Logs:Habibi Jeebies

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Habibi Jeebies


Characters: Fawn, Fen, Jeanie, and Ramsey
Date: 2020-03-20
Summary: The Fixers and Friends make a beer run to the Habibi Grocery -- only to discover their neighborhood grocer has become a hostage situation.
Disclaimers: {{{disclaimers}}}

Soundtrack: Seal - Fly Like an Eagle

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Habibi Grocery - 9530 Hayne Blvd

North Kenilworth's answer for the neighborhood bodega. Although named with an Arabic word -- Habibi means "My Love" -- the store has come to be owned by a pair of neo-pagan hipsters since the bubble burst after Katrina. There's even a delightful altar behind the cash register complete with tea lights, crystals, scattered bones and -- for no real reason -- a wee bonsai tree. The crowning jewel of the altar is a taxidermied crow on a bit of wood.

The store proper is not overly large, comprised of a few aisles in front of the cash register, containing the usual goods. The three back walls are devoted to cold items (left), beer and beverages (back) and freezer (right). One will find a little bit of everything crammed into the few shelves -- even a section with a delightful array of CBD, hemp, and incense products.

--

Habibi Grocery lies on the same street as the Fixer Upper; just a mile and a half down Hayne Boulevard; a mere five minute walk for the Fixers and their friends. It's a favorite shopping destination for Axle, since they have actually had toilet paper the last couple of times she stopped by. Post-Katrina, the little corner store was bought up by a 30-something hipster couple who learned all they need to know about religion from the neo-pagan Pinterest boards.

A cone of eucalyptus incense is burning behind the register at the moment -- it's good for respiratory ailments so one must assume it will cure COVID-19. Some kind of whale sounds video is playing on a tablet in a metal stand; the serene honks and baroos of sea mammals along with tinkling chimes and flute?

For some reason the place is deserted. It could be the general ambience of... something off -- and not just the humpback hullabaloo on the speakers. The sales floor is currently deserted. And there's a small pool of blood on the counter -- which might go unnoticed by anyone first entering and headed to collect their Friday night supplies. There's a sale on Craft Brews in the beer fridge at the back of the place; build your own six pack for $10.

--

Did somebody say craft beers at a relatively normal price? That'll get Ramsey in the door, even if the whole place smells like shitty cough drops. He's got his blue mechanic shirt on worn open over a white undershirt and a pair of jeans, and a trucker hat with a witty slogan crushed into a cylinder and shoved in a back pocket. He doesn't really need to worry about the current disease himself so much, but his hands are cleaner looking than usual, as he seems to be taking precautions for others. "Oh god what's that.. It's like a Ricola exploded in here. But one that smells like a penny." He sniffs the air, glancing side to side, having a hard time separating the blood from the ambient scent, but he'll probably eventually sort that out.

--

"B, double e double r-u-n, Beer runnnn," Fawn is singing happily under her breath as she trucks along with Ramsey, kicking a few rocks just outside the grocery to watch them skitter off down the road before she's stepping into the shop. Hey! now this is her kind of grocery store! She's dressed in jeans, boots and a tshirt tonight, nothing too fancy. They're just here for beer.. and maybe some Slim Jims, after all. Fawn starts to head back to the beer to take a look at what's available. Sweet.

--

Man, New Orleans is lots more humid than Boston is time of year. Not that it actually affects her in any way, but she's mindful of fitting in. So no jackets tonight, just a faux-vintage SLAYER tee, jeans. The John Deere cap is jammed on backwards and she's got her mirrors on. Pink hair swept back. She's a tag-a-long. Really she just seems super chill about having a PERFECTLY NORMAL evening hanging out with folks like perfectly normal people do. Okay be super cool to be out clubbing somewhere, but this is nice. It pushes all the nice buttons that massage the social soul. So yeah she'll break from the truck and join people in the corner shop, even if there's nothing at all in here she has any practical interest in. M'be the vaping supplies. Not that she can afford any. Whatever y'all are doing though, she stops dead on entrance. Cocks her head slightly. Sniffs. Fuck. FUCK. Why's shit always gotta be complicated. Should she mention anything? Something about the blood in here she can smell clear as day? "Uh."

