Flyers for Friends

ka-chack, ka-chack

Dag took a step back and admired his handiwork, mild excitement tightening in his chest. Bright neon yellow, the advertisement went thusly:

 NEW!! Mountainside UFO Chasers. A club for those seeking out high strangeness and adventure! Call Dorian Dagmare, all hours.

Humming in pleasure, he pocketed his stapler and started on his way, thanking the bookshop's minder on the way out. He'd spent his day off posting these all over the city, sliding them under doors, stuffing them in mailboxes - he'd even grabbed a spot on the bulletin board at the church rectory. Truth be told, there was probably an easier way to get the word out. The internet, for instance. That whole Facebook deal. A grimace crossed his shaggy face as he thought of the ancient brick of a laptop he kept on a shelf in his kitchen. He'd pulled it out to make the flyer. But overall, he wasn't really... about that. Really, he only had a smart phone (a phone that was far too small for his sausage-y fingers) because his sister had foisted it upon him. She wanted to send him pictures of his nieces and nephews. Which was great, but he barely knew how to use the thing.

But! He could do things the old fashioned way. With a bit of pavement pounding, Dag was ready to start the newest, most popular club in all of Mountainside and make tons of new friends with a mutual love for high strangeness.

The idea had dawned on him one late night while stargazing. It was a simple thought. Just a, "Man, this would be way better with beer and company."

Honestly, maybe it was just an excuse to drink and fire up the grill, but who cared, really? He was already imagining potlucks in his backyard going late into the night around a bonfire.

Strolling down the street, the man was randomly pawing the pamphlets into people's mailboxes as he passed. Trotting up the stairs of a brownstone apartment complex, the huge man hummed a random tune as he entered the dusty foyer and started shoving the papers into the various letterboxes.

@"Cassidy Morgan"

Cassidy shaded her eyes from the later afternoon sun with her right hand as she slipped out her apartment's front door. A key jingled from the keychain looped around her middle finger. She grumbled and slouched onto the landing, not paying the dude at the mailboxes much consideration.

The apartment door yawned open behind her and once her eyes adjusted to the natural light, she lowered the hand. Cassidy had a disheveled look about her, hair in a hasty ponytail, faded long sleeve with an almost fashionable frayed and stretched neckline—if not for the slept-in wrinkles. The sleeves were rolled to the elbow and the left arm stuck to her stomach like a broken wing. Large sweatpants and unlaced trainers topped off the ensemble.

Cass waited a beat as the big man jammed another haphazardly folded neon yellow flier into a mail slot. He hummed a tune she couldn't place. Slowly her brow furrowed and enough was enough. Cassidy cleared her throat and only briefly grimaced at the discomfort.

"Sir. Excuse me. Need to get my mail." Her voice rasped and announcing her presence left her a little breathless. She wore a tight smile, polite enough, but without real warmth.

Dag was fairly absorbed in his task and only noticed the woman a moment before she spoke because the more attentive animal part of him perked up. When he realized what he'd been doing, he quickly sidestepped away from the letterboxes, the back of his neck heating.

"Oops, sorry, miss," he said, deep voice resonating in the foyer. "I'll get outta your way- Hey!" Recognition brightened his voice and a smile leapt onto his bearded face. "Officer Morgan! I had no idea you lived around here." Green eyes flicked around the space, even though it was unlikely to be any actual indication of what her apartment proper looked like. "Nice place." He said, and meant it.

He, after all, lived in a doublewide trailer out in the middle of nowhere. It was nice, but it wasn't apartment nice. He preferred it that way though - when the full moon came around, he could just slip out the back door and into the woods without much worry.

In any case, it was nice to see Officer Morgan - she'd come around the ranger station on many occasions and he thought she was a real pleasant, easy-on-the-eyes, salt-of-the-earth kinda lady.

A second or so after his greeting, he finally noticed her disheveled appearance and he tilted his shaggy head. "Eehh..." It was a bit of a verbal tic but more of a stalling tactic as he tried to figure out what to say, because wow, she didn't look so good. "... I'm thinking this is a bad time to invite you to my new club?" He tried, large shoulders shrugging slightly and a small smile crinkling around his eyes as he offered her a flyer.

She probably knew she looked a bit chewed up already, so better to not mention it.

