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Die Shize

[ASK] Cruel, Cruel World

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@Hani

NOTICE

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This thread is currently closed, however it is considering the option of opening up to other individuals down the road.

THAT BEING SAID MISTER if you can reckon up a good enough reason to hop in before the grand openinger then just shoot me a PM by the PM (or the AM) and we'll have ourselvez a zinger!

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Sound Presence: IC and OOC

 

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The Grey Flood

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The Gold Rider

Waking up, she felt lazy like the radio. She saw nothing, but the gentle music was undeniable. It soon introduced the voice of a man who sang words just as foreign. He wasn’t alone. A chorus of unintelligible conversation was suddenly detected, along with footsteps. It took a train of effort to part her eyelids and in turn herself from an unknown slumber. What began as a grey world revealed itself to be the front of a chair, with a slender beam of sunlight streaked across it. Finally, her eyes were opened. Rotating the hand of an equally slender arm stretched upon a table, it was evident that she was indeed female. Fingers of a woman.

An array of tables and chairs that catered to two were spread about, floating upon a sea of grey tiles. People sat around but the woman couldn’t recognize any of them. Her eyes peered into those strange faces that smiled at and laughed to one another, but none of those souls were even aware that she was watching them. At the end of her line of sight was a bar with a plethora of bottles lining the wall. Maybe that’s how I got to be in this predicament. One thing was for certain: she had no idea who she was or how she got to be in this bar, one that was called The Grey Flood based on the napkins.

Name. Identity. She had neither. After patting herself down, all she really had was a yellow shirt, brown pants and a hat that hid blonde hair. Did I braid it or did someone else? The thought quivered on her lips, her head slowing while her heart raced. Another familiar feeling. I don’t know who I am or how I got here. And I am panicking.

Edited by Die Shize

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You know what most bounty hunters would say is the hardest part of their profession? You'd think it'd be staying alive, but this isn't actually true since people in this particular line of work that don't get killed within the first two days are usually adept at protecting themselves and combating all manner of freaks and degenerate murderers. No, the hardest part about being a bounty hunter was finding the bounty. It wasn't like in books, movies, or video-games where the hunter just gradually gravitates towards the target via random but convenient events. Hunters would have to conduct a full investigation to figure out the last known whereabouts of their target, and more oft than not they wouldn't even be there. Most wanted men don't want to be found, so they wind up in the craziest of places and situations in their desperate attempt to elude death or capture. Sometimes they even leave false leads to throw people off, making some of the more green hunters run around in circles or get caught up in some elaborate trap they'd paid goons to set for money-hungry pursuers or over-righteous purple hearts with a chip on their shoulder.

Although Clive Mcteague was an experienced bounty-hunter that knew the ropes when it came to finding his mark, he was easily distracted.

"Nother' one please!" Clive called out across the counter, beckoning the bartender to serve him another drink. The bartender took a look at him and paused. Despite the six empty bottles of liquor sitting in front of him on the shiny, grey, wood counter, Clive looked fine. Even bored. The two men he sat between were half-way through their second bottle and were already beginning to sway from side to side. It wasn't because they were light-weights either. The beverage they'd been served was way up the establishments list in terms of alcohol percentage. Four bottles could knock a man clean out. Six could kill one. But here this guy was, barely buzzed and asking for more.

"Are you human sir?" asked the bartender. 

"I reckon I am, yeah." nodded Clive. 

"Are you sure?" pushed the bartender, squinting his eyes to show his disbelief. 

"Pretty sure." answered Clive with a shrug. "Why? You got sum' kinda 'Humans Only' policy?"

"Nope." sighed the bartender as he shook his head and grabbed another bottle of the beverage Clive asked for. "Just curious."

"Hm." grunted Clive as the bartender handed him his drink. In his experience, no one was ever just curious. Every word that came out of a person's mouth had a point to drive home, even if the point was to have no point. Anyone that told you anything else was lying and probably gunning for you. He tried not to think too hard about it though. This was his first time getting a drink here and he had no doubt that folks would be weary of him. Especially with the magi-tech peace-maker holstered at his side that he made no attempts to conceal with clothing. Had he been the bartender, he would've been "just curious" too.

He'd been searching for an outlaw when he'd come across the bar, and figured he needed wet his whistle to keep his mind sharp. He'd need it to be, since the person he was gunning for was shrouded in mystery. When he inquired about the bounty at Predators Keep where he received the job, no one seemed to know what the criminals name was or what he/she looked like. The closest he could get to anything resembling a description were the many stories he'd heard. Some said the criminal laid waste to countless settlements, killing and stealing with the aid of dark  magic. Others said the criminal wasn't a criminal and was being set up by various underground factions governed by real heartless criminals. They'd say that he/she was actually a hero, single-handedly saving entire towns from all manner of danger. Still others would insist that he/she was an all powerful being that adhered to an ancient prophecy. These stories bred many aliases. The Dark One. The Reaper. The Leader of the Resistance. The Savior. The Gold Rider.

