls smoke from where it's clenched between his teeth. The Texan transplant is seated out from a store and has been for the last ten minutes or so. The store itself was why he'd chosen this space, his back against the brick and the heels of his snakeskin shoes braced against the pavement. Between his legs is a royal purple piece of cloth spread out on the pavement, and on it, he lays down cards. Not the playing kind, but ones with pictures, recognisable.

Crystals, too, broken pieces of clear quartz, decorate this arrangement, and he's not yet trying to flag anyone down, though at signs of approach he glances up with bright hazel eyes, then back down.

Enlightenment Books has not hired Dustin to do tarot readings, or any readings of any kind. In fact, the store doesn't really have any sort of policy on them. They tend to just show up to ransack the shelves, talk about the significance of the Hermit card and then pull cards for people. This is something that Cass doesn't mind. The clientele of her store is so diverse and normally easy going that she doesn't stop anyone from doing what they will as long as they aren't bothering people who would rather be left alone. Through the shop's window, Cass has watched Dustin set his things up and lean against he brick that has made up her expanded store. She understands that people normally come here in search of something, but it's not normally a business of their own.

Deciding to catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, the store keep wraps a shawl around herself and steps outside to confront the man. Instead of a court order or a nasty comment about trespassing, she brings a mug filled with steaming hot tea - green tea, of course, with a smidge of honey to sweeten it. "Hello," is all she does to greet him, holding out the mug for him as if she were a barrista and he a customer. "A little cold out." Though it may not be windy, it's solidly fall now and that's never a good time to be outside.

Winter will be worse, too. Dustin grants Cass the courtesy of his attention, at first distracted and then hazily focused. He leans forward where he sits to glance at the door when he spies the mug in her hands, before he steals away his cigarette from his mouth with the pinch of two fingers. His other hand goes out for the mug, curling his fingers around its warm porcelain sides and accepting it with either a nod. "Thanks."

His hands are clean, as is his face, but his clothing has clearly seen some rough times and gives off the scent of cigarettes prior to the one smoldering in his hand. The bulky brown jacket he wears is decent armor against the autumn chill, and the scarf bound about his throat offers some protection too. Layers beneath that could almost be too stifling if the sun were to come out, but seem practical for the colder edge of winter.

There's rings on his fingers, too, the cheap market kind, and a bracelet about his wrist. Less practical. "I'm used to a little cold," is something of a lie that he delivers with an easy smile up at her. "You run this place then?" A head jerk back towards the bookstore. His accent only has the lurkings of a Texan lilt, otherwise neutral, if a far cry from New Yorker.

If Cass notices Dustin's accent, she doesn't mention it. After all, New York is a place where people come to escape things and people. Or sometimes just to make it big. Whatever the case, it attracts a lot of people from other places. Bequeathing the mug to the other man, she pulls the shawl closer around herself and watches a few people pass by without looking at them. Though she takes a moment to answer his question, she does eventually. "I do. As well as own it." They can be two different things, after all.

Eyes drift downward to take in his set up of crystals and cards that he's spread out in front of him. It's obvious to her why he would pick her store to start his business in front of, but she doesn't want people hassled as they enter or exit if they just want to come and quietly search for books. But, she also doesn't like the idea of someone sitting out in the cold if he needs some place to go. With a gesture of her chin toward the tarot cards, she says, "I'll trade you a reading for sitting outside my store without asking."

His pleasant smile takes on a wry twist, covered up when he goes and takes a deep sip of the sweetened tea. It's good, if a twitch of his eyebrows acts as indication. "I'll trade you that if we can take business inside 'til the sun comes out," Dustin replies with a tilt of his chin back up at her. "I was hoping you wouldn't mind too badly. I'd've asked, but then you might've said no."

The mug is set down with a faint grit of its porcelain bottom against the sidewalk, and he's already picking up the couple of cards he'd laid out to slip them back into what seems like a custom, buttoning pouch of soft black leather, tailored to fit the cards within without curling corners. The cloth is next, brought to fold and gather the crystals together in something more makeshift.

