|5 Lie in the Deepest Pit and Drink Your Fill|
|[written in Latin]
Is there anything more disgusting than watching Christians congratulate themselves for their charity work while simultaneously wallowing in self-pity over how far they fall short? Woe is thee, wretched Catholic. Woe is thee who sacrifices so much for the needy, yet will never be able to sacrifice enough.
I can’t decide what is viler: that they feel ennobled for what they do, or that they feel lowly for not doing enough. Likely the vilest thing is that, in the mystifying fashion of the Christian dog, they manage to feel both at the exact same moment!
As pathetic as Dad is, as contemptible as my whole family is, at least they have the decency to live in the same filth, the same stew of disease and violence, as the people they felt committed to help. I will never forgive them for raising young children in the midst of civil wars and plagues, but I can’t accuse them of giving away their cake while also trying to eat it. They gave it all away, those fucking bastards.
The same cannot be said for the recent clutch of Christians I’ve met. I would love to see the Sister and her obnoxious friends move into the local crack house for a couple of years. A lullaby of gunshots to sing the babe to sleep. A crib amidst used syringes.
But at least the Sister accepts a bit of selfish reward. Free coffee tastes the sweetest. The worm always finds an orifice, doesn’t it, darling?
What came over me to give her a thousand dollars straight out of my pocket is beyond me. What more proof is needed that the Abrahamic religions leave their stingers in you even after you fully tear yourself free. And the stingers go on pumping toxins.
In happier news, there are now two friends of like nature buzzing around. We’ve settled into a mutual orbit around some hazy orb, some common purpose, which none of us has really described, beyond calling it ‘mutual protection’. _______, at least, seems to understand that getting this close entails certain complications. The other one is brand new, and her eagerness makes me nervous. She’s the restless, meddlesome kind. Why do people feel such a drive toward research and sticking their noses in unfamiliar shit? For power? Don’t they know that power is given to you if you deserve it?
The universe is full to bursting with available power. It is there for the taking. It doesn’t have to be chased or researched. You just have to receive it. Find the lowest point and power will collect there like rain water. Lie in the deepest pit and drink your fill. Respect gravity, and power wants to be yours.
But now Lola is playing with dolls. Those fucking dolls.
What’s to be done about those fucking dolls? I could keep them. The first impulse is always to have an insurance policy. But devil dolls are not like scandalous photographs. They’re not inert little scraps you can wave around to control someone with. They are stitched with malicious will, sown with bloody fingers. They are little spies, little windows. ____ does not like them. He doesn’t like them at all.
And I know too well how my like-minded friends react to being controlled. I know how I would react.
Maybe I will keep Lola’s. Put it somewhere safe, but not near me. She would think twice about manipulating me if I have her doll.
One thing is sure. She did not learn this craft herself. Oh, no. We know who the teacher is.
I still smell like burnt hair.
|4 Heat Capacity|
|[written in Chewa]
O ______ ____ _____, this afternoon I give to you! Bask in the searing heat of the sauna! Rejoice as I stand as high as I can, wavering near the ceiling, until I feel my brain baking in my skull! Drink my sweat! Eat my hot breaths!
[written in Latin]
Today I passed out in the sauna, or, perhaps, I simply fell asleep. I woke up to Letitia pulling me out and shouting at me. She threatened to pour a bucket of frigid water on me, and try as I might, I couldn’t form the words to discourage her. My vision was grey and my throat dried shut. So irked was ______ ____ _____ as she stormed off to carry out her threat that he muttered to the others, and ___ assented, sapping her resolve. She stood there, shoulders lumped, mouth parted, gazing at me as I lay like a half-opened jackknife on the floor, still steaming and slick as the bed of a swamp. I hurt her with my groggy laughing, but not deeply, because she could feel nothing deeply at that moment.
Dear Letitia, my loyal steward. Truthfully, I was touched by her concern. In between managing all my affairs, juggling Lord knows how many disparate tasks, flying back and forth between the US and France, and somehow finding the time to arrange transportation for my various house guests who find themselves stranded on Staten Island, she finds the reserve with which to pity me. And I laugh at her! But it is the laughter of love. How many things can you do at once, fair Letitia? I can’t wait to find out. I love you.
