Logs:Tell Them Stories

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Tell Them Stories
Dramatis Personae

Cecily and Lymer

November 12, 2020


Two Lost meet in a bookstore. One overshares. The other undershares.

Location

Grandfather's Attic


It's a lovely, cool, cloudy day. The forecasted rain isn't in until tomorrow, but there's still a nip in the air with autumn around. The shop is open, though, lights on inside and the door sign flipped to the 'open' side. Within, it's cozy and warm, the scent of cinnamon and cider wafts around. Soft, thumping chillwave music joins the cinnamon, both scent and sound rising from the counter in the middle. A large mug offers the cider, a 'soda can' speaker plugged into a phone offers the music. Standing upon a stool, with her fox tail floofed out behind her for balance, the proprieter is carefully taping construction paper cutouts of leaves in autumn colors to decorate the place a little more, even if the season is half over. Better late than never!

The customer who enters the shop is rather furtive given his perhaps imposing appearance. The ogre pushes the door closed gently behind him to avoid letting the draft in but remains loitering near the entrance while he takes in the place. It's obviously his first time and there's a lot to take in. Thick fingers figdet as he ventures forth, plucking the air at his sides as if eager to start crawling along shelves and indulging. Quietly he mumbles some nothings to himself before noticing Cecily. He quickly becomes silent, with a quiet pop as his lips close. "Well, good morning." The offered greeting is not as hesitant as his posture suggests and he gives an emphatic front that it is in fact a -good- morning.

Of course, the door opening earns a merry jingle of the bell, and Cecily's vulpine ears perk up at the sound. "Good morning, dear! One moment, please~" she says, distracted, as she finishes taping a bright red maple leaf cutout and then carefully climbing down. Once she's feet on the floor, she dusts her hands on her pants and turns, "Now! Is there anything I can help you--" she pauses. Two Lost in two days. And one so... imposing this time. "--find...?" she trails off, voice catching in her throat. Her hands clasp at her waist and she bows, still smiling so warmly, "Or maybe a cup of cider?" she asks.

Not having clocked the tail on first glance, the confidence of Lymer's voice doesn't match with the way he carries himself. A smattering of light shifts over his neck like distant constellations of streetlights in mist in an evening car journey. He whips up a smile, aiming for 'not at all scary' and almost hitting the mark. "A cup of cider would be great, thanks." He doesn't bow back, but his body tilts as if wondering how to appropriately respond to that without doing so. "This is unexpected. The search for truth sometimes leads us to unusual outcomes though, I have found."

"I don't often get many unique visitors," Cecily says kindly, eyes distracted by the lights, unable to really settle on Lymer's features directly to make eye contact. Her vulpine ears stay perked, though, the foxgirl's smile warm and welcoming. "Mmm? What's unexpected? We are Lost after all, and it's not altogether horrible to be found... at least, by others whom can relate to us..." she says quietly, drifting around behind the counter, rummaging for a mug and taking the kettle off of the hotplate it's sitting on. She pours slowly, carefully, steaming amber liquid filling the ceramic vessel and topped off with a cinnamon stick from a plastic baggie. "Careful, dear, it's very hot," she says settling the mug down on the counter instead of handing it over directly.

"Quite," he replies to the point regarding relating to others although there is a very faint wrinkling around the eyes to suggest he's not fully in agreement with that general principle. Moving over to the counter he takes up the mug in hands clad with fingerless gloves and uses it as a temporary warming device. As is traditional when receiving warm drinks in Fall, shoulders hunch and feet do a small (heavy) pitter patter. "That's very kind of you." The Winter mantle is really not so subtle around this one, forming little gems of condensation where his fingers sit near the hot mug and continuing to fog his breath so it joins with the steam from the cider in his own pleasantly spiced miasma. "I've not long been back in town and I haven't met so many people yet. I'm not sure there's as many people as what there used to be, mind. Relating to people is important." He states the obvious with another slight wrinkling around the eyes.

"Oh, trust me, dear... I'm quite good at not being found... but I do leave the light on... after all, who will get their books in my absence...? Who will go on adventures from the comfort of their beds, wrapped in blankets while the snow falls outside of the window...? Who will give those without homes food for their minds and imagination...?" she asks, sounding so wistful and romantic, even so far as giggling quietly. "My apologies, dear... it's been a long summer, and there has been a lot of housekeeping to do... the shelves never seem to grow un-dusty and there's still so many boxes of books to shelve..." she sighs, but it's not the sort of sigh that indicates she's dreading it. Rather, that she's looking forward to it. "Welcome back, and welcome to Grandfather's Attic," she gestures with one arm, the other taking up her own mug of cider.

