Portal Breach: The Collision of Worlds :: v.4.0


    Shooting the Breeze

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    Shooting the Breeze

    Post by Fear on Sat Jul 25, 2015 10:20 am

    Time: Afternoon
    Date: July 7, 0006



    "Call."

    "Goddamn it!"

    "Fucking shit."

    "What the fuck, man?"

    "For Christ's sake."

    "Pony up or fold 'em, boys."

    There was something about the gambling spirit - the tantalizing allure of spinning Fortune's wheel. The unmistakeable glint of a polished coin... The exhilarating roll of dice... The breathtaking flip of a card. Sinners were naturally drawn to these idols of luck and misfortune, and three were to find themselves claimed by her fickle graces. A flurry of cards went crashing down as plastic chips messily rattled against cheap plywood.

    "Fucking game sucks," huffed one ornery man. This was Larry; he was one of many unsung veterans of the Outer District, a real tough cat to follow. No house, no transport, no paper trail, nothing. He was known for being a poor sport. "I want a new game with new rules, and the first rule should be no stinkin' helmed fuckwits allowed!"

    ...Larry also had a temper problem.

    "Aw c'mon, Larry. You're just bein' a royal pain in the ass." This voice of reason belonged to George. He, unlike Larry, was a rather outstanding vagrant; George made sure to brush his teeth every night and stole only from those who could spare it. "This game is fun, alright? Now shut yer mouth and fuckin' fold yer cards. Everyone knows you ain't got a hand that can beat the rest of ours." George, bless his immortal soul, wasn't a fellow who personally gave to shits about what anyone else said or thought.

    "It could've beaten mine..." But Louie certainly did. New to the block and fresh from gang territory, Louie wasn't a man who crossed anyone. A bit of a coward, really... He tended to agree with whoever was in charge. Mostly to save his bacon.

    "Doubtful," said Joe, scratching at his stubble. "Larry was probably sittin' on a pair of twos."

    "Fuck off, Joe."

    There was nothing spectacular about Joe.

    "Shaddup, the whole lot of you! Except you, of course, ha ha. Alright, you know the rules, boys. The three of you draw straws and let's see who gets sent down under." But there was plenty regarding Eustace; for another time, though. He was today's dealer.

    Larry, George, Louie, Joe, and Eustace. You already knew the other one.

    Do you have all that?

    With a begrudging mumble from all the losers and the winner sitting there quite smug (as usual), Eustace withdrew a can from the mysterious confines of the dealer's pen. "Alright," he grunted, passing it first to Larry. "Send it around and pick yer straw. Whoever draws the short one gets the usual treatment." A collective groan escaped the three gamblers.

    First to draw was Larry. Relief washed over his face. "Whew... not me."

    Next was George. He sat pretty with Larry. "Or me."

    After, Joe. "Me either."

    That left...

    "Fuck me..." Poor ol' Louie.

    And fucked he was, as the winner beside him drew a golden gun. There was the ominous click of a safety that shook the men's bones. "Sssuch awful luck," hissed the winner. "Better luck next week, eh wot? Now'sss the time for lassst wordsss if you have them."

    "M-Mm... I guess I'll be s-seeing you guys next week, h-huh?"

    The men looked at Louie with sorrow.

    Except Larry, of course.

    "S-see you later, Louie."

    "Don't worry, you'll be back before you know it."

    "Tough break, man. You'll do fine down there."

    "I hope you rot in Hell."

    BANG!

    There was a brilliant flash of code and Louie went to enjoy a week-long vacation with the reaper.
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    Re: Shooting the Breeze

    Post by Fear on Sat Jul 25, 2015 11:15 am

    A new hand, a new chance. Larry, Joe, George, and Eustace remained, minus one Louie; none bothered to leave their spots and abandon the game. "Alright, boys. Time to play another round and see who eats a golden bullet," said Eustace. There were perks to being the dealer. Or, simply put, the winner of last week's game. The biggest was having what was known as immunity; bought time on the clock, and Eustace was always for time on the clock. A little different than how the game was normally played, but hey... seven days was seven days. "Blind bet," he urged.

    The first to speak was last round's (notorious) winner. "One day."

    "You cheap fuck, make it two."

    Boom, blinds were ready. Time to see who had the biggest cajones. As per usual, he knew how to shake things up in his own subtle way. "Call." Otherwise known as "I've got you all beat".

    But Joe... Oh, but Joe...

    He took one look at his cards and grinned for all to see. "I see your sneaky shit and raise."

    "Fold." Larry, however, wasn't as confident. He also wasn't greedy.

    "Huh." Look at him, checking his cards again... idly scratching that spindly neck as if he was considering anything at all. Eustace knew better - he always knew better, because a feller like the one before him wasn't no chump. He was playing one of those mind games and ol' Joe was about to meet his maker in the next few minutes. Those unsettling ghastly eyes returned to the cards thrice, the air settling into an uneasy disquiet. "I'll match your raissse and sssee it another two."

    Fuck, that was a total of four days.

    It's how he got them, see!

    "You son-f-a - ! Fuck you, I'll match that!" Joe was a goddamn fool, but do you think anyone could tell him that? His raise was met without much fanfare.

    Now it was time for Eustace to do his thing. Burning the first card to make way for the rest, he flipped the community in neat succession and spoke aloud - "Seven of Clubs, three of Spades, and Jack of Hearts. Check 'em or fold 'em," he grunted. Damn, that was a rather bad deal... but if he knew better, which he did, the shark was about to reel him a feast.

    "Check."

    Sneaky bastard. He's got the winning hand.