Sometimes I watch her when she’s on the phone, and I tune out what is being said, just waiting for the moment when she knows she has accomplished something important. I can see the moment her glands dump their stores of reward hormones, flooding her bloodstream with accomplishment, with congratulations. I can see her getting high right before my eyes, in the pauses between her speech. Her drug is a job well done. I am her supplier. As many hits as you want, Letitia, I can provide. But sooner or later you have to come down and clean up. I promise there will be tangles to untangle and hitches to unhitch and kinks to iron by dawn, and your next hit will be only a jet ride away.
When she was convinced I had not given myself a stroke, and she went off to get her next fix, I sealed myself back in the sauna and stoke the flames, and I let ______ ____ _____’s mutterings meander through me. I thought about the people I have met recently. I considered how fascinating it is to say practically nothing, yet to provoke so many colorful and passionate reactions in others. I wonder sometimes as I converse with someone, “Who are you talking to? Who is your conversation partner?” Because, often, it is not me. They are engaged with someone else. Themselves, maybe. Or someone they think they see. Someone wearing my suit, my watch, my smile. Someone who uses my vocabulary or has my mannerisms.
Sometimes, especially in noisy environments, I sit back and let them talk, and I nod and smile, and I utter a loop of two or three encouraging comments to keep them talking while I think about something else, or listen to ______ ____ _____’s burbling, or to the wet velvet whispers of ______, and I feel like I’m floating on my back in a pond the temperature of piss, but smelling like sweet clay, and when I float back to the surface, the person talking to me is in the middle of some diatribe against one thing or another, or has reached a bold conclusion that sounds very exciting, or is defending against an attack on their philosophy which they believe I have launched, or is congratulating me for something, though I am not quite sure what it may be.
Sometimes I find that we are still talking small talk, and usually it is about how cold it is, or how it is not really that cold for someone who is used to the cold, and I agree that it is quite cold, or perhaps not so cold for someone who is used to the cold, while with the greater part of my mind I am reenacting, in full sensory detail, a night in Malawi just before the break of day, when I had walked to the point of exhaustion, to the front patio of death, and lay supine on the still-warm earth, on pincushions of dry savanna grass, watching heat lightning in the heavens above like the sparks from a great shard of flint that soon would light a lazy, smoldering fire between my gasping lungs.
God, I want a cigarette.
|3 If Someone Should Plant a Dagger in Your Ribs, Thank Them for the Gift and Keep It.|
|[Excerpt of a letter to ____]
I have previously decided to approach Darrius and Lex on their own and try to get a better understanding of them. Last night, I got my chance with Lex. My aim was to express my curiosity about her life and her beliefs. For my troubles, I was rewarded early on with a dirty look and the explanation that I sound like an arrogant son of a bitch. Certain that there had been a communication blunder, since I could not recall anything I had said which should deserve such a reaction, I asked her for clarification. It appears that it is not the content of my speech which I share with arrogant sons of bitches, but my style of speech. What a relief. I remained diplomatic and gentlemanly as she delivered what Americans call a backhanded compliment: I should not worry, because plenty of men sound like sons of bitches, and some women prefer it.
Oh, joy. My gratitude overflows. There is hope for me yet, according to Lex.
Luckily, Ms. Beckett and Lola came to save me from the pool of gratitude I was drowning in, and not a moment too soon, since from that point on, every inoffensive thing I said seemed to strike the lady as some kind of foolish criticism. I would love to take this personally, though hearing her talk about Miss Bunny suggests that criticism is a grain Lex keeps well stocked and which she generously distributes.
My new game, I have decided, is to continue being genial and deferent to Lex, and to compliment her without restraint, while using comically aristocratic language. Who am I to disprove people’s impressions of me? Though this incident is, in all honesty, a trifle, merely an observation about someone's behavior not warranting a stern reaction, I am reminded of the aphorism your friend Fenno said on the subject of remaining gentlemanly when attacked, "If someone should plant a dagger in your ribs, thank them for the gift and keep it. You may have use of it later." It still makes me smile!
It goes without saying that the encounter does not improve prospects regarding Darrius’ club idea. Even if I decided to throw in my lot with people who seem to merely tolerate me, it appears I would be joining a group of all-too-important people who take magic so very seriously. Darrius’ estimation of himself is clear. Lex, however, is not just a play-witch who finds altars and daggers sexy, as I originally thought, but the kind of person for which rituals are work and science. Also, if I had to guess, the kind of person who is soon going to catch the eye of the pushy, controlling kind of Special Friend, if she hasn’t already.