Clive wasn't sure what to believe and figured he couldn't trust any of the testimonies he'd heard. They all contradicted one another, making the mystery even bigger and creating even more questions. When he asked the man that had given him the job why he wanted this outlaw hunted down, he declined to answer. Even told Clive to watch his mouth less he wanted to turn up missing one day.

He decided his best bet was to comb the surrounding settlements and continue questioning the citizens for a story that was at the very least, consistent. Unfortunately, it proved to be a fruitless endeavor. The people that did know about the outlaw he was hunting refused to say anything about it, started some stupid tale, or were straight up hostile. By the time six days had passed, all he had to show for his efforts was a black eye and a body-count that got the attention of the authorities. He was growing very tired of this one, ready to give up at numerous points until he came upon The Grey Flood. He figured a good drink could keep his spirits high enough to steel his resolve, but even their strongest stuff was barely having an effect on him. He didn't know why he expected anything more, given the fact that the place looked rather uppity. While most bars were rambunctious, seldom maintained, and prone to violent outbreaks that resulted in some poor sap getting his brains blown out, this one was serene and orderly. The beverages they served here reflected the look, not being strong enough to incite a man to singing or violence. 

On top of that, the drinks weren't cheap.

Realizing he'd likely go broke before he was even half drunk, he elected to stand and make a short visit to the bathroom. While he was on his way there, he took note of a woman sitting at a table by herself. Unlike the other folks seated within the quaint saloon, she didn't have a drink sitting in front of her. Her table was bare save for the pile of napkins placed upon it by the staff. In fact, she looked confused, like she didn't even know where she was. She looked completely out of place. That's what drew his attention. Deciding to trust his gut feeling, he walked over to the woman's table with the intent to question her. It was a stretch, but he figured it couldn't hurt to ask her about the outlaw he was looking for. Worst came to worst, she'd just try to kill him like a few of the other folks he'd talked to. But first thing was first.

"You alright, ma'am?" he asked with a tip of his hat as he walked over to the opposite side of the table. "I don' mean ta' be forward, but'cha lookin' a little lost."

In addition to looking lost, she looked tense too. Like she was at the beginning stages of a panic attack. Something was definitely off, and he was beginning to wonder if he should leave her alone and question somebody else.

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I-obKieQhG9B20uawirFMK7XjZ9xIDlN8cwVP-LvWkjaI3Dc4LQ_aHJ3ir1jb9-d6WofFip8rMUVG6x8ywgBdqSKrNS3_S1NkBnhZxtiwJad4iDoED1qli5c7F0hnGWnGqzrqCty 

The usual hum of life in The Grey Flood was lost to Lenora as her distant gaze starred out of the window. She had taken her regular seat by the window of the joint, sticking close to the walls, away from all the commotion. This time her pale, slender fingers held a whiskey glass that rested atop of the table. She had needed a stronger drink today given the shitty day she had. Her boss, or now known as her former boss, had let her go. Working the cash register at the little market hadn't been hard, if anything she actually found herself content with the job. She would get to see the local folks and talk about anything new going on. She even made a couple of friends. The pay had been decent. There was the occasional slow day, but it was better than spending her time tending to crops the whole day. 

The red head breathed out a heavy sigh, gaze still locked on nothing particular outside of the window as she lifted the glass to take another drink, and came up short. There was no more whiskey left. It was then that she finally turned her gaze to the glass, clicked her tongue in annoyance, and glanced over to the bar. There she noticed a man stand up from his stool and began to walk away leaving six empty bottles resting on the countertop. Surely the man had to be completely shit faced. As far as she knew, no one could drink so much and still get up and take single step without tipping over. Blue irises followed the man, and watched as he stopped next to a woman who was seated by herself. They were a bit too far for her to hear with all the chattering going on around her, but the confusion and growing panic in the girl's eyes were enough for Lenora to get to her feet and make her way over. 

"Is he botherin' you, hun?" The red head questioned, her words coming out in a slight drawl. There was a slight reassurance to her gaze as she looked to the woman, before her it sharpened as she looked to the male. 

Edited by Hani

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Black. Grey. Black gate. Black and grey. Black gate black and grey. The words echoed in her head faster than she could think them, each one making less sense than the other; echoes of the eyes as they gazed at the logo on the napkin. The Grey Flood. Its symbol was a black watergate with grey water behind it. That didn’t seem to mean anything no matter how hard she tried to staple it to a memory.

 

The woman heard a voice that might have been in her head. Or maybe it was the person approaching a nearby table to sit. Then she realized that the table was hers, the person was a man and he was speaking to her. Startled, she blinked rapidly up at the stranger.

 

“I...I...I…” She licked her lips. “I’m...I…” Catching her breath, she sighed it all out in a steady breeze, relaxing what nerves she could.

