A Hobo's Lament
A Hobo's Lament
Summary: Timon wanders the Carina in various stages of drunkeness, talking women with Lysander and literature with Zia.
Date: 73 ACH
Related Logs: None

Timon is sitting on the edge of the dock. Drinking. He's sipping from a bottle of Aerelon-grown wine. But, judging from the yellow-ish liquid in the bottle, what it contains is not the fine red vintage the bottle proclaims. The top shelf liquor goes fast these days. He's scavenged what he can, in a memory of something finer.

Lysander is making his way over from the sports courts, studying his left hand rather carefully for now. Glancing up to look around, he offers a nod to the man on the dock, a bit thoughtfully.

<Trait Roll> Timon rolls Music and achieves a degree of Fair (3).

As Lysander makes his way closer to Timon, he might detect the sound of humming. It's a military cadence, though he hums it with an incongruously carefree melody. He takes another sip, and starts singing. He doesn't have a bad voice, though it's nothing to rush to record. "~A soldier went east - and went west! ~He was boxed with Hades' medal on his chest! ~He had packed all his arms, all his lucky charms… ~all he missed was his bullet-proof vest…~"

Lysander blinks a bit as he hears that, and stops his movement. "That would be bad, wouldn't it?" he remarks.

Timon trails off his humming, looking up at Lysander. Blinking owlishly, in that way one does when one is semi-drunk. "Hmm? Oh. Sorry. Didn't realize I'd gone off on that. Used to sing that in basic training. Old medic joke. No more morbid lot of bastards than a medical battalion, you'll find. Haven't thought of it in years…don't know why it came to me now…" He sips again.

"I could probably think of one or two reasons…" Lysander offers as he hears that. "You were in the military, then?"

"A thousand years and at least three lifetimes ago," Timon replies with a snrot to Lysander. "I was perhaps the worst soldier the Navy ever saw, and we parted company badly. Not the worst break-up I've had, though, I'm proud to say." He offers the bottle to Lysander. "Sit down. I hate to drink alone. It's damned depressing."

Lysander takes the offered bottle, and studies it for a few moments, "This stuff any good?" he asks, after a couple moments, before he takes a seat. "Well, depends on the occasion, but drinking alone can be good once in a while too."

Timon shrugs. "It gets the job done." Gods only knows how many random bottles of alcohol have been mixed to create the contents of that. Wine, beer, scotch and several other smells all mingle. It'll get one frakked up pretty fast, that much is clear.

As he hears that, Lysander takes a sip from the bottle, grimacing a little bit at the mixtures of tastes, before he hands it back. "It's an interesting taste," he offers, with a half-smile.

Timon drinks some more when he gets the bottle back, without any particular enjoyment. Or aversion. He's mainly about the drinking. He passes the bottle back. "So, what do you call yourself? I like to know who it is I'm drinking with."

Lysander shrugs a little bit, "Calvin," he replies, before he adds, "Calvin Lysander. And you?" Taking another long sip, before he passes the bottle over again.

Timon sips again before replying, "Timon Amichai." Perhaps Lysander's heard of him, perhaps he hasn't. The old man provides no further elaboration on his identify. Though Lysander's does get his attention. "Ahh…I've heard of you. I think. Play for the Virgon Vultures, don't you? Or did you. Something tells me this season isn't going to go off quite as planned." He laughs a dry, rather morbid laugh.

"The poet?" Lysander asks after a few moments, before he adds, "This woman I knew a few years ago was a huge fan of your work." He then nods a little bit, shrugging slightly. "They never do. But it's seldom as bad as this, though."

Timon gets a laugh out of that, nodding. "The poet. Yes. That's me." More drinking before he passes the bottle back. "I sometimes think I only made a career of writing to help me bed women. Well, there are far worse reasons to do a sort of work. What was her name?"

Lysander shrugs a little, "Mari… Mario…" He pauses for a bit, "You know, I'm not sure if I rememb… Oh, wait. Marielle," he replies, smiling a little. Taking the bottle and another long sip from it, before it is passed back again.

