Rating: PG - Gen - Alec & Cindy
Spoilers: General (for all aired episodes)
Disclaimers: DA & characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: She hadn’t met a ton of X5s but the ones she had unapologetically enjoyed some fairly weird shit.
Cindy was a huge fan of silence during the fifteen minutes she had to stuff her face between runs.
Experiencing serene quiet inside the halls of Jam Pony was an impossibility but she had gotten fairly good at tuning things down to a dull roar. A fist fight over the pay phone was none of her concern. The blaring news update on a downtown car bomb was pure white noise. A few sector cops parked on the block had for some horrible reason left their dual mismatched sirens on full blast. Normal’s insistent voice over the entire mess tended to sound like the incoherent drone of the adults portrayed in the old ‘Peanuts’ cartoons.
However, some sources of provocation were much more persistent.
“Do you like the Rolling Stones?”
She had to hand it to the boy. Until just recently Alec usually started talking as soon as he had her in earshot. These days he was forcing himself to wait an exact minute before the brain to mouth filter switched off and it was open season for the transgenic’s one-way conversations.
“Pink Floyd?” Alec demanded. “Bob Marley?”
Cindy looked up from her pathetic lunch of soggy instant ramen noodles and readjusted the disposable chopsticks. Today didn’t seem like the usual deal. There had actually been an inquiry posed along with an ensuing pause which allowed a response.
“Baby, if you smoke with any of these hemp heads around here then it’s unfortunately a sure thing.”
The questions had also been asked like the bands were bizarre and rarely visited animals in the back section of a zoo. The bench in front of her locker was technically public airspace but she did wonder why Alec and his food always ended up sitting there.
“What about Led Zeppelin?” He continued.
“You guess or you do? Because I read that 1 out of 10 people claim these groups as one of their favorite musical ensembles but only 1 out of 100 own any of their albums outside of a greatest hits compilation—“
“I suppose I’m that one then.” Cindy replied.
Alec fidgeted in his seat.
“1 out of 10 or 1 out of 100—“
“One hundred.” She said. “’Cept I don’t even have a greatest hits CD.”
She looked up again at the sound of disappointment in his voice.
“Let’s just say this girl doesn’t really get into a white boy moanin’ his head off to electric guitars.”
“But have you listened to the words?” Alec asked anxiously.
“All of them.”
Cindy knew from the experience that the transgenic was not referring to the sum of the songs on one particular record or even two or three. Alec might not even be talking about all the verses that might have had the pleasure of passing Mick Jagger’s lips. For all she knew Alec might mean everything anyone in the history of rock-n-roll had ever carved into the shine of rotating vinyl.
“No.” She admitted. “Not quite.”
Alec lapsed into another bout of frustrated silence. She studied the visible struggle of self restraint the transgenic was undergoing with his mouth. The stifled questions were back logging and piling up one of top of another right before her eyes. She patiently waited as he carefully timed another minute go by on the wall clock. While standing by, Cindy idly wondered where Alec acquired his daily ham and cheese, packaged ring-dings and bruised brown apple. The apple was sometimes replaced with an equally brown banana or a withered orange. The thought that he might assemble the identical rations every morning before he went to work made her a little envious of the X5s relentless talent for routine.
It occurred to her that music wasn’t exactly something you could fit neatly into a time slot.
“When you start listenin’ to music?”
The presence of melody in her life was as constant and expected as the sun in the sky. She experienced a happy sensation when she found new forms of it that appealed to her but she couldn’t quite wrap her mind around the discovery of it all together. Flicking at a nuclear orange sliver of freeze dried carrot, Cindy honestly wished she could have been present when it had all clicked for the transgenic. There had to been an exact moment of realization when all that background noise coming through on the radio suddenly became a voice speaking directly to you. The tantalizing knowledge that all that poetry had been written all about your very own personal private bullshit wasn’t a revelation she remembered having. Corny as hell or jaw dropping genius, she’d found plenty of ways to skip a chorus or ignore some pronouns in accordance to her needs. It didn’t take much to make it all perfectly pertain to every single one of her trials and tribulations. The quality of the stanzas had a wide range but Cindy found an artist’s brilliance made very little difference in regards to relevancy.