--

Deserted not for long! Jeanie's not-new, but somewhat improved (at least repaired!) SUV drives right into the small parking lot and parks without nearly exploding, shortly after Ramsey's truck. No song though, as she's more reciting a grocery list under her breath... "Toilet paper, carrots, peppers and hummus..." Surely that shouldn't bee too hard to find, but a walk down the beer aisle can't hurt anything, right. "Top Hat! Fawn! Funny meeting you here!" Not that funny seeing as there are only so many stores in the close proximity. She'll wave, but stay at least a couple feet away for now.

--

Something is nagging Ramsey about the scent, but he's not picked up on it as fast as Fen, but the gears are slowly turning as he turns his head slowly. To Fawn he says "Hey, see if they've got any of that pilsner that I like, in the green bottle." He then reaches for a couple of the meat sticks in the individual wrappers, tapping them on the display like drum sticks for a second before something tags in his brain "Aww, hell," right before Jeanie's greeting registers in his consciousness, having him turn mid-sentence and then says "Oh! Hey, yeah. How's it going, what are you doing out here? Hey, Fen, you, ahh...?" He makes a slight grimace. "You smell that?"

--

The store must have received some fresh supplies within the last few hours. There's actual by-God Charmin tucked onto the shelf at the back of the store, alongside some packages of napkins and other paper goods. The produce section is quite small. Bananas, apples, salad fixings, including a few green peppers; its all in a few rows of woven baskets. Mini tubs of hummus, too, in the cooler.

Somewhere in the back room of the place there comes a muffled voice. Hard to tell what has been spoken. Plastic strips provide a makeshift "curtain" between the sales floor and the back room of the joint; at the end of the freezer section. Someone brushes past the strips, but does not come out into the open, as if slinking past the door to the back room to peer out.

--

"Green bottle.. Check! C'monnnnn pilsnerrrr," Fawn says as she looks around, at first getting distracted by the fancy craft beers with all the nice artwork. That must mean they taste better, right? Fawn opens the door and grabs a cardboard beer holder, loading up a few of the slots before she's looking for the beer Ramsey wanted.. and bingo! She'll take a couple of those, too, but then something's catching her eye. Fawn allows the door to close with a thump and she meanders back a little closer to that curtain. Just a bit. That was creepy.

--

Sure. Look at the vampire to confirm the smell of blood. Stereotype much? Is it obvious that she does. Fen is already looking around to see where it's coming from. The counter. It must well have a beacon how fast she can hone in on it. Actually it weirds herself out a little. These are powers still novel. "I have a bad feeling," Fen notes. In that calm, simple sort of way one might while shouting FUCK in their head. Her eye drifts from the blood, over Fawn's way. Was there a thump over there? Yeah that's probably bad too. It's all bad. Ungood. Awesome.

--

"Groceries???" Jeanie drags it out as if the answer to what she's doing should be all to obvious. Originally she overlooked Fen's arrival, but that uh catches her attention and a bit of a shiver and trails after Fawn toward the curtain. "I think something's off..." She can't put her finger on it, but it definitely isn't the produce and she'll nod in agreement with Fen's bad feeling. She stares back at the curtain and those muffled sounds. "I think someone might be back there... the cashier maybe?"

--

Ramsey's nostrils flare again and his eyes dart to Jeanie heading to the back, and the motion that way, then toward the counter that Fen was looking at. Red. Yep. He slowly takes a breath and essence courses through his body as he walks, not visibly but there's a feeling of something there, as he calls upon the gifts of strength and the full moon, stalking quickly down that center aisle, not exactly pushing Jeanie aside, but overtaking her eventually on the way to that back area.

--

There comes a terrifying -- or possibly terrified -- yell from the back room's entrance, where a startled looking, zit-faced individual steps into the doorway with a mop handle in his hands. The yell consists of, "I'll fuck you up, motherfucker!" as the mop is brandished in the direction of whoever is first in line gathered at the back room's plastic-strip entrance, which zit-face has parted with the mop. In the gloom behind him there are a couple of other faces; an elderly woman, and a street punk who the Fixers would recognize as being from the neighborhood. And zit-face is wearing a Habibi name tag on his polo shirt.

That's about the time the lights in the grocery store flicker, as if power were being drained from somewhere in the facility. The tablet runs on batteries, but even it is being affected, a long, sorrowful bawoOooo of whale song playing at half-speed filling the air around the front counter.