"Marielle…" Timon repeats, savoring the name. "Sounds…blonde. And tall and leggy, with a gentle voice and a laugh like the tinkling of bells." He snorts, self-deprecatingly. "Or something. I was always better at imagining them than talking to them in person. As my three ex-wives will attest. Or they would. I suppose they're all dead now."

"Only partially correct, I'm afraid," Lysander replies with a bit of a shrug. "She was blonde, but not that tall. Still looked good, though." He's unable to hold back a bit of a chuckle at that last part, at least halfway.

Timon shrugs. "Well, two out of three isn't bad," he says, passing the bottle back after he's had another nip at it. It won't be good for too many more passes. "Adeleina…my last wife…she was a brunette. Lovely dark Tauron creature. We'd only been married five years…didn't have time to properly muss that one up…" He sighs.

Lysander nods a little bit as he hears that, "What went wrong?" he asks, before he adds, "If you don't mind, of course." Taking another small sip from the bottle, handing it over again so the older man can get the last of the liquid inside.

"The first, second, or third time?" Timon asks wryly. "A myriad of things, in all cases. Mostly my fault. Except for the third one. *She* was insane." He drinks a double-shot for that one. "Adeleina…nothing had gone wrong yet. Was all going quite right, in fact. I was living clean and faithful and doting on our little four-year-old daughter…sanest I've been in my life, dull as it sounds…" Drink. "She was on Tauron with our girl when…" The worlds exploded. He doesn't say it, but the implication is clear.

Lysander nods a little bit, "Sorry to hear that," he replies, grimacing a little as he looks around.

Timon shrugs, expression somber. "Familiar story these days. Grief is not a particularly special emotion. What about you, Calvin Lysander? You have anyone waiting for you back on the colonies?"

Lysander shakes his head a little bit, "No, not really," he replies, with a bit of a shrug. "Never been that good with those kind of things."

Timon laughs. "I haven't, either. Never stopped me from doing them, though. Again, and again, and again." He sighs. "Perhaps you were a smarter man than I. One with fewer regrets, at least." He stands, teetering, but he leaves the bottle on the dock. For Lysander to enjoy as he pleases. "I'm going to go have a lie-down, I think. Dream dreams of Tauron women and Aerelon wine."

"From what I've been told, regrets never work," Lysander replies, with a bit of a smile. Nodding as he hears that. "Dream sweet dreams of the Tauron women," he offers, remaining on the dock for now.

Timon teeters off, to find a hedge to pass out under. Humming again as he goes.

…Sometime Later…

Garden-style parks are obligated, by nature, to have benches. Apolcalypse or no apocalypse, the benches steadfastly weather it all, silent wooden witnesses to the progress or downfall of human civilizations. Or at least, silent witnesses to human bums in their infinite variety. One of the bums occupying one of the benches here in the park belongs to a fairly ordinary-looking brown-haired woman. She's reading a book from which she frequently looks up, peering out of the novel to see who's passing by. Her feet have surreptitiously escaped her shoes, which are kicked off beneath the bench seat.

Timon looks the part of an itinerant space hobo perfectly, so it's with a certain proprietary quality that he shambles toward the bench. He looks either slightly drunk or slightly hung-over. Or perhaps just still buzzed from a previous night. He stops when he spots Zia. And her shoes. The woman is eyed up and down. Though is gaze rests most curiously on the book she's reading. He scans the title, and the cover and binding.

There are two types of people in the world, those who talk to itinerant hobos (space-based or otherwise), and those who don't. Zia proves herself to be one of the former with a smile and a "Hello," though her brows knit slightly in concern at the state of the guy. She appears to be concerned he may collapse in a heap at her feet at any moment. He'd have a better view of the shoes if he did, though. "Are you feeling alright? Why don't you have a seat…" She's reading a tattered classic, the type of thing children are subjected to in school. One of those timeless Novels of the Ages. Zia's copy is a bibliophile's equivalent of a ratty stuffed animal, falling apart but well worn and well loved.