 

Before the woman had a chance at explanations, another woman approached. Catching the look in her eyes, the one without a memory to call her own wondered how sincere that question of concern really was. That triggered a pressing concern of her own: if she couldn’t trust her own unknown self then how could she trust anyone else?

 

“I’m…” The woman cleared her throat. “Oh, no, no, it’s no bother! He is just checking on me...like you were.” She paused and stared back at the napkins. Her own speech was shocking. It was the first time that she had strung words together in a sentence as far as she could remember. Her voice was a woman’s all right, the accent about the same as these two others standing before her.

 

“Sorry, guys.” She had no idea where this ability to attempt deception had come from but she sure went with it. Her awful secret was probably safer kept as a secret. “I must look an ordeal! How embarrassing! ‘Fraid I woke from a frightful nap and am just getting my bearings! Thank you, though!”

 

She stifled a chuckle. Trying not to make eye contact too much, the woman diverted her gaze to the rest of the establishment. Patrons sat and paced beside waiters and waitresses, a couple entered the bar from the outside, their thick clothing proving a point of how cold it was beside the frozen world that waited outside the window. Her eyes landed on the bottles on the bar. Maybe I just need a drink after all...

Edited by Die Shize

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Clive was a little surprised to hear another woman speak beside him, and even more surprised to hear her indirect rebuke. Her sharp gaze cemented that she indeed wanted him to know her distaste for him. He wanted to say something snarky in rebuttal, but figured she had good reason to suspect that he was pestering this woman at the table. He didn't exactly look like a reputable sort, toting a gun and wearing casual clothing that practically screamed how much he didn't care about the way he looked. He'd forgotten the specks of blood that stained the collar of his shirt, some of them smeared from when he used it to wipe off his face. His pants had some caked mud at the bottom from when he'd been treading through a dense forest in the rain. Then, of course, there was his black eye. And the fact that he was at a bar where unscrupulous sorts usually turned up. 

Yes, he figured the lady had good reason to assume he had ill intentions.

He was about to kindly deny her assumption when the woman seated before them spoke up. She seemed to forget how to speak at first, Clive beginning to worry that something was generally wrong with her. He was glad he'd matured passed the years when he couldn't have cared less about this woman's predicament. Back then he would've just been concerned with conning or robbing the woman of her most valued possessions, but now he felt he was a much better man. 

22 hours ago, Die Shize said:

 “Sorry, guys. I must look an ordeal! How embarrassing! ‘Fraid I woke from a frightful nap and am just getting my bearings! Thank you, though!

 Napping? In a bar? Without drinking?

Clive resisted the urge to raise a suspicious eyebrow as he scratched his chin and struck a poker face. He examined the woman closely and took note of how nervous she appeared to be. As a man that made it a point to be good at spotting a liar, he could tell she wasn't telling all the truth. This only made him want to question her more, but he knew that doing so right off the back would seem far too forward and a tad inconsiderate. Eventually forming a smile, he decided to humor her. After all, a lie could only grow so tall before it started to wobble.

"Sure." he said with a small chuckle. "No problem at all miss. I personally know what it's like to wake up in a bar tryin' ta' remember how I got there. Just makin' sure nothing bad happened to ya' or anythin' is all."

Clive paused as he carefully thought up a string of questions.

"Had a little too much to drink last night?" he asked, hoping his question wouldn't put either woman off and end the conversation.

 

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Lenora’s gaze shifted from the bruising eye to the specks and smears of what she could only assume to be blood on the collar of his shirt. The rest of his appearance wasn’t any better. And the gun. It was quite difficult to imagine him inquiring about the young woman’s well being, but Lenora doubted that the girl would choose to cover up for him if he was bothering her. 

Her attention shifted to the woman who spoke out again. This time it was the woman who she doubted. The way she spoke. She was nervous, but of what? Lenora decided to stick around a bit longer. 

“Is that what happened? You drank too much?” 

Lenora has had her fair share of drunken nights, but she never got fully drunk on her own. At least, in a public place she didn’t. She usually came with her friend Sherry. 

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Music (Recurring)

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Sound Presence: IC and OOC

 

 

The woman remained seated as the other one before her and the man beside her kept standing there with their ogling eyes. She caught it from the corner of her own gaze, alongside the movement of the man as he scratched his chin. She remembered enough to know that a person was usually thinking something when they made such a gesture and, under the circumstances, it was likely not in her favor. How many drunks have passed out in a place like this? Even if over a handful, she was all too aware of the mysteries and suspicions that must have been painted all over her like black stains on yellow.

 

She had half a mind to excuse herself and head to the bar counter to order a drink. It wouldn’t have been odd. She didn’t know these two and they didn’t know her. That, though, was part of the problem. I don’t know anything. I need to know. When the man spoke, she looked back, catching the chuckle to mimic it. After all, if she had indeed passed out from copious amounts of alcohol, enough to lose her memory by some feat of tragedy, then it might just be as hilarious as horrifying.