Her rambling enthusiasm seems to soften whatever unease he's carrying and his smile turns a little more geniune. He turns to regard the shelves and the state of the place with no small appreciation. "I'll admit that I've never had enough time for reading fiction, but you sure do a stand-up job of selling it. I don't give myself enough time for escapism." A first tentative sip after some prolonged surface blowing. "I'm Dave, by the way. I don't have any fancy titles or associations no more. Just Dave." That too seems to be comforting to say aloud. "This place is a treasure. I've trawled a lot of bookshops across the country, and you can tell the ones run by people who still have the passion."

There's something telling in her eyes, the way her smile falters just a touch. He might catch it, he might not. The hint of sadness in her words, "I do have a passion for escapism. I have my den but I've never stopped running..." she breathes out a sigh, then takes a long draw from her cider. "Historical works can be just as adventurous, too," she suggests, shifting gears after getting stuck in reverse for a moment. "Cecily. This is my shop, and my home, and also my passion. Reading is a gateway to... literally everything."

The Winter Ogre is clearly no stranger to sadness, and while he may not catch subtlety there's a lot to infer from her comment. While his face doesn't mark the occasion, there's an agitated play of white static beneath his fingers. A moment of solemnity is given an exit by her realignment of the conversation and the requirement to do that little pleased-to-meet-you bob of the head, and tip of the mug. "Is it a long running family enterprise or just a quirky name?" He doesn't appear to disagree with her closing remark, and starts to mosey a little into the stacks to guage the contents of the shelf. He does keep looking back to her though between volumes.

The Winter Fox gives what can only be described as a sideways smile. "Ah... it's... a little of both? But it's... a bit of a story... if you want to hear it..." Cecily moves the stool up against the counter and picks up the phone, turning down the volume on the music before taking a seat right next to it. Slender fingers curl around her mug and she holds it in both hands, almost upon her lap, and watches the ogre's wanderings with a gentle smile. Kindred in trials, perhaps, but also a fellow purveyor of fine reading material.

Non-Fiction is Lymer's interest, and while he moves around the shop his attention keeps returning to her regularly. Clearly he can't resist the offer of some in person non-fiction tale telling and he gives a nod of encouragement while rouding a corner. Having something to focus on besides social interaction appears to calm his inner energies and gives him a little more clarity. One hand spiders along the shelves (touching the shelves themselves rather than spines, quite carefully) while the other continues the repeat journey of cup to mouth and back. "I'm intrested, if you've got time."

"Oh I have nothing but time, dear," Cecily says quietly, taking a long, slow sip of her cider. "This shop belonged to a man... we met in the homeless shelter some years ago, when I first..." she pauses, choosing her words carefully, but it's clear that 'Dave' will know exactly what she means. "...arrived." Her eyes close, "I convinced him I was his long-lost granddaughter, come home at last... saved from some calamity... he was the only family I had after I got here. When he finally... passed..." she again takes it slow, sucking in her lower lip and biting at it, though a glance back to her might spot a tear rolling down one cheek, another welling in the opposite eye. "...paperwork was properly sorted to leave the shop to me. I carry the torch in his honor. And with as much love as I can muster."

There's a lot going on in that short tale and the gravity of it draws Lymer back towards the counter. No judgement in those pale eyes, just understanding. He also doesn't look embarassed by her crying as some might around strangers, but he does at the end offer her a small pack of tissues from a pocket. It takes a little while to process and for a short time, all of the illuminated flesh goes dim. "I am quite certain that he would be very proud of what you're doing with the place." He pauses again before adding, "Family comes to us in strange forms, I think. Not being blood makes it no less family."

Without hesitation, Cecily takes the offered tissue, using it to dab at her eyes, though the first couple of tears have already melded in with her cider, adding a touch of salt to the cinnamon and spice. She sits in silence as it holds over the moment, even with the soft music played so near. "The back door is always open should someone need to find shelter from the cold," she says, "And I always make sure to cycle out the books the shelter has on a regular basis... I go and listen to their stories..." she takes a long, slow breath. "...I just wish he could have known the truth. I am grateful that he took me in, and I don't know that I would have survived otherwise." Her ears are laying flat against her head now, her tail curled up on her lap, fingertips of one hand now idly stroking through it, like a self-soothing gesture.

