Y16/04/04- A New Face

Cast: Nita, Dia
Location: Lily Pond, Expo Park, South Central
Time: Early evening on April 4, 2016
Synopsis: Dia meets a new face in South Central.

Lily Pond - Expo Park - South Central

A little slice of heaven, only a few blocks away from hell. Right in the center of the wonderful old rose garden is a lily pond, picture perfect and serene. The lilies are always in bloom, and the alert eye can catch sight of frogs and goldfish resting in the shade of the paddies. Rose arbors surround the little pond, enhancing the feeling of peace and giving a sense of privacy. The gentle, yet powerful fragrance of the roses even manages to overpower the acrid stink of the smog, and puts a smile on the face of every visitor.

This room has places.
Obvious exits:
Out (W)

Nita is sitting in meditation at the edge of the pond. She sits in full-lotus, her spine elongate and erect, her chin ever so slightly tucked toward her chin. Next to her is a tattered, orange backpack.

Swinging her arms playfully at her side, a young Latina comes walking down the path of the garden. The flat, leather soles of her shoes make an echoing "FWHACK!" sound against the stone pathway - but she's otherwise silent. As she reaches the end of the pathway and the edge of the pond, the young woman notices the meditating woman and stops. Placing her hands neatly in the front pockets of her jeans, she looks about the rather empty garden before letting out a barely audible, "Hmph." With that said, she shrugs her shoulders and then begins to approach the woman casually and slowly.

Nita stirs. Her eyes open to slits and her head lols back to look owlishly over her shoulder. She stares, as though she didn't know any better, with devoid expectation and obvious, wide-eyed curiosity. "Good evening, Miss," she offers lowly, with careful enunciation.

Dia lowers her upper body slightly, as if trying to get down on Nita's eye level without the other woman having to strain her neck. She gives Nita a wide, toothy smile as she approaches, but stops about five feet shy of the woman - keeping a liberal amount of personal space between the two. She says in a soft voice - almost a whisper - "Hi. Not disturbing you am I?"

"I'm pleased to have company," Nita answers in neutral, detached voice. She remains tremendously still, but the corners of her mouth turn up ever so slightly. She moves one arm only as much as is absolutely necessary to indicate the ground next to her, "I've a windbreaker to spread out if you would like to avoid the ground. It's a touch muddy."

Dia seems a little hesitant to accept the offer - probably not wanting to ruin the girl's jacket - but eventually nods after a two or three second pause. "That'd be nice of ya…" she says as she walks up to a spot immediately to Nita's right. Dia grabs ahold of her jeans by the belt loops on either side and gives them a quick hoist before she squats down towards the ground, but waits to help Nita with spreading out the windbreaker before completely sitting down. In the meanwhile, she smiles once again and adds, "Dia Chavez… "

"I'm Nita," the other woman answers. It's a forest green windbreaker, vaguely dusty inside and out with red clay-dirt. She returns to near total stillness, head canted toward Dia. She stares intently. "How is your evening?"

"Pleased ta meet ya, Nita…" Dia says as she smooths out the windbreaker with the palms of her hands and checks for any jagged edges underneath that would disturb her sitting. Satisfied with her new seat, Dia lowers herself down into and Indian-style position. Resting her elbows right above her knees, she clasps her hands together in front of her and leans forward slightly. Looking out over the pond, she responds, "Ehh… Could be better… Didn't see anyone I really wanted to talk to tonight, so I thought I'd come down here to the pond to justify driving out here…" She then looks back to Nita. At first, she pulls back a bit as she notices the staring, but cautiously moves back in to a more relaxed, but tensed position. "What about yourself?" she asks unsuredly.

"It's been very, very strange," Nita admits candidly. "I was in the downtown elysium when a mime stabbed some guy I've never seen before with safety pin." She pauses for a full second, becoming very still before adding, "It was highly surreal. Enough to make you retreat for a while."

Dia draws her lower lip in and down, exposing her bottom teeth in a sign of exaggerated disgust and shock. "Ewww…" she says softly before shaking her head, perhaps trying to clear the thought from her mind. Turning her eyes back to the pond, she continues to respond to the comment. "Well, it sounds as if you win the blue ribbon for Tonight's Best Story… Part of me wishes it was there, just for the excitement… Then again…" She lets the comment fade and just shrugs her shoulders, hoping Nita can fill in the blanks for herself. After about two or three seconds after that, she asks, "So are you from Downtown or are you a native of South Central?"

Nita considers this statement for several, full seconds. "I don't really live anywhere. If it's a question of origin, the desert is my home, and I will return there in due time, ojala." She frowns, "If it is a question of politics, I will rally to South Central if the need arises, but until then prefer to serve as a critic. And you? Where do you call home?"

