2007-08-25: Things That Begin With D


Kory_icon.gif Lee_icon.gif


Kory, already smarting from being reminded of her own missing father, seeks distraction. Too bad it involves Lee dreaming about *his* missing father.

Date it Happened:

August 25, 2007

Log Title

Things That Begin With D


Secret Lair and Lee's apartment.

Lee comes in through the front door after school - too tired to even make fun of the D&D nerds arguing over longswords versus spears - and pauses at the counter. "Hey Kory," he yawns, although it's the middle of the afternoon. "Nima hasn't called or anything?" It's been very mysterious, the two of them are clearly alternating shifts somewhere, never here at the same time, always tired from their respective 'day jobs' and whatever it is they're doing.

Kory looks up, eyes a bit pink, and shakes her head quietly. "No, no messages, or anything, Lee." She drops her eyes back to the magazine she's been pretending to read, and turns the pages sightlessly. "How was your day?" she asks, tone indicating she's not sure she really wants an answer from him — she's been a regular long enough to hear his tirades.

Lee waves a hand. "Nobody got shot or stabbed during class anyway. That's a top ten day at good old JPS Junior High." he says sardonically, blatantly uncaring about his students or his class. "None of these delinquents running off with Magical cards in their pants?"

"Nah," Kory shakes her head abruptly. "Ickle Ronniekins was with me until his master swung by to pick up his Cherry Poptart back issues, and I think that tends to make them behave." Ickle Ronniekins is a Mastiff. Sweet as his name implies. But huge and fierce-looking. "Glad to hear you survived another day of deadly urban teenagers." She smiles faintly, but it doesn't make it all the way to her eyes. Close; she's trying to smile genuinely.

Lee pretty much ignores her attempt to be nice, or just is too tired to absorb it. He waves a hand distractedly, "I was up all night, I'm going to crash. Good luck rotting all the young brains that come through the door…" he says, headed back for the secret door that leads to the Jones family apartment upstairs. Kory can even hear his footsteps, heavy for such a skinny guy, as he gets ready for bed on the floor just above.

"Oh, okay, well, g'night. Shall I wake you if your sist—" she trails off, as he walks off without a backward glance. She sighs, listening to his footsteps, until they trail off into silence. "Yeah, you have a good night too," she mutters to herself, slapping the magazine shut. She takes a long, deep breath and adds, to herself, "Okay, just *stop*. You had a bad five minutes. Lee's *always* a prick. No need to take it out on a magazine you haven't finished reading yet. Get a grip, girl." She takes a couple of deep, meditative breaths, calling on some technique she read someplace.

Lee falls asleep swiftly - a childhood of riding to conventions on buses and in the backs of people's Volvos crammed full of costumes and memorabilia has led to he and Nima able to fall asleep under any conditions, and his dreaming mind becomes known to Kory's consciousness with just that little tickle right at the edge of waking.

It's a slow night, and Koray would be willing to do just about anything for a distraction from her current thoughts. That twinkle she gets in the base of her brain that lets her know someone nearby is sleeping makes her come to attention. She casts a glance skyward, mouths a silent 'thank you,' and reaches for the sleeping mind. A dream to watch, any dream, is welcome right now. Even Lee's.

Lee is standing in a hospital operating theater, at the foot of a man's bed, his face well-known to Kory from the faded flyer tacked up behind the counter for the last two years - it's Lee's missing father, Billy Jones. Up above in the observation area of the operating theater, a gang of twenty rowdy black and Latin 9th graders throw paper airplanes at each other, scuffle, make out. All around is darkness. The feeling in the air is one of fatalistic urgency. Something must be done and it won't happen.

Kory settles into the observation area, shimmering from transparency into a more resolved form. She catches a paper airplane, then tosses it back before wading through the throng to look down. ~Odd scene,~ she thinks. Lee's not a doctor. And as she sees the face of Billy Jones, she bites her lip. The Disappeared Dad is something she has in common with the twins — only she doesn't tend to bring it up. She shakes off the malaise, and leans forward, to determine what the dream is centering on.

