The most exciting thing about Roger was his dust allergy.
There were specks of dust floating around the pub Roger was waiting in; he could see them rolling languidly towards his face, then scatter whenever someone walked past his table. It was no mean feat to glare at a million tiny pieces of skin and hair over the rim of a pint glass, but he attempted it. To the woman behind the bar Roger looked shifty as fuck.
Roger had neither a difficult upbringing, nor a challenging adolescence, and it was this that had led to him being completely and utterly boring. His parents owned a semi on the outskirts of a town; they had two cars; two children; one dog and the skeletons of several fish in shallow graves in the garden. There was a family business that Roger had shown neither willing nor resistance to joining. Now, several years in, he had become a Supervisor, overseeing a small section in their factory (he wasn’t in charge of anyone, but his name badge was a different colour to when he started). There were printed certificates - framed in his parents’ bathroom - that announced their son’s completion of the factory’s internal training program. In their eyes, his A-levels were now entirely overshadowed by these home-grown qualifications. Success was, as they always said after the single complementary glass of wine at the factory Christmas meal, in their blood.
At twenty-three, Roger had left the family home for a flat mere walking distance from work. Before his viewing of the flat Roger had only seen beds that folded into the wall in old movies, but now he was the satisfied renter of a combined bedroom, living room, entrance hall and kitchen with an adjoining room just big enough for a toilet. To actually use the toilet, for whatever reason, he had to fold himself around the jutting loo roll holder and avoid the bare, low hanging light bulb. To open the kitchen bin he had to stand outside in the hallway. But the flat was his and it gave him the independence from his parents that he was vaguely aware he was supposed to crave.
The dust in the pub disappeared for a second as someone opened and closed the door. Roger looked up, the faintest flurry of something akin to nerves fluttering in the darkest recesses of his intestines, before returning to his drink. He had no idea who he was looking for.
Roger’s aunt, Anne, had set him up. She was in charge of human resources at the factory and felt this gave her an insight into relationships outside of the work environment too. Anne was a daunting woman who mediated disputes simply by being present, cowing the workers into apologising to each other. At weekends she hosted lavish dinner parties for her large group of friends. It was always a happy affair lubricated by free-flowing booze but marred somewhat by her aggressive hosting style. Guests guffawed and smacked their fists on any available surface until it trembled – anyone who didn’t wasn’t invited back. In contrast, when Roger expressed any kind of joy his lips didn’t open at all, they just stretched horizontally over his teeth (and the grimace never quite reached his eyes either). It was only because they shared a gene pool that he was ever allowed back to his aunt’s dinner table.
Anne classified time spent with her nephew as suffering, but approached it as capital towards her future sainthood. She had found him miserable company since birth - that closed-mouth smile on a baby had been chilling to witness. Years later she had watched disbelievingly as he fell face first off his bike, despite the stabilisers, and just didn’t bother to get back up again. Roger’s existence continued to reinforce her choice to have no children of her own.
She was, however, both unable to stay out of other people’s business and incapable of leaving a problem in her life unsolved. Anne had identified Roger as a problem, blamed it on his perpetual singledom, and sought to do something about it whether he liked it or not. Perhaps, she mused, it would take someone his own age to tear apart Roger’s beige chrysalis. Perhaps, just over the horizon, there was someone who could rip off his dad jeans.
Anne pinpointed a victim through one of her dinner parties - the son of new neighbours. There wasn’t much she could say about Roger and thankfully this had made him come across as mysterious. Before the neighbours had time to process what had happened she had pounced, organised a time and location, and forcefully ushered them from the house to report back to their unsuspecting offspring. She phoned Roger as they walked, stunned, down the driveway. It had always been hard for anyone to decipher excitement in Roger’s voice – one teacher had described him as having all the enthusiasm of a dead cat - and so she pretended that beneath his monotonous “Okay” were layers of effusive gratitude and delight.
Days later and Roger still felt none of those things as he sat waiting. An hour earlier he had been struck by the realisation that he should go to the date wearing something other than his factory overalls, having got into the habit of keeping them on well into the evening. Folding the bed against the wall (and collapsing the single camping stool in the apartment), he was able to open the wardrobe and assess his options. Several grey t-shirts stood out to him before he noticed the chequered shirt swept to one side of the rail. A gift from his aunt. It still had the Matalan label attached. On his birthday he’d experienced a strong aversion to it (too loud and garish) but half a decade later the red and black print seemed less offensive. He slipped it on and admired his reflection in the toaster. Roger was quietly taken aback by how the shirt swamped his frame, and stood so he didn’t hunch as much. The sleeves flapped as he moved his arms. He reached for his neck and undid a button - the shirt fell open. Roger nodded to himself. He liked it.