As an unintrusive gesture of support, Lymer lays a hand on the counter in the way one might rest a hand on someone's shoulder. Sympathetic sympathy. Something about the tale seems to push him into a pensive moment, and there's a brief flare up that escapes the edges of his clothing. His gaze finds the middle distance and he nods absently as she continues but eventually he regards her again. "As someone who has a complicated relationship with the truth, I think that it doesn't always make things better. You gave him a granddaughter, and a legacy and it seems like he's inspired you to be a good person." The ogre isn't bad at being earnest and reassuring.

Cecily looks up, meeting Lymer's gaze. Her tail unfurls from her lap and drapes over that arm so close to her. It curls a little around the Ogre's forearm, should he allow it, and it's warm and soft. "I'd like to think he was the sort of man who wouldn't recoil or be repulsed by what he saw, if he saw what I am now... if he saw what you see. He was generous and kind, yes, and I do my best to honor his legacy. Isn't that the best we can do? Second chances are finite, after all," she manages a tiny laugh. "Well.... there you have it. You asked, sort of.. and I told."

There's no shirking away from the tail, just a little awkwardness as he reaches across with his other hand to gently pat the warm fur. "I don't think anyone could be repulsed by what I see. I think it's sometimes more our experiences that are the thing that can break people who care about us." The first sentence is emphatic and accompanied by a reassuring smile, although the latter sentence is somewhat more academic as being an altogether more complex proposition. Not even her laugh can jostle away the cloud of intense sadness that crosses his features at her mention of the finiteness of second changes. That hits something and shows before being pushed back down and away. "Thank you. I did sort of ask, and you were generous with your taletelling."

The fur is so warm and soft, almost like the most precious of plush toys. Cecily exhales a quiet sigh, enjoying the contact from her fellow Winter. She nods, "I have been accused of over-sharing before, I'm aware of that... but thank you for listening? Perhaps it's good that you're here hunting for fiction instead of more real stories..." she still maintains that smile, but it's making it into her eyes now, too. "Oh! You're a first time customer... um... you should be aware that if you simply want to borrow a book or two, I'm happy to let you do so, free of charge, just with a small deposit in case it gets damaged... I'm more than happy to operate like a library if you find that the stories you seek won't find a permanent home on your own shelves."

"I guess most of us are guilty of either too much sharing, or too little." There's an inflection on 'us'. He doesn't object to the contact, although he continues to be a little stiff as though it's unfamiliar. Or perhaps just tails aren't part of his usual experience. "It's been a long time since I read fiction. I mean, deliberately. In my field there tends to be a lot of blurring of lines between truth and fantasy. If you happen across any unusual books about unidentified flying objects, then I would be interested." He has a distinct lack of embarassment here as might be found when bringing this up.

"We want to keep quiet but we want our stories to be heard, all the same..." Cecily says quietly, nodding. She still smiles, though, and sips on her cider. "Mmm? UFO books and the like? Sightings and reports? I'm sure there's something in the stacks there. People drop off all sorts of things. So many varied interests. Like I said, feel free to peruse. As I said, I basically run a library.." she giggles just the slightest bit, kicking her feet along with it. "I don't really have an 'occult' section, though."

"Well, that's also a shame." He disengages, perhaps reluctantly to be drawn back into the stacks of books. "Some day I will find my ideal wizardry, space-ships and political philosophy bookstore but maybe not today." A slightly dramatic sigh as he ambles about the shop. Something catches his eye on a higher shelf and he moves with a little bit more purpose to check it out. Despite the departure from the serious conversation interlude, he continues to stay in-sight down the book corridors to remain engaged, "What's your favourite book?" A wrinkle of a dark stained nose, "Or top 5." Favourites are hard.

"Someday," Cecily says, wistfully, smiling. "I mean maybe I filed something away with some of the tabletop gaming books I have... you know, hiding in plain sight..." she winks, then glances back through the door as a few gusts sweep through the street, kicking up leaves. "As far as favorite book? Or even top five? Goodness... well... I'll cheat and say the Lord of the Rings trilogy is up there... mmm... goddess, I hate to admit it... after everything I've been through... but the Narnia books always spoke to me as a child..." she sighs. "And Pullman's trilogy, with The Golden Compass in it..." she muses.

