Tonight the auditorium of the Green Door Theatre has been transformed: the seating stalls have been pushed back into their cleverly designed holding areas, and the whole standing-room only has been rearranged to become sleeping room only. Just that will probably happen later, right? While everyone has been asked to bring their PJ's, a sleeping mat and sleeping bag, pillows and whatever other overnight kit they might need? The -inevitable- attendees whove forgotten will be met with options to donate cash for a little sleeping kit, or a set of PJs: seems like somebody went and bought those weird fuzzy oversized animal-themed onesies in many sizes and colours. There is a helpful sign as people are being ushered in, donations taken at the box-office out front: Remember, pyjamas are mandatory
Alright then, slumber police...
Lighting has been kept low, but the theatre technicians have gone all artsy with it: blues and silvers that fade in and out dreamily, as if moonlight is above them -- in fact there's been those long garlands of silvery shimmer hung around all over, but especially the stage. There's a gentle spotlight up there, and a mic stand and tonnes and tonnes of pillows. Oh! Is it a story circle? Probably something like that. Access from the auditorium floor to the stage itself has been made easy, via the use of some well placed steps here and there. Yes, ushers have pointed out fire exits and everything seems to be in Order.
Music plays -- some very chilled out house remix of Clair De Lune by the sounds of things -- and off to the other side of the moderately sized auditorium there is a setup where people can get cocoa. Yes, yes, there /is/ a vegan option. Green Door Theatre is -civilised-. So much so that people who don't want to sip little mugs of cocoa with marshmallows are even encouraged to drink wine instead. Oh my!
As people filter in -- and oh, they are filtering in, all dressed in PJs, some dude's even got a night cap on -- they are handed little cards and tiny pencils and a little sheet of star stickers. What do the cards say? Share your dreams! Share your stories! Tell your neighbour, and share a sticker.
My, my. It's positively -twee- in here...
But where's Franklyn? Don't worry about it, people. This is a /community/ event. It's for -everyone-...
Haruki's absolutely adorable. Utterly ridiculously so in the black rabbit onesie that he's wearing, with humungous floppy ears. He's oh so soft and fluffy and cute. It is PJs. Really it is. And he can hide from the rest of the world under the hood. Yeah it might be hard to tell it even is Haruki in there. Maybe it's Itsuki. He's brought everything he needs, sleeping bag and all that. He's also got a bottle of whatever happens when you walk into a wine shop and ask for a good bottle of Riesling and have no idea what wine should actually cost, which he's intent on delivering to Franklyn. Where is she?
C.B. Alexander is...well, actually, he's more dressed up than he has been in like, forever? Because he's wearing a brown tweedy blazer with beige suede patches on the arms over a white button-down workshirt, tucked into Levis in relatively good condition, secured with a brown leather belt with an (intentionally...probably) tarnished buckle. On his feet? Chelsea boots of the sameish color leather as the belt. It even looks like he combed his hair! And he smells like Old Spice, cigarettes and whiskey.
The writer carries a brown leather attache case and a small worn Army duffel, which he throws down into a corner quickly. To Lost eyes, electricity is sparking out from him all over. His eyes, his fingers, feet, top of his head. Everywhere.
But wait a sec. Are these his pajamas? What does Franky always like to say? DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT, because C.B. sure as hell ain't. He argues with any attendants who try to give him any kind of PJs or sleep aids. He also rejects all stickers. Where is he going? Straight for the goddamn wine.
One, ONE COUNT. Ah. Ah. Ah.
In walks the Horned Beast of Winter, dressed to the nines... no waits, dressed LIKE HE WAS 9. Look, they specified PJ,s but Count's sleeping garments are rather simplistic, and honestly, most the folks here do onto wanna see that shit, and so, Count decided to dress up for the occasion, the beast showing up in a pair of adult sized footed pajamas, black with a full day-of-the-dead style skeleton pattern printed on it front and back. He's got a pillow too, a straight up waifu body pillow, but it's only got a stick figure woman on it drawn in sharpie. No sleeping bag to be seen, but he does have a satchel of... something over one shoulder.
Ardis enters, pale with thick, slightly tousled-looking black hair cropped into a short bob and intense, staring black eyes. Medium height. No makeup, with the exception of, perhaps bizarrely, lilac lipstick. She's wearing something that looks like a cross between pyjamas and some sort of jumpsuit, with a looping pattern of Chinese dragons burned into the thin black silk. But maybe it's just really pyjamas... She takes a sheet of stickers, which she inspects critically. When will star stickers look more like stars do in reality? These are the tough questions Ardis is liable to ask people who don't want to hear about them. She seems happier to see the wine, which she also heads straight for.
Upon finding out that Franklyn's theater is hosting a sleepover, there is very little that could keep Cerise away. She shows up already dressed in her pajamas, silk of course. It's one of those classic sets that you might see on old movies with long pants and a button down shirt. This one is in rose gold, with a black lace at the bottom of the pants and sleeves, all very classy. She takes the handed card with a beam and a murmur of thanks, but stuffs it into her lack sack anyway and instead heads right to the cocoa, diverting when she sees CB and coming up behind him to murmur, "Didn't get the memo?" And a moment later, the more important, "Where's your friend?"
And here comes Allen, dressed in his usual leathers, looking around and almost like he wants to be out of place. Even hunched as he usually is, the giant Ogre.... er... LARGE MAN, is quickly spotted by those working the PJs 'n' things booth and asked for his donation. He sighs, puts down some money for the necessaries and then goes about the perhaps futile task of finding something appropriate (and large enough) to wear.
Are there wine glasses? That ain't gonna last C.B. very long. He scowls over a glass of red, taking a -very- large swallow. Haruki? Vaguely nodded to, should they see each other. Count? More like scowled at. That's sort of a greeting. Kind of. Ardis? He actually /sighs/ when he sees her coming this way. Does he, in fact, hate everyone, or does he just act like he does?
Then there's that Cerise chick, who is talking to him now? "I don't have any friends," he tells her, taking a larger swallow of wine. Well somebody pissed in his cornflakes tonight. Can he smoke in here? He curses to himself. No Franklyn around to ask, and he doesn't want to get thrown out of here in the first five minutes of coming in. And yeah, he notices the HUGE OGRE that is Allen, because who isn't gonna notice that? Eyes widen and blink briefly before he looks away.
"That's a lie." Haruki tells CB. "I thought you didn't like lies. That the truth was important. If that's the case you can't say that you don't have any friends." Haruki's forgotten his mission for the moment in favour of eavesdropping.
