Virgil sits on the edge of the dark island, only a few feet above the water, in a cross-legged pose. Between his feet there's an old, well-worn wolf toy, missing one ear, and he's staring at it as though rapt.
Whisker was dutifully sniffing around the shoreline of the lake, his fur still damp and his tail bobbing and twitching with annoyance. It is only during a routine glance back at the island to see how the other one is doing that he notices a new arrival. Bark bark! Hey! The wolf tips his nose up and looks out across the waters.
Virgil doesn't respond at first, but after several barks, he looks up vaguely and seems to come back to the present, staring out across the water at the wolf on the other side of it. He raises one hand, then lets it fall.
Well now that's a pickle. A short groan is given as the wolf glances across the waters, then takes a serious charge to the shoreline and leaps in. Paddle paddle paddle. The bobbing head of the nearly submersed wolf is the only visible mark of his progress back to the sandbox island. Once out, a deep shake is given again. Nose, neck, shoulders - down to the tail and then each hind leg. The nose works to sniff the other over, then drops back into his haunches and returns to homid form. "Howdy Virgil."
The casual air with which Toby appears out of the body of the wolf, and the lack of surprise shown by the handsome youth at Virgil's presence here, seem to annoy the small man. "What the hell?" he exclaims in amazement. "/You're/ garou?"
"Surprise surprise huh? Yeah, small world. So is miss princess over there, but apparently you two already had that figured out. Really, thanks for the back up on that raven." Toby snorts at this, and while the words might be sarcastic, the real tone behind them is not so much annoyed as somewhat amused. "Fell down a rabbit hole and landed here. Fun. Really. I can't seem to find a way out, but there are some caves - which, I am not going near."
"A rabbit hole," Virgil echoes. "Sounds like a picnic compared how I got here. There's some weird shit gone down in the umbra..." His eyes look at the wolf plush again for a moment. "And all my stuff's in my car. Including some I really, really need."
"Yeah, well it wasn't just falling. I heard something calling for help. When I found it I got attacked. Some.. octupus tentacle thing. Stung like hell and didn't heal. Good stuff. So I tried to get back to the road only to find myself running lost in circles. Until finally, I fell." Toby is just about to say he is in the same pickle, when he spots his backpack. "Hey awesome!" A quick jog to the side of the island it's on and he is bending down to pick it up. "Hungry? I got a spare SlimJim."
Virgil shakes his head. "Food's not the problem." He doesn't specify what is. He just sits there, staring out over the water again. "Seen the glyphs over behind us?" he asks suddenly.
"Yeah. Gylphs. Last thing I wanted to see really. Why? I mean, we're the only ones down here as far as I can tell with my nose. Not that... someone couldn't just drop in apparently." The SlimJim in question is taken and bitten fiercly by the Ragabash, and then chewed roughly.
"This is freaking crazy. There's you, there's me, there's Little Miss Noble-Blood apparently. And there's some lupus I saw for five minutes before I stepped sideways and wound up here, who said he was an ex Silver Fang. /Ex/, mind. By the same token," Virgil goes on, "Mister Handsome, my eyes tell me you're garou, but I don't see you rushing to introduce yourself."
Toby perks up at this, "Oh Mister Handsome, hey I'm going to have to use that one in the future." He grins a little and stands up, dusting off his pants. "Tobias James Mason. Ragabash." He squints slightly then, "And since it seems like the cat's being let out of the bag on a few of the other Mystery Inc people..." he pauses, "Ronin. How about you spunky?"
Virgil receives that news with a pursing of lips. "Virgil Mullery," he responds. "Theurge, and... ronin. Has some freak spirit hoovered up all the tribeless garou on the east coast and dumped us on this island? Is some guy called Gilligan about to come out and start cracking jokes?"
Toby gives a faint, knowing nod. "Never would have guessed." That grin returns as she bites off another whack of jerky. "A few nights back I started having dreams, kinda like when I was just before cubbing it out. Dreamt of this water. Dreamt of running on all fours in the woods. Both of those things happened." He reaches to his pocket, then curses, "Found a map in my pocket, one of those internet made ones. Had Lumberton circled and a smiley face. My bad for letting curiousity get the best of me I guess."
Virgil takes that information impassively also. "Someone shoved one of those maps through my car window too," he says. "I'd already lost the fork lift job, I was glad to have an excuse to get out of New York and come to see what the hell was happening. 'Cos I sure as hell never heard of no caern round here, did you?"
