James Takes Up Gardening

A stereo sits pulsing on the curb outside of a gas station next to the wheel of a parked motorcycle, the bass thumping. "I wear my sunglasses at night, I wear my sunglasses at night.." The windows vibrate ever so slightly with the music, and inside there are two figures. The opposite side of the counter and the pack of cigarettes being pushed across the counter are reflected in a pair of blue-grey aviator shades. "I cry to you…" The graveyard shift worker runs a hand unconsciously across his somewhat pimpled jaw and over the swastika tattooed to his neck as he peers into the unnerving gaze of his customer, who pushes across a few crumpled bills. "I wear my sunglasses at night.." James grabs the cigarettes and lighter easily, pressing the pack into the palm of his fingerless leather glove-clad hand and shoves them into a pocket of his beaten jeans, his head tilting slightly. The dark blue beanie he wears doesn't quite manage to trap all of his dirty blonde hair, and a strand falls across his cheek and curls inward. The dragon stitched into the jean coat he wears glares at the gas station worker as James turns and begins to make his way out of the shop. "Don't switch the blade on the guy in the shades, oh no.."

Several people come and go, passing through James' field of vision as they enter into the gas station, some leaving with beer, some just getting some fuel, which has to be in a gas can, and probably isn't for their vehicles. Most don't even have a working vehicle now, due to the choking of the vines and foliage that has occured, killing engines and ripping up streets. None of them seem suspicious, though most of them are having to work a bit in getting over the floral obstacles that seem to make their lives that much harder. These people are the determined, and the strong willed. They didn't flee Los Angeles when it became a warzone of nature and man. Thus, they trudge. The man's cellphone goes off, vibrating in his pocket as it spews out the tone he'd long since picked for a man named 'Vinny the Rat' - "I'm going to kill you. I'm going to tear you apart. You're just a bastard. I'm going to eat your heart.". This mingles quite well with James' current music.

The cellphone is slid out of James' pocket with one hand as he makes his way outside, the door swinging shut behind him with a creak as a vine insinuates its way into the hinges. He strolls smoothly through the trash and budding plant life that grows up through the cracked concrete as he moves over to his motorcycle and shuts off his stereo with the toe of one foot, sitting down on the seat of his vehicle and reclining back against the handlebars. He doesn't seem to much notice the plants, or if he does they don't disturb him much. A finger adjusts the lay of his aviators on the bridge of his nose, passerby reflected in his shades as he watches them apathetically. A sigh concludes his thoughts and a flick of a wrist opens up his cellphone, which he presses to his ear. "Talk to me, my man."

"Yo. James. Booby. I knew you'd answer. I gots a problem here, baby. And I knew when I had it, that I'd be callin' James Frost. Da boys, dey tell me 'Dat James. He's a tough motherfucker.' and so's I tell them 'Hey. You ain't tellin' me nuttin. I know da dude.'", comes the rather obnoxious voice of Vinny the Rat, from the other end of the line. There's a bit of a pause for a moment, before it starts up again, "Check it, Jamesy. All dese fuckin' vines got me pissed off. A tree tried to kill me. I need you to go pick up a crate outta dat warehouse we talked 'bout da other day. It's full 'o White Lady. You get me dat, and I'll set you up sweet, babe.".

The mouthpiece of the phone is covered up and the device is moved a fair distance away from James' lips before he remarks, quite emotionlessly and with perfect enunciation, "Fuck." The phone is then brought back to his head and he hops off of his motorcycle, picking up the stereo with one hand like it were a toy as he speaks into the phone with the other. His voice slides into a savvy tone, clear but with the slight accent of the streets, "Listen, Vinny. I'll do it, but I need the low down. You got killer trees in this warehouse of yours? Cuz you might have to cover medical if your storage tries to shank me, I ain't perfect." As he talks, the stereo is placed into a custom-made slot in the back of his motorcycle and bolted down inside a heavy metal case with a pair of plastic screens to allow music to escape. It's then hooked up to a remote control wire that goes to a song and CD changer on the handlebars. "I trust your word though, my man. I'll get it done, you got yourself a bargain sure as spit and twice as thick as blood. Anything you wanna add to help little old me get your box?"

