The humid Floridian air only seems to make the smoke wreathing the interior of the apothecary's den of iniquity feel all the more heavier; the dense fumes make vision beyond a few feet a blurry and dubious affair. Tendrils of gray move and coalesce with the faint breeze at the edges of the tent's interior, forming strange shapes -- or perhaps that oddity is a consequence of inhaling the air inside the tent.
At the center, where that fragrant smog is densest, a red-upholstered sofa provides seating for the proprietor. This evening, Theodoro is clad in little more than a glossy red silk bathrobe cut in a faux-Oriental kimono-esque fashion, with golden stitching on the back, at the sleeves, and on the hems. Perhaps his choice of garb could be chalked up to the swampy humidity of their location, had the man not made a point of wearing little more for the past few months.
A pair of sandals have been removed and left on the carpeted floor between Hypnos and the table in front of his sofa, which is home to his customary hookah pipe, a bottle of cloudy green fluid, a handful of absinthe glasses and spoons, a small wooden bowl of sugar cubes, and a bowl of fruit.
Another evening, another show. Lorraine's performance in the cooch tent is done with tonight, and she's apparently either not convinced anyone to join her for a more private session, or she's simply taking the night away from such things. She does that, occasionally. With that leaving her free to wander the camp, it's not terribly long before she's making her way into the apothecary tent.
She moves with a lazy grace, gliding through the smoke. "Evening," she greets somewhat casually as she considers Theodoro, her eyes flickering over him before looking to the table, taking in the familiar interior of the tent -- what she can make out, in any case. Her own outfit is one of her usual selection of black dresses, simple and suggestive as always.
Luxuriating in the space afforded by having the couch to himself, Theodoro stretches out and lifts his feet to situate at a bare edge of the table as he lowers the hose of his hookah from his lips, breathing out a thick plume of smog which joins and adds to the existing fog filling the tent. "Lorraine," he practically purrs back in greeting once he sees the woman's figure resolve through the tent's limited visibility. "How fortunate. I'd just been thinking of visiting your show, but alas, a supplicant brought me some fruit, and I just couldn't bring myself to find a pair of pants," he announces.
"There may not be space for you on the couch," there definitely is, "But you're welcome to come have a seat on my lap." The dark-haired and -eyed man gives a suggestive waggle of his brow, before stifling a yawn into the back of his hand and reaching out for his glass of absinthe to chase down his smoke with refreshment. "To what do I owe the privilege of your visit?"
"I do not compare to delivered fruit, is it?" Lorraine says in an amused tone, her eyes dancing with mirth as she considers him, moving towards the couch, "I am not sure I have ever heard that particular reasoning for one's avoidance of myself, though I can say pants are entirely optional -- at least after the main performance." The corner's of her mouth twitch upwards in something of a grin, and then she's drifting closer towards Theodoro, tilting her head slightly as she looks down at him, as if contemplating.
She ends up settling in on that couch that lacks space. It's close, but it's not in his lap. "Boredom, perhaps," she decides in answer to his question as she settles in there next to him, leaning back and closing her eyes a moment. "Or maybe it has just been a while and on a whim I decided to make sure you were still around in here -- not that I'd expect you to be anywhere else, I suppose. You really do need to get out more."
"Mmm... the fruit is quite good," Theodoro proclaims while sipping on his absinthe. His free hand extends, plucking a branch of grapes and lifting it in offering to Lorraine once she's joined him on the sofa. "But I wouldn't say it's that good," he admits readily enough. "By all means, make yourself at home," he offers with an encompassing gesture towards the fruit, hookah, and drinks, before taking a few seconds to survey some of the slumbering bodies strewn about the carpeted floor with amusement.
"I do need to get out more often. I suppose now that I know that pants are optional, I'll have to come visit," Hypnos decides, before lapsing into a thoughtful silence with a somber look on his face. "Have you considered our prospects for the future, yet? It seems we all have something of a choice to make."
