(2015-09-03) Musical Medicine
Musical Medicine
Summary: Willy meets Finn deep in the woods, sharing music, trade, and philosophy. Sorta.
Date: 2015-09-03
Related: None

Deeper South Wood

The forest becomes thicker with pine trees and large cottonwood trees reaching high into the sky. The paths completely disappears, and now there's patches of poison ivy creeping up some of the taller trees.

It is summer. The weather is hot and fair.

Tall, good looking, brown hair, green eyes.
Slender, grimy, black-haired, Asian wearing too-loose clothing.

It's been an exhausting day, and Willy, after scrounging and sneaking and watching, makes his way deep into the woods. Sighing, he unslings his pack, dropping it on the ground next to one of the bigger, old-growth trees, nestled between a pair of roots. His satchel is next, not removed or unslung, but positioned for more comfort as he collapses, sitting cross-legged in front of the pack, using it as a cushion. After a brief pause, he reaches into his satchel for a canvas pouch, opening it to reveal what looks like a postmodern clay vase, postmodern because the holes down the side would make it useless for holding flowers.

He looks over the "vase" a while, then brings it to his lips, hands poised over the holes like a spider's legs, and begins to blow. The woods is filled with the breathy sound of a wind instrument playing some kind of mournful-yet-uplifting tune.

A hundred meters or so away, Finn was walking. Alone time. It wasn't necessarily that there was an over abundance of people in camp, it was just out here one did not have to worry about running into anyone. Or maybe that assumption was wrong. As the music filled the air, he shoved the plastic bottle he was carrying deep into his daypack and hoisted the pack over his shoulder. Walking slowly in the direction of the sound until it could be identified. The man with the pink backpack. He waits for a break in the song and does a slow golf clap as he approaches. "Not too bad," he says with a smirk.

Willy almost jumps at hearing the voice, song's end, rolling and scrambling for cover while looking for the voice. From behind a nearby shrub—pitiful cover at best—he glances over Finn's way, eyeing the newcomer, then casting a calculating look at the pack's distance, and Finn's distance. The gears grinding can almost be heard.

"Thanks?" Apparently the calculation came up "negotiate". Willy's voice almost squeaks before he coughs to clear his throat. "Uh, thanks," he says again, his voice an octave lower. "I … wasn't expecting company. Sorry if it bothered you."

"You're pretty good," Finn says, nodding to the strange instrument. He's guarded: doesn't want to appear to friendly nor too mean; can't give away motives and you have to be careful what you tell people. In that case, best to get right to it. "You're the pink backpack guy. Got stuff for trade?"

"I … try." Willy self-consciously puts the instrument away into its canvas bag, almost religiously cocooning it inside the satchel when it's in place. His ears are burning.

"I sometimes have things to trade," he acknowledges. "I find things. Things people need. Sometimes I need other things. Like food that's not wiggling still." A rare smile lights up the face for just long enough to make it clear it was there before vanishing. "What you need?"

"Medicines," Finn says immediately. "Pain killers, specifically… codones, codeine, fentanyl? Run across anything like that?"

"Painkillers?" Willy's face hardens as he turns his head a bit. "Not enough of those to end the pain we've got." He turns to look at Finn again. "Ain't got none of those. Got something called anti.. antibio… Uh. You know, something-or-other-mycin. For when your cuts fester and crap like that. And I got some vitamins for the pregnant chick. Those are spoken for unless you got some good stuff to trade."

"Antibiotics," Finn offers the correct terminology. It would be a gold mine to a 'real' doctor or to someone with an infection. Instead, he shakes his head. "Not today," he answers, though it's vague enough that it's not clear if he means he doesn't want them or that he doesn't have anything good to trade for them. "You sticking around here?" He glances around the trees, searching for movement or whatever. "I'm at the camp for a couple days. Let me know if you find anything else like that."

"I'll keep my eyes open. Can't make promises. I'm not the Quik-E-Mart." He puts on a high-pitched, sing-song Hindi-ish voice. "Thank you, come again!" The grin is humourless.

"You a doc?" he asks, back to his normal voice. "I could give you stuff on comp. It's a good idea to keep on the good side of someone who can help you put your guts back inside you." This time the smile is more genuine. A little. "You good at remembering favours?"

A lot of conflicting thoughts go through Finn's mind at that moment, but what it boils down to is that he may never see this guy again. If the past 8 months have been any indication of how things are going to pan out, this guy might not be alive tomorrow. Then what? Some bandit gets their hands on even more antibiotics than they already have stockpiled. Finn pulls his pack higher up on his shoulder and grips the strap at his chest with both hands. "I don't like to owe people for anything, but if you keep that medicine out here in the heat, it's going to lose its efficacy and then it'll be no good for anyone."

"It wasn't doing anybody any good when I found it either," Willy says, voice a tad defensive. "I'm the one who scrabbled through the wreckage. I'm the one who had the eyes to see it; recognize it for what it is. The only reason it's out here at all is because I got eyes that can see things others can't." He gestures at the backpack. "'Sides. I'm not stupid. I'm keepin' it deep in there. I cooled it in the stream first. This is what I do. Product goes bad isn't useful to me, is it?"

Seeing Finn pack up to go, Willy slips forward to his own knapsack. "I'll keep my eyes open for your painkillers, Doc," he says. "If I find 'em, I'll get word spreadin'. I'll hold 'em for you as the first customer for a few days if I can. And don't you worry. I ain't greedy. I trade for food and shit I need to live. I work hard to find this stuff and I use it to buy clothes and food and stuff. I ain't a packrat. And I ain't cruel."

"You find what I'm looking for, I'll make sure you're well paid," Finn promises. Even if he's got to steal from the camp to do it, cause really, who are they? A bunch of strangers who'll be nothing but memories in a few days. He digs in his pocket and pulls out a little sleeve of peanuts, the kind you used to be able to find on a gas station snack shelf. Half the peanuts have been eaten, but the top is tied closed. He tosses it at Willy. "I'll catch you around, Pink Backpack Guy." Maybe Willy really does see things other people miss. Wouldn't be bad to have someone like that looking for stuff for you. Also, Finn's a softie somewhere deep inside, even if he doesn't act it most of the time.

Willy catches the peanuts inexpertly, then secrets them in his clothing. "I'll keep lookin'. I'm doing a neighbourhood by neighbourhood search right now. It's a bit hazardous, so it's going slowly."

He looks at Finn appraisingly. "When I find it…" Yes, he said 'when', not 'if'. "…who should I spread word for? I'm Willy."

Finn is about to ask something about that, but doesn't. He changed his mind and instead just answers the question, "Finn." He turns and starts to head back to camp. He gets ten paces away before he turns back. "Be careful," he warns before turning back and continuing away.

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