"..'Ey Jamesy. Babe. You t'ink I know what da fuck is goin' on 'ere? A fuckin' tree tried to kill me. A fuckin' fuck off bark an' branches and merry fuckin' sunshine lovin' tree, dude. In da warehouse. You t'ink I'm coverin' medical on dat? Baby, if dat t'ing gets you, won't be no medical. You's gonna be in need of some pallbearers..", Vinny the Rat explains. He seems quite nervous about the whole ordeal. There's another pause on the other side of the phone, before the sound of a girlish scream is heard. His voice is distant for a moment as you hear him speaking to someone that isn't you, "You's do dat again, Richie, and you'll be spittin' teeth for da rest of da week. You's hear me?". The voice gets closer again, and Vincent Michael Fausto Gabriel Vencenzi - 'The Rat', is talking once more, "You's get me dat crate, and we'll talk deals den, lovey. I gots a nice lil' pile of weapons 'ere. Maybe I'll let you's 'ave a pick.".

There is silence on the line from James' end for just a few moments, and right before he hangs up a single word crackles across. "Done." The phone is snapped shut and slid away into a pocket, and James withdraws a cigarette, holding his lighter in the other hand as he lights up. "Fucking pussy." Pushing back to slide up and onto the motorcycle, James takes a few minutes to smoke in silence and watch the passerby as he contemplates his plan, embers from the cigarette reflected in his sunglasses. "Weapons, huh." He mutters, about halfway through his session of thought. The people passing by don't seem to be given much attention, but the angle of his head makes it so that as many as possible are incorporated into his gaze at any one time, though he barely seems to move but to adjust his position every now and then. One of his hands absently brushes against the leather of his seat, fiddling with the stitching. The cigarette is eventually flicked away and he turns, keys produced from a pocket. The motorcycle roars to life, and he pulls away onto the street in search of the nearest store that carries hatchets.

Some travelling occurs here. Nothing special!

It's rough going to get to the warehouse like this, with the bike. Most of the asphalt on the streets has been torn asunder, though the sidewalks have remained intact a bit better. It's nothing for James to drop in at the Wal-Mart and pick up a standard axe for chopping wood. He doesn't even have to purchase it, as the retail store is under a current riot and raiding. With conditions as they are, it takes almost an hour to reach the warehouse, but both man and bike make it there in one piece. The massive building is brick-walled with a tin roof, and most all of it's four sides have been conquered by thick-leaved vines and an assortment of foliage that is not a common occurance. There's a padlock on the door, and peering out from beneath the vines can be seen a sign that has 'Big fuckin' tree inside der', painted on it. It seems quiet though, for the most part.

Stopping the motorcycle a short distance away from the warehouse, James reaches down to where he had lashed the axe on the side of his motorcycle, undoing the tight knot easily and pulling the thing out. He hefts it up and tests its balance before dropping it against one shoulder and beginning to meander lazily towards the warehouse. His sunglasses are pulled off and left sitting on the seat of his motorcycle as an afterthought, too valuable to have broken by some presumptious plant. The beanie joins them, letting his rather short and curly blonde hair fall more free. Bright blue eyes regard the sign, and a "Fucking pussy," is repeated as James hefts the axe and tightens his grip before swinging it down on the padlock.

The padlock breaks off quite easily as the axe smashes into it. The chunk of metal falls to the sidewalk. The second that it's removed though, the sliding doors push to both sides, drawing into themselves and opening up the path for James. They were obviously built on springs for easy entrance, and held together with the lock and handle. What greets the smuggler is something that is not unlike an enchanted forest from the tales of a child. There is no floor, so much as a carpet of vines and wild grasses that would give pause to any botanist. The air is thicker, and much warmer here. Thick leaves are attached to the vines that climb every inch of the inside of the walls of the warehouse. In the center, a rather spectacular tree has taken root, reaching almost to the top of the building. It's thick and gnarled, old seeming despite it's recent occupation. The base of the trunk stretches over an expanse of at least five feet, and doesn't seem to thin out much until the top, where it starts to branch out. Sitting at it's base is a steel container. It's not large, about two feet by two feet. It is completely overrun by flora.

This sight causes James to take pause, and his lips press together, before he begins walking forward. The axe returns to its comfortable position on his shoulder, but his eyes are constantly in motion. To the man, the world becomes even more vibrant than the already fantastical setting laid out before him as he feels the eddies of the air against his exposed skin, his ears picking up the sound of his footsteps bouncing off of nearby vines. And without a fear in the world, the lumberjack-smuggler makes his way inwards, moving towards the tree. After approaching a fair distance but with at least two dozen yards between he and the massive old tree, he raises the axe and points it at the tree, rubbing his chin thoughtfully before announcing, "You have something of mine. Give it to me, and I won't need to go Amazonian logger on your ass." Whether he seriously believes the tree can understand him, or he's practicing his witty lines may never be known. Then his arm pulls the axe back and he flings it full force at the base of the tree, and sets off /sprinting/ directly behind it, running in a blur that carries him over vine and leaf as he makes an all out dash for the goods.

