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T&J's Advent Extravaganza #4, now with added Actual T&J Content! - Diary of a Necromancer
Excuse me, I'm making perfect sense, you're just not keeping up
T&J's Advent Extravaganza #4, now with added Actual T&J Content!
Signed up for Yuletide again. Um... yeeeah. Not exactly helping my state of mind either that George somehow appears to have spent the last Idunno-while running off battery power while he was hooked up to his green-lit power-cord, 'cos he was at 97% when I switched on and checked, and now all of a sudden he's charging up from 25%... {worries more} But anyway:

4.) How vain is your character? Do they find themselves attractive?

Given that Trevor apparently concurs with Jason's usage of rat-faced in the context of Trevor's looks, the magic 8-ball is leaning towards "probably not". Which doesn't necessarily preclude vanity, but one suspects his literal lack of self-image is something of a check on much more concern over his appearance than to be sure he's dressed appropriately enough for a given situation not to stand out.

Jason... Jason, Jason, Jason. Broadly speaking, he approves of his looks, when he thinks about them. Which isn't often, at least not in the context of vanity and physical attractiveness. Now, if one had asked about the political subtext of this question for him...

Signs warning not to drink from or wade in or indeed have any human contact with the river at all aren't deterring much of anyone from their fun on this bright summer's afternoon. Jason's been reminiscing with his mother to me about all the mischief he and his siblings got up to growing up so near the waterway; We used to hang out on the kayak-landing and... um, conjugate verbs with the memegwesi? "Good save," Susan says. Of course a mother must suspect it was closer to sneaking beers and daring each other to eat dog-biscuits. Jason butts his head against her shoulder, ghost of a wolf cub's conciliatory gesture. Sweetiepup, Susan murmurs. (I'd asked a were of my acquaintance once, why it would be pups rather than cubs; We're not wild animals, she'd sniffed, as if this should have been self-evident, and shortly thereafter found a pretext to stop seeing me.)

The water's low today, spilling through the least of the weir's concrete baffles into a foamy churn as two night-herons look on with a jaded eye at a bottle bobbing in the gyre. I'm surprised by how many people have come out with their motley fishing equipment, some of the rods no doubt borrowed from the nearby library judging by the indifferent handling they're receiving: a father patiently showing his little son how to cast the line seems not to have much idea of it himself. But the elderly man beside us pulls up a small fish; Crappie, Jason identifies it for me, as the beaming fisherman goes to put it into a cooler.

Saengseon jeon, the man says with a sly grin.

"Hey," a familiar voice says behind me, sounding surprised. I turn; Jill is standing on the path in exercise clothes, looking as if I'm the last person she'd have expected to bump into whilst she was out for a jog to the nearest decent chippie. "Wow, fishing, how... bourgeois of you."

Bringing out her own collection of rods had been a clever gambit of Susan's to distract her eldest from editorialising on Michael's efforts to roast and curry a goat for the occasion of the future-son-in-law's birthday. (Jason apparently doesn't get all of his territoriality in the kitchen from the wolf.) I step up to introduce the two women to each other properly, faltering when it comes to explaining just who Jill is; friend-who's-a-girl, Jason supplies unhelpfully with an innocent bat of his eyelashes that makes his mother stifle a grin. Jill and Susan start into smalltalk, trading smiles that they both grew up in Minnesota; "Do you fish?" Susan asks.

Jill goes strangely downcast. "Not since I was... ten? And, I mean, you know, you're told not to eat... I didn't know there were fish in this thing, would they be, well, safe?"

"Past worrying about PCBs at my age," Susan says with a shrug. Jason makes a face. TMI, Mom.

My flatmate takes out his mobile to look up the municipal fish-safety report for Jill. We're peering at the device as he flicks through a list of waterways when there comes a sudden piercing shriek: the little boy has made an incautious grab and speared his hand with a barbed hook. His father's trying to get him to hold still, both of them tangling in the line; Here, let me, Susan offers, already reaching in her tackle-box for shears and wirecutters. She's going to need the plasters as well --

Jill makes a small sound. "Trevor, why don't you show Jill over to the house and see how dinner's coming along?" Susan suggests, glancing up from her efforts towards extracting the hook from the wound. Jason nods as if Jill and I making ourselves scarce in this way is suddenly a good idea.

A very, very good idea.

We stop on the footbridge to watch a mallard with her late clutch of ducklings paddling in the shallows. (Ducks, of course, can't read the warning signs.) "We looked that bad, huh," Jill says.

I'm as used to the scent of blood as I might reasonably be, but I'm still blinking away a haze of red. "I think Susan's got in the habit of trying to stop trouble before it starts," I say.

"She's good at the mom thing," Jill says, sounding almost as if it's a question. She falls silent, though, crossing to the other railing to watch the duck and her brood swim downstream.

The memegwesi is sitting on a small plastic cooler on the kayak-landing, tracking the family of ducks. He's never volunteered a given name, or indeed as much as whether the word he does go by is even the singular term for his sort; in lieu of calling a greeting I simply gesture a polite acknowledgement of his presence.

He looks up from the ducks at the motion and his gaze seizes upon Jill with the familiarly abstracted frown of synaesthetic recognition. She's similarly on point, eyebrows lifting as she seems to taste the air: "Hey, you're... one of us, right?"

The frown deepens. He rattles off a complex string of syllables, far too swift for me to gather any up. When Jill fails to respond he looks offended. He mutters something else in that same language and picks up his cooler, stumping away up the ramp.

Jill is nonplussed. "Why do I get the feeling that that last word was 'poser'?"

My sense is that the sentiment would have been closer to Sais. Possibly incorporating bastards. But what are any of us to do, anymore. The house isn't far, garage doors ajar to reveal that Michael has stepped aside from tending the goat in the barbecue pit to assist whilst his daughter takes advantage of this space off of a street to put oil into her car. Assisting mostly seeming to mean that he's sitting within reach of the toolbox with a beer, listening to Sinatra on vinyl spinning below the propped lid of an antique cabinet hi-fi. "Tell him he's too young to be this old," Sandra says without looking up from beneath the car's bonnet, stabbing a finger towards the music.

...I warned you that would probably make it into the story somewhere.

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2 responses | moved to respond?
ashnistrike From: ashnistrike Date: November 22nd, 2011 01:52 pm (UTC) (permalink this entry)
I really like this one. Great sense of place, and I still love Jason's family. (What is a memegwesi, anyway?)

Damn - now I'm missing Chicago.

robling_t From: robling_t Date: November 22nd, 2011 04:32 pm (UTC) (permalink this entry)
Ah, the payoff of Doing The Research... ;) And Jason's family are shaping up to be an unexpected bonus, aren't they? When Muse isn't sitting around moping because I'm trying to work on the chronologically-next-bit to post instead of noodling with the wedding reception scenes...

The memegwesi is/are a Native American water-related... something, I couldn't find much information or consensus beyond "small, possibly unusually hairy men associated with waterways, generally benign, appropriate to this region", but it still seemed better to try to step outside the "usual" roster of primarily-European-immigrant traditions where there's any chance to within the narrative -- considering that one of the motifs here is how a basic truth gets embroidered, it didn't seem like too egregious a stretch to conjecture that beyond that something is an extrahuman phenomenon, some certain amount of any built-up tradition is as bollocks as what Trevor has to put up with anyway.

(How has it been going, BTW? I keep meaning to email, or call, or something, i'm just so chronically short of spoons in general this time of year let alone the talking-to-people ones...)
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