"Florence…" Dia says with a smile, as if proud of the fact she's from the streets of South Central. Turning to look back at Nita with a smug look on her face, "Live down on MLK Boulevard with a few other folks. Been doin' so for the past couple of years… well except last year… but that's a whole 'nother story." She smirks to herself, looking down briefly at the surface of the windbreaker before looking back up at Nita with a curious look in her eyes. "But what's this about ohjello? Is that some kind of new orange juice drink I ain't heard of?" she asks.

Nita nods once, barely. She moves further only as is necessary to make herself heard. "God willing, we shall not tempt Providence, it means. It would be insensitive to assume."

Dia draws her head back slightly, her eyes still focused on Nita. She remains frozen like that for a second or two before quickly nodding, trying to feign understanding when its obvious that the whole remark was lost on her. "Gotcha, gotcha…" she says as she nods her head and looks back to the pond. "So you like to come out here and relax or what's the deal?" she inquires.

"I don't like to assume that I shall live to return to the desert," Nita clarifies, studying Dia overtly, unblinkingly. "I might appreciate tonight less. The word 'Ojala' means that I do not assume that my will should come before necessity." She pauses again for an awkward few seconds before she answers with all simplicity, "It's good to sit and think."

Dia nods quickly this time, evidently hitting a moment of enlightenment as Nita dumbs down her previous explanation for her. "Okay - makes sense…" the young woman says as she begins to pick at her cuticles with her fingernails. "Yeah… I usually have plenty of time to sit around and think… My boss likes to bring me along to things, but usually has me sit outside or something and wait for her…"

"Who is your boss?" Nita inquires directly.

"Ali Santiago…" Dia says plainly, looking back at Nita with curious eyes - trying to see if the name registers with the other woman. "Ever heard of her?" she adds.
Nita nods promptly, briefly. "Yes, I've met her." She stares with casual habit. "May I ask what you do for her?"

"Well, I used to go run errands… Picking things up when she couldn't…" the girl starts out. She tilts her head towards her right shoulder and briefly scratches her right ear for a few seconds as she continues to talk. "But over time, she had me running messages back and forth and just representing her out in public, mostly in South Central… Guess I've kind of grown on her like a bad habit where she just keeps me around now for whatever she needs."

"Fortunate," Nita murmurs. "Have you heard of this concert at the skate partk next week?" Her voice stays low and her eyes narrow so that they barely seem open at all.

Dia leans back slightly and nods her head. "Yeah! Yeah…" she affirms. "I heard some rumors about something taking place in the skate park, but I didn't know it was a concert. Couldn't figure out for the life of me what the hell people were talking about." Dia shakes her head and shrugs her shoulders as she bites down on her lower lip for a moment. "Been out of the loop too long I guess… What do you know about it?"

"One of the bands," Nita answers, her eyes opening faintly. She draws a breath at an awkward moment in her sentence to support her next words, "Is associated with border killings. Maulings of cattle. Things described as satanic killings." An ant crawls out from her hairline at the back of her neck, angling downward to her t-shirt collar.

Dia closes her eyes and shakes her head as she listens to the description of the band. "Can't say I care to listen to that shit…" the girl says as she opens her eyes and looks back to Nita. She unclasps her hands and holds them up, her palms out towards Nita, "No offense if you're into that thing… It's just not my scene…" the girl adds quickly. Whatever the case, she doesn't seem to notice the ant on the woman's neck or simply chooses not to acknowledge it.

"I'm not," Nita answers flatly. "But it attracts police attention. I would not want it in my neighborhood. Ali may wish to know. The press is inconvenient."

"I'll see she knows about it…" Dia says, nodding her hand and reclasping her hands. "Though I'm sure she's already been keeping an eye on it and all that… Thanks for letting me know though…" she adds with a smile towards Nita.

"It's good to make sure," Nita says. Only her lips move, "The last few days may have been distracting." The ant veers, traversing Nita's throat horizontally.

"Sounds like it from all the idle gossip I've been hearing…" Dia says, nodding hear head in acknowledgement of Nita's insight. "Ain't been the best week for some people I've heard…"

"It's been," Nita pauses, searching for exactly the correct words, "Too emotional. Difficult to watch."

Dia lets out a soft, "Hrmmm…" but doesn't say anything for a few moments after Nita replies. Dia turns to look back over the pond and watches the tiny wind-generated ripples on its surface. Finally, she breaks the silence when she says, "Again… Don't want to be one of the headline stories, but can't say I wouldn't like to go watch some of this take place… More just to feel like I know what's going on than being told second or third hand."

"Why don't you?" Nita asks plainly.

"Why don't I what?" Dia asks, turn back to look at Nita in the dimly-lit darkness. "Why don't I want to be one of the headlines? Or why do I go watch this all take place?"

"Why don't you go watch some of this take place?" Nita clarifies promptly, using more of Dia's own words. The ant pauses and lingers just under her right ear.

