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Author Topic: We're not in Kansas anymore...  (Read 406 times)

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Online Dys AstyrTopic starter

We're not in Kansas anymore...
« on: July 13, 2014, 07:47:52 PM »
The thin sunlight of late autumn lit the bleak landscape without judgment or mercy. The thin dirt road seemed just one more streak of grey in the desolate landscape. Trees made a dark smudge near the horizon, separating the sea of dry grass from the sky. The truck's engine was a lonely sound in all that space, a losing song in a world drifting into despair.

With a shake of his head Dr. Burns roused himself from his melancholy train of thought. That was why his work was so important, this world, this life was teetering with one foot in the grave, but he had found another way. Him, not the useless politicians, not the bankers or preachers or G-men. Him, he had found it, he had found salvation in the darkest hour. He smirked, If only they had understood his brilliance. Too radical they said, unstable, monstrous. Not fit to practice medicine they said. Well they could say what the wanted, soon enough they would be begging at his feet.

Dusk was fast approaching when he saw the shanty town ahead, as if the sun itself was weary of looking at the forlorn world. A pathetic gathering a squalid huts, shacks and lean-tos. As he got closer he could make out the figures, shambling around purposelessly, huddled around feeble camp fires, broken men and women with nothing left. He would give meaning to their lives, even if they were too stupid to realize it.

By the time he actually pulled to a stop a nice gathering of people had formed; desperate, dirty, hungry souls yearning for the smallest scrap of good fortune to come their way. He stepped out of the truck into the cold evening air, stepping up onto the running board so he could see the whole crowd. He scanned through them, some of them looked pretty rough. Most excellent. He cleared his voice.

"I got work for a dozen men. Hard work, for several weeks. Two dollars a day!"

The camp erupted as soon as the word dollars left his mouth, instantly making chaos of the quiet evening. Everyone wanted to be taken, but he was not here out of charity, he wasn't going to take any extra baggage.

Online Dys AstyrTopic starter

Re: We're not in Kansas anymore...
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2014, 09:58:34 PM »
Jo sat alone, huddled on the outskirts of the shanty town. She didn't like to socialize with the others, too much risk. She had seen what happened to other women who tried to make this journey across by themselves, and it wasn't pretty. Her thin coat, that had cost her very last penny, and thread bare overalls did little to cut out the autumn chill. Still it was safer to be a loner, safer than the risks, safer than becoming dependent on someone else. In vain she tried to pull the collar of the jacket high enough to cover her ears, which stung from the cold.

She just had to make it to the city. If she could do that then everything would be alright. Her father had never let her cut her hair, so it was quite long, a wig maker would pay her well for it. Give her enough money to keep her over while she found a job. She just had to get to the city. Just get there, after that everything would be fine.

Desperately she clung to that hope, that precarious dream. The idea of getting off the streets and actually having a house and food was all that kept her going through not having a house or food. She was lucky, though her sisters had teased her mercilessly for her boyish figure growing up, and for not being pretty, in the end it was a boon. Masquerading as a boy was easy enough, people were nicer because they thought she was young. Getting called kid and sport got old after awhile, especially from people who were actually younger than she was, but you had to take the good with the bad.

Jo sighed, fighting the feeling of despair that was creeping up and wished she had a 7Up. Her reverie was broken by a shout. Someone had spotted a car coming down the road. She watched the other squatters get up and shuffle toward the road, to see. She didn't get up, chances are the car wouldn't be stopping here. If she had a car she wouldn't.

A few minutes later she could here the soft drone of the vehicle's approach. A murmur of discussion had grown through the crowd, people wondering out loud. There wasn't much else to do besides gossip, so she couldn't really blame them. Any distraction from the truth of their situation was welcome. At the moment however, she was too hungry to ponder the vehicle.

She was so shocked when the truck actually stopped that it took her a minute to actually get up and run over to see what was going on. By the time she did the crowd was thick, making it difficult to push through. Instead of struggling she decided to circle to the side. The man that got out of the truck was older, with greying hair. He didn't look rich, but he definitely didn't look poor. Actually he looked like a teacher, someone who spent a lot of time reading books. He stood up on sideboard of the truck and started talking, he even sounded like a teacher. Jo listened, but the only words that really registered were "work" and "two dollars a day".

Two dollars a day.

It was unbelievable. If she could get two dollars a day for a while she might not have to sell her hair after all. She could take that money and go to the city and get herself set up someplace nice. She could find a job that didn't leave her with bloody, callused hands. All around her every man in the camp was shouting and shoving to get chosen. Her odds weren't terribly good. She tried to push forward, but it didn't do much to improve her situation.

The man raised his hands calling for quiet, which was begrudgingly given

"Men only, no women and no children. I only have room for actual workers on site, lodging and food will be provided."

This caused another uproar, some didn't want to leave their families unattended. One woman started screaming at the man, about making a father chose between feeding his infant son and being there to protect him. The look the man on the truck gave her was unsympathetic.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2014, 03:32:35 PM by syk »

Offline ADoggett

Re: We're not in Kansas anymore...
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2014, 08:15:20 PM »
As Cyrus Valdez, who's dusty spectacles magnified his glare, walked along the dusty road, he observed the familiarity's of filth, grime, and poverty. Same shit, same fucked up day he thought to himself, a glint of sadness overtaking him before he continued to trod on looking for work or food. Either would do. He could sleep in the desert but not on an empty stomach, working coming in the plight to fill a stomach. Promises like these were far in between completed or even honored, however he'd always taken a chance since he was 14 and on his own. It has been years ago in the Dakotas that he'd rough and tumbled his way working for rail ways and mills, working at the wharf's in Nashville, Tennessee and dealing with sewage in other towns.

He had lived a hard life indeed, yet now in the semi-aimless roaming in the dust bowl, the hard working Cyrus was feeling like his day could change for the better.

Something, more like someone, was calling him and many others.

Cyrus had also been one to come to the truck, taking off his hole ridden hat and tucking it under his arm. He hadn't had much on him at the moment, if anything at all; a rumpled leather bag swung over his left shoulder contained only the meager accessories collected from his travels from the South to the Midwest. He had only three shirts and a pair of pants to his name that he wasn't wearing, all of which had always been compromised or a part of attempted thefts, a flask full of water and a dirty notebook where he kept his thoughts, it's pages worn like the patina of his belt buckle. His clothes were dusty, a small crimson hankerchief around his neck slightly damp from his incessant sweating as the sun was surely blaring in the clear sky before him.

Looking over at the scrappy boy next to him, he smiled quickly and began to speak,"Evenin'... sure does look like an opportunity, huh?"

They seemed rather preoccupied in what the man on the truck's bandstand was saying, yet that was usually the case. Cyrus was listening as well, yet he couldn't seem to not make way for all of the other noises and attractions going on around him. He'd always been one to take in the environment, calculate it, and try to synthesize the brilliant in the bleak and unforgiving terrain he'd been occupying for nearly 3 years now.