Description: In which CODY emerges from a DUMPSTER to have his fortune read. His fortune is CRIME but also POLITICAL SUCCESS? Either way he scammed lunch off of Rose, a notorious soft touch.
How did Cody get to Genoa? That's a problem for him to worry about. It's a port city though, so perhaps he was on a bender. It's really up to him. However and wherever it has come to pass, though, there is a house at the top of a precarious switchback with a curious moon-and-stars theme to the decor and the fencing that keeps people from wandering off where only eagles and goats dare.
Of course, standing at the gate there, looking out to see with her characteristic yellow scarf drifting in the breeze, is...
Who is in SNF sometime, and so well known to aficinados. She shades her eyes, gazing out towards the horizon, but the Mediterranean has no answers for her. Or perhaps more precisely, the answers are below her. Several levels. But that's not far at all!
Cody wakes up in a metal dumpster, pulling a banana peel off his head and groaning; he blinks against the light of the afternoon sun, before groggily, slowly, crawling out of his napping place and onto the ground. As is usual, whenever he decides to leave prison...he does so, always assuring the flustered guards that he'll return when he damn well feels like it. He isn't exactly sure how he ended up in Italy. It involved stowing away on a ship and just sort of wandering about from there until he finds someone to beat up.
"Ugh." His neck is killing him, but that's probably what he gets for sleeping in the streets like a bum. He moves upwards, not even sure where he's going, but maybe he can find something to eat before he heads back stateside. It's during this that he spies the unusual house - and decides to approach the front gate, not even seeing the woman standing by outside. The rattle of his handcuffs heralds his arrival. He stops, standing there in his now filthy prison jumpsuit, studying the house with a mildly interested expression.
A gull screams at Cody from like two feet away.
Rose doesn't look over at him as he makes his way upwards. His chains rattle, and Rose continues to look out to sea; he might feel he was being ignored, but Rose then speaks in mild English: "You've had a long journey, haven't you? I suppose that's what the commotion was last night." With this she turns, walking forwards without haste, and extends a hand towards Cody.
"Are you wanted by anyone? Legally, I mean to say; I'm expecting you, and you're safe for the afternoon, at least. But I am curious." A pause. "Do you need a change of clothing? Or just..."
Rose considers to herself. How to do this artfully. Oh, right, she thinks, that's why I converted the garage...
Cody screams back at the seagull. "Yeah, that's right," he mutters.
Then Rose speaks. Cody shifts his balance and cocks his head at her. He listens, then looks down at the hand for a few seconds. "Might've been me," he says vaguely. He then, finally, shakes. "Technically, yeah. I'm wanted. But not like there ain't anything anyone can do about it. I'm just stretchin' my legs, is all." He scratches his chin as he looks at the more smartly dressed woman.
"I don't need much. I don't deserve to wear anything but this, anyhow. 'Sides, it's honest - people know what I'm all about."
"Be that as it may, surely you must enjoy a change now and then," Rose says. "Come, here - we shouldn't stand in the road like plebians." And then she leads Cody into...
This place would make a pretty good fighting stage. It used to be a garage but has been rebuilt with a high dome. A roped-off spiral staircase leads up to, presumably, where Rose lives. There's a drapery-concealed space at the far end, blue painted walls with stars and moons... and as Rose turns left, a little garden center. "Here, wash up if you care to - do you want a cool drink? It is a bit late in the year, but you've been out on the road."
"What has brought you all this way?"
Cody steps into the house, not the type to pass on hospitality. He takes a moment to take in the decor, eyes holding on the little garden, then the high dome. "I like milk," he says plainly. He wanders over to a faucet and begins to wash his hands, like his mom raised him. "Lookin' for a good time. I mean, of the combat flavor. Don't got money for the other kind. Haven't found one - just the same old chumps who talk tough but can't back it up. Don't matter where you go, there's always a wannabe badass."
"Oh, well," Rose begins to demur, but Cody moves forwards.
She laughs, gustily. "I'm still recovering from something myself - one moment, I'll get you your milk." Up the staircase she walks, but she keeps talking nonetheless - speaker phone or something?
"You're very wise to have determined that, though you know the converse, of course; as one man put it, there is always a bigger fish. I'm going to bring you a little gnocchi if you don't mind; you'll be doing me a favor to finish it off. As for a good time, why don't you walk over to the curtained side of things? I'll meet you there."
'The curtained side' has a crystal ball on a table. And a comfy chair! It's nice and cool, too. Rose comes back after about three minutes with the plate of gnocchi and a tall glass of milk; hopefully Cody has not dozed off on her.
"Yeah, well, the bigger fish ain't biting right now. Maybe I just need better bait," Cody says. He watches her go upstairs, then starts to drift towards the curtained portion. He stares at the crystal ball for a few moments, then sighs, shakes his head, and sits down in the chair. "So you're a fortune teller, huh?"
"That's correct... if incomplete," Rose says, as she passes the edibles to Cody and moves to the other side of the crystal ball. As she speaks, she produces a bowling ball bag and gently places the crystal within it:
"I prefer to see it as reading the flows of fate. But you seem as if you may not be a very fancy sort of man; so, a fortune teller would be fine."
As she zips the crystal ball's bag up, she says, "I know what you'll say - but: Would you care for a reading, Cody?"
Did he introduce himself? Or did she check wanted posters upstairs??
Cody looks at the plate of gnocchi hungrily, and starts to dig in. He doesn't answer her right away. "Y'know...used to be a little place near where I grew up, called Big Sal's. Used to make gnocchi, but...I think this tastes better. Maybe 'cause it's straight from the homeland. Sal used to say it was his grandma's recipe but I never saw no grandma around the place."