Braving a ladder to reach a higher shelf, Lymer isn't particularly graceful but neither is he clumsy. Whatever he was expecting the orange jacket to be, it's not but he takes the opportunity to get a better look. He does at least appear to recognise the books mentioned and nods, "Conveniently, all of them made into movies." Lips purse together to try and stiffle a smile at the obvious provocation.

Cecily takes the bait, but laughs. "Oh yes, some of them largely terrible, in fact..." she sighs. "The Lord of the Rings made a good trilogy, but... anything Golden Compass related does tend to get ... messy..." she tsks quietly. "I largely blame the Catholic church on that one... a lot of subject matter in it is quite offensive to the orthodox..." she considers. "Are we going to talk about Out of the Silent Planet, also?" she smiles. "Good books in that series, too..."

"I don't really know anything about the Golden Compass. Didn't it have James Bond in it?" Lymer displays his competence with movies and fiction. "It's weird that the church isn't as offended by space aliens -- who probably haven't met Jesus -- as by demons, who at least appear to show him a healthy respect." Down the ladder, and then out of sight around a corner and back up but he peeks his head around to reply once more, "Abduction by space aliens is definitely more my ballpark." There's a grin and a show of teeth that seem whiter by being contrast against dull skin, but this smile definitely does not reach the eyes. "Do you judge people based on the books they buy?" He considers the question as he asks it, nodding to indicate that he probably would were roles reversed.

Cecily sputters, laughs, shaking her head. "No, no... The Golden Compass is a... goddess I guess it's classified as a young adult adventure novel? Along with its two sequels? Regardless... not very church friendly..." she shrugs, ears lifted. "But neither are we," she adds. Another sip, before she slinks off of the counter to refill her mug. It's likely that her well of cider goes more to her than patrons. "Mmm? Oh yes, space aliens are fun, and of course I judge people by the books they buy. Rarely negatively, though. I mean, I know what I'm into, and how deviant I can be..." she pokes her tongue out. "I can't be a hypocrite after all."

"I meant in the film! I am not a complete shut-in. Just a majority shut-in. And I agree, I am very church unfriendly." He's about to disappear around the corner again, but then her exclamation of how deviant she is prompts him to raise an eyebrow with a bit of a smirk as a response to her tongue poking; there's a question on his lips but he decides not to voice it and instead ducks into another row. Despite pouring over a number of shelves, there's nothing that's yet taken his fancy enough to be carried around yet. The activity seems to have made him quite calm and clear minded and more relaxed than when he arrived. "Do people still read real books as much as they used to?"

"Oh!" Cecily laughs, "...you mean the actor who starred in the film? Goodness, I don't know. I was never into James Bond... and you could point an actor out to me and I wouldn't be able to name them, even the big ones... I read, not watch movies... though I've had movie nights on the occasion?" The fox shrugs, ears lifted. Despite some of the somber conversation from before, there's a lot more levity right now. It would seem as if this shop is an extension of her den. Her domain. And despite being a Winter, this part of her heart is bared to all who enter. "No, people really don't... but there's still room for places like this. For people like us. Parents who want their children to hold tangible things and experience adventures and history through their imaginations. And of course, the homeless and lost who find a book in the hand to be a comfort moreso than the cold kiss of glass and plastic." She glances at her own phone, though, as if silently apologizing to it. It's still a handy tool, after all.

Lymer hasn't shown any signs of having a phone, no checking of titles against a list and no temptations to check messages or become distracted from the now present. He pops up at the end of another row, and ambles back to the desk. "I miss microfiche," he admits, coming to rest with a hip against the counter and once more giving her his full attention. "I like the art of exploration. Looking up old articles, all slightly out of proportion and flickering." There's some mixed memories associated with this, playing out in the subtle shifting of subdermal illumination. "I liked the promise that library cards represented when I was a kid." Reflective, he turns to the window and peers out for a long quiet moment.

Cecily leans back against the rear counter now, mug freshly full of hot cider. It steams, and fogs her glasses as she breathes in deep the vapors, lenses clearing when she lowers the vessel. "Won't find those in here, sorry..." she gives that lopsided smile again. "Just books. Lots of books. Too many books. But still not enough books..." She sighs, cradling her cup closer, "...I was going to do something completely different with my life... but I think... I think this is where I belong. Where I was meant to be."

The language seems to intrigue Lymer and he regards her intently until he realises that he's staring and looks away once more. "Meant to be," he repeats quietly. A complicated thought bubbles up over his expression but catches in his throat before he can give it voice. Finally the Ogre goes with undersharing, "What did you want to do when you were younger?" Before. Before the thing.