    But Joe was stubborn - far too stubborn. He saw six days dangling before his eyes and couldn't resist. "Raise," declared the fool. Eight days... No one was ever that lucky.

    And there went their resident winner, matching Joe's bet in perfect silence.

    Damn it, Joe... fold!

    But it was too late, and here came the burn and turn.

    "Ten of Hearts."

    Joe's elation turned sour, as did his chances of ever seeing those eight days unscathed. Panic besieged his features and his face become pallid. "C-Check..." You dumb oaf. Do you honestly think he's going to let you off the hook so easily, now that you've essentially gutted yourself on the damn thing?

    "Raissse - ten daysss."

    "Fuck you, man!"

    Sigh...

    Suffice to say, Joe didn't have the cards necessary to see the river. He folded his hand and already knew his goose was cooked, and the moment that golden gun resurfaced? Oh yeah, he started sweating where he sat. Fortunately for him, Joe wasn't ignorant of the game's lesser known rules. "S-Smoke break!" he stammered, heart nearly thumping in his throat. By the powers that be, holy or otherwise, the golden gun was lowered (hesitantly) and a every available man withdrew a pack of his favourite smokes. God bless smoke break.

    "You know," he began, lighting his European trash, "that'sss the sssecond time you've done thisss to me, Joe. I'm ssstarting to think that you're buying yourssself time."

    Larry flicked his match and set it aside. "No shit, Sherlock."

    Smoke break was a godsend or a curse. It was a godsend because anyone could invoke their right to a peaceful smoke before getting offed, and it was a curse because they would then realize just how precious those few moments were. Joe took his in stride.

    "Sooo..." he began, puffing away. "What have you boys been up to?"

    Larry grunted, "Fucking your mother."

    Whereas Eustace replied with a tame, "Eh, just tryin' to get by."

    "I sssomehow got drunk off my buttocksss and wound up in sssomeone'sss break room."

    Cue the round of antagonistic "Oooohs~!"

    "Was she pretty~?"

    "Didja two bang?"

    "I bet your asshole is now three sizes too big."

    He just blew a cancerous plume and rasped, "No and no, it'sss the sssame. He, by the way."

    There were disappointed grimaces all around, save for Larry. He was just waggling his eyebrows.

    "Well look at you, the big bad fudge-packer."

    "That'sss what your wife sssaid lassst night."

    "Ha ha! Eat shit, Larry!"

    "Ooooh... you dicking a man, Larry?"

    "Fuck off, all of you..."

    And so they all laughed, four men enjoying a thrilling game of cards, their smokes dwindling all the while. It was a good ten minutes before there was a second - BANG - to match the first's.

    There went Joe, laughing and smoking just as the Almighty intended.
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    Re: Shooting the Breeze

    Post by Fear on Sun Jul 26, 2015 3:11 am

    "Fuck, did I miss anything?"

    "Just sit your ass down, George. That piss break of yours was too damn long and you know it."

    "Eat my shit, Larry - I've got a bladder problem!"

    "Tell that to Joe when he gets back, you yella-bellied coward!"

    "You are about to have another problem in a minute. Deal them, Eussstace."

    And so the game goes on, Lady Luck not yet satiated with two measly souls. This one went the same as before: blind bet was again started with one day, further succeeded by the bigger bet of two days. Larry just wouldn't let this one go. Now came the part where everyone peeked at their two shots at the pot, first starting with their resident chain-smoking powerhouse. Tendrils of European trash and American quality were beginning to meld.

    "Well I'll be damned," he rasped. Another classic trick. "Looksss like you boysss have a ssshot thisss round. I'll match." Of course he would; what grinning schmuck didn't?

    With the bait dangling in wait for eager bites...

    "Yeeeeeah, that's what I'm talking about. I'm matching his bet and raising it another day. Come at me, you helmeted fuckwad!" George was the first to nibble.

    Larry could only tag along for the ride, his face twisted in a sun-damaged scowl. "Fine, whatever," he grunted. "I'll match it too." Now it was the big fish's turn.

    "Alrighty, if that'sss how you want to play, boysss. Match."

    Got 'em.

    It was like swindling booze from your homeless neighbour.

    "Here comes the community, gentlemen - five of Diamonds, Queen of Spades, and Ace of Spades, baby." Cue the air guitar from both George and Larry; big fish over there didn't quite get it. He did however take another furtive gander at his hand and let his smoke dwindle another tenth of an inch.

    "..." Sneaky bastard. Eustace watched very carefully as the big boy feigned disappointment, facing his cards back down. "Check."

    "What's the matter, friend-o~?"

    "Shut up, George. He's playin' ya."

    "No you shut up, Larry. I know a losing hand when I see it and I sure as hell see it! Yo, fudge-packer."

    "Do not call me that."

    "Wah wah, do not call me - hey, how's it feel to be on the losing side for once?"

    "George, I swear to God..."

    "God's dead."

    "Maybe he is, maybe he ain't. All I knows is... raise, fuckheads!"

    You're probably beginning to wonder how a couple of deadbeats managed to rope a tall, imposing, and incredibly sour murderer into playing a round of cards, huh? Long story made short, even murderers enjoyed spicing their killings up a bit.

    "Fuck you, George! I'm raisin' too," huffed Larry. Alright, big fish...

    He peeked at his hand again, further enhancing the gleam in George's eyes. Sucker didn't know when he was being played. "Hmm..." Another tense couple of seconds, followed by a - "Well, you might jussst have me beat, but I'll sssee it through. Match."

    Eight days, yet again.

    There was something magical about that number. Here came the burn and turn.

    "King of Spades."

    "Whoo, baby! I'm about to score me a whole eight days!"

    "We'll sssee about that. I'll raissse by three daysss."