Toby shakes his head, "Nope. Not from around here though either. Course, Maine ain't so far away that I wouldn't have heard of one down this way." He narrows his eyes again and stares at the glyph covered stone. "But why would a bunch of Ronin get pulled to some hidden caern? That makes no sense. I mean, that's not even a good joke, and I can appreciate a lot of jokes."
"What I wanna know," Virgil growls menacingly, "is why you ran off from the waffle house when that bird-spirit done blew up. You make a habit of running away from things? Cause I don't think we got many places to run to from here."
Toby glares at Virgil then. "I don't know. Maybe because I just smacked a bird into non-existence right out in front of people who were playing dumb, /and/ the morning crew of the local Waffle House. For starters, I don't want to explain to local authorites that I struck a green eyed bird and it blew up. Secondly, I do my best to avoid the weird shit. I don't want attention drawn in my direction, so when it is... I change directions."
Virgil gives Toby another glare, but doesn't push it any further. "So what do we got?" he asks. "We got three ronin, likely more, all drawn to this pissant hole of a logging town. We got this freaky place. We got exploding birdies, and a sarcastic coyote. We got rabbit holes to fall down, and nightmares to get caught up in that leave you physical reminders." He picks up the threadbare plush wolf and holds it by one paw. "Put them all together, they spell... what?"
Toby shrugs his shoulders, "You're the theurge." He grins, "Oh and I am guessing princess over there is ronin too, since she was telling me yesterday about 'another' ronin and I got no tribe in her intro either. So hot damn. We can have a pity party!" He looks to the plush, "Nice."
"I don't want your fucking pity, ragabash," Virgil sneers. "Or anyone's. I want to find whoever lured me here and have ten minutes with him by myself. And I want my bag out of my car." He knots his hands together and sits with them folded, the wolf toy dropped at his feet again.
Toby looks to the Theurge and grunts, "Wasn't being serious pal. And if someone has the wits and ability to lure us all here like this? Like lambs to the slaughter more or less? Yah, you have fun meeting up with them... it.. whatever, for ten minutes." He drops down then, propping his arms on his bent knees and goes about chewing on his beef jerky. "Let me know when you figure something out huh?"
Virgil again purses his lips. "I guess you got a point," he says. "Also, did you eat that Slim Jim? Because it's probably the closest thing to food there is in this cavern."
Toby reaches into his pack with a grin and fetches out another one. It's tossed lightly to the theurge. "Got a twelve pack in here, and some gum." He leans back then, propping himself up with his arms as he gnaws on the last three inch stub of jerky. "Bet that wolf you guys saw ends up down here in no time."
"I suggest you keep them safe and ration them." Virgil utters that opinion with an air of gloom. "Let me go and have a look at that stone and the moving-picture glyphs on it. I'll see if I can pick any vibes up off of it." He turns away from Toby and walks up to the decorated rock, staring at it intently, and seeming to focus on it to the exclusion of anyone or anything else around him.
Malena appears, somehow, on the island -- or more specifically, suddenly blinks into existence already falling backwards. Caught utterly off-balance, in more ways than one, her head bounces back against a rock with a hollow *thock*. "...Ow! Hey, damn." She rolls onto one side, then up onto an elbow, her free hand coming around gingerly to rub at the back of her skull. A wince and she sits, drawing her knees up to look around blearily. "Damn bird."
Whether or not an audible splash is heard, Whisker comes up to the surface of the lake and huffs frantically as he begins to doggy paddle his way to the nearest bit of shore. Once he gets to it, he pulls himself free and hurriedly shakes the excess water from his fur, starting with nose and ending with a tail flailing shake of his hind legs. Still panting, the begins to look more closely at where he has landed, guarded and unsure even more now than he was before. When he spots the stone on the island though, he tenses. And when the woman is spied near it, he altogether freezes up.
Malena catches sight of the swimming animal, her eyes going wide. She stands, far more rapidly than her head would like, and backs up, left hand stretching behind her for the stone table. Her scent mingles the sharp scents of fear and anger, though blunted with sadness and something akin to weariness.
The wolf stands put, just on the edge of the shore. When the scents reach his nose, a single sneer of his lips pull up to expose his canines. Who are you? Tension ripples through the wolf, tail flagged and hackles raised.
