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A Man and His Hat

Boyd's picture
Submission type:

Lovers come and go. Friends are a scarce resource in a desolate world. But hats? Well, a man will only have one hat that fits him just right throughout his adult life and gives others a symbol of himself to come to know and respect, or fear if the circumstance calls for it. I was glad to have such a hat but today I've lost that one hat and with it a memory to never be regained. Something far more important than the hat that few in this world know of or have ever seen. A memory of my mother was lost today with the hat, a long since faded and beaten photo of the woman that taught me the skills to become a man and educated gone in a single, thoughtless moment. Surprising that the week was shaping up to be the best I have had in quite a long time. And now it is one of the most meaningful, for both good and bad.

It started with the most positive event, involving the tribal girl Soyala. She had become increasingly inquisitive of my past and my mannerisms not because of any danger or possible threat to her sister, Natasha, but instead out of shear curiosity. Finding her nativity and thoughtful, learning behavior refreshing from many of the Invicta or Children I had met in the past, I obliged her with the minimal she asked, finding the comparisons she made to her own culture all the while interesting. The quickest way to understand a subject or enemy is to relate to them and find connections that eventually lead to weakness and this girl does such a thing without thought, though she could use more tact in revealing similarities she finds between herself and a subject, if she ever wishes to keep a tactical advantage. Of course, that is not to say that she will need it with me. I merely want to keep the girl out of danger, which leads me to the event she and I shared over the beginning of the week. It started with a story, like the ones I had fed her curious mind but unlike my own, this was not long dead and buried with only the bitter want for justice.

It was a story I goaded her into telling, knowing that the content still stung and forced her to tears with a sagging heart, a pain beyond the physical threshold. Still, she had found trust in me enough to tell it with one simple reason I had given her: No matter my curiosity Soyala needed to hear the tale aloud herself. The average mind may recall such things with a passing glance for detail and try to soothe one's emotions, but speaking it out forms thought into cold hard facts and steels memories for one to realize the truth of a situation. So there, in an abandoned house in which I lost chunks of flesh to Aiidenous long ago, Soyala told me in detail what she bore witness to and the pain her body and mind had endured during the final moments of her lover. It saddened me to see the girl's tears flow freely from the doll eyes that somehow look so full of life, but as the story came to an end, I offered my arms to her, and allowed her a moment's solace in my embrace, giving her reassuring words and apology. And having told the tale a sense of realization and strength came over the girl - like what I would see in Vorela later in the week - and over the course of the next few days I allowed her to speak to Zero Chance, the man that had forced her to tears at the last rally, in reminding the girl of her dead spouse.

I was present in her talks with Chance, who had been staying clear from Invicta for that talk he had with her. It was odd to see and showed a different light to the man that I had not known in him before. Despite his old age, I have seen Chance as a blunt, callous, and unobservant man until the night of the ritual, where he showed a lost and much more mature side of himself. The man appears to have once been a Lightbearer and as an apology to Soyala, led her through a brief yet meaningful ritual. A final goodbye robbed of the girl by the Judges that held and tortured her lover. A goodbye that, after which, Chance and I left so she could perform her own ritual in privacy.

I am glad to have helped Soyala see strength in even harsh, bitter words. Over the course of the next few days she regarded me with renewed energy and a smile at every turn, things I can only chalk up to releasing herself from a self imposed prison of torment and needless uncertainty.

Of course, other things happened over these days. I told Robert (or rather yelled at) the values of being a decisive man and the good of being sure of your actions and beliefs so he could tell Druuna his feelings for her, much to her enjoyment (however hidden and blushed at). I'm no modest man and I'll happily declare that of the two sexes, men should be known as the boulders: immovable in personality and stubborn in their ways, whereas women are like the stream: gentle and moving and constant in reassurance and over time they wear the face of a rock to shape their current. Both have their pros and cons but neither are anything alike and though there may be individuals in each gender that come to resemble the other, the main portion of the two genders have the capability to fit these roles perfectly and with their own style, making them strong personalities, whether it is confident, loyal, dominant, or the like.

Then there was a rarity. Hearing a remark she had made a rally before, I planned to speak to Vorela in more length and when we finally crossed paths, something very uncharacteristic of me happened. I laughed without constraint and observed her words and mannerisms not for the paranoia and information seeking that drives my Sheriff conditioned mind, but instead for the enjoyment of her features and personalities. I did not feel that the girl was out to rip a blade through my spine and oddly, I felt at ease having real, structured conversation with her as we surrounded such talk with jokes and playful attitudes over the days. And leave it to a man like myself to forget to mention that perhaps I was an idiot with her on two occasions. But I did apologize to  her for calling her a stripper when we first met and explained my meaning at morning coffee. A coffee that slated us for a date, after I made my affections clear to her. Though I have not known her long, I find myself liking the girl's joking nature and eased by her personality. An ease well earned with the fact that she has yet to feel at edge as I reveal more of myself to her. Now I would just like to learn more about the blue haired vixen herself and explore the glimpses of her past and self that slip through for me to see. And that I will have more chances to throw her in my arms or spend hours talking over Turkish Coffee about whether or not to call something a date. Whatever I want, I know her past and know that I'll need to be careful and give the girl time to make up her mind about many certain things.

