Wrong Freak Flag

nobara_icon.png ricky_icon.png

Where: Outside the City

When: October 2nd; Evening

What: Houston, we have a problem. A couple problems, one of which doesn't turn out to be as big of one.

The late night ride back from Las Vegas Bay is an easier one if you stick to the bustling main roads, though many people will still take the other roads out of simply knowing how to handle a car well. Buses and RVs pass through the dusty roads here, taking shortcuts; cabs are not out of the question either, using the route to dart around the main roads themselves. At twilight, the sun is setting in the windshield, driving west- it vanishes below the horizon eventually, blotting the sky an inky blue-black that segues to fading orange. Stars easily dot the desert sky at night, and the subtle chill of the desert sets in.

A coyote howls, somewhere, the noise filtering in and out through the foothills, flattening out to reddish, scrub-covered ground as they dip down towards the flatlands.

A ways off of the road, rocky bumps in the land spot the landscape, offering minor shelter for brush and critters. It is past some of these, in the flat desert scrub, that something is lit up. Not like a fire, just quite- more like a sputtering headlight, blotchy white when it pops in and out into view at the side of the eye.

She's a cabby. It's not like Ricky actually, you know, cares about her vehicle, or good driving. Mainly because she IS a cabby. All the sudden starts, dodging in and out of traffic, speeding, and even slight fender-dingers she has on any iven day has prepared her for this moment. Of course, since it's not particularly dramatic a moment, it's wasted when she turns her car off the road and onto the dirt. When it gets too bumpy for her cab, she gets out and starts walking. She figures, after all, that SOMEONE's car must've broken down out there. So, with toolbox in hand, she's tramping out there, already cursing the heat and the dryness. "I swear, I think I just got sand in places I should need an operation to even have." Charming. She talks to herself, too.

As Ricky gets closer and closer, she can tell that this particular spot would be a strange place for a car. It's rockier than it was when she stopped her own, and there is only a single track- two wheels- that finally shows itself in the dust between plants. She can see the bike after a moment, its lights turned off, parked between small rocks. It is familiar, in a vague way- like she has seen it somewhere before. If she thinks back hard enough, it was just last week, with the mayor's son, at the diner.

The light isn't coming off of it, and so further investigation into the source comes out with something even more strange. A yell, anguished, and another flux of light just over the smooth ridge.

Once far enough onto the lift of ground, the land flattens again; the person- presumably- kneeling over in the dirt, dressed in biking clothes, is giving off quite the lightshow. From his visible skin. It is a mostly white light, like a bulb, sometimes popping a tinted lavender, as though it were filtered momentarily through a colored film.

One thing noticeable very quickly is the heat he is giving off, as well. It is not a chill desert night over here.

Ricky can feel the warmth as she draws near… Why the desert is so warm at this point is anyone's guess, but she wipes her forehead. As she approaches, she visors her eyes with her hand. She sets her toolbox down and begins to approach the man, carefully sidling down an incline to examine the whole scene… Because it's a little crazy. Ignore the car for the moment… Instead, she has an important queston to ask the man,"Uh… why are you glowing?"

He nearly jumps out of his boots at the sound of another voice, and the light flickers out, from a beacon to nothing but flesh. Nobara's face is pale, and his brow and hair are damp with sweat. He has to drag himself off of his knees, yet the effort takes him through dirt before he is able to push up on one knee to stand. The movements are tired and heavy. Jerky, in a way. She'll remember his face, and that emblazoned helmet he clumsily backs one heel into.

"You need — to stay back." When he speaks up, his breath lends itself to exhaustion; one ungloved hand lifts up to jab a finger towards the path she'd taken.

Ricky frowns as she looks at the man and backs up, hands up in the air, palms facing forward,"This is some kind of crazy bullsh- Oh. Right." The 'oh right' is her remembering that she ate a wrench a few days ago when she needed a snack. And then reported it to her boss as a 'tool theft' by some teenagers. Girl gets hungry. Still, it certainly is memorable,"Uuuh… do you need a doctor? I'm prett sure that… uh… that level of light is… like… skin cancer or something?"

Nobara lets out a barking laugh, pitchy towards the end. He takes a few more hesitant steps backwards, enough to be able to pick up the helmet without letting her out of his sight.

"It ain't UV rays, honey… and not the kinda doctor you can get me." The hand not holding the helmet lifts to rub his eyes. Once he draws attention to it, Ricky can see the smears of dirt on his cheeks, caused by the presence of water and dust.

