Wealth and Taste

Burning Rubber 
#1
Friday night in mid-October meant that it was getting frosty, and that it was the time of year where no matter what dinky town you were in, you would hear a marching band playing somewhere, and the sound of garbled loudspeaker in the distance. High school football, baby: supremely important until you hit age 19, at which point it would never fucking matter again.

Pete liked football a lot, the amateur stuff especially. But working for the district meant that attending games required a level of good behavior that was not completely true to her nature. If she wanted to relive her glory days, she couldn't do it cheering respectfully in the stands and, I don't know, not giving the assistant coach a handy behind the announcer's box. It just lost some of the magic.

Which was all to say...she was not in attendance. Instead she had roved outward, to the pleasantly lame far reaches of Avondale, where, as a thought experiment, she had started picturing herself and her crew. And the loudspeaker and stadium lights called her over, to watch loud, beautiful bike racing and rub elbows with all the sad old men in attendance. What a nightmare, to be so old and alone and bored! What sad deflated lives they had ended up with! To keep herself from getting depressed she made a wager with a perky one, although his good mood went up like a whiff of smoke the moment Peter's pick tore through the finish line. Five hundred bucks, bay-bee, pay up!!

Except he didn't! He really didn't want to. So she had to menace him out of plain sight and make a convincing case she'd slit his belly open if he did not, immediately, divest his wallet. Which he did, and so Pete came into the possession of two hundred sour, sweaty ill-gotten dollars.

All in all, a moderately good Friday. She pocketed the cash with a cheerful whistle, turning on her heel. Next up was a taster's flight of corn dogs!
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#2
Well. Sheridan had been fired from his pizza delivery job. It was probably just as well anyway. The boss had been a dick and the pizza wasn't that great anyway. Besides, calling the business "Checkers?" Who were they trying to fool, anyway? Domino's would always be superior. His wallet was going to be hurting for the next couple of weeks, but at least now he had more time to himself again!

And where might he find himself on this chilly Friday night? Why, at Burning Rubber, of course. While Sheridan wasn't into any sort of racing scene, he was into was big crowds and excitement of just about any kind. So naturally he had to check it out. There were definitely a lot of rough and tumble looking individuals, most of whom Sheridan was pretty sure he could outrun in the off chance he pissed any of them off. Seemed a lot of betting and the occasional scuffles were going on, and if he'd had the funds, he would have considered partaking. But bills came first. Well bills and... Speaking of pizza...

It was getting up in the night and Sheridan hadn't eaten anything but some stale cereal, a couple of cups of microwavable mac and cheese, and half a bag of Doritos (Ah, the perks of adulthood..!). Needless to say, it was well past dinnertime. He'd had some fun sitting on some bleachers and people watching, but now he wriggled his way through the crowd, making his way to the concessions. Fuck that Checkers guy, but some pizza really did sound good right about now...
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#3
Sheridan had the good luck of choosing to get in line behind some dumbass ordering ten corn dogs. So she could put them between her fingers like Wolverine claws! Except, loading up from a concession stand worker who was already done with her shit, Pete realized that she had messed up the math somehow. Ten fingers, yes, but only eight spaces between them, and...well, it was unwieldy, all right, it was a big fuckin' mess. Struggling but entertained, she turned around and propositioned the person immediately behind her. "Hey, you want a couple a these?" She displayed the bouquet of fried meat and corn bread alluringly.
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#4
Sheridan had just pulled out his phone and was about to check in on his Snapchat, but hearing the order for ten corn dogs made him look back up. The tall woman before him was certainly excited from what he could sense, almost as excited as the worker behind the counter was disgruntled. Poor guy probably just wanted the night to be over, but the queue for food was far from short. He could relate to that, but he gave the back of the woman's head a bemused smirk nonetheless.

The lady turned and he moved to step up to the counter at the offer of some free corn dogs. He blinked in mild surprise, but he was never one to pass up some ubhealthy breaded free eats. "Uh, yeah! Sure! If they aren't for someone else, that is. You need help with the rest? Or like, a little tray or something?" The array of corn dogs did indeed harken back Wolverine's claws, but he hadn't realized that was their sole purpose this entire time to begin with.
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#5
Pete's good mood blossomed as the kid accepted her offer; she lowered some dogs his way and grinned wide. "Nah, the challenge is important. But like take three, I think my eyes were bigger than my stomach." If given the opportunity, she would unload the food on him and rearrange her own portion, all the while clocking his clothes, likely interests, probable income. "They don't serve beer here, do you know?"
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#6
It wasn't pizza, but man, those corn dogs looked hella fatty and scrumptious. He graciously accepted the food, though he fumbled one and nearly dropped it. He laughed at his own near-flub. "Ohoho, dude, thanks!"