Nathan looked across the pub. He could only see one person sitting alone, and unfortunately they fitted the very basic description he’d been given of Roger. He continued studying him for a few seconds, during which the man sneezed twice. To Nathan, Roger looked like the kind of man who slows his walk to stare nostalgically through the windows of a Games Workshop, or the sort of person who asks for a deodorant gift set for Christmas. Apart from the threat of his frightening neighbor there was absolutely nothing compelling Nathan to walk across the pub. He remembered Anne’s handshake.
“Are you Roger?” Nathan asked, the veil hiding his disgust fluttering wildly.
“Yeah, are you Na-“
“Is that a pint of Baileys?” Nathan was unable to stop himself. Unbelieving he looked up at Roger and noticed a thin layer of milky fluid lining his top lip, beading in the colourless hairs that nested there. He felt something rise in his throat.
“Yeah?” Roger replied slowly, followed by a silence that stretched painfully. He made as if to rise from his seat.
“Can I get you a drin-”
“No!” Nathan’s voice had jumped several decibels. “Thank you. I’ll- I’ll go and get something.” He turned away and almost leapt towards the bar. Standing between two locals he looked past the bottles of spirits and into the mirror behind them. He could see Roger was staring at his back. Not weirdly, or hungrily – just staring. There was a blatant curiousness in his gaze that conveyed that this was clearly a new experience for the man. Nathan watched him peer down at the table, sneeze, then absentmindedly use his thumb and forefinger to wipe his top lip. In the mirror, Nathan’s expression softened a little.
A minute later he carefully put his drink down in the corner of Roger’s vision, with the same deliberate movements someone would use to avoid startling a horse. Roger didn’t shake himself out any kind of reverie – he just looked up. Nathan slid opposite him in the booth.
“Good choice.” Roger stretched his lips over his teeth and nodded towards Nathan’s drink. “You can get that as part of the Wednesday meal deal.”
Nathan slumped and mouthed “what?” to himself. He took a breath. “It’s nice to meet you, Roger. I just moved here so I don’t really know anybody yet.”
“That’s alright, I’m pretty much the same.”
“Oh, how long have you lived here?”
“All my life.”
Nathan had assumed from initial sighting that this was a pity-date but now he felt something alien slither into his chest. It floored him momentarily to realise he felt sorry for this strange man. He crossed his arms.
Nathan followed Roger’s gaze and looked down at the dark mark curling out from just under his t-shirt sleeve. “Well, it’s, uh..” There was no point lying. “Last year I went to get a tattoo and I only got a bit into it before I had to make them stop. It hurt way too much.”
Roger leaned across the table and prodded the rest of the sleeve up Nathan’s arm, uncovering the blunt end of the small curved mark finishing just as abruptly as the t-shirt sleeve. What had meant to be a grand tribal pattern proudly twisting around Nathan’s shoulder had turned out to be a short sickle shape floating on his bicep. The angle was unfortunate - he looked like a half-hearted communist.
He also looked bemused. There was a stranger touching his arm who had no concept of personal space.
“Okay.” said Nathan, gently pinching Roger’s finger and sending it back over to his side of the table. “Get to know me a bit before you go prodding me with anything.”
The unsubtly of the comment flapped its wings loudly and soared over Roger’s head. He continued unfazed.
“So where did you guys move from?”
Nathan named somewhere barely a half hour drive away. They’d lived there for the last few years until his parents had quit their jobs to retire early.
“I needed to get out of home so went travelling for a year. Honestly, it changed me. I can’t really describe how mind-opening it was. I only got back a couple of weeks ago, just in time to pack up my stuff and help move. Have you ever travelled?”
“Actually, yeah we went to Wa-“
“I think it really sets people apart, you know? Like, you need to get out of where you grew up and see somewhere different. There’s people back home who just never made the effort to get out.” Nathan took a sip of his Fosters. “I feel bad for those people but like, you’ve gotta have the motivation to do it. Some of them will just never manage it.
“Thailand was beautiful, you’ve got to go. I did it all alone, by the way. There wasn’t anybody else at home who really had the same drive to explore so I just went by myself. I’d always meet people in hostels – some of the places were absolutely crazy, like you have no idea – and we’d go out all the time. That was cool for a bit but, like, I wanted to get off the tourist circuit and see the real country and experience the proper culture. So I closed my eyes and pointed to somewhere randomly on the map and kinda just went there?”