With the challenge laid out before them, Urania is coming for respite from the questions ever more often. Questions abound; answers, not so much. The muse also has her own solutions to find, which makes things uncommonly tricksy. She's been out and about often, about town wearing a different face from her usual assortment to tend to the business of her own potential evolution, but it's the old stand-by of Twila for today. Having finished up with the late show and a handful of readings, it's time to steal some enjoyment from what's left of the night. A hand lifts to wave as she enters with a light chime of bells she forgot to leave in her trailer, and she gives the bracelet a glare, irritated with her own level of distraction.
"I thought that woman for the last reading would never leave," she laments quietly as she neatly steps over this one sleeping, that one passed out, flashes a smile to the faces she recognizes, and another, subtly different, to those she doesn't. "Best time of night, when they all start filtering home." She carries a small mason jar full of mysterious clear liquid, and dangling from her person is... a sloth. That's new! The chartreuse bow tie suggests the sloth is perhaps not so new as it seems. "I brought a present delivered by one of the locals, as a tip," she murmurs, sloshing the jar. "Local moonshine, for the stash."
Leaning close to Theodoro, Lorraine stretches one leg out and eyes the grapes disdainfully. Fruit is not to her particular tastes, and she lifts a hand to wave them away. But the other offerings -- those she just might help herself to. "Indeed. Your list of excuses just gets smaller and smaller, and soon you might have to admit that you simply don't want to." She teases momentarily, before leaning back and giving a little shrug at the more serious question set against her. "I have not really even thought about anything." She admits simply. "I've just been -- working." Spreading her hands a moment, she nods slowly, eyes thoughtful before she is easily distracted by the arrival of the muse.
"Mmm, it's my line of work they're most like to never leave," she decides upon looking over Urania with a brief grin. "But they do often fall asleep, at least." With a small chuckle she stares at that dangling sloth for a few long moments, considering it as though it were a puzzle to be obsessed over.
Low-Key is an enigma wrapped in a puzzle and stuffed into an impossibility drive. His hijinx are legendary, but what is not written about in the stories is his actual sense of humor, and sometimes he out does himself. Like now. Clinging to Urania's back like a warm fuzzy backpack he doesn't seem overly motivated to do much of anything else save make a little croaking noise in passing at those he hears before going right back into nap mode against the warm back he's claimed. No pants, because of course no pants, but stilla bow-tie, chartreuce at that. He yawns briefly and seems to shift as if getting up to say something. Instead he just turns his head the other direction and stares right back at Lorraine.
Diamanto slips inside the tent, clutching a mason jar in one hand. She's in black short shorts that leave her legs bare, and she wears a black halter top that exposes her belly button. Her hair is piled on her head in a braided bun to get it off her neck in the Florida heat. She has trimmed her beard down quite a bit, but she'd never get away with just shaving it. Especially when she's taking another night off from her evening job.
She glances around, then carefully makes her way to Hypnos and Lorraine. To the former, she offers the mason jar. Inside is a generously sized marijuana bud. "Last night, I had a john offer me this," she says. Payment, perhaps, for whatever she plans to imbibe tonight. Looking back at the sloth with a bowtie, she informs Urania, "That is the ugliest cat I've ever seen."
"Hmph," Theodoro protests the accusation of his disinterest in visiting Lorraine, though his gaze has become more preoccupied with ogling her than with meeting her own properly as she leans into him. At her rejection of his grapes, he plucks one from its branch and tosses it up and into his mouth with a backwards tilt of his head and the audible snap of his teeth piercing the skin. "Better not to think too much on it, honestly," he decides after a moment of consideration on the more serious topic of conversation.
The muse's arrival draws Hypnos' gaze away from Lorraine -- or, more precisely, parts of Lorraine -- and to the approaching woman with her gift and companion. The presentation of that present elicits the flash of a smile, and a curious look swivels onto the sloth before returning to the woman. "Much appreciated," he declares while lifting the hose of his hookah to offer the tip to Lorraine's lips while leaning into her side. "It seems our occupations have more in common than I expected," he laughs in an aside, before turning his attention back onto the sloth.
"Am I being mocked, or honored?" the god of sleep muses in philosophic consideration of his soporific spirit animal. "And another gift!" he declares cheerily on Diamanto's arrival. "You're welcome to share in my refreshments," he declares, gesturing encompassingly to the pipe, absinthe, and fruit set out on the table before him.
