Log:A Visit To The Garage
KissThisThen - known by a whole range of epithets, some good, some bad - tends to be cautious when coming down to the Garage. While he has now been a Reaper for some years, older War Children remember him as a failure. Not the coward type, exactly - the kind who finds it hard doing the right thing at the right time. Or saying the right thing. Or not, well, crying and putting his hands on his head to cover his face. He got shook up bad during one or two fights and has hearing damage as a result. Which means, well. He has to keep an eye out.
Unfortunately for him, SKIDMARXXX wanted to see him, and they seem to have some sort of arrangement? It can be hard to tell. They might be lovers, they might be enemies, he might owe the big War Child, who knows. So down he comes, eyes flickering this way and that, as he steps between the metal and the pits and pots and general refuse that is actually highly organised supply sets. In deference to the fact he is not in his Garden, he is wearing pants. Badly treated, ripped ones. Gloves and protective shoes are a constant, but pants? Not so much.
Kitten hears SKIDMARXXX, and they stick their head out of their cubby, looking around for the source of the sound, since Skid usually means KTT might be around, and he's funny. They perk up as they spy the Reaper, and they swing out of their cubby to skitter down the wall and over, hopping onto the ground, pipe wrench in hand. "Who goes there?" they say, and they point the wrench at KissThisThen. "I know you."
Everyone hears SKIDMARXXX, since his default volume is 'scream'. It has to be said. KTT is, indeed around. He is looking ten kinds of awkward, and frowning quietly as he rubs his chin. His huge protector is bellowing at someone else, and KTT is left standing there, until Kitten appears. KTT does _not_ move like that. He moves slow and liquid. He looks at them, the patterning on his face a little further spread each time "KissThisThen," he says "Kissy, if you want. Oh, yes, High Sign. Right. You're an appropriate one, you're in the correct _realm_ of categorisation - if I wanted to smash a small 'stone' apart, how could I do that? If I had, oh, erm. Thousands of them."
"I'm Kitten," Kitten says, and they scratch their back with their wrench while they think. "Depends on the rock," they say. "If you want to smash one, use a hammer. If you want to smash thousands, use a thousand hammers." They make a gesture like turning a crank, "in a circle, grind them down to powder. You'll need combustion for the hammers to hit hard enough." They sniff, then admit," Depends on the rock."
"It's a stone, inside a piece of fruit," says KTT "Like a. A small. Bitter pod, you know, a kind of..." He stares at the wrench, cautious. The beatings he copped mostly did not involve weapons, but the only reason he can understand what Kitten is saying is that they are alone without a hell of a lot of background noise "Yes. A...they have. Small, white, feathery flowers, with ten-cleft calyx and corolla, two stamens, and bifid stigma, borne generally on the previous year's wood, in racemes springing from the axils of the leaves. The fruit is a small drupe, has. A bitter phenolic compound that can reach levels of. It's. Unpleasant. But. What. I mean. Squishing them. Would be good."
Kitten watches KTT steadily as he speaks, resting the wrench on their shoulder. "Don't neec combustion for that kind of stone," they say. Petrol is precious, after all. "Grinder, big crank. That'll munch it up real good. Could burn 'em too, if you just wanted to get rid of them. Maybe burn them, then grind them."
"No, no, they're too. Useful," says KTT "Fire is good, but it has to be, ah, a clean fire. Can't be. That black stuff." He stares at his hands, for a moment. They are dirty. As in, there is literal dirt on his gloves. Not dirty as in oily. He takes a breath, and he says "Yes, that would be good. Can you, erm. If you can help me think of how to do it, then I can make more oil. Machines are just, erm. Just..." He gestures, very vaguely. Machines are just not what he knows.
Kitten watches the dirt on KTT's hands, keenly aware of how not-grease it is. "You want the oil," they say. That changes everything! Already the gears are turning in their mind, and they nod to themselves. "You could get a stone wheel on a pole, and you push the pole in a circle to turn it. It crushes the stones, and a spigot diverts the oil into a receptacle. Get someone to carve you a wheel. I can make you a press." They tilt their head. "Going to need to fix my engines though. That comes first."