Not an appetizing picture, this club. But perhaps I am being a curmudgeon. Perhaps I am just too comfortable with present circumstances. We will see. No decisions yet. Why determine now what can be determined later?
Ms. Beckett continues to be a charmer, and the thought of her in Adeline’s arms on this Valentine’s Day gives me that frustrated thrill I love so much every once in a while.
Lola is—Ah, but I have to stop here, because simply saying her name in my head is a delight! Lola! Lola! Lola! Lola. Her name sounds like she walks. It sounds like how she speaks, how she rolls over and yawns in bed. I think I may like her name more than I like her. But I am being mean. She is a sweet thing, really quite delicious. I am reasonably certain that I am simply an accessory to her lifestyle, something she can paw and show off, but whatever makes Lola happy, she can have for a time.
However, I have it up to here with the cattiness between her and Lex . There are few things more annoying than the cold war played out between beautiful women over status and possessions. The open war between men for the same things is usually too laughable to truly annoy. ____ has taken notice, and is just as annoyed. He made a heart-felt appeal that I should kill the confrontation that Lola wanted so badly, kill it by smothering it, and how could I say no? I hate to have such a direct hand in the activities of a group, but I hate even more to hear ___ so upset, and I cannot bear ______’s moods.
In truth, Lex killed the confrontation herself and extended an olive branch. It will be interesting to see whether this was an empty gesture, and more so, whether Lola has the capacity to move on past petty squabbles.
Odd how incensed she got at the thought of animal sacrifice. But between women, what they fight about is never really what they’re fighting about, is it?
|2 On the Proper Way to Sink in Tar Pits|
|[written in Chewa]
O _____ how reassuring is your presence, you who are like a brother to me! O _______ whose voice is a potent drug, promise me your love again! O ____ how I marvel at your scorn and contempt! O ______ ____ _____ may your dismay and discomfort ease, and may you be patient from the coming of summer!
O _____ I hope you are as happy as I am with that gathering which built itself around me at the banks of a pond floating in the middle of the sky, a gathering which touched and tasted and savored almost with abandon! Let us hope that the next one will be more perfect, and not so divided by little conflicts!
[written in Latin]
I suppose I should write about Darrius and his proposition. Do I feel kinship to the man? It is hard to say. He is built of taut ropes and tendons, all of them trembling for action. He has the great, endless hunger and drive that seems to be our trademark, yet his drive is all nerves and need, whereas mine is slow and steady. And as is too typical of what Americans call Type A personalities, he seems to thirst for added complications in his life.
And he is afraid. That much is clear. A man of such immeasurable arrogance being afraid of anything is enough to get my attention, but it also testifies to why I should avoid whatever web he has tangled himself in.
And why this interest in Lex? She’s charming in her way, and a sheer delight to observe in flagrante delicto, but I don’t see what the fuss is about. Thank God her naturally jealous and controlling character seems to be muted whenever she is around Darrius. If their two egos added together rather than subtracted whenever they were in each others’ presence, they would cause an earthquake. I will have to talk with her more and find out what she is about.
Still, the thought of dealing closely with both of them sounds like a recipe for headaches.
And yet, that club. That would be useful. It could be very useful, as well as a good deal of fun, if only I felt reasonably certain it would not simply become the Church of Darrius. We will speak to him again, and then see how it feels.
_____ abides, making no clear proclamations about the matter, but I can sense his irritation, as well as his curiosity. It is always intriguing when he and ____ both come to the fore and writhe against each other, with _______ looking on, murmuring promises.
With Lola, there is none of this agitation. Lola, Lola, Lola! Pure indolence smothered in ennui and wrapped in beautiful flesh, like a hollow bar of lead coated in gold. She is so deliciously useless, so committed to her own existence and nothing else that it makes me want to deliriously laugh and kiss her at the same time. What does Lola do other than look gorgeous, fuck, sleep, and complain about being bored? Her best quality is that she enjoys the sight of contentment in others. Oh, Lola, feed me fruit from your hand any day of the week. Come to my house and sleep the day away, and wake up wondering why there is not a chopped apple waiting for you!