"Who the hell are you?" she retorts, chin coming up as though it were a tail. Then she hesitates, clearly having a second thought, and shrinks back, looking away. "It wasn't my idea to come here. I'll um... I'll go."
Toby gives another short snarl, and then shakes his fur out once more. A sudden decision brings him up through his forms and back into homid, a hand running more water off his head. "I didn't expect to land here either. Something is screwing with me."
Malena skirts a sidelong look toward him, a move designed to let her look at the man without coming close to meeting his eyes. Recognition flares there, along with a certain tenseness in the line of her neck and shoulder. After another pause she asks, "What do you mean? Who are you?"
Toby sighs a little, "Name is Toby. I don't know how I got here. I was running and I fell and.. I landed in the damn lake." He looks around, "I don'tknow where here is. I don't know who you are. I don't know. Okay!?"
Malena's chin comes back up as Toby explains. So, to, does she shift back to fully face the taller man. "Yeah?" It's challenging, not agreeable. "Malena Douglas. And since you already pulled a stupid and shifted, /philodox/."
Toby rolls his eyes upwards. "Listen. You got chased by a damned green eyed raven back at the Waffle House. You're also standing on an island, who knows where, covered in Glyphs. The concern of my maybe having to kill you was the furthest thing from my mind."
"Still stupid," she retorts. "So what's your name? And lemme guess." She makes a show of studying him, toes to head. "Ragabash."
Toby gives a half-hearted bow. "Dead on sister. Tobias James Mason, Ragabash and one fine cook to boot." He looks around, "Not that there is any chance I can prove that just now." His mood sobers a little, "Do you have any idea where this is anyway?"
Somewhere between disappearing into the Waffle House in her jammies and reappearing wearing her kicky current outfit Malena found time to put on lipstick; she purses her glossy lips at him now. "No. Last... last I was sure where I was, I followed that other guy -- said his name was Virgil -- and some wolf. No, not a wolf. Another damn ronin. Forever-Suffers, or something. Another Philodox. That was just outside the Waffle House, in the woods."
"Another ronin?" comes Toby's response, curious and shocked. "Virgil?! That little twit!" He rolls his whole head back now, shaking it. "Unbelievable. Why were you in the area then?"
Malena's pursed lips deepen as she crosses her arms over her chest. "Well let me think, stupid. Why /would/ I be wandering around in the snow in my pajamas? Maybe because I WAS KIDNAPPED? And thanks /so/ much for asking if I was all right, too. Nothing like a little kindness to really warm up a girl and make her forget the freezing weather."
"Hey. Chicita. You got my name, how about you start using it? And who kidnapped you? You're a Garou - it's not like someone can just pull a sack over your head." Toby moves to the rock now, looking it over and examing the island.
Malena keeps all her attitude and then some, nostrils widening and chin stretching even higher as he approaches. "If I knew who kidnapped me, his ass would be grass right now." This time the 'stupid' is left unspoken. "You know, /Toby/, you keep asking stupid questions. I guess that answers my earlier one, though. You /are/ this stupid. You don't have the stamina to keep up a special effort for this long."
Toby glares at the other, "Well, I suppose I'd rather be stupid than be a royal bitch like you are. If you ask me, the idea of a Garou getting kidnapped is /stupid/. *I* wasn't kidnapped, now was I?"
Malena snips back, "I don't know. You haven't bothered to take your head out of your ass to say."
"Hey drama queen! I told you how I got here. You were too busy worrying about how stupid I was to bother listening. I was in the bloody forest, chasing after... what I thought was someone in trouble. It wasn't. It was something.. gross. Wyrm-ish. I went to get back to the road and kept getting turned around. So I ran. I fell, And I landed here, which might not have been so bad, except for the present company!"
"I was just too impressed that actual English was coming out of that mouth to be able to do anything but stare," she retorts, turning away with a muttered comment that sounds vaguely like 'motorcross'. Apparently deciding that he's no longer worth it, she turns to scowl at the lake and glowing walls.
Toby huhs, "Whatever princess. But unless you can sniff your way out of here, and I am thinking you can't. You and I are stuck here until something comes up. Considering you are here, and Virgil and a whole sorting of us- I'd guess something is going on. For now, I am getting off this little sandbox of an island, and going to scope the area out."