Cassidy busied herself waiting, not giving the guy much consideration as he apologized. Her smile rounded into terse. Still squinting against the sun, her temples pounded and pain radiated through her skull to gather behind her eyes. It was only when the large man raised his voice she paid attention.

Eyes, hazy and a little bloodshot, opened wide in alarm as he recognized her. Put on the back foot, the seconds ground away as she fought to place the man. The moment dragged on, but her expression eventually brightened.

"Dagmare?" She questioned and her voice croaked with disuse. He was the last person she'd expect to darken her mailbox. Though there were a few others she'd be more than surprised to see here, the point stood. Her gaze flicked about, really taking in her surroundings for the first time.

Quickly becoming self-conscious, the hand with the key looped about the fingers came to tug at the other sleeve. The fabric jerked to cover the slick scar tissue deeply at odds with her skin tone. Now under wraps, she kept the arm pressed against her stomach and smiled awkwardly.

Dagmare went on and Cass crossed her good arm over the other, trying to further hide the limb from sight. She shook her head and frowned.

"Club? What club?" The leaflet? She eyed the folds of neon plumage spouting from the mailboxes.

It was hard to miss how very on edge the woman was and Dag instinctively slouched back a little more to seem less imposing. It was a tough thing to do at his height and stature, but when he stuck out his beer belly just right, he could look fairly non-threatening. However, her reaction had him a little more alert as well, that animal mind sensing a bit of fear, a bit of weakness. He ignored it, but noted the scar and the way she glanced around the foyer as if seeing it for the first time.

Despite the way his curiosity sparked, he didn't launch into any questions, simply nodding and flourishing the flyer so she could read it. "A-yep! A UFO club for- ah. UFO lovers." Well, duh, way to be redundant. "You interested in high strangeness?" His words got a little quicker as he continued, excitement buoying it along. "Like abductions and UFO sightings and stuff? It's awesome, I just go out on my back porch with some brewskis and a pair of binoculars and see what I can spot." He paused, suddenly, randomly feeling the pressure to sell it, but could only finish with, "Honestly, it's usually nothing, but I thought it'd be a good time with other folks of a like mind." He grinned warmly, but was carefully gauging her reaction all the same.

With a little reluctance, she unpeeled the protective arm and took the flier. Removing her eyes from the large man, Cassidy squinted at the pamphlet. "Okay…" What else was there to say? It wasn't every day someone asked her to join a UFO club.

Was she interested in high strangeness? Pulling her gaze upward and meeting his eye again, she considered the question. Back before the vampires and weres the answer would have been no. Before her own peculiarities came to light, not a chance. But now she hesitated, mouth parting with a half-formed answer. With all the supernatural things out there… could aliens be real? Could vampires and weres be aliens? Was she an alien?

Cassidy shook her head. "You drink on your back porch and watch the sky?" It sounded like an excuse to get drunk; not that Mountainside needed much of an excuse for that pastime. This would no doubt fuel countless blackout abduction stories.

"Not really my thing." Cass smiled tightly and tried to hand the flier back to Dagmare. "Sorry. Got enough high strangeness in my life without adding aliens to the mix."

He could tell he was losing her. And that was okay! It wasn't for everyone and though he only knew her as Officer Morgan on duty, he thought she just didn't seem the type. Still, he finished the pitch.

Despite having already pegged her as not-interested, her initial response had him jovially answering, "Oh yeah! I go on down to shop, pick up different kinds of beer I haven't tried before if I'm feeling kinda adventurous and make an evening of it." And then came the answer he was expecting, which, after the previous reaction was a bit of a letdown anyway. Still, he nodded and reached out to take the flyer back, but her final statement made him pause.

Cocking his head to one side, he considered the woman before him, green eyes flicking to the arm she favored against her side. Dag was a bit of an oaf, he knew that, but he was an observant oaf. It was a strange thing for her to say and he wondered briefly if she'd had a brush with the supernatural community. Of course, there were plenty of other dangers in Mountainside aside from stray vampires and weres, but there was a peculiar concentration of both in the area. Did she... know?

He'd only paused for a second before asking, quite innocently, "You talkin' things like lizardmen? Dyson sphere earth, stuff like that?" Dag's mind was definitely going towards the supernatural community, but he wasn't about to let on he knew anything about that. Nope, nothing at all.