Either they're taking this inside, or he's clearing her storefront of buskers. The cigarette is the next to go, crushing its questionable contest on the ground under his heel in a smear of ash.

As smoking isn't allowed in Enlightenment Books - or anywhere in New York City due to laws - Cass doesn't think too much of him crushing out his cigarette on the sidewalk. Instead, she stoops to pick up the mug that Dustin placed on the ground. While she's not exactly agreeing to him doing readings inside, she can't really deny him the right to come into her store. After all, he could turn into a customer. "Alright." It's cold out, anyway, and she doesn't like people shivering out in the cold when they could be inside. "Easier to ask forgiveness than permission?" She wonders out loud to the man in front of her. "I know you don't know me, but I'm normally pretty easy going."

Cass holds the door open for Dustin as she waits for him to gather all his things to his satisfaction before entering her store herself. "Daylight Saving's really gets to people about this time." She's one of those people. Plus, she's been distracted by things that have happened outside the store to her friends and those she didn't even know where friends until recently. "Your'e not from New York originally, are you?"

"Pretty much." On the subject of forgiveness over asking. Dustin's tone is lighthearted, however, perhaps intentionally so, and once he's on his feet, he scoops up a bag that had been squatting on the ground on his other side, and slings this around his shoulder. A flask hangs off it, an elaborate thing lined in brown leather and imprinted with patterns, and it swings to and fro as he ducks his way inside.

It is warmer inside, and he brings a hand up to loosen his scarf as he peers around. A necklace similar to his bracelet glimmers beneath it. Either he dresses up and takes everything with him all the time, or there's not a lot of choice involved. Or perhaps a mixture of both. "It's a nice little set up you got here," he comments, before looking back at her with a shake of his head. "Grew up in Texas. El Paso, mainly. But I travel, you know.

"You really lookin' for a reading or just clearing me off the pavement?" There's no accusation behind the comment, mostly curious as he turns the deck of cards around in his hand.

When the door swing shut behind the two of them, Cass doesn't really pay it too much mind. Instead, she moves toward the counter without much thought. It feels more natural to her. It's a good place for him to set up all his wares as well. The other customers doesn't seem to make much of Dustin or his get up. They're used to all sorts of people and he is just another customer to them. All the jewelry he wears is noticed by the store owner but she doesn't comment on it just yet. That's reserved for a later date when she knows him better. Or until she's gotten her footing on how to handle him.

"Texas, I've heard it's nice down there. I visited once. Not for long. It was business." As for her store she smiles. "I like it here. We just recently expanded. You could barely spread your arms out without touching the walls before." And she's obviously happy with how it's turned out lately. Settling herself down on the stool behind the counter, she pulls it over so it doesn't look like they're setting up a transaction and are instead chatting on the end. It's more informal and easier to talk. "I guess that'd depend on you. I'd like to see what you wanted to set up outside my store."

"Fair." And he sounds as though he believes it, moving towards the opposite side of the counter and letting his bag fall down upon the floor with a soft thump. The cloth is set down upon the counter, Dustin taking his time in spreading it out, letting the crystals act as weights on the corners. If they have more purpose than that, he doesn't indicate as much. Apart from the fact they draw some attention, which might be exactly it.

He slides the cards from their holder, and begins to shuffle. "Congrats on the expansion," he adds, with a glance over his shoulder. Truly, he probably is not the strangest looking person to pass through her doors, if slightly more unkempt than the average customer. "If I liked reading, I'd like reading these. Here." The cards are handed over. They're larger than playing cards, and well used. "Shuffle and split it three ways."

"I like to be fair." Cass' smile turns into something of a lopsided grin and watches intently as he spreads out his set up on the counter. The attention the two are garnering is met with a sweep of her eyes, but she doesn't discourage it. Attention is good, interest is good, customers and rapt ones at that are good for the store. However, after that first initial acknowledgement of what is going on around them, she focuses on Dustin again. "Thank you," she replies sincerely. "It was kind of a bitch to get together."