"I'm just having some trouble with shit that isn't mine." So to speak. Something is obviously wrong, even discounting the fact he was mimicking a large glowworm a few moments ago. "And you don't need dragged into something else, hon."

Ricky lifts an eyebrow at that, then waves her hands,"Listen buddy… I uh… kinda can't let a dude that's been crying just sort of wallow out here in the desert. People die out here all the time. At least let me drive you back… You're… uh… in no shape to do it yourself. Besides, I'm a fixer. Licensed psychotherapist. Honest." Though why she's driving a cab is anyone's guess. "Just hard to get a job as one, you know… And… uh… you obviously been crying. Come on. I'll even let you watch me eat a rock." Because really, sharing freakiness is the best kind of brother/sisterhood. "I'm a licensed listener for crying out loud."

"Pff. I don't need psychotherapy, I need a cold beer and a punching bag that looks like whatever did this." He nearly hisses back. Did what, precisely, he leaves out, proceeding into a rant mode. Complete with turning around and using his whole body of momentum to kick up a spray of rocks, which skitter and roll off in a cloud of dust. He gives her a knowing look, for some inexplicable reason, when she mentions eating rocks.

Rather than answer her, however, Nobara wheels in the dirt again, holding his palms out and up, grunting through his nose just before they emit a searing light, which dies down almost as quickly as it appeared. He does the same a second time. And a third, shoulders quivering, his breath seething out in frustration.

Ricky lifts a shoulder, and sighs,"Well, I can take you to a gym and we can tape a picture to a puchng bag. Also, again, why are you glowing?" It's offered almost as an aside, that question. Still, when he declines any sort of conventional theory, she shrugs and says,"Well then… you feel like shooting shit, then here… shoot this." She picks up a medium-sized rocked, tests it for heft and hurls it into the air. Like shooting skeet, in her mind. "You really are an 'emotions on the outside' kind of guy, huh?"

Her attempt at giving him something to take his anger out on has the reverse intended effect. Both hands just hang limply at his sides, and he watches the rock arch up and back down into the dirt. There's another laugh, self-deprecating at best.

"If this would have been last week, I coulda shot the shit out of that." Nobara lifts his hands to rub his face, groaning into his palms. "I shouldn't be glowing. I should be doing something different. That's the problem, babe." Nobara holds his helmet in both hands, blowing dirt from the visor. "Wearing my sleeves like I do isn't so bad. What you see is what you get. Not that I can't be a deceitful bitch…"

Ricky shrugs a little bit. Well, he's not blasting light everywhere now… though it IS getting a bit hot. "Uuuum… maybe it's growing pains? Like… uh… you were shooting baby-light, now you're shooting adult-light? So it's harder not to… photo-jaculate? I'm sorry… There aren't very many good words for what you're doing. Otherwise I wouldn't feel so crap at trying to make you feel better. Anyway, so what if you're a deceitful bitch or a bitch or all 'splodey. You work it out, move on, and get your mojo on. It's cool. Let freak flags fly and all that."

"It's not the right freak flag." He isn't sure he should keep trying to explain that this isn't what is right. "Fuck this freak flag, I want my old flag. I should be able to bomb a hole in a wall, not- not- glow in the fucking dark." At the edge of hair-ripping. He turns to flash the searing light from his palms again, as if trying it enough will bring back the familiar, buzzing plasma to his fingers. It doesn't, and he stumbles, one knee weakening just before he flops back on the ground butt-first.

"Photo-jaculate? Really? That was awful." Nobara pants, trying to push himself up again to no avail, sweat beading at his hairline.

Ricky wrinkles her nose a little bit,"Look… I totally get that what's supposed to be happening isn't. What I'm saying is… maybe it's natural. Maybe it isn't. I dunno. BUT. There's not much you CAN do about it so… trying to make it work for you. Look, I got my snacks back in my car. You need to eat something. Maybe get a drink… Some rest, too. Because all this premature photojaculation is obviously taking its toll on you." Yes. She just made a joke with that word. Again. "Seriously. Snacks on me. You're going to kill yourself at this rate."

Nobara just sits there for the next few moments, a lingering silence between her words and a deep breath that pushes out of his chest. He obviously can't drive, at this point, though someone would be hard-pressed to be looking for his bike this far off of the road. The young man turns over, digging one knee down and using the other to lever himself upright again, hand out to catch the ground should he stumble again.