Surprising or not, the tree doesn't seem to respond to James. Either it cannot speak, as would be the case with most of it's kind, or it just has no proper comeback to the intense wit of the would-be lumberjack. The axe cuts through the air, sliding end over end over end before slamming into the tremendous, thick base of the man's opponent. It takes the blow with a stoic silence, not moving as the sharpened edge buries deep inside. James flashes into a blur of movement, faster than most would ever be able to see or to keep up with, and veritably floats across the mass of vines and wild grasses. He makes it at least as far as the steel crate, and manages to get the thick mass of entangling vines at least half-off, before a groaning sound stirs in the air, followed with the tittering giggle of children's musical laughter.

The laughter doesn't cause James to stop. If anything it intensifies his efforts to clear the vines off of the box, double-time. His hands form into claw shapes and rake at the entwining vegetation, doing his best to rip it off as quickly as possible before he can pull the box away. He continually glances up and looks over the area as he claws at the binding vines, trying to find the source of the laughter. This is secondary, however, to the box, the holy grail and the source of all of his sweat (metaphorical, in this case). "Fucking pussy," he mutters a third time, but this one seems to be reminding himself of his disdain for Vinny the Rat's fear more than being genuinely disgusted with the fellow. It's repeated mentally as a mantra to keep his mind focused on getting the fuck out before whatever's laughing stops being so amused.

James continues to clear the vines from the box with a great amount of speed and strength, far surpassing that of most mortals. Senses sharpened, he manages to get the target of his attention cleared and free, jerking it from the ground by the convenient handle that's been attached at the top of it. Despite the crystal clear clarity of at which the five senses of the man are working at the moment, he doesn't notice the cause of the groaning sound until the last second, as a massive branch wraps around his ankle and jerks him from his feet, dangling the smuggler in mid-air and turning his world upside down. It's sadistic, in a thought, the way that the childish, tinkling laughter starts up again as another branch parts the buried axe from the trunk of the tree, and wields it in a fashion that a tree should definitely not be able to accomplish.

James is caught by surprise as he's swung about, barely managing to keep his grip on the handle of the prize as he is spun into the air. His eyes widen in surprise as the branch rips the axe out of the tree, and a string of colorful curses escape his lips. He glances towards the box in his hand, then the axe, then his free hand, and grits his teeth. The blood in his veins pumps furiously, and his body noticably tenses as he waits for the tree to make its strike. When it does, he's going to twist his body upwards and grab the haft of the axe in an attempt to stop the blow cold… What if I miss? Don't miss. Don't miss.

The suspended lumberjack doesn't have to do much twisting, as with a nefarious intelligence, the axe is brought swinging in an arc through the air, whistling right for his throat. Whether dumb luck, or through the grace of some higher power, it's odd that the tree can tell just where to aim. That is all moot though, for as the blade approaches, Mr. Frost braces against the impact and makes a grab for the wooden handle. He catches it with so much impact that the much heavier head snaps right off and breaks into a twirl, flat side smashing into his chest. Painful, possibly, but if it is the man doesn't seem to show it at all. The branch of the tree begins to flail in a malevolent fashion, searching for something to kill or crush, and leaving James suspended by it's other branch, still dangling, but now holding both an axe handle and a steel crate.

Despite the short period of ownership and serious amount of punishment that James heaped upon that axe, it had still taken up residence in a soft part of his heart. When the handle is seperated from the axe head, a little part of James dies. The piece of wood falls to the ground and clatters despairingly, forlorn amid the vines next to the shattered head. And then the bigger part of James reaches into the holster inside his jacket and pulls out his Colt Anaconda and cocks back the hammer. "You piece of shit, you ruined my axe!" Righteous indignation is the order of the day, and the massive bullet explodes out of the oversized barrel of the gun towards the branch that's holding James up.

The bullet rips into the branch of the tree that's holding up the smuggler, and while it doesn't break it apart, the flailing of the wooden appendage worsens the damage and does. James falls to the ground, landing upon the lush grass and tangle of vines, smoking barrel and all, with the bark-laden grasp of the plant still clutching at his ankle. From his position on his back, James can hear that tittering, girlish laughter again, almost ethereal in quality, before a rip splits open the center of the tree. It, at first seems as if it's being rent asunder from some invisible force. After a moment though, it actually seems more like a mouth than anything else.

It only takes a moment for James Frost to collect himself as he looks back up towards the tree. The laughter only seems to make him angrier, and he grits his teeth and shouts a very loud, "Fuck YOU!" Not even waiting for a response, James moves in a blur of motion as he scrambles to his feet and raises up his Colt Anaconda. The man becomes a blur of gunfire, three seperate shots exploding out of the weapon he bears with unnatural speed, all of them aimed at the mouth.

