“4.. 5… 6… 7… 8… 9.. 10.. 11… 12…”
His hands (they don’t feel like his) shake and he almost looses grip on the needles. Fuck his physical therapist, fuck this idea, fuck the yarn and the needles. In frustration Fizzarolli throws the barely started knitting project down. His hands (not his, they’re metallic and shiny and they don’t move with him) shake harder as he stares at them. Fizzarolli tries to lift one arm, growling when it doesn’t move right away.
“Work out the slight lag, they said. Take up knitting, they said. This is fucking stupid,” He mutters. Fizz growls again, trying to clench his fists.
He takes in a deep breath and reaches for the needles, slowly extending his arm ( not his, Fizz’s brain screams) far beyond what’s normal. It’s barely been a week, he reminds himself. No one is expecting him to be immediately ok, or have total and complete control over his new… pieces.
He grabbed the needles and exhaled slowly. His hands still shook but he continued the next row.
“13.. 14.. 15…” Switch to purling. “1… 2.. 3.. 4…”
He quits and restarts a few more times before the doctor comes in to give him his medication. Fizz’s physical therapist comes in right after, along with a mechanic. He sees the physical therapist’s, Dawn, eyes dart over his ‘project’ and he grumbles at the blinding smile they shoot him.
The mechanic checks all of the parts over and has him do a few simple things.
“It looks like the response time is quicker now, and I suspect in another few days they’ll be just like your old limbs,” The mechanic says gruffly.
The physical therapist gives him a thumbs up from behind the mechanic. Fizz sighs. “Great.”
The mechanic packs up his tools and Dawn hands him a pamphlet.
“This is a local knitting group. They hold meetings just down the street and they’re always looking for new members. You don’t have to join, but it would be good to get out of the house and walking again,” They say. “It’s a lovely group, I join when I find the time.”
Fizz scoffs, but takes the pamphlet anyways. “I’m not going to some granny orgy, but thanks for the offer.”
Dawn snorts. “It’s not an orgy and there’s only 2 grandmas there. The rest of them are around your age, just looking for some place to spend some down time.”
“It’s your choice, Mr. Fizzarolli,” Dawn says quietly. “I just think it would be good.”
“I’ll consider it,” Fizz snaps.
He doesn’t actually go to the weekly meetings until he’s out of the rehab center, living in a paid for apartment by his new boss. He does the night show, so he has until about 5 in the afternoon off and works until about 1 in the morning.
Luckily for him, the meetings take place at 11 and last about an hour. In the brochure it says that people bring food for everyone for lunch but it’s not a requirement. He brings his pitiful, uneven project that he hasn’t touched since he left the rehab center.
He doesn’t wear any of his jester outfit, throwing on an old long-sleeved band t-shirt and comfortable jeans. His broken horns are on display for all to see but he’s realized like this he’s basically unrecognizable as Lust’s new celebrity ‘sex jester’. As long as he doesn’t extend his arms, it’s fine.
His stomach twists on itself and when he knocks.
The door opens and a tiny imp in comfy clothes opens the door and looks him up and down. “Can I help you?”
“Is.. is this the knitting group?” Fizz asks quietly.
Her eyes widen for a moment with recognition before she smiles widely. “ You’re here for Hell’s Mittens?”
Fizz curls his lip. “… Yes?”
“Uhh… Ok! Welcome! You’re Fizzarolli, right?” The tiny imp says quietly.
Damn it, she must recognize his voice.
“Don’t tell anyone I’m here, would you? Reputation and all,” Fizz mutters quietly. “If I have to pay you to keep it quiet I can.”
“What? Oh, no! no no no, of course not, all of us have things we don’t want people to know, haha. What happens in Hell’s Mittens stays in Hell’s Mittens, don’t worry. No one’s gonna spill,” She spews out. “We just.. we don’t get a lot of celebrities here! I’m Zinny, I’m the original founder.”
The group is mostly sucubus and a few imps. There’s an elderly imp lady who’s in the middle of a story when Zinny goes and pulls up an extra chair. The smell of baking and some kind of roast drifts over the room from the table pushed to the back wall. Almost everyone has a bag of yarn beside them.
Zinny sits and gestures to the empty seat. A few people glance his way but no one says anything until the elderly imp finishes her story.