Timon grins in a wry, self-mocking sort of way at Zia's evident concern for his imminent collapse. He laughs, bowing to her with a sardonic flourish of his bathrobe. Fortunately for everyone he's wearing pants, so it comes off as more comedic than creepy. That's his intention, at any rate. "Don't mind if I do, fair lady," he says, sinking down on the bench. "All right? That's a relative term these days, isn't it? I'm still alive." From his tone, it's unclear if that's a positive or negative. The book draws a more genuine smile. "Ah. Haven't read that one in ages. Half-forgotten the ending. You've got to put the classics aside after going through them. So they seem new again when you pick them up. You can catch the little intricacies you missed the first time."

"You're probably dehydrated," Zia informs her new companion, fishing around in a knapsack near her shoes and then offering him a bottle of water. Whether he wants it or not, it ends up sitting next to him, the third party on the bench. With dry amusement, she adds, "Hope it was fun, whatever you were into. I don't know how it is that everyone but me seems to end up with booze, whenever /I/ want to get scandalously drunk, there isn't a drop of it to go around." Bare feet tuck up to perch on the edge of the bench, knees to her chest, and Zia grins at the book-speak. Glee! "You'll have to borrow it, won't you then? It'll shift that relative scale just enough that 'still alive' will be a good thing. Bedford always does, always has."

"I assure you, my dear, I drink a great deal," Timon says wryly. But he's not above filching someone else's water, so he gulps from the bottle liberally. "Fun? Don't quite recall where it was I ended up last night. Which I usually take is a sign that it was quite fun. But these days everyday seems about the same. As for the booze, you've just got to be persistent. And creative. The top-shelf liquor is nearly gone but a glass of wine here, a beer there, a bit of still-made swill everywhere, you can get three sheets to the wind quite nicely if you apply yourself." He shrugs. "I'll give it another month. Let the particulars of the plot wear away a little more. Then I'll be quite happy to exchange it. I bring along a small library when I travel, from which I'd be happy to trade you something. I'm re-reading through it slowly. Got to make it last. I suspect there won't be many new books coming off the publishers' shelves. What with the end of the world and all."

"Which is why you're dehydrated," Zia points out dryly, when he says he drinks a great deal. "Wrong liquid. Sort of a nice irony to it, though, and irony is like… mm, ice. On the trees, the house, the street. Annoying as hell but at the same time, you have to kind of grudgingly admire it." There's a quirk of a smile to his experienced description of booze-hunting, but it's the books that have caught her fancy. "Fair enough. I wish I'd thought to bring anything qualifying as a library, and at first I'd planned to. But then I was looking at one bag of clothes and two bags of books for a week-long trip, thinking to myself, 'Frak, Zia, do you really need 'Solitude' /and/ 'The Mariner'?'" A smile, bittersweet. "Oh well. Hindsight, and all. What did you bring?"

"A bit of everything, really. Some Bedford, come to it. Not this one. I prefer her earlier stuff. Rawer. And she was being edited more harshly, which always improves a good writer. Lots of Kataris. Never leave home without him. Some Licho Ren. Heard of him? Aquarian. Rather new, but shows a great deal of promise. His short stories are highly prolific. Anyhow. It's all yours to pick over, as you will. Books are made to be shared."

"You have Bedford with you?" Gasp! Love. See, this is why it's good to talk to hobos. Every now and then, one of them is hoarding a collection of your favorite author. Granted, there's one of those for every hundred who are asking for money and/or inappropriate personal favors, but Zia cares not for the odds! "Congratulations. You are now my personal hero, and I'm afraid you have very little say in the matter. Kataris will never steal Bedford's place in my heart, but he's remarkable, isn't he? Narrative range other authors can only dream at. I haven't read any of this Licho Ren, so I may have to begin there instead of the others…" She grins, "Shh, don't tell Bedford."

"When I was a boy, my dream was to write a tenth as well as Kataris," Timon says, with a certain wistfulness. "Never felt I quite managed it. In college I taped myself reading 'A Poet's Dream,' just so I could listen to it. The words just…wash over you. Poetry's not meant to be read. It's meant to be spoken, ranted out, spouted at an audience. Or just to yourself." He smiles. "Anyhow. I'll pluck him out of my trunk for you and deliver him to you promptly. And who, precisely, should I bring that book to, my dear? You still haven't gifted me with your name."