Why, yes, the muse is wearing a sloth. Adorable despite the murderclaws. Urania is a runt, really, so the tangle of sloth limbs around her becomes painfully obvious as she starts to approach the couch, holding out the moonshine jar in offering. Her other hand -- the one with the chiming bells -- reaches up to scritch the sloth's head, because lazy, snuggling creatures are an obvious weakness. She chokes through a chuckle at Dia's description of the beast, and she tries to shrug, which only really ruffles the sloth some. "He's being a wise-ass," she explains, slowly shaking her head. It's the smile that lingers and the warmth in her voice that say more than the actual words. "I think. It's hard to tell. He's been all manner of creatures over the past month." Her lips purse, and she cants her head to one side. "We've been through platypus, fox, mockingbird, jackalope," she pauses, brows creasing as she starts to rattle off the list. "Emu, some sort of tiny little deer-thing, and a seagull Lou kept threatening to shoot on principle."
Making a thoughtful 'mmm' sound of agreement with Hypnos, Lorraine maintains that staring at the sloth before she grins a little, leaning back further. There's a even a bit of a laugh at Dia's statement and she nods in agreement, glancing from person to person in thought. "Why do you get all the gifts? You just sit here." She wonders with a faux put upon tone to her, eyeing Hypnos, before glancing up at Diamanto propper. "Hello, dear," she greets fondly.
"Why a seagull?" She wonders though as her attention drifts back towards Urania and the sloth, head tilting once again. "Why not, I suppose. It's been too long since I tried on a different shape, honestly. I wonder if I even remember how."
A slow look has the sloth chewing on something for a moment before finally speaking in very slow tones, "Yes," is the simple answer seeing as it would be far too long with his current mood and demeanor. But he still manages a somehow charming smile in this form for Hypnos, before another yawn over takes him and he rests keenly against the warmth of the Muse. Murder claws are harmless, mostly, until he grips a little hard with her calling him a wise-ass, see how wise he is now? There's a humph of sorts but it's of amusement as she recalls the jackalope. But he had to get the rumors started somehow. "Mm, waiting for the newspapers to tell the story of my son running me over with the automobile," he grunts and breahts in slowly before noticing Dia and angling her a very slow to happen smile, "Have you ever known a seagull to be less than annoying?"
Diamanto gives Lorraine a kiss on the cheek and murmurs, "Hello, lovely." She then finds a place on the floor of the tent to sit, near the pipe, and she looks at the sloth. For a long time, all she does is watch the thing. Even as she reaches for one of the hoses, she's contemplating the creature. Finally, she asks, "No, really, what are you supposed to be?" She's been to Greece. She's been to other places in Europe. She's been to the United States. None of those places have sloths running around.
She takes a puff off the pipe and her eyes lid. "I thought about turning into something else," she says, "but I haven't tried it in thousands of years. I don't know what would happen. I might not be able to turn back, or I might get the features wrong."
"It's only proper to bring gifts when visiting a god in his place of worship," Theodoro informs Lorraine with a playful huffiness. "Fortunately, in your case, you are the gift," he declares with an ingratiating air. "Otherwise, I'd be quite cross!" he insists fictitiously, while leaning forward to put himself to the task of preparing a glass of the absinthe, which he delivers to Lorraine's hand. The grapes receive a lazed toss towards Urania. "Perhaps our slothful friend will partake," he muses, settling back into the comfort of his sofa.
"Have you been lacking for gifts?" Hypnos wonders in disbelief as he considers Lorraine, even managing a short-lived pout in sympathy. "I've been trying to convince Adrasteia to freshen up her wardrobe, but she's such a mulish and old-fashioned prude," he complains of his sibling. "Perhaps, then, I'll have one of my supplicants fetch you something fetching," he decides.
Briefly, he fans himself with a hand, then wets his whistle with another mouthful of absinthe as he considers the muse and her companion. "I do enjoy a wise-ass," he allows. "Not my favorite ass, mind you..." he trails off. Stretching lazily, and in the process draping his arm over the back of the sofa, he points out to the literally slothful companion: "While I've heard them called rats with wings, sailors are quite enamored of them, you know. The man whose face I borrowed so many years ago was always relieved, sometimes even joyful, at their sight."
