Roger Kint, or something like that (in_verbatim) wrote in playground_usa,
Roger Kint, or something like that

It's the morning after the rain, and the air smells damp and thick. Puffs of steam slip up from the grates in the streets, twirling around like little angels and then dissipating into the air, only serving to accentuate the overcast atmosphere.

Verbal sits alone at one of the tables outside a cafe, sipping his coffee (black, only the real stuff) and watching the people shuffle by with his dull, brown eyes. He's hoping that this isn't his Las Vegas, that because he followed a portal from the Nexus he's in a world other than his own. He knows that back home people are looking for him at this very moment, and that people will find him if he doesn't cover his tracks in just the right way. When he originally came in through the portal and found himself in this suspiciously Earth-like world, he couldn't figure out how to get back. He still isn't sure. He's wearing his rose-colored glasses, but those hardly count as a disguise. You can imagine the pressure.

None of this internal conflict is visible on his face, however. If anything, he looks bored, dead to the world, a zombie with a cup of coffee. He's had better days, really.
Tags: open thread, rose stone, verbal kint, vivian ward
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Viv's night hadn't been good for business. She's only been in Vegas for a few days, and it's hard to make leeway or establish your patch when you're muscling in on other girls' territory.

The rain hadn't helped either, whilst the Strip is as busy as the Boulevard back home, when the heaven's open, everyone's running for cover and taxis, and the hookers hang back under the cover of awnings in the hope of staying dry. By midnight, she hadn't had a single job, so she'd given up and slunk off home to her crappy rented bedsit.

This morning though, she was bright and optimistic. She'd start looking for a better place, scan the ads in the paper for somewhere that wasn't too fussy about deposits, and maybe score a free breakfast.

It seemed luck was on her side as she strode down the Strip, the table next to Verbal offered the perfect opportunity. The woman that had been sat there was getting up to leave, and there was a half drunk coffee, a newspaper and a barely touched Danish winking at her. With a surreptitious glance around, she slid into the vacated seat and sat there, cool as you like, as if she'd been there the whole time.
Verbal is in a dreamworld, but then something... familiar catches his eye and moves towards the table next to him. He looks up from his coffee, resting it carefully on the table.

"...Hey," he starts slowly. When he sees that she's sitting down (and someone else's seat, no less) he quiets, not wanting to draw any unnecessary attention to the whole thing. Only after she's settled does he, somewhat unsteadily, clear his throat.

"Hey-- uh, you," he says. "Don't I know you? From the Nexus, I mean."
The first hey from the guy sat near her is ignored, she presumes he's onto her. Act nonchalant, like you didn't hear it Viv, and he'll probably let it ride.

Hey, what do you know? There's a tip left on the table too. Vivian looks behind her into the window of the cafe, seeing if the staff have spotted her, one hand sliding the coins off the table into her clutched palm at the same time. There's a sideways glance in Verbal's direction aswell.

"Huh?" she says in surprise, as he speaks again, right as she was taking a bite of the Danish.

"I don't think so sugar, I usually have like a photographic memory for people I've met." Her mouth was half stuffed with pastry, and it didn't come out elegantly at all!
"No, no. I've definitely met you before." He furrows his brow, eyes scanning back and forth as if trying to unearth some deep, faraway memory. He doesn't look at her.

"You're Vivian, right? You were talking about people hitting you, and then earlier we were talking about running away..."

His voice trails off as it suddenly occurs to him that she doesn't look quite like the woman he spoke to about the whole running thing. He wonders if it was an alternate, or a look-a-like, or something like that. He didn't have the best of luck with his alternate (or was it just some guy who looked freakishly like him? he had no clue), and so his stomach turns slightly at the thought.
"Uh huh." She muffles with a nod of agreement, quickly trying to finish her mouthful of flaky pastry. As she chews, she bobs her head up and down, eyes up and darting from side to side as it seems to take much longer than it rightfully should.

"Ah, yep. Now I remember you, she smiles, her mouth finally empty. "Never got as far as giving you my name though. I think there's some chick in that Nexus place that looks like me and has the same name, 'cause you're like the third person to say something. Freaky huh?"
"The Nexus certainly is a bizarre place," he says, giving a short laugh, though his expression remains ever steady. "I don't think I can keep up with it, some of the time."

He gives a quick glance up at the streets, and then turns to face Vivian.

