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 [18+] All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream., for my soulmate, Lar.
BBONS
 Posted: Jun 24 2016, 10:17 PM
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Gatormouth, FL was a small town with not much to offer the outside world. The population had never gone too many bodies past eight hundred, and the land that didn't belong to the swamp was mostly dedicated to farmers and their livestock. There was a Wal-Mart in the town over, and a couple of gas stations near Gatormouth's historical district- but, as was aforementioned- it didn't have much to offer the outside world, and usually went overlooked because of it.

Hux Keighley had absolutely no idea he would ever end up in a town quite as small as this one, but there he was; a giant man, strolling through the peculiarly quaint town with a soft and nervous frown on his face as he was stared down and scrutinized by the Gatormouth natives. The sun seemed to burn right through his skin, and the air was so humid he felt as though he could drown in it if he breathed hard enough. Sweat trickled down the side of his face, dribbling from his thick mane of hair and disappearing into a beard that was well-trimmed and as dark brown as the healthy locks atop his head. His tank top was soaked through and he wished he had cut off his jeans to something above his knee but he figured the town's inhabitants would have had a fit if they even glimpsed out of their peripheral a man as tall and hairy as he was in a pair of jean shorts.

His sister had pleaded for him to come. To meet her and her three children at a diner not too far away from where he currently stood. He could still hear the tone of her voice as she had told him, face-to-face, what she needed to tell him.

"I have cancer, Hux." She had said, while the kids fought over what to play on the jukebox. "I have cancer and I'm dying. I need you to help with the kids. I can't... I can't do this on my own."

Her voice had cracked at the end and his heart had throbbed painfully in his chest. He'd excused himself, then. Ripped himself away from the scene and away from the diner as quick as his legs would take him. He knew, now, why she had asked him to pack his bags and make the trip across an ocean to meet her here. He wouldn't have wanted to hear that over the phone or through a text. He would've rather not have ever have had to hear it, but, for as long as he could remember, things he didn't want to happen always tended to do so anyway. Especially when it came to the people he loved.

And there was no one he loved more than his older sister.

The sound of a too-loud bass and a shitty guitar riff interrupted Hux's train of thought. He turned towards the building that the sound came from and moved towards it.

GATORMOUTH RECORDS was painted in bright red across a heavy plank of wood that had been nailed above the shop's entrance. There was a poster detailing the evening's events taped to the door and Hux leaned in to read the list of bands scheduled to play.

WILL'S AREOLAS
DULL BLADES
SUCK MY SLUG
& SWAMPFUCK

Hux smirked. He'd found the local punk scene that seemed to come hand-in-hand with every small, emotionally repressed town. When he pushed past the door, he was greeted by the smell of cheap beer and potent weed. Will's Areolas were on stage; lyrics barely discernible from the heavy thrash metal blasting from the worn speakers behind them. Hux moved to the first person he saw that looked, more or less, close to his thirty two years of age.

"Hey, man, where can I get a beer and a hit or two of whatever it is you're hittin'?"
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Lar
 Posted: Jun 24 2016, 11:35 PM
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Quaint is a kind word for Gatormouth. "Mouth", is in the name, for one, conjuring images of warm wetness that's all too appropriate. It's the kind of town that attracts sour-spirited, arthritic retirees and repulses everyone else, most especially those who live there. It's a one-diner town, and the diner doesn't even bother to sop the grease off their food; where else are people going to go? Town—a real town, worthy of a name—is too far out of the way, through the swampland where mosquitoes buzz over the radio. In the summer, the whole town smells like putrid mud and cow shit, and the winters aren't much better, and the little houses sit close together like headstones.

Louis hates this place.

He hates it with a desperation that makes him feel sick and trapped. Once he'd imagined that he'd get away, move somewhere with seasons, with culture, with pretty people younger than him. These things have a way of not working out in places like Gatormouth. The only dreams that seem to come true are the repetitive fever dreams—every day is the same sick sameness.

And so he goes to Gatormouth Records, where the noise numbs his mind and the drinks numb his nerves, where the last few hopefuls thrash out their frustration. The place is ramshackle at best, cobbled together on a shoestring budget; record stores are going the way of the dodo, even in Gatormouth. Especially in Gatormouth.

The Areolas are on stage, wailing away; Louis is slumped against the wall near the door, warm beer in hand. He looks every bit of his twenty-odd years, bulkier than the teens pressing their way up to the speakers. Hearing loss waiting to happen, he thinks cynically, but he remembers being their age. It wasn't so long ago—recent enough that he's still wearing a tshirt with some punk band's name plastered across the back in unreadable scrawl. The hem is just beginning to fray. His jeans are torn at the knee, providing much-needed airflow.