"Yes. It's oil for. I mean, it works in us. Good on sore skin. Bad joints..." He tastes that edge of terminology. His body has bad, sore joints. He chews the side of his mouth "Can burn it, heat it, use it. _Eat_ it. S'good for flaking skin. Sore bits from you know, sickness. Stuff like that. Supposed to be good for you. I mean..." He means _they_ could not use it, but the Fortunate could "...could be used even for light. Be a bit smokey. Yeah. I think. Like that. That big stone thing. That'd be. Yeah, like that." A firm nod. Somewhere out there, SKIDMARXXX is bellowing about how amazing the latest car he has spotted is. A chariot!
"Will you give me some, if I make your press?" Kitten asks. "I get sore a lot. Lots of tumors." There's not a single lump or bump anywhere on Kitten, it should be noted. "Just some for my personal use. I'll make it as soon as you have the stone. Shouldn't be too hard to find a rock in the desert." They glance toward the sound of Skid's booming, and their lips twitch with amusement.
"Yes." The deal is an easy one to make "I have to get the. The trees grow good with hardly any water. The wood's good too. Silky-smooth. But. I have to get all the, you know. The documentation. Things. I know people used to eat the fruit, but I don't know how right, I've tried, it's. Just. Super awful. The oil is. Real sweet." He smiles. Encouragingly. And then he eyes Kitten, and gives a mild frown "...you don't have tumors."
Kitten fixes KTT with a hard look. "They're on the inside," they say. "They'll burst out any day now. There's going to be dozens of them." They consider the conundrum of the fruit being no-longer edible. "Try roasting it," they suggest. Fire tends to fix problems or creates new and interesting ones. "Though, I guess if the oil is useful, it's pulling its weight."
"I should try things." He knows he should because SKIDZ does a lot of screaming of that kind of thing. At the hard look, he holds up his hands, and darts his gaze to one side "You look fine," he says to Kitten "I mean. I do not know. I don't have anything like that." Another pause, and he says "I can show you the trees in the Garden, some of them. Everyone likes the Garden. The Garden is the best."
"I've been to the Garden," Kitten says. They were raised there, but the way they say it, they mean they've visited. "I'd like to see the trees." There is a 100% chance they will try to eat one of those nasty bitter fruits. Some things must be learned through experience. "Maybe fry the fruit in its own oil, if the oil is sweet, maybe it'll take care of the bitterness or or or..." Kitten squints. There are all sorts of ideas, good ones, rattling around on the edge of their awareness, but nothing is sticking. Alas. "At least it's good oil."
"I know. We grew up together, sort of," explains KissThisThen "Do you remember? I used to be dark all over. Now I'm not. But then again, now I know the right. Way to speak to things, and I guess so do you." He adds "I described the trees very accurately, you will know which ones they...hey. Do you. You know that person. I mean. I think I've seen you with them? Ransom?"
Kitten shakes their head slowly. "No, I don't know anyone named Ransom. I know Rebar. Is that who you mean?" They look around, as though Rebar might show up by virtue of his name being spoken. "Do you need to see Rebar about something? I can probably find him. He's got his own wheel." This last is spoken with admiration and pride. That's their friend, who has his own wheel.
"He's called that because he's like. You know. Doin' things for people, more or less?" says KissThisThen "I don't mean Rebar." He is flustered, now, and he puts his hands together "Wears a thing on a string around his neck. Oh. He's an Etherite Professor. He's a Chemist. Er. They. They're a Chemist. I don't know like, what they wanna be called."
"I know a Chemist named Xavier," Kitten says. "I haven't seen him today, though." Right around then, Rebar does make an appearance, though not by virtue of his name being spoken. "Kit, I need you to look at my engine," he says. Kitten nods to him and says, "Okay." Rebar does have tumors, three golfball-sized ones on his neck. As he disappears back into the hustle and bustle of the Garage, Kitten tells KTT, "I have to go fix an engine."
"Oh," says KTT, with his very punchable face. He chews his lip "Yes. That's them. That's Ransom." He nods firmly, and then he says "Okay." A loooong pause. Is he just going to watch? His eyes are widen a little and he says "And now, Kitten is going to go to Rebar. What will they see when they get there? It is unknown."
Kitten smiles crookedly. "Probably an engine." They wink, then turn to go. They look back though, pointing their wrench at KTT. "I'll remember you next time, Kissy." They bonk their head lightly with the wrench, adding, "It all filters in eventually. Hit your stones with hammers til you get your wheel." Then they wander into the throng and are soon lost amidst it.