"I refuse to take it sitting down." Whatever it is. There's no way that this is a post-bomb mutation of some kind, is there? "I've got to get back to town. I have to call someone." Maybe after he wakes up again later, anyway. Ricky's right. He needs to slow down.

Ricky nods to the man,"Lucky for you, I drive a taxi…" She approaches cautiously,"Here… do you need help walking?" She reaches into her pocket for a small package of TGI Fridays bacon and cheddar potato skins and offers it to the man,"Those are a good start…" And again for a small bottle of water,"And this'll get rid of some of that powerful thirst I know you gotta have." She smiles in a rather gentle manner,"It's not far, really… Where do you wanna go? Ride's on me."

For some reason, he watches her warily when offered food and water, shoulders hunched a little and dark eyes sharp. A reaction not unlike paranoia- is it poisoned? Did you spit in it? Whyfor he seems to imagine that, is probably a mystery to at least her. He knows better much of the time. Still, he takes a couple steps nearer, the bag crinkling in his hand as he takes it from her. This seems like eating lard, but, well, not much he can do about that.

"Thanks." Nobara offers that much before trying one of the chips, looking more sheepish up close. And tired. "Urh. Maybe I needed fried food after all." There, see? She was right. He takes the water she offers next, teetering slightly on his feet. Not ragged enough to fall over. Yet.

"Can you take me to Winchester?" Not home, no. Not directly. But he seems to imply it is nearby.

Ricky nods to Nobara at that. "Sure. I can take you there. Any particular place around there?" She turns then to start walking, only to pause to pick up her toolbox,"Well, we got a short hike back to the car, buddy. Yooou… strike me as one of those pretty-boy types… What's the word… metrosexual. You know, ironically, where I'm from… Texas, that is… they pretty much tag anything that isn't 'heterosexual' as 'queer as shit'. Life's like that I suppose. Seems like you got a lot going on in your life."

"I'll let you know when we're there." Despite his hesitance, he jams another bite of food in his mouth, pinning his helmet under his elbow. When she keeps on and starts into how he presents himself, he chokes a little on the crumbs in his mouth, sipping at the water. "I'm pretty sure I qualify as 'queer-as-shit' anywhere. Least, in terms of how your people tag things. I think." Admittedly, he confuses himself there.

"If I go out, half the time I'm in drag." The more you know. "But I identify as pan, if that helps." Not metrosexual- just- sexual. Close enough. Nobara follows along like a fox on a trail; a few steps after her, and a moment wherein he lingers. Repeat. "I've got plenty going on. Only half of which I want going on at all."

Ricky settles herself into a nice steady pace,"Oh, really? How's that working out for you. I obviously like women's clothes… Though to be fair I've been female legally for… three… four years? Four years. I'd wear skirts to work every day if I thought it were practical. Totally, I get it. So, you drag because you like being in drag, or because you also identify as trans?" She's all very matter-of-factly,"Not too far to the cab now. You mind if I crank the AC when we get there? At least until I cool down. The temperature should be dropping pretty soon but… eh… who knows."

Leeeg-ally. Nobara's brain pauses there for a time, mulling it over before it is absorbed. No prob. Some people are more passable than others- Ricky here, for example.

"I do it because I like it. Women get so many more ways to make themselves up, I find. Not that guyliner is out of the question. But I'm not like- 'Divine' drag- more like …Asian." Obviously. "I can pass if I want to, that kind of thing. We kinda- get away with the cross-dressing thing more than others." Nobara laughs, this time the first real one.

"Crank it all you like. My name's Nobara, by the way. You might have heard me at the diner, but, well, I felt the need to say it again." Just in case.

Ricky nods to the man,"It'll take a while before the body and the papers match up, but… I'm in a good place. And yeah… I think it's because, and pardon me if it offends you, you asian folk are generally already more slender less hairy than most of the other racial phenotypes. I'm betting other Asians have an easier time of clocking asians in drag than we crackers do. Still, I got one hell of an 'apple' myself. Thus the choker. Real self-conscious, you know. But… Moisturizer is king, you know. We had a joke back in my old support group, enough of the king, that is, moisturizer, makes you a proper queen." She actually giggles. Which sounds odd with her slightly raspy voice, but there it is. "And anyway, I did, buuuut… that wasn't technically an introduction. People call me Ricky. Name's Tamara - And here we are!" She drove some way off the road before getting there, and it is now that she opens the back seat of the cab for Nobara before opening her own driver's side door and popping the trunk.