Who comes to a sleepover at a theatre wearing silk pajamas, slippers, and a robe? Roland Garreau, that's who. Which shouldn't be super surprising given his family name, but still. He looks around, presumably seeking a mostly empty spot for himself. Not too far from the action and colorful characters, but far enough away that he can observe without interacting if he chooses to.
All shapes, all sizes - there are colourful novelty PJs for -everyone-.
That means even curmudgeons who write books about how great and smart and sad and tortured and angry they are, too.
Cocoa and wine are being sipped by the various different groups of people who have made it out for the event. Look at them, listen to them -- all mingling, some giggling, others discussing the oddness of star-shaped stickers, even more already saying things like: "Dreams? Oh, I forget most of my dreams..." "Do you!? What a shame - last night I dreamt I was lost in a supermarket, but there were all these huge, round blueberries, only they were guarded by snakes and..."
See? All very civilised - very sociable - very artsy - very well to do.
It seems Allen has found something to wear. Or, more accurately, something has been found for him. A big bundle of something orange and furry is thrust at him, accompanied by good-natured giggles. He sighs, mumbles his thanks and then goes off in search of a place to change.
"Are you saying that this theater's proprietor /isn't/ a friend? You two sure seemed friendly enough the other day..." Cerise has a doubting eyebrow crooked at CB's answer, making a show of picking up a mug of cocoa and holding it up to her lips as if that makes her appear more innocent. Then Haruki butting in gets the woman to grin widely. "See! You /are/ friends! So where is she?" As if expecting to see Franklyn right then, Cerise arches her head to look either way, not seeing Franky but she does see several others. Allen gets a bit of a curious stare because he's big, but when she spots Roland, she blinks several times and her eyes go wide in surprise.
"Oh look!" Count says cheerfully, spotting (*and overhearing) CB, and making his way over towards the man. "It's Comrade Eeyore!" Count ignores the scowl and gives the wizened a big and wide grin, a bastards grin, golden eyes gleaming with pleasure and mischief. "Yer fucking up the dresscode hombre, get with the program." This si said as he walks up and pats CB on the back, but Count isn't lingering, because there is alcohol to be had. Haruki gets a lifted chin from Count, and then the beast is slipping past, towards refreshments.
Speaking of well to do... Here comes Franklyn -- making no grand entrance, but merely gliding in from stage-left, dressed like she was going to Business Dream School in immaculate white silk pyjamas with black piping. She must be a professional dreamer! Who else would probably spend more money on pyjamas than most people spend on clothes in six months? Franklyn is speaking to a short woman with red curly hair buzzed down the sides, who's stern, serious expression is undermined by the fact her pyjamas are black with glow-in-the-dark spaceships all over them. What are they chattering about? Who knows! Probably serious stuff, because Franklyn is not looking out at the audien-- attendees yet, but she is gesturing animatedly while Red takes notes on a clipboard.
Yeah. Guess who's the boss? It's Franklyn.
"The truth is important," C.B. tells Haruki. "Except when it's not." He gives Haruki an eyebrow raise, but it doesn't seem /particularly/ mean. He eyes up Roland as the man comes in, outright snorting at the sight of him. But wine is great. Wine is where it's at, for C.B. Who is not going to be caught /dead/ in /any/ colorful novelty PJs, unless they are Kafka novelty PJs. Then, maybe.
He scowls around at all the various people gathered here. Stupid bougie...then Cerise is talking to him again, so she gets the scowl. "'Friend' is such a boring word," he says crossly. "How the fuck should I know where he is?" Then Count is approaching him, and he gets a looong side-eye from C.B. Who is actually standing right where the alcohol is, so -- Count is probably not moving far from him. "Bite me!" he exclaims, and is then...distracted by the entrance of Franklyn. Very distracted. And squinting.
It might not be like Roland to forgo wine or other refreshments, but, given what he knows about Garreau hospitality, there will likely be plenty to go around for quite awhile, so why not wait out the rush?
He notes Franklyn's arrival with a smile, almost as if he expected nothing less of her. He seems to sense the attentions of another, and see turns to see Cerise looking at him. If he recognizes her, it doesn't show.
Haruki just looks disappointed in CB's response. As if someone had just told him Santa Claus was not real. He gazes at CB with his golden-brown eyes and tries to process that. In the end he just replies with a soft "okay." He's still holding the wine and well there's Franklym, doing her organising. So he goes to claim a spot for himself, where he can put down his stuff, and then maybe get a hot chocolate.
By this point, Cerise is pretty much ignoring CB's grouchy replies and his staring at Franklyn, and Franklyn's entrance altogether. She's still staring, rather rudely at Roland, and when he appears to look in her way, her head tilts and her expression wrinkles up in confusion. She pulls her gaze away to wander after Haruki, prodding the man with her one free hand, and gesturing over in Roland's direction. "Hey - does that guy look weird to you?"
Allen returns from wherever it was he went to change.
And what a change it is, too. The poor giant is covered from hooded head to footed foot in bright orange fur. The hood is decorated with giant googly eyes, pipe-cleaner whiskers and a white ball with a smaller black dot on it.
He's a hamster. Well, maybe more like a Guinea pig, given the size difference.
The saddest Guinea pig in the world.
Coming around after picking up a glass of wine, Ardis pokes C.B. in the back while he's squinting. "I bet your optometrist could tell some real hair-on-enders," she says. She's smiling a wide, unselfconscious smile, like she didn't notice that he winced when she came in the room. Coincidence? "There are supposed to be scary stories later, right?" She takes a long look at Franklyn's pajamas here. And at the saddest guinea pig in the world... who is also the biggest guinea pig in the world. Wow! Then she turns to Cerise. "Hi! Who are you?" Seeming to remember that demanding someone's identity without divulging one's own could be a little strange, she adds, sounding like it's an afterthought, "I'm Ardis."
Having successfully managed to alienate every friendly person in the room, C.B. downs his glass of wine, takes -two- more -- one in each hand -- and kicks his attache case towards the wall, so he can go and brood by himself. 'Course, Ardis interrupts him just before he goes to join said lonely attache case. He snorts over his shoulder at her and says, "The swiftest way to avoid doctor horror stories is to never go to the doctor," which is sound advice everyone should take. And then he takes his scowling, dressed-up self over to that wall and squats down against it, miraculously managing not to spill either glass of wine.