Malena invites with a sweep of her hand, "You go right ahead, sunshine. I'll stay here and watch you dog-paddle. Maybe you haven't noticed, but it's kinda cold outside. That means -that-," she gives a nod to the rippling waters, "Is going to be cold too."
"Yeah, I'd noticed. You gonna start a fire for me here then? Or maybe you were thinking of sharing some body heat?" With this, Toby grins widely.
Malena turns slowly, lips all but pulled off her teeth, to regard him as if he'd just vomited onto her breakfast. All she says is a cold -- and if he thought the weather outside was cold, she's just dropped the temperature a good fifty degrees, "Charach." Then she turns back again, arms folding over her stomach.
Toby grins a bit more, "You wish honey. You wish." He looks back to the waters then, and with a somewhat reluctant move, shifts forms once more and takes to lupus. Doggy paddle indeed, but it gets him off the small island and off to the actual shore line of the lake.
Mal spits out a rapid fire, "Ti mano popee sekoney roosooza pootani," which, even if it's unintelligible, makes the meaning -quite- clear. She doesn't turn.
Whisker stops once he is on the shore, shaking his fur thoroughly before glancing back to the woman left on the island. A short, toneless whuff is chorted out at her before he begins to lope off around the lake and explore the area.
Looking as if no one is really concerned with his decision to flee the scene, Toby continues on until he reaches the edge of foliage near the woods. Taking in a deep breath and letting it out between half pinched lips, he reaches into his pocket once more to look at his map; this time, nearly glaring at it.
The printout looks just as it did the last time Toby looked at it; it's completely unphased by the Ragabash's anger. The perky little red star marking the position of Lumberton, NY seems, for a second, to waver in front of his eyes, but a second later it's still, flat, and perfectly normal.
Toby looks to his surroundings and then sighs once more, "Alright! Alright already. I'm like.. there, nearly." Into the pocket it goes, and the Ragabash, following the main road into Lumberton by keeping it in view from his position, starts moving on again.
The Waffle House and the freaky people -- and wolf, and was-bird-something -- recede in the distance as Toby tromps through the snow. The road curves, and the light from that spot vanishes entirely, leaving nothing but the clouded night sky. The temperature drops, and snowflakes continue to drift downwards, lighting in his hair and on his shoulders. And still no sign yet of town.
And then he hears it. A woman's voice, crying aloud in wordless anguish.
Toby is getting grumbly by this point, pushing his hands deeper into his pockets and using them to thrust his coat closed even more than the zipper allows. The voice grabs his attention instantly though, and without fail he begins to hurry his pace into a run, aiming in the direction the sound seems to come from.
She cries out again, whoever she is, her verbal pain beckoning her would-be rescuer into the woods. The sound of it tugs at his memory in a kind of vague deja vu, but before he can pin the memory down, the woman screams, shrieking in terror and rage. It's just ahead, somewhere past the snow-blanketed undergrowth.
Toby pushes on faster, growing anxious and filling with adrenaline. His pack is shedded as he runs to give him that extra speed and mobility, for whatever he may be running into. "Hang on.." he urges more to himself than the unknown victim.
Cold, wet branches, stripped of leaves but bristling with thorns and snags, snatch at his clothes and hair, smacking him in the face. The silence up ahead is ominous, and the forest seems to go out of its way to hinder him. He's very nearly there when his foot catches an upraised root that had been hidden under snow, and he goes sprawling forward, pack and all, to land face-first into the snow of a small clearing. A small /empty/ clearing.
Toby lets out a groan as he does a short skidding rendition of body surfing sans waves. Panting and on edge, he lifts his nose to look around, glancing at the clearing. "Hello?" he calls, then squints his eyes to peer through the darkness and try to look for clues; tracks, or signs of a struggle.
The snow in front of him is unbroken and smooth. From above, however, comes the sound of a baby's whimper.
Toby pushes himself up quickly then, looking up to the sky above, "What the hell is going on..." he mutters. Snow is shaken from his palms and wiped from his face.
Between Toby and the cloud-blanketed sky, the widespread branches of massive, ancient trees stretch out and up. At first, he sees nothing. Then, something moves, slick and sleek and slow, some long muscled animal shape, black and glistening in the dim light, pulling itself from its long stretch into a bunched-up shape reminiscent of a cat preparing to pounce.
