Julien pried the seat from the table. It’s legs locked with the ornament base. He took a seat opposite of the now accompanied figure. “Mind if I sit here?” Julien wheezing an uneasy rasp, Strangers gave him anxiety but this was self-inflicted and felt forced. His eyes upon her, and hers expressionless as her own delved into the half empty cup. “Suit yourself.” her beak twitched in utterance. “I noticed you’ve been here .. for a while. People have came and went, I mean you’ve been here since me and my friends, and I noticed you reading that letter-” Julien was cut off as the bird slapped her plated hand down, fingers stretched out to not rip it with her talons. “I need it.” she only spoke in a droned whisper.
“Just curious as to what it is, .. and what your story is, .. I’m a Journalist that collects people’s stories of the city, you may have seen some of the zines for free on the window?” Julien paused frequently as he tried to restrain his hyperventilating lungs to soothe his flow, he needed to get back in the groove. The bird loosened their grip on the paper. She pinched the edge delicately and flipped it to it’s stiff balance. “You may read, .. it’s good news after all, but not good enough.”
He tilted his glasses to get a better light, it was an acceptance letter for the University. “Sounds like you got in, .. and the enrollment is in twenty days? Too soon?” She cast her gaze around, as if looking for an exit. “It’s not soon enough, I’m homeless. I was staying by Hanner Pub by the harbour-”
“Hanners pub?” chimed in Julien, “How did you find? I heard it’s a rough place to live, there was a break in a few weeks ago.”
“So you heard. The place that was broken in was mine, they took everything, including Furniture, my landlord blamed me, and wanted me to pay for everything lost, so I was fleeced of my money, then driven out and now I survive by playing violin.” She hung her head over the cup, back arched over her chair as she leaned towards the curious Rat. “Any good at it?” Julien cracked a smile and gave a gesture as he played an invisible violin. “Better than the woman with the two stringed guitar near the main street.”
“The one that plays the note over and over?”
“Yes, her.” The bird swallowing, “There you have your story.” she concluded.
“Not all of it, not by a long shot.” Julien ran a hand to coax back his ears. “I need help with a task, and you may be perfect, .. it says your studying Communications as a bachelors. So you’re good at English and writing?”
She nodded and added “Can’t see how I’d be of much help.” the rat checked his watch, “Sorry, just checking for lunch. But I need an assistant, short notice I know … but I’m due to interview-”
A voice roared with a snide coating “Sir Cheesemongler, your fungus is ready for consumption.” Cassandra spinning a plate on the edge of the counter top.” the rat excusing himself. Once he returned he offered half to the bird. “As I said, I need to interview someone, but I don’t want to go alone in case I fuck up. A group of pretty pretentious art hipsters who happen to be the cadre of model material. I get paid, I’ll split the share with you, and offer you to crash on my couch. Deal?”
She casted a lick along her beak, evidently grown favorable after sealing a cautious bite of the panini. “Sounds like a plan. I’m Voss by the way.”
“Voss, as in German for Fox, odd as it’s…”
“A Male name. I know.” the bird finished picking apart a mushroom with their beak, “Was Seeing Dr Thyme about becoming a handsome Peacock, he turned out to be a prehistoric asshole, so I’m stuck half way.” lowering their hood, with long white streaks at the ends of their facial feathers. “Albinism is a predominantly male trait that’s flared up as I took hormones, but they stopped it as I wasn’t ‘crossdressing’ enough.” Voss sneered, ending in a hard click of their beak. “Hard to do so, when each week you’re closer to being flat out broke. Anyway you have the advantage.”
Julien perked his brow, unusual assistant but he could tell this would be fun, “Oh, I’m Molkov-Julien de Spade, esquire the third, and so on, but you may call me Julien, and never-”
A Hoarse voice roared over “Jules!” as Ernan chuckled a bellow of laughter; “We’ve got it Haha! We’ll screen share a textfile and work on it together!” Julien uttered quietly to his new assistant, “Voss, excuse me just a small moment.” Strolling over to his early company.
“Ernan, fuck you and your sucky gimmicks. We’ve been doing this for years, and we get nowhere closer of NaNo’s Limit. We suck, and we fail, and I’ve got too much work to do.” Julien chest was tense, he’d rarely speak over Ernan. “If we work together we can do this! Trust me!” he barked back, his thick brow descended as he looked back infuriated. Teeth baring. “No we won’t, we’ll do it if we want, like everyone else. That is alone to the fruits of our own victory and defeat. For a group of writers we’ve done so very little writing. Also Cliff Get some fucking sleep you look like we’ve hooked you to a car battery.” The Fox drooling down the side of his cheek, partially hit by awe, he turned to Ernan in that slackjaw look. Cogs smashed in his vulpine brain. “Ernan. You do honestly suck.” arms slowly spreading out, as if the Fox was hit by divine transcendence. “And so do you Julien, but best of luck.” Cliff got up to get his coat from the back of his chair. “I really need to get back to work.” chugging the last of his coffee. Ernan fidgetted with his thick fingers, he fumed and watched the others part from his eyes. “Cowardly bastards.” were the words that slipped out, “They don’t know genius.” as people passed by, only Voss heard the chilled utterance as they were the last to leave.