Well, indeed, Count is not going far from CB at all, and when the Wizened tells CB to bite him, he gets a look, and the smile Count returns is wide, too wide, pulling his lips back from teeth that are, to the eyes of changelings, rather less than friendly. While the eye teeth and incisors are human, the canines are rather sharp and rather over large, as are every other tooth behind, going back to the molars. "You tryna tempt me CeeBabes?" Count asks, a mix between chipper and wicked.
Wine, in a glass. Count is frowning at this, Count doesn't do glasses, he does bottles. The whole concept of a wine glass just annoys him, but, when in Rome. "CB's right, Truth gets you in more trouble than it's worth." Count asides tot he Asian bunny boy nearby.
Haruki's as soft as soft can be, the rabbit onesie made for comfort. He smiles at Cerise, sweetly, and follows her gaze over to Roland. "I don't think I know what weird is anymore." He admits in barely more than a whisper. And then his gaze goes to Allen, who he looks at with wonder.
C.B. doesn't do wine glasses, either, unless he's on a date, which is rare. He scowls at the hugely-toothed Count, because his place by the wall is not at all far from the source of the wine (purposefully). "You wish," he tells him. But then he has to add, "But I was just fucking with Haruki. I'm a firm believer in truth." Why does he look so bloody earnest when he says that to Count, looking right into his face? And then looking away again with a sigh, down into his second glass of wine.
Up on stage, Red turns and pressed something in her ear. Oh. It's a comms device. Franklyn looks out at the audi-- attendees, smiling serenely and just... Watching.
Two college-aged kids dressed in matching striped PJs stop and gawk as they see Allen walk back out in his best hamster outfit. Boys! Don't they know it's rude to stare? At least they're having a good time, giving the tall fellow four thumbs up as they pass by, en route to the cocoa/wine bar.
Over by Haruki, a older lady in a floral night robe offers the room's most sympathetic smile, a wrinkled hand pressed to her chest. "Well bless your heart... What's your story?"
There's a lot of that going on: people stopping one another, using the cards they were given to ask about dreams or stories or just put stickers on one another. Why not? Its like a strange, strange play. Are these people actors, or just people? Have they been paid to be here?
The ushers certainly have. One glides on up -- a blonde boy of about 24, who probably doesn't want to talk to anyone, let alone C.B. Alexander. He looks nervously between him, Count and Ardis, afraid to be interrupting, but... Blondie's got a box in his hands, and he's trying to pass it over to C.B., "...Mi-mister Alexander? These... For... Compliments of the house..."
"But you see him..." Cerise stares at Roland a few more seconds, right up until the point where Ardis introduces herself. She turns around to face the other woman even though she's clearly distracted. Rather than let Ardis distract her with smalltalk, Cerise pulls her closer and then gestures to Roland, "Cerise, but does that guy look weird to you? And you can see him right?"
The giant rodent gets a chuckle up the silken sleeve from Roland, but sensing the large man's obvious discomfort, leaves him to his own devices for now. His eyes are drawn back to Cerise again as she speaks to her companions and seems to indicate him. Is she a fan? A former student? Who can say? Honestly there's so much to see at the moment. He seems content to lean against the wall (leaning? How unlike him!) and watch for a moment.
C.B. stares up at the young blonde man, giving him every reason to be nervous. Good think the blonde can't (probably?) see the white and blue sparks that shower out everywhere from him, like someone stuck a fork into a toaster. The box is snatched with a rude, "Give me that." He shakes it around, holding it up to his ear. "This better be cocaine. A lot of cocaine. Or ammo." Then he rolls his eyes and nods at the courier. "Thank you. Thanks. You can go away now." He tries to shoo him off with one hand.
When Cerise pulls her in, Ardis slips an arm right back around her for balance as she turns her head for a long, hard, scrutinizing stare at Roland. "Hmmm...." An intriguing question! But after a moment or two, she looks back at Cerise and just opens her eyes wider. "Why, are slippers weird? Sorry... I don't follow." The arrival of that box distracts her, though. With any luck, it will be something embarrassing. Or maybe dangerous? Dangerously embarrassing. Ardis's smile gets a little wider and she unwinds herself again for a drink of wine.
The college boys get an embarrassed grin in response from Allen. He takes a few more steps, then stops for a moment. looking around. Does he know anyone here? It doesn't seem that way. But cocoa seems nice, as does the people at that stand, so he sort of accidentally follows them and waits his turn to order.
Haruki nods. "I think I see him. Yes. You could go over and talk to him? He's real, I think." A hint of uncertainty there. He smiles at the older lady who approaches him. "Not my story, anothers. He looks around for the best lighting and he moves there, before he begins to tell the woman his tale.
"So very very firm." Count agrees... well the words are agreeable, the tone is skeptical, meeting C.B.'s gaze head on, and raising one eyebrow. Glass. Wine. Drink. Empty Glass. More Wine. Repeat.
Count is just getting another refill when he gets approached by an Elderly Woman with a card, and she starts asking him things, and Count's eyes light up. "Oh let's go take a walk dollface!" and he casually turns and puts his arm around the shoulders of the elderly woman, who's name turns out to he Phyllis, and starts to talk "Lemme tell you about the time I was in Costa Rica..." a place Count has never been. "...awake for seven days on a binge of cocaine and margaritas, and the dreams I had when i finally slept, knocked out fer three days..." he's telling his bullshit story when he looks around, spotting Franklyn for the first time, giving her a flash of a grin and an exaggerated wink, never once breaking up the flow of words. "...hula dancers... ...captain crunch... ...insulin..."
"Right." Cerise nods to Ardis, but when the woman slips away, she goes back to eyeing up Roland suspiciously. After a few more seconds of this, Cerise makes a decision and begins to cross the theater towards him. Not directly, of course, but by going around outside of the room so that she doesn't seem obvious, of course. When she does reach there, she crosses her legs and sits down across from Roland, offering only, "Hi."
C.B. opens it up, and pulls out...neither cocaine or ammo. It's a pair of soft cotton red-and-black plaid PJ bottoms, and a black t-shirt emblazoned with the white words: I Would Prefer Not To. Well, he has to smirk, because wouldn't ya know it, he owns that very same shirt! Now he has two of them. Really, you can never have too many Bartleby the Scrivener shirts.
Even though he gives absolutely zero indication that he's going to put it on, something in his face softens. A smirk is not a smile, but it is better than a scowl. Isn't it? There's a little note that he is squinting at, too. Eventually, he reaches into his blazer and takes out a pair of silver wire-rimmed glasses that are completely fixed and whole. Then he snorts at the words, shaking his head.