    This is the part where any sensible fellow knew when to accept defeat and fold. Larry was such a fellow. "Hell, I bet he's got a damn straight or flush," he grumbled. Queen, King, and Ace on the table? Tch, count his sorry ass out. "Best I had was a pair of Queens."

    "Three days? Hah, you're full of corpse shit! I'll take that raise and raise it three more!" George shouted.

    "Mhm."

    Talk about a high stakes game. Here came the part where their foul-smelling undertaker positioned himself to collect yet another impulsive soul. "You've got ssstonesss, George, I'll give you that. Matching hisss three daysss and raisssing it to an entire month."

    That's all Larry needed to hear. "Yep, it's a flush."

    "Fuck no, it ain't! I'll match that bet. Let's see the river, Eustace!"

    "Alright, alright! Cool your horses, sheesh." Burn the card and, for dramatic pause...

    Boom, here came the river.

    "Three of Spades."

    That was good enough for George. "YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! FUCK YOUUUUUU! I GOT A FLUSH, BABY." He leaped off his duff and flipped off their smoking fiend, adding a few eager pelvic thrusts to the Man. "Fuck you and the horse you rode on, fucker! I just beat the Horseman at his own goddamn game, WHOO." And true to his words, that was indeed a flush - two of hearts and a four of spades.

    "Huh... so George had the flush?" Eustace was just as surprised as Larry.

    As for the Horseman, well...

    "Drink."

    Oh boy.

    Whenever the Horseman said 'drink', as rare as it was, that was oftentimes code for: A) I lost, so here's this celebratory drink on me; or B) I'm just a thirsty dickwad and want cheap American liquor. Seeing as how he didn't reveal his hand and was dragging things out for dramatic effect, it was probably the latter. Eustace complied all the same, supplying everyone with shot glasses and your average whiskey. "Smoke 'em if ya got 'em," he grumbled.

    George was all laughs as he accepted his glass. "Can't take the heat?" he said, antagonizing the one person you did not cross. His whiskey was gone in a single gulp, the burn fueling his elation. "Guess you owe me a month's time on the clock, ha ha!"

    "I still think he's playin ya..." muttered Larry, downing his.

    The Horseman, meanwhile, was cryptic as usual.

    He took his glass with a straw and hissed, "Nah, but you sssure won't when you are chilling with ol' Nick." Before George could even utter an insult or demand clarification, those long nasty fingers flipped the Horseman's cards one-by-one. "Read them and weep, George: Jack of Ssspadesss, ten of Ssspadesss."

    "HA HA HA! HE FUCKING BEAT YOUR FLUSH WITH A STRAIGHT FLUSH, HOLY SHIT."

    "W-Wha..."

    "And that is exactly why I don't bet when there's a month on the table."

    But all wasn't so bad. The Horseman wrapped one of them sickly arms around a stammering, ghost-white George and brought him close, almost in a comforting hug. "At leassst you got a drink before you went on your way," he rasped. Damn sadist... There was a familiar glint of gold as an icy barrel pressed itself against George's scalp.

    "I... I guess I, uh, die now...?"

    "Bingo."

    BANG!

    Bye-bye George.
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    Re: Shooting the Breeze

    Post by Fear on Tue Jul 28, 2015 4:59 pm

    BANG!

    Time was up for poor Eustace.

    "Looksss like you are thisss week'sss winner, Larry. Congratulationsss; the clock ssstartsss now."

    "Jesus SHIT. Do you honestly have to fire that thing off in my goddamn ears!?"

    Four more souls for the reaper, four less souls to walk the streets of Portal City. So it was decreed and so it shall be, though Larry wasn't much for caring about rules or proper etiquette. He simply lit up another fine American cigarette and was determined to not do much of anything throughout his "new" lease on life. "Eh, so I won..." grunted Larry. "Funny, because I don't really feel like much of a winner."

    The towering abomination to life itself, otherwise known as the "Horseman" around these parts, only grunted back, "You are too cynical, Larry. Think of it thisss way: you've ssseven more daysss to do whatever it isss you fancy yourssself doing. That isss far more daysss than what the othersss can boassst." Larry never did like the Horseman's booming voice, nor the nonchalance in his usual tone. Probably something to do with immortality and arrogance... The vagabond was quick to wave the creature off.

    "So?" he answered gruffly. "At least the others get a seven-day vacation from the hustle and bustle of trying to find food, or shelter, or water, or just some place decent; preferably out and away from the local gangs'. Y'know, all the shit that normal people have to worry about?"

    "Not really, no."

    Yeah, definitely the immortality and arrogance.

    Larry could only bite down on his smoke, irritated. "Of course you wouldn't, of course you wouldn't... You just like to go around killin' people; boppin' 'em on the head, shootin' 'em in the head - hell, throwin' them metal things and watching their body parts go flyin'. Fuck, you're no better than the rest of us, y'know that? Just another cog in the system, grinding away until there ain't nothin' else to grind."

    "An interesssting analogy," hissed the Horseman.

    "You goddamn right it is." Callused heels scraped against heated asphalt as Larry reposition his seated posture, the transient used to sidewalk lounging. "Hell, I got this whole place figured out. I even got you figured out."

    The Horseman probably didn't like the sound of that, if his tone was indication to go by. "You are jussst a sssinner, Larry," rasped he, oh high and mighty. "You do not know anything beyond your odiousss mannerisssmsss. You, like all the othersss, are dessstined for a life of iniquity."

    "And I guess you just take out the trash, huh?"

    "I sssuppossse ssso, yesss."

    Sarcasm was at times lost on the reeking stiff.

