|Streaker in the Park|
|Location||Tompkins Square Park|
|Summary||Carole trips over some mystery naked guy.|
| During daylight hours, the park is pleasant enough, if not ever truly safe. Concrete paths criss-cross a green space liberally shaded by trees, while the north end boasts basketball and multi-purpose courts of cracked and pitted concrete. The playgrounds have long since been abandoned, and most of the equipment is rusted and broken, while the pool sits empty save for rainwater. It's often filled with teenagers who've long since abandoned school and those who can't find even the shelter of a squat to call home.
Drugs are freely traded at all hours, but when night falls, the park becomes a veritable marketplace of illicit substances. Interested parties come to Tompkins Square from all over Manhattan to partake, if they're sturdy enough to brave Mutant Town at night. After twilight, the park and surrounding areas are home to drug-fueled parties and violence in almost equal measure.|
So, Tompkins Square Park. The name is more or less the only nice thing about it. Even those who make their home in Mutant Town know it's a spot to avoid, especially after dark, unless one is looking to score (or get shot). The sun has nearly sunk beneath the horizon, which means the crowd of folks who came to pretend it's a nice, pleasant park or to deal discreetly have left. Those who are planning to more openly or more dangerously conduct business begin to filter in. Just the normal routine, really.
Save for the fact that there's a dumpster off to the left of the dying basketball courts. Well, no, that dumpster is always there. It's just, usually, there isn't a pair of bare feet poking out from behind it.
"It's the adventures of Arthur and Jules
"Those dumbstruck, mudstuck, lovestruck fools."
Carole is an anomoly in the routine, a catch in the filtered flow of the dangerous and the desperate, singing to herself loud enough for anyone in spitting distance to hear. Look at her, all fresh-faced, a magenta purse slung across her chest, clothed in cream pantsuit and pale blue blouse. She's just asking to get dirty.
"Tonight, they just might stare into each other's eyes," she continues as she pauses in the middle of the basketball courts.
"Tonight, someone else just might die." She holds her pause, her hand clutching her purse strap. Lost? Sniffing the air? She turns left with a tiny, shrug-like hitch of her left shoulder. Her song fades into a sotto mumble as she treads parallel to the dumpster's edge, on a trajectory to just about stumble over a strange pair of feet.
The feet don't move, even if tripped over, but it turns out they're attached to a pair of bare legs which are attached to a bare torso with bare arms and a head (also bare, but most heads are, anyway). The only thing the young man has on him is a leather necklace with what looks like a dog tag (no, the literal kind that goes on a dog) dangling from it. He appears both unconscious and scruffy, though relatively clean and apparently uninjured. If he was mugged, it was very tidily done. On the other hand, this is drug central. Perhaps the fellow's a victim of a high gone wrong.
Carole's toe ends up snagging on the young man's, well, toe. She stumbles, she almost trips back on her way (wherever she's going), but again, she pauses. She looks down. She squints. She squints a little longer.
And in the next minute, she's squeezing herself beside the dumpster, too, awkwardly duck-walking on either side of the guy's naked torso. Toward his head. "Hey!" she soft-barks. "Hey! Can you hear me? Terrible place to pass out. Hey!" She goes so far as to bend at the waist and whap at the poor dude's cheek with her palm.
"Uh?" comes the mumble from the man on the ground when Carole gives him a wake-up smack. His eyelashes flutter and then slowly lift, and he finds himself staring up at a woman in a very stylish and pale pantsuit. "Wh-..." He blinks slowly and then lifts one hand, staring at it for a long moment as if he is somewhat surprised by the fact he has fingers. He even wiggles them, just to make sure. Then his hand flops back down and his eyes close. "I'm naked, aren't I."
"Totally." Carole levers her upper body back upright, bracing her hands on her waist. She's still looking down at his face, though, her smile lopsided and uneasy. "You crashed down from somewhere special, I bet. Too bad it didn't leave you a wallet."
"No, it usually doesn't," the man agrees, the hand with the wiggling fingers lifting again, this time to find and curl around the dog tag flopped onto his chest. He squints up at the setting sun and exhales slowly. Then, he begins to ease up into a sit, moving slowly enough to allow Carole to back up, should she wish to avoid a head klonking into her crotch.
Carole eases back, heel-step by heel-step. She can allow the man that much room. "So this is a regular thing for you, I take it."
There's a small shrug as the naked man shifts and carefully draws up his legs so that he can ease to his feet. He glances up at the dumpster, resting a hand against the rusted, once-green metal. "Thanks for the wake up. I can get it from here."
Carole edges back another couple of steps. She folds her arms across her chest. Defensive. Or nervous. "Sure you don't want a couch for the night? You're nude in Mutant Town and you aren't freaking out, so I guess you can take care of yourself. But still."
He blinks at Carole and a corner of his mouth lifts slowly, as if the muscles of his face are just now remembering how to make a smile. "That's kind, thank you, but I have somewhere I can sleep." The man's head tips a little to the side as he adds, "You're awfully well dressed for Tompkins Square Park."
Carole bangs her elbow twice against the backside of the dumpster. "Hope this isn't the bed you're thinking of." Her uneasy smile has gentled into something softer, and her arm fold loosens away. She tugs at the inside of her sleeve. "This? I guess. That's nice of you. It's all scavenged and secondhand. But what's the point of dressing up a bit if you never go anywhere interesting?"
"Is this somewhere interesting?" the man asks, looking around as the lights peppering the park begin to flick on and make their yellow pools of illumination. It deepens the growing shadows. He considers the dumpster and gives a small shake of his head. "No. Not there. I'll wait for it to get darker. Then I'll go."
"Sure." Carole's smile suddenly morphs into a full, toothy grin. "Anything can happen here. Mostly bad anythings, but still. Anything." She takes one more small step back, the better to give the man a proper once over. "Don't think anything here's as interesting as /you/, though."
"And that's what makes it interesting? The 'anything'?" The man blinks and then softly clears his throat as Carole's gaze travels from neck to toes. His hands, previously hanging by his side, move to quietly (and rather belatedly) cover his nether bits. "I imagine, in a place like this, there's plenty more interesting than a naked guy at a drug festival."
Carole raises both her hands by her ears, expands them into little hand 'explosions'. Her fingers waggle. "The air's rich with possibility! That's all. I dig that. Once in a while." And then she clears her throat, focusing proper-like on the guy's face. "You're so calm. Like a time traveler. Or a secret agent. I don't know, it's interesting."
"Maybe I am. Maybe I'm a time traveling secret agent," the man offers. "Though, now that you know, I guess I have to kill you."
"Oooh." Carole's face goes all grinnish again. She lowers her hands. "You can try."
"Well, I'm a time traveler," the man replies, "so maybe I already have."
"Mm." Carole squints one eye thoughtful, weighing-like. "Suppose that's fair." She takes another step back, back and to the side. "Well! I should let you get to your very important work, before you're tempted to hasten that death of mine."
"It's probably for the best," the naked man agrees somberly. "Fate of the world and everything."
"Well, then." Carole exhales, executes a little bow, and her backtracking begins in earnest (she's going to run into someone any minute now). "Good luck! Good sleep! Find clothes."
"And you find... uh. Possibilities," comes the reply as Carole begins to make her escape. "Bye."
"Oh, no end of those. See you!" And Carole finally turns around, and crookeds her way out of the park.Nicodemus waits a little while longer until the sun fully sets and the sky turns from purple to indigo. Then he gives his body a shake and eases down to his hands and knees. Half a minute later, a large black "dog" lopes out from behind the dumpster and heads off into the park.