Never Been Lonely

Artisan Market 
#1
When he remembered to leave the house, Ted was actually a very big fan of farmer's markets. Fresh air, artisans showing off their wares, and oh, the kettle corn! Enormous billowing bags of the stuff! He often had to take a loop around all of the stalls to talk himself down from buying a bag the size of a body pillow, and had done so today, settling in something more the size of a football and eating pawfuls of the stuff in an ecstatic haze. Corn kernels and sugar! What magic happened to make them taste like heaven on Earth?

It was shaping up to be a nice weekend, anyway. He picked up a community ed flyer from a table at the entryway, smiling and looking over his shoulder to the person at his left. "Hey, look at this! They've got an adult tumbling class."
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#2
Fletch had initially dismissed Red Rock's local market. The word artisan no longer conjured up images of fresh sourdough loaves or lathed driftwood bowls, rather the sort of creations featured on regretsy; crocheted vulvae and under-stuffed taxidermy. But, since being proven wrong just a few days before, he had slunk back to engage the weekend crowds. Now he wasn't so much shopping for soapstone carvings or replica Navajo crafts, more ... opportunity.

It came in the form of an open bag of popcorn.

'Huh.' Feigning interest in the flyer, he pinched it between thumb and forefinger whilst his other hand tracked a decisive arc toward the snack. 'Thought that was something my kids did on the internet.' Tumbling involved much more spandex than he ever could have imagined. 'Think you'll sign up?'
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#3
This guy seemed game for a little friendly interaction, and Ted appreciated that! He grinned alongside him, admiring the flyer. But his head tilted quizzically at the Tumblr comment, having no idea what that was. "You know, I don't think I've ever seen a tumbling class. You must be doing something other than somersaults for two hours, right?"

He was staring at the side of the man's face when he realized he had popcorn detritus in his beard, and made a sudden disgruntled sound as he brushed off his face and shirt.
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#4
The flyer depicted a leotard-clad, older woman in the classic gymnast's finishing pose. A kind of Barbara-Windsor-at-the-barre type of affair. All ages welcome! It advertised, From ages 18 to 99+ !. Fletch immediately conjured up images of his nan doddering her way to a trampoline; the cord of her dressing cord trailing like a towelling streamer, hot toddy in hand, and a fag in her gob.

'Dunno.' Fingers curling around a sizeable handful of corn, he continued to ply attention to the leaflet whilst funnelling the sweet, salty and slightly Styrofoam-textured nuggets into his gob. The leaflet he flipped to the reverse. Whoever had made it had spent their budget on glossy paper as opposed to double-sided printing. He shot the man a humoured look, swallowing. 'You reckon the leotards are mandatory?'
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#5
Still in high spirits, Ted grinned companionably. "I think the leotards are the point. But then you have to wonder..." ...wait a gosh darn second. Tall Guy was eating something all of a sudden, and if Ted didn't know the sound of popcorn chewing he didn't know his own name! His voice trailed off, expression twisting, and he looked from his corn bag to Dylan's mouth. "Are you eating my popcorn right now?"
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#6
Uh oh.

Fletch had almost gone for the second mouthful, but the contorting face of the man beside him stayed his hand. Subtly, still gripping more than his fair share of the stranger's snack food, he posted that hand into the large patch pockets of his greatcoat. But several, treacherous puffs of popped corn escaped before then. Thwarted by gravity and his own hubris in loading his palm past capacity, they bounced onto the grass by his feet.

'No?'

Humoured, pleasant, Fletch gave the man a look that suggested he was mad. Fletch also had a few bits of husk clinging to his beard. Because, much like Mr Tumble, he was the proud bearer of facial hair.
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#7
So. Ted had given up anger earlier in his life, leaving him somewhat limited options to deal with a man who, according to all evidence, was stealing loose kettle corn right from under his nose. He looked down at the kernels spilling out of the man's coat pocket and pointed demonstratively at them, raising his eyes to hold Fletch's gaze. His expression was pleasant, but by no means wilting. The hand not pointing out the coyote's sins was cradling the remains of the bag with fatherly tenderness.
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#8
Directed downward, Fletch took stock of the kernels by his feet. He supposed the white corn against green grass did build a pretty damning case against him, and while Mr Tumble still seemed perfectly pleasant, there was a look about him that suggested he would neither brush this aside nor kowtow. This did nothing to stop Fletch, however. A subtle pivot of his foot crushed the evidence beneath the toe of his boot. Out of sight, out of mind. He offered up a winning smile.