The fox doesn't notice the staring. She's got her eyes cast down, swimming in the dark ocean of apple cider, watching the liquid ripple and shift with every subtle motion of her hands. Hands with slender fingers, inhuman claws, all drawing up the slender arms and lithe, pale form of something... different. "I was going to be a cop. Family business. You know. The bright-eyed hopes and dreams of a kid who just wants to do some good in the world. Behind a badge and a gun, but only to keep people safe."

Lips tighten in an effort to suppress a response to those childhood dreams as he tries to be polite. A couple of responses are chewed over before he allows, "As family businesses go, I think you're probably doing more good in the world where you are right now." Even though he keeps his tone neutral, there's a prickling of lighting around his wrists that voice some degree of unease. The ogre looks uncomfortable and uncertain before changing the subject, "Did you ever meet your grandfather's son or daughter?" Intrusive is better than languishing in awkwardness.

"I imagine I am," Cecily says quietly. "I'm not filing paperwork, I'm not fighting administrators, I'm not doing a lot of things. Was it worth that nightmare? I'll never know," she sighs. Her mug lifts, fingers clenching some, and she drinks when that question comes. "No, I never did. I'm not entirely convinced he had anyone like that, at least, not anywhere nearby. Or living. Or. Maybe he knew I wasn't of his blood. But he was still willing to do everything he could for me. I'll never know."

"There are probably easier ways to get out of being a cop," Lymer allows, attempting to recapture some of the levity and looking keenly aware that he is trapped in a minefield on all sides of this conversation. "Were your family from this neck of the woods?" The attempt to navigate to other conversational climates is a little clumsy and Lymer reaches to pick up his mug and peer into it, possibly as distraction.

It does pull forth a laugh, a soft one, but it's a laugh nonetheless. "Yes, far easier ways..." she allows a smile, then takes another sip. "And no, no they weren't. It's just as well that I'm half a world away, I'm sure. West coast entirely. So until I ended up here, I'd never been to New England. Closest I ever got was eating clam chowder," she says, smiling just a little more.

"It's prouncouned Cha-dah." Lymer replies, with an instinctive if very dated pop-culture reference. "I'm from Nevada. Almost left coast. I like how green it is here, but it's also pretty cold some times." He lets out a long breath, and there's a crinkle of static on his brow. "Young me would have never guessed at moving to New England. I like that there's the option to be a little further away from civilization without being stranded. I like the space."

Another laugh, this one a little more exuberant. "Well I was born in Portland, so..." she sighs. "Nevada... goodness... not a lot there... just desert, pine trees, sage... and casinos..." she wrinkles her nose, then shakes her head. "New England is... gorgeous. I love it here. I'm glad that... I can do this..." she gestures to the store and then hugs her mug up against her chest, eyes closing. "I can meet interesting people, talk about books, and then go hide in my blankets..."

"That's harsh, I'll have you know my home town has a population of 54 and we have a post office that also sells tacos." He feigns indignance but struggles to maintain the facade. "I'm looking to get some land, down Hanging Hills way. Set up a place for some friends to live. I feel like I need some stability, some connection to something." He turns again, leaning against the counter as he looks out the front windows, slightly pensive once more. "Fall is good blanket season."

Cecily stares, disbelief on her face. "...a post office that sold tacos?" she asks, blinking. "Were they good tacos? I LOVE tacos!" she practically squeals, then blushes so dark that it makes her ears tint a little under that white fur. She hides behind her mug and takes a long drink. "...very good blanket season... blankets and cider... waiting for the snow."

A little surprised by the tacothusiasm, Lymer turns back at the little squeal in time to catch the blush, coaxing out a little laugh of his own. "They were okay tacos, but they were also the only tacos I knew growing up. Turns out there was a whole wider world of tacos to experience when I went off to college. I'm not sure New England is known for it's Mexican food, but there must be some, right?"

That tail has curled around Cecily's waist and she's pulled herself up to sit on the back counter, trying to hide a bit from her own outburst. "Oh...? Oh. No, there's not a lot around here, no. I just make my own. Fresh tortillas are the best way to do it too..." she nods. "And you can throw all sorts of stuff in them. I would probably make some so-called authentic food experts lose their monocles or whatnot at what I do... Would you believe someone suggested in an article that eating salsa with chips is supposedly the Mexican equivalent of drinking salad dressing out of the bottle? That... just because salsa is a condiment of sorts doesn't make that the same thing...!" she sticks her tongue out in a disgusted expression.

