An *@^##@^'s day in the park.
About half an hour into the whole procedure, Roland started to realize just how wrong sitting on a bench angrily throwing crumbs of bread at birds unfortunate enough to pass him by on a Monday afternoon really was for a sixteen year-old to do. It even almost made him pause long enough to miss a fat fucking pigeon, though remembering that he was a miserable misanthrope strengthen his arm enough to stun the bastard out of the air for a moment or two. Reasoning that not too many people hated just about the rest of the world with a venomous passion either, Roland Godfrey Black found it perfectly acceptable that he stay exactly where he was. Besides, the sun was out and giving him almost twenty-twenty conditions to hit those fat fucking birds.
Truth be told, homework tiredly nagged at the shirt-tails of the shrivelled little apple that remained of his soul, and Roland didn’t really have the heart to give in. The fundamental need for sun and fresh air had started to bother him as well, the interior of his parents’ bookstore being less than a healthy place to stay indoors for weeks at a time, a habit he was prone to do to say the least. So a trip to the much despised outside world down to the pond-park off Hilda.
Drawing his big black coat tighter across his Iron Maiden t-shirt, he considered the people around him through hazel eyes under lowered lids and a wild mop of long dark hair. A soccer-mom and her two pre-teen children ran around noisily while her dentist-husband took pictures. An elderly couple meandered down the board walk gently passing out carefully torn pieces of bread (carefully honed to art-like precision fro a hundred years of experience or so, Roland noted with a dry sense of defence). A gaggle of geese honked at passing cars with a tone that so closely reminded him of ‘’fuck off’’ that he smirked. A girl leaned on the railing of the deck and looked out towards the pond. And sitting on the long bench alone was him.
It took all of Roland’s self-control to keep down the bile that suddenly rushed to his throat. Once, Roland knew, there had been life here. Real life, that lived and breathed on it’s own and answered to no one. Wild, chaotic and free.
Now a quartet of, frankly, morons were running all over it spewing some sort of family happy time Wiggle bullocks that made Roland want to throttle them all up and shove them into a shitty sitcom reel. Then set the whole thing on fire. There were few things that cut the reins of his anger loose (well, other than the world) but watching people populate a perfectly harmonious world burned worse than all of them. Especially seeing as how the parents were statistically going to divorce and leave their kids to either switch back and forth between each parent’s strained love or neglect them altogether by being sent off to an orphanage where they’d grow up to be a gang member, whore, cutter or drug addict. If they didn’t manage to make all three, or worse, turn out like him. The venom made way for a second or two when Roland watched the family collectively laugh in a pure Hallmark moment, only to be replaced with a small dose of pity. They might as well enjoy that happiness. There was little enough of it to go around.
Turning his head to the elderly couple, he saw two people who’d spent far too much time together. Well, something had to explain the slight outward lean they both had from each other. Probably met after the war, stayed with each other since. Roland conceded that it might have sounded romantic, maybe even epic if he hadn’t been sure that they couldn’t stand the sight of each other after so long. Some people were just destined for life-long misery.
He couldn’t see the girl’s face from where he sat, though his highly advanced natural talent supplemented by his degree in the fucked-up led him (possibly mislead) to the diagnosis he saw far too often; getting fucking dumped. Honestly, it happened so much that they might as well have opened a fucking clinic for it by now. Make some useless pills that cost the taxpayers twenty-dollars a prescription and sell it all on patronizing TV ads. Well, whatever kept them from talking about haemorrhoids for more than five minutes was something he was willing to try.
Shaking his head slowly, Roland sighed heavily. He would never understand why he kept coming back to this place. He hated it with a genocidal wrath that wasn’t even balanced out by the satisfaction of hitting fat fucking pigeons with near-frozen pieces of bread. Fortunately for him, the loathing ended up being stronger than the laziness, and Roland got up to walk down the street a ways to the nearest gas station for a Coke. His daily Coke and his daily shot of collective toxins he’d been born drinking. Small comfort came from it at least not being diet, though having seen what his teeth were likely to look like in ten years or so it was too small. Hell, those pictures had made Prince Charles look handsome, a concession Roland only made with a deep shudder down his spine.
Slapping the last of his pay check onto the counter to drain away the last of his health, Roland’s feet started to march right back to his bench. The small, objective part of his mind told him that he was projecting, purposefully going to a place he hated so that he could sit there for the rest of the day and feel bad for himself. An opinion Roland staunchly agreed with and was determined to follow through with if only to slap that part of the mind in the face. And, on a higher level of existence, all those other pompous fucks who thought miserable projection was wrong. He did have to admit that it was wrong, but it kept him busy nonetheless, so he took that excuse and rode it into the proverbial ground that was the base of his skull slowly emptying of brain matter that more he played Half-Life.
It would occur later to Roland that ranting for too long in the mind was a bad thing. Especially when it kept one from noticing the world around oneself.
So it was with complete surprise that he found a tree had mischievously moved it’s branch in front of his face. And that someone lounging around on his bloody bench.
It had always been of particular fascination to Joan to pick out definitions in people. More specifically, strangers. Part of the reason she loved her physics and math classes was the quasi-euphoria of picking a problem she’d never seen before to pieces, though a deep grounding in reality due to the painful memories of her late mother’s much more abstract personality probably had something to do with it as well in hindsight. Well, psychoanalysis aside, psychoanalyses were fun to her. It was why she came to this place every day to see how many new and messed up lives she pick apart. So when the sourest looking crow-like shadow she (or, little did she know, anyone else) had ever seen stopped walking to start glaring at her with eyes fit to burn a hole through something that wouldn’t easily burn normally not ten feet away, she couldn’t help but flash a smile.
Then she realized she was staring a bit (well, a lot) and tried to look flustered by something in her eye.
After an uncomfortable minute or two, she heard a particularly vicious expletive out of the corner of her ear (an expression she’d always had trouble explaining to people) that were followed by a series of footsteps, a grunt, a thud and a sharp thud. Blinking the flustered…ness away, Joan saw out of the corner of her eye (an expression people had trouble explaining to her) that lo and behold, the crow-like shadow sat next to her in something resembling a ball.
Joan hated this part. The suspended gap in conversation that the other person refused to fill and dumped the proverbial cross of responsibility on her shoulders (though she’d always thought it far more practical to hold the thing in her hands) and lacked any kind of absurdity to spark her anger, which apparently made her blunt. Drawing herself up a bit, she opened her mouth to speak.