“You find anything besides that dusty old rock?”
Alec was strangely silent as he concentrated on snapping open all three of his lunch sodas in a tidy row.
“Well now, I got to hear this.”
“Forget it.” Alec mumbled. “I like everything on the top 40 except the songs that aren’t cool to like because they’re too cool.”
“Look, I’ll go first?” She said. “I ain’t never told anybody this neither.”
Alec looked a little hopeful at the forthcoming confessional.
“Now it’s not everyday or nothing?” She assured him in a low voice. “But when the mood is right and I’ve had half a box of wine? I like to listen to some C&C Music Factory.”
He frowned doubtfully.
“I don’t mean hum along on no head phones either.” Cindy qualified. “I crank it up and do the hustle until the downstairs bangs a broom handle.”
Apparently that wasn’t embarrassing enough for Alec because he didn’t look very impressed.
“Come on now.” She wound some cold curry noodles around the chopsticks. “What can be worse than that?”
Alec shoved his sandwich in his mouth instead of answering. Cindy knew it could get all sorts of worse but she liked to treat a person’s humiliations with care. Pausing with a wad of dripping ramen, she considered that maybe she was in the wrong ball park all together. Music wasn’t exclusively regulated to the most popularly produced big named bands that everyone liked to pirate off the internet. In fact, it would make a peculiar lot of sense if the transgenic had found some joy in something that most people dismissed in favor of the famous. Cindy often found the lack of social expectation was an advantage the culturally inept took for granted. At least amongst the ones she knew. She hadn’t met a ton of X5s but the ones she had unapologetically enjoyed some fairly weird shit.
Max’s fondness for late night charismatic infomercials was always an interesting sight.
“Is it opera?” Cindy guessed. “Salsa? Some of that whale song with reed flutes? Polka?”
Alec’s expression grew more and more pained as if she was listing possible STDs rather than musical genres. It was just a matter of time before it would come pouring forth. Minute timer to ensure average human pacing or no, Alec wasn’t going to be stopped when something like the power of direct questioning was involved.
The dam predictably burst.
“Have you heard of Elvis Presley?”
“Knew a fat cat named after him.”
“He’s a singer.” Alec’s excitement on the subject heaved aside all dignity he had been trying valiantly to maintain. “He died from eating fried uh… fried everything but he was a pivotal creator of rockabilly; an uptempo fusion of country and rhythm with a strong back beat!”
Cindy remembered a string of horrible yet incredibly amusing movies the man was responsible for too. Slurping up some ramen, it made sense to her that Alec might pick up on the undeniable call of the blues. Nonetheless, she didn’t want to interrupt the rote recall that he had indubitably absorbed off a very informative fan site.
“He had a versatile voice with an unusually wide success including gospel, ballads and pop. To date, he is the only performer to have been inducted into four separate music halls of fame.”
The transgenic held up four fingers for added emphasis. Cindy sipped the salty broth left over in her styrofoam cup.
“Don’t go keepin’ me in suspense, sugar.”
“How’d he get you?” She prompted. “What’s your favorite song?”
Alec abruptly remembered the requirement for mortification once again. Cindy waited for another minute to go by but it seemed no other confessions were going to be painfully shared. Her watch went off in a 30 second warning that if her wheels weren’t on pavement within her own one minute countdown, her next delivery would be late. Chucking her trash into the bin, she pulled her riding gloves out of her back pocket and tugged them on tight with her teeth. She glanced back at Alec. No longer saddled with bothersome company, he was therefore free to push in some ear buds and fire up an antique ipod.
Pushing her bike up the ramp she contemplated which seductive drawl of the long gone Memphis star had done the trick. Hound Dogs to Blue Suede Shoes, the man had a way of performing a verbal sex act on his listeners whether they were loyal aficionados or not. It was a rite of passage to sit in a bedroom and sigh dreamily with someone’s record cover pressed to your chest.
She saw Alec smiling to a soundtrack that only he could hear and felt a share of the giddy happiness.
Those kinds of crushes were the best.
Cross posted to jam_pony_fic