He's reaching into his pocket for a -- omg! -- cell phone, delivering some words to Count before Phyllis drags him off: "You only wish you were as firm as me." He's almost done with his second glass of wine.
"Hello," the Silken Slumberer responds to Cerise with a quirk of an eyebrow. Roland is rarely flappable, and so isn't now, but he is certainly intrigued. He reaches into a pocket in his robe and pulls out a pipe. It's clearly a prop, though, because he gestures with it to indicate the theatre at large. "Quite the time everyone is having. Even you, I assume?"
"Once, at the beginning of time, when the world was new the animals gathered together and each decided to perform an act of charity under the light of the full moon," Haruki begins. "A starving old man came upon them." He shoves up the sleeves of his onesie and with his hands makes the shadow of an old man appear on the wall beside them. "Monkey who was quick and clever, climbed the trees and gathered fruits, which he laid down before the man so that he might feast." The shadow transforms into a monkey, and then a tree as he tells the story, finally a shadow apple, which then becomes a real apple through a feat of sleight of hand. He offers said apple to the woman. "Not to be outdone otter swam in the river and caught fish, which he brought to the man in offering." And again that play of shadow puppetry, otter, fish swimming. No real fish, thankfully. "Now fox, he was a thief, and he snuck off and stole milk to give the man. And each of the animals brought what they could find until a feast lay around him. Each animal hoping to best the last, hoping that he would be deemed the most charitable. And rabbit, what hope did rabbit have, for he was small and fast, and all he ate was grass, and no many could survive upon that." He makes a cute little rabbit appear in the shadows, it strokes its face, looking worried. "So he offered the man the only thing he could, himself, in sacrifice. The man, who was no ordinary man, was so touched by the sacrifice, the genoristy, and charity of the rabbit, that he cast him up into the sky, painting him upon the moon, so all that saw it could remember the rabbit and how he was willing to give most of all." And there Haruki finishes his story.
Cerise sets her cup of cocoa down in between her crossed legs, careful so that she doesn't spill the dark liquid on her pink, silk PJ's. She nods her head slowly in response to Roland's question, but still there's an odd little expression on her face as she eyes him up. "Excuse me, you look like someone I know, but I didn't get your name?"
Allen waits his turn at the cocoa booth patiently until he finally reaches the front of the line. He takes a steaming up, mumbles a thank you and makes room for the next person.
The cocoa is good, and rich, and leaves a brown mustache over his top lip. He doesn't seem to notice it yet, so intent he is on watching everything else going on. He allows himself a smile.
The old woman in the floral dressing gown - Flora, speaks to her, moving to join him near the light. "Speak up now, let everyone hear..." Oh, so it's gonna be that kind of a deal: where people are asked to share short little stories, eh? Apparently so! She starts ushering Haruki off toward the good light by Count and Phyllis -- because of /course/ Flora knows Phyllis. Flora is a regular old socialite - she even turns and waves at Allen. Who could miss him?!
Up there in her Ivory Tow-- no, on the edges of the stage, Franklyn seems totally fine just... Watching everyone. That's odd. Isn't she usually in the business of being watched? Maybe she's having a weird day. A slight jerk, then she's reaching into her pocket -- ah yes, brand new gold iPhone. So shiny. So bright. She taps on it, glancing up around the room only briefly before phoning it in.
The low-key chill out classical music remixes just keep coming and coming: it's very mellow. -VERY- mellow. Perfect kind of ambience for storytelling and eventual sleepy times. Of course...
Flora seems delighted by the shadow puppet show, and Haruki's story. What if all stories had such a delightful ending? "Have you heard anything like that?" Flora looks up, and happens to spot Ardis and her lilac lipstick.
"Roland Garreau," is the quick reply. The stem of the pipe goes in his mouth as he extends his hand in greeting. "I must say that it's a bit refreshing to not be instantly recognized, but I shouldn't kid myself into thinking that I'm such a household name. Yet." He pauses, seems to remember his manners. "And you, my dear?"
Haruki of coruse skipped the bit where the rabbit gets eaten. He skipped the bit where the rabbit is burned up in the fire. It is a nice, happy, cheerful story. He's not the best storyteller ever. He is good at the shadowpuppets though. And now he's finished he's gone all shy, hiding his hands away in his sleeves again.
C.B. sits by himself near that wall, emptying wine glasses and -- gasp! Texting. How far the mighty have fallen. Texting on a pretty nice-looking new black phone, though certainly not as extra as Franky's gold iPhone. He's smiling softly to himself, almost sadly. His head leans back against the wall, and he looks up towards where Franky is standing, watching everyone. Now C.B. is watching her watch everyone.
The giant is so easily embarrassed, which is a shame, really. Still, Allen returns Flora's wave (Is that her name? How in the world would someone like that know him?) with a half-wave of his own. Then another sip of cocoa. He must be loosening up a bit, since he's starting to acknowledge thumbs up with waves and actual smiles, and even bending down and posing for the occasional selfie request.
There certainly is a lot of watching taking place in this room. But what about... exploring? After finishing wine number one, Ardis picks up a second glass, takes a quick look around the room, and moves off from the wine (and cocoa... can't forget the cocoa, can we?) bar for a proper scoping out of the space. She tosses Flora a lazy wink as she passes by.
"Now I mean, this never happens, but there was so much tequila involved I needed some viagra, but what I got was a green pill, this low grad knockoff mixed with..." And Count keeps diving into a store that seems to be growing more and more improbable, and crude and now there are hand gestures involved too.
The beast didn't miss C.B.'s last comment too him, but the only rise out of Count was a smile back at him, looking exceptionally pleased, giving him an enthusiastic thumbs up, like one a parent might give, proud and encouraging.
"Anyway gorgeous, that's how I ended up getting deported from Cuba on my twenty first birthday. Well, not deported really, i had to get my ass on a raft before the Federales found me." The smile he gives Phillis is full of wide eyes innocence, as if he's told her all the truth he possibly ever could.
"Oh, right. I think I heard of you." Whatever spell that Roland had over Cerise, it seems to dissipate when she hears his name. For the first time, she pulls her eyes away from him and lets them land on Franklyn up on the stage instead, remembering why she's here. There's a slight frown, thoughtful, before she returns attention to the man she's sitting with. "Cerise Hodgson. I think we're supposed to be sharing dreams or something? You, uh, have one?'