--

Fawn is still standing there looking towards the back room when that yell makes her jump and quickly take a few steps back. Her eyes cut over to Ramsey and back, and she does a quick shuffle to bring herself closer to the front. Freaky or not, they'll be leaving with the beer, and she drops it off by the counter, pushing the cardboard carriers out of the way with her foot. As the lights begin to flicker and the music slow, she cringes. Whale sounds are really freaky at half speed. Fawn shoots a glance then towards Fen and Jeanie, then slowly stalks closer to the middle aisle where Ramsey went.

--

It's okay if Fen's arrival was missed by Jeanie. Really the tiny Gangrel doesn't stand out much. Until you see her, then it's like well how did I not see YOU what with the pink hair and victim complex and so on. Should Fen taste the blood? Part of her feels perfectly natural with the thought, the other is selfconscious. With people /watching?/. Too weird. And then there's shouting and improvised weapons and power flickering. Shoulders bunch up a bit. This is going to be her Friday, isn't it. The teen will move in for a closer look. What's the worst that can happen? Death? Ha ha. Ha. Ha. Sigh.

--

Jeanie is not going to stand in Ramsey's way if he wants to go charging to investigate first, she'll even step aside to make the task easier. Things are getting spooky and social distancing rules go out the window as there's safety in numbers hanging back with Fawn and Fen, but then zit-face appears yelling and brandishing the mop. Jeanie steps forward, hands held out in that placating, I-mean-you-know-harm type gesture. "Whoooaaaa, Chad? Chad." A double glance at the name tag to confirm. "What happened? Where not here to hurt you. Maybe we can help?"

--

"The bird! Fucking huge bird!" Chad squawls, still holding the mop handle out in front as if it will ward off all ills. "It won't let us leave!"

--

Fen is not particularly mindful of social distancing. She's dead. It's sort of an academic problem now. The clerk seems freaked out. M'be it's a stress thing. The teen kind of relate. She works retail too. Of course there's the blood thing which is uncool b.. "JESUS CHRIST" shrieks the little thing, ducking behind a display of Pringles to get out of the way of something.

--

Ramsey's usually either stoned around everyone here or they are part of his pack and thus kind of exempt from his constantly simmering anger, but the brandished mop and Kevin Chadman, The Mad Mopper are not and he's rather unfortunately sober, so he gets the scary eyes from Ramsey who all but snarls when confronted and leans forward. "What she said. Now put that down and... Bird? The fuck?" And then Fen's shriek as his head whips around, suddenly trying very hard to make those wolfman senses work for him past the stink of the place.

--

Soundtrack: Quad City DJ's - Space Jam

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Maybe because she likes that odd sort of stuff, Fawn happens to notice something missing from the altar behind the counter that had been there when they first arrived. "Ah.. The crow's gone," she notes in a dry tone towards Ramsey as she takes a step away from him and quickly drops her gaze to the shelves around her. One can see it on her expression, the way that brain must be trying to figure something out, and then she's quickly glancing about in search of a bottle of hairspray or something similar. They have those in small markets, yeah?

--

"The crow? Did somebody steal it?" Jeanie's focusing on Fawn's words to try and help make sense of what the Mad Mopper is yelling, but then there's Fawn's shrieking and she jumps. "Look, the door's right there. And no birds." She puts on her best smile and tries to wave for Chadwick Kevinski and the others in the back forward. "You all can come out. Promise..." Does she look like anybody that would lie?

--

When shit happens, it all seems to happen at the same time, doesn't it? The Fixers -- and their friends -- are simply not allowed to make a B double-E double-R U N without some kind of shenanigans coinciding with their errand. As Jeanie tries to lure the three "hostages" out of the back room...

Fen sees what she sees, and the unseen creature swoops over where she has taken shelter behind the Pringles cans; perhaps the noise it makes is simply the hoopla from the tablet and the video there which is making all kinds of ruckus. The whalesongs are gone and instead, it has switched to a raucous heavy metal video for good measure, the screen glitching out every few seconds, which causes the video to jitter and buffer, before the screeching music starts anew.

Meanwhile... There's a creeping presence up in the hanging light fixtures before a dark shape swoops down toward Ramsey. A skeletal looking bird... thing... It's the taxidermy bird from the altar, but movement has warped it, and the head is hanging off to one side, bobbing with the stiff movements of it attempting to fly around Ramsey and the others, skimming close to Ram to steal some of his essence, the head righting itself in the process, beady eyes glowing red.