"It's a shame you don't like reading. It's an escape, and always enlightening." No matter the subject matter, as far as Cass is concerned. Taking the deck from him, she does as he says - shuffling it in a manner that suggests that she doesn't play cards often and then splitting it three ways. The piles she sets down are uneven, but not overtly so. Setting the piles down in front of him, she sets her elbows on the counter and watches intently. While she may have started this out as a experiment of curiosity, she's absorbed now. She can't help herself.

Rapt attention is just what he likes, and she's rewarded with his own focus. With deft hands, he stacks the middle pile on top of the left, and these onto of the right, setting them aside. Any kind of showmanship is contained in his precision rather than flare, even if he does rub his palms together before he starts setting out cards, facedown. "In every person, you'll find any amount of books waitin' to be enlightening," Dustin states, as nine cards are put out in a square grid, three by three. "Though it might not be an escape."

He turns over the first card, scratching his jaw as he studies it. The conventional Rider-Waite deck, its message isn't as clear as its imagery - a hand comes from a cloud, and bears a staff. "The ace of staves, never a bad card to get, I think." He rests his hands against the edge of the counter, looking both between her and the unfinished card spread. "The staves represent creativity, and the willpower behind it. While the cups, the coins, the swords stake their claims over the emotional, the intellect, the earthly things, the wands represent our ambition and will. And aces allude to beginnings. Where this sits means that in the past, your thoughts've been defined and driven by the start of an adventure. It's changed the way you think since."

The one directly beneath it is flipped, and the big red heart with its three swords driven through it makes Dustin wrinkle his nose. "Your heart's fortitude has been tested, it seems. You opened it up to something, someone, and you've paid the prices for it on a few counts. This is the past, mind." And the third depects a woman, wielding a sword upon her throne. "And here's the material gains of your past." He watches her now as he talks, a twist of a smile on his mouth. "You've become the Queen of Swords. She's perceptive and intellectual, though that don't mean she's cold. She has her kingdom to show for her sacrifices and victories and she's proud of it."

Watching Dustin perform his show - his shuffling and pulling of the proper cards, Cass is properly rapt. She appreciates his lack of flare, as that's not something she really hold much stock in. She knows for a fact that if something is truly dangerous, it can come from the most unlikely of sources as opposed to the flashy substance one is used to. Familiar with the pictures of the card, though not an expert on what they mean, she's just as eager as her customers might be as to what they would mean.

The meanings and cards the Dustin pulls for her causes the store owner to give him something of a wry smile. She knows quite well how everything can seem like they apply to her, but these certainly seem to speaking to her in one way or another. "Queen of Swords," she repeats after him. She knows the basics of the four suits of Tarot Cards and while she wouldn't normally think of herself as a Queen of Swords, his explanation certainly seems to fit what she's been through lately and changed about herself. When he watches her, she meets his eyes steadily, obviously amused by his insights. "Seems like we all need to be tested here and there. I thought the swords were more aggressive than you're describing, though."

"They can be, depending on where they place. I'd say the Queen of the suit's got an edge to her," Dustin concedes, with a wider smile, before he adds, "and some of the higher numbers in it are pretty dark. But I see 'em more like the sharpest part of being smart and witty. Sometimes it can cut straight to the matter, without thought to feeling or flesh. They can be as defensive as aggressive. It depends on where they fall, you know? Let's move onto the present."

He hovers his hand over the middle column, before flipping it. Three women dance with chalices raised aloft, hair flowing. "Presently, your thoughts've been directed to your friends and those around you. The Three of Cups brims with the happiness of people, both close to you and not. It's an emotional card, but I'd say it speaks well for your head space too, and where your focus lies." The next one is quick to be revealed - more golden cups, with a man sitting before them with a big, Cheshire cat grin. "Well.

