Sunday, January 20, 2013

Forging the Alliance

There's a guy in town who frequents the store, and that specifically means he walks past it multiple times per day, usually with his dog. He has been into the store exactly one time and he did not rent anything upon that occasion. Instead he regaled Fernando with tales of woe and dread, how he suffered unwarranted hardships in life which wrested away all his worldly possessions after being fired from what he described as a supremely cushy job (and this is comparing the position to Keeper of the Dominion, in which one sits on one's ass and reads Fark most of the day). That Guy had relocated to the Saladolsa area to regain his footing and to try once again at forging his prior aeries of success from nothing in a true display of Algerist prowess, notwithstanding the Saladolsa area is an overall a wretched place to attempt that.
Ronaldo, Fernando later learns, has a great deal of experience dealing with That Guy, for That Guy is responsible for a significant amount of drama in his life. Ronaldo's father and That Guy were old comrades, and That Guy invoked the age-old friendship when his shit went south. He resided at Ronaldo's dad's house, ostensibly for only three or so months until he found a halfway decent new job and place to stay. While there are not many “good” jobs in the area, there is no lack of tolerable ones that keep a roof over one's head and the larder stocked, and then some. Notably, the nearby casino is always seeking new employees and pays a decent chunk more in wages than the average small business elsewhere.
Rather than seek out a place to work, though, That Guy crafted a xenomorph's nest of clutter in the spare rooms at Casa del Padre de Ronaldo. Bridget, one of Ronaldo's relations, an introverted and socially misguided sort which makes Fernando look like the prom king, was often forced from his concentric and protective spheres of nerdish comfort to take haven at the Dominion as the 2 AM fridge raids and That Guy's ham-fisted attempts at small talk burrowed into his sapience and patience like a particularly malicious candiru. The three months grew to almost a year and the promises of finding a job, any job, were never fulfilled.
That Guy, it turns out, is something of a modern drifter-slash-grifter, without any of the romantic charm that surrounds the hobos from days of yore. His modus operandi is to mooch off one of his acquaintances (it is far too inaccurate to call them friends) until that person is sick of his shit, whereupon he moves to the next one. He has become something of a professional bullshitter without the prowess or drive to find a job as a talking head on any major cable news network. The vaunted and cushy job he had once described at great length to Fernando was as a middleman and broker of antiques and other items of high value, stuff like vintage comic books and baseball cards. Supposedly, his personal baseball card collection's value was in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
But, no, the last time he has a “real” job was over a decade prior, and it was as a janitor or something.
Eventually Ronaldo's father tired of That Guy's bullshit and evicted him. Police were called and everything, for That Guy really did not want to leave. He leveled baseless accusations at Padre de Ronaldo, his wife, Bridget, anybody he could, claiming they had damaged or stolen this item or that one from his horde and that it was tantamount to a war crime that they were tossing this helpless and bereft soul and his dog out into the street. He threatened to file suit against the family (never did) for breach of contract or some malarkey, I don't know. He got to stay rent-free at a place for eight or so months and rather than be in any small way gracious, he, like all the great parasitic assholes in history, scrabbled for whatever scraps he could reach once the gig was up.
He took up residence perhaps half a mile from his previous lair, and it is there that he met with a kindred spirit, another skeevy sort who attempts (quite poorly) to guile the more successful into funding his ways by making “amazing” barters and offers to them. Longtime readers of the Chronicles might recognize him; he's the gent who tried selling Fernando a multitude of boxes of VHS tapes long ago and has only returned to the store when he thought he could get away with something on Fernando's watch. As one might imagine, these opportunities were few and far between, and a great long while passed between visits, and Fernando was more than okay with this arrangement.
Things change.

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