 

The bar that they were in seemed sound enough, with its polished decor, fine furniture and the overall presentable outfits and attitudes of its patrons. But what do I know? I could have been planted here by one of these very patrons. At that thought, the woman caught herself as her eyes barely narrowed at the two individuals standing at her table. It was her turn to scrutinize. The guy looked like he had just come out of a bar fight. She had missed the blood before and, if there had been a fight, she had missed that too. Her eyes went from the man to the other woman who had backed his question up. There might have been some drops of doubt in her tone but, genuine or not, both persons probably realized that they ran the risk of rejection if they pried too deeply. Or exposure, for all I know.

 

“Well, if I’m being honest,” she shrugged. “Last night’s quite a fog…” Last night. There was daylight coming through the windows so how long ago was last night? She almost checked her wrist before remembering that there was no watch on it, but an absentminded gaze landed on the clock above the bar that she had also somehow missed before. The needles rounded to three-thirty. She reckoned that it was a fairly early time for folks to continue coming in and out. Then again, the snowy weather outside was far from inviting and, who knew, it could be the weekend. Weekend. I remember days. I remember speech. I remember what a bar is. But not my name..?

 

“The perils of poison, am I right?” She chuckled again, hearing her own nervous laughter. Still, for all they knew she was just a drunken reject who suffered this fate every night. Unless they were responsible for her situation, then they were probably receiving less and less reasons to remain curious. They had checked on her, she was okay—they played the humanitarians and now it was likely time to leave. But not yet. Her stomach rumbled, too loudly for comfort, and she drew her lips over her teeth in some embarrassment. How long ago since I last ate..? This bar clearly catered to food alongside drink, if the focus appeared to be on the latter. Unfortunately, this lady of long lost memories had already patted herself down, and she hadn’t found a coin to call her own.

 

“Um...” She looked aside at the napkins, the silverware and the empty glass that every table was furnished with. Unfortunately, her glass was still empty and there was no substance to sink her fork or knife into. “Sorry, never mind... I—I shouldn't ask...” Cruel, cruel world... The lyrics were all too fitting as they faded from the speakers with a farewell guitar. So cruel it abandoned me without a meal in my belly.

 

Music

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Sound Presence: IC and OOC

 

 

Edited by Die Shize

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When it came to being questioned, it was a lot like dealing with the law. The less you said, the less room the cop had to spin a web that could get you sent to court and locked up later on with a cellmate that ate peoples ears. Everything you said was liable and almost certain to be used against you, no matter how small or insignificant your statement was. Clive had learned that the hard way, and being hard headed caused him to learn it that way multiple times. Even when you were fixing to tell the truth, it was best to just keep your mouth shut and let them make something up. At least that way their report wouldn't have anything solid to go off of and likely wouldn't hold up in court. If you were dealing with a real cop that actually did their job and tried to find the truth, they wouldn't lazily make something up anyway. They'd go out of their way to get the truth and deal justice in the best way they could. It didn't matter how quiet you were.

Clive was by no means a cop. He barely got along with the law enough not to be gunned down as it was, but he learned a thing or two in his formative years when he encountered them as often as he saw the sun. Like how to get a person to start talking about things he had no business knowing. One of the most efficient ways to do this was pretty simple. An offer of communion. He resisted the urge to smile when he heard her stomach growl.

"I'm no detective or anything," said Clive as he placed his thumbs inside his pockets. "But if I heard your stomach rumble as loudly as I think it did just now, I'd say you were about to ask one of us for a bite."

Clive then looked over to the bar, taking note of the prices of the food for the first time since he'd walked in. He'd bought food for many people in the past, but he learned real quick that feeding someone that was genuinely starving was never cheap. They'd often want to order the biggest, juiciest entre' they could find, and it would be rude to hold back after making an offer. Her near request revealed something about her though. She was either broke, or playing him to get a free meal. Both possibilities deserved a bit of delving into if either one was the case, but he didn't want to straight up ask her if she was broke. He wasn't sure if it was just because she was dressed up like a cowgirl, but he got the feeling that asking her that would hurt her pride enough to take offense.

"Tell ya' what." he said, tipping his stetson upwards. Had anyone taken the time to look at the emblem fastened atop the brim, they would see a silver emblem depicting a smiling skull with a bullet between its eyes. To the average person, it was just decor. To criminals that knew what was what when it came to bounty hunters, it was good reason to get gone and fast. "I'm a little hungry myself. If either one'a you would care to join me for a bite, It'd be my treat. I'm new round' these parts and wouldn't mind learning a bit more about the place before I get on my way. I'm kinda blind out here and as you can probably see, that hasn't bode well for me."