"True, true. We're naturally feminine." A point of some pride, yes. "Don't say that to my old man though." Heh. "Hope you don't mind me saying, but you must have started out pretty young to be so short. Or is your family just small?" A weird question- but if she is who she says? Nobara nearly falls into the car when she opens the door before he gets there. Thankfully he doesn't spill anything- just his helmet, which rolls off onto the floor of the cab.

"Anyway- it's nice actually- meeting you, where you aren't tryin' to tell me off. You caught me and him at a weird time…" When he speaks from the rear seat, he becomes a bit muffled, but despite his tiredness, he manages to speak up enough.

Ricky puts her toolbox in the trunk and slaps it closed, then climbs in the driver's seat. True to form, she cranks the engine. And when he mentions how short she is,"Really? Mmm. Well, no. My family isn't short and I was… eighteen… nineteen when I started hormones for the first time. I'm actually a little bit of a runt is all. Born nearly two months premature, so… there is that. I tell you though, when puberty hit with all its scary bullshit, I was terrified I was going to end up all big and hairy. Can't tell you how relieved I was when I stayed pretty small. Still needed electrolysis in some spots, but… overall, puberty was blessedly light compared to most."

As for telling him off? "Well, sorry about that… but it did look a little like a lover's quarrel and it seemed like your friend was getting the bad end of it. In retrospect, I shouldn't have involved myself, you know? Anyway, you don't tell my parents where I'm living and I won't tell yours your people look pretty in pink." She revs the engine and takes off in her classic jerky cabby start, AC blasting.

"Lucky duck." Nobara balances items between his knees, trying to buckle the seatbelt in. It's a fumbling job. "He's not a lover, but it was a quarrel. That keeps happening, people thinking we're together." Nobara laughs into his shoulder as he buckles it, finally, sitting back up and leaning into the seat.

"Then again, we keep arguing in public, too. No wonder. I just don't know how to handle him. It's like he turns into a porcupine when I'm around…" A tired note to this, perhaps because of the cushioned seat he sits in.

Ricky nods,"I count myself very lucky, though I DO as a result deal with more chasers and creeps than is probably average. The can of mace I carry has saved my butt more than once, in more than one way, I tell ya. Let me know if you need any more snacks, there. I've got a bunch. I've got a… uh… high metabolism. Always feelin' peckish, you know? Just a thought though, buddy… You ever considered just… not talking to him? Maybe he isn't worth your time."

"Yes. But we- ah- keep meeting up through- er- fate, I guess. And that day you saw us, I was honestly just trying to thank him for helping me. It degenerated pretty quickly, didn't it?" Nobara doesn't answer on the matter of food- he slumps into the belt instead, clutching the items in his hands, on his lap. "He's a nice kid, and I kind of …helped fuck all his shit up. I'm not usually so guilty, but he's the first one that I keep seeing everywhere after the fact."

Ricky lifts her shoulder,"He shows up somewhere, you leave. Look, guilt is a hell of a thing, and it's a healthy thing, for all that. To a degree. BUT, I would say to you… let it go, buddy. Seriously." She cranks the AC up a little more and idly fidgets with the radio as she cruises along,"Look, you tried honestly to apologize. He doesn't want it. You've done your do. All you can do is try to make your apologies, and if they don't want them, then move on. At that point? It's his problem if he can't move past it. You tried, you know?"

"In my line of work, it's hard to avoid the same people over and over again." Nobara says this very pointedly, meeting her gaze in the rear view mirror.

"You're right though. I don't even apologize that often, for most things. But I feel like I did fail there. On a personal level. Usually I wouldn't give a shit. But he's got that sad puppy thing."

Ricky nods to the man while looking at him in her rear view mirror,"Seriously. If it isn't normally even in your character, then the fact that you apologize at all should mean that much more to ou. Let it go. Oooor… is there maybe some truth to it? You think he's cute? Because, you know… he IS cute. In that sad puppy way. Maybe you LIIIIIKE him." She's just unabashedly teasing, of course. "On a more serious note, maybe you need to party a bit. I know this bar I can drop you off at… A few drinks, cozy up to someone whose lonely, bring 'em home, have some fun. Clear your head, you know? Hell, get all gussied up. Or maybe light some candles and take a bubble bath. That usually makes me feel pretty good."