Flyer free, Cassidy returned her hand to cover her forearm. Lizardmen and Dyson sphere earth—what the fuck did the vacuum cleaners have to do with this—got a burble of stressed laughter from her. Cassidy narrowed her eyes as she shook her head. That was a joke, right? Dagmare's poker face said otherwise and her eyes widened, taken aback and incredulous.

"Nah, man… Vampire." Her eyes narrowed again, and she took a tentative step towards the bigger man. It seemed outrageous that random people at the gym picked her from a crowd—well, another freak like her—and knew what happened but Dagmare was clueless. Maybe it hadn't reached the parks department? Or maybe he didn't watch the local news, or read the paper, or even pay attention. "You saw the news right? All the shit that went down at Wonderland?"

... Oh. Right.

Okay, he was an oaf and he really wasn't that observant. People knew about vampires now. Vampires and weres. His mouth formed into a small 'o' of surprise and his collar suddenly felt very hot. He had seen the news, he just hadn't drawn the connection and oh boy did he feel silly now.

The man just wasn't used to the supernatural community just being out there. Normal people just kind of knew about them, about people like him. Well, Officer Morgan probably didn't know about him and honestly? From the way she was in 'skulk mode', he didn't imagine she'd appreciate knowing he could turn into a giant quarter-ton ball of fury and fat.

"Oh my God," He blurted, "I didn't know that was... I just- Didn't make the connection that it was you." He pinched the bridge of his nose. "I'm really sorry, Morgan, I've got my head up in space right now."

Sighing, he breathed out and with a quick gesture he stowed the flyers, in his jacket. "You've been on leave, right? Can I get you anything?" He felt bad, but that wasn't the only reason he switched gears. "Food? Take out, maybe? Beer? Can I buy you a bite?" That hung there for a split second before he hurriedly added. "To eat. Obviously. Fuck's sake. I'm so sorry. Vampires are garbage dudes."

Cass felt like a dick, but his sputtering apology made it worthwhile. Pity wasn't something she sought out daily, but every now and then a little recognition brightened her day. She also envied his blissful ignorance. The extent of Dagmare's worry was selecting a microbrew and keeping an eye out for little green men. His head really was up in space and in Mountainside that could get you killed.

He went on and Cassidy smiled despite herself. The park ranger's fluster was almost too much, especially when he attempted to correct the words spilling from his mouth. It put her in a better place and she allowed herself to relax. Food though… when had she last eaten?

Then he said the magic word and her expression tightened again. "Fuckin' right." It was easy to agree on that and her stomach gurgled, agreeing to the other thing. Cass paused and shook away the suspicion he heard how hungry she was.

"It's fine, not gonna hold it against you." The attempted joke softened her hard expression. "If you're serious about food, there's a bar a few blocks down."

Though Dag was embarrassed and word-vomiting to cover his sorry tail, he caught her smile. Oh thank God, his foot was only half-way down his throat - he could salvage this. Her smile, however, fled once more at the mention of vampires and her vehemence startled him. The man understood, of course, but dang. There would be no grand reveal on his part, that was for sure.

BUT! She was joking back and she was still into food. Which was great, because he was into food too. Some could argue too into food, considering it took a prodigious amount of effort to maintain his thick physique versus his metabolism, but he wasn't trying to impress anyone.

It had to have been hours since he last ate (about 45 minutes, actually, when he had a small snack bar) and heading down to a bar for a bit of greasy food sounded like heaven. He nodded, "Yeah, man, completely serious. My treat." He was about to turn to one side and gesture grandly to the door, because, ladies first, but he paused noting her disheveled appearance. How to word it nicely... "You need to grab anything before we head out?"

Cassidy was under no illusion how she looked; and know she felt worse. Still she glanced down at herself, a concerned dimple in the furrow of her eyebrows. "Yeah…" Agreement croaked as she exhaled a long sigh. Color flushed on her cheeks.

Doubts gathered at the door and hounded her. She listened and her frown deepened. Hesitant eyes glanced past the man, keying in on the length of the shadows. Cassidy shuffled back to her door. Best just make an excuse and go back inside. The simple answer was the safe one. But the sun was out and would be for hours still. She couldn't just stay inside.

Okay. Fine.

Cassidy's lips twitched into a grimace as she looked down at herself again. Determined not to leave the apartment in the clothes she slept in. This was more than grab her bag and go. She glanced back to Dagmare, bloodshot eyes apologetic.

"Hey, I'll meet you there. Charlies… it's just a few blocks down."

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