As Pete looked him over, she'd see his clothing was well worn and probably cheap. His jeans were washed out and ripped, but not in the fashionable way. His white t-shirt, which donned the text "Peter Pan the Musical" and a silhouette of said character, hung untucked and wrinkled from his scrawny frame. His muted blue and purple jacket was obviously much too thin for the chill of this weather, but he only shivered occasionally. The elbows of the jacket were faded from use.

He used one of the corn dogs to point off to the side. "I think the stall just over there's got the drinks. Since you gave me these, want me to get you a beer?" He figured he could try to return the favor. Unless, of course, she decided to be like Gaston and have like... ten beers. RIP wallet.
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#7
So, from everything she saw...she already liked him. He was young, and Pete had a perennial interest in collecting strays — if only any of them stuck around! He even offered to buy them drinks, which was sweet, because was he even 21? She shook her head at him with a certain patriarchal generosity, then bit into a corn dog and lost a second to basal ganglia-level satisfaction at the experience. Opened her eyes again and chewed. "You know what, don't sweat it. I just won two hundred bucks off a race, so let's see how much we can spend at this dump. What's your name?"

Letting him talk gave her the opportunity to take another wolfish bite and walk them to the next concession.
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#8
Sheridan was well acquainted with drinking, both before and after the fabulous age of 21. He smirked up at the lady, bemused at how just a simple corn dog could make her night. He did enjoy being around people who took pleasure in the little things.

"Ha! Well, shit, congratulations! If you insist, I won't complain! Name's Sheridan. I'm kinda new in town. What's yours?" He would have offered a hand to shake, but both their hands were a little preoccupied with maximum corn-doggage. That, and she looked like the type who could probably squish his twiggy fingers to a pulp.
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#9
Sheridan, like the hotel? She beamed back at him and toasted their corn dogs. "Name's Pete, welcome to town. You livin' in Avondale?"

As they got into the second line, she realized more reshuffling was necessary, and began the delicate work of moving seven corn dogs into one hand so she could reach her wallet.
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#10
Almost like the hotel. On occasion, Sheridan liked to joke that his place was about as busy as one, if you got his drift. No one really believed him, and honestly, he couldn't blame them.

"Pete?" Probably a nickname, he surmised, unless her parents were really that bold. Or maybe she was a he? Hell, who could say? It was always a toss up nowadays. "Cool! Nah, I'm actually from around Crestview. Got bored dredging around the bars there. I don't usually care for racing, but hey, I'll hit up just about any place that's got lots of people and a good atmosphere!"

He noted her struggling and took another bite of one of his corn dogs, and did his own maneuvering so he could get a free hand. "Need me to take some? Promise I won't eat any more of 'em."
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#11
Goodness. She let him take a handful, turning to order a couple plastic cups of light beer before ribbing him a little. "You look too young to be bar hoppin', string bean. You a people person, huh?" And, ah! Drinks! And more hand tetris.
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#12
The string bean quip dented his confidence just a bit, but he refused to let it show. He'd been called much worse in his time. "Bars are alright, though I like myself a good club scene, too. Yeah, really any place with lots of people. Makes for a fun time. Where else am I gonna find a woman wielding corndogs like some shuriken?" Oops, a sliver of nerd just squeaked out of him. Better tuck that right back in real quick. "Or, uh, ya know, knives and shit."

Better.

"Say, maybe see if they got a drink tray or something? We can use it as a plate, too, if we need." Hand real estate was becoming quite limited, even between the two of them.
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#13
Oh my god, this baby! She loved it when babies were all confident about the three fucking things they knew. Also, he said...shuriken, she thought, and she was about 90% sure that was some anime bullshit. "I feel you, bro. It's like, how you know you're even alive if you don't got people around to show you?" Realizing as they talked how much this kid reminded her of a dearly deported Vitto, she perhaps gave away a little too much of her nature.

But whatever! He had suggestions and she humored him, budging back in front of the next customer and obtaining a little cardboard carrier. "What's a shuriken?"
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#14
"Haha, yeah! Nothing really like it! You get to see the craziest shit, meet some real wild people, and make the most of it!"

Luckily for Pete, his ability was rather tainted thanks to the sheer number of people around. He smiled up at her, blissfully ignorant... Until.