“So,” Zinny starts. “This is Fizzarolli, who’s joining us for today and possibly in other meetings. He’s asked that we don’t go gossiping about him being in this club.”
There’s a round of nods, and the elderly lady smiles sweetly at him. They go around and introduce themselves but Fizz isn’t really paying attention, too tense to really do much more than nod.
“Do you need to borrow anything, honey?” The elderly imp, Adeline, has a strong wrath accent, and gestures to her bag of yarn.
“Uh. no, but thank you, I brought my own,” Fizz says, holding up his ball of yarn and needles.
“You new to knitting?” Adeline asks.
“Started a few weeks ago,” He admits.
Adeline gestures for his project. She inspects it with a smile. “It’s a good start, hon.”
Fizz doesn’t know why that makes him so happy. He smiles a little and thanks her.
“Did you hear about this year’s extermination?” One of the succubus, he thinks her name is Angie, starts.
“They had more exterminated this year than any other year so far,” Another pipes in, an imp he doesn’t remember the name of.
He turns to his project, struggling to remember where he left off. Now his hands don’t shake when he picks it up. He spends a few more seconds trying to remember before grumbling quietly to himself and resigning to start over. There’s barely and inch there but he’s still upset about getting rid of it. It felt special somehow, a sign of him trying, he guesses.
“You’re in the middle of a knit row, honey,” Adeline says softly.
“Thank you,” he says back.
She pats his robotic arm gently. “Let me know if you need any help, dear.”
Zinny smiles at him when he glances up. The conversation has moved to the latest scandal involving Verosika Mayday and her latest attempt at sobriety. He’s met Verosika once before and she seemed chill. Could have been the booze she was almost chugging but she wasn’t out of her mind crazy like some of the other performers.
“Hey, you work at Ozzie’s, right?” Someone asks him.
He tenses up. “Yeah, what about it?”
“What’s it like working there as an imp?” She asks. “Do they treat you ok?”
“It’s fine. No one’s going to mess with Ozzie’s best announcer,” Fizz explains.
“That’s good,” The imp says. “Tina’s boss fucking hate her for some reason. It’s always a toss up whether she comes in or if she’s stuck working the shitty shifts.”
Most places in lust run mostly during the night, so getting saddled with the early day shift is probably the biggest fuck you if Tina works any performing job.
“God, my mom’s boss is such a bitch,” Angie sighs out. “Every time my mom comes home it’s another story about how that Karen is driving away customers and employees alike.”
From there the conversation dives into bad boss stories and rude customers. He learns that most of the succubus work as dancers at various clubs around Lust, and almost all of the imps either work in restaurants or sex shops.
Zinny actually runs her own business, one of the few imps Fizz has ever heard of doing. She owns a craft supplies store with Adeline, which doesn’t surprise him in the least. They skirt over the topic of how business is going, Zinny swallows hard and refuses to look at anyone.
By the time the ending of the meeting is rolling around everyone’s putting their stuff away and passing around bowls and plates of stew and various baked goods.
“Do you have any allergies?” Zinny asks. “We have stuff that avoids most major allergens just in case.”
Wow. “No. You guys really think of everything, don’t you?”
Zinny nods. “My whole goal with this group was to provide a place to have down time. Hell’s always so violent and harsh and I quite like having the pocket of quiet and calm here. I don’t know when it turned into gossip circle, but I think it’s how they de-stress.”
“Hmm,” Fizz hums. He takes a bite of the stew, nearly moaning obscenely at the rich savory flavor.
“Yeah, that’s everyone’s reaction to Addie’s cooking,” Zinny laughs. “She’s the group's grandmother, she’ll tell you it’s the empty nest syndrome if you ask. She misses cooking for her kids.”
“You seem like a very tight knit group,” Fizz says with his sleezy smile. “Pun intended.”
“Pffffft, oh that’s a good one,” Zinny chortles. “‘Tight knit’. Yeah I guess. There’s not a lot of people in the lust ring that knit, we’re just happy to have people with common interests. There’s always room for more, don’t worry.”
He goes home with a whole plate full of leftover baked goods they insisted he take. Entering his big ass, empty apartment had never felt more weird, the way the silence rang through. Fizz had also never felt as good walking home as he did this time. He worries about drugs in the food, but the feeling was nothing like any drug he’d taken, and he’s taken a fuck ton of drugs. Fizz wonders what that means, if it’s not drugs.