The Girl That Kicked The Turtle's Nest

Cast: date: '28 August 2012'
place: 'St. James Park'
participants: 'Gideon, Rose'
synopsis: 'Rose teaches Gideon that lying to children and punting reptiles can be heroic.'
log: "St. James's Park is known more for the animals that inhabit it than the blooming gardens where they live. Most notably is a semi-tame colony of Pelicans who have settled on various perches around the park's generous pond. Or, rather, they're trying to. But one or the other keeps getting agitated off their resting spot by various unexpected bothers. One seems about to cozy in on top of a fence post when a veering boy on a bike sets up a spray of pebbles that spatters its feathers and has it hopping upright again. Another finds a cushy spot on the ground, near the water, until a snapping turtle comes darting out of the depths, awkward on land and nearly charging into the bird. A third has to move when fire ants, aggravated by something, swarm too close. It's not, really, something worth noting, the annoyance of the pelicans, unless one is watching them closely. And, someone is.\n\nA blond man sits on a park bench near the pond in faded jeans and a black, button-down shirt. He smirks, faintly, whenever one of the sea birds has to get up and move, and between their little trials he fidgets with this or that. Tosses a small stone onto the bike path, which causes a biker to swerve and spray stones. Drops a penny into the pond which lands in just the right way to startle the beejesus out of a snapping turtle who surges to the surface. Asks for the time of a woman which keeps her distracted for the single moment it takes for her son to stomp a nest of ants. Not, really, that most people would much notice any of those things, either.\n\n\nFire ants are a right nuisance, they are. It's not just the bite, it's the bites — acting like a single organism, they like to creep up unsuspecting limbs until a score or more are in position on vulnerable flesh. Then, at some unseen and unheard pheromonal signal, they bite in perfect unison. The pain is rather excruciating, as the lad stomping the anthill is likely about to discover.\n\nBut then, there's always a bloody good Samaritan, isn't there?\n\nIt happens fast, and by methods no one's likely to thank her for. The slender, leggy brunette with the plastic geegaws in her hair is just strolling by, happens to glance over at the boy — and stops short. Next thing anyone knows, the ant-stomping boy's been tossed in the pond, there to be lunged at by one of the snapping turtles. Miss Two Shoes is right behind him, however, leaping into the water and kicking the sodding turtle right into the air. It goes ass over end in an impressive arc, looking considerably more startled than one would warrant a reptile able. The boy starts to struggle back to shore, but the Girl Who Kick the Turtle's Nest wraps an arm around him tight, dragging him back into water up to his chin.\n\nBy this time, the boy's mother is decidedly no longer distracted by Gideon, screaming that some madwoman is attempting to drown her child and racing to the edge of the water.\n\n\nGideon's brows shoot up beneath his shaggy hair as a girl sweeps in to play hero by introducing the new and exciting sport of ant drowning (possibly with the incidental secondary sport of boy drowning). He chuckles as she dives in after the bewildered boy, and by the time the turtle's sailing through the air, he's holding his sides because it's true that laughing that hard actually hurts. None of this, likely, makes the boy's mother feel any better about the situation. \"Oh god,\" Gideon gasps, \"Oh god, stop. I can't breathe.\"\n\nHe wipes at tearing eyes with the heel of his hand as he pushes off the bench and over to the water's edge. \"Here, hand him over, miss,\" Gideon says, his shoulders still shaking with laughter as he crouches down and holds a hand out. \"I'll pinch off the rest, don't give his mother apoplexy.\"\n\n\n\"Luv, luv — LUV!\" the soaked would-be heroine tries to quell the flailing boy without drowning him in fact. \"Give it a minute. You're covered in fuh — \" Fucking. That's just not family friendly language. She's laughing, herself, trying to catch her breath. \"ANTS!\" she finally shouts, barking a laugh. She calls it to the boy's mother. \"Ants, mum! Sorry for the scare, but those were fire ants and that's an epi-pen sticking out of his bag there, aye?\"\n\nThe boy and his mother both begin to calm down as two and two approach four. The boy stops struggling and peers up at her rescuer-of-sorts. \"Why'd you have to go and kick the turtle?\" he wants to know.\n\nThe girl flashes Gideon a grin for his proffered hand, glances about for other attack turtles, then asks the boy, \"You swim, aye?\" The lad nods. \"Right. So you stay in until I say to come out. And for the record, that turtle was not Nemo's friend or anyone else's — so shout if you see another.\" That done, she slogs her way ashore, gripping Gideon's proffered hand for leverage as the mud sucks at her feet. \"My Aunt Clara always said it isn't properly Tuesday until you've kicked a turle into low Earth orbit.