Shit, cover blown. Play it cool. "Oh, yeah, shuriken. Like the throwing stars. I collect knives and stuff, so. Ya know." He held up a hand still quite full of many corn dogs. "Real ninja like." Nailed it. Crisis averted.
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#15
More wide toothy smiles. "Man, totally, you get it." She guided them back to the bleachers, where another race was in the leisurely process of setting up. Holy fuck, ninja stars??

Sitting down and taking a hazardous bite of corn dog, she fixed him with a keen eye and proceeded to talk through the mouthful. "That's kickass, are you any good at it? You got any on you?"
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#16
He tottled along behind Pete before plopping down beside her. He also chomped a big bite of corndog off one of his sticks, swallowing quickly before replying with confidence, "Well, you know, not to brag, but I like to consider myself pretty darn good at it."

To answer her other question, he leaned back, reaching into his front pocket and pulling out a folding pocket knife. For now he kept it closed, though he did lift it for her to see. "No ninja stars, but I keep this bad boy on me at all times! It's come in pretty handy. Good for cutting zip ties. Also stopped a lady from getting mugged a bit ago with it. Not, like, bragging on that or anything either. Just, ya know. Good to have!"
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#17
She wanted to hold that knife she wanted to hold that KNIFE. Tragically but also for the best, her hands were full, and so she just bit off another third of a corn dog and chewed enviously. "You ever stab anybody? Or, like, try to do tricks with it and just stab your hand?"
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#18
"Yes and yes!" he replied, sliding his knife into his pocket. He lifted that hand for her to see, showing her the various light nicks and scars that decorated it. "Though I mostly just stab myself. Less so than when I first started since I upgraded to actual throwing knives. Those aren't usually sharp enough to cut."

He paused, musing over some of his old memories. He snickered suddenly. "I did stab my brother for fucking with one of my comics once. Just with a box cutter, though. Was quite a tragedy, though. Mom banned comics from the house after that."
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#19
Heh, heh. Knives, brothers and punishment all hit pretty close to the mark for Pete's own childhood; she could relate. "I guess the real question is, did your brother keep fuckin' with ya, or did 'at show him him you mean business." With the kind of wolfish bites you could only ever manage if you were starving or secretly a were-creature, she polished off a dog and flicked the stick off under the bleachers, momentarily satisfied.
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#20
Damn, and Sheridan thought he was a fast eater. She put his munching to shame. He took another bite, saying, "Sorta. He never messed with myvstuff anymore, but he learned to use his words to be a dick instead. Dunno if it was a fair trade off, but," he shrugged, "I don't see him all that often, so I guess it works out."

He leaned against the back bleacher, dusting a crumb off his pants. "How about you? Got any crappy siblings?"
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#21
She chewed and pondered. "Words ain't so bad. An' like...if someone's talkin' a lotta shit to ya, usually means you can wallop 'em good an' they'll shut up. In my experience." Granted, she had known how to take a punch and dole out better than she got from a young age. Aside from the knives, Sheridan did look kinda shrimpy.

Taking in his question, she grinned and felt herself going off on a small flight of fancy. "Six big brothers. They named me Pete comin' out because they didn't notice I was a girl."
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#22
"Yeah, I can see that..." he replied, trying to not eye Pete's current physique too much. She certainly looked like she could hold true to those words.

Her response didn't surprise him much, either. He grinned again. That sounded familiar. "Wait, wait-- How did they not-- How did they not notice?! You know what? Weirder things have happened. Pete's a good name. I mean, if you wanted, we could swap names. I've met so many girl Sheridans... Maybe my parents didn't notice either, now that I think about it." He pursed his lips, brow furrowing in fake distress.
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#23
She cackled at the response, a monster more or less charmed by sweetness. He really reminded her of Vitto! "Nah, man, I tell you what — get a fucked up name like this, it tells you a hell of a lot about people when you first meet 'em. Like if it freaks 'em out, or if they have to grill me on it like I'm trying to pull one over on 'em. Or if they just roll with it, you know, that's a good sign we'll get along." She shrugged and grinned at him, twirling a corn dog in preparation to take a bite after she finished speaking. "You can use Pete though if you want, I got plenty to go around."

She wouldn't say it, bless his lil heart, but Sheridan was a wimpy-ass name. Maybe he made it work, though.
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#24
"Alright, Pete it is, then." He liked hearing her say how she got along with people who just rolled with her name. He felt kinda like he fit that category, and if so, then that meant a new friend for him! Hell yeah, this town was awesome. Well, minus the whole crawling with were-people and blood suckers and all that... But eh! He'd take the trade off.

"So speaking of names and stuff, your family live around here, too? Or did you happen to move away from home and wind up here somehow?"
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