"JESUS FUCK!" screams Chad, and bowls over the old lady and the neighborhood punk in his effort to dive deeper into the back room once more.

--

Fen's going to stay here behind the Pringles. There was some kinda undead evil raven just now. Which after a moment's thought probably can't do anything to her. But why take that risk. She's too young and beautiful to have to deal with undead evil ravens. Which she recognizes as a ridiculous thought but whatever she'll work with it. "What the fuck is going on here." This is somehow more a statement than a question, but hopefully someone can fill in the blanks before shit gets weirder. It probably is, isn't it. She's going to need to start carrying a bat.

--

The big cajun werewolf hisses slightly that turns into a low, deep-throated growl as he hunches after being perhaps physically but more deeply struck, feeling his essence starting to be torn away and that is something that makes Ramsey angry. Very angry. He reaches toward the metal and concrete pole that runs up to the light fixture rail that it used as sanctuary, making the whole thing tremble in an improbable, dust-and-old-paint-falling kind of way. Once. Twice. Don't make him come up there you feathered fuck.

--

Fawn catches sight of the crow and that.. head thing it does, which is freaky as shit, and then that music goes crazy... Oh. That's always awful. Heavy music in horror scenes? Damn! Fawn rushes to the next aisle over when Ramsey starts to shake that pole, and she hurries along, searching for the toiletries. Score!! Two cans of trustee Aqua Net are grabbed and taken with her as she then searches for a lighter. They gotta have one for BBQing! And if not, a small one will just have to do.

--

Promises, sh-promises. Jeanie's negotiation attempts are abandoned as she freezes when the skeleton bird of horror swoops in and after Ramsey. Eventually self-preservation instinct kicks in and she ducks and tries to hug close to the counter. "Now would be a bad time to start quoting Nevermore, right?" Even if it's a bad time for punning poetry, it is a good time to get to the end of the counter where a basket full of BBQ lighters sit just waiting for impulse purchases. She grabs two, one for each hand although not lighting them just quite yet.

--

Fen has no idea what's going on. There's some sort of crow. Or raven. She's not sure what the difference is anyway. It's all very confusing, overwhelming. She sort of seems in a daze, actually, lost on this bewildered state of what the fuck. Or spiritual pressure. She can't tell the difference.

--

The hostages remain in the back room, cowards that they are -- though who knows how long they were hassled by the spirit before Fixers & Friends made an appearance. At the least, the store remains in good order except for the little bit of blood on the counter. Whose blood is that, anyway?

Disturbed from its lofty roost by Ramsey, the undead crow swoops through the store, making another pass, this time to send out waves of Good Vibrations, directed at Fen and Jeanie. Since it doubled its victims they're receiving a lower dose of its awe-inspiring power -- given to it by months of being the center piece of the neo-pagan hipster doofus altar on the counter. One should never meddle with things like that when one does not know what one is doing...

It leaves itself open to Fawn and Ramsey's ire as it spreads the Love, what with the hairspray and lighter and the now truly pissed off Rahu.

"It won't let me call 9-1-1!" screams Chad from the back. Its powers must extend to jamming their cellular devices, considering what it is doing to the tablet. The heavy metal music fades away and the tiny screen switches to the scene from The Shining where the elevator doors open and those by-God delightful Twins' voices can be heard over the speakers. "Come play with us Danny. Forever and ever." on an endless loop.

--

Ramsey's eyes veer in a very specific way that most of them here haven't seen though Fawn has, and he is -fucking mad- right now. Caution goes to the wind as he feels essence being tugged at, and people he doesn't care to risk in the shop getting targeted with who knows. His body spasms as he bulks up, shoulders wider, face hairrier than usual, more brutal looking but people are hiding behind shelves and he is running up center aisle, his hardened clawlike nails forming into a grip as he makes a sprint then a leaping lauch up to where the dead crow has swooped low to work it's juju and... Just dunks on it. Straight through a metal shelf, shattering the flimsy aluminum and making feathers burst out like the Swedish Chef hit the thing with a blunderbus, a loud cracking and snapping on the smooth paved floor and he ducks back down on the other side of the shelf as he lands.