    Another incredulous snort escaped Larry's chapped lips. "Tch... life of iniquity... That's just fancy talk for: I need a reason to kill you all so here it is. Surprise! I hereby deem you guilty of some arbitrary rule and therefore am able to dispose of you as I wont. Yeah, sure. I don't got you figured out."

    The Horseman really didn't like that. There was a flash of gold as he began reloading his firearm, a single bullet inserted into its chamber.

    "Mhm."

    But do think Larry sure as hell cared? "Mhm yourself, buddy. What, you think you're going to scare me with that gun of yours? Please..." the man huffed, both arms crossing over his tattered shirt. "Shoot me, then. I don't give a shit. You think I give a shit? This place doesn't give a shit, them people peeking out from their neglected windows don't give a shit, and neither does anyone else for that matter. So you shoot me in the brains and paint the walls with 'em; I'll just be back in seven days and saying the same crapola, just like all the other folks you work so hard to cull."

    Something the grumpy homeless man had struck a nerve, because the Horseman... paused. Yeah, just like that. He looked up from his trusty firearm and shifted his unsettling gaze upon Larry, hissing, "...You know, Larry, you have a mighty big chip on your ssshouldersss."

    "Yeah? And who told you that, Sherlock?"

    "No."

    "It's a fucking joke, dingus. Anyway, are you going to shoot me or not? I don't got all day to be sittin' here waitin' for a strugglin' horseman to cap my unshaven ass."

    "I am not ssstruggling."

    There were a small handful of men who laughed in the face of death - Larry was one of them. "Ha ha!" He coughed a few times on his own bitter smoke and roughly slapped the Horseman on his bony back. "Sure, sure. And I've got a mansion filled with blackjack and hookers, mountains of cocaine as far as the eye can see."

    Click!

    Oh look, there went the safety. It was regarded with indifference.

    "Pffft... Going back on your own rules, huh? Figures. You "kill everything" types aren't one for honour and truth. No, that's for us sinners." Shots were fired.

    "I beg your pardon?" Though the Horseman had always been a pinch slow on the draw...

    "What are you, dumb and deaf with that tin can on yer head?" heckled Larry. He threw his spent butt out onto the road and casually lit another. "Like I said, I got you figured out."

    "Oh really." Everyone was a skeptic, even raving lunatics like this chump.

    Larry nodded. "Sure do, pal. For starters, you're like a damn dog chasing cars; dog doesn't know any better, so he goes and chases them because that's all he knows. To him, that's being a dog. Why question it? Things seem fine enough. But to the car? Car isn't even aware of the dog's existence. Car doesn't even really care. And no matter what that dog does, be it sink his teeth into its bumper or get smeared all over the pavement, nothing will ever change the car's perspective. It'll keep being a car and it'll keep on doing what it's meant to do, completely untouched by the dog's endeavours."

    Another pause - remember that part about the Horseman being slow? "...I do not think I underssstand."

    "Thought not; you're a dog, you don't know any better and you think you're making a difference in all the world. But ya really ain't... You and that other one, the sheep-headed guy, go around these parts and kill a couple dozen or so. Nothing ever bigger than fifty people. But you come in here and go about it all the same, chasin' them cars and feeling accomplished when you actually get a taste of one. You pat yourself on the back for a job well done and go wherever it is that you go." Larry took a long drag of his cigarette, idly scratching at his stubble. What was he saying again...? Oh right, dogs and cars. "But let's be honest with ourselves," he continued, "you and that other guy aren't so much as making a dent here. You kill them people, they just keep coming back. It's how this place works. Ain't nothin' you can do about it."

    "Then we will keep purging them, asss isss proper. You sssseem to think that my brother and I are not aware of how sssinnersss return, Larry. That isss arrogant of you, and ignorant. No matter the circumssstance of thisss vexing world, we will sssee it judged. You cannot ssstop death." Eloquent enough, but Larry wasn't finished.

    He retorted with a simple, "And you can't stop life, either."

    "It hasss been done before, back on our world, and it ssshall be done again."

    "And did people on your world respawn in seven days?"

    Silence.

    Bingo. Got the smelly bastard tangled in his own crazy logic.

    "Uh-huh... Like I said, a dog chasin' cars. You ain't ever going to rid this place of life - not entirely. Sure, you might kill a bunch of poor fucks and think yourself and your philosophies validated, but they'll just come back and - you know what else? - breed. That's right, tinhead. You and the other guy cannot possibly kill everyone off fast enough to stave birth rates. You can't even stave off the arrival of newcomers, either! There's always gonna be an influx of fresh faces and new life, and you're always going to be chasin' after 'em. Boy, that sure sounds like a shitty hand to me. I'd almost pity ya if I didn't think you were a big asshat." Any second now... Any second, as Larry could practically hear those rusty gears in the Horseman's head creak along.

    Three...

    Two...

    Cr-crrk... And there went the safety, back up and keeping that single bullet from finding its way into Larry's head. "Mm... I think you ponder too much about the bussssinesssss of othersss, Larry. You ought to ssstick with your own." AKA: I don't like this conversation and I want a subject change. Well that's just too darn bad.

    "You big fuckin' baby," huffed the vagabond. There was blood in the water and his sniffer knew where to go. "Look at you, sittin' on your emaciated ass and shootin' the shit with a homeless deadbeat. Y'know what, Horseman? Yer just like us."

    "Oh Heavensss no..."

    "Quit your whinin' and stop rubbin' that metal forehead. And give me that European trash yer smokin'!" Larry probably did it now, but he didn't care. Before the Horseman could object or move with those sluggish reflexes of his, the disgruntled hobo reached up and snatched the smouldering cigarette from the creature's grinning helmet.