\"\n\n\nGideon's still smirking as he helps the dripping woman, still with plastic geegaws in her hair, up and out of the pond. \"I have to confess,\" he tells her in a tone that suggests he's about to reveal something strange and surprising, \"I did not see that coming.\" Never mind. Still, there's something of genuine delight on his face, for all the comment was a bit of a 'duh'. Who would see something like 'girl rescues kid by chucking him into the water and punting a turtle' coming? \"I think your Aunt Clara may have been a nutter.\"\n\n\n\"Would you believe it runs in the family?\" quips the soaked-and-muddied lass, patting herself down before pulling out a pack of (predictably water-logged) Marleys.\n\n\"Can I come out now?\" whines the boy, still up to his neck in the water.\n\n\"No,\" says his rescuer. Turning more toward Gideon to hide her smirk, she mutters, \"Teach the little sadist to go randomly stomping innocent insects, won't it. Got a fag? Dry one, pref. I'll owe you.\"\n\n\nCan he believe it runs in the family? \"With perfect ease,\" Gideon replies, reaching into his shirt pocket to fish out a pack of cigarettes, which also happen to be Marleys. \"I suppose you'll need a lighter, too,\" he adds as he holds the pack out to Rose. \"That'll be two things you owe me.\"\n\n\n\"Aye. A smoke and a light,\" Rose — for that is indeed her name — plucks a cigarette from the pack and places it between her lips. \"I pay in kind, Mr. Clever,\" she speaks around the cylinder of tobacco. \"May I have the pleasure of knowing to whom I'm so indebted, dearie?\" A cheeky dimple flashes alongside her mouth.\n\n\nHe fishes out a plastic lighter from the same pocket as the smokes, flicking the flame awake and cupping his hand around it as he holds it up for Rose to light the end of her mooched cigarette. \"Gideon Parish,\" the blond fellow says. \"And have you a name as well, oh child protector and ant avenger?\"\n\n\n\"What about nowwww?\" the boy wants to know.\n\nThe mooching ant avenger takes a drag of her smoke, glancing at the wristwatch she isn't wearing. \"Ouh! Nope! Nope, not just now, luv. They've all gone and crawled up under your pills for warmth about now. You come out now, there's going to be no grandkids for your mum!\" Grinning those wicked dimples again, the offers to Gideon, \"Rose.\"\n\n\n\"Rose,\" Gideon repeats, testing the name out as if she might discard it and try a new one, should he decide it doesn't suit. But, after that moment of consideration, he nods his approval. \"Very pleased to meet you.\" He glances towards the pond and its swimmer, smiling with quiet bemusement. The pelicans, on the other hands, are beginning to lodge beak-clacking complaints. \"Do you make these sorts of things a habit?\"\n\n\nRose exhales a plume of smoke, lifting an eyebrow. \"These sorts of things,\" she muses. \"Daring rescues? Comedic flourish? Tormenting little boys?\" She chews the inside of her cheek as she swallows a grin. \"Playing the Lorax for Kingdom Arthropoda, or chatting up strange men?\" A beat. \"It's been an eventful ten minutes.\"\n\n\nAnd Gideon's answer, to all those questions, is simply, \"Yes.\" Well, that and reaching over to snag her (his) cigarette so he can steal a drag off of it himself before setting it back between her fingers. He's at least gentleman enough to tilt his chin, so when he exhales, the smoke dissipates upwards.\n\n\n\"Yes,\" answers Rose, in turn. \"Or rather, I do what needs doing. Moment to moment. Serendipity makes it a variety show.\"\n\n\n\"Must keep life interesting, that,\" Gideon muses, arms crossing lazily over his chest. He glances back towards the pond and the boy whose lips have begun to turn a little blue from the chill of the water. \"Is hypothermia part of the lesson?\"\n\n\nRose rolls her eyes back over her shoulder, looking at the shivering boy. \"They just don't make kids like they used to,\" she opines, then raises her voice. \"Oi! Safe now! Come on out — and mind the turtles!\" She strolls a bit away to fetch her duffel, discarded at the waters edge before her spectacular turtle punt.\n\n\nThe turtle in question has finally made it back to the water's edge from his unexpected aerial journey across the gardens. He's just by Rose's duffle as she moves to collect it, and he stops to peer up at her. If turtles can glare, this one's giving her the stink eye. Then he slips back into the water as the boy scrambles out and over to his mother who isn't sure, at this point, if she should be consoling her son or yelling at him.\n\nGideon makes his way back to the bench, dropping back into his seat and stretching out his legs. \"Big bag for a trip to the park,\" he notes to Rose.\n\n\nRose grins wide at the retreating turtle, giving it a two-finger send off. Big bag in hand, she drops to sit on the other side of Gideon's bench — not cozy, but companionable. Off come the Converse to dry in the sun, and she begins taking her hair down to do likewise. \"Girl Guides. Be prepared!\" is how she chooses to explain her cumbersome baggage.