The City, present day
Jasper does not know what now inclines him toward urban sprawl, other than the spread of barbwire, kudzu, and institutionalized justice. He walks with the rolling gait of a horseman between metal carriages and the bright, blowing trash. Nowhere has felt like a place he could stop though he has witnessed enough crime in the past few days to spawn a least a human lifespan’s worth of killing and retribution.
As with most displaced monsters and misfits in the City, Jasper eventually finds the alley where a sputtering neon sign alternately displays "ick’s" and "Rick’s." There is a creature on the door, but it does not register Jasper’s presence. Jasper shoulders his way inside and is confronted with the beating heart of the place, perhaps of the entire City. It thrums in the way he associates with the sea at shore, if the shore were the centre, and the sea radiated out from all sides. Here, he can drop the obfuscating sense of non-presence that he wears nearly as often as his hat.
A blue-haired waitress passes near him, yet he sees a sort of recognition in the whites of her eyes. Jasper walks to the bar. For a long moment, it is untended, then a bald but still broad man pushes through the swinging kitchen door. Jasper’s larger senses tell him in certain terms that this is a Proprietor.
"I’m sorry, but we don’t have any beverages that might cater to your taste," the bald man says.
Jasper removes his hat and presses it to his chest. "I reckon you have me confounded with the t’other of my kin. I don’t have no taste. I don’t drink blood or piss or shit or any other thing. I just spill it, if it needs spillin’," he says.
A series of complex emotions crosses Rick’s face. "Well, you’re welcome to my hospitality, then, though I’d appreciate you keeping any spilling to an absolute minimum... If you don’t mind me asking, what brings you to the City?"
"I don’t rightly know. I born out of the plain of Aakiika ‘ksimmii after the battle between the Un-nuh-kau-kun and the Cree. Some ‘a my kin are born hungry and some ain’t. Those that ain’t wander until they find a good time and then stick with it. ‘Reckon mine’s about done."
Rick pauses. "I’ll tell you what. How about a Cosmopolitan that you don’t have to drink, compliments of the house, and a back table?"
"Obliged. Folks call me Jasper."
"Rick. Like on the sign."
Jasper inclines his head. "Sign’s broke." Rick busies himself making the Cosmopolitan to cover more complex emotions.
It occurs then to Jasper that he has been more verbose, if it can be called as such, with this man than he has been with anyone in generations. He examines this notion with the cocktail in hand.