"What brings you to here?" he asks. "Did you follow a portal out, or...?"
"You know it was kinda weird," she says, taking another hungry bite, anyone would think she hasn't eaten in a while. She continues though, maybe spitting a few crumbs out as she does and sheepishly wiping them off her chin with a grin.

"I was tryin' to scrape enough cash together to hightail it outta L.A, I was kinda behind on the rent, ya know how it goes, or maybe you don't," a shrug.

"Anyway, wandered into there, the Nexus place, went through another door and wham! Here I am, Vegas. Gotta say, it was cheaper than a greyhound bus! How' bout you?"
"I had just decided to live in the Nexus," he says. "Full time."

He pauses to take a cigarette out of his jacket pocket, which he clamps in his mouth and then clumsily lights with his left, vaguely paralyzed, hand.

He leans back.

"Figured I'd explore some," he muffles, and then lifts the cigarette from his lips. "Wasn't expecting to find a portal that would take my to Vegas, but there you go. You wouldn't happen to know how to get back, would you?"

"Don't think I'd wanna live there. I mean, I'm used to seeing freaks and nutjobs, but that place gives it a whole new meaning."

The coffee's cold as she takes a gulp, still, it was free, it's not like she has room to complain. She'll finish it regardless. She watches him light the cigarette and can't help feel a bit sorry for him when she realises his hand doesn't work properly.

"I ain't tried buddy. I came out the elevator door in the car park under The Tangiers, you could try there. Where'd you get in?"
"I'm getting used to it," he says. "There's a lot of interesting people there. Make wonderful conversation."

He takes a drag of his cigarette, and then lets his eyes wander off toward the side. "I got in just a few blocks back. I could try the elevator," he says, a vague sort of hope swaying in and out of his words.

He frowns suddenly.

"You know, that coffee's probably cold. I owe it to you, for giving me a place to start." Tucking his cigarette between his index and middle fingers, he uses his good hand to shuffle through his jacket pockets, eventually coming out with a crumpled five-dollar bill. He puts it down on Vivian's table.

"Here," he says.
"Yeah, I spose there's that. An' some real nice folk too. I'll definitely go back."

"I mean, if I can that is," she adds, suddenly acutely aware that he mentioned he hadn't found his way back yet.

"Cool!" She grins to the money, shoving into the top of her boot. It wasn't like it was charity, he already gave her a reason. Viv wasn't about to argue or question the reason. There was one, and that was good enough for her.

"Don't think I caught your name earlier."
"Oh, I'm sure there's a way back," he says, waving his hand vaguely, the cigarette smoke trailing behind. "I'd be surprised if it just left us here. The Nexus, while strange, isn't exactly cruel. Not from what I can tell, I mean. And I'm Verbal." He smiles timidly, bowing his head. "Well, sort of. It's actually Roger, but I can't remember the last time somebody called me that."
Rose is having a shitty day, and when she goes to check the outside tables, it gets worse.

There's a different woman sitting at table eight now, young and a little bit trashy looking, talking to the unremarkable guy at table six. Typical Vegas kid hooker. Huh--she wouldn't have pegged the guy in the glasses for a john. But Business Suit Bitch who'd been at eight before is gone, and she hasn't left a tip. Either that, or little Violetta Valery over here pocketed it. "Fuck," she says, louder than she'd intended. Oh, what the hell.

"There are some clear tables, y'know," she tells the girl, trying to interrupt as politely as possible. It's a challenge when one is so pissed off. "Want me to bus this?"
"Well it's real cool to meet ya Verbal," Viv smiles. It was at that moment that the waitress came out, offering an expletive that Viv conveniently chose to ignore, even if she did have a fair idea what she was 'fucking' about.

Viv wasn't perturbed though, "I kinda liked this one the best though. Sure." She shrugged like it didn't matter, the pastry was all but gone now anyway.

"I'll take the cheapest drink you got on the menu." She said, reluctantly pulling the five dollar bill out of her boot and offering it.
"Thanks," she say dryly, taking the money from the girl. Hell if she was getting correct change. "Orange juice it is, then." She sticks the five in her apron and loads the tray with dishes. Today is not a day to screw with her.

As she takes the tray away, she fixes the girl with her best I'm-a-bitch-with-freaky-eyebrows stare. But as much as she'd like to tell the her off, it pays not to be a bitch around the customers who haven't pissed you off. For the glasses guy's sake--hopefully the tramp wouldn't steal his tip, too--she retreats quietly to get the juice.
Vivian returns the stare with a smarmy grin, sickly sweet and full of attitude.

