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all the world's a stage

Discussion in 'Pandora, Year 1 - 7' started by Jefferson McDonough, Jan 6, 2018.

  1. January 5, Year 7
    @Phillip Carlyle

    Pandora, Pandora, Pandora. He'd heard it about a hundred times already, but it hadn't really answered any of his questions. What was Pandora? Part of Jumanji? It had to be. It wasn't home and he was still in this body. Not that he was complaining about the body, he could definitely have looked a lot worse, but there were other things that could have been better.

    The mosquito thing. Definitely the mosquito thing.

    To say he was feeling anxious about all of this was an understatement. A lot of things frightened him. Well, mostly the prospect of tripping over himself and cracking his head open and dying frightened him. Or maybe taking a wrong turn and being eaten by a T-Rex or something. Dying scared him, that was what it really came down to, and given the previous two deaths he'd been through, it was understandable. Alex wasn't cut out for this stuff. But even more than that, the unknown scared him, and this new area in Jumanji called Pandora definitely scared him.

    But he couldn't just duck off into a corner and hope everything would go back to what he knew as normal. So he was wandering through Pandora Town, down a creepy street in Blackhaven, eyes peeled for any thugs who wanted to mug him. That would've been funny since he had no money. Except it wouldn't have been funny at all, it would've mostly been horrifying. The place gave him the creeps, though, and once getting to a nicer part of town didn't really seem like an option in the close future and it started downpouring overhead, he ended up wandering into the theater, which looked ... kind of fancy. Fancier than he'd expected, given the street that it was on. It was empty, too, or so he'd thought.

    And there was Alex, dripping rainwater all over the nice carpet as he started to wander down the steps between the seating, staring up at the stage with awe. He'd never really been a theater geek in school. He'd been sort of the opposite of theater geek.

    #1 Jefferson McDonough, Jan 6, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 6, 2018
    Phillip Carlyle likes this.

  2. Phillip had to admit, there were certain things about living in a circus that he never thought he would get used to when he'd run away from his old life and joined up. Most of it had to do with smell, naturally, but there was also that now-familiar deep ache of a long day of hard work -- something he had experienced very little of in his life if he was being particularly honest. Everyone had forgiven him of that, but there was nothing he could really do to stop them all from laughing.

    (Not that he even wanted to, of course. It wasn't as if every single night, crowds of people didn't pay hefty admission to go laugh at them.)

    What had possibly been most unexpected of all that he'd gotten used to, however, was Anne's presence. He'd never known what it felt like to be so comfortable with a person, to instinctively search their presence out in crowds or expect them to come up at any time behind you in a moment of quiet. That sensation was more like a phantom now than a warm feeling, and it made authoring any new scripts a little difficult when he could never get his mind to focus on 'what is' instead of 'what should be.' Hell, he would've settled for 'what could be' if that meant he could get his imagination sparking again.

    As it was, Phillip had no choice but to take a little break unless he wanted to risk losing his own mind over situations beyond his control. And Pandora was definitely beyond everyone's control, despite any strange magical creatures he'd already encountered upon being sucked into this strange place.

    (And strange non-magical creatures, such as that little boy with that sword he'd ran into more than once rounding a hallway's corner on Sara's ship. If she hadn't reassured him repeatedly that her little time-travelling adventures didn't bring back unwanted company, he would swear it was all haunted.)

    He stood on his new theater stage and took a deep breath, eyes closed as he imagined himself back at home. And no, he didn't mean home as in that tiny apartment he'd rented in Blackhaven or that quaint bungalow he'd bought for himself back in New York. Home meant stands packed full with an adoring audience, sweat dripping off his neck from behind after a performance well done, cheers reverberating in his ears for him and his performers.

    Without realizing it, he took a bow on that empty stage in that empty theater. No cheers, no bright lights, no applause -- just him, his ghosts, and this very wet, very strange looking man that Phillip spotted immediately upon rising.

    "Excuse me, sir," he said instinctively, feeling a warm flush rise a little ways up his neck as he readjusting his fine white shirt. "I'm sorry to say, but this theater is closed until further notice. You're--" He stopped himself as his good sense kicked in through his embarrassment. "Would you care for a towel? Or a change of clothes? I'm sure we can scrounge up some type of old costume here."

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  3. Standing there, cold and dripping wet, he found himself staring up at the stage, realizing a moment later that, as a matter of fact, it wasn't as empty as he'd thought it was. There was somebody stood there on it, somebody he could only assume was an NPC who worked at this mysterious little theater in this dangerous part of this mysterious little town. Alex had about a hundred questions for him, but he seemed to be distracted bowing to his imaginary audience, which wasn't actually so imaginary at all.

    Oh god. Was he smiling? Alex tried with all of his might not to smile, but it was honestly completely impossible to pull the amusement from his lips as the stranger finally noticed him. He looked embarrassed to say the least, which-- Okay, well that was weird. The NPCs in Jumanji weren't really all that expressive as far as things like that were concerned and it would probably have been a lot more normal for him, but instead, he was addressing him like nothing weird had just happened at all.

    It wasn't really that weird, actually. About as weird as Alex playing air guitar to nobody at all.

    "Uh--" he finally managed, a dry laugh escaping his lips as he lifted a hand to run his fingers through his dark, wet hair. "I wasn't lucky enough to be backpack guy, so I don't have much in the way of gear." Alex paused, staring across the way at him before suddenly clearing his throat. He was talking to an NPC, he wasn't gonna have any clue what he was going on about.