All three of the bullets from the Colt Anaconda slam into the 'mouth' of the massive tree, which shouldn't have a mouth to begin with. So little resistance is met with, that at least two burst out of the backside and find the brick wall behind, echoing the sounds of ricochet. As the smuggler takes another step back though, the doors of the warehouse can be heard to slide closed, forcing themselves together and shutting again. Apparently, they weren't really spring-loaded at all. The high-pitched, obnoxious laughter starts up again, wrapping around the man and capturing his hearing, which is quite sharpened at the moment. It sounds, actually, as if it were coming from all sides at once.

The gun is reholstered with a muttered curse as James immediately launches towards the tree, looping his forearm through the handle of the metal crate and beginning to climb up the tree to escape the laughter. Whenever he gets a moment he flips off the pervasive tittering voice, but this is rare, as he seems very intent on reaching the ceiling as quickly as possible.

The smuggler manages to get almost half-up the tree with a well-placed foot, a strong grip, and the dexterity of a master contortionist. That's roughly twelve foot of climbing in just under six seconds, which is quite a record for someone who's dodging the waving, malevolent branches of the very plant that he's intent of scaling. Both claws branches do go after Mr. Frost, and one of them snags his ankle, but he pulls off and isn't slowed. The other goes for the second leg of the escapee, but then realizes that it's just a stump, and that it's 'hand' is still pretending to be be an anklet for the opposition.

In the midst of the swirling storm of malign attack-plants, James scurries from branch to bark, leaping across the tree to dodge the branches. His hands dig in to whatever hold they can find and with the dedication of a marathon swimmer he continues to pull himself up, the thought of one of those branches piercing through his back into his heart doing its fair share to spur him onwards and upwards. It's certain that he will never look at trees the same, and might just help fund the destruction of the Amazon after this. Bad memories.

Shapes flutter past the corner of James' supernaturally sharpened vision, small and fast, too much so for even him to make out what they are. They do, however, seem to be the source of the profanely sweet and musical giggling and laughter. This is the least of the worries for the smuggler though, as the first branch comes back around for another attack upon the backside of the pest upon it's hide. Rather than making a grab, it shoves something into his shoulder, which pierces quite well and comes out of the other side so that he can tell that, while covered in delicious vitae, it is definitely the broken handle of his former, beloved axe. It comes not even close to the heart of the man, and despite his injuries, he makes it into the top of the tree, where large leaves obscure much of his vision. Just two feet above him, the tin roof of the warehouse can be seen.

As James comes to stand like a victorious hiker at the top of a mountain, after a hike in which nature had tried to kill him, bloody and impaled, the smuggler wraps his hands around the shard of wood in his body and rips it out with a grunt. His legs tense, and he makes a leap towards the roof, leading with the handle of his axe in an effort to smash through the tin at least partially before the impact of his body finishes it off, the goal to burst through the roof nearly realized.

Putting all of his effort into the movement, James smashes up against the tin roof and hits with enough impact to force free the nails which had held it down. He doesn't make it out, quite so much, due to the pushback of the tin sheet, though he does get a hand around the edge in return for the loss of the axe handle, which falls to clatter against the branches of the tree. He manages to keep his grip upon the handle of the steel container, not dropping it back into the depths of the world's worst theme park.

Dangling dangerously over the tree for a moment, James glances back at the loss of his handle. The blood that spills from his wound is the closest he will come to tears over the loss, and even that halts quickly. He spends only a split second in mourning, however, as he begins to pull himself up again desperately as the gravity of his situation once again falls back onto his shoulders in both a literal and figurative sense, getting back up before the tree can mount a response to his escape.

James has little problem in pulling himself up, despite the wound in his shoulder and the cargo in his other hand. He must have a rather deep strength to go along with those rugged good looks. Just as he mounts the lip of the roof though and pulls himself over, the screeching sound of an unnatural, furious roar can be heard to bellow from within the depths of the warehouse below. This is an absolute nightmare to the smuggler, who's senses are still sharpened to the point of a predator. He's so shocked that he /almost/ fumbles the crate back into the building, but catches it at the last instant. A glance down would show that the tree, while still flailing, is not managing to do something terrible and miraculous like uproot itself and walk.

After that close call, James teeters on the brink holding the box before taking a step back and spitting blood down into the hole on the tree, mouth twisting in distaste. He shakes his head out and presses a palm to his forehead, before making his way to the edge of the building. "Christ. All this for that Mouse-y bastard. What a fucking pussy he is. Unlucky sonnuvabitch too." He begins to climb down the vines on the outside of the warehouse, making his way back towards his motorcycle. Time to pay Vinny a visit.

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