Roger’s eyes had become glazed (more so than usual).
“I ended up in this tiny village in the mountains that you could only reach on foot…” Nathan seemed to feed off someone looking at him and relished the attention. He became louder with every new country being described until eventually his detailed account of the rest his trip came to an end and there was a breathy quietness in the booth again. Nathan tipped back the remaining dregs of his drink.
Roger had finished his own pint twenty minutes ago. “Do you want another one?” he asked. His date nodded and Roger hurried away, clearly enjoying the silence. Nathan watched him grip the bar, reeling slightly.
He hadn’t meant to talk so much about his travels but they were such an exciting memory that he couldn’t help but enthusiastically retell them. It was a joy and privilege to allow other people experience what he had, and anyway, it wasn’t like Roger was going to contribute much to the conversation by the looks of it. Or maybe he’s just nervous, he thought. Fine.
“Thanks. So, what do you do, Roger?” he inquired, sipping from his full glass.
Roger looked taken aback, as if he didn’t quite know what Nathan meant.
“Well, I guess I spend most of my time at work – my parents have their own business and I help out. We make cat food and do pretty well. Uh, we’re thinking of branching into cat litter too, possibly, but it’ll depend on how well we do this year.”
“That’s… that’s cool.” Nathan was hesitant. “But what about outside of work? What’s your thing?”
“Oh. Um, I like films. Action films. Stuff on Netflix.”
This can’t be him flirting, can it? Nathan whispered internally.
“My favourite film is probably Avatar. The director’s cut, though. It’s got something about it the other versions don’t. I can’t explain it.”
“Ah! I saw it when I was in Thai-“
But the question had stirred something in Roger and he cut across Nathan to elaborate on his love for the film. He was still talking in the same monotone voice but he wasn’t faltering with his words anymore – it was running freely. Perhaps it was the pint and a half of Bailey’s that had loosened his tongue or maybe it was simply because nobody ever asked Roger questions, but he was, Nathan dared to think, coming across as almost passionate for something, and it felt quite lovely to let him carry on. Nathan smiled at Roger across the booth.
Roger continued for several minutes until he was interrupted by his phone.
“It’s my aunt.” He said, looking up sheepishly. “Wondering how tonight is going.”
“And what are you going to say?”
Roger paused, sneezed, and seemed to become reflective. Nathan studied his expression, then looked down at Roger’s fingers, clasped around his drink. His fingernails were surprisingly neat, and his hand was curling around the glass in a firm grip that suggested a casual confidence that Roger had yet to exude otherwise. Nathan leaned forward in the booth, fractionally, without realising. For a second Nathan wished he was the pint glass.
He looked back up, his stomach jumping a little as he met Roger’s gaze, as if he’d been caught. Roger opened his mouth to speak and a loud, harsh ringing cut across the booth. It took Nathan a second to realise his date hadn’t issued a banshee-like screech and that it was the pub’s fire alarm. They both looked to the side and felt the collective groan from everyone around them, followed by the shouting of a managerial type coming around the bar. A crash came from behind the kitchen door and muffled swearing.
They glanced back at each other, Nathan disappointed and longing for the moment that had been ripped from them, then slid out of the booth. They joined the throng of people exiting the pub, most still holding their drinks, then lost each other in the crowd. Nathan felt a pang of worry, then stopped himself. What the fuck was happening? He tried to grab hold of and articulate his emotional response. How had this guy, a guy called Roger, Roger, managed to entrance him so effectively? Nathan’s eyes popped. Entranced. This is not happening, he argued. To me.
Bewildered, Nathan found himself outside on the road. He looked around and spotted Roger’s brown hair, now tinged with the orange streetlight, on the outside of a group of people peering back towards the pub. He walked over and softly touched Roger’s elbow. Roger turned around, his face half in shadow. He really was quite tall. His mouth stretched outwards in a smile at the sight of Nathan.
“Okay, so this, uh, took a different turn.” Nathan joked quietly, noticing up close the shape of Roger’s lips, and the delicateness of his eyelashes.
“Yeah.” It was so cold outside that they could see each other’s breath.
“So, what were you going to say to your aunt about me?”
Yet again, Roger paused, and the space between them contracted.
“It’s been really nice, Nathan.”
He turned away. His face was now completely in shadow with the light illuminating only the back of his head and long neck. One hand went to rest in his coat pocket, the other loosely held half a pint of Baileys at his side, the remnants of several ice cubes floating listlessly as he walked away, leaving Nathan silhouetted on the street outside of the pub.