Someone unfamiliar pushes his way into the dark of the room, a birth in reverse. Louis smiles sardonically, waiting for the poor tourist to wander his way back out—only this one stays, easing up to Louis' elbow, and raises his voice over the clamor.

"Good beer or shit beer?" he asks in response, the sharp grey of his eyes slicing up and down Hux's body. "Shit beer," he says then, before the other man can answer. He leans over and thumps on the bar, and soon the bartender sweeps over with another round, which Louis passes along wordlessly.

"Gotta ask someone else about weed," Louis remarks, but he isn't dismissive. There's something almost warm about him, viewed in his natural environment.

"Where you from, man?"
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BBONS
 Posted: Jun 26 2016, 01:52 PM
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If he'd had the chance, he would've chuckled and responded with the words cheap beer but he was interrupted before the sentence could even begin. He pulled a few crinkled bills and handed them over to the bartender- if one considered a man sitting on one of the three available coolers and handing out cans occasionally for free a bartender. Hux popped the tab and allowed the foam to settle itself before he glugged down about half of it all in one fluid motion. He'd always preferred wine over beer, but he doubted he'd fine any of that here.

When the man spoke again, Hux looked at him with a surprised smile. He hadn't realized the other would be interested in conversation. Most of Gatormouth's inhabitants had been very adamant in avoiding even eye contact with him.

"I was born in northern California," he said. "But I've been just about everywhere. My dad was in the military and I've never seen a point in staying somewhere for too long." He sloshed another mouthful of beer down his gullet and moved to release his long hair from where it had been resting in a bun at the back of his neck. He shook the hair out, releasing tangles and allowing his head some much-needed cool air. Florida was, admittedly, one of the places he'd done his best to avoid. He wasn't a fan of humidity, and neither was his hair.

"You wanna go outside and smoke a cig?" The Areolas were certainly trying hard but they were closer to loud, irritating noise than they were to actual music.
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Lar
 Posted: Jun 26 2016, 06:58 PM
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"Only if I can bum one," Louis retorts with a thin smile. "Payday isn't 'til next week, so I'm fresh out." It's a little white lie, maybe the first of many. He tips his head to the door as the Areolas' noisemaking intensifies, and together they slip out into the sunlight.

"You don't look like the Florida type, anyhow. It's the hair." For his part, Louis looks a little more like a native, with skin a warm brown from long days in the sun and his dark hair buzzed down to nearly nothing. It keeps him cool.

"I don't believe in staying one place either, but hell. Gatormouth will do that to you. It's like a black hole," he mutters. "It'll keep you and suck out your soul." He brightens then, and turns towards Hux.

"So what brings you here?"
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BBONS
 Posted: Jun 26 2016, 07:25 PM
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The afternoon heat had shifted to something a little more bearable as the sun began its descent. Hux glanced sideways at the diner only a few doors down. He did his best not think about what he didn't want to think about and shimmied a pack of cigs out of his pocket. He offered one to the other, then took the last swig of his beer as he moved to grab a lighter from the opposite pocket.

He lit it just as the Florida native began to speak.

"Yeah, well, I might get it cut soon." He said with a bitter chuckle. "It looks like I'm here to stay a while longer than I thought." He ran a hand through his damp locks, shoving the bulk of it over a shoulder so that at least one half of his neck could catch a breeze.

"I've heard that about a lot of little towns like this one. Seems to be a trend." Hux took a long drag from his cigarette, exhaling the smoke from a pair of flared nostrils and sighing. "I'm visiting my sister, Margaery Keighley. Her and her kids have been living over on Lookout Lane for the past few years." He paused, the chuckled and offered a square-palmed hand for the other man to shake.

"I'm Hux, by the way. Nice to meet ya, man."
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Lar
 Posted: Jun 28 2016, 01:17 PM
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Louis takes the offered cigarette gently between thumb and forefinger, squinting against the sun. When Hux passes over the lighter, he lights his cig and passes it back with a smile and a sidelong glance.

"What, Gatormouth got its teeth in you already?" Louis asks, gently ribbing. He nods along as Hux explains about his family in the area and takes a drag from his cigarette.

"I might've met them," he says noncommittally. "I'm sure they're great people." He meets a lot of people around here, and promptly forgets most of them. Nearly everyone is unremarkable as wonderbread, and they all make the same pleasant small talk in the grocery line and look perfectly content with their small-town lives. Louis just can't relate—or maybe he relates too much, and it sours his mood. Either way, he doesn't have a lot of friends in town.

"Louis," he replies, clasping hands with Hux. "Good to meet you."

He pulls in another smoky breath and lets it out slowly, letting the muffled sound of the Areolas grow friendly between them as he leans back against the wall.

"Hey man," he says at last, "If you need something to do tonight, some guys I know are having a thing outside town. Maybe get to meet some folk—or else have a few beers and get to know what the swamp smells like."
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