    "That doesss it, Larry. You have gone too fa - "

    "Oh hush," he grunted, throwing his cig out as well. "I'm gonna give ya somethin' so you don't sound like such a piss-baby, hold on." Now where did he put that... aha! Plastic noisily crinkled against the man's leathery fingertips, a bag withdrawn from his left pocket. Something reeked from within, though the Horseman was never hot with smell. "Alright," said Larry, reaching inside, "I know how you feel about this shit, but trust me. One little puff of this and all your woes are goin' to magically melt. I know, I know... I'm just too good to you."

    It was the Horseman's turn to quietly snort. "Debatable."

    "Shut yer metal trap. Here." Larry shoved a three-inch piece of what appeared to be rolled up paper into the Horseman's grotesque hand. Jesus, those paws were huge. Huge enough for a big dumb oaf who looked as if he had just been given pornographic material for the first time. "...Quit starin' at it and put it to your lips, alright? This shit ain't gonna smoke itself."

    "Mm..." Fortunately, the Horseman did what he was told (though hesitant) and leaned in closer when Larry offered a light.

    "Theeeeere ya go," he smiled, lighting one for himself. The plume of smoke venting from his nostrils held the aroma of something that most likely wasn't tobacco. "Just sit back and let the magic flow through you, baby. It'll help with the stick wedged up yer ass." It was certainly helping with Larry's.

    Puff, puff, puff...

    "Huh. What'sss in thisss, Larry?" asked ye olde asshat. "I feel a little... odd."

    "Oh, that's just the THC; I got the good stuff this time, ha ha."

    "...THC?"

    "Hah! Smile, fucker, because yer smokin' some good ol' Mary Jane!"

    "..."

    Blaze it, tinhead, because your world was about to be rocked in the next ten minutes.
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    Re: Shooting the Breeze

    Post by Fear on Sat Oct 31, 2015 4:41 pm

    "Berk! Berk berk berk! BERK."

    "Ha ha, what's the matter with ya, tinhead? Are ya a yippy shit Chihuahua or are ya a real mean, vicious German Shepherd!? C'mon, put your bony back into it!"

    "WOOF!"

    "Whoa shit, talk about surround sound."

    Cars came and cars went, though neither driver nor passenger gave a quick glance at the two smoking men sitting on the sidewalk, willfully ignoring the sounds of loud barking and general tomfoolery. To them, it was just another typical day of craziness that characterized Portal City so. But for the two men enjoying a puff and having nothing else better to do... Well, every dog has his day.

    There sat Larry, huffing and puffing away on his joint; the man hadn't a care in all the world. And there sat the Horseman, as slow as molasses but nevertheless enjoying this strange, wonderful (and highly questionable) substance. Together, they were just a couple of bums helpless in the throes of existence.

    "Hu hu hu..."

    "And what the fuck are you laughing about?"

    "I can't help it, Larry. Everything jussst ssseemsss ssso funny."

    Poor bastard.

    If there was a joke somewhere, Larry must have missed it. He calmly grunted and would rather nurse his smoldering doobie than laugh. Still, the grimy man couldn't help but ask, "What, you never smoked ol' Mary Jane before? Gotta loosen up, because nobody likes a tightwad."

    "No, can't sssay that I have," confessed the Horseman. Figures, figures. A concealed mouth happily took another deep inhale, Larry watching with amazement. Guess a Horseman doesn't really need to breathe... "Thisss ssstuff wasss banned long before I joined the ranksss. In fact, anyone who had contraband wasss killed on the ssspot. It cut the needlesssss time and effort for paperwork." Sounded like a real shitty world...

    Larry shrugged, not particularly fazed or taken by surprise. "So it's okay if you do it now, huh?"

    At that, the Horseman paused. Drug-addled gears creaked and he replied, "Well yesss." At least he was an honest mass-murdering creep. The marijuana must have helped loosen up those rotten, stiff joints. Wonder what else it would make him say? "I mean, it'sss not like thingsss from my world have crossssed over. You're ssstill alive, I'm ssstill missssing two of my brothersss, and... and, like, there'sss jussst not much elssse to do, you know? I try to purge you bloody pessstsss and you jussst keep coming back, and back, and back, and..."

    "I get the point, I get the point," said Larry, fanning his hand. There was no pity on his end. He regarded the reeking creature and continued, "Y'know, I just don't get you at times."

    "And why'sss that?"

    Of course the Horseman would ask something so dumb.

    Larry indulged him, albeit gruffly. "Because yer just one big walking hypocrite, that's why." Let the truth be spoken, amen. "And don't act all hurt about what I just said, because you know it's fucking true. I mean, killing all the living? ...Really? Newsflash, you tin-headed asshole: you'll never be able to purge everyone. Sure, sure... let's humour your piss-baby ass and suppose you rid this entire world of life. What then? You and your brother gonna head out into space and repeat the process over, and over, and..."

    "I get the point, I get the point." My, how the tables have turned. Leaning forward on his spindly legs with both monstrous palms holding up his head, the Horseman loudly sighed as he balefully looked ahead. The aroma of fresh grass lay heavily upon his rancid breath. "It'sss a conundrum, I know. All I want to do isss jusssst kill, isss that ssso hard to underssstand? Sssinnersss like you automatically asssssume that it'sss in my nature, and maybe it isss? But hear me out, Larry. I come from a world where killing is sssecond nature. Hell, I wasss raisssed to kill and dissspensssse punissshment upon the guilty. Killing isss all I know, all I'm moderately good at. There wasss never any time to go out and learn a hobby or expresssss interesssst in anything other than doing my job."