“The siege drags on. The Blackfish sits inside the castle, we sit outside in our camps. Bloody boring, if you want the truth.” Ser Daven seated himself upon a camp stool. “Tully ought to make a sortie, to remind us all we’re still at war. Be nice if he culled some Freys too. Ryman, for a start. The man’s drunk more oft than not. Oh, and Edwyn. Not as thick as his father, but as full of hate as a boil’s full of pus. And our own Ser Emmon … no, Lord Emmon, Seven save us, must not forget his new title … our Lord of Riverrun does nought but try to tell me how to run the siege. He wants me to take the castle without damaging it, since it is now his lordly seat.” // vildan atasever as genna lannister, xavier samuel as daven lannister
Rare Attic Black-Figure Pelike by the Plousios Painter, C. 520-510 BC
This is an important work of art as only four other vases are known by this painter.
The same scene, with but slight variation in detail, decorates both sides of the vase. Two bearded males, each with stick in hand and himation wrapped closely about legs and waist, sit opposite one another at a gaming table. A large skyphoid krater, with oddly shaped handles, stands at their feet; a sapling in the background betokens a setting outdoors; and a small camp-stool contrasts with a more elaborate chair at right, whose curved back terminates in a duck’s head. One player has thrown a two; he signals two with the index and middle fingers of his raised right hand. His companion bends forward to retrieve the dice and take his turn. Gaming with six-sided dice or four-sided knucklebones was a popular pastime in ancient Greece. The nonsense inscriptions are scattered about the figured panels. There is a graffito under the foot.
Dr Dietrich von Bothmer has recognized the hand of the painter of the Borowski pelike on four other vases: pelikai in the Louvre and the Vatican; and neck-amphorae in Boston and Haifa (the latter two once assigned by J. D. Beazley to a “Smithy Painter”). Bothmer has christened his artist the Plousios Painter after an invocation to Zeus for wealth inscribed on the Vatican example.
“You look dreadful, little brother,” Maedhros said wryly.
Despite his weariness and the awful blackness of the humour, Maglor smiled. He’d missed Maedhros horribly over the long years of his absence but it had become an abstract sort of sorrow. It was well to be reminded it was a person that he loved, sardonic and self-possessed, beneath the layers of bandages and nostalgia. “I don’t think the crown suited me,” he said, sitting down upon the camp stool beside the bed. “You have no idea what a relief it is to be rid of it.”
“I might,” Maedhros said, glancing to where it sat upon its stand. “It’s not as though it suits me any better. I’m sorry to have dropped it upon you, though by all accounts you bore up admirably under the weight. For what little it’s worth, I’m proud of you.”
The “camp-stool fresco” renders scenes of ceremonial banqueting. It probably mirrored actual banquets held in the upper hall of the west wing of the palace. The panel shows standing and seated on camp-stools figures raising cups and kylikes.
A female figure with Mediterranean features and vivid make-up, named “La Parisienne” by A. Evans was also part of the composition. Her larger size and the “sacral knot” bunched up behind indicate that she was probably a leading priestess.
Knossos, Palace, Final Palatial period (1450-1350/1300 BC)
The four to six young aides usually slept in one room, often two to a bed, then worked long days in a single room with chairs crowded around small wooden tables. Washington typically kept a small office off to the side. During busy periods, the aides sometimes wrote and copied one hundred letters per day, an exhausting grind relieved by occasional dances, parades, and reviews. At night, the aides pulled up camp stools to a dinner table and engaged in lively repartee. Hamilton, though the youngest family member, was nevertheless Washington’s “principal and most confidential aide,” as the general phrased it. Instead of resenting him, the other aides treated Hamilton affectionately and nicknamed him “Ham” or “Hammie.” For an orphaned boy from the Caribbean, what better fate to become part of this elite family?
“Hammie” though… I’m weak
(also maybe Alex and John were sleeping in the same bed okay bye)
Perhaps three of the most depressing – subtle – things about Mockingjay are 1. how she imagines her reunion with Peeta
Alive and well – maybe not well but alive and here. Away from Snow. Safe. Here. With me. In a minute I can touch him. See his smile. Hear his laugh. … I’m lightheaded with giddiness. What will I say? Oh, who cares what I say? Peeta will be ecstatic no matter what I do. He’ll probably be kissing me anyway. I wonder if it will feel like those last kisses on the beach in the arena, the ones I haven’t dared let myself consider until this moment. … I’m disappointed that [my] face wasn’t the first he saw when he woke…
versus how it actually turns out.