"Thanks sugar."

When she's gone, she throws a wink of thanks to Verbal for keeping schtum. "Good job you spotted me that five, bitch was about to get her panties in a right knot."
Oh, Verbal was rather good at that, the whole sitting-there-quietly-and-not-interupting thing. He offers a weak smile.

"I suppose so," he says. "But then again, I'm sure she's still angry about the whole thing. But hey, as long as you've got a drink, you should be okay. You're a paying customer, nothing can stop you now. Oh, and it's very nice to meet you too. Of course." He nods his head.
As far as Viv's concerned, all Verbal thinks she's done is sit down at the table to finish off someone else's order. If he saw her swiping the tip, then she was unaware.

But his response makes her wonder, and maybe wonder the wrong thing...

"They think they're better than me, I mean some potsy waitress job, no thanks! What gives her the right to look down her nose at me?" Defensive much?

Once the dishes are in the sink, Rose stomps over--it's so much more satisfying to be angry in army boots--to get the orange juice. She sighs, steadying herself against the counter.

"Problems?" another waitress asks.

"Some bitch stole my tip," she announces quietly, "but I'm not thinking about it. I'm thinking about... kittens and dolls and flowers and shit." She shakes her head, pours the glass of orange juice, and marches to the register.

Damned if she's going to let some teenaged slut get the best of her. She makes change for the five and only stiffs the kid fifty cents--Business Suit Bitch probably didn't leave much more than that, anyway. Suits don't tip well. Not dress suits, at least.

Serenity now. Serenity now.

She can see the... girl (she is going to be calm, she is not going to lose her temper) say something catty through the windows of the cafe. Whatever, bitch. You're the one who sleeps with losers for money.

She calmly, or as close an approximation to "calm" as she can manage at the moment, walks to table eight and hands the girl her juice and her change.

"Can I get anything else for you?" she asks, then, turning to the man at the next table, "Or you, sir?"
Verbal was about to reply to Vivian-- hell, his mouth was already open, but upon seeing Rose return, he closes it and gives her his best warm smile, which isn't so much warm as it is unsteady and kind of awkward.

"I'm alright, thanks."
When Vivian looked at the change, she knew she'd been screwed back for the tip, but she wasn't about to say anything. It wasn't worth it, tit for tat she thought, the tip had been a dollar, she was probably up on the deal.

She cocked her head and gave a sarcastic smile that was not without a little venom. "No. That's fine thanks."
Rose ignores the girl--God, this job has got to be terrible for her blood pressure--and keeps her eyes on the guy, because looking at her would probably cause her to do things which would be unwise and possibly prosecutable. "Great," she says. "Just wave if you need anything."

Just a thought, and one of those things she probably ought not to say, comes out of her mouth just then. "You from Vegas?" she asks him.
"New York," he says. He keeps his eyes down as he talks. "Well, not so much now. I've actually been living--"

He cuts himself off here. Frowns. His eyes are still focused on his lap, his body still mentally tucked inward. He looks up, smiling apologetically.

"It's nothing you would've heard of. It's a pretty bizarre place, and I'm afraid it might sound like I'm crazy."

He's a shy type, it seems. Quiet, but he looks like he can handle himself in lunatic town. Funny. The phrase 'bizarre place' strikes an extremely extremely familiar chord at the moment.

"Ha. Don't sweat it. I'm used to insane," she says, grinning. Crazy bitch, remember? she thinks. "I live in my car and I've been questioning my sanity lately myself. Happens to the best of us." Like when you walk through the doorway to the ladies' pisser and find yourself in an 'interdimensional nexus'? Now that's insane. She still half-wondering if she didn't imagine it--maybe Jeff the Stoner Cook slipped her something trippy. Wouldn't put it past him.

She shakes her head. "And it's Vegas. Unless you're walking around collecting garbage in a shopping cart and mumbling, you're not really crazy."
"Oh, I'm not questioning my sanity." And he isn't. Well, not in this regard. "It's just..."

He's not sure if he can really trust her, is what he wants to say, but he figures it would sound misplaced. He's not actually hiding out. Or, at least, it's not supposed to seem that way. It's all in the image, really.

Besides, chances are she won't even believe him. He presses his tongue against the back of his teeth.

"It's a gathering ground of sorts," he explains, his voice even but strained, as if searching for the right words. "They call it the Nexus. It's kind of obscure, but there you go. Don't worry if it's something you've never heard of, it's okay. I'll understand."


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