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May, 2010... Fantasy became reality. Worlds overlay for the briefest moment. Outworlders became stranded on earth as more than half the human populace vanished. Our World, our universe, was transformed.

Fiction is now reality. Humans and those now bound to this world will either learn to coexist, or battle for supremecy.

Josef Carroll Boudreaux

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114 One of Our All Stars

About Josef Carroll Boudreaux

  • Rank
    Nicely Seasoned


    Liam McIntyre
  • RACE
    Rogue Magus, Electromagnetic Spectrum
  • JOB
    Owner, "Hammer's Antique Firearms and Gun Repair"
  • 'SHIP:
    New York, NY (Glendale and Long Beach), born and raised in New Orleans
    Fit, average height and clean-cut with dark blond hair and hazel eyes that shift with whatever color he wears. He usually has a few days of scruff and is rarely clean shaven, still keeping it neat. When working, he prefers white tees and jeans and loves to get dirty, only to clean up and be just as comfortable in casual suits and attire all the way to a tuxedo or complete traditional English riding gear.

    He regularly wears odd trinkets from his travels. Obscure charms on black cords are often around his neck or wound several deep on his wrists from his interest in the occult.
    Born to old Cajun money, Josef Carroll Boudreaux IV is as far from pretentious as one can get. Carroll is self-sufficient and comfortable with his humble position in life after the Event. A former affluent recluse (though hosting many gatherings in his isolated family estate when it still existed), he's now found himself pursuing a labor of love amongst one of the remaining bastions of civilisations. He is contemplative, intelligent and a lover of all things fine- but doesn't require life's luxuries to be content. Carroll is a learned outdoorsman; there isn’t a firearm or weapon he hasn’t shot, a location he hasn’t "roughed it" in, or a country left on his list he didn’t visit and explore before the world changed.

    His world travel and lack of structure have left him a learned skeptic. He is disinterested in the budding war between the factions. As a Magus, he has seen both sides of the line. Caught hiking through Italy during the Resonance, he was recruited by the Order shortly after and never quite melded with the rabid passion they tried to shove down his throat. ARMA has yet to prove its worth to him, but he watches the upstart organisation with quiet interest. He doesn’t hide what he is, but doesn’t go out of his way to brag either.

    He has brought his love of life, food and people to New York with him. He despises the "Hollywood" stereotype of his tradition, and is quite articulate and educated. Missing his home and regretting how little time he spent there after his parents passed, he now surrounds himself with it. Traditional food, music, gatherings… the old-blood Cajun is alive with life in a world that now seems so dark- and he loves every minute of it.

    Carroll has more than a passing interest in the occult. Through his international travels, exposure to the spiritual from every corner of the globe was collected and added to his extensive knowledge of his own home traditions. He is very rational and realistic as all old world affluent are on the outside, in his private time however- the acknowledgement of superstition and magic beyond what is now in the world is very real. He truly believes the old magic is still alive and vibrant. He is also comfortable in cemeteries, often walking through them for solace or on a daily run to think. His engrained cultural traditions surrounded themselves with celebrations and acknowledgments of death, and it brings an old-world comfort to be amongst ancestors; whether his or someone else's.
    "Hammer's Antique Firearms and Gun Repair" in Glendale, small apartment above. It is a decent sized repair, trade and sale shop. There are no displays, all items are lock and keyed in the back warehouse and brought out under request. The storefront and main public area focuses on repairs and fabrications in various stages.

    Quaint, secluded flat on Long Beach. Furnished with surviving old Louisiana pieces that he continues to seek out and collect.

    Gris-Gris; Carroll always wears a talisman given to him by his childhood chef/caretaker to keep him safe. It is an intricately carved bone skull, little bits of various objects somehow inserted into the labyrinth of carving.

    His horse, Cheshire Cat- a grey American Saddlebred that he boards near his flat in a budding archery, shooting and equestrian club.

    A stupidly impractical 1935 LaSalle Convertible Coupe, black fenders, red body.


    Magus- Electromagnetic Wave Frequency Manipulation, Light Spectrum and Radiant Energy. Carroll is able to manipulate the wave frequencies of electromagnetic waves through the invisible and visible light spectrums from longest to shortest. These abilities have manifested in a variable array of self-enhancing, and defensive/offensive abilities- mostly enhancing to his visual sensory perception. Where other Magus can produce fire, earth or other visible dangers, Carroll's are relatively undetectable until one can feel the sunburn on their skin or warmth from their core.

    Carroll is effectively a "drop-out" from the Order. He has a fierce command of his low and medium level abilities, and extremely limited experience with his high level skills. It is simply too dangerous for him to attempt their use at this time beyond being aware they exist.

    LOW LEVEL ABILITIES- Fully trained
    Radio Waves- Seen as a bit of a party trick, Carroll can manipulate and disrupt the signals to televisions and radios within a fifty foot radius. This can result in the complete obliteration of readable signals, to a juxtaposition of frequency; aka transference of one channel to another. He can also "fiddle" with signals, overlapping and distorting them. He can effectively play with them for up to an hour, listening, manipulating and disrupting.

    Microwave Echo- Remote sensing and low heat production; a human "Doppler radar". Only active a few times an hour, he can effectively do a several mile sweep of his current position, able to "see" a picture of weather and atmospheric instability. With a small change of intensity, he is also able to warm up his immediate vicinity for up to an hour, useful in the winter. It is read by others as a feeling of warmth, and is innocuous.

    Infrared Sweep- Thermal vision and remote control of televisions, radios and phones. Conduction of intense heat through touch. Carroll is able to open his vision and "see" in the dark through thermal detection, or shift it to a concentrated touch of extreme heat. The ability can be maintained for up to an hour, if focused through touch the duration is less than ten minutes. He can also reduce it to a miniscule form to "change the channel" on a television, radio or phone- anything that can be affected by remote control, including something as silly as a garage door.

    Consequences- Fatigue, disruption of brain function "hearing voices" and static, extreme pupil dilation, ringing of the ears, superficial burns to himself and others. If overused, consequences can last from hours to several days.

    MID LEVEL ABILITIES- Fully trained
    Visible Spectrum- True color sight. He can shift the visual acuity of his eyesight to different color palettes of light penetration, able to see intricacies invisible to others. This effectively produces a "high definition" thermal image of anything he looks at. "Auras", Mana trails, etc. show up like long exposure light trails. He can maintain this for up to half hour.

    Ultraviolet Burn- External manipulation of a wave burst. Through touch and close proximity, Carroll can cause extreme sunburns to skin and even blanch objects. When used as a burst, it feels like a rush of heat against the skin, later manifesting as any of three degrees of sunburn. The closer his proximity, the worse the burn. Direct touch almost always produces a third degree sunburn. Can be utilized up to one time every minute for a maximum of five seconds, over the course of fifteen minutes. He can create a longer burn, but the danger of transference to his own skin increases exponentially.