Clive initially didn't want to treat the both of them, but only treating the woman seated at the table would surely be suspicious. And creepy. It was worth a shot though, since he'd practically been bumbling around in the dark in search of his mark for the passed few weeks. If he had to spend a few extra bucks to chase a possible lead, so be it. He figured that if the woman seated before them couldn't give him anything, the woman standing beside him could. She seemed like the kind of girl that kept an eye on things that didn't outright concern her, and Clive couldn't have asked for a better candidate. 

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"Well, if I'm being honest..."

That was just it. Was she being honest?

Now it was the blonde's turn to be scrutinized by Lenora's piercing blue eyes. The hint of nervousness that tainted the otherwise genuine laugh was troubling. If it was the truth she was speaking, then why the jumpy nerves? Not only that, but the woman's attire wasn't exactly the most appropriate for the harsh weather. The more she observed her, the more unusual she became. Thinking back on it now, Lenora didn't recall ever seeing the girl around town, and her memory never failed her. Perhaps she was from another town? 

"The peril's of poison, am I right?"

"Right..." Lenora stated, doubt hidden in her tone. The girl seemed fine. If she had drank enough to pass out, then surely she would have felt ill? The only reason Lenora could conjure as to why she would be this way was because they were making her nervous, or she was trying to hide something. 

At the grumble from the woman's stomach and the offer of food, Lenora briefly looked between the two. Normally, she wouldn't find herself dining with a complete stranger -  much less two strangers - but, she was rather intrigued to know a bit more about both of them, and she wasn't exactly trusting of the male beside her.  "I'm game."

"It's quite cold outside. You didn' bring a jacket?" Lenora questioned while looking once more to the woman. It was a simple question, but it would perhaps offer an insight on what she was thinking. It didn't get cold overnight, so she should've known to pack something thicker than the thin fabric of her yellow shirt. 

 

 

 

 

"

 

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Music [Recurring]

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Ambience

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As if suddenly aware that she had a stomach, the woman in yellow placed a hand on her belly and frowned at the man’s words. No escaping it now… What else could she have said? Or have done? She hadn’t a wallet, a purse, a billfold or change in her pocket, and she was hungry. A quick scan around the growing crowd reassured her that if any other soul in this bar was kind enough to treat her to a meal, well, it would probably take some digging to find said soul. Even worse, she’d only add to her list potential candidates to grow suspicious of her and to grow suspicious of them in turn. No, two is enough right now. I can’t take anymore than that. I can barely take myself.

 

It was that man’s turn to reassure her just then. However, with his break in speech as he tipped his hat, the woman sitting down half-expected some horrible catch to whatever deal he was about to broker. If she didn’t have money, she didn’t have anything else on her person that he could possibly want. Or maybe his hand had gestured that he wanted her hat to go with his own. If that was the one condition to get a free meal, that sounded swell enough. Then again, despite not knowing what her own face looked like, she was suddenly afraid that he didn’t want anything on her person at all—so much as her person itself. Gosh, who am I to even think such things!?

 

He wouldn’t see or hear it, neither would the other lady, but the one with the yellow shirt breathed a steady sigh of relief through her nose as the man went on speaking. Offering a meal was one thing, but revealing that he himself was a newcomer came with a dash of satisfaction. If he’s new in town, he won’t know me. She blinked, suddenly wondering whether that was good or bad. If he doesn’t know me...who does? Who can help me to even know myself? There was always the woman standing at the table. Maybe she knew more. Maybe she wasn’t a new person in town like the man. If not like me.

 

She was about to conjure some polite answer and lace it with feigned reluctance when the other woman spoke for her. Phew. All it took was one person to agree for the woman in the yellow shirt to do the same. That made things a lot easier. The following query did not. As she remained sitting down, she could only blink up at the questioner while rattling her brain for a quick response, catching herself stealing a glance back outside the window and the frozen mysteries beyond it. Good question. Why the hell don’t I have a jacket?

 

“Uh…” She looked beside herself, as if having to confirm that no garment was draped over the back of her chair. She tutted. “Ugh, go figure… Guess I lost that too… Probably lying around here somewhere or, hell, it’s now hanging off the shoulders of someone who must have liked it more than I did.”

She shook her head. It was a sound enough theory. Whether she had in fact woken up from an awesome bout of drunken revelry, it seemed all too senselessly sensible for her to have lost her possessions in some drunken stupor. Not waiting for a follow-up response, the woman in yellow cleared her throat and looked back at the man.

“Anyway, food sounds great. Thank you so much. It’s even more embarrassing to admit that I appear to be completely robbed of cash...but I will pay you back, Mister, um..?”

Oh, shit. Now I’ve done it. Did she really have to gesture for a name? Once he introduced himself, perhaps the other woman would too, but in the end they would both turn back to the one in yellow. And if I have a name, I sure as hell don’t know it...