--

Fawn is still looking for the damn lighters when she notices where the bird is going and how Ramsey is starting to look. Her steps hesitate and she watches, seeing that it looks like Rams has it completely under control. Slam dunk. Ouch. Fawn flinches when she hears it hitting the floor, and she then hurries off towards the front, catching sight of the lighters on her way. "Of course," she murmurs before taking one for good measure. "Ya'll okay?" she then calls to the two behind the counter as she moves around the aisle to see if she can see the dead crow body somewhere.

--

One of the lighter's clatters out of Jeanie's hand and onto the floor as she gets hit with that low-wave Awe or Love or Good Times whatever. Not prepared for such Feelz, she completely misses any transformations or epic birdy smash. It's only Fawn calling out that has her slowly blinking and then trying to shake whatever was getting in her head out. "What... what happened?" What did she miss cause somehow now dazed and confused.

--

Fen's just dazed. Sitting by the Pringles. Evalulating her life decisions perhaps. Or staring blankly at the Pringles can's dude's moustache. Hard to tell with her mirrored sunglasses. She stirs a bit to voices.

--

Chad continues to hide in the back room. It's the neighborhood punk -- who frequents the area with his cans of spray paint -- who first ventures out of the back room, through the plastic strips, leaving a little bit of blood on one of them as he comes out; looks like -something- clawed up his neck, and he's holding a hand to the wound. "Is it safe?" asks the kid, making sure the old lady stays behind him. She's still carrying a red plastic shopping basket with a few groceries in it. As for Chad? Still hiding in the back like a wuss, hugging the mop handle.

--

Ramsey breathes a little heavier for a few seconds but reverts with his back turned to the humans, perhaps seeming to just deflate a bit from the excitement, yeah that's the ticket. He looks over his shoulder, then peeks over the shelf at the stuffing falling out of the once-bird. "Yeah, for the moment." He looks between Fawn and Jeanie, then to Fen, making sure nobody seems physically harmed, then leans on the shelf as his eyes trade his vision to the Shadow, seeming to look around almost blindly or as if clearing his head.

--

Fawn, armed with hairspray and a bbq lighter, steps on over to where the feathered bird lies on the floor, and she eyes it. Ew. Sawdust? Putting the can of hairspray under her left arm, she frees up a hand to grab the thing by the wings and take it back out through the entrance. Don't mind Fawn. She's just going to be outside by the road being a pyro. With lighter and hairspray in hand, she burns the thing away to birdy heaven. Rest in spaghetti.

--

The old woman leans to set the basket on the floor, stepping around it in the punk's company as the two of them move toward the entrance. Meanwhile, Chad's self-righteous voice can be heard in the background, apparently speaking to the emergency operator now that his phone is working again. "I said... a giant *bird*, lady! A crow!" he yells. That ought to get police and emergency services /right over/.

--

Jeanie takes another moment to gather her breath and while she's still a bit sluggish in her movements, the back room isn't that far away and she nods as she see the punk kid. "It is...." There's a glance back to Ramsey and Fawn but since everybody's moving around without any more divebombings she's guessing it's all clear now. "Here. Let me clean up your neck." She's not even going to ask Chad for supplies. There's a little section for first aid supplies not too far away and she'll help herself (and the kid) to a bit of hydrogen peroxide and some bandaids if he'll follow.

--

'Physically harmed' needs an astrix when applying to Fen, but let's not go there! She's perfectly normal human person. Currently sitting there and looking at her own hands as if confused that they might be attached to her. A look up. A headshake. So fuzzy hard to brain. "What." More a statement than a question. She's now looking over in the general direction of everyone, still half behind the Pringles, seeming confusedly detatched from all this. "What?" Okay that was more the question.

--

The punk will walk the old woman to the door, before he turns back to allow Jeanie to help him out with the first aid kit. He lowers his hand to reveal largely superficial claw wounds on his neck. Anyone with forensic knowledge might notice they're self-inflicted, since there's blood and skin under his fingernails. Perhaps he was clawing at himself, but thinking he was clawing at the bird. But there's some light bleeding still happening as Jeanie tends to him.