"Oh, how wonderful it is to have a birthday overseas," Chimes Phyllis, Count's very own New Best Friend. "You know, when I was a young girl, I traveled to Mexico with a couple of girlfriends -- one of her brother's had gone underground, you see, after an incident at the chemistry department..." Without missing a beat, old lady number two - Flora - is swooping in to take Phyllis by the shoulder and usher her away, giving Count and then Haruki a sympathetic look as she forces a chuckle, "How about we get a drink..."
Haruki's about ready to find a spot to hide in. That's what bunnies do best. They hide. Well one of the things at least. He should be asking people's stories but he doesn't want them, not the weight of the things, not the dreams all buzzing around, and he tries his best not to drown. He smiles as is expected of him, shakes his head and goes over to where his stuff is to sit next to it, so he can watch in quiet for a little bit and get his bearings.
C.B. frowns, pocketing the cell phone again but leaving his glasses on. Both wine glasses drained, he leaves the detritus behind as he scoops up the box and his attache case and weaves his way through the crowd, straight over to where Franky is standing by the stage. He elbows her elbow. Raises his eyebrows. Doesn't say anything. Very friendly and gregarious tonight, this one.
Roland quirks an eyebrow again, but otherwise seems unfazed by the.. change in tone? He leans back again taking the pipe from his mouth and palming the bowl, apparently ready to use the stem to point again. "I have many dreams, Ms. Hodgson. Dreams of fortune, fame, triumph, tragedy," here an upturned lip, "mainly for others, mind you," he continues, "love, loss..." He trails off. "Which would interest you? If any, of course." He gesticulates again. "I don't pretend to be the most interesting person here, just one of them." A joke. Hopefully.
Cerise lifts her mug of cocoa to her lips. Simultaneously, her head is bobbing up and down in that distracted way that one does during conversations. Right as she's taking a sip, she realizes that Roland asked her a question, "What? Oh. Um, what about last night? Did you have a dream last night? Maybe the last one you can remember?"
Two more sips, another picture pose with a two kids dressed in cat and dog PJs, and Allen finally seems to have relaxed to the point of acting almost like a regular person in at a social occasion. How long this will last is anyone's guess.
Up there on stage, Franklyn looks down at her phone with an unreadable expression, then pockets it -- deep breath, eyes closes, hair swooped out of her eyes. Who's staring at her, and why? Franklyn looks oddly weary, oddly tired: maybe its a good thing that she's at a sleepover? Three seconds of staring off into the void-- middle distance, and--
Franklyn looks just about ready to start striding into centre stage, when she spots C.B. lurking over in the eves. It causes her to hesitate, give him a look that's pure mime-school for: 'what the fuck?', and then she's striding forward -- out toward centre stage, towards the microphone.
"Welcome, I'm Franklyn Garreu, and on behalf of the Green Door I'd like to say thank you for coming tonight -- so glad to see so many faces..." BING! Check this out: Franklyn's all bright eyes and beaming as she smiles at those gathered, speaking in a low, steady tone. So welcoming. So not drunk. So totally got her shit together. "...And we're very happy to see everyone moving around, sharing stories, communing with one another. It's like a game, no? And what would life be, without an endless series of constant, perpetual, unending games we never really finish..."
Franklyn continues, "Tonight? Tonight I would encourage you all to think about the games we play, and the stories we well around them: how do we make sense of the world? What messages and meaning and warnings and good wishes do we send to one another, through the stories we share? What are our hopes? Our dreams? Turn to your neighbour, say hello! And take a moment, just one or two of the very few, precious moments we have, to introduce yourself and share something special... Because later? There will be cocoa, a bedtime story, and a lullaby - as well all slumber, and see what stories we come up with, when we chance to dream. Good luck sharing - and enjoy the night!"
...Aren't people not to say 'good luck' on stage? Franklyn smiles - beam! Beam! - and she glides away, off down into audience, vaguely in the direction of the cocoa and... Wine.
Haruki watches Franklyn's speech, utterly absorbed in it, taking in every single word. Or at least trying to. He doesn't turn to his neighbour though, doesn't say hello to anyone. Hasn't offered up his name either and not drunk any of the cocoa, not even the vegan kind. Are they meant to applaud the speech? He does so anyway. At least that shows he listened.
"Hm," Roland considers Cerise's question with the gravity of a king deciding the fate of a small child claimed by two women. He's about to answer when Franklyn makes her announcement; the odd digression in the middle gets a frown of concern, which he tries to play off with a shake of the head. "I'm sorry, you... you wanted a recent dream?" He pauses again, looking back at Cerise with a look that he tried to soften a bit more. "Very well." He pauses for a moment, thinking (remembering?), and then begins.
Scowl. Big, big scowl from the already scowly C.B., left standing up the side of the stage sans-Franklyn, sans-wine, sans-anything but the shit he's carrying with him. Sure, he listens to her speech, but about halfway through he's already hurrying down through the crowd to throw his case and the box in the direction of his army duffel. He stares at the three things for a time, hands on hips, like he's considering something. Then, around the time Franky's speech is over, he heads back in the direction of the wine. Oh, is Franky over there? That's nice. He's not looking at her or saying anything to her now. Just pouring himself another very full glass of red wine.
When Franklyn speaks, Cerise's attention turns up to the stage like everyone else. Like almost everyone, she listens very politely and keeps her eyes on the woman as she heads off the stage and C.B. follows her. Only after tracking Franky's progress to the wine, does Cerise return attention to Roland and listen to him while sipping on her cocoa oh, so innocently.
Count watches Phyllis get dragged off and he waves after her, and then turning his fingers into the universal sign of a telephone, putting it up to his ear and then mouthing after her 'Call me!'.
A moment later however, a familiar voice is speaking and Count drags his attention up to the stage, golden eyes fixating on the White Pajama'd Franklyn, and he listens, cocking an eyebrow at some of the words, and purses his lips. No, Count isn't good at sharing, no madame, but he is good at lying, yes he is. He smiles again, and as the speech closes, he lifts a wine glass towards the woman, and takes a long sip after.
"The last dream I remember," Roland begins, "I was the riding a griffin, dressed in full plate armor and carrying a lance. I was, of course," he chuckles, indicating himself with the pipe, "a great deal fitter and handsomer than I am now. Younger, too. Regardless," he continues, "I was a part of a company of griffin knights, and I knew that we were off to fight a pod of dragons who have been terrorizing several villages to The North." The capital letters are obvious. "We were the finest, bravest, most noble knights in the land and we banded together by royal decree to slay the dragons and return victorious."