    X-Ray Pulse- Sight through solid objects. Sent forth similar to sonar, the pulse can give him a map of everything in his vicinity. It can also be used as a "traditional" x-ray, though the danger to others from the inherent properties of the radiation. It can be used as a weapon, a concentrated pulse able to make someone sick similar to radiation poisoning, and the long term effects that go with it. He rarely uses this ability unless he absolutely sure there is no chance for collateral damage and it is absolutely necessary. Carroll can make a "sweep" twice an hour in a radius of several blocks. When focused on one target, a human for instance, he can produce a concentrated wall for almost ten seconds with no repeat- enough to make someone pass out.

    Consequences- Fatigue, low level radiation poisoning, temporary blindness, loss of perspective and disorientation, burns. If overused, consequences can last from a day to almost a week.

    HIGH LEVEL ABILITIES- Training began, aware but no control
    Gamma Illumination- Focused touch that can irradiate a living being, from a full body poisoning to a focused killing of cancer cells. The ability of this power to be insanely useful is evident, but the consequences too great to attempt mastery for the time being.

    Gamma Burst- A split second of concentrated waves that can carry the power of a miniscule nuclear explosion; searing, scouring and leveling anything from a two block radius and effectively rendering it radioactive.

    Consequences- Currently, death of himself and those around him. Carroll did not fully study the control of his high level abilities. Logically, he understands their ugly potential based on the light spectrum progression of his abilities. When the Order became rabidly interested in their full development, he bowed out of the organisation, choosing for the sake of humanity to leave them unexplored in lieu of what he could be used for.
    Speaks French-Cajun, European French, and rudimentary Italian.

    Fantastic cook, all traditional southern dishes and treats.

    Schooled in weapon repair through apprenticeship and personal passion.

    Skilled marksman, hunter and fisherman.

    Skilled rider in both English and Western saddle traditions with additional polo and jumping skills.

    Extensive survival experience, knowledge of edible foods and field medical knowledge.

    Extensive knowledge of old school religions, magic and superstition from all over the world; specifically Voodoo and African religions.
    Carroll hails from an affluent, old world family from New Orleans Louisiana. Behind the tall brick and ornate wrought iron fence that surrounded the vast estate, he grew up in the presence of very few living, yet hundreds of years of family buried in a family cemetery within the fenced property. Rivaling the most beautiful of New Orleans sculpted mausoleums, he spent a great deal of time among them as a child, having no siblings to play with. Being an only child and last heir to the family name, his parents were over protective and he sought freedom whenever he could.

    Learning to shoot and ride was one of the only respites he found, and even then the rigid dress regimes and proper manners were only of interest for so long. Pitied by his tutors and specifically the family's Creole chef, he was shown how to break from the claustrophobic walls through old, nearly flooded pre-civil war tunnels in and out of several mausoleums. Gifted a gris-gris of protection by his chef, the abundant adventures in the swamps surrounding the estate nearly took his life numerous times. Unafraid, the daredevil nature blossomed until as a young man his world became stifling.

    After his father died of a heart attack when he was seventeen, his mother wasn't long for the world either. She seemed to give up, passing shortly after of alcohol related illnesses just before his eighteenth birthday.

    The young bachelor was lost. Sought after by other local affluent families looking for the archaic "good marriage", he withdrew from the social spotlight. Alone in an enormous and cold house, he became a recluse for several years, slowly coming to terms that he finally had the freedom to do whatever he wanted. He tried the parties, the gatherings, the high life that his family had left him... but it never seemed to satiate his need for adventure. Leaving the estate to his family's generation of loyal paid servants, he left and never thought to return- traveling the world until it went to hell.

    Caught hiking in Italy when the Event happened, he was taken in by the Order, teachings refining his altered skills but preaching a doctrine he was unwilling to "convert" to. After mastering his low and mid level abilities, the Order started to probe and train his high level powers with incredible interest. He began to question his use in the greater schema. He understood the escalating pattern and ramifications of his abilities, and couldn't in good conscience allow further access to his high level magic, by anyone. Taking an incredible risk, he purposely sought and managed to trigger an explosion during one of his training sessions, with catastrophic results- leveling and irradiating a portion of the building. Before they could stabilize the area, he'd already fled (disoriented with severe burns), presumed dead as an inexperienced magus managing to blow his own ass up.

    He returned to what was left of the States after the Resonance to find his heritage flooded and in ruins. Salvaging what he could, he's made a life for himself in New York, looking to reclaim some semblance of his culture and the bright side of life he left behind.

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  1. Josef Carroll Boudreaux

    Throw Me Sumthin' Mista

    I could…. He nodded slightly, he knew that much. It was the other part that he didn’t have access to. The digging, or the means. Bakkhos did. Selling ammo to them was one thing. Getting into bed with them was another. To do something of that caliber into no man’s land wasn’t an easy task. Hell, it was a near impossible task. Just because you could see it, didn’t mean you could get to it. Every trip had reinforced the notion that he couldn’t get his hands on it. He wasn’t even sure she could handle the trip. “It’s a mess out there, ain’t exactly a padded highrise.” He let it be. He simply wasn’t the same person when he left New York. Relaxed carelessness blended with vigilant silence. Refinement flipped to survival. Definitely not the tie-less button up dress shirts, creased pants and groomed appearance that just needed a suit jacket to fit into any affair. It was harsh, cold, and dark out past the cities. World is what we make it…..now more than ever. “Can’t rebuild hundreds of years of a culture,” he answered. “People is gone. Scattered, or dead. It’s just dun gone.” He got himself another glass of water while he was up at the workbench looking for parts. The question of magus killings an important one. If anyone would know, she would. I've heard things…. not sure if tied to your missin' friends… He indulged her refill as he drank down the second glass of water in one tip. ARMA gone to shit so Order showin' their dick more… goin' after deserters is what I hear….. His brows came down. That was not good news. … and with Outworlder registration passed other side of the world… I have heard people been takin' matters into their own hands over here… killin' those they mark as Outworlder whether they are or not… Too much of a meltin' pot here… so hear the activity is more in west federation and south coalition area… That would definitely explain missing friends. They were mostly magus, a few Outworlders and norms thrown in. The ones missing always were definitely not norms. Glass clinked back on the edge of the sink and he returned to looking for what he needed to finish or at least continue his work at the table. Merely existing since he’d told the Order to go fuck themselves was dangerous enough. Going out past New York and not being “from around” wherever he was passing through always brought suspicion. Norms didn’t tend to do that unless they were out of their mind or had a death wish. They clustered, and didn't like outsiders. Bringing back one of the tiny drawers he sat and continued the delicate work, a tiny file produced to work on something specific. “That’s a problem for me.” It was all he said for a little while. It wasn’t just the Outworlder hate, or the fact that the Order couldn’t seem to let go of people that didn’t want to have anything to do with them. There was something else, and he couldn’t quite put his finger on it. Missing magus in New York didn’t bode well either. It didn’t all seem connected. “I’m one of those deserters,” his voice was almost as soft as the faint sounds of focused tinkering. “Order tends ta not be pleased when you tell them to go fuck themselves.” He took a deep breath and placed the finished piece down to set up the next one. “Go back down south and get picked off by idjits, stay here and get hooked by the Order, or… whatever else is happening that I can’t seem to figure out. Just kinda in a shitty predicament at the moment. Not sure there’s a solution yet.”
  2. Josef Carroll Boudreaux