--

Ramsey glances at the punk bleeding from the neck and says "Hey, good job," then realizes that punk is bleeding from the neck and the vampire is waking up. Walking over to Fen he leans down and extends a hand to help her up, saying "Let's go outside and get you some... Air. Yeah." He glances over at Jeanie who seems to know what she's doing. He does look back over at the beer and toilet paper. He'll come back for it, but first priority's first.

--

Fawn's still outside and the flames have now burnt out, leaving the bird body smoking. And just for good measure to show that asshole bird who's boss, Fawn waits until it's been burned up before she is stomping over it with her boot. Stomp, stomp.. That's kinda fun.. She stomps on it some more. It's like that scene from Office Space when they let the printer have it. Fawn's enjoying it way too much, with teeth gritted and brows furrowed deeply.

--

"A CROW!" can be heard from the back room.

--

Jeez stereotype much. Fen lets Ramsey help her up. Though there's nothing to her and she's not thinking to struggle so it isn't like he's going to need much effort from her to be helpful. Once outside, however, she manages enough of a weight shift to change direction away from Fawn and whatever she's setting fire to. Can smell the burning. Yeah we don't want any of that. "What the fuck dude," mutters the little vampire at Ramsey. She's finding her words again, but there's lots of cobwebs still, fighting confusion of why she's confused.

--

Superficial wounds mean there's not much more to do than splash some anti-septic on it and apply some bandages and pressure, but in doing so Jeanie does notice the blood under the fingernails and possible self-inflictedness, even dazed as she is. Before she sets him free to the world, she jots down a number for a substance abuse hotline on a scrap of blank receipt paper and forces it on the punk. "In case you decide you need it." Task done there, she'll scurry on outside to the rest of the group and lets out a shiver. "What was that thing?"

--

"Little bit of a spirit whammy got you," he tells Fen in a low tone that won't carry, and then when he hears Jeanie approaching says louder "Fuck if I know! Some kind of... Birdobot. Delivery drone gone wrong? Toasty." He glances toward Fawn's handiwork and gives a big thumbs up.

--

Folks have headed outside -- including the elderly woman who gets into her massive Lincoln Continental which would easily mow down an entire city block of school children. She can barely see over the steering wheel as she pulls away from the curb and leaves the scene, sans groceries.

--

The punk, meanwhile, takes the scrap of paper from Jeanie, looking at it with a bit of confusion. But he's polite enough to give it a little wave in the air and a friendly smile. "Thanks, lady." he says, holding his bandaged neck as he heads off, himself.

--

"Taxidermy, likely. It was on the altar.. Something must have.. possessed it? I dunno," Fawn says once she makes sure the thing is dead as can be. With that done she heads back to the shop. It seems everyone made it out okay, so she's gonna go back for the beer. Can't come back empty handed from a beer run!

--

"Well, shit," Fen mutters appreciatively. That was some whammy. Didn't know they could do that. Wait. What? Something about that doesn't make sense. She'll have to try to remember to follow up on that. Later. When she can brain.

--

"Make one little bargain with a changeling and everything gets weird..." Wait, did Jeanie actually mutter that outloud? Whatever the hell it was The Pile Of Ashes That Was Formerly Known as a Raven did to her head seems to be messing with the ability to keep certain thoughts insde her head as she just nods in agreement with Fawn's assessment of possession. Meanwhile, she smiles and waves to the old lady and the punk kid as they both leave like everything's normal and there's not a pandemic or Evil Magic Birds around.

--

Ramsey dusts his hands on his jeans. "I'm sure it was an isolated incident. In any case, there's no beer run without beer, amirite? Gotta supply up for that quarrantine. Yes?" He does not know how this works. But he will head back inside.

--

The cash stand remains deserted. Chad is either still in the back on the phone, or simply in the back hiding from everyone. But things have quieted down now that the stuffed bird has been batted down and burnt. The tablet has even gone to sleep.

--

"But it wasn't just one incident... there was the whole thing with the monsters at the gas station... and the woman at the Taco Bell..." The wheels in Jeanie's head might be moving a bit slowly, but she's spewing out exactly how they're turning as she follows back into the store and grabs a basket, wiping it down with one of those sanitizer wipes that had been tucked right next to the front door. Whatever thoughts she may have been slowly piecing together soon get distracted with hummus and bananas.

Soundtrack: - Busta Rhymes, Coolio, Ll Cool J & Method Man B Real - Hit 'em High

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