"I am not a great cook although I do try. But I'm pretty sure I have seen Mexicans eat salsa with chips." He stops to think, journalist brain kicking into investigative mode. "I've never heard that." Skepticism. "What else are you going to do with chips? Eat them dry?" Frowning, he waves a hand, "I'm sure you must have some books about authentic Mexican cuisine?" He tilts his head, "I read once that one of the great authentic Mexican cooking writers was a white lady, who went travelling around rural Mexico capturing traditional recipes that were really specific to remote locations... Kennedy, maybe."

"I'm a great cook," Cecily says, smiling with pride. "And... what? No, no, I mean... it was implying that salsa is salad dressing? I don't... it's a stupid article... something about 'authentic' tacos and the Americanized... what's the word... um... appropriation of them?" She sighs, shaking her head. Then she gestures, freeing a hand to point down a row of shelves. "Oh, yes. Whole section of cookbooks and such. Should have a few... and... really? That.." she smiles. "...that sounds fun. I'd love to travel somewhere and just... sample food..." she laughs quietly. "But I also just love it here."

"I like eating a lot more than I like cooking." A big hand pats at his stomach. "Cultural appropriation of tacos is the most ridiculous thing I've heard all day. I guess we should just stick to eating authentic American cuisine? TV dinners and McDonalds?" Pale eyes roll hard, followed by a sigh. "I've never left the states though." His hands wave around to ward off objection, "Aside from that. I've done a lot of moving around within it though. The idea of jetting off to another country is appealing I guess, if intimidating. I do like food though." Torn between opposition to the unfamiliar, and the joy of consuming.

Cecily nods, "Well, cooking does take a lot of work... and time..." she says quietly, taking another sip of her cider. She's almost done with that mug. It's probably her third today. "The issue with TV dinners in that limitation is they're made of... well, all sorts of cultural dishes, aren't they? And... are hamburgers truly American origin? I'm not a food historian, I'm just a book fox..." she says with a quiet laugh. "I'd rather just stay home and read and make my own food... and like I said... I'm.. safe here."

"Safety first." The ogre can appeciate the sentiment, although it's obvious that he doesn't entirely agree with it and something about it causes a reignition of those internal fires with a crackle. Nostrils flare as he takes a long breath and looks down at himself, feeling like he's suddenly out of place. "I should probably get going." He regathers his compsure quickly enough and breaks out a smile, "It was really good meeting you. I guess if you don't go out much, I'll have to come by again some time."

The fox shakes her head, "I do prefer to stay here..." Cecily gives a sad smile. "But I do get around to shop... and visit the shelter... it's the time of year where soup kitchen volunteers are especially wanted. Thanksgiving and Christmas, even moreso..." she explains. "But do please visit again. Hopefully you'll find something to read next time, rather than just listen to a lonely fox tell sad stories, mm?"

Well, that framing makes it all sound a lot sadder than it had seemed to be; the lonely identifier certainly seems to strike a chord. "I have some people who may be able to assist if they're struggling," he volunteers (or volunteers others on his behalf). "Maybe you can give me a suggestion and I'll take it away with me? I enjoyed your sharing though, it was interesting."

"Mm? Just send them over to the shelter, they're always taking signups and walk-ins... food donations, too. Everything helps, right?" she suggests. Then Cecily purses her lips, stepping out from behind the counter and heading for one of the shelves. Her tail sways behind her slowly, ears perked, swivelling to and fro. She finally pulls herself up onto a ladder with one arm, one foot, the other swinging to the side. She snatches a paperback from a sea of fiction books, and comes back, shrugging, handing the ogre a copy of 'The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm.' "...it's no Wrinkle in Time but... you want a really, really weird adventure... I read this one in grade school... it's also set in like... neo-Zimbabwe or neo-Zanzibar or something?" She also holds her other hand out, "Oh! Don't take the mug with you though, please."

Lymer loiters at the counter and watches her venture out into the paperback forest. "I'll check it out," he promises, relinquishing the mug in what seems to be a fair trade. "Thank you... for the cider, the company and the book." He gives it a cursory glance and slips it into a pocket, which he then pats. "I don't do phones, but I'll come back, for sure." He flashes a smile, made brighter by the dim constellations of his skin.