\n\n\n\"That,\" Gideon muses as he looks down at the bag, \"is excessively prepared. Well done. Do you have a shower in there? You might want a wash before you put on anything clean.\" What with the scummy pond water and mud and whatnot.\n\n\n\"I really don't believe in half measures,\" Rose replies smoothly, tossing her fanciful hair clips into a pocket of the bag. She fingercombs her hair. \"No shower. Not in the bag, anyhow. I'm sure I'll have the opportunity to rinse off at some point. Civilization being what it is.\"\n\n\n\"Spigots and water abound,\" Gideon allows with a faint smile. \"Spirits, too, civilization being what it is. I don't suppose you might be interested in imbibing some with me, of an evening?\"\n\n\nRose pauses in the act of fretting a tangle from her hair to stare at him. She blinks, then laughs, grinning wide. \"M'a drowned rat, over here, all slimed with pond scum — and you're asking me out?\" Right, well. Odd moment, perhaps. But she seems particularly, perversely delighted by it. \"Right, then. Sure. After all, I owe you a smoke and a light. Wouldn't do to never see you again. Karmic debt is a bitch.\"\n\n\n\"Well, following you about until you were washed and changed seemed a touch eerie,\" Gideon explains with a small half-smile and a playful quirk of one brow. \"So, I thought I'd risk the mud.\" When she accepts, his smile grows a bit more real for an instant before it settles back into that playful smirk he favors. \"Debt of any kind is never advisable if it can be avoided.\"\n\n\n\"Not to mention I'd do you like I did the turtle,\" Rose explains how she handles stalkers around a last drag of her borrowed cigarette. She reaches out a reasonably dry and not-scummy hand, palm up, making gimme motions with her fingers. \"'Ere, give over your phone, then.\"\n\n\n\"You'd try,\" Gideon allows. Then he lifts a hand up, palm showing, apologetic. \"I haven't got one. But if you'll give me your number, I'll ring you.\"\n\n\n\"You should know I never sleep with Luddites,\" Rose deadpans after just a moment's pause. Smirking, she fishes in the Bag of Holding for a pen, then reaches over to take his hand. Her digits are summarily scribed on his palm.\n\n\n\"I may forsake mobile phones, but you're the one that eschews paper. I think I've embraced the greater advance,\" Gideon says around his smile, watching as Rose transcribes her number on his palm.\n\n\n\"I'm not eschewing paper,\" Rose retorts, smelling up close — well, pleasantly more floral than brackish. \"I'm saving a tree.\"\n\n\n\"Recycled paper,\" Gideon replies, canting his head a little as he smells something a bit better than scummy ick. But, then again, a girl named Rose ought to smell of flowers.\n\n\n\"Recycled paper's expensive and you haven't even bought me a drink yet.\" She caps her pen, flashes him a cute smile complete with lashflutter, and scoots back over to her own space.\n\n\nGideon leans forward, looking around the ground by their feet. He bends down, plucking up a piece of rumpled paper that looks like someone's receipt for petrol. He holds it up and wiggles it back and forth between his fingers. \"Cheap enough?\"\n\n\nRose points out loftily, \"That. Is repurposed. Not recycled.\" Then, nodding sympathetically, \"Nits. I pick them.\" The pen is tossed back in her portable hole.\n\n\n\"Pedant,\" Gideon accuses with a smirk. He leans over to set the bit of paper on Rose's knee. It's hers now, no take backs. \"You just don't want me to have the last word.\"\n\n\n\"You say that like it's a bad thing,\" Rose laughs, carelly folding up her newly acquired paper scrap. \"Well behaved women seldom change the world, you know.\"\n\n\n\"Well, it's a bad thing for me, I like feeling clever, too,\" Gideon teases with a wink. \"I'm not sure having the last word ever changed the world, either. It tends to be all the ones in between that count in the end.\"\n\n\n\"Oh, you're plenty clever,\" says Rose, eyeing Gideon like he doesn't fool her for a moment. She tilts her head slightly at the rest, a thoughtful look fleeting across her features. \"Well. We never know what the last ones are really going to be, do we?\" She lowers her lashes, gathering her shoes and bag after slipping the paper in her pocket. \"I aim to misbehave, in general,\" she sums up. With a brief scrunch of her nose, she asks, \"Too much?\"\n\n\n\"Little bit,\" Gideon replies, holding a hand up with his thumb and forefinger held so that they almost, but don't quite, touch. \"But I forgive you. It was a very good series.\"\n\n\nRose bursts out laughing. \"Oi! You have geek cred. That wouldn't've been my first guess.\" Her wide smile is a touch warmer for it. She stands and slings her bag over her shoulder, sneakers dangling from her other hand. \"Going to have that shower, now, I think. Suppose I'll see you when I do, Gideon Parish.\"\n\n\n\"Shut up,\" Gideon murmurs, glancing around as if someone might pop up out of the hydrangeas and out him as a Firefly fan. \"I was sick and there was a marathon on the telly.\" He offers Rose a nod as she stands to go wash. \"Suppose you will, Rose. Until then.\""

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License