    Throw Me Sumthin' Mista

    Ya well… not really here on business at the moment anyway….. He couldn’t help but Cheshire slightly at her smirk. A twinkle of humor existed in her somewhere, just not enough when she needed it to soothe the soul. And of course, her question about home pulled his under. Just when he thought he could turn the freak weather event into a boon, it produced everything but. A final punctuation on his wanderlust that he should have had more self-restraint instead of going wherever the hell he wanted, whenever the hell he wanted. He could have helped somehow, saved his family if he'd just not been so selfish… maybe. Earth digger and some sonic radar would help ya still bring up more… Unaware his brows had come down in an uncharacteristic furl, they lightened a bit, glance to her with a sullen eye only to return to his task. “I am the radar... Would cost a fortune I no longer have to git all the other down there, and even them. It’s… part of the gulf now. Some areas, not so much. The good parts, take scuba gear a lick and a prayer that the gators won’t snipe your ass because the water so muddy dark you couldn’t see them coming. I can, most couldn’t.” With that was the secret of his ability to find the things he did, and not get snapped by a gator or anything else that might be lurking in the wild beyond the protection of renewing civilization. He could see things, clear as day. Couldn't get to them. They scratched at him like someone buried alive. Ya know… if ya really wanted to find more that is. Silence was well, quiet. Even the tinkering of his fingers seemed unusually soft as the heavy thought mulled. Eyes glanced up to catch the peek of her lashes. He fucking hated those glasses she wore, reaching to refill her glass on request and his own with it, twinkle of charms on glass. The rate he was putting it down would have rolled even the most savvy by now. His metabolism burned it off too quickly, and made him thirsty as hell. Putting the work down a moment, he got up and filled a glass from the work sink, downing it before he returned and began his incessant tinkering again. “Dunno.” Answer came finally, taking a longer than healthy drink from his glass. “World we knew ain’t coming back. Maybe time to stop pretending I can save mine.” Sigh was slow, a soft curse in his own slang as something didn’t go as expected. He put it down to keep from hurling it across the room, leaning back in the chair and crossing his arms to watch the television. Pessimism felt odd coming from him. Maybe it was frustration, or defeatism. Something had obviously happened when he was away on one of his gallivants to bring on the change, or irritate him enough to reveal he actually did have a rather brooding and dark facet. It had been a long time since he was in such a funk… Order of Light history long. Getting up again, he stayed at the overly neat workbench a moment, pulling out tiny drawers to find the part he was looking for. “Been hearing rumors about magus killins’. Know anything about what’s happening?” Drawers kept moving quietly, the question related but full with something else on his mind. His trips were not just about wanderlust, he was still a wanted man. Magus dying were of great concern, especially people connected to him. "Friends missin' in some of my normal travel stops."
  3. Josef Carroll Boudreaux

    Throw Me Sumthin' Mista

    Brow quirked at the predicted sigh. She was always sullen about something or another. So much passion for life, so much annoyance about having it. Needed to loosen up. "When has cost ever been a deterrent for a request I have made." His expresion mirrored hers. "Wouldn't be an honest businessman iffin I didn't be forthright," he answered. Smirk was deep, the chuckle as warm as was making the metal he polished. "Sneaky is how people people get themselves perished." The room's energy changed as he spoke about his plans to stay and maybe spend some time with someone, unconscious flick of his wrist to shift the corded trinkets that would tangle every so often. He'd put a drop in that ocean and it'd come up ripples. He took note of it. "She's havin' some troubles, thought I'd at least try to make her smile before I decide whether or not to finally drop anchor. Not much left home anymore, so maybe build this up a bit. Get a permanent place." Finishing up the polish, he switched gears, slight smile when she decided to follow the booze and park herself. He talked business. She always seemed comfortable with business. "…Fort Knox for all the VIP viewing areas… rest built to survive a bomb blast.. biggest issue for security is the high number of high level altered that gather at the events." His tinkering with the dueling pistols was intricate, unsure if he could save them. They were an absolute treasure find, and most likely the last. "… crowd drinks… gets riled up watchin' the fight… gets rowdy.. leavin' security on a knifes edge to keep them in line without startin' something unnecessary themselves." "Sounds like a party," he said, tone flat. Never understood it. The aggression part of it anyway. It was part of why he bailed on the Order. Everybody always wanted to fucking fight. "Something from around your angels?..." He was quiet; the Cajun always with an undercurrent of melancholy but rolled with the charm and turned it always to a boon. This though, was different. "Oui." Eyes moved to the television, then back to the pistol he was trying to disassemble. "Place been underwater for ten years. Hard to get to, slowly disappearing every time I go back like a hurricane battered pier. Knew when the freeze came I'd have a chance to git places I hadn't before." He wasn't just talking about his precious city, he was talking about his home. His family home. "Hard to orient myself, trees gone, stone foundation underwater. Was able to find these close enough to the surface to dig out." His abilities did make for useful hunting. They were also torturous, knowing something was under your feet and having no way to get to it as the earth reclaimed and swallowed it whole. "These were mine. Well, my family's anyway." He took a drink, charms twinkling on the glass. "Spent so long not wanting any of it, now can't seem to stop looking for what I left behind." He finished the glass, pouring another. "It's all gone now. No more trips gonna bring anything back." He kept tinkering, the easy silence comfortable.
  4. Josef Carroll Boudreaux