Toby takes a half step back at this, eyes searching the branch the motion is on. Then another step is taken. "Alright.. who is out here fucking with me? C'mon. I wasn't born yesterday!" he calls out angrily.
The baby whimpers again, although it's clear now that there's no baby. The sound is coming from whatever is up there in the trees. It's hard to get a good look at the thing, but that certainly is no baby. No woman, neither.
Toby looks around again and then lets out a hiss, "Get down from there!" "Let me see who-.. what the hell you are." Fists clench in readiness as he eyes the branch once more.
The thing utters a grating, nails-on-chalkboard noise and comes down from the tree branch like a hawk pouncing on a mouse -- swift as a falling stone, claws-first. The ragabash barely has time to get his hands up before twenty pounds of solid, wet, foul-smelling, hairless THING crashes against his face and chest, clutching at him with its claws.
Toby lets a startled cry of disgust as he is assaulted, hands hurrying to try and grab the thing and pry it off and away his form. "Get... offa me!" he growls, shuffling a few steps back and beginning to shift into Glabro.
It's like handling a greased pig and a psycho cat all at once. Screaming like a baby with colic, the thing clutches at Toby's head, needle-thin claws lashing at his ears and scalp. The damned thing has too many legs, too many teeth, too many -- are those tentacles? It's not until the Ragabash reaches Glabro form is he able to forcible yank the thing off and away from him, and even then the beast writhes in his grip, biting and clawing his forearms.
Toby has had just about enough of this, and so as he comes to the point where he had gotten it in his grasp, he starts squeezing. "Quite enough of this." Once more he shifts now, this time to Crinos so that his claws can make quicker work of destroying the... thing.
It should have picked smaller prey. At the last, the thing struggles all the more frantically and lets out another scream -- one that sounds disturbingly like a little girl calling for her daddy -- and then its body finally gives way, collapsing in the werewolf's tight grip like a popped pimple. It goes limp in his hands, wet and stinking.
Toby is left snarling as he loosens his grip, letting the thingy slip from his grasp and onto the forest floor below. Then his nose gets to work, sniffing and snorting as he pulls in the scents of the area. Ears satellite this way and that as well, all while he stands rather tense and fidgety.
All is quiet. Too quiet, perhaps. Snow continues to fall.
Toby would prefer to go on in lupus at this point, but with a heavy sigh, shifts back into Glabro and fetches his pack. Over one shoulder it goes and he begins to walk again, now, far more cautious and curious.
Though the road isn't in view, Toby's no stranger to forests and trees, and he sets out back for the road. And he walks. And walks. And walks some more. The road fails to materialize.
Growing more concerned now, Toby stops altogether and brings a hand up to his face and rubs it vigorously. "Ok." Whew. He squats down and shifts his pack off yet again this evening, then tucks it up against a tree. He drops down into lupus now and puts his nose first to the ground, and then to the wind. Come on... pick up a scent damnit.
The scratches that the damned thing left sting, and its smell seems stuck in his nostrils, a rank odor of wet dog and pig offal. The scent gets worse when he takes wolf form and the scratches don't immediately heal. It's hard to get a good bearing on things; all he can smell is that nasty, ugly /thing/. But, wait. Is that a whiff of road-tar? It's faint, and coming from /behind/ him, of all things. He's been going the wrong way!
Toby snorts as the strong smell burns at his nose, and turns himself around to find the road again. Every few steps he pauses, a paw lifting up to scratch over his nose and along the itchy scratches from the beasty. He goes far more cautiously now, working to regain the scent as often as possible.
In this manner, the Ragabash works his way through the woods for well over an hour, trying to get back to the road, but he always seems to get turned around. Finally, he ends up in a small clearing. It could be any small clearing... except there's the dead creature, crumpled bloodily in the disturbed snow. Even now, it's hard to make sense of the alien configuration of limbs and tentacles and body.
This brings a troubled whine to the wolf. As Whisker steps back, sniffing and puffing at the clearing, his tail twitches and he flicks his gaze to and fro. A rush of panic hits him and without even realizing his reaction, he tips his nose up and starts barking out a howl.
Except for the yipping yowl of a coyote off in the far distance, no one answers him.
Whisker paces back and forth for a short moment, nose quivering and tail twitching. Another moment passes and then he turns into a direction and starts running again.
