Tangible Schizophrenia


Shapes Epilogue: Men

Author: Guede Mazaka
Rating: PG
Pairing: Sands/El, Fideo/Ramirez
Feedback: What you liked, what you hated, what smacked you upside the head.
Disclaimer: Property of R. Rodriguez, who has way too much fun making DVDs. Notes: //words// in Spanish.
Summary: Your classic 'three months later…'


The first one to stomp the dust off his boots was tall and thin. And surprisingly young, though he carried himself with a confidence that much older men didn't dare emulate. He spent a few minutes chatting with the kid as he got a case out of his car's backseat, but as soon as he was done, he flipped over a few dollars and left.

The second and the third arrived together: one short and curly-haired and swaying to some secret tune, while the other was solid in presence and appearance. Time had grooved marks into the third's face, but when the shadow caught him at an angle, all those crow's feet and gray streaks seemed to melt away into nothing. As he helped his companion unload a few bulky packages and another case, he certainly didn't move like decrepitude had gotten any true foothold in his bones. A strange, ironic sort of kindness shaded their eyes as they queried the boy for the local news, but the second's smile was bright as new-minted coins as he produced a soda pop and a comic book in payment for the kid's time.

The fourth and fifth also came as a pair, though much more vocal than the preceding two. And somehow more menacing-especially the fifth, who held himself with a prowling grace that bespoke thunder and lightning to whoever crossed him. But in his short life, the boy had already been around a few times, and so when his inquisitive nature perked up at the sight of yet another guitar case, he indulged it by tugging at the pale-skinned fourth's sleeve and asking, //Hey, mister. Are you with the other three?//

"Two weirdo mariachis and a grumpy old guy?" the gringo countered. When the boy gave an affirmative, he snorted. "Yeah. We're a…band."

//But you don't have a case//, the boy protested, ducking down to check as he did. No instrument presented itself; only a white cane and a cigarillo occupied the gringo's hands. //What do you play?//

"I don't." When his partner handed him a leather bag, the gringo unzipped it and took out a cell phone, which he handed to the kid. "Here. Go sell it on the black market and rot your little teeth out with candy."

The boy accepted the phone, but persisted in his questions. //Then what are you?//

"Me? I'm their agent." The fifth man came up behind the American and hooked a hand around one of the gringo's arms.

//Where are you playing?//

//Nowhere you want to go//, said the last to arrive in a deep, smoky voice. He started to lead the gringo away, then stopped and looked back. //Go home and watch cartoons.//

//But I'll miss school.//

//Then miss it today. You can make it up later.// With that final remark, the two men disappeared around the corner. A lilting melody drifted back to the boy, then died away into waiting quiet.


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