    Throw Me Sumthin' Mista

    I do what I do because I want to…. being some kids wet dream wasn’t part of that want. “It’s a part of what you get cher,” he picked up a little plastic case from the glass counter and snagged another toothpick. At this rate they were going to be gone in a week, ah well. “I love my guns. The jackass weekend yahoos unfortunately come along with it. I either deal, or I don’t.” He let the silence linger, watching the television and trying to figure out what in the dickens the whole thing was about. Football, baseball… he got that jargon. The beating the hell out of each other sports, never could get the attraction. Welcome back…? He nodded slightly, conceding for the time being, watching her listen to the television. Now that he knew… it was easy to see. It was definitely somethin’ to witness. Toothpick switched sides. You're the one that vanished without so much as a word. Came by twice tryin' to fill an order. Haven't come by cuz didn’t know you were back. “That’s always been the deal,” it was under his breath absently. It always had been. Things got hot, he split. It wasn’t that he wanted to leave, maybe he did sometimes. He was above all else, a fugitive. Too much was rumbling under the radar. The Order was damn out their minds and he didn’t want to be under their boot again. There was also that insatiable wanderlust, sometimes he just be needing to be on his own. “Ya wanna fill orders, gotta keep the heat off. Suppose I could make slush stock in case I gotta jet. That cost ya though.” Stickin' for a while? “For now,” he placed the gun on the counter with a quiet clink and refolded the polish cloth. “Like I said, got a gal. Might stick for a bit n’see where that goes.” Soft blink clicked off the open sign in the front door, small clicks signaling he’d tripped the lock system to shut down for the night. Just in case the rabid fans came back, not that he was going to tell her the place was closed, he could be a little shit when he wanted to be. He picked up the bottle and his glass, grabbing another and coming out from behind the counter to place them on his work table where another antique firearm had its guts spilled out in perfect order. Set of dueling pistols this time, another find on his trip. Covered in mud. The more he went back, the less there was of his city. Without a word he topped his off and poured a drink for her at “her” chair. It seemed to have become her spot. He sat, changing direction and picking up one of the pistols to fiddle with. He was always focused on something, kept the static out of his head when he focused on things other than let the ambient “noise” sink in. “Tell me about this place, need anything special for the security?” He honestly didn’t care much what they did with the things he made, but it would help try and figure out what he could make… or experiment with if needed.
  5. Josef Carroll Boudreaux

    Throw Me Sumthin' Mista

    He was honestly tempted to put his foot on her shoulder to hold her down when she thought she'd been ratted out. Faith much? Jeeeesshhh. He caught the crinkle of her features from the corner of his eye. He really wanted to torture her some more, but he didn't feel like dying today, at the very least getting maimed. They all left, and he was giving her the crinkled brow of feigned annoyance. Please…. a two bit handgun sale? bring ya more than ten times that on any given weekend. "Big B can't have all the bangs," he smirked and swept up the bourbon for another drink. Besides…wasn’t exactly my first choice to barge in…. you happened to be the only one open…. He swallowed and polished off the glass. "Well fuck you too then," he chuckled, glass clinking on the counter as he went back to the pistol grip. …… and don’t call me that. "You gonna run around in the rain and be pissed cus someone calls you wet? Don't be silly," he poured himself another drink, eyes on the television. "If you didn't like it, you wouldn't do it. If it bothers you, don't do it. I have a hard time believing you do things you don't want to." The copper detail he was polishing was starting to become a warm orange-gold. Welcome back…? "Yah... got a couple friends here. Girl I'm sweet on, figured I couldn't be out in the wild hunting for stuff forever." Toothpick was flicked into the trash. They were mint, he loved them, one of the treasures he'd brought back with him. Only a couple plastic containers, but they'd be nice while they lasted. He glanced up at the wrap up on the television. "Big B been busy while I was gone... what the hell is this? This merde why ya haven't stopped by? Busy now?""
  6. Josef Carroll Boudreaux

    Throw Me Sumthin' Mista

    Eyes were watching one of the small screens from the security system in the paths leading to the shop. Toothpick moved again slightly as he realized who he was looking at and what was slung on her back. When he picked up on the shadows behind her, his first instinct was to arm up. ...but she never needed his help, and she wasn't being defensive. She was running... from? A Grinch-like smile was already curt on his lips as the door opened and the flurry of motion took refuge behind his counter. He simply stood there, continuing to polish a pistol grip and barely glancing up at the customer who'd turned to see what he'd thought he'd heard. Nothing to see folks. MASON!! He set the grip on the counter a moment and took the toothpick from his teeth, taking a drink of bourbon from an ever present glass. Smirk was still imprinted on his features as the toothpick returned to its perch and he continued polishing. "Can I help you wiv somethin' ladies?" His one and only customer had also cast attention on the girls, quickly going back to the display of basic handguns on his larger display case for the more mundane folk. He couldn't understand what the hell they were saying. Northerners... he was half tempted to record it and play it back in slow motion. "You mean the rock star?" Brow had cocked and forehead furled as he worked on a particularly difficult smudge. "Ya I seen her," he started. They seemed to almost vibrate with excitement, hanging on what he said next. "On television right?" They let out a breath like they'd been punched in the stomach. "I think she hangs out at that cafe about a block further down. Doesn't get there as much as she should though." Their skitter of feet and the ding of his door ringer as they rushed out were a flurry and the room was silent again. Eyes went with his last customer's to the television toward the end of the match. Damn. I'll be back on payday. "Thanks for coming ya'll," it was warm, but passive. Another ding and they were alone. He put down the pistol grip and turned, leaning back on the counter and crossing his ankles and arms. He really, really wanted to flick his toothpick at her. "They dun gone rock star. You want a pillow, gonna have to charge you rent. Your monstrosity just cost me a sale. Get up ya git."
  7. Josef Carroll Boudreaux

    Throw Me Sumthin' Mista

    Hammer’s Firearms Early Afternoon January 22, 2022 Brows rose, the easy way the Cajun was able to give expression without looking like he was always either too cool to care or amused with his own personal sarcasm quaint. The television. What was he watching?? “Goodness,” he mumbled to himself as long strokes polished the newly replaced curved glass on the antique gun case in the store proper. The place was tiny, the storefront tiny. The firearms were not. Antiques, powerful to the core. New, so smooth a wasp’s wings would make the trigger move. Oiled, shiny as a new penny, accurate, and dependable to a fault. Shot ‘em all, adjusted them all himself. It was the only way he’d have it. The roar from the crowd on the television brought a pause, eyebrows now furling at the sight of two idiots battling it out with powers blazing. What the holy hell was this? Bell dinged on the television at the same moment the ping on the door sounded. He nodded in greeting to the man, always making it a habit to greet but never hover, going back to watching whatever the crazy was on television that he’d subjected his intelligence to. Nothing smart he reckoned. Altered, magus and creature alike beating each other to smithereens on public television. The hell?? Well, some dicks needed more fluffin' than others. He finished the case, folding the soft towel before placing it underneath the case, attention still caught on the television that was mounted on the wall in the far corner. The trip south hadn’t taken him that long, seems he missed a bit of new rowdy while he was dodging gators and zombies. The world turned faster and faster. Too fast. “I have money on that guy” the customer commented quietly as he looked in the case through the newly cleaned glass. “Mhm,” the toothpick switched sides smoothly, sleeves of the immaculate button down rolled up as he sat at his work table to keep picking away at the Turbiaux fished out of the mud in NOLA. “Hope it works out for ya. Iffin' not we got payment plans.” The surly smile was particularly to himself, casting a warm glance to catch the guy's eyes glued to the television. Lost him. There goes that sale. Maybe.
  8. Josef Carroll Boudreaux