Lee speaks up, but from where she's sitting, she can't hear him. None of the kids can hear him, they're all laughing at each other's jokes, many at Lee's expense, some in Spanish-sounding dream-gibberish, some in English. He's trying to say something, his mouth is opening, to talk louder and louder but nobody can hear him at all. A blackboard becomes visible behind him, indistinct letters containing some lesson nobody can see, the theater is too far away, Lee's back is turned, and his father seems unconscious, his eyes closed.

Kory glances around for an intercom or a sound system. Finding none, and having no desire to expend the energy on making one appear on the dreamscape, she simply concentrates and drifts down through the floor like a misty wraith, before re-solidifying and moving forward, behind Lee and for the moment out of his line of sight.

Lee is saying, "The three branches of government….the three….guys….the three branches of government are executive….hey, look now, the three branches of government. Put that down! Look over here! This is mandatory, come on…" He has no authority over anything, his voice, no matter how loud he tries to make it, comes out whiny and ineffectual. "The three branches…help me out here, the three branches…" He indicates the blackboard behind him, still not looking. Whatever is on the blackboard has nothing to do with what he's saying. The scene in the observation room above is going beyond rowdy and becoming garish. It looks like there's a fire up there, and maybe a knife. Then another. It's less a middle school joke-around and more a hideous violent mess. Helpless, Lee keeps repeating his lesson, stuck in a rut.

Kory blinks, and then stares. She shakes her head slowly. No wonder Lee's so miserable all the time. His heart must not entirely be in what he's doing. At least that's how she's interpreting what she sees now. His back to the class that's sinking into chaos above and behind him. She can't resist the urge to help, though, so she whispers in his ear, "Turn around and face them, and say it like you mean it." If he turns, she turns with him to remain behind him.

Lee does turn, and not only does Kory turn, but the hospital bed turns with him, so that now his father is lying between him and the observation deck, "The three branches of government are executive, judicial and legislative." shouts Lee, and with one horrifying moment the whole place goes deadly silent, Lee's father's eyes are open. There is no glass between Lee and the kids now. Their faces and clothes still slick with saliva, smeared paste, lipstick and blood, the students stop in their chairs, staring at him. "Any…any questions?" asks Lee, his voice back to how it was.

His father raises his hand, and says, "Why did you leave this family like a worthless coward?"

Lee says, brokenly, "Dad…"

Kory bites her lip again, hard. This dream was not one she needed tonight; but Lee's a friend — more or less — and he needs her support. "That doesn't sound right to me," she whispers to Lee. She lets that sink in a moment, then adds, "Does it sound right to you?" Another pause, then she adds, a little anger creeping into her own voice, "Isn't he the one who took off without a word, and left you and your sister to pick each other up off the floor?"

Lee seems to notice her for the first time. "Kory?" he asks. Then his father interjects again: "I'm in a hospital bed because unlike the people you sneer at, you couldn't…" The memory, fear, and the slight confusion of Kory's voice being there churn beneath the dreamscape and the place begins to dissolve around them, his father's rebuke beginning to fade. But one thing is clear: Lee knows Billy is in a hospital bed somewhere, and deep inside him, on some level, he feels guilty about it. "I'm tired, I…" Lee says. He has weeks of unshaven growth on his face, his clothes are rags, his hair matted, it's a homeless version of Lee that is left as the rest of the dream drifts slowly away…

Kory's eyes go wide as the dream changes. She doesn't answer Lee's immediate question about her presence. She's too busy being horrified as the scene falls away. She pulls it together enough to offer what comfort she can. "Rest. Rest and sleep deep," she says, putting some emphasis into her words. "Wake feeling better, and ready to face the day." She reaches up and brushes hair away from his face. "You're strong enough to face this. You *are*."

Lee can't quite accept that she's telling him this. "I know." he says sarcastically, an empty jibe that does not change how he looks or seems. "Of course I am. I…" Still blind to his own weakness, he drops away into blackness.

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