Edited by Die Shize

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Clive could already see himself complaining about his lack of cash in the future, but his easy, practiced smile remained the spitting image of contented happiness. He hoped these two would have some concrete information for him to reimburse him for his troubles. If not, he'd have to stomp down the urge to have a friendly chat with the owner about his shoddy beer selection once the place was closed down. It was an old habit he'd picked up in his younger years when he was still riding around with his old gang. If they paid to eat or drink somewhere that had less than stellar service, they got their money back by robbing the workers after closing. He was certain that if his old pals were alive enough to be with him today, they would've elected to rob the place the moment they took a sip of their first beer.

Another habit he had when he was greener was lying about his name whenever asked. He still did that sometimes depending on the situation, but he'd found it more advantageous to give his real name when it came to meeting new people. There were few things more amusing to him than seeing the look on a criminal's face when they found out they were talking to an acclaimed bounty hunter. Well, not exactly acclaimed in Clive's case. Most people didn't like him because of his unpaid drinking tabs and his tendency to start trouble with ill mannered sorts. Although he'd usually end the trouble with an alarming quickness, people still didn't take too kindly to a man that created a body count anywhere near their town. Luckily, no one in this particular town seemed to know who he was. The emblem on his hat was a dead-giveaway and he couldn't recall anyone giving it an uneasy look as he walked through the town and entered the bar.

"Name's Clive McTeague." said Clive with a curt nod. "An' you ain't gotta call me 'Mister McTeague' or nuthin'. Just Clive is fine."

He motioned for the woman standing beside him to have a seat and hailed down a passing waiter. After being told by the worker that they'd be serviced momentarily, Clived sat down in a seat adjacent to the woman in yellow. He casually looked left and right as he did so to make sure no one was paying him or the women at the table any undue attention. No matter how friendly or clueless someone was acting, there was always the possibility of a setup and there was always a better con. He was also wanted by a few unsavory groups in the towns he'd previously and recently visited, so he made it a point to remain vigilant. 

Realizing it might be a bit before the waiter returned with their menus, Clive decided now was a good a time as any to start asking questions. 

"So." he started, giving each of the women a look. "What're yer' names?"

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Music [Recurring]

Spoiler

Sound Presence: OOC

 

 

Ambience [Recurring]

Spoiler

Sound Presence: IC and OOC

 

 


Clive McTeague. If that name was supposed to ring a bell or two, it didn’t so much as nudge just one. The woman in yellow had no strand of memory for this man’s face or his name as he moved to sit down opposite her. The movement itself had suddenly made her feel uneasy, though she made sure to show none of this as she smiled amiably to receive his gesture. He looked composed, acted casual, appeared capable, though the woman was already spinning webs within her mind as to where to proceed from here. Particularly, what name to give him, I reckon.

 

The woman in yellow looked at the other lady just then to see if she might answer first, and sure enough she had given a response, though it wasn’t the one that either of the other two individuals had expected. It seemed like as soon as this Clive had pulled a chair out for the gal, she gave some kind of hasty apology and excused herself from the table and from her two would be companions all at once. At that, the only woman left sitting could only cock a brow and tell her not to fret. Maybe she forgot that she had to be somewhere else?

 

There was no telling and, unfortunately, no more time to linger. Fortunately for her, just moments ago she had kept her gaze roving around her surroundings as casually as anyone might in a room filled with people. Thus, while Mr. McTeague had still been standing, the yellow-shirted gal in a cowgirl hat had mused on this and that to the beating of her heart. She had glanced once at the napkin near her hands and the bar’s name printed upon it. She had absentmindedly stolen a look at a table closer to the wall but not far from hers, and the ashtray sitting upon it. All of these innocent glimpses, so that when Clive McTeague had beckoned forth her own introduction, her heart hadn’t missed a beat. She was ready for it.

 

“Ashley Grey.” Her smile broadened for a moment as she picked up a menu that the waiter had dropped off and opened it, as much to source for sustenance as to keep her eyes from being read too easily by Clive’s own. “And you ain’t gotta call me Miss Grey or nothin’. Just Ashley’s fine.” Miss Grey. Or is it Mrs. Grey? Oh, who am I kidding? It’s not Grey as much as it’s not Ashley. It’s...it’s no one. I’m No One. No one she might be, but even though her stomach thankfully made no further protest that could be heard, hungry she certainly was.

 

"Thanks again for treatin' me. I'll pay ya back soon as." Her eyes lingered on a steak burger, a steak sandwich and a plain old steak, and it was all she could do to keep her tongue from poking out between her lips and saliva trickling down. "Ha, not sure what I want! Still, never be pickin' at the hand that pays, so whaddya recommend, Clive?" She flipped a page and let it hold her gaze, unable to see his face but wondering if his eyes were on her.

Edited by Die Shize

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Ashley Grey.

Clive raked his memory for the name, trying to match it with anything he'd heard of or seen in relation to the criminals he was paid to hunt. He knew a few women named Ashley and even knew one who also had the last name, but he knew who she was. He'd gotten her locked up a few years ago during a job and she'd been given the guillotine last he'd heard. The woman sitting with him obviously still had her head and looked nothing like her, so he accepted that he didn't know who she was. If she was lying about the name, she was darn good at it. Her face was stoic and unflinching, giving him nothing but what she wanted him to get.