…but he sees me now. His features register disbelief and something more intense that I can’t quite place. Desire? Desperation? Surely both, for he sweeps the doctors aside, leaps to his feet and moves toward me. I run to meet him, my arms extended to embrace him. His hands are reaching for me, to caress my face, I think.
My lips are just forming his name when his fingers lock around my throat. (all of the above, Mockingjay, pgs. 176 - 177)
and 2. the fact that this happens at midnight. At fucking midnight. Katniss keeps her promise to see him at midnight, and it’s subtle but Collins slips it in there…and it kills me every time.
It must be midnight, it must be tomorrow when Haymitch pushes open the door. "They’re back. We’re wanted in the hospital.“ My mouth opens with a flood of questions that he cuts off with "That’s all I know.” – Mockingjay, pg. 175
and 3. she keeps that promise more than once. “I’ll see you at midnight,” is everywhere.
At midnight, I’m standing outside the door to his cell, hospital room. – Mockingjay, pg. 229
and another one…
At midnight, I crawl out of my tent and position myself on a camp stool near the heater to take my watch with Jackson. – Mockingjay, pg. 269
And “The Hanging Tree” is there, and it reminds her of Peeta, perhaps because midnight is there as well…
If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree. (various page numbers)
Oh, and as far as the east coast goes…the teaser was released at midnight…I’m wondering if that’s just a coincidence…
There was a terrace round the north and west sides of the house, and on the rough grass which grew quite up to the terrace and with her back to it, a lady was sitting, holding out a paper as though to look at it at arms length. I supposed her to be sketching, and to have brought her own camp-stool. It seemed as though she must be making a study of trees, for they grew close in front of her, and there seemed to be nothing else to sketch. She saw us, and when we passed close by on her left hand, she turned and looked full at us.
It was not a young face, and (though rather pretty) it did not attract me. She had on a shady white hat perched on a good deal of fair hair that fluffed round her forehead. Her light summer dress was arranged on her shoulders in handkerchief fashion … Her dress was long-waisted, with a good deal of fullness in the skirt, which seemed to be short. I thought she was a tourist, but that her dress was old-fashioned and rather unusual (though people were wearing fichu bodices that summer). I looked straight at her; but some indescribable feeling made me turn away annoyed at her being there.
–An Adventure by Charlotte Moberly and Eleanor Jourdain
Also, interesting thing about going to a predominantly Japanese concert with no set seating …
They gave us camp stools (that we got to keep! with the band logo!) when we walked into the venue, as there was only basically dirt and the tracks for the moving stage and the smaller carts for moving members around.
This is what the seats look like:
I guess I’ll have two of these by tomorrow. Anyhow. Midway through the concert, a member indicated that we should look at the beautiful Hawaiian sunset, but in doing so, we couldn’t help but notice a newly-set up stage by the extreme side of the crowd, next to D-1 (our section), which set off a sudden rush by the crowd to get up close to it, since obviously, the group was going to be there.
Because, you know, no set seating means a mobile crowd. It got a little, um… pushy.
But. So here’s the thing. Everyone ditched their stuff-purses, phones, electronics- to do it, secure that it would all be there when they returned. Sure, it was fun trying to find one’s unmarked plot of land after that set, but you know what? The stuff was all there.
There was a similar occurrence later on the other side, maybe around D-8 or D-9, and I can’t help but think that that sort of trust in the audience-to let them be mobile, to encourage them to follow the band around, or trust in the rest of the audience-that they won’t mess with your stuff if you just ditch it- wouldn’t happen in a typical American concert.
Summary: Kurt discovers the splendor of musical theater—and love—on a childhood pilgrimage to upstate New York. General audiences/PG. ~1,350 words. Author’s notes: Part of my Mormon!Kurt and Mormon!Klaine ‘verse. See background note here, For Kurt Gen Week Day 3: Musical theater. Thanks nachochang for proofreading! Additional notes: It’s not necessary, but it might be helpful to read What Makes a Family before you read this. Warnings: gender roles, religion, mention of Kurt’s mother’s death Excerpt:
The pageant was almost more than Kurt’s senses could take in: costumes in every color of the rainbow, battle scenes with hundreds of actors, choral music flooding his ears and making his heart ache with love and longing. Fireballs, explosions, floods, earthquakes. Visions of angels and Jesus Christ, each shining brighter than daylight. It was spectacular and beautiful and absolutely terrifying.
Kurt fell in love with the theater that night and never turned back.