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Latest revision as of 01:08, 22 March 2020

Academic
Dramatis Personae

Polaris, Wendy, Winona

2020-03-19


"But I'd despair with you all, you know? That's a better kind."

Location

<NYC> Polaris, Wendy, and Winona's Apartment - Lower East Side


It's been a chill and deary day, but it's managing to rally in the late afternoon, the sinking sun breaking through as if straining to fulfill the day's promise of spring. The streets of the Lower East Side are crowded--more crowded, even, than usual, at quitting time--as they have been these last few days, with those now out of work seeking relief for cabin fever and plenty more who simply must continue working as usual. The air is filled with laughter and birdsong, but tension, too.

Up on this lofty fire escape, though, Polaris is unusually still and quiet, her feet dangling down where she sits with her elbows propped on the middle rung of the railing. She's dressed as if for an outing, black leather jacket over a green satin corset, black skinny jeans tucked into heavy black boots shot through with steel hardware much like her belt and wrist cuffs. She's just lit a skinny joint and offers it casually to her housemates, exhaling a stream of smoke into the cool air. "You know I was already crazy," she says philosophically, "but this shit is gonna drive me crazier."

Wendy, on the other hand, is dressed for comfort in an overlarge purple plaid flannel shirt over a soft blue tee with a white solar print of lacy wormwood leaves, and hunter green pajama pants covered with with silhouettes of bears. Her hair hangs damp around her shoulders, still smelling lightly floral from her recent shower. "The whole world has gone a bit crazy," she muses, settling down on a stair and folding her legs to one side as she reaches for the joint, "maybe now you'll just fit right in." She pins the joint between two fingers, cupping her hands together and making a small chamber of them. Pressing her lips to the sides of her fingers to suck smoke through without, actually, touching her mouth to it before she passes it on.

Winona chuckles humourlessly, leaned up against the bars while she looks down at the people on the street. "I know what you mean..." She's wearing olive green khaki pants and a similarly coloured jacket, over an off-white tank top with a black and white image from a pulp comic, with the text 'Flying Saucers: Who are they? What do they want?'. She takes the joint when it is passed to her, and takes similar precautions while inhaling. A couple of coughs (into the crook of her arm, even though it's just from the smoke) force her to pause before musing. "Not exactly how I thought my first semester would be going."

Polaris groans, thumping her forehead into the railing hard enough to make the whole fire escape reverberate, if only faintly. She claps one hand pre-emptively over the spot before she's tempted to repeat the motion. "If the world gets crazy enough for me to fit in, we're really in trouble." Her boots kick listlessly in the air. "Is distance learning or whatever working out better for you, or worse? Cuz I dunno how many times I came near chucking my computer out my dorm window over Blackboard, and I wasn't even trying to do it all online then." She takes the joint when it returns to her and takes a long draw, staring up at the sky as she passes it off to Wendy again. Breaths out, closing her eyes.

"I don't want to be the one to have to tell you this," Wendy's eyes flick briefly to the crowded street below, then up to the sky. She takes a slow pull at her carefully chambered joint again. Squints her eyes shut, lips pressing tight to stifle the brief few coughs that try to surface. "But we have been in trouble. For -- some time now. It didn't take a disease for that." She dabs lightly at the corner of her eye with the edge of her sleeve and passes the joint onward, looking to Winona with brows raised. "Silver -- lining?" Her brows knit together, a drawn-out uncertainty in her tone. "There will be a lot more ghosts to find, soon. There must be a project in there somewhere."

"It's working out worse. If I was planning to be doing distance ed, probably would have done it from back home. I was looking forward to my classes, they started out good," says Winona. She sucks in some of the smoke, and continues the joint's circulation. She exhales, her cheeks puffed out a bit as she contemplates Wendy's proposed silver lining. Her foot, covered by a tan coloured slipper, bounces up and down rhythmically for the moments she is thinking. "Usually I try and frame some kind of historic event in my ghosty projects, but I guess that's what's going on. Some kind of history..."

"Really really in trouble," Polaris murmurs. "I mean yeah, the plague would still be a big deal no matter what, but if we had a functioning healthcare system, and a state that gave any shit about people's actual lives, it wouldn't feel so much like..." Her shoulders hunch. "...the end of the fucking world." Her head rolls to the side as she regards Winona with slightly scrunched eyebrows, accepting the joint and drawing deep. Shakes her head, wavy green her falling like a curtain across her face. "I'm sorry--I mean, I figured, just." She shrugs. "Before all this, I was actually starting to think about going back to school, too. Though really that's more Wendy's thing than mine."

Wendy waves away the smoke as it circles by again. Just leans back now, elbows propped on the stairs and her fingers folding against her belly. "It's definitely a historic moment. I feel like I ought to start keeping a journal. Like we all should. Some day people are going to wonder..." She trails off, her eyes closing. Nose wrinkling. "I don't know what my thing is. I did fine with school before the terrorism, but I'm not -- sure I want to go back to that. I guess," she says reluctantly, "that I do have plenty of time to fill out applications now." One eye opens. Peers at Winona. "You liked NYU before the coronapocalypse, though, right?"