As before, snow-wet branches whip at his face and legs, but the lupine shape is better-formed for this sort of thing than the human one. He runs for quite a distance, paws churning at the snowy ground, and then, without warning, the ground gives way underneath him, and he's falling into blackness, tumbling and turning.
Yelp yelp! The frantic pitch of the lupine yell can be clearly understood across a variety of languages. Paws flail and scramble to find purchase on anything as he tumbles.
Wolf down the rabbit hole. He seems to fall for hours, his yelps and cries snatched away by rushing bubbles. ...Bubbles? His flailing paws catch hold of liquid, not air, and automatically he churns his way upwards, toward a dim sensation of light. Whisker's lungs are burning by the time he breaks the surface of the water...
A vast and apparently bottomless underground lake sits here, black and fathomless within the belly of the Earth. Phosphorescent lichen, growing thick on the stalactite-covered ceiling and rough rock walls, fills the sizeable cavern with an eerie blue-green glow, providing just enough light to see by. The air here is cool and damp, with a subtle vibration underneath the stillness, a sense of shivering vibrancy lurking beneath the fabric of reality. The waters of the lake, which at first glance seem motionless, are given to random disturbances and ripples as though something, or a thousand somethings, were moving underneath the glassy surface.
An irregular lip surrounds the lake. At the very center is an island of sorts, approximately thirty feet at its widest. At the center of the island sits a large table-like stone. The glowing lichen grows in a thick carpet everywhere on the island but for this central stone, which is covered in Garou glyphs. Strangely enough, the glyphs seem to change each time one looks at them.
Whisker comes up to the surface and huffs frantically as he begins to doggy paddle his way to the nearest bit of shore. Once he gets to it, he pulls himself free and hurriedly shakes the excess water from his fur, starting with nose and ending with a tail flailing shake of his hind legs. Still panting, the begins to look more closely at where he has landed, guarded and unsure even more now than he was before. When he spots the stone on the island though, he tenses altogether.
It's getting late in the evening and the 24-hour diner is pretty deserted. The two late-night waitresses giggle and gossip at one another while a couple of tired truckers digest burgers and fries, and in one corner a little guy with a shaved head stares at a plate of spaghetti as though he has little appetite for it.
The jingle of the door alerts the staff another patron has come in. A young man of perhaps six feet steps in, posture cool and collected, if not worn on the edges. A head full of shaggy brown hair is shaken as he moves in. A bright yellow short-sleeve runners jacket is worn over a long-sleeve black tee; jeans on the bottoms. His first gaze goes to the waitresses and a charming smile is given. Despite this, he chooses a booth away from the truckers at the counter and sits down to look at the menu on the table.
The little guy looks up from his plate and gives the newcomer a penetrating and oddly unblinking stare for several seconds before returning to pushing pasta round his plate.
Toby catches the look from the other odd looking patron. One eyebrow raises, and then the hairless man also is given an award winning smile. About this time, one of the waitresses steps over to him, giggling slightly. "Hey hon, what can I get ya?" Without skipping a beat, he turns to look at her, "Well that'd depend on how soon you get off work." Another round of giggles, and a hint of blushing follows, before finally, the young man orders a patty melt with extra fries and a shake.
Virgil doesn't crack the faintest smile at the banter. He pokes at his spaghetti once more and abandons it, taking a drink of his water instead, ice cubes clinking faintly.
The waitress heads back to fill the order, getting a lasting look of appraisal from Toby as she moves. Then the young man looks back across the way, eyes narrowing slightly. "Hey pal. Ya know, a lot of folks would give a right leg for a chance at that plate. If you aren't going to eat it, shove it this way huh?"
The little guy shrugs. "You wanna eat crap, it's yours. Cold crap," he qualifies, and shoves the plate along to the other man.
A shrug is given and the brown haired fellow gets up to take the pasta plate. He moves to the counter and waves over his little waitress friend. "Can you reheat this for me hon? Just throw it in the nuker for a bit, that's fine. Nah, not mine. His." The head bobs over to the bald man. She does as asked and the plate is returned, steaming hot now. "You want it now pal?"
"Didn't have to do that," grunts the guy, scratching idly at a red, angry-looking zit on his neck. But he pulls the plate back to him and winds a few strands round his fork. "Thanks," he adds ungraciously.