"Nice ta' meet'cha Ashley. " Clive nodded. She seemed courteous and even shared his southern drawl so his interest was peaked a little further than before. He seldom met people like him because they were either too prideful or too afraid to leave their land. The ones that did leave often made a name for themselves or wound up dead at a bar due to being accused of cheating at poker. He'd know. He was never the first to draw over a game of cards, but he was always the first to spot a low-down cheater and the last to leave the table. Whether he left with a body count or not was up to the accused, but it made him feel ashamed to know that so many of his countrymen were so keen on cheating at cards. He decided he’d ask her about her hometown later on. He was pretty certain she wasn’t born here. The town they were in was  far too upper class, and that usually clashed with old-fashioned folk like she appeared to be.

He watched her examine the menu and waited for her to tell him what she wanted. He couldn’t help but feel a little nervous due to his waning funds, but he couldn’t back out now. When she asked him what he’d recommend, he looked up thoughtfully and shrugged, not that she would be able to see it behind the menu she was holding up to her face. He hadn’t stopped in here for the food. He seldom did at any place that sold it. The only thing he made an effort to memorize from any menu was the alcohol selection and the prices of each beverage. He knew nothing of the food. Not wanting to give her an uneducated guess and knowing how women could be when choosing anything in general, he picked up the menu in front of him and scanned the pages for anything that looked good. He preferred home cooking to eating out and usually hunted for his food while out and about, so it felt strange to be looking at the fully decked out pictures of the various meals the place offered. He especially eyed any entrees featuring meat or soup, the pictures making each of them look so good that he wondered if they were actually real. Clive wondered if they tasted better than what he’d hunted. He’d grown adept at using garnish and spices found in the wild to  properly season his food, finding ways to make his meals sweeter, saltier, or straight up bitter. A lot of restaurants weren’t as keen as he was on the lay of the land, so he figured there was a good chance this place in particular had a limited selection of generic, flash-market, seasonings.

“Hm.” he grunted, nodding his head. “That’s a real good question Ashley. I haven’t eaten out in quite a while.”

His eyes focused on a steak platter with sprinkled on top of it. He read the description next to the picture and learned that the spice was a substitute for steak-sauce, giving it that same salty, sweet taste people loved to have with their meat. It bothered him that who ever wrote the description didn’t bother to to give the name of the spice, but it was the closest thing to what he usually ate and it was surprisingly inexpensive for the amount of food they’d get.

“How’s about this steak dinner on page two?” he said, peering over his menu briefly. “S’called the Sweet Tender? Not sure if you’re a vegetarian, but that’s what I’d get if I was you.”

He hoped she wouldn’t take offense at his suggestion, as some of the women he’d eaten with had done in the past. They always got mad when he suggested a meaty dish, saying that it wasn’t proper for a lady to eat food like that. He’d often give them some smart-mouthed rebuttal if he was drunk, saying that no sane man wants to court a toothpick. The communion would usually end with a few curses and a stern slapping when he said that, but he didn’t care. He didn’t like prim and proper types. The world was not a prim and proper place, so it made no sense to him to be trying to act and look like you were a cut above the rest. To Clive, everyone was just an animal at heart, fighting and killing to survive when it came down to it. Wearing a fancy dress and acting hoity-toity would never change that, so he wasn’t going to take nutrition advice from uppity folk that berated him for eating like an animal. It was always Clive's belief that if people ate more meat, they wouldn’t be such skinny, yellow-bellied, cowards that wouldn’t know a hard days work if it punched their teeth back into their throat. 

Clive chuckled a little. He’d seen a kid do that before.

“I think ah’m just gonna git me a dish of some ground beef with garlic though.” said Clive. “It’s not on the menu, but I can’t see why it’d be a problem to give me a burger without all the bells and whistles.”

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IC Ambience [Recurring]

Spoiler

 

 

IC Music

 

Spoiler

 

 

Clive had seemed to accept her name well enough. Good. One less thing to worry about. She didn’t dare sigh out her woe in her sudden discovery that her lack of identity was making her feel like a criminal, or a secret agent at best. Criminal. Secret agent. Am I either or neither? As she went about sourcing a meal alongside her would-be benefactor, he said her name again. She was thankful that her eyes were glued to the menu when they stopped moving and her heart skipped a beat. It seemed somehow off for him to address her again. She couldn’t tell if maybe he was just making sure he familiarized with her name by repeating it, or if she had detected any hint of inflection and doubt in his tone. One moment she was satisfied that the name had worked. Now, not so much. Does he...know? 

 

Ignoring it, without much other option for the moment, she nodded her head at Clive’s suggestion. Well, he knows enough to read my mind about what to eat, at least. “Mmmm now that looks like a taker, all right.”