The woman grins, an expression she dons frequently and easily. "Normally, if I meet people I suspect are creative enough to handle it, I'll just tell them to make one up," she replies, regarding her name. "Just to find out what they say. Do they laugh and sputter and leave, or stay and choose one? And if they do, am I an Amy, an Ashley, a Francesca? You, however…" She tsks and shakes her head. "If I want to be found for the promise of literary exchange, I had better start off with a correct address. My name is Zia Meridian, sir." A thin hand is extended towards him, "Who is it I'm speaking with, in return?"

Timon takes the hand, shaking it gently. "Timon Amichai," he says, by way of introduction. She may have heard of him. He says it with a certain false modesty that makes it /sound/ important, at any rate.

"Good to meet you, Ti—" The social-norm response has slipped out before the rest of Zia's neurons started firing, and her hand tightens on his, mid-handshake, with a little gasp. "Timon Amichai!" She laughs, delighted. "No wonder you're extraordinary!" And drunk! "I have — well, had — a few of your collections. Embarrassingly fewer than I'd like to admit in the presence of the author himself. "How in the worlds did you end up on a Pyramid ship of all things?"

Timon puts on a veneer of humble that's not terribly convincing. He doffs his head slightly. "Indeed. 'Tis I." The question makes him smirk. "A working vacation. A prolonged one, it's turned into. I took a sabbatical from Troy University this semester to work on my memoirs. I've always been a Pyramid fan. This seemed the ideal spot to waste some time and force myself to write. Not much else to do on this bloody ship once you've watched sport for half a day. Certainly didn't think I'd wind out my days on it, I'll tell you that…"

"None of us thought that. It's strange, isn't it?" Zia's smile is bittersweet. "The military people don't understand it, they don't understand what it's like to spend your apocalypse on a pleasure cruise. None of us came here with jobs to do like they did, we didn't find ourselves dealing with crisis among squad-mates who knew our names. We were strangers among strangers. Everything falls away and you're left with… what? A big flying spaceship with the sole purpose of playing and watching Pyramid? It's so absurd." She's smiling a bit, still. Maybe it's her default expression. "I hope you still do write those memoirs, Mr. Amichai."

"A grand cosmic joke, indeed," Timon says, nodding at that. As if glad someone else said it aloud. As for the memoirs, he waves a hand dismissively. "Well, at least I've got an ending now, don't I? 'And he drifted into oblivion on a floating arena.'" He laughs darkly. "Not the epitaph I would've written, I admit. And what were you in your former life, Miss Zia Meridian? Not a Pyramid player, I assume?" He winks.

"Well, we're drifting somewhere, oblivion remains to be seen," Zia muses. "What epitaph /would/ you have written?" One corner of her mouth turns upwards, amused at the mention of her former life. "No, not a pyramid player. I won this trip in a contest at a fast food restaurant on Canceron, can you believe that? I was just there at Gyro Hero with my friend Gianna and she told me to enter, so I scribbled my name on a ticket, we laughed about it, and a few weeks later I've got mail along with my bills and unwanted coupons telling me to come aboard the Carina." She sighs and wiggles her toes, then extends her legs out, feet crossed at the ankles. "I was a teacher. I lived a quiet life alone in my apartment with my pet tortoise Crumpet, and faithfully tried to stuff knowledge into the minds of protesting children."

Timon ponders that epitaph question, thoughtful. He makes a low "Hmm" sound. "'He was remembered fondly by some who knew him'," he finally says, dryly. "Not sure if I managed to achieve it. A teacher?" He grins. "I always felt myself a pretender to that. Troy University gave me a classroom to knock around in, but it was never my passion. What did you teach?"

"Most people teaching at universities seem to be that way," Zia grins, gently teasing. "It's us lowly pre-college teachers that roll up our sleeves and do the heavy lifting. I taught primary school, so, a little of everything. Art and writing were and are my favorite subjects, and if I could only pick one topic it'd be one of those two. Making sixth-graders write poetry is both infinitely frustrating, and profoundly rewarding. They can be surprisingly insightful, when they put their minds to it."

"Primary school?" Timon winces. "Could never do that. All the jibbering kiddies would drive me mad." He says it with a certain dry fondness, though. He chuckles. "At least in college *most* of them want to be there. And you can get a bit more creative with what you teach. I always hated seeing which books and passages of my stuff was being used in high schools. They always managed to pick the dullest bits, taught in the least-interesting way."