Toby decides to take a seat near the other patron then, a move that earns him a curious glance from his waitress. "Heh, to be honest, I didn't think it was going to change your mind. So I just lost out on a side order of spaghetti goodness, but it's all good. You look more down on your luck than I do." He leans back against his chair, "Nice little place here though, huh?"
"Yeah, well," the small guy replies. "I told my boss where he could shove his shitty job last week, downstate. Wish he'd tried. Might have been fun to watch."
Toby grins a little, "Yah, bosses are like that. So- ya lost your job then? Bummer. What'd you do?" About this point, the patty melt meal comes out, much to the relief of the stomach rumbling young charmer. "Thanks, mmm, looks almost as good as you do! But- I bet you're tastier." The waitress grins again and waves him off playfully, turning back to her other chores. "Her friends cute, ya know."
Virgil snarls. "I drove a shitty little fork lift truck round a crappy warehouse hauling building supplies. Managed to burst a bag of sand on the floor, he yelled at me, I yelled back." He looks after the waitress. "You always talk to girls that way?" he asks, with the first note of anything less than full assertiveness he's shown so far.
Toby laughs, "Nah, just the cute ones get my attention. Besides, they like it." He nods though, "I did some lift driving. Just got out of a temp job with a company outside of town." A big sloppy bite of his melt is taken, cheese oozing out and dripping down his chin. Rather than being wiped away with his napkin, a finger hurries to scoop it back up and into his mouth.
"Some of them don't like it," the little guy frowns. "Some of them do, a'course... but you try and work out the ones who do from the frigid ones..."
Toby nods. "That little starling, she's the type to eat it right up. And if I'm lucky, I'ma have a nice warm bed tonight, with a nice warm body in it." He grins. "If I'm lucky."
"You don't waste time," the little guy comments in a slightly lipcurling manner. "You often get lucky, dude?"
Toby nods, "Oh often enough. Keeps the pipes clear." Ahem, "I just mean, it ain't healthy for a man to be alone." And at this comment, a hint of something -regret, perhaps sorrow- flits past his features. "You got a gal?"
Virgil's lip really curls this time. "Nah," he says. "Couldn't keep her properly, no job. Best if I don't go there."
Toby nods, "Yah, I don't go for commitment or anything. Just ya know, it's like getting fuel for your car. Can only go so many miles on empty." The sandwich is made short work of and the fries are dunked into the shake before being eaten. "So, what are you going to do now? With no job - go back to family or something?"
"No family," the little guys says with what seems like unnecessary venom. "Least, they don't like me no more, and that's... mutual. I'll get another job. I've done construction before, done shelf stacking, all the usual crap for a lamebrain like me with no schooling."
Toby grins, "Yah yah, I know that route pal, same as me. You don't look like the real athletic type though, ever thought of doing data entry? Boring as all get out, but pays pretty well, and bosses are - they're not like normal bosses. Here." He reaches into a back pocket and pulls out a crumpled business card that reads J's Data Temps. "About a half days drive north of here, but when you're crunched for work, your crunched."
Virgil's hand snakes out in a peculiarly subversive kind of motion, takes the card and stashes it in his coat pocket in the space of about half a second. "Might do," he says, "though I can't spell all that good."
Toby huhs at this. "Well, you just retype what's written on one thing, into a new thing. It's pretty simple." The last fry is scooped into his mouth and the shake is given his full attention. He continues to cast devious and playful little grins to his waitress, who smiles in return as she gossips with her friend. "Yeah, I got this one in the bag."
"Looks like it," the runty guy says as he watches the waitress flirt back. "Hell, you got the hoodoo, you do."
Toby snickers, "The whatdoo?" He shakes his head and stands up, slipping towards the waitress as she takes off her apron and looks to be checking out for the night. "Gotta fly.." he offers. He slinks over to the woman and engages in some more tit for tat flirting. Of course, this leaves both plates on the table at the expense of the hairless patron.
Virgil looks at his spaghetti, and also at the other plate. For a moment he looks tempted to start stealing fries from Toby's meal, but he shakes his head then, and starts shovelling reheated pasta down his throat, pointedly not looking at the other guy flirt and tease.
The waitress and the man laugh and joke with eachother, and then their gazes turn to the man and his pasta. A few nods, and then Toby returns valiantly to the table. "She's gotta tidy up, but I can come over in an hour. She covered us on the meals today too, so make sure you got a clean plate club award."