    Don't Eat the Dead Ones

    "Don't gimme that look." He could hear it in the way she breathed without even looking at her. The huff confirmed his suspicions as he chewed and met the eyes that had not one clue what he looked like. His push forward with the conversation completely ignored her broody mood. He didn't give two shits about her mood. "I mean it" There may have been an eye-roll as he got up and returned to the same spot in the floor. The entire foundation had been converted into storage space, the crisscross of antique throw rugs eclectic enough to give the place a vintage old fashioned feel and draw attention away from the perpendicular joints at the same time. The beams underneath the sub-floor doors and reinforced ceiling below were a perfect size for the antique WW2 ammo boxes he kept meticulously lined up and organized with items. The one that seemed his main personal storage was pulled up again, another bottle retrieved with a few clinks that betrayed there was more down there than he was sharing. Expression quirked as he dropped the trap door, dust and debris plinking everywhere. He was not looking forward to cleaning this mess up. Charms on his wrist twinkled, unconsciously adjusting the still damp cords with a soft shake when he returned. He put the bottle between them, and picked up one of the cartons before leaning back in the chair and putting one ankle over his knee as he ate. ....be a pain to walk home now anyway..... "...yah, your hair would freeze and that sucks." Fingertips went up to run across a jaw that felt a bit warm. First shave after a while always made skin tender. "Not being a mother hen. Just don't want to get my ass blown up because y'all don't know what you're doing. Ain't no joke, ain't no thing to ignore, and sure as hell makes you an idiot if you ignore it 'cause you don't want people to know." It was rather brutal, and maybe in her circle they tapdanced around her moods... but he wasn't obligated to do that. If anything, the Cajun was overtly practical, and didn't wax poetic to save face. "I ain't your people. You got nothin' to prove to me. Never had." He was wayyy too intoxicated to be deep and philosophic, and it became apparent the drunker he got the more the mysterious aloofness fell away and the "no bullshitting" sign was displayed. Some might have taken it for being dickish; it was anything but. "Sucks not knowing what's inside you until someone you hate forces it out without your permission." He spoke from experience. He upended the last trickle from his own bottle. Air seethed through his teeth as he leaned forward and plunked the empty bottle on the table, eyes on the new one. "Doesn't last long though... body burns through it faster than I can drink it. Most zipped I've been in a long time, must be losing my touch."
  9. Josef Carroll Boudreaux

    Don't Eat the Dead Ones

    Well….not supposed to have'ta flash mana around…. If I am doin' my job should be quiet. Musta been sloppy somewhere along the way for them to target here. "Other gunrunners aren't all I have to worry about. Coulda been anybody." It was definitely his reality, and still weighed heavily in his decision to reopen the shutters. If he was a bit more sober, he probably would have been upset about his tshirt. There were definitely things that he had kept near and dear from his former life. 100% cotton tshirts and high thread counts were some of them. ...figured you would prefer swiping your tee rather than neglecting to address the matter at all… "...yep, not that kind'a storefront." He was acutely aware she was sponging his bottle. Ya…..well…. also coulda suffocated you with it too…so… you know…careful what you ask for….. She was full of surprises. "That's rather inconvenient." ...then she was laughing at him. Why did everyone seem to not take him seriously?. Don’t suppose you got any other decent stuff lying around…. "Of course I do... but I'm a lightweight, so gonna eat some more food," smirk was the cat that ate the canary as he chewed the forkful he'd just stuffed in his mouth, brow quirked. "Oh? You mean for you? You get me shot, steal my shirts, compare me to a little green man and called me a lightweight. Why do I need to fetch that for you again?" He was quiet a long moment, leaning back on the chair and enjoying another forkful of something spicy. "I'll get it if you agree to let me help you with the Force."
  10. Josef Carroll Boudreaux

    Don't Eat the Dead Ones

    Wont be the last either am sure…… all am sayin' is we bringing a focused kind of nasty to your door. He scoffed slightly, in his own charming way. His apathy at his own danger was unusually settling… honest and true, he wasn’t afraid. The Cajun just didn’t want to be bothered with things that weren’t enjoyable. “Again… sorry. I’ve been on the inside of the Order,” words hummed quietly, he was slipping past the tipsy stage. “…don’t get me wrong, playing wild west with yall was entertaining, but Order is a kind of nasty that I could never begin to explain. But… I don’t want more baggage. If I’m gonna be flashing mana on a regular basis to deal with yall, I gotta decide if it’s worth it. Order don’t like being told no. They think I’m dead. Wanna stay that way.” Dead. Yah, they did. That was a can of worms that might come back to bite him in the ass sooner rather than later. Would have to be on point for a while. Highly sensitive skin. He blinked at her, the comment pulling him away from old dogs he didn’t want to get in a fight again with. Nerves always on fire, sense temperature… able to read more subtle texture than braille. Don’t tolerate rough fabrics well…. “Ya ain’t getting any more of my tshirts,” he grumbled quietly before attention turned to the bottle again. I knew that rail was scalding when I came down….you didn’t hurt me…. I hurt me…. knew what I was getting into…rare that I don’t know what am getting into…. The amused smirk was particularly to himself, he didn’t elaborate. Apparently only living example of an "actual" integration… apparently host croaks within days… least that’s what some big scientist thought. 'course he wanted to experiment on me so…….. who knows what the truth is….. “Then we a pair then… I’m nuclear winter in a bottle… they wanted to experiment on me too, kept pushing me beyond where I wanted to go,” he didn't divulge any more. Bottle… he was nursing it pretty consistently. “Blew up a lotta shit…” The smirked chuckle was turning into the same “private” joke expression that captured his traditional charm. It was becoming quickly apparent how much he’d had to drink before many of their graveyard conversations… and then he had his gris-gris off. Something he’d NEVER done before, blinking softly as she rolled it through her fingers as if it sobered him slightly. What the hell was so special about her that he would slide it off...? Some of the things in here are entangled in your scent but it still is not your scent.... you are rain...spice... and a flower. Lips pursed, taking it back and looking at it a moment before putting it back on. Oddly enough he’d never really looked at it before when it was actually off his neck, soft eyes studying the intricacies. Since the world went fuck-shit crazy… I have an…. ….an amplified mode?.... Wasn’t surprised. Not one bit. Can make a shield with it too….. The quirked brow was amused, yet not amused as he slid it over his head. “Ya think that might have been handy?” brow furled at her with the boyishly annoyed charm. “...woulda have been nice to know that before we got all magicked-the-fuck up. That hoodoo needs training. I might know somebody that has some kind of knowledge about that kinda stuff…” He was clearly, though nonchalantly, talking about himself- finding his hands rifling through some more of the food to find something else. “Wouldn’t recommend it now though… I’m drunk as hell.”
  11. Josef Carroll Boudreaux