"I'm not sure why the seagull, though, other than to taunt my inner sailor-" Lips pursing once again, Urania starts to sink to a seat on the pillows by the base of the couch, careful to let the creature adjust as needed to her shrinking back-space. "Probably because Lou's creative with the profanity when he has a mad on." She takes up one of the open pipes, inhaling deeply before insisting, "The jackalope was adorable. He went around charging the cats like an angry moose for a bit, until they snuggle-piled him into immobility and started grooming his tufty velvet antlers."
"I think mostly he's trying to convince me to learn how to turn into something other than other people, in some incredibly roundabout way," she notes, though she quickly adds, "Never could get the hang of it." Pausing, her eyes narrow slightly, and she taps a finger to her lower lip as she tries to call something in particular to mind, not that the additional puff on the pipe is going to help in that regard. "What were those strange pink birds lingering on that field on the way into town? The ones someone wanted to inquire after on the way back?" She glances back to the sloth, saying in all seriousness -- as if not talking to a sloth, clearly -- to insist, "Should have them in every lawn in this part of the world. The pink was so pretty against all the green." For an orderly muse, she sure seems to love enabling chaos.
Low-Key blinks again and exhales slowly into a sound that comes across as speech but in a ho-hummish way, "A sloth, lovely creatures," he says rather sincerely to Dia before haaa-haaaa-haaaaaaaaaaaaa...ing in slow motion at the image of her getting the face wrong. "Beg pardons," he speaks slowly and then finally settles again. "Partake?" And then there's a man clinging to Urania's back like a jetpack, wooosh, only no lift off. Only his legs unwrapping and settling onto the floor so he can stand naked save his bow tie again. "I always partake," whatever it is really, especially if it's made from honey! He gives proper hellos in the form of finger waggling and smiling at everyone before producing a little baggie of hasish that he promptly offers up to the host of the tent. "The pink flamdingos?" because he heard a drunk Florida Man say it to him. "I'm thinking that could be a thing," he croons and then flops into somewhere convenient.
With a roll of her eyes at that playful tone, Lorraine waves a dismissive hand at Theodoro's ideas of gifts, though there's a slight smile there at being the gift. "I am, aren't I?" She agrees, even as she collected the offered drink. "And I am always lacking for gifts, of course," she states knowingly. It doesn't matter how many gifts she may or may not be getting.
"Mmm, I can't say I've truly known a seagull," Lorraine notes thoughtfully, nodding slowly at that statement. She blinks momentarily and then just shrugs, sipping from her drink as she considers further. "There's not much reason to get all scaley. If anything I would just prefer to be my real self -- but then most of my customers would scream, I suppose."
Diamanto regards the sloth solemnly as he laughs. "Have you ever seen a cat with a human face?" She shakes her head slowly, indicating it's not something one wants to witness. She takes another hit off the hose and lets her head fall back against the couch. "You and me both, sister," she tells Lorraine. "Holden has never seen my real self. It would be challenging in the bedroom. It's easier in some ways, though."
"I've never had much finesse for the art," Theodoro confesses on the topic of shapechanging. The presentation of hashish etches a delighted expression on his face, and he appears quite satisfied with the collection of gifts that have emerged to pile up upon the table before his sofa.
Turning and twisting, the proprietor's head lands in Lorraine's lap as his feet rise to settle atop the distant arm of the seating, creating more space on the carpeted floor for those who have opted to seat themselves thus. "You are," he agrees to the womanly pillow, stifling a yawn into his hand as he settles.
"Flamingos, that's what they were," the muse murmurs into the now-man behind her. "I like the sloth. Slow motion murder claws." Urania leans back against him, content to be the one leaning this time around. It's like a timeshare. Hey, there's another idea for Florida! "A cat with a human face sounds like something that'd fetch a fair few bits if we had it on display, that much I'll say for certain." She tugs lightly on the bow-tie, glancing toward the floor. "Be kind to a lady who has been on her feet all day?" And down she goes, along with his cover unless he comes with her.
"How is Holden doing? Last I saw him, he was still thinking over the question of evolution, like all of us. Seems like the only thing I talk to anyone about lately."