Her worst quality, it should be said, is the same as with the Elise and Asuka pair: she is already far too jaded, or at least pretends to be. What can be done with girls like Elise and Lola? They are nice to have around, but they are like bodies who have sunk to the bed of a tar pit; there is no farther depth to which they could sink. All they can do is lie there and complain about the pit not being dark or deep enough.
Thank you, ____, that you have guided me such that there are horizons and vistas yet unspoiled!
But how could I forget Ms. Beckett? Now, that woman is exciting! I would pay money just to watch her go through her day undoing the plots of her rivals without ever losing her sense of humor. People are so serious. Not Ms. Beckett. I have never seen such a fox grin carved in such a nice package. Truth be told, she not terribly beautiful, but her confidence, her independence, and her absolute refusal to invest too much importance in either me or herself made me want to find the loose thread that unravels her entire outfit to see the pink body beneath.
Something tells me that if one caught her in a towel after a shower and ripped off her towel, she would leap away laughing, wrapped in a second, hidden towel. Wonderful.
And then there is Mr. Kaluhiwa. How pitiable. How contemptible. Yet with him there is travel room, there is progress to be made, unlike with Lola. Being in his presence stirs me to a sense of purpose. His self-deception goads me, his duplicity, his cognitive dissonance lights a tidy blue fire in my black heart.
Mr. Kaluhiwa, I know that guilt you feel. I know the frustration and the loathing. I was there, too, in Africa, my head full of diagrams, my hands full of clean water. I know the feeble, cloying twinge of satisfaction that comes from charity work, and how cosmically detestable it is for ones such as ourselves to stoop and pantomime this way.
Mr. Kaluhiwa, we have things to talk about, don’t we?
|1 On the Origin of "The Big Apple" and New Friends|
|[written in Chewa]
O _____ how glad am I for you and for your fortune and your guidance! O _______ my bride how thankful am I for the promises you coo into my ear and may you always deliver! O ____ how fortunate am I to be coddled by one whose anger against my enemies is so slow and sure! O ______ ____ _____ accept my deepest regrets that this land is too cold and dark for you and may the summers beat on all of ours heads like burning stones!
[written in Latin]
There are three stories about how the Big Apple got its name.
The one likely to be true—incidentally, the least interesting—is that the moniker has its roots in horse racing; the big apple, of course, is the dream of every jockey and every punter. As a man who has known more than a few punters, they are an overly-stimulated lot, though quite efficient about kissing money goodbye to see beasts sweat and struggle, which is commendable for being so petty. But overall I find that whole ambiance unsatisfactory.
The second story is that New York City is like a greedy apple taking the largest portion of the tree's sap. This is a far better story, for obvious reasons.
The third story, far more Rococo and sensational, and almost certainly false, is that a madam owned a brothel in the city long ago, and her name was Eve. How this story makes me yearn for my Salon! I can picture myself in this fantastical brothel. I see Christian motifs woven everywhere, from the gaudy crucifixes, to the stained glass, to the Madam herself, liveried like a nun who lost some garments to a windstorm, overlooking her convent of equally unfortunate “sisters”. Oh, if only the city were named after a Hellfire Club such as this!
But horse racing will have to do.
We have met the Demon Lord Nails—God bless motorcycle gangsters and their devotion to the profane—, the bohemian alcoholic Megan, the regal harlot Lex with her imperial kissing commands, her male suitors, Aeric and Darrius, on both of whose toes I appear to have trod, the amusing strumpet Bunny, who is apparently too top-heavy to stand up and requires my lap for support, Hannah with her neck-smile and whoever that man was with her, Lola the bored heiress, who is exactly the sort of person who rolls down my crater and has to be carried off on a stretcher by people who deem it their duty to do so, and finally the near perfection that is the Asuka and Elise pair.
Too bad how jaded that last pair seem to be. There’s nothing so disappointing as those who think they’ve seen it all, except for those who actually have seen it all. But I’ve heard that line before, ladies. It doesn’t impress. Debauchery should never be reduced to a contest; that robs it of its symbolic power! Although if I had to judge, I’d say the one with the Japanese name has seen the worst of it. Elise seems like she should take her mistress' advice and slow down before she too looks a bit run down.