    Don't Eat the Dead Ones

    Then your map is defective…..shows your french quarter is lined by the……. Eyes slid up to watch her, he didn’t really know what to think. Raging against the world and claiming herself not to be “broken”, but now showing him the vulnerability and limitations to what she could do. It made no sense… she was still trying to either prove to him that she was competent in different ways, or she was finally starting to strip away all the bravado and… …ohhh. …. by the Mississippi……... It's silver….. Thoughts darkened away from his original ah-ha moment. He was so eager to share his findings, and now because of all this destruction, it was almost as if there was a hint of defeatism in the normally easy rolling Cajun. The sullen expression was starting to slide into something much more melancholy, there were no big items to find anymore. Faded and chipped plastic beads… the metal skeletons of everything else that was rotting away and bring reclaimed by the wilderness and the river. They are what they are to you. Nothing more……. and nothing less. Lips pursed, the frown replaced by the bottle when his word was questioned again. Words I have heard many times before…… for once………. I really hope they are meant. Brow furled into that darker place, finding the bottle again. He wasn’t going to fight for anyone to believe him. They either did or they didn’t, reluctant to give up the bottle when she reached for it. Don’t give a shit what you can do…..never did…..there is a small army of people out there right now watching this area that can do shit. The cynical expression reappeared, quirking slightly as his arms found their place over his chest again. Thumbs tapped his biceps absently. She just didn’t get it. Nobody got it. Nobody except the people that tried to exploit the invisible catastrophe he could bring down. My job to protect you…. and your place. Its my fault your place was targeted. I brought you into this deal. That group tonight…. built by a traitor looking to undo what we built. Means dealing with us is….dangerous…. now. “Sorry to disappoint you, but it’s not the first time my place has been targeted. Dealing guns is dangerous, always has been. There’s a reason the back room has steel reinforcement and the place is covered in cameras.” Long breath was drawn in, picking up the silver cuff again to look at it. That was his way wasn’t it? Hunker down until someone got a whiff of what he could do with arms and magic, and then disappear until it blew over. Come back, rebuild. He really did like the transparency of it all, no roots, no worries… but hell, it was lonely. Surrounded by people in the clubs he visited, the parties he threw. Still, felt so alone. Thumbnail ran over the tiny little grids, streets he’d walked, places he’d loved. Its not ink…… I am playing parasitic host to a piece of the sky. It likes to amplify emotions when its ticked off….. I try not to have any. Brows quirked as he looked up at her with the hooded hazel. She just kept peeling back. Even he wasn’t sure he could take it all in. Somewhere she felt like she could trust him, and he wouldn’t be judgmental, but was mad because he probably would be? He’d heard of odd things like that, so it wasn’t that… just opened up a whole layer of extra… reasons he just couldn’t pick up and leave anymore. Someone would miss him? “I’ve heard of that,” voice was very quiet. “When I was training with the order there were some whispers of people fundamentally changed by the thing, caught in it somehow, pieces of them trapped, pieces of it trapped. Just thought they were stories…” The explanation of her “sight” though, was intriguing; about to ask if she was throwing the mojo that was fraying his sonar… Rain…. spice and a floral I don’t recognize on anyone else…. that’s you…. He blinked at her, lifting his forearm to sniff it without thinking, turning his wrist over to a small waterfall of tiny bits and bobs. Tiny silver charms on black cords, small stones; nothing unusual. It left him curious what she smelled, fingers reaching to his chest to touch the gris-gris he always wore. He pulled it from under his shirt and lifted it over his head, leaning forward to hand it to her, something he’d never done... for anyone. Ever. It was as much a part of him as the air he breathed. “Might be it,” it felt weird not wearing it, fingers a bit reluctant to let go, brushing her palm as he relinquished it. “It’s my gris-gris. I had, we all had, a caretaker… nanny I guess. Mine was more like an accomplice. Taught me to cook, covered for me to keep me out of trouble. She gave me that, said I always come out after a scrape as long as I had it.” He didn’t tell her exactly what it was, the small quarter size skull so intricately carved out of bone that there were things inside of it. He never remembered Alma not having it around her neck when he was a kid, when she cooked, cleaned. It was probably so engrained with the potent scents of unique cooking it would always be there. There were seeds in it, a few feathers and slivers of bone. The other scents… no idea? “Magnolias maybe…” he offered, was really stumped, sniffing the back of his forearm again. “Others are just… charms. Gris-gris are charmed to you. Powerful stuff.” Bottle was stolen back and tipped up again. “So this… thing you do. Any more to it? My particular brand of mojo… I can scan, sweep, thermal, infrared. Kind of like radar. Something kept jamming up my signal… was that you?”
  12. Josef Carroll Boudreaux