"Aren't you lucky. Emotionally, you're content, after everything. You got everything you need and aren't shy about flaunting it, or at least being able to sit back and revel. Of course, it's only the Nine of Cups. There's always room for a tenth."

The next one is flipped, a man with his back to the face of the card holds the world in his hand, framed by two staves. "And in the world of the material, or at least, in goals and aspirations, you're evaluating what comes next, and bracing yourself for the next adventure. But you're gonna need more than you have - maybe someone who embodies the will of the staves, or multiple someones."

With a nod of acknowledgement, Cass bows to Dustin's superior knowledge of Tarot. Though she may have many books on the subject, she's not actually a master of everything in her store. A crime, for sure! The mention of happiness and flaunting it hits a chord with the woman and she beams a little - possibly proving the fortune teller's point. She has had a good amount of happiness in her life in the past couple months and she's happy to flaunt it. How could she not? "It's hard to have too much happiness." There's always a little more available.

At the mention of needing people to help the next adventure, well, that's scarily true, considering what needs to be done in the near future. Plus, while she has the store, there are other things that need to bet taken care of. Eyeing the third and final pile, it doesn't take a mind reader or prophet to guess what it holds. "And those multiple someones will hopefully help me with what's in that third pile, right?"

As Cass analyses the cards, listens to his explanations, Dustin is careful to see whether his words hit the marks they're aiming for. In the long run, it isn't important - prophet though he might sell himself to be, he isn't one. But it's all about knowing exactly what impressions to lean upon, what rings true, because after all - they're just cards. "We'll see," he agrees, and flips the next.

A yellow sky is the backdrop to the youth standing upon the cliff edge, face turned up and arms spread in greeting. The tiny white dog dances at his heals in shared jubilation for its master's journey, and mountains in the distance displays the vastness of the world. Dustin rests his fingertips over the second, yet-to-be-flipped future card as he thinks for a moment before speaking. "This reads like a warning, to me. As much as you're focused on your journey, it cautions that you won't be catching the details being too busy charging on ahead. The Fool's a positive card, but it's a naive one too. You might find yourself waltzing into danger you didn't count on."

The wee IX above the next image, deftly flipped, hovers over where eight staves stick like a fence from the ground, with a ninth leaned upon by a battered young man. "The Nine of Staves. In love and happiness, you will be tested, and you'll find yourself fiercely guarding the things you hold dear. This doesn't show whether you lose or win, in the end, but it shows you will need to fight to keep that happiness of yours in place." He fidgets with the corner of the third, before turning it right side up as well.

A figure floats in the air, surrounded by a wreath and various elements, a purple sash doing very little to hide her body. THE WORLD is printed beneath the image. "And in the end of it all, history and the future repeats," he says, back straightening and addressing her directly. "You'll find yourself at the beginning, better than when you started. Whatever ending your future trials will hold for you, it might not be the one you expected, but it will be complete/. Like Mick Jagger says," Dustin adds, with a half smile, "it ain't about what you want, just what you need."

And while Cass may be the owner of a store that deals with the supernatural and the occult, that doesn't mean that she drinks the kool-aid based on it. Then again, she does believe that people can fly and talk to dogs, so it may be the sort of situation where she finds herself about even. However, though she sells tarot cards, she doesn't think they hold the answers to life's questions. Instead, they can be a guiding point for where to focus energies - should anyone believe enough in them take their advice seriously. She doesn't disappoint him with her reactions, as most of what he says does ring true on her life. At the end of the reading, she gives a satisfied clap. She thoroughly enjoyed that. With all the tarot card readers and people who come through, she rarely takes them up on their wares.

Leaning over, her eyes sweep over each card in succession, remembering what he said about them and puts them together, mulling it over in her mind. "You're quite good at this," she tells him with a smile. "You could be set up somewhere in the park or a small shop with a table. What made you set up outside a tiny shop in the East Village?"