He wipes his mouth on his sleeve. He thinks of something smartass to say, but, she did offer him food and drink. "Okay, fine," he says. "I'll play along. But as far as fates go...well, mine's pretty much sealed. Do we need to burn incense or somethin'?"
"Why thank you," Rose says, eyes crinkling for a moment. "The tomatoes taste better here - or at least I think so. And I did make that myself. It's a meditative sort of exercise; and it shuts up my students when they're being difficult."
"No," Rose says, reaching under the counter and drawing out a red-silk-wrapped deck of cards. She sets them down, unveils them with a sort of gravity, and holds them out to Cody.
"Ask your question, aloud or in your heart. You'll pass them back to me; I shuffle until you say stop. You cut the cards, and then we see what the future holds."
("Metro City, by chance?")
Cody smirks. "Yeah, good ol' MC..." He takes the cards and holds them while he decides on a question. "Will I ever get to fight someone worth my time in the next week?" he asks, probably intentionally lowballing the questions, before he hands the deck back.
The card is turned -
And it is the Knight of Swords! The diving aery knight is, well, pretty evocative; Rose follows up with a crossing card. Which is The Moon.
"Yes, in short," Rose says, "but your battle will be touched by the Moon. Perhaps your opponent will be... how do you put it nowadays... touched mentally? Or - are you in the habit of goading your opponents?"
The cards are drawn back together. "Care for another? I'm in no rush. If anything, you do me another favor: It's good to have practice."
"Hey, I like the crazy ones. Puts a little spice into the fight. Ain't a good one unless the other guy's tryna kill ya," Cody says. "...yeah, maybe I like to egg 'em on. Nothing wrong with that."
Cody looks at her, then takes the deck. "...I don't have to ask aloud, you said, right?" he asks. He lapses into silence, staring at the deck. Well...there's no harm here.
(...am I ever gonna be somebody? Or am I just gonna die in jail?) he thinks, then hands the cards back.
"The cards hear you," Rose says: "I cannot, not unless you -- well, you would not know how to do it and so I won't confuse you."
The cards return to her. She considers for a moment - and then she lays out three of them in quick succession.
The first one, she explains: "Your past." Flip it: "The Tower. Cataclysm and escape from bondage. Hmm..."
She does not attempt to interpret it further, since Cody, no doubt, can figure it out from there. The next card - "The Wheel of Fortune! A good sign here. This indicates a change in the flow of events, which is typically good, given that consultation tends to indicate discontent. In other words, you're probably not asking, 'will everything keep on going as it has been.'"
"And in your future -"
Rose pauses. For dramatic effect. Then she turns the cards and they slide apart, to Rose's apparent surprised, based on that "oh!" Two of the Trumps stuck together - atop it, the Chariot, and beneath, the Emperor.
"That's promising," Rose muses. "It suggests you're either going to be victorious over a male authority figure - or succeed in becoming one yourself!"
"Perpetuating the cycle of white dudes in power, nice," Cody snarks, giving Rose a wry smile. But the results...stir something in him. A jolt of something he hasn't felt in a long time: hope. The jolt fades quickly. Him? No...that's just wishful thinking. Things he just wants to hear.
"I do like beating up authority figures though, so...win win either way, huh?" He looks at the cards. "...another one?"
"One more reading?" Rose says, sweeping her cards together.
After a shuffle or two, done with deft fingers, she hands the deck over: "Go for it. - Is that the right way to put it? Or is it 'go crazy'?"
"Go nuts," Cody replies. "I mean...those work too." He takes the cards and thinks, looking at Rose as if silently warning her NOT to read his thoughts. He doesn't believe in it, but it doesn't hurt to be cautious.
(...will me and Jessica ever be together again?) he thinks, then hands the cards back.
The card is turned over - and the colors are not appealing, the five cups are not very nice either, and the subtext reads: Disappointment.
"Mm," Rose muses. "Do remember, these are not always railroad trains to the future. They are what will happen /now/ - not what /must/ happen."
"That's not good, is it?" Cody asks. He sighs and sits back, looking up at the cieling. "Figured as much." He finishes his glass of milk. "So how do I know you're not just tellin' me what I wanna hear, huh?"
"You don't," Rose says. "Not until later."
She smiles, a little crookedly. "So if I was wrong, then you paid for lunch by humoring an eccentric." She raises a hand to cup her chin, asking as she looks at Cody, "Do you intend to make your way back to Metro City, or to stay here in Europe? I doubt the Five Star will complain, but it is a little hard to find work."
Cody stands up and stretches, yawning. "Think I'll head back home...I'm sure the guards miss me. 'Sides...place gets a little rowdy without me around. Thanks for the food, at least."
Rose blinks slowly. Cody may have the sense that Rose is obscurely surprised.
"You're welcome," Rose says. "I would suggest departing from Marseille however, if you do not intend to throw yourself on the mercy of the local police."
("I would advise you not to do that," Rose adds.)
"Thanks. I think I'll be okay. Uh...wait, what was your name?" Cody asks.
"Rose," says Guess Who, along with a wink. "Check your pocket if you want my business card."
Cody reaches into his jumpsuit's inner pocket and pulls out a card, surprised it was there. Did he take one? He can't remember...oh well. "Rose...sure. Guess if I ever get bored and, find myself back here I'll look you up." He smiles tiredly before giving a two finger salute and heading for the door. "See ya."
Log created on 20:54:29 11/11/2018 by Mercedes, and last modified on 00:23:23 11/12/2018.