Nobara's mouth creases into a firm line, and his cheeks inflate for a moment. An angry little brood. "Even if that was true, he's taken, and blessedly not interested. I think I'm in a bubble bath mood, honestly. I'd had it with …sparkles, for tonight. You were right. I need rest. And then a long phone call." To who, he refrains from saying. Hopefully she gets the point there.

"I'll gussy up when it feels like something isn't so… missing. Mmph."

Ricky smiles cheerfully to herself as she begins to pull towards signs of civilization,"What's that? I'm right you say? My, but you know what a woman likes to hear." Seriously though. She likes being right. It's, like, her second favorite activity if the expression on her face is any indication,"Hey, talk to whoever you need to. Talking is good." Not that she feels inclined to ask the question on the call. She gets context after all. "Okay, but if you need to feel pretty, make sure you do it. Getting dressed up… that's another form of therapy."

"I like to think I know what I'm doing. But in the end I find that the women in my life know what I'm doing, too." Nobara sinks further into the seat, seemingly threatening to fall asleep. Even a cab is soft to someone exhausted. "Tell me about it. 'S what I'd usually do. But I don't feel like chancing any queen drama tonight. Not tonight. Or for the week. I seriously need that punching bag."

Ricky actually laughs at that,"Can't escape the drama llama, we say back home." By now, Winchester is pulling into view. A product of unabashed speeding, of course, she gets where she's going. Quickly. Even when she's charging, she gets charged for distance rather than time spent on the road, anyway. "So where exactly am I taking you or dropping you off? The gym, or some place to crash. Because by the sound of it, one has a bath and the other has a punching bag. Neither have both."

"Drop me off anywhere on McLeod Drive. I'll get home from there. Forgive me if I don't share. Nothing personal." Nobara gives her a short wink in the mirror, sitting up to take a quick look at the street they're on, also taking stock of where he is. "I'm goin' home and turning on the water. Gotta take off this biking gear. Hoping I still have a need for it in the morning."

Ricky chuckles to the man,"Doesn't make a shit to me, sister. You get on as you need to get on. Just don't do anything gauche like falling asleep in the bathtub and drowning. Because seriously, that'd be pretty lame." She stifles a yawn of her own,"I gotta get my taxi turned in and head home anyway. Just call the taxi service and ask for Ricky if you ever need another ride from the middle of nowhere."

"Of course." Nobara preps himself to get ready to depart once she finds a suitable spot to pull over, downing the rest of the water but holding the bag of crisps until further notice. "I owe you one for this. Maybe I can at least call you for my next trip. Probably out to get my bike, actually." He shifts in place, peering idly out the window until they slow.

"Or I could buy you coffee or something. Lunch. …Dinner." Either-and-or. But knowing how he's been acting, he may not especially be a good candidate for anything more than, ah, dinner and a show.

Ricky lifts a shoulder to the man as she pulls along side a sidewalk, and begins to open her glovebox. For another back of those potato skins. She tears it open with her teeth, swallows the plastic, then chucks a few in her mouth one-handed. One has to wonder, looking at her, if she even chewed them. She seems satisfied with it. "Sure. Why not. I warn you though… I don't pick at my food like some girls." Certainly not! Well, okay, there was that time she was hungry and she needed to change her tire, so she only /nibbled/ on the tire iron. But that was a special circumstance! "It'll be fun. You need to get out to the desert, though, I'll drive the truck that day."

The eating plastic part doesn't seem to phase him- the least weird thing he's seen, honestly- and for this at least he had some idea of what might happen. He smiles briefly to her, stifling a chuckle.

"Ah, yes, well, that is why god made buffet restaurants." Right? When he hops out, he turns to lean one arm on the top of the car, watching her through the open door for a minute. "You'll be hearing from me then. Thanks again for the ride. It goes without saying, you should- probably not mention this to people. We clear on that?"

Ricky lifts an eyebrow,"Sugar, five years ago, the only boobs I had were rolled up socks. I know a thing or two about keeping secrets. Now git. You're going to fall over in the street you keep wiggling around. Go on, relax. You got nothing to worry about. Really. Last thing I want is to make trouble for another person. Me and trouble don't get along too well. Now shoo. Go get your beauty rest." She makes a flicking motion with her hand though she seems in good enough humor.

"Too bad you didn't know me back then, huh? I'd have made you ickle ones." Nobara chuckles this time, giving her a single wave of the hand before he closes the car door and turns off onto the curb, heading south. There's just one look back, and one last wave of his hand. Lifesaver, that one.

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