    Don't Eat the Dead Ones

    “Damn it Mason…Give that back. Yours is broken.” Ya well…. got shot for ya and lost my favorite shades….. so think entitled… Quirked frown responded, then thoughts were lost to the willingness for her to find someone to help with his glass. There had to be strings attached, there were always strings attached when you were in the firearms business. Too alike…. “Maybe…” the word slipped out. “I gotta rebuild myself. We always rebuild.” He’d said that all his life, somehow in the fuzziness of his thoughts there was crawling doubt. It made it that much more important that he stand fast in his insistence. He had to do it himself; he might very well be the only one left. There was a lingering silence, where everything before had always been so easy, it now felt like a giant wall sat dead between them. “The cold water makes ‘em hurt,” he commented quietly on her seemingly itching tattoos. “Do for mine anyway, become these… itchy, raised lines.” It was all he divulged. His were unusual, and elaborate, a very interesting night in the Phillipines that he remembered very little of. Plus, it was in an area not many people saw. This was not going to be a whip-your-shirt-off and compare moment. His wasn’t on his upper body. So you are going to be different? He looked at the snowglobe, incredibly quiet, picking up the bottle to polish it off. He really didn’t understand what she was asking. Different from what? Not being a dick and treating her like she was inept? He never thought he did. Different than every other person that ever came before in my life? “I don’t know every other person that came before in your life, I wasn’t there,” there was a bit of aggression churning in the quiet response. This wasn’t fair, hazel lifting just in time to finally catch the gaze, opening his mouth to defend himself when she continued. It was his turn for arms to cross over his chest. I used to believe everyone would not ask for proof after…. not treat me different….every damn time…I thought "they" were "different"…. I was sure every time…… and I naively trusted….. and every damn time I was suddenly not complete……. not trusted. Not expected to perform as successfully…… not trusted to cross the damn street on my own…. not trusted to protect with any accuracy. Never mind that I had done it all flawlessly before and that nothing had changed……. that one insight into my life suddenly changed their perception of me….every…..damn……time. I gave up that naivety long ago……….. Aw hell no. “So did I, the naivety that I was a harmless party boy. We all got dealt a handful of bullshit, but you ain’t the only one that’s been used and abused. You just dealt with it better. I just ran. I ain’t running no more. I didn’t insist on protecting you because I thought you were incompetent, I just didn’t want to fry your ass,” an uncharacteristic terseness set onto his features and into his voice, betraying that he' d known or at least suspected for quite some time. It was also suddenly clear how vehemently he revered his power and his insistence not to hurt anyone. “Going off all half-cocked, you stepped right into my line of fire. It’s my responsibility to protect what’s mine, and you while you’re in it. You don’t gotta prove you got balls by steppin’ into someone’s line of fire.” So yah… he wasn’t exactly the most honest about himself either. “Now is you gonna be different from everyone that’s come before that I’ve told what I can do? You not going to ask me to crack safes and scramble security protocols? Eavesdrop on phone conversations? Block and fry communications? Unlock car doors? How about level street blocks? I don’t tell people because I’m useful, and I’m dangerous, and what I do you can’t avoid. I HURT you Mason, and I almost killed you and your damn back-up because yall had to get in the way!” Lips quirked, arms tighter across his chest as an almost harrumph settled across his features. Expression was sullen, and he’d become quiet. He was so pissed at himself, because of the level he was pushed to use his abilities because it got so out of hand, and she’d still ended up hurt. He was way too fucking sober for this, eyes closing a moment, flicking back to her when she chose to pick up one of his scavenged items. Sits on the river….. Eyes were on the few tiny bits of glitter that refused to settle in the globe, “no, it don’t.” He didn’t elaborate for a moment. It's silver….. “I think so, probably.” Arms released from his chest and went to the table, picking up the other. “Nola ain’t on the river, it is the river. It was born from the river, it lived from it, and it died from the river. Thought the cuffs were something more... probably just pieces of junk for drunk tourists.” It was strange of him to be bitter. She'd plinked a nerve. He got up, faint lock click along the floor allowing him to pull up the floor storage door that had his things in it. Rustling a few of the vintage ammo boxes he used to store his stuff in innocuously while he went on his gallivants, the distinct clink of a bottle was pulled out and the trap dropped. Definitely not what he’d prefer, he was still pissed about them breaking that first bottle. He returned to his perch, stuffed another mouthful of food in and pulled one of the last things out of the crate. A few other bits and bobs left in were a few shells and gator teeth he was going to add to his cords, some gun parts he’d found en route and random bits of seaglass. The larger object was somewhat heavy, yet small, swathed in a t-shirt that he carefully unwrapped. It was made out of concrete, or something similar. Carved and cast as a miniature that was unusually heavy. Another tourist piece of junk. Bottle cracked open, the long swig hoping to just obliterate the entirety of the conversation. Fingers reached up to wander over the wings that draped down the base of the weeping angel, feeling the heavy pull of more alcohol flooding his system. “Don’t give two shits about your sight Mason. I give a shit about you."
  13. Josef Carroll Boudreaux

    Don't Eat the Dead Ones

    She didn’t wanna eat. Then what the hell was she down here for? Barefoot, wearing his clothes. If she was so damn pissed at him she should be hightailing it back to her own people… and apparently she didn’t want the damn piece of metal either. Sigh was soft, fingertip poking at the one of the French Quarter gently absently with his fork hand while he chewed. It was just a piece of metal after all. Junk, he guessed. Hooded eyes lifted to watch her come over, oddly enough everything began to fit together like a giant puzzle; a million tiny pictures of individual things making one large view of the world. All the things she’d done… all the way back to her tapping on his display glass the first day she came in all made sense now. It was intriguing, and amazing, but she didn’t wanna hear it. So he said nothing, fingertip pushing this time at the snowglobe with the glum of a kid kicking a pebble because their friend couldn’t come out to play. Expression snapped to a frown when she stole his bourbon. “Damn it Mason…” mumbled from his lips. It was quickly becoming a catchphrase. “Give that back. Yours is broken.” Hand fell back to the table, lips quirked as he sat up a bit and dug more into his food. Needed to anyway, been out in the crazy too long, almost too long. Got a glass guy…. send him over tomorrow for y' window… probably have it fixed in a day…. He glanced up at her. “I’ll be fine. I can do it. Just somethin’ I have to do on my own.” Should be careful giving me maps………. I never forget them. He was unusually quiet and still, watching her for a long moment. Soaking in everything, he swallowed slowly. “It ain’t,” voice started too soft to make noise, he cleared his throat slightly before continuing. “It ain’t there anymore anyway. Nothing to go to even if you knew where to go.” The melancholy betrayed where his drunken thoughts were settling. Normally a contemplative drunk, a conversational and quirky drunk, this time the fatigue had worn down the surly grins. Fork was set down quietly and he straightened in the chair, both elbows on the table as he rubbed his temples with his fingers then ran them into his hair, pausing. He let the silence sit, heavy in its implication. The Cajun always spoke of the place as if it was alive, always alive, always able to come back from the dead. This trip though… it was gone, and it wasn’t ever coming back. He felt like he was alone on an island. His need to wander, to be free from whatever he should have been happy with had yanked it from him. If he was home when the world went to shit, he could have done something… maybe? He drew a long breath and pushed it out, rubbing his eyes and picking up the snowglobe again. “It’s all underwater now,” bracelets twinkled as he twirled it slowly. “It was hot. Always hot, air so thick it felt like a warm and wet silk shirt, clinging at ya. The air always seemed to smell like magnolias, or wet concrete as weird as that sounds. When it got dark you were still hot, eyes cooled by the gray moon or the reflections of lights on the river. I liked the cemeteries because they were cool at night, all the carved marble reflecting a soft glow made ‘em magical. The air would be thick, but the stone let go of the heat of the sun. Sit and talk with friends, sit by myself and just talk with the gray angels.” He twirled it again, the purple and green glitter flitting about the white plastic building on the inside. “It looks different now, not much left of it still above water, but it doesn’t mean I don’t love it any less. Doesn’t mean it still don’t have the power to get me to think fondly of it.” There was a heaviness to his voice, he was sad. Truly. There was a confession in there somewhere, not aware yet perhaps, but something was different. “Been looking into gray eyes and seeing magic all my life. Never once have they not looked back at me until now.” Snowglobe was set on the table. “The only person being treated different right now is me. You shutting me out.” He was playing with the bottle of bourbon, twirling it slightly by the neck. “Got nothing to prove to me Mason. Trying ta prove you ain’t broke is gonna kill you. We all broke, anyone that says otherwise is a liar. It's the ones that make the broken into beautiful that are gonna survive.” Bottle tipped up again and he picked up the bracelet and set it closer to her, leaving what was said settle so he could move on. Move on to what, he wasn't really sure. Something was different. Maybe when he sobered up he'd know, right now... he was just rolling with it. “French Quarter. Got into a lot of trouble there.”
  14. Josef Carroll Boudreaux