His arms go out a fraction from his sides and his head tilts down in a small mock bow, before he's efficiently putting cards away with a flash of ring fingers and only a subtle amount of grime beneath his nails. By now, his green tea is more lukewarm than hot, and he takes a generous sip from it all the same to make up for its neglect, one handedly straightening out his cards and setting them aside. Dustin shrugs his shoulders beneath his jacket.

"I don't stay in one place a lot of the time," he explains, thumb rubbing absently against the rim of the mug. "There's a lot of city. Don't go and feel special or nothing." His crooked smile widens a little as he sets down his tea to clear up crystals and tie dyed cloth.

"Oh, don't worry, I'm not about to get a big head over it." Cass crosses her arms and leans back a bit on her stool. Letting him clean things up on the counter, the other customers start to file away back to the shelves now that they realize that the show is over. Some linger a respectable distance away, hoping for a reading of their own. The storeowner takes this all in, but keeps her eyes focused on Dustin. "My name's Cass Aldric, by the way." She sticks a hand out to shake his for introductions. After all, he does know her future, it's personal now!

Pushing herself up from her seat, she moves so that she's no longer just sitting behind a counter with him on the other side. It's easier to talk that way and she doesn't feel like she's some sort of doctor or boss behind a desk. "Care for a refill?" she asks, gesturing at the tea mug. She must realize that the liquid's only lukewarm by now.

The hand is taken, shaken briskly. "Dustin," is a simpler introduction, if warmly spoken, and he allows his things to remain on the counter for now rather than pack them away. The lingering customers remain in his periphery, after all, and maybe they'd be willing to put down some coin of their own. Not to, you know, rob Cass of her business or anything. "Please," he responds in affirmation, picking up the mug and passing it off to her, before he tucks his thumbs into the pockets of his jeans. "I did mean it, though, about this being a nice shop. If I promised all sincere that I'd pull in more customers than I chased away, maybe you wouldn't be too opposed to me setting up close by."

Taking the mug from Dustin she moves toward the back room to refill his tea. Gesturing with her head for him to follow, she adds, "Thank you." She does think it's a nice store - it's hers, after all! The lingering customers are given a reassuring smile and a gesture to enjoy the books, they'll all be back. Then, she focuses on the fortune teller in front of her again. "Let's talk about it in the back. I don't like discussing business out in front. You can leave your things out here if you'd like. Amy'll look after them." The woman in question perks at hearing her name and then nods. "The tea and coffee's back here, anyway." And if he wants that refill, the quickest way to go about that is to follow her.

Dustin casts a look down at his belongings, and it's not totally the prospect of leaving them behind that has him guarded and briefly hesitant, if the formal talk of business is at odds with how he'd sat himself down out front her store as if the world belonged to him. Still, all he does is filch his Tarot deck back up off the table and unclip the flask, and uses the former in something of a salute to Amy and the customers scattering before he's following Cass around the back as directed. The flask is slid into a pocket, as if perhaps if he were to have everything else stolen, he'd at least have these two items still with him. Despite the ease in which words have come until this point, he's politely quiet as he glances around the space in wait of her thoughts.

Tossing the rest of the tea, Cass starts anew. There's already a hotpot that has boiling water ready and she puts in a another teabag and then pours the water over it. Letting the mug rest on the counter, she turns and waves a hand for him to sit down in one of the available chairs should it suit him. For not, she just leans against the counter and gets right down into the business side of things. "I certainly wouldn't mind you setting up. However, it's winter and it'll be getting pretty cold out soon. If you were amenable, I'd say that you could set up inside the store. Do some readings for my customers."

Snake skin boots carry him on towards one of the chairs, although rather than sitting, he instead rests a hand against the back of one and leans, scaly shoe tip angled against the floor casually and head tilted from where the grey scarf loops loose around and around. Dustin's eyebrows go up in clear indication that he wasn't quite expecting the offer to come so easily, but his smile is quick and ready in response.