    Yep, that's the marijuana working its magic. Though he told himself not to, Larry kept indulging his morose spook. Not much else planned for today, aside from rummaging in a few dumpsters and pissing in alleyways... "I sure as shit ain't gonna feel sorry for you, because you're an asshat and you go around killin' people like yer some holy avenger from up on high," he grumbled. "But I'll hear ya out. I'll even give you my two cents - that's two cents, not whatever European trash you fancy with."

    "Blesssss you."

    "Okay, so, you come from a shit-stain of a world. Got it. Awesome. But that world sure ain't this one, right?"

    "Right."

    "And I assume yer boss sure ain't on this one too, right?"

    "Uh-huh."

    "...Uh-huh? That makes you a free man... thing, you dipshit! I mean, think about it! There ain't no boss constantly hounding at you to work, work, work. You can't really kill people like you used to, so it's moot to chase after them like a dumb dog after cars. You can practically do what you want, when you want! That's a sweet deal." Larry took a massive hit on his smoke, his nostrils burning. "And," he added, eyes steadily growing bloodshot, "there ain't no one - no one - who's gonna fucking take whatever you want to do, whenever you want to do, away from ya. This world's got plenty of opportunity, Horseman. If you want to stagnate and do fuck all, cool. That's your shitty business. But if ya wanna take up a trade? Or maybe pursue a hobby of interest? Shiiiiit... who's gonna stop ya?"

    It didn't take long for the Horseman to crash Larry's uplifting speech. "My brother," he answered.

    It also didn't take long for Larry to shout, "Fuck your brother! What are you, tethered at the hip? No! If your brother's got a problem with you doing different things, fuck him. You're your own man, so act like it, god. You fucking military-types are the worst."

    "Well, Larry, my brother isss all I have left. We took an oath, sssee. It'd be wrong to abandon him becaussse I - "

    "And did I say 'abandon'? I sure as hell didn't. Look, Horseman; so your brother is all you have left. So you're missing two of your genocidal gang. You can't wait forever and a day for them to arrive, or for your brother to suddenly turn around and embrace everything you do."

    "I could wait forever and a - "

    "Sure, but would you?"

    Again, silence.

    Larry took it upon himself to voice the Horseman's answer. "No, you wouldn't. You wouldn't wait forever and a day for them," he muttered. "And I'll tell ya why: waiting is ass. Waiting for an eternity is even bigger ass. You wait for those chumps to surface or for your brother to get on the same page, and yer gonna be miserable. I just know it, Horseman. Listen to ol' Larry when I tell you not to fucking wait. Do yer own thing and be proud about it. Make your mistakes, discover new things, and just experience, man. That's all life is, one uncertainty to the next." There was a pause. "Or, well, in your case, existence. Boy, I don't pity everlasting life one bit."

    There must have been something that Larry said, something that managed to get through all the smoke and booze from today's game. The Horseman looked over to his sweaty, unkempt companion and hissed, "Isss that why you're like thisss?"

    "Eh? What are you on about, piss-head."

    "Why you're ssso resssentful of life - of everything," the bucket-wearing fiend pressed.

    Larry immediately blew him off. "Man, fuck you. I ain't resentful of nothin'. I do my own thing and that's enough for me. There ain't a thing in this world that I - "

    "It ssstingsss, doesssn't it? Knowing that no matter what you do, what you accomplissssh, there will alwaysss be thingsss beyond our control. It wasssn't your fault, you know. Sssometimesss thingsss jussst... well, happen." And that's when Larry knew - he knew - when the Horseman had seen right through him. He stammered, fright overcoming his features for the first time throughout all of their conversation.

    "How... How..."
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    Re: Shooting the Breeze

    Post by Fear on Sat Oct 31, 2015 6:44 pm

    "Psssychic," answered the Horseman, tapping a rotten, yellow fingernail against his metal helmet. "A blesssssing and a curssse, ha ha. It'sss an incredibly ussseful trait when ferreting out liesss and truthsss from ssstubborn sssinnersss, but it'sss alssso dreadfully noisssy." Huh, you learn something new everyday... In Larry's case, he learned the concept of having no mental privacy. It irked him more than finding his stash of smokes having been stolen in the middle of the night.

    He grunted, "Eh... A warning woulda been nice, ya know."

    A resonating chuckle disturbed his thoughts, as well as his patience. "Ha ha... no can do, friend-o. I can't exactly turn thisss off like a ssswitch, ssso you'll have to excussse my innate curiosssity. Besssidesss..." The Horseman shrugged and his many chains rattled. Goosebumps traveled up Larry's spine and arms. God, he hated hearing the sound... It was the melody that saw many people killed in the darker, lonelier hours. "You lisssstened to me gripe and now I'm going to lissssten to you. Might asss well, yesss? Time isss meaninglesss in the grave, ssso kindly chat to your sssinful heart'sss content."

    "And if I don't want to, Your Honour?" Stubborn is as stubborn does. The disheveled transient would rather drown out his woes with a good bottle or a warm fire, staring up at the stars. Hell, even taking a relieving piss was more preferable to talking with some maniac.

    "Aww, Larry, that rather hurtsss my feelingsss... Maniac? Come now, let'sss not be ornery."

    "Hey! HEY, get that rotten arm off me, you fuckin' creep!"

    But, it was too late. Larry was powerless in breaking free of the Horseman's otherworldly grip, and the marijuana had already made him sluggish long, long ago. He futilely squirmed and eventually gave up. "Eh... this is goddamn queer as shit."