Maybe Ms. Garreau is super tired? Maybe's she's taken one of those weird sleeping pills that make people assume their bedroom poster heros are giving them sound advice? In that case, they should probably tell her not to drink wine. Too bad! She is! A glass of red, and she's leaning forward to murmur something to the usher on drinks table duty. All very serious. Probably not 'don't server Mr. Alexander more than a litre'. Oh he's standing over there? Franklyn takes in a big breath of air, has a bigger sip of wine, then smiles.
Hey, it's genuine!
"Sorry, I know you're busy working," Hand gestures towards the wine, then Franky continues - smile never goes as she chat's to C.B. all causal like. "So I wouldn't want to /interrupt/ you -- but? Thank you for making an appearance. I saw you chatting to Count, and then Haruki -- where did they go?" A glance around, and Franky is sipping wine as she chatters onwards, "...And that woman from the record store. I... Did you get her name? I wonder if..."
Franklyn spots Count - finally! - and raises her hand to him; fingers wiggling, gesturing for him to join them. "...if she settled down since then... Shame Amanda's in New York..." Another wave -- whom to? Some stranger in PJs of course. Franky is sociable! She's gregarious! She's trying to remain lucid-ish!
"Griffin Knights, huh? So you're into fantasy?" Cerise's tone is still polite as she listens to Roland and sips on cocoa. A peek down into her glass's depths indicate that it's emptying out. She tips it back to finish the last bit of chocolatey goodness and then climbs back to her feet, and offers a hand to help Roland up. "I need more drink, and they have stronger stuff up there. Wanna grab something with me?"
Haruki's up on his feet and walking over to where Franklyn is. He proffers the bottle of expensive wine he got for her. It's a riesling from Austria, but other than that it may be amazing or terrible, but Haruki's clueless about wine. "I'm so sorry." And then. "Thanks so very much for organising this. You're amazing, Franklyn and I'm so sorry I upset you."
Yep, C.B. is standing right there, and he heard all that. More scowling. How's he gonna get properly drunk now, huh?! "You're welcome," he says to Franky. Not quite spitting, but. The closest one can come to spitting without actually being outright rude. "All that chick cared about was where /you/ were," he tells her sourly, his scowl only growing when Franky gestures Count over. He glances around for a moment like he's looking for somewhere to hide, but no -- no, C.B. There is nowhere to hide. You are stuck. Drink more wine, you'll feel better. He raises an eyebrow as Haruki approaches, watching the interplay between them most carefully.
The Silken Storyteller seems about to continue, but then Cerise makes a better offer of drink so how can he resist. "Of course," Roland replies. Wine will help. With remembering the dream. Right, with that. The question of fantasy goes unanswered, at least until there's a glass of red or rose in his hand.
With Roland in tow, Cerise ambles her way towards where the refreshments are. Cocoa mug is deposited wherever the dishes are supposed to go and she picks up some wine glasses instead. Gesturing to a couple of bottles with one hand, Cerise asks, "Which one would you like?" Then adds with a teasing grin, "Not that I'm going to judge you based on your choices or anything..."
Count has just about finished his wine when he catches Franklyn's beckoning wave, but he doesnt move immediately, instead he gives her a questioning look, a raised brow as if silently asking if that is what she really really wants. Alas, Frankyns already waving around to other people, so Count takes a moment to set down his stick figure waifu pillow, and then his bag, tho from that bag he pulls out a large bottle that once contained SMRT WATR but now has something electric pink within it.
Count, in all of his calaca skeletal PJ glory, makes his way back towards the refreshments, and to Franklyn and CB. To the woman he grins, and blows kisses to the air on either side of her cheeks. "Wonderful speech, so fancy, I feel like a high society patron of the arts already." flashing her a grin, and then looking over to CB "Hello again, fer fucks sake, you you have /any/ other expressions? I'll take a sad one, a happy one, maybe some emotional angst, but every time you look my way it's like you stepped in dogshit, it's exhausting." he brings his hands up, attempting a prayer pose around the bottle in his hand "Please." All wide eyes and faux sincerity.
Franklyn looks queasy -- putting a hand to the side of her head, like she's just got this sharp, /searing/ pain =boring= itself through her noggin to play havoc. Was it something C.B. said? She's turned to watch Haruki's approach, giving him a look which is... Is very difficult to read.
Surface level? It's a smile.
"Oh, so you've come to talk." Franklyn glances to Haruki to C.B. and back again, then gestures to the bottle of wine. A second later she seems to clock what it is, and her smile softens a little bit... Before hardening to a near frown... Then softening back into something nice. "That is a very... Excellent choice, Haruki. How kind of you to think of me, and approach after the little thing up on stage."
Nobody has told Franky that Wizened are notoriously bad at social engagement. Poor her. Her snipe to C.B. is wrapped up in a smile to Haruki, so poor little Magician? Poor everyone? "Tell me, C.B., have you shared a story with Haruki yet tonight? I'd love to listen..."
Oh here's Count! Missing zero beats, Franklyn leans in and accepts air kisses, laughing gently. "Oh I wasn't even trying, let's be honest -- I am, fucking exhausted." That -is- honest. Franky looks /tired/. What does she get up to? Probably lots of busy work. "Good thing we're all sleeping together, eh?" Oh the laughter. She sips some wine, then mmphs and gestures to Haruki, C.B. and Count in turn, "Count! Count, the key to expression is to not /push/ it. One cannot =demand= expression, they must let it /flow/, naturally -- you /live/ the feeling, and it emerges =from= you, methodically, yes? Like... You become a mere =vessel=, and from there? All that needs to emerge into this world does -- whether you like it or not."
Cerise's teasing grin is answered with a quizzical look and a smirk. "Nonetheless, I should choose carefully anyway." Roland peruses the bottles with what can only be mock gravity, before turning back to Cerise. "Red, preferably something like steak. Baring that," and here he grins, "anything that doesn't stain my teeth too badly."
"It was a beautiful speech," Haruki says to Franklyn. He's watching her much as a rabbit might a snake, wary and expecting her to bite. But she's smiling and smiling is good. He nods. "I'd like to hear a story." It's what they're here for. See smiles. Everyone's friends.