'Ah, you don't look like the kind of bloke who'd mind. What's a handful of popcorn?' Bright, cheery, he held out his other hand. Tried to ignore the way Mr Tumble cradled the bag like his firstborn. 'Name's Fletch.'
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#9
Ted's smile grew to match the taller man's, and all the while he felt a certain sort of fuck you, buddy feeling solidifying in his heart. Not anger, exactly, but a dislike that for Ted was difficult to come by. "Absolutely. And it's no big deal for you to buy me a big bag of it, right over here." He ignored the proferred hand, shifting his bag to the other side and clapped Fletch on the back, beaming. He then gave him a small push, intending either to nudge him back over to the kettle corn stall or to very uncharacteristically start a fight.
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#10

Sometimes on the days when he could Luka liked to go out to the farmers market. They had more then just food. With vibrant watercolors, blown glass in the shapes of bowls and cups, and even face paint for the young ones. It was a calming atmosphere to walk around in. Not that he talked to anyone. In fact he tried very hard not to meet anyone's eyes so they would have no reason to approach him. He preferred to observe.

But as the day slipped a few more hours by, he found a desire for the salted taste of the popped Kettle corn. So he made his way over to the stand, nerves starting to kick in. He was going to have to talk to the clerk. So he double checked that he had the exact change. The less talking the better. He was so engrossed in looking through his wallet that he didn't notice the approach of the two men.
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#11
Left hanging, physically and metaphorically, Fletch's smile tightened imperceptibly as he was jostled by the hand on his back.

'Nah, you're all right, mate.' He began, before Mr Tumble gave him that little nudge towards the stand. Hard enough to force him a step forward, the argy-bargy disturbed more than his footing. Without pausing to consider the repercussions, Fletch turned back; squaring up to the man with the popcorn.

'You trying to start something here, pal?' The bag was summed up with a perfunctory nod. 'Plenty in there for your fat gob. Go fuck off before we have a problem.'
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#12
Dang, what the fuck? He had been having such a nice morning, and now he was getting into it with a hooligan. Ted bristled down in the lower atmosphere where Fletch's shoulders resided, and immediately his brain began to sidestep and look for higher ground. Ted had been beat up for plenty of reasons in the past few decades, and while he had no love for confrontation, he knew how to survive it.

Also, truly, it helped to have luck on his side.

He held the bag protectively at his chest, staring right back at the larger man while keeping just out of punching range. His voice was plenty loud enough for everyone in the area to key in to their conversation. "How much else did you steal today, man? These are small businesses! What's in your pockets!"
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#13
Oh, great.

What happened when an unstoppable force met an immovable object? Immovable hung frustratingly out of reach, now all but cuddling his popcorn in his crisp button-down and jeans, the picture of victimisation, calling attention to Unstoppable; unshaven, crumpled t-shirt, one boot lace frayed and trailing.

'More popcorn!' He withdrew the same hand that had shoved the fistful of corn in there in the first place, the kernels hopping out as easily as lemmings off a cliff. One remained between his fingers and thumb. 'Why, want it back?'

He pelted it at the guy. But popcorn being less than aerodynamic, it met them halfway before diving harmlessly to the ground. 'I only just got here, same as you. In fact, I was here earlier this week, buying a blanket from that nice lady over there -' he pointed. Knock-off Navajo wares. He prayed she'd remember him. It had been a miserable afternoon, mid week. He'd engaged her in a bit of light-hearted banter. High point of her day. He was a good man, he was. A patron of this cooperative. 'Liked it so much I thought I'd come get another. Popcorn's not grand larceny, pal. Least of all when you shove it in a bloke's face to begin with.'

All the while the coyote bayed. Innocent men didn't run. There was two-and-a-half grand lying flush against his ribs. If he ran he'd look guiltier than he did already.



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#14
The shouting caught his attention, along with just about everyone in the immediate vicinity. Two men stood facing each other, one ragged and clearly travel warn, the other with a thick beard and cradling a bag of popcorn...Cradling a bag of popcorn. Luka's brows furrowed confused. From the shouting match that was going on, it seemed like the travel warn man had stolen a handful of popcorn, which had upset the other man. Stealing was wrong, but this seemed..excessive.
He was already in line to buy some of the salty sweet corn, and really didn't mind sharing if it would stop the scene. But, the problem was talking. He could feel the panic already setting in and a hard lump formed in his throat. "I-is everything a-alright?"

He called out, between his accent and the stuttering he could only hope that his words would be understood.
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#15
Okay, the popcorn thing was funny and broke his concentration for a second. But the guy continued, still going for the moral high ground against all reason! Ted couldn't even look angry anymore, only baffled. "Can you hear yourself right now? Just get the fuck outta here!" At which point people began to involve themselves, or at least one person, a very pale young man in a midriff shirt.

Ted's eyes, flecked with gold in an unconscious gathering of his ability, looked between them. "Look," he said, still loudly, "All I know is this guy was eating popcorn out of my bag, and he started to make a scene when I called him on it." He stared back at Fletch, mustering all his righteous power and also his supernatural one. "Scram."

He had been aiming for a spontaneous pantsing. But he reached too far, the mechanics snagging, and his moment of triumph was transmogrified into a sweeping numbness in his right leg, spectacular pins and needles rippling all the way from the heel of his foot to his buttcheek. With a look of surprise and a grunt, he toppled onto the ground.


Power fail

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