    "Nevermind, I--" The sound of thunder rumbling from outside made him jump as he threw a glance over his shoulder before looking back. "Change of clothes would be nice. Just nothing totally nuts, something at least a little fresh. Doesn't have to be to the max, obviously, you get what you get, but ... Look, I know the place is closed and all, but can I just stick around for a little while until the storm clears?"

    Phillip Carlyle likes this.

  4. Phillip in fact didn't have any clue what this man was going on about, but it had more to do with him referring to himself as 'a backpack guy.' Or rather, not 'a backpack guy.' He figured it was just a rather odd one to denote himself as the one not responsible for, perhaps, of the group he looked as if he might've been traveling with before arriving to Pandora. His clothes said that much.

    "Very well," he agreed without really understanding, choosing not to ask any further questions regarding his meaning. It wasn't as if this man was the strangest thing he'd seen so far in Pandora, and at least he hadn't commented yet on the little performance he had spotted Phillip giving when he'd wandered in. "You needn't worry about the cleanliness of the costumes here, I promise. Everything has been thoroughly cleaned. And I'm sure there's something...appropriate to find you."

    It wasn't as if the theater put on any interesting shows in the past as far as his knowledge went. Or, well, at least none that would require the glitz and glamour of the circus's attire. In fact, most of the plays bore more resemblance to his older work than anything he'd produced while in Barnum's company. That said enough as to his opinion of them.

    He waved the man up the small stairs that led to the stage, intending it as an invitation to follow him behind the curtains and into the backstage area. It was barren of other people due to the theater being in-between shows at the moment -- and the fact that it was more or less dreadfully understaffed.

    "You're welcome to stay as long as you'd like," Phillip promised, rolling a rack of old costumes out. A thoughtful expression touched his face as he began to flick through them, immediately going past anything with frills or armored plating. "I wouldn't throw you out into a storm like this. When it passes, I'd be happy to show you to the shelter set up for arrivals such as yourself. Granted, of course, that you are a new arrival and not just incredibly unlucky."

    Jefferson McDonough likes this.

  5. "Wow," he remarked with a smile that admittedly seemed strained. God, was he tired of talking to NPCs. "You're helpful, aren't you?" Not that the NPCs he'd encountered in the past had been helpful, but honestly, they'd been helpful in the most cryptic ways. And, of course, some were just plain useless and all Alex really wanted to do was put their lights out.

    As the other man waved him over to join him, Alex barely hesitated, clearly eager to get out of those wet clothes that were weighing him down. He'd always been really fascinated by how real everything felt, but then again, when there was the danger of actually dying in the game, well ... it wasn't really much of a surprise anymore.

    Trailing after the other man into the back and watching him roll out a rack of clothes, Alex sort of lingered awkwardly behind him, not wanting to intrude, but just as well wanting to check out what was on the rack. He sort of sidled up beside him, not getting in the way, but still reaching out to tug at the sleeve of the most flamboyant, purple jacket he'd ever seen, scrunching up his nose and sideglancing the man.

    Drama never really had been his thing.

    But the moment the man's eyes met his, he released the fabric as though he knew he probably shouldn't have actually been touching anything. "Uh, yeah, that's what everyone keeps saying. Pandora, right? I've heard it, like, a billion times since I got here, but everyone's pretty clueless about it. Where are the town guides with the pre-programmed over-helpfulness? Because I think you guys need a few of those."

    Phillip Carlyle likes this.

  6. Phillip glanced at him over his shoulder with a curious expression. He...did tend to enjoy being helpful, that was true. It wasn't anything out of the ordinary to say to someone, but he couldn't shake the feeling that this man was treating him...well, as strange as it was to think it, sort of like he wasn't a real person. He didn't dare to try and say it was the same kind of treatment the others in the circus had spoke to him about when it came to being treated as less-than-human, but Phillip felt oddly as if he were a sentient oven or something.

    "I think the town is supposed to have a welcoming committee," Phillip said cautiously as he continued rifling through the clothes. "I, personally, have yet to encounter anyone from it. I must have been missed during my arrival, but considering the amount of folks who come and go every day, I wouldn't exactly blame them for any of their oversight."

    After about a minute of combing through some more over-the-top costumes and ones that didn't even look close to his size, he finally produced a simple white shirt and black pants for the man. "I believe these should fit," he said as he handed the costume over. It wouldn't be a hard fit, either, as both the shirt and the pants were incredibly loose. If Phillip was correct, they were the bare bones of an old pirate costume used in a past production. All that was missing was an eyepatch.

    Jefferson McDonough likes this.

  7. “Wow, you think they’d be as efficient as the guy who rolled right up to me in Jumanji,” he muttered, pressing his lips to a fine line and shrugging his shoulders as he looked around them with absence while he waited. Maybe this portion of the game had programmers who needed to get their shit together, take some notes from the Jumanji guys or whatever. Then again, the game would’ve benefitted from some more life-like NPCs.

    This guy was a pretty life-like NPC.

    As he handed over those clothes, Alex smiled and nodded his head in thanks. “Thanks, man, you’re a life-saver. Totally righteous,” he said, slipping around to the other side of the rack of costumes so that he could pull himself out of his soaking wet clothes and pull the incredibly tame costume pieces on. He was relieved, he didn’t want to look completely ridiculous.

    “Hey, so have you ever heard of Jumanji, by the way?” he called distractedly from the other side of the rack. “No one else I’ve talked to has, and I’m just over here trying to figure out what I’m supposed to do next, you feel me? It’s totally bogus.”