"Ehh… Just never in the right place at the right time…" Dia says softly before smirking. "I'll go in some place for an hour and walk out… The next morning, I hear someone had their hand cleaved off or a box of kittens exp—…" Dia slows her speech down as her eyes focus on Nita's face. Squinting slightly, she continues, "… -lodes… Not to be rude or anything, but I think you got some dirt on your neck there or something…"

Nita is, in fact, covered in a fine patina of dirt, although she might just look brown in the night. She frowns, concentrating a moment, squinting hard. Her eyebrows knit together. It takes several seconds. she locates the ant, lifts one hand dreamily to collect it - this takes another few seconds. Distantly, she extends her hand, peers at the ant, and then puts her hand on the ground to await the ant's departure.

"Oh, it was an ant…" Dia says after watching Nita remove the insect from her skin. "Couldn't tell what the heck that was out here. Just saw something dark and thought the wind might have picked up something and threw it on you… All gone now I guess."

Nita considers this at some further length, and squirms slightly. "No," she admits. "I think there are a few more. I slept in a friend's yard and he has ants."

Dia's eyes narrow for a second or two as she looks Nita over, slowly realizing that the woman is in fact covered in a thin layer of something, most likely dirt. "I see…" Dia says softly. "Can't be too much fun… Did that for a few days this past year when I was travelling. Not exactly what I'd call the best bed or protection, but it does the job… How long you been taking dirt naps?"

"Several years," Nita answers. "Almost since the beginning, in one form or another. It grows on you after a while, some kind of great cocoon, and in distant midday dreams, I remember the sun's warmth. It is a blessing."

"Never really thought that myself…" Dia responds, having to give her two-cents on the concept. "Ruins your clothes, gets a kind of funk on you that won't come off with a dozen showers, and well… ants." She smiles briefly, showing she means no insult by the comment. "But to each his own I guess… Have met a couple of people that think the way you do and I can't argue with them. Just have to say I much prefer a matress in the corner of a darkly lit room."

"To each her own," Nita answers amiably. She stirs again as the ant departs her hand and makes its way on off, her expression becomes less distant and gives away gentle humor. Her nose twitches once.

"Well, I know you got sleeping arrangements covered, but if you ever need a lift around South Central…" Dia pulls her right hand up to her chest, extending her thumb in towards her sternum. "… just give me a call. Might even be able to rustle you up a loaner if you need one."

"It's kind of you to offer," Nita says. She stretches upwards, unfolding her legs and letting them fold to one side, leaning back on one wrist. "The city driving has been difficult for me after a long distance. Seems like it's gotten much worse." She smiles, warming almost by the moment, returning from whatever distant part of mind and memory she'd been exploring in meditation.

"Not a problem… I /love/ to drive…" Dia says, and by the inflection in her voice, it sounds as though she really does mean it. "I know the streets her like the back of my hand… Can get you across South Central in less than thirty minutes or you money back…" she boasts. "You have a number you can be reached at? Or would it be best if I just gave you mine?"

"I'm between phones," Nita answers, with a faintly amused squint and nose-wrinkle as she admits it. "It was an exciting week. Best give me yours and when I figure it out, I'll call. I need to get it handled in the next couple days. If you don't mind," she pauses, offering, "I can give you a close friend's, actually, too. He's usually able to find me."

"Alright…" Dia says as she reaches back into her right rear pant pocket and produces a rather roughed-up looking business card. The card itself is just a blank piece of card stock with a telephone number written on it in blue ink. "714-8346…" she says as she hands Nita the card. "If I don't pick up right away, just leave me a message… I'm pretty good about checking it regularly. But who's your friend?"

"I'm here visiting Conrad Little," Nita answers, digging in her pocket until she pulls out a mangled piece of paper with a phone number. She leans over to reach the outside pocket of her backpack, withdrawing a pad of recycled paper and a black ball-point pen. She transcribes the number and writes "Conrad, in case Nita still has no phone" above it. "Thank you," she says, taking the card and offering the paper.

Dia exchanges the paper for the card and quickly tucks it away in the same pocket she produced the card from. "Alright… I'll use this as a last resort kind of thing. Don't want to bother your friends or scare 'em if I call looking for you…" she says with a smile before bringing her hands back around to clasp in front of her. However, when she does so, something catches her eye - the time. Looking at her watch, she leans forward to inspect the time a little closer. "Dios!" she exclaims. "Is it already? 12:05? I need to get dinner and check on Ali… Totally lost track of the time…" With that, she scrambles to her feet, but is careful not to go forward into the pond. Smoothing out her pant legs, she looks down at the other woman and says, "Sorry to dash off like this, but I got a few things to take care of… I do appreciate the chat though."

"It was good to meet you," Nita says, smiling. "Goodnight, and thank you again for your kind offer." She reassumes her former pose and turns her attention out to the surface of the lily pond.

Dia nods quietly and proceeds to dash off towards the exit to the garden, her footsteps fading in the distance.

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