 

After hearing his own choice, she suddenly felt led on yet again. His sounded like a small picking, off the menu, and yet there he sat recommending one of the more expensive meals for her. She didn’t remember the last restaurant she went to but she must have been to one, because a part of her recognized that steaks were often on the higher price range. What’s the game here, then? Is he testing me? Testing my character? What’s the angle? She wanted to shake her head, dismissing her paranoia, but paranoia was one of the few things about herself that she knew was real. 

 

“Sweet Tender for me. I can dig it.” With that, she closed the menu and set it aside. The waiter came by a moment later to take their orders. She hesitated when he asked her how she wanted her steak cooked. It was a moment of invisible panic on her part. How should I know? Looking away, she struggled to quickly search for an excuse to her debate, and settled on a split-second idea and answered the waiter.

 

“Hmm, I guess that depends on the wine. I’m not much of a wine-drinker but I’d say that the occasion calls for it. What would you recommend for both?”

The waiter smiled. He, at least, was unperturbed. “I’d say your best bet is a Cabernet Sauvignon, a full-bodied red that goes great with your ribeye cut, and let’s make that a medium rare cook. Sound good?” 

 

She nodded.

 

"Fries okay with that?

 

"Sure."

 

“And for you, sir?”

 

Both waiter and woman watched Clive for an answer. Again, she sought to mask the thoughts behind her eyes, using the moment as an excuse to study him. Who are you? What do you know? What do you want?  

Edited by Die Shize

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On 11/21/2019 at 2:32 PM, Die Shize said:

“Mmmm now that looks like a taker, all right.”

Clive gave her a small smile, glad that she wasn't the type of woman to make his kindness a chore. He half-expected her to ask him dozens of question on what the dish was, but she seemed to be the simple type. Simple types were also prone to be to-the-point, but she'd yet to ask him why he'd even bothered talking to her. This was a bit suspicious, but not enough for him to let it show. Patience could crumble a nation. Or at least that's what his old gang leader use to always say when he was trying not to be embarrassed about making passes at the same girl for a year with no result.

When the waiter came by shortly afterwards to take their orders, he asked her how she wanted her steak cooked and gave a peculiar answer. 

The occasion calls for it? thought Clive looking at her with nod. What had she meant by that? Was she that thrilled about being treated to a good meal by some stranger that smelled like an alcohol refinery? Or was she being coy? Clive casually looked out of a nearby window as he slowly drummed his fingers on the table. His eyes remained calm as the search the area outside of the restaurant for any suspicious looking characters. Was this woman setting him up? Did she know him and have some sort of vendetta? He'd killed plenty of husbands, brothers, and fathers throughout his life, so it wasn't completely out of the picture for this woman to be  someone he widowed. He wondered if the special occasion was his death. It was for quite a few people, especially the ones putting out a price on his head in the Underground. Putting a mark out in the open was often the easiest way to kill men like him.

If they were fast enough.

Ashley asked the waiter what kind of wine would go good with the steak and the employee mouthed off some fancy beverage he'd never heard of. Like her, he was never really big into wine, probably because he seldom memorized the name of anything that didn't have him piss drunk within the hour. 

She gave the waiter no further inquiries as he finished taking her order, solidifying the notion that she wasn't a picky woman.  

On 11/21/2019 at 2:32 PM, Die Shize said:

“And for you, sir?”

Clive turned his head away from the window to address the waiter, trying not to crack a smile at his getup now that he was looking at it up close. 

"Ya'll got ground beef with garlic?" Clive asked with a  shrug. "Grass fed if'n ya' got it."

The waiter stared at Clive for a bit as if waiting for the cowboy to bust out laughing, but Clive yielded nothing more than raised eyebrow. 

"Y-Yes, sir." said the waiter, jotting the order down. "Anything else?"

"If ya' wouldn't mind," began Clive, briefly glancing at the bar. "Could I get the strongest beverage ya'll got? One's at the bar remind me'a water."

"I'll...see what I can do." nodded the waiter, obviously not used to the serving people like Clive.

"Much obliged." nodded Clive with a smile. With that, the waiter took Clive's menu and left to attend to his new duties, no doubt getting ready to mouth off to his workmates about a savage man with a gun wanting to get drunk in their high-end restaurant. Clive's eyes followed him until he entered the kitchen, where, upon the thin door being pushed open, Clive saw what looked like a unusually stocky cook staring at them over his shoulder. Hard. It was the kind of look you'd give someone when you were daydreaming about gutting them from grin to groin. He wasn't even paying any heed to the food on the stove in front of him, his hands and body as still as a rock. The cook turned his head the instant Clive made eye contact with him and that's why he was able to notice that the cook hadn't been staring at him before their eyes met. He'd been staring at Ashley.

"So..." Clive said, his eyes glued to the back of the cooks head through the circular window in the door. "You know anybody round' these parts, Ashley?"

 

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