C.B. glances briefly at Cerise and Roland as they, too, approach the wine table. Count, though? Yeah, he gets exactly the kind of look he accused C.B. of giving him all the time, particularly after he gives Franklyn air kisses. After Count "begs" him, C.B. rewards him with a grin -- though it's kind of a terrifying grin. Not as terrifying as Count's is to Changeling eyes, surely, but terrifying in that it looks completely unhinged, plus he has kinda bad teeth -- crooked and nicotine-stained and he's missing several near the back. He points to his rictus and says, through those clenched teeth, "How's this? Better?"
Then, looking at Franklyn. And Haruki. And -- more scowling. After she's done, he says, "One cannot =demand= expression, they must let it /flow/, naturally." His arms are folded, despite the wine glass. Oh, speaking of that, drink more, C.B.! It'll help!
Cerise lets her hand glide over the bottles as she considers them until she finally picks up a dark red. She's careful as she pours it into her and Roland's glasses, filling them both equal and being careful not to spill a drop. As she pours, her ears are pricked towards the other conversation. She's listening, even if she doesn't interrupt yet. Instead, she passes Roland over his glass, chatting away cheerfully, "Did you know, that there's another author in town too? /Apparently/ he's in some sort of legal trouble, a fugitive from the law or something. At least, that's what I gather from the paper."
"Much better!" Count says, with a near-genuine enthusiasm, and then looks to Frank and points at C.B. as if to show Frank something amazing "And here I thought your humor gland has shriveled up and dropped away entirely." Yes, Count is actually pleased by that terrifying rictus that C.B. showed him.
"You shouln't let yourself get so beaten up Frankiedarling..." Count continues, almost concerned, but that sharp sharp smile remains, watching her expression. "Take naps, pace yourself." he lifts his bottle and unscrews the cap, taking a sip of whatever it is in that bottle. it smells like otterpops, whatever it is.
Ardis re-emerges into the main room, looking pleased with herself about wherever it is that she went. Maybe someplace with a sign that said something like 'absolutely do not come in here' on the door? She's keeping it to herself for now as she moves through the crowd of people back over to where the alcohol is. And the C.B. teasing. Well, some of the C.B. teasing. It really can't be contained to just one location! Coming up on the little group just in time to get an eyeful of that... er... s-m-i-l-e... makes the scientist burst into laughter. "Nothing else has to happen tonight," she says. "I already know that I'm going to have nightmares." She winks, and then turns to fill her wineglass again.
"You are being too kind to me, Haruki - thank you... And yes, wouldn't it be--..." Franklyn falters as C.B. faux-grins at Count, her roll slowed. "--lovely to hear a story..."
Everyone's friends, right? Oh yeah, totally friend, and it's totally casual and cool - Franklyn's a veritable cucumber. Why would her feelings be hurt? It's not like she has feelings -- other than totally cool ones, like these, the ones on her face. Look? See? Her smile is unwavering, bordering on amused like this is the most casually ironic and low-key funny yet not funny enough to comment at all kind of thing.
Haruki and Count are close, they'll catch a glimpse: Franklyn is... Feeling some kind of way.
Or IS she? Because she's just laughing and rolling her eyes, shrugging a shoulder as she listens to Count and lifts that wine to take a sip. "I can't help it, when I do something I like to work hard and see it through to completion. If I were to nap, people would think I was disinterested. It would be rude -- can you imagine?"
Then Ardis is speaking and... Franklyn's composure is wavering, and she suddenly bursts into laughter. "Ohmygawd, you and me both, girl. What's your name? What's your deal? What's your lipstick?"
Haruki smiles at CB. "Some people like the scowling dark brooding look. It's sexy. Like Edward Cullen." And then he glances at Franklyn and blushes and immediately apologises with a 'sorry.' And he's looking flustered a bit. "I'd love to hear a story. Or a poem."
Roland takes the proffered glass with murmured thanks, but then glances toward Franklyn and her... well... not antics. No, it seems more serious than that. He seems about to remark on it, but then Cerise is speaking about authors and legal troubles and he doesn't want too seem so rude. "He seems an interesting type," the older Garreau responds. "I'd like to meet him..." But then more antics. "But first, have you met my niece Franklyn? I'd like to make my presence known even just to congratulate her on this soiree of hers and perhaps you'd like to do the same." He takes a sip and half-starts in Franklyn's direction.
C.B. can't help but look over at Cerise when he hears her talking about the other author in town. "I hear that guy's devastatingly handsome. Also amazingly talented," he says, drinking wine. To Count he explains, "My humor gland expands with alcohol. It's a rare disease, I'm told." Though the scowl comes back a little when Count is giving Franky all sorts of advice or whatever. Ardis? She gets some raised eyebrows. "You know, I nearly forgot how little I enjoy being around you," he says, smiling "pleasantly," albeit not with the terrifying grin. "Who the fuck is Edward Cullen?" he asks Haruki. But he still hasn't volunteered a single story or a poem because, quite frankly, he is not drunk enough yet for that.
"A vampire who sparkles in the sunlight and hangs out with highschool girls." Count supplies without thought Re: Eddie C. his eyes however, don't leave Franklyn, not at first, and as he slips by her to go refill his wine, he murmurs something in her ear. Then he turns around, at the womans side, and looks over to Ardis, taking a moment, a moment that's a little too long, to check her out, and flashes her a grin and raises the wine glass, while his other hand is still holding this other concoction of his.
"Is he now? A regular man of rebellion and mystery then. I hope he'll stop by the bookstore some day!" Cerise calls back to C.B. in a chipper tone, before she's turning with Roland to greet Franklyn. Her smile is wide and friendly as she approaches. "We have, actually, but I'm not sure she remembers me. It was very brief, and there was a lot going on. Cerise Hodgson - in case you forgot. Aaaaand, if you're worried about nightmere's a few of these will help." Cerise lifts her wine glass, and tips the rim of it with her fingernail a few times.
That's twice now tonight that C.B. has said something pretty... well... mean, but for whatever reason, Ardis just gives him a curious sort of look, like he's a mushroom she found growing in a forest where that type of thing should never really appear and she's considering how to dig it up and get it back to the lab. That wide smile stays right where it is. "That reminds me," she answers, "of a scary story I was going to tell... Where I wrote a letter to renowned author C.B. Alexander and... " Her voice, already low and throaty, like maybe she smokes a little too much, drops even lower as she drags out each word. "...he... Answered... It."
To Franky, she turns the same big, white grin. With a long, assessing look, she inspects their host through her wine glass, then raises it in a sort of toast. "I'm Ardis," she tells Franklyn. "I like your makeup, too." Warm wink. "I'm an entomologist."