Darrius, Darrius. What a surprise. You roused even ____‘s suspicion, and he only shows himself when he thinks I need protecting. Do you realize how much your special friend controls you, rather than the other way around? It’s so easy to pull your strings, one doesn’t even have to try. But I am used to dealing with the easily agitated. I hope you can take your face off your own cock long enough to see how two people of like nature could help each other when the opportunity presents itself.
In the meanwhile, come play at my house any time you like. Bring whichever harlot is in your grasp at the moment. Claim your territory. Bring Lex, preferably. She puts on a good show.
But now it’s time to call Letitia and point her in a new direction. After all, someone has to work around here, and it’s not going to be me.
|Evening Routine 5|
MILICA Pardon me?
AGATA What do you want?
MILICA I... I don’t want anything!
AGATA You have been silent for ten minute.
MILICA God, am I that obvious?
AGATA I know you.
MILICA I’m, er... I don’t want to annoy you...
MILICA But you seem really preoccupied about something. But it’s not my business.
AGATA Just ask, instead of making this face for ten minute until you force me to ask you what is problem.
MILICA I don’t want to be a pest.
AGATA If you are pest, I tell you.
MILICA Okay. Sorry.
MILICA Sorry! Er, is something wrong?
AGATA I am not sure. Maybe yes, maybe no.
MILICA Trouble with Nails?
AGATA I meet more, last night.
MILICA Oh my god.
AGATA Two lady. Mekhet. One I have seen before, but she did not introduce herself at this time.
MILICA Were they angry?
AGATA It was public. They just give Elysium information, and tell me where not to hunt.
MILICA Are we in trouble?
AGATA I have been hunting in Prince hunting ground.
AGATA Enough, Mili’. Continue. You are taking seven thousand year with make-up.
AGATA I did not know. Probably there is no trouble if I go to Elysium and make introduction. I will maybe pretend to be stupid Gangrel who does not understand prestation. Maybe I will offer boon. I have not decided.
AGATA But Sakari. Yes. Delicate situation.
MILICA What are we going to do?
AGATA This is large city. I spend long time here and nobody come find me until now. Probably two hundred of us. No time for nomad Gangrel, I think. No time to care who my friend is.
MILICA But Mister Nails!
AGATA This one. He pretend not to know where Elysium is. Does not tell me about Madame Asuka or Alex-Whatever-Her-Name-Is, but tell them who I am. Or Asuka simply hear conversation like Shadow do, and make him talk because she is important. Nail. This one.
MILICA Is she important, Madame Asuka?
AGATA I do not know. I never assume someone is important, but I never assume they are not. Other lady, I am not even sure she is Kindred. Maybe just Carthian lover-pet.
MILICA Oh, ‘Gata.
AGATA I will need good outfit. Serious. Old. Black. For Prince first impression.
MILICA Yes, ‘Gata.
MILICA Yes, ‘Gata?
AGATA Remember about fear.
MILICA Fear is like a freezing lake.
AGATA Jump in, wake up.
MILICA Swim until your senses are alert, then get out.
|Evening Routine 4|
|AGATA Third time you yawn in my face!
AGATA Stop this.
MILICA I’m sorry. I’m awake now.
AGATA No you are not. You not sleep?
MILICA I got enough sleep. Pucker up. Let’s try this burgundy. I think with the black tiered dress, it’ll just pop.
AGATA How much hour you sleep?
MILICA Oh, I’m fine, thank you.
AGATA How much, Mili’?
MILICA Six hours.
MILICA In two days?
MILICA I’m fine, I promise! Soon as you go to bed, I’ll catch up.
AGATA Yes, or you crash car like you do in Romania because you fall asleep. Your eye all dark and fat. Why? You have not done very much for me in past night.
MILICA Oh, it’s not that. I just can’t sleep.
MILICA No. I guess I’m worried. About Ms. Sokolov.
AGATA It is not your job to worry.
MILICA I know.
AGATA Your job is to be useful, and make me look like lady, and not yawn in my face every ten second.
MILICA I’m sorry.
AGATA What Ms. Sokolov see... cannot be changed. I cannot erase memory like Lord.
MILICA Did she really see it? I mean, clearly?