Loki shrugs a bit and sighs, "Real self is entirely fictional anyways," as he finally reaches for something, whatever's handy - weed, LSD, booze, Urania's bum. "I ...actually have seen a horse with a human face, Thor was very mad," he giggles a little bit to himself. "Art is finesse, it stands to reason that your grace would lend to such efforts," he tries to explain and hums softly as he's being dragged down into the horizontal position that has him curling around her to keep his modesty and keep her warm maybe? "Yes, how is the boy?" he asks curiously of his kin.
"Did you father the horse with a human face?" Theodoro has to wonder of Loki from his repose and utilization of Lorraine as pillow. "I've heard the most fanciful stories about your offspring," he admits as another yawn starts to rise from the depths of his lungs, smothered into his pillow's thigh as his eyes start to drift slowly closed.
"Mm," Hypnos hums quietly in his comfort. "I think I'm overdue for a bit of a nap. Do excuse the rudeness and feel free to avail yourselves of my hospitality," he extends before doing just that. The snoring and drooling commence shortly thereafter.
Diamanto exhales a plume of smoke and lets her eyes drift closed. It's such a relief, at the end of a hot, humid day, to come to the tent of a friend and just get fucked up. These are the moments worth living for. She waves a hand vaguely at Hypnos, unoffended by his napping. To Urania, she says, "He's well. We've discussed what it is we want to become. One way or another, we'll be together. We're both passionate about justice for those who have rarely seen it."
The lazy smile that crosses Urania's lips is an honest one as she nods to Dia, a tiny grin playing at the corners of her mouth as she glances over to Hypnos. "Sleep well," she teases more than wishes, knowing full well he'll do precisely that.
Low-Key prtts up curiously and lazily blinks once or twice before focusing on Dia now, "And what is it that you and Holden will become then? If I can be curious that is," he is looking over at the smoke and finally reaching out to take hold of a hose and take a long drag of whatever it is. "Flamingos...flamingos everywhere," he murmurs already inspired by the wayward muse.
"If," the muse begins, glancing over her shoulder to him as he takes the pipe, "I wake up and find you feathery and pink and peering at me while hopping on one leg... " She will probably shriek wildly. But then, likely, "I'll laugh."
"Stars, though. Still going to be the stars. I wonder," Urania considers as her freckles shimmer and glow, "if I'll still have skin. I've been writing those horoscopes. There's someone translating that dry old work about them, in its howevermany volumes. That can't hurt."
"Some day, Antonin will shoot a rocket all the way up there. I'm sure of that."
Diamanto regards Low-key, and while there is nothing even approaching trust in her regard, neither is there any particular hostility. "I don't know what the word for it is," she says. "Fairness for people like us. Women like me, and for cripples and such. People who don't get a fair shake."
Low-Key stares blankly at the Muse for a moment and then grins, "Feathery and pink, it sounds like a wonderful time to be honest," he purrs before licking her shoulder and then humming softly, "If you do I will admire your glowingness anyways," he says before turning to look at Dia, "Actionable and topical, I like it," he smiles and twists some to get further comfortable.
"I like that," Urania murmurs, already starting to ease with the aid of the smoke. There's a warm glimmer in her eyes, and they gleam liquidly as she nods slowly in approval. "There are a lot of things in the world that have been broken for a very long time. Much is overdue for a change." She takes in a deep breath, easing back into the lap of her companion. Her eyes shift up as she flutters her lashes at the trickster. "You're thinking of the pink feather duster." There is simply a nod. "I remember that. But it would be silly, even for us, to turn into a pink feather duster and chase me around the trailer."
Diamanto peers at the two of them. She takes one last draw off the hookah, then gets to her feet and says, "I'm going to go to my husband's trailer and do something normal couples do." Judged. Judged by a murderous party girl. One who has apparently developed a social conscience. "See you both," she says, and she heads for the tent flap.
Low-Key squawks, "You wound me madame, as if I don't take her by her womanly hips and plow the fertile fields of my orderly star-kitten!"
"You make me sound like a... a... " Urania just looks up at him, then grins to Dia. "Sleep well, sister. We'll talk soon."