Winona brushes some of her hair away from her eyes with her fingertips and her gaze turns forward without focusing on anything. "Yeah, I should probably act like the documentarian I want to be." She holds up her hand as if holding an invisible video camera up to her eye. "Record history." Her lips part in a half grin, just enough that her chipped incisor is visible. "I liked it, yeah. A lot. It was fun," confirms Winona. She looks between Polaris and Wendy. "What do you think you would do if you went back?"

Polaris takes another drag and hands the joint back to Winona. "Shit, we gonna put together some like...I dunno, World War Z or something?" She half-turns to face her housemates, folding one leg up beneath her as she drapes into the corner of the fire escape. It looks superbly uncomfortable, but she doesn't seem to mind. "I'm down." Her smile comes slower than usual. "I hope it's just this semester, that you have to do like this. Still, a shitty way to come back." A troubled frown passes over her face, then fades, like the shadow of a scudding cloud. "Fine, well, maybe it's not your thing, but you like it. Nerd." This last word is fond and familiar. "Me, I wanna go back and study like...geophysics?" She chuckles, flexing the fingers of her hand so that one of her intricate wirework rings unravels itself and flows across her knuckles like a tiny steel snake. "But I fucking suck at school."

"Just a suggestion. I think it's also perfectly fine if you just. Sit around at home and -- maybe grieve. Watch Netflix. Stare at your thumbs. I don't know. There's no productivity requirement. But -- probably, some day, someone will wonder." Wendy shrugs one shoulder. "And I think I will estimate that about --" She hums quietly to herself. "Twenty thousand white boys in this city alone have already started new podcasts. Someone will need to balance out their voices in the historical record." She traces her fingers against one edge of her flannel. Flicks a corner hem lightly between thumb and forefinger. "Maybe school was bad at you. I don't think it is designed with many people in mind. If I went back, though --" Again, her brow scrunches -- ultimately, she just exhales a quiet sigh. "I don't -- really know." There's a quiet sort of guilt in this admission. "I suppose I could just finish my degree." She sounds fairly unenthused, admittedly. "I was good at ecology."

Winona takes a puff and gestures vaguely, makes a trail with the smoke, "World War Z's a good way to put it. Just another pandemic story about bad governments. Should definitely do something to balance some of the tide of white boy perspectives, that lens has been done to death." She looks thoughtful for a couple of moments, or perhaps like her thoughts just stalled, and she passes the joint on to Wendy. "School's not designed for everyone. I think I'd have a hard time with geophysics or ecology or... Science. Did you not like ecology?" She rests her teeth on her lip a moment, eyebrows knit. "Was there something you liked more?"

"I still haven't heard of any good governments, personally," Polaris says, folding one arm against the railing and pillowing her head on it. "I try to keep an open mind, but..." She shrugs. "I just thought 'oh shit I should make a podcast', but then I had a moment of lucidity. It would be like, 75% swearing." Her smile slants crooked, her eyes hooded as she settles more comfortably into her intoxication. "Anyway if school's bad at me it must not even be trying cuz I'm easy as fuck." She snickers softly, watching the steel wire slither over her hand. "You don't have to go back for ecology. Could do some fucking...I dunno, urban planning? Mechanical engineering? Horticulture?"

"I wish they had made an *actual* World War Z movie. I would watch it, now, and -- probably despair. But I'd despair with you all, you know? That's a better kind." Wendy takes the joint this time, but just passes it on to Polaris without another hit. "You could just --" She holds up her phone, holds it close to her mouth as if talking into a tape recorder. "Record yourself. Some kind of audio journal. But I guess if you do that you are two thirds of the way to a podcast anyway. -- I like aerial silks," she muses dreamily, "but there's not so much of a *major* in that." She scoots over, resting her head up against the side of Polaris's leg. "Horticulture. *Huh*."

"The movie they made was," Winona shakes her head and lets the lack of further words on the subject speak for her. "But even that would be better with," she points her finger upwards and waves it vaguely towards Wendy and Polaris. "Anyway, if you ever need a guest co-host for your podcast," her thumb is pointed towards herself, "I'm down." She shifts just slightly to stave off the discomfort of being idle too long. "It's be nice if you could at least minor in aerial silks. With a major in-" An eyebrow is raised slightly, and she looks between the other two. "Horticulture?"

"Alright then, we're gonna document the fuck outta this apocalypse," Polaris concludes. "Podcast or no podcast." She drops one hand and reflexively smoothes aside a few stray hairs from Wendy's face. "You could go to circus arts school and major in horticulture. I have faith in you. Can do like...plant-themed performances. Start an aerial troupe called 'The Hanging Gardens'." She drapes back against the railing and looks up at the sky again. "Fuck." Takes a long drag and shakes her head. Breathes out shakily. "Someday, yeah?"