AGATA I do not know, but after what Mister Nail do to her, and what she see in Jamaica Bay, she would be complete idiot not to understand. Probably she does not know what I am, but she must know my prey is human. Why this face?
MILICA I’m scared!
AGATA No one will come take you again. I say, no one will come take you.
MILICA I believe you. You know best.
AGATA She is not enemy. It is like she say before. We are what we are. We are friend, but we are what we are. There is more danger from my own kind with their Tradition and Law. It is never claw or sword that almost kill me, but Law and politic.
MILICA That’s what scares me! They’ll find out and come looking for us.
AGATA Let them come. People have always come to my house with blade and gun to drag me out and take what is mine. Go live on high mountain and hide your house in cloud, and still civilization will knock on your door and say you have broken old law and must bleed. This is nothing new. This story old like rock. Let them come. I am ready. [...] You do not yawn, now.
MILICA I guess I’m too scared too.
AGATA I am beautiful?
MILICA Yes, all done.
AGATA Go to bed.
AGATA I do not need you tonight. Go to bed.
MILICA Thank you, ‘Gata!
|Evening Routine 3|
|MILICA You don't like it.
AGATA The arm.
MILICA The sleeves are too drapey? I can fix that.
AGATA Too much here.
MILICA The cut is a little low. But it's very classy. Well, maybe 'very classy' is pushing it.
AGATA Send back.
MILICA Okay. Can I keep it?
AGATA No. We are poor.
MILICA Yes, 'Gata.
AGATA Enough with this. Have you found Mister Nail on Internet Network?
MILICA I'm sorry. I need more information.
AGATA Useless Network.
MILICA You could maybe ask him for his email next time you see him?
AGATA He does not even know how to use cellular phone. He is like me. He has girl to show him modern machine.
AGATA This remind me. I break cellular phone.
AGATA I throw in lake.
MILICA Oh, 'Gata.
AGATA Get me new one, Mili'.
MILICA Yes, 'Gata.
AGATA Mister Nail is idiot. He should know not to attack Ms. Sokolov because she is so strong, but he still wish to help his pride.
MILICA To sooth his ego?
AGATA Nail and his stupid list. I am probably on this list, now, because I am friend with Ms. Sokolov. Bah, do not make this scared puppy face. He is not first Savage I ever meet, and not last. I am not afraid of one Gangrel, even big one like him with more arm than brain, but I am afraid of his Bruja Brother. Sakari should be more afraid, too. There could be coterie ambush. But she is extremely stubborn.
MILICA Is she really a bear?
AGATA She is ice skater, model, lady, and bear. Bear part make her very stubborn. Every bear I have met is stubborn, because they are stronger than everything else. Why should it be different with people who are bear? And there is other one bear-person in city, also.
MILICA There is?
AGATA That is my guess. I see two bear together, and this one is her mate.
AGATA Sakari! Big liar, this one. 'I only hunt alone.' Feh. She does not wish to hunt with me. It is...
MILICA It's her loss!
AGATA It is her loss.
MILICA What are you going to do?
AGATA I do not care. She can hunt with her bear mate. It is probably safer for both of us. Keep our two Masquerade safe. Now, I must find Mister Nail and tell him what she said, and we will see if these two have battle. Two most stubborn people! Bear and biker.
MILICA And if they do battle?
AGATA Bah. You talk too much. I want new phone tonight. Go!
MILICA Yes, 'Gata!
AGATA Thank you, Mili'.
|Evening Routine 2|
|MILICA Hold still, please.
AGATA There is tie in my hair.
MILICA A knot. There's a knot in your hair.
AGATA There is knot in my hair.
MILICA I'll brush it out in a sec. Were you running around in Jamaica Bay again?
AGATA No. I am not sure if I should return.
MILICA Because of the...?
AGATA If stranger who is not Kindred come into Elysium, she would not be tolerated for very long.
MILICA So, they have Elysiums?
AGATA How should I know this? But it is gathering place for them. Ms. Sokolov say she see me in Jamaica Bay. I am sure she is one of them. Maybe wolf. Maybe bear. Not bird. She is not like bird, like me.
MILICA My god! You think she could be a giant bear?
AGATA She fight off Nail and his friend. They are pack hunting and try to bite her, but she chase them off.
MILICA Two of them?