Finally, there is this past day that troubles me. It started with the Saints meeting, where we found our numbers too few for any serious discussion and instead began to chat with one another, learning how our weeks had been - or rather me finding out if any had gotten in trouble. All the while, Oleandria fiddled with her scraps of junk and delved deeper into tinkering as she found herself with questions she had a hard time answering or embarrassment until finally, she asked Zero if he needed a new hat, seeing his as much too large and far too old. It's a style I can relate to, my own hat being far older than myself, but Zero, true to spirit, was blunt with the girl in telling her that he was fond of the hat and would not like another. I don't blame him for the words but they did finally set off an event that had been boiling to explode for some time. After Zero spoke, Oleandria burst into a stammer, running out of the bar to her buggy, where she rummaged in for various scrap materials muttering about a her coming, asking that we would go so that her did not hurt us. I found myself reminded of Spookshow and stayed, trying to gently stop and calm the girl until finally something snapped inside her and after she screamed at me, asking for her father to not hurt her again, she crawled for me, cooing and acting as if I were that man of her past, wanting to give me a present she had disillusioned into her hand while asking when her mother would return. It was a frantic and confusing moment and I played along, pulling free my hat and my mask, until the others came around, Zero with a tranquilizer to sedate the girl just as she writhed and screamed, yelling for me not to let them take her and hurt her again.

I don't know what to make of the situation and now I hear her snoring away in the bedroom of my Haven apartment, even from here at the couch; where I will spend a sleepless night. But I do know that I am scared for the girl and that fear brought a voice from me that none since Irina have heard, my Afrikaans accent which has been passed down through my father's family. I fear that she is either haunted by Alpha memories, or a shell-shocked Alpha herself, reeling from abuse as a child. I can only hope that the former is right and that she is alright in time and comfort, if not through sleep. If not, I will have left my hat and the picture of my mother it held inside all for naught at that gas station for scavengers to pick away, unknowing that the picture might mean the world to someone. And to make matters worse (and in a way, infinitely more cute), I'm rather certain Vorela will use my postponing our date for nefarious reminders over time.


Soyala's picture

*sniffles for the lost hat and photograph*

(Rose would want to know the source of that coffee as her last hidden supply is running low..... Coffee doesn't grow in the wastelands so is an ancient and diminishing resource... Gimme! hehe)

Boyd's picture

It's safe to say that with a closed environment, space, and constant care from those lightbearers, a few coffee trees can be cared for in Haven. This can be mingled in with their tea plants.

However, Turkish Coffee is not a bean but instead the way in which the coffee is made, using any bean the preparer wants, as long as it's ground into a fine powder.

(Oh they probably could be.... but the fact there is no coffee or chocolate for sale anywhere in the wastes rather implies that they weren't. It doesn't look like hunting down a seed bank and growing either was high on the list of priorities when all was going to hell in the Arizona desert. After all at first there were what appeared to be limitless supplies of instant coffee around... most 21st century people wouldn't have a clue where to go to find a seed of a tropical plant. :) .)

Boyd's picture

[ I like to roleplay quite a few items not having in-game counterparts. There are small things that can add a unique flavor to a character, even in desolate environments that will not become unbelievable.  ]

(Oh yes, I'm a believer in small subcreations: just pointing out that there has been some very fun rp already ingame establishing the non-existence of coffee and small hidden caches controlled by certain people. Each to their own :) .)

Vorela's picture

((V would never do such a thing... okay, yes, she would. *grins*))

Muse's picture

((I'm loving your journal posts Boyd! The Sheriff losing his hat and that special photograph is so sad. It's neat to think of the things one would hold onto in an environment like this, what they would mean to them, and all of that. As always, looking forward to the next one too!))

Zach Zero Chance's picture

Great Story Sheriff

Once again my big mouth and lack of tact. . .   (Boy does it make him fun to play though- he's like a bull in the china closet of the psyche) 

And I can tell from the story that things may be about to get more complicated within the community of the Saints.  (WAAAy more complicated)

Oh and BTW, Zero's apparent physical age is around 35.  Puts him older than most of the 'kids' running around.  But not really the old man he often comes across as.  The old man aspect of his speech is more the result of his mental age.



My Deviant Art Page

Oh noes, I made you lose your hat! But looking on the bright side, now I can make you a new one!

[ great read btw, as all your stories are. Was a joy to RP with you and I hope many more enjoyable moments will follow, and not only with you. ]

Roberto Torrente's picture

((I'm checking the web to see if the domain name "hookupsbyboyd.com" is available. Meddling old man, making Robbie tell girls he likes them. On an unrelated note- good stuff all around))

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