"That would be great, to be honest with you. 's been sometime since I set up somewhere proper. You— " He tilts his head towards her, a hand up to fidgety push through his hair, come to scratch the back of his neck. "You'd be looking for something out of this?" It's a more polite sidestep of a coarser subject matter— cold hard cash— than Dustin is usually in favour of, but perhaps Cass deserves that much.

Not one to dance about the subject when it comes to her store, Cass doesn't mince her words. They don't know each other very well, but she does like to have faith in people if they're given the right circumstances. Enjoying his reaction to her offer, she gives him a smile and then hands over the steaming mug - the teabag still steeping. Leaning back against the counter again, she rests her hands on the counter on either side of her hips in a relaxed manner.

"Well, I don't know about proper, but we do pretty well here. Or, at least we try." Despite being the owner of the store and the person who deals with all the money, she doesn't really like to talk about it much. But, business is business and so she plunges right into it. "I guess that depends on your definition of getting something out of this. What I was thinking is that I could hire you as part of the store, you'd come in on certain hours and you'd give readings."

A hand lifts to scratch again at a mostly shaven jaw, the idea of ~employment~ now hanging between them, sealed with a handshake. Of course, they already did that before, and formality between the plucky business owner and the stranger coming to sit in front of her store is an awkward thing to negotiate, stilted in that it's not really their language. Whether because Cass doesn't like to talk about money, or because Dustin doesn't like to talk about employment.

Except he can well recognise that thing they call a leap of faith, and maybe this is in his own cards today. "I think I could handle that." Recognising this as a cue not to mince words, he plainly asks, "Are you looking to gain profit from the readings or use it like a better way to sell what you have here?

"And, you know," he adds, before they can go any further, facetiousness in bright hazel eyes, "I ain't much of a morning person. It takes me about this long to be upright and walking around, but I s'pose I could make an effort."

The idea does hang in the air between them. Rather than skim money off the top while he pays her clients for card readings, she finds it a bit easier to offer them the option of tarot cards and pull more people in that way. When he takes her up on her offer, she nods, realizing that this is where the actual negotiations will start. "Alright then." As for what she's looking for, she takes a moment to think over her words. "Mostly I was thinking it could bring some people in. And then while they're here, isn't it great that we already have all theses tarot cards and books?"

With a bit of a wry grin, she tilts her head to the side and gives a bit of a laugh. "I'm sure we could work something out. I doubt many people want their fortunes read too early in the morning." Who wants to know the future before they've had their first coffee? "Though, the effort would be appreciated."

"Then you have it," Dustin says, with mock graciousness, before he settles on, "Thanks. I could do with the pocket money." Moving forward, he collects up the tea sitting for him, testing it with a sip for its potency before he sets about sweetening it for himself, as opposed to making Cass serve him. "If you don't mind, maybe I could explore the lay of the land," he starts, heading back for where the door opens out into the greater store, though not quite turning his back on her as he swivels around back to regard her over the top of the steaming mug. "When would you see me start?"

With a grin, Cass moves to the side to allow Dustin to get the sweeteners and milk and whatever he may want for it. He's a employee now, so he's entitled. "Don't mind at all. If people ask you questions, it'd be good to be able to tell them where to go." Not following him toward the door, she remains where she's leaning. She'll follow him after a moment so that she can get back to work and see how he takes to the store. "Well, I was thinking next week if that was good for you."

He nods in agreement, of her agreement, the scent of stirred tea not quite overpowering enough to combat stale smoke and the underlying scent of old leather from his jacket and general mustiness. "Got no plans for next week," Dustin says, in a sincere enough tone as to communicate that no, he really doesn't. Despite his prior tiptoeing around the topic of profit and expectation—

Pointedly, he's not asking how much he's to be earning. Either Cass is being generous enough that it doesn't bear asking, or Dustin doesn't much mind. He heads for the door with the subtle jingle of someone who has his pockets full, a glance over his shoulder. "Maybe I'll start asking for a change, and see where it gets me," is his last, jovial comment before disappearing back around the corner, opening the door to the sounds of the shop before letting it swing back closed.

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