    Don't Eat the Dead Ones

    Get your food? "Mhm...." The response was soft, nonchalant as jaw chewed, another fry perched in fingers ready to be chomped. Eyes were on the glittering snowglobe. It felt oddly familiar. Him focused at his work table, her watching nonchalantly from across the room. He was acutely aware of every detail, down to the t-shirt she'd swiped from him. Well, maybe acutely with a little fuzz around the edges, and a snowglobe instead of a shotgun. Table littered with small cartons of all amazing smelling things were still unopened as he munched his fries. The snowglobe was set on the table, another drink of bourbon, another fry, and another reach into the crate. It was tarnished, but obviously some sort of silver cuff bracelet. The rotting and swamped storefront had been empty of all things, lost to the scavengers, the hurricanes, the floods, buried in the mud. He'd almost missed them. Jaw chewed slowly as he looked at it, setting it down on the table with a quiet clink as he fished out another. Leaning back in the chair, he stared at them a moment, reaching forward to rearrange them a few times. Another drink, he finished the carton of fries and reached for the next one. "You gonna eat or not? Didn't know what you liked so I ordered everything." Jambalaya... fingers poking at the other cartons to find the rice, fishing back into the bag for the silverware. Plastic, but it wasn't a silver spoon event. There was a chair still flipped up on the table across from him. Up to her. "Got ya a souvenir." He picked up one of the cuffs and set it aside from the others. "Thought they were just scratched up fancy jewelry. Cleaned one up a bit and realized they're carved maps of the city. Touristy things... ya know. Not seen anything like em before." He folded the rice carton out carefully, making a bowl, then finished putting the rest on top of it. "I'll buff 'em up after I get things cleaned up in the shop." It was clear he wasn't moving the shop. The normally always surly Cajun was a bit quiet as he ate, reaching over to run his thumb along the carved French Quarter. There was nothing left of it. A few wrought iron pieces and other debris sticking up out of the muddy water, rebar and chunks of taller structures at the higher points, but that was it. Charms on his wrist twinkled slightly against the bottle as he tipped it up again, and fell into silence. Too much churning through fuzzy thoughts. Everything was weird, everything was different... not 'cause of her eyesight- he'd suspected that for a while. He didn't know what he was feeling... too much to say about the current elephant in the room, so he just dined with his silent ghosts.
  15. Josef Carroll Boudreaux

    Don't Eat the Dead Ones

    What’d he order??? Food. What’d she think got delivered from a take-out place? Jojo? Where the fuck did Jojo come from? That’d better not have been a reference for him… Brow quirked as he took another drink, he was going to need the entire bottle; the whole damn thing at the sound of the conversation that was still taking place over her phone. It seemed she was not leaving, even after the verbal tussle. Face barely peeked around the corner like a cat to purse a frown up the stairs. “Damn it Mason!” Jesus. A swift turn from the stairwell to put his back on the wall away from it left a facepalm in the center of his forehead and a string of French curses in his wake. “Bon dieu…” Thumb and forefinger kneaded between his eyes for a long moment before he oozed a long sigh. This was just getting worse. She didn’t want to be here… now she was here, and apparently overly comfortable, on the phone with someone that could walk in at any moment and they were gonna think… Another drink tipped up a bit longer than it probably should have and the bottle was set on the counter, hands on his hips to survey the vastness of the damage and casting a suspicious side-eye toward the now off limits stairwell. That was… unexpected, lower lip rolling through his teeth. Focus. On. The . Shop. Things seemed to be waist high or above. Things. The shop's DAMAGE was waist high or above. Jesus Josef. The COUNTERS were relatively unscathed. Glass was everywhere. The front façade of the building was completely open to the cold and the old steam radiator system that made the shop a charming relic of the bygone turn of the century era was running on overdrive. Boarding up was first priority. Nope. Avoiding naked Mason was first priority. Unlocking the door to the basement, he trotted down and pulled the chain on the lone lightbulb. He didn’t use the area much. It was an old dirt floor and generally a cruddy northeast basement, but he had some basic tools and the pull cranks for the old steel shutters he never used. Here’s to hoping they would actually move, they would shut off the front of the shop from the elements. Snagging the cranks and the two old locks, he made his way back upstairs, peering out before stepping out into the shop. Sliding out the window, grunt was soft as he reached up and attached it to the winch. Side was still sore, almost like his brain still remembered there was an injury but his body was telling him to fuck off. After a few moments of putting his full weight on it, the shutter to the right of the door was down and locked. The left side was much easier, and he found himself walking around the long way to let himself in the back door, cranking up the heat to at least get the lower level to an ambient 60’s. At that moment, ol’ Joe’s courier was pulling up, handing him a brown paper bag. “Thanks,” he smiled after them, patting the top of the car twice before they drove off. Loading door closed behind, he flipped down one of the chairs to his old worktable and dusted it off, grabbing the bottle of bourbon and starting to pull little cartons of things out one at a time. It was gonna take good food and a lot of elbow grease to erase this, hazel eyes traveling over the broken wood and glass everywhere… and a lot of bourbon to settle his mind about Mason. Should he call her down? Lord help him not yet. Jaw chewed on a sweet potato fry a moment before he quietly got up to retrieve the apple crate and set it on the floor next to his chair. Another fry. First thing was pulled out upside down by the faded wood base, somehow having managed to not only survive... but stay clear all this time. Hand whirled it gently, holding the snow globe up at eye level to watch the glitter float around the tiny little porcelain St. Louis Basilica inside, other hand helping himself again to another tip of Bourbon. The bottle was half gone.


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