She checks Count out right back and raises her glass to him, too. "And what are you? I thought I heard you saying something about Captain Crunch before..."
"He is a dark brooding loner, who all the girls find terribly sexy," Haruki says. "And while he's a hundred he looks like a teenager. And they find him irresistable. But he knows how dangerous he is to them, so he keeps his distance and he broods sexily. He knows he can't have friends for if he does he'll hurt them." He looks at Ardis curiously as she starts to tell a story. "What's entomolothing?"
"Excellent, I'm glad you're acquainted," Roland answers, looking between Cerice and CB, then CB and Franklyn, then back to just Franklyn. His smile seems pasted on (yay!). so his sotte voce "My dear, are you alright," to his niece might seem a bit out of place to anyone not named Garreau, but this is apparently how they are. Don't break, don't waver.
How's Franklyn holding up? Through a complicated series of bones and muscles, of course! As Count says something to her, Franklyn merely shakes her head -- only to turn and laugh at what Ardis has to say, "Oh lovely, that's because the reply was two-hundred-and-sixteen pages of unfiltered stream-of-consciousness, signed off in disturbingly pearly blood with a flourish."
Now that's how a collective story is told.
As Haruki gives his opinion on Edward Cullen, Franklyn looks like she's about three seconds away from absolutely losing her mind laughing. She turns, looking at Cerise and Rowland, this bright bright -weird- smile on her face. "Oh how lovely to see the both of you -- do make yourselves comfortable, have a drink -- there's a bedtime story soon, I have to go check on the reader, since my first choice fell off the wagon -- excuse me."
Such a smile! Franklyn may be tired, but she's still got the it factor. Swooshing away, her and her ludicrously expensive silk PJs head off, off, off to... Backstage? An usher? Somewhere, through the crowd.
"Oh, Homepage Books?" C.B. says "brightly" to Cerise? "Not fucking likely. The proprietor has frequently threatened to kill the man of rebellion and mystery, so I can't see him stopping in again any time soon..." He trails off and away, his blue eyes moving over to Ardis next. He smirks. "Surely that ended in fire and flame." Caught between Count's and Haruki's descriptions of Edward Cullen, C.B. just rolls his eyes. "Ooooookay. Well. That sounds forgettable." He gives Franky a funny scrunch-eyed look at her ending to Ardis' "collective" story...and then his eyes widen, slightly, as she escapes them all. He hesitates, as though he'd like to follow -- but that didn't go so well the first time he tried that tonight.
Cerise eyes Franklyn and that odd smile, and when the woman begins to swoosh off, Cerise attempts to catch her and hiss at her, "I want to talk to you sometime tonight..." But Franklyn is likely gone by now and so Cerise leans back again and then murmurs to the group in general. "I'm going to go find a place to get settled." She says and wanders off.
Count gives Frankyn a subtle nod, raising a brow and then nods again before turning his attention over to Ardis again. "Taxidermist." Count replies, which is true, just not a well known fact about the man. "Entomologist eh? I got a colony of Dermestids back home, helpful creatures." Then he glances to CB and snorts "One of the most popular books around a few years back, made a bunch of movies too." maybe he's just telling C.B a horror story, the terrors of the modern world. "People heave been eating up that trash, making the author richer than god."
Don't call after Franklyn. Don't make a scene. This is all part of the show. This is all okay. Roland turns back to Cerise, with the apparently patented Garreau smile on his face. "Apparently duty calls..." but he's clearly interrupting CB and his important contributions to their conversation. He huffs, a bit, sips his wine, and then, propriety be damned, makes to follow Franklyn... wait where did she go? Damn it all.
When Franklyn walks away, looking a little bit like an electrical wire with the casing starting to fray off around the tip, both Ardis's eyebrows go up, just slightly. But she doesn't watch the woman leave, instead keeping her attention on the people still here, starting with a smile for C.B. when he picks up on that 'horror story.' Count explains her profession to Haruki before she can, but after he describes his own, those thin black eyebrows go up even more. She stares hard at him through her upheld wine glass. He looks pretty red through there... "Really," she says. It makes the word sound like it has about six extra syllables in it, which... Either means that she really isn't interested, or really, really is? Maybe the latter, from the way that her smile grows even brighter and she adds, "How wonderful! I love beetles."
There is probably much chatter and socialisation and activity, after Franklyn goes off to conduct business.
How do things go, as the hour creeps closer to midnight and mischief continues?
Well Franklyn finds a reader -- there are two actually...
The first story is by that old woman, Flora. She doesn't talk about bunny rabbits or moons -- she talks about a dream she had when she was a younger woman, when her and her friend Phyllis went to Mexico. In her dream, Flora lived another life; she was a diver in the south of France, and every day she would wake up and wade out into a perfectly clear lagoon, and go diving for pearls. He story is beautiful, not because of any magical things which happen - no, if anything the events of Flora's dream are plain: she dove for pearls, she came home for lunch, she sat eating bread and butter and moules-frites with her girlfriend, and everything around her felt so real, so clear, so knowable that when she awoke she mourned - still mourns - for the other life she spent as a pearl diver in love.
The second story is from the blonde usher, whose name is Joey. He's not as confident as speaker as Flora was, but he is only about twenty-four. His story rambles a bit, but he tries to paint a picture: not of any clear narrative, but this -feeling- he had once, of all these red and purple neon lit streets, down which he'd ride on low rider bicycles with a gang of people who he didn't know but felt like brothers. They were searching for the origin of this sound that felt like, totally important? Only they couldn't stop searching, and the beat just got more and more intense, and all these neon lights lit up the sky the deeper they went into the city, until everybody's faces sort of merged away and in the end nobody was on a bike, they were all part of this song in some neon wilderness. Joey says he tries to paint what he saw, and he reckon's he'll be better after art school.
When the second storyteller is done, Joey seems to think Franklyn is supposed to tell a story, but she doesn't.
No. The group breaks up -- there is coco for all, and then a skinny dude in his forties who for sure teaches yoga ushers everyone to go and set up their sleeping areas, arranged in a big circle around where he and Franky and the other story tellers are set up. Once this is done? Yeah, he leads everyone through some kind of breathing exercises -- Let your thoughts just pass on by, like clouds in the sky -- too and fro, no clinging, just moving... Hippies, pfft.
But is is relaxing, and many of the attendies are already snoring away by the time he finishes...
...does everyone fall asleep? Only the people who stay -- whoever needs to go? They can go. No worries. No drama. No problems...
Sleep and dreams.