AGATA One very large Gangrel, the other I do not know, but Kindred.
MILICA But that's just--
AGATA No regular woman is this strong. No regular woman is in restricted area of Jamaica Bay when I am there. This is very delicate situation. This correct word, 'delicate'?
MILICA Mmhm, it's a perfect word.
AGATA This is delicate situation. Little Fox Karl know what I am, or has very good guess. He is with these other half-animal. Ms. Sokolov has seen me. Probably she see my fang, or Karl tell her. She has seen Nail trying to bite her.
MILICA So she knows what you are.
AGATA Or has very good guess.
MILICA The First!
AGATA Do not lecture me about Masquerade, girl.
AGATA Orsola deal with these half-animal. Why can I not do it also? We do not have to discuss what we are to deal with each other. I do not think she will admit directly what she is. Perhaps they also have half-animal Masquerade.
MILICA But what about the other Kin--
AGATA --I have survived long time following my instinct, and I never bring human attention on me. I do not need to ask other Kindred what to do and where to go. Orsola did not ask this Prince or that Prince if she could talk to half-animal and make agreement about where to travel. And what is difference between true, savage Gangrel like me and these half-animal? What is difference, when Orsola spend half her life in shape of lynx, and steal dog body, and command bird flock like air force? Maybe Ventrue or Daeva is not like Karl Laidlow, but me? I am true Gangrel from Carpathian wilderness. I am less human even than other Kindred. Who can say that I am not also half-animal? Who can say that Gangrel and half-animal are not cousin?
MILICA When you put it that way...
AGATA Ms. Sokolov is respectful. She say she claim Central Park, but she does not challenge me for passage or feeding there. She did not challenge me for passage to Jamaica Bay. This is delicate situation, but it is not any more delicate than fucking Kindred court.
MILICA You're right, 'Gata.
AGATA Of course I am right.
MILICA Brush, 'Gata?
|Evening Routine 1|
|MILICA Which reminds me, a girl came in today with the most darling dress, really just lovely. Fresh and bold, but not too young or obnoxious. Thing is, it was this kind of washed-out orange? Which, I don’t need to say how much that wouldn’t do your skin tone any favors, but I was thinking I could probably make that from memory, and anyway she’s planning to come back for--
AGATA You hurt me.
MILICA I’m sorry! I wasn’t paying attention. I’m so sorry.
MILICA “You are hurting me.”
MILICA You wanted me to fix your English. It’s “You are hurting me.”
AGATA You pester me.
AGATA Continue. Tell me story.
MILICA OK, so. Just, this dress she had is just perfect for you, and I think she has an appointment to see Christie, so I’ll make sure to be there so--
AGATA I see ghost witch in forest.
MILICA I’m sorry?
AGATA There is ghost of old hermit lady in forest, and stupid American teenager insult her to see if she will attack them. One of them was Russian, and very sophisticated lady--she should know better. I am very disappointed in her.
MILICA Of course!
AGATA But she is strong and survive ghost attack, so for this reason I am not so disappointed. She is not like normal woman. Normal woman are afraid of me.
MILICA Like I was.
AGATA Other people are afraid of her.
MILICA My God. Do you think she’s...?
AGATA I am not sure. I think, no. She is always so pink and healthy, and she always sweat and smell like woman.
MILICA What if she’s like...?
AGATA Maybe. I am little bit worried she and some people she know are like the Enemy from Belgrade. Continue! I will be late.
MILICA Sorry! Please tilt your head.
AGATA I do not think she is Enemy. I will keep watching her. There are other one with dangerous feeling, like predator, but without Beast, and they do not react to me like Mister Nail. Also there is Karl Laidlow.
MILICA The fox guy?
AGATA He is like those one I meet in Carpathian pass, but different.
MILICA So you don’t think he’s a Savage anymore? What if they figure out--?
AGATA You will visit Central Park often during day and watch for these people. I bring you photograph of Ms. Sakari Sokolov. You be good spy and do not get caught.
MILICA Do you want me to spy on their--
AGATA Do nothing, say nothing, stay far away. Just see if they walk in day.
MILICA Yes, ‘Gata.
MILICA Yes, ‘Gata?
AGATA You are done?
MILICA Just about.
MILICA “Are you done?”
MILICA I’m sorry, nevermind.
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