    "Ha ha!" There was a squeeze, Larry's eyes bulging and his chest smothered. "You sssay the darnedessst thingsss, Larry. Jussst quit your moaning and loossssen up. Nobody likesss a tightwad, isssn't that right?" Fucking scumbag. "Come on, then. Let'sss have a look at the picture."

    "What picture?"

    "Oooh, hard to get... I sssee, I sssee. The picture in your left pocket, painssstakingly kept immaculate in the tattered remainsss of your wallet. Ring any bellsss?" Fucking scumbag!

    His goose was cooked, his cover blown. There was no point in resisting against a psychic. Though he wasn't quite happy with his predicament and being compelled to obey, there was just... just something about the Horseman that charmed Larry so. It was probably some underhanded supernatural hijinks, but it's not like Larry was eager for a golden bullet between the eyes. He reluctantly reached for his left pocket and withdrew a badly-worn wallet, stained by too many fluids to label and desperately in need of repair of replacement. As the last memento of the world he was forced to leave behind, it was never to leave his side. A calloused thumb flipped it open, revealing several defunct credit cards, a New York state I.D., and pictures - lots of them. Pictures of dogs, of friends, of family and -

    "Ah, and there they are," rasped that smelly, leather-wearing freak. He leaned closer, far too closer for Larry's comfort, but there was nothing to be done. Metal pressed against flesh, the Horseman vying for a better look at the tiny piece of Larry's history; the latter remained highly uncomfortable. "Your wife and kidsss, yesss? And look, there'sss Fido too. You know, I've never underssstood family mechanicssss. Wasss it, you know, enjoyable? While it lasssted?"

    Larry huffed, wanting nothing more than to beat the shit out of the Horseman and to return to wallowing in his own misery. "His name was Beauregard, and yer an insensitive prick, ya know that? Yes, it was enjoyable. I... I fuckin' loved them. Beth and I, we... we were supposed to - "

    "Sssend the kidsss off to a nice upper Manhattan ssschool and invessst in their future. Yesss, I know. You were a fairly ssssuccessssful bussssinesssman, weren't you? What wasss it you sssold... Ah, textilesss and related machinery. Your wife wasss a rather good lawyer, though you felt ssshe ssshould have dessserved fairer treatment by the judicial sssyssstem. That'sss a plight I can directly relate to." And just like that, Larry added yet another detested thing to his list of detestable things: psychics. He had always thought them fictitious or frauds. Well, now he knew better.

    "And what would you know about that," he nearly spat. One of the Horseman's disgusting fingernails kept him from snapping the wallet shut, further adding to Larry's growing indignation. "All you do is kill, kill, kill. You don't know a thing about having someone special - you admitted it yourself! So get the fuck out of my head and mind your goddamn business."

    A loud tinny snort came from yours truly. "That'sss not true," disagreed the Horseman. "I can underssstand what it'sss like to have sssomeone ssspecial. Here, look!" And before Larry could even shout 'no', the unseemly ghoul reached into one of his belt's many pouches and retrieved... a picture. And boy, what a picture it was. Larry wasn't even sure what he was looking at.

    "U-Um... is that you in a - what the fuck... what the fuck? Who in the hell is that ugly green lady in the dress!?"

    "Ha ha! I'll tell him you sssaid that. It'll light a fire underneath hisss ssscaly buttocksss."

    "...Him?"

    Suddenly, that 'fudge-packer' comment from earlier was echoing loud and clear. Which, of course, got the Horseman to yet again snort. "And what of it?" he remarked, as if to directly challenge Larry's firebrand temperament. Those fingernails steadily began to dig themselves further into Larry's clothing, their pointed tips quickly on the edge of being painful. Ai, ai! Message received! "Hisss name isss Kev, and he'sss my little sssinful buddy. I really want to throttle him at timesss, but I find hisss company endearing enough. We were having a giggle one night in front of Livewire - ssshe'sss a cyberwhat'sssit; ssssome kind of ssspace robot. I don't quite underssstand it mysself, but ssshe'sss a good lasssss and I alssso enjoy her presssence. There'sss alssso my brothersss, but... eh, it'sss like you sssaid, Larry. We're our own men and we enjoy different thingsss. I ssstill care for Mortisss very much, though. Alwaysss found him to be the mossst reasssonable." How strange that the Horseman didn't mention the other two...

    By now, Larry officially stopped all his resisting, both physically and verbally. The man was far too interested in their current topic of discussion to swear the Horseman off. "...Huh. I never would have, uh, thought you one to mingle nicely with others. Half the time you're usually waving around that golden gun and blowing people's brains out..."

    "Ha ha!" Secondhand smoke blew everywhere. "That'sss only becaussse I cannot kill people in the Sssanctuary. I'm rather forced to engage in conversssation... It wasss irritating at firssst, but now I find it a good break from my otherwissse monotonoussss exisssstence. You're right about one thing, Larry: immortality isss not what it isss cracked up to be. Hey, that remindsss me..." Otherworldly eyes glanced down at the man's photo, metal pressing against Larry's cheek for a second time. Ugh, that nauseating smell... "You know what you sssaid about not getting me?"

    Larry blinked. "Yeah, I do. Why?"

    "Well, I don't get you." Oh boy... "Think about it," rasped the Horseman, drawing away. "Here you are, a once-sssuccessssful busssinesssman and caring father of two young babesss, sssquandering all of what you've learned, gained, and lossst. Look at you, man - you are sssitting on a sssidewalk, covered in filth and pisssss, and do nothing but drink, sssmoke, and ssswear all day. Yet you have the ssstonesss to lecture me on being a hypocrite? HA! That isss frankly too funny." So that's what the grinning bastard had been laughing at. Warmth yet again surged to Larry's cheeks, but the Horseman's chilling aura somehow kept the brunt of his unfiltered tongue at bay.