"Sheesh," Virgil exclaims in a slightly high-pitched, surprised voice. "You've got the tongue of the devil himself, you do. So you work at this date-inputting place?" Yes, he does say 'date'.
Toby grins a little, slipping back into the seat. "Data entry. Used to. Moving along now, got bored with it." Another fry is taken, and he pushes the plate to the other, "Have some, watching my waistline." He grins.
Virgil looks as though he barely has a waistline to watch. He munches a couple of the fries. "Whatcha doing now, then, man?"
Toby lifts a shoulder, "Nothing currently. But something will land. Gonna head down to New York, that place has got to have just tons of jobs for a guy like me. I mean, they employ immigrants who can't even speak the language." The shake is given a noisy slurp. "You got a car and stuff?" he asks then. Subtle?
Virgil nods curtly. "I got a thing with four wheels and an engine. Piece of shit it is. Don't know how long it'll keep going before it falls apart, it's only rust and spit holding it together."
Toby nods his head, "Ah cool- hey at least you have a piece of shit to call your own. I don't. Think ya can give me a lift to Janie's house in a bit?"
"Mehh," is the little man's answer, but it sounds more like a positive than a negative. "So you found out where she lives yet? And what color her wallpaper is? And what her pet tortoise was called when she was a girl, Mister Hoodoo?" He sounds torn between envy and disapproval, an odd mix.
Toby laughs, "What the hell is this hoodoo you keep talking about? And nah, just her name is Janie and she lives at 1415 Halbert." He closes his eyes a moment, then grins, "And she had a rabbit, not a turtle."
Virgil fakes punching Toby on the jaw. "You're a frickin' chick magnet, is what your hoodoo is. You some kind of canuck, never heard of it? Sure, I'll drive ya crosstown, damn it. You lovebirds." He still sounds almost as wistful as he does anything else.
Toby gives a little feint at the jaw punch, grinning. "Alright hoodoo, whatever you call it. I just have charm pal. It's all in the confidence. And.. it ain't love. Love don't come that easy, or with a few cheap words."
Virgil winds the last bits of spaghetti round his fork and shoves them into his mouth, which prevents him saying any more for a few seconds while he chews and swallows the rather large mouthful. "Love's for suckers," he says once he's disposed of it, "but sex'd be good. Not had a sniff of it for months."
Toby just grins dumbly at that. "Not the type of thing ya wanna admit to another dude pal. Oh hey, geez." He wipes the grease from his hand on his napkin, reaching out across the table, "Toby. What should I call you then? Pal gets old fast, I know."
Virgil lipcurls. "You want me to make with macho bullshit, huh? Okay. Toby, what kind of pissant fag name is that?" he says in an exaggerated sneer. "I'm Virgil. Virgil Mullery."
Toby looks at the other in a deadpan glare for all of two seconds, then bursts into laughter. "Virgil? /Virgil/ is giving me shit about Toby?" He shakes his head as his smile broadens, "Short for Tobias James Mason, TJ if you'd prefer."
Virgil raises his middle finger to Toby. "Still sounds like a wuss to me," he says cheerfully. "Now Virgil, he was a Roman, and the Romans were tough bastards. Ruled half the world. So don't mess with the Romans, dude, or we'll bust ya jaw."
Toby huhs, "Roman huh. Tobias 3:3-6 And now, O Lord, think of me, and take not revenge of my sins, neither remember my offences, nor those of my parents. ... And now, O Lord, do with me according to thy will, and command my spirit to be received in peace: for it is better for me to die, than to live." He grabs the one last fry, "Book of Tobias. Don't give me shit on the name pal."
"Okay, I'll give you shit for quoting religion at me," Virgil says. "Or if you like we could just stop being macho assholes at each other just because we're trying to show off in front'a Janie, finish up and drive you over."
Toby grins a little, apparently shrugging it all off. "Want me to see if she'll hook her friend up with you? Get ya some lovin'?"
Virgil gives a long slow smile. "Don't tempt me, man... don't tempt me..."
Toby nods his head, and lets the other off the hook, "Alright alright. Hey, you prefer Virgil then, or does that have something to shorten up to?"
"Virgil is fine," says the bearer of that name. "Nothing it shortens to that doesn't make me sound like a pussy, and I already look like a runt to most folks without giving them extra ammo."
Toby grins and nods, "Alright Virgil, lets book then huh?"