Apples & Oranges


This area, in the northwest section of the city, is characterized by a large number of Korean-owned businesses, serving a primarily Korean community, despite signs that simply label this as the "Asian Trade District". The streets are clean, the storefronts barely containing any English to them at all. Several of the more prominent businesses in the area do have English signs, but they are always below those that name the establishment in Korean. Restaurants, cafes, noraebang bars, grocery stores, and gift stores are among the shops found here.

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This particular district is quite unique, stuck in the middle of big-city Texas. Todd looks ridiculously out of place in the middle of all this asian culture, but he might look out of place wherever he went, with his slightly mussed hair, and casual t-shirt paired with dress slacks and boots. He backs out of one of the grocery stores, carrying a large paper sack and followed by a stout asian woman speaking Korean at him at high speed. She seems to be friendly, at least, and Todd is smiling back, even as he declares, carefully pronouncing each word, "I'm sorry, ma'am. I don't understand. Can you speak a /little/ slower?"

Paused dead center a couple paces outside the grocery door, Joaquim is hunched in the process of shielding a frantically flickering flame against a breeze to light a cigarette. The opening of the door and subsequent chatter has him whirling to get a good look at the folks exiting, before stretching a leg back to reposition himself out of the way. A cock-eyed grin slides across his lips as he playfully pretends to help, "She says come back in and bai bai bai more!"

His clothes were obviously pulled randomly from drawers and tossed on in the dark because nothing matches and pretty much everything clashes. A lime green button up hangs over a cornflower blue t-shirt, with camo trousers and runners that are hued some mystery color that might have been red long long ago.

Todd blinks and glances over his shoulder. He smiles, without a trace of suspicion, though he glances over Joaquim. He seems to be considering him for a moment, but eventually responds, "Really? Wow, I can't believe you can understand her! That's awesome. Can you tell her thanks very much, but I'm out of money now?" He glances back to the woman, who went silent the moment Joaquim addressed Todd. Todd smiles, brightly, and speaks to the woman, raising his voice a little (as though that will help), "I'M SORRY. I'M OUT OF MONEY, OKAY?" He widens his smile and nods hopefully, but the woman just stares at him. There's a brief tense moment in which everything could have gone horribly wrong…but then she just smile indulgently, pats him on the arm, says something unintelligible, and retreats back into the store.

Joao can't help but laugh, Adam's apple jumping with the jagged action in the long throat. "You should speak a bit louder, she might be 'deaf' as well as Korean." A funhouse clown smile forces the sharp jaw down, stretching dimpling cheeks as cool green eyes warm to the presence of mirth. Taking another step out of Todd's way, a puff on the cigarette sucks the lazy trail of smoke inwards only to have it expelled again through a pair of lengthy nostrils. "You need help with that?" Something about the gleam that arrives to his eyes could be a warning.

Todd is oblivious to any warnings that might be present. He just looks back toward Joaoquim, his smile faltering a little. "You think?" He glances back toward the doorway, looking vaguely disturbed. "How /terrible/. She seems so nice. I hope she has a nice family to take care of her…" He trails off, lost in thought. After a moment of this, he looks up, blinks, and smiles, suddenly. It's that same naive smile all over again. "Sorry? Oh! You mean with this. I don't think so." He glances down into the paper bag, examining the contents. "It's mostly fruit. Would you like an orange?" he offers. "Or one of these funny green things, maybe?"

Joao is an opportunist, so even if he doesn't want it, he wants it, so quick as a whip he's up close and peering into the sack, "What funny green things?" He's starting to catch onto Todd's… issue? And a more astute person might notice the byplay of thoughts that drift across his caramelized face as he tries to decide how to play this. A quick flash of the grin returns as, "I'm Joao," is added.

Todd reaches into the bag and pulls out a random fruit. "These. I don't know what they are, but they look fun," he comments, turning it over to view it from different angles. With a shrug, he finally deposits it in the bag, then smiles and sticks out his hand for a handshake. "I'm Todd Landers. Nice to meet you." There's a medical bracelet on that outstretched hand, so even if Joao was not so astute, that would probably give it away.

"That'd be a yousquat," is uttered, mischievously giving said random fruit a name. Instead of handshaking, Joao reaches for the bracelet and if allowed will take a momentary finger pinching hold to read, while the other hand swipes an orange. For that second his hand is there by the bag, and near Todd's face, the smoke from the cigarette will billow with a telltale puff long after it's gone and the fruit is pocketed.

Todd tilts his head in a quizzical expression. "A yousquat? Huh. Never heard of it…" When Joao takes hold of the bracelet, Todd twists his hand a little, uncomfortably, and though he still smiles, it takes on a kind of tense quality. It doesn't take that long to read, really. All it says is "Amnesia. ICE - Hope House" followed by a phone number. The cigarette smoke causes Todd to choke back a cough, and when his wrist is finally released, he takes a couple of steps back to find some clear air.

Joao mimics Todd by taking his own step back, doing the proverbial waving of the hand to clear the air as he babbles out apologies, "Sorry." "Sorry." "Sorry." The interesting looking man is examined ounce the smoke is cleared enough to suit the younger male. "I like your nose." It's a bold forthright statement, but in the manner it's mentioned Joaquim could have been commenting on any blase commonality.

Todd waves his hand in the air, with an apologetic smile. "Um. It's okay. Really…" The sudden compliment startles him, his smile turning into a bashful grin as he glances around, then down toward the ground. A blush rises up into his face, and he shrugs his shoulder a little. "Oh. Well…thanks? Um." He glances up, with that same bashful grin, and adds, "I like your…your…hm. Your eyes," he decides, after a moment to think.

Joao breaks out into laughter again, slightly yellowed teeth gleaming with wetness as the sun touches down. "Thank you. Which way you walking?" A single digit swings back and forth, first up the block, and then down, indicating both directions in hopes for an answer. In the interim the cigarette is sucked.

The question puts Todd on the spot, and he glances up and down the street with a slightly lost expression. "Well." He glances to the bag, then eventually shifts to hand it over to Joao. "Here, hold this for a second?" he requests, already reaching with one hand for a notebook in his shirt pocket. It's attached to his shirt by a thin silver chain, presumably so that he won't lose it.

Joao will happily take the bag, greedily visually scanning the contents the second it is handed over. Brisk glances up at Todd keep track of him while the bag is tilted this way and that so the sun's rays can mine past the top layer of contents. For the duration he is quiet, giving the amnesiac man plenty of mind space to read his notes.

There's nothing particularly special in the bag. Just a wide array of fruit. Todd pulls out the notepad to flip through it, and brightens at the first page. He glances toward the store, then back to the notebook, and finally says, "Okay…it should be…um." He glances back down the street, looking slightly puzzled. "Hm. Someone's supposed to be meeting me here. I hope I'm not in the wrong place…"

Joao struggles with his conscience, not something he is used to, so the brawl becomes quite obvious with pained looking contortions of his youthful features. To take advantage of the situation or not? The bag crinkles nosily as it's shifted into a comfortably semi-permanent position only to be followed up by the sound of his tongue clicking against the top of his mouth, signaling a decision. "Well, did you have any other place it says you should be? I could check the other for you while you wait here?" Puff.

Todd is too distracted by the trouble to notice the conflict going on with Joao. He goes back to his trusty notebook, and re-reads the note. Then, he looks to his watch and his expression darkens into a vaguely worried expression. "Oh. I'm late…" He compares the watch with the note a second time, then shakes his head. "I'm late. And it specifically says, /don't/ be late." He looks up again, glancing up and down the street.

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