    "Laugh it up, asshole." Well, most of it at bay. "Don't sit there and tell me that you wouldn't fall to pieces after having lost your wife and kids, even your goddamn dog, as the world blew up or some shit like that. So I had a pretty well-put-together life; none of that matters anymore... Nothing I do matters. I'm just Larry, a vagabond with no home, no fortune, and no family. I'm just... Larry."

    Here, the Horseman rubbed his emaciated neck, leathery fingertips scratching against the weathered metal of his collar. Why did he wear that thing, anyway...

    "Hmm, I sssupposssse that doesss make sssenssse, yesss..."

    "You're goddamn right it does."

    "But even if it doesss, doesss that necessssarily make it right? ...Come again? The Horseman must have seen the confusion in Larry's eyes. "Alright, ssso you've pretty much lossst everything and now you are ssstuck on an alien world with no income, no career, no loved onesss, and no purposssse. Doesssn't mean you have to sssimply give up, yesss? And before you ssstammer - I know what you are thinking, Larry - that isss not to sssay that you forget everything in your passst and jussst ssstart over. Of courssse not! While you are a sssinner and a pissss-for-nothing, ssshit-ssspewing, cantankeroussss assshole of a man who doesss nothing all day except ssshout and holler, you are assssuredly not an oath-breaker. You're not like the othersss, Larry, ssso why lower yourssself to their disssagreeable ssstandardsss? Why not pick yourssself back up, take a bath, and get out of the thisss area? You do realize that the only reassson I keep returning to purge you lot isss becaussse you don't have the common sssenssse to better yourssselvesss and make an honessst living - oh how horrible to think - in the protected zone?" Ladies and gentlemen, the Horseman and his exercising brain.

    It was like a light bulb had gone off in Larry's head. "I, well... I never really... thought of it that way. Well, I did, but - "

    "But you felt that you didn't dessserve it. Yesss, I know. That isss a common ssstruggle for sssomeone down on their luck. Ssstill, I think you would do well to take a ssshot and clean your image," encouraged the fiend. "After all, are you really doing your family'sss memory a ssservice by having fallen ssso far from grace? What if they return and sssee you like thisss? Will you be able to live with yourssself?"

    "N-No... I guess not, now that you've put it..."

    "Ssso what are you going to do about it?"

    And lo, for the longest time in a good while, Larry's mind began to reevaluate his livelihood with a serious air. "I... I..." No words came tumbling out, his voice unable to meet the Horseman's question. Instead, he took a deep inhale and asked, "Okay, wait, wait. Why are you telling me this? Aren't you, ya know... all about killing people and taking great pleasure in it? What's in this for you?" Gotta... Gotta stay suspicious, gotta stay one step ahead of the game!

    "Nothing," shrugged the Horseman. "Whether you take my advice or not, it mattersss little to me. I, Larry, am an eternal force of nature - a bringer of death in all itsss fassscinating formsss. Asss sssuch, I am to be removed from the daily plightsss of mortalsss and their puny triflesss. But you... Ahh, but you have yet to ssshed your mortal coil. There'sss ssstill much you can enjoy, much you can learn. Perhapsss it would be nice if you took our dissscussssion to heart and removed yourssself from my unending tasssk? It would be damn decent of you, and you'd be ssspared a habitual vacation down there." A bare, rotten heel lightly thumped itself against cracked asphalt. "You would no longer be a problem, a chore. You would be the determiner of your own fate. I asssk you, Larry, doesssn't that sssound nice?"

    Though it was a weak nod, Larry agreed. "Y-Yeah, I guess it does, huh?" He paused, sniffing and reaching up to rub his nose against the soiled sleeve of his jacket. "Ya know what, Horseman, yer not all that bad... Yer a right fucker and annoying as tits, but yer not... bad." But the killing people fetish, oh... Now that was just plain evil.

    It's not like the Horseman cared, though. A job was a job to him, and he was going to carry it out to his fullest potential. Admirable, if not gravely misguided. "Well, asss much asss I've enjoyed our chat, I mussst be off," he hissed. The rigid arm unwrapped itself from Larry's shoulder and up the tin-wearing murderer went, his smoke nearly reduced to cinders. "I've got thingsss to do and sssinnersss to purge. And you, Larry, undoubtedly have thoughtsss that require your undivided attention. Before I go, however..."

    Uh-oh... Larry knew that tone of voice like the back of his hand.

    "Mind handing me another one of thossse, ha ha, sssmokesss? Come now, Larry, don't be ssstingy. I know you've got sssome more in that jacket of yoursss. Do a man a sssolid, will you?"

    Figures.

    "Yeah, yeah... Here," Larry begrudgingly obliged, pressing a rolled up doobie into the Horseman's expectant hand. God, those fingers were just... ugh. "Take it and get out of my sight. I'm beginning to smell like grass and corpse shit, thanks to you."

    "Ha ha! Ssstay ssalty, Larry."

    "Stay as uptight as ever, fuck-face."

    But if the transient thought to be rid of his present company and yet again be left to his own devices... The Horseman had only shambled a few meters away before looking over a toothy shoulder, that unsettling chill once more taking hold of Larry's aching bones. "And Larry?"

    "Yeah?"

    "Enjoy your ssseven daysss. I hope you make the mossst of them."

    For the second time in the span of an hour, Larry found himself lapsing into a pensive quiet. Teeth bit down upon his smoke, his brow furrowing into a deep, sweaty knot. "See ya around, Horseman, see ya around," he answered, nonchalant. See you around...

    ...Maybe.

      Current date/time is Tue Sep 26, 2017 2:13 pm