Zia laughs, a sound that if processed poetically might be reminiscent of glass bells. "They do drive you mad, it's true. A delirious, comfortable madness that you come to accept as the way life generally is, and it has the added benefit that you will never find yourself in a social situation more frightening than your classroom. Teachers are hard to spook." Her brows lift at his latter words, "I had to fight with my school board to teach your work, at all. They weren't keen on it."

Timon gets a good laugh out of that. "I used to take being banned in certain prudent libraries as a point of pride. I had articles from Gemenon about what a corruptive demon I was framed on my study wall. As I figure it, nothing interesting was ever accepted by everyone. If you want to really *say* something, you're going to have to offend a certain amount of people."

"I had to teach the dull bits," Zia sighs, regretful. "I mean, there's no way they would have let me put 'I dance with the dancers and drink with the drinkers' on the white board in front of impressionable youth. Not to mention the rest of that passage. Which is… I don't know, wrong I think. By the time children get to sixth or seventh grade, they're dealing with some very adult problems amongst each other." The former schoolteacher presses her lips into a firm, thoughtful line. "I think it would have been beneficial. But I wouldn't have relished those parent-teacher meetings."

"And why not?" Timon asks with an arch sort of merriment. "Got to teach the children about the more enjoyable realities of life sometime. When they become teenagers they'll learn on their own anyway, and just mess their way through." He grins. "Anyhow. I never minded having prudish parents become banshees about my work. Made me feel as if it mattered, at the very least…" He trails off. Expression growing rather wistful and sad. He idly toys with the belt of his bathrobe.

Zia laughs again. "It's possible you never minded because you didn't have to deal with the same parents for two semesters, hmm? There's only so much banshee-ing I can take before I'm spending my after-work hours every day with a pint of double fudge brownie, trying to hug the tortoise. Not very cuddly pets, tortoises. But they have more personality than you'd think." Zia's smile softens a bit, and she shifts to turn her shoulders towards the poet. "Mattered? You still matter, Mr Amichai. Probably now more than ever before. What other great thinkers and artists do we have with us? None that I know of."

"Quite possible, I'm sure," Timon replies. "Much easier to thumb your nose at authority when you aren't actually *beholden* to authority. But, I appreciate you fighting the good fight for free speech and broader minds." He doesn't look at her as she says that last. He looks on point of disagreeing. But he just frowns, sighing. "None of that I know of. So much culture, so much civilization, wiped out in the blink of an eye…the explosion of a nuclear bomb…makes you wonder what's left of us at all…"

"Nothing will be left if we don't build it, Mr Amichai," Zia says, quietly. "Trite, but true. What's left of us is human, and all the good and bad that entails. What's left is humor and sadness, selfishness and cruelty, love and laughter. All the same building-blocks we've always had, with which we construct our paintings and poetry, our music and our lives." A ghost of a smile, "There's a lot of work to be done if the next generation of people is ever going to know things like why 'a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars.'"

Timon smiles, though it's not a particularly happy smile. "You've read 'A Thousand Lyrics of Night', then. My best work. I never was anything on Kataris. Frak, I never managed to be better than myself at twenty-eight…" He sighs. Standing. "I've got…well. I'd say I had an appointment, but I'd be lying. None of us have appointments anymore. I should go find you Licho Ren. He would've been another Kataris. In five years. Easily. But now he's gone…and all we're left with is a few rough short stories, and the promise of a genius that'll never be. Anyhow." He clears his throat. "It was a true pleasure to meet you, Miss Zia Meridian."

Zia amiles, a bittersweet expression where the sweet is actually edging out the bitter, and makes no moves to stop him. "Don't give up, Mr Amichai," the teacher says, simply. "It's a long night ahead of us yet, and we'll be needing more lyrics to see it through."

"Night's an end, my dear," Timon says. "Not a beginning. However long it is, it's a sign something's near-over. Thank you for your time. I haven't talked literature with a soul like yours in quite some time. It was…well. Something, at least." With that, he shuffles off. Most likely in search of something to drink.

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