Logs:Twenty Five Whales and a Llama

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Twenty Five Whales and a Llama


Characters: Figgy and Jacob
Date: 2020-05-25
Summary: Ahh, Emporium and Convenience Mart -- where lemonade is never lemonade and all sales are final.
Disclaimers:

Ahh. Here we are, another sweaty night at the Emporium and Convenience Mart. There is no air conditioning but there -is- a metal fan bolted to the wall, pushing the humid air around to lazily circulate within the concrete-block interior of this mecca of cheapness, this bazaar of chintz, this trading post of junk! One of the neighborhood locals is poking around in aisle two, hemming and hawing between a snorkel set and a box that just has 'MSYTERY' misspelled in sharpie on the outside of it. Decisions, decisions.

Behind the deli counter, seated on a tall stool, is a dark-haired woman flipping through a weeks old gossip magazine. Every so often, she picks up her phone, checks it, and then goes back to reading about Brad and Angelina's divorce. Every once in a while, just to spice things up, she texts someone something.

Smirks. Laughs to herself. Types some more. Sends.


And in walks someone who looks like he belongs ANYWHERE other than the Emporium. He's tall, with a lean swimmer's build and a whole lot of of confidence. A silken charcoal suit that might have cost the shop's stock value. A pale green shirt, which accents those hazel eyes. There's something about those eyes... but he's striding in, looking around like he owns the place. Mop of dark curls, week old beard (trimmed at least once in that time). He manages to look both haphazard and refined at the same time and it makes zero sense.

He looks around, moving through the shop. And he touches /everything/. He touches that package of strange candies. He touches the dinosaur figure that's really a dog. He touches that plastic flower that hula dances in the sun. He does the exact opposite of keep his hands to himself. Even the man looking at the snorkel set gets a friendly slap to the back.

And then he's at the counter, looking at the dark-haired woman. "I'm looking for music. Specifically, old nursery rhymes. This is where things come when no one wants them, isn't it?" He looks around, then back at her. "Do you have anything?" His accent is decidedly British. His tone suggests that he doubts it, and is getting tired, and irritated, over a fruitless search. But he's distracted by the shop itself, and looks around with curiosity as he awaits inevitable answer.


She nods at him without looking up right away -- it's not rudeness, it's not! It's just, well, she wants to finish this paragraph first. Aaaaaand done. Closing the magazine, she sets it down, places her hands flat on the counter and favors the Brit with a wide smile. Red lips spread over white teeth, her grin a wide and infectious thing. "I'm sure we have something," she tells him, cocking her head to one side to get the measure of him and her curls bounce from the movement. A little furrow of confusion creases her brow and she gives him A QUIZZICAL LOOK as she slides off her chair and ambles out from behind the deli.

"You sure you're in the right place?" she blurts out after a moment, punctuating the question with a laugh. "You just look a bit more..." Dark eyes dart over briefly to the fellow shaking the mystery -- forgive me, MSYTERY -- box. "..upscale than our usual customers."

Leading him down one of the claustrophobically dense aisles, she gestures to a large milk carton. "If we have it, it would be in there." And it's just ... a pile of CDs, thrown haphazardly in together with no discernible genre to bind them together. There is polka! There is death metal! There is ska! Leaning against a metal pillar that is right in the middle of the walkway, the woman upnods at the fellow. "Can't you just download something?"


Jacob doesn't seem the least bit offended by her taking a moment to finish her paragraph. He simply picks something up and examines it, turning it over in his hands, poking at it. When she speaks, drawing it attention, he casts it aside absently and turns his attention to her. Hopefully it wasn't too important. He smiles, "Please, thank you." Such a gentleman! He ignores the quizzical look.

He turns his gaze towards her as she speaks, though, his expression growing serious. "Are you judging me?" He looks at her intently a moment, and then he's laughing, waving a hand. "Right, right. I don't care who normally comes here. I'm here now, so just show me the music." And he follows after her. He looks around curiously, but doesn't seem to feel threatened or nervous but the close quarters. The man has confidence. Or he simply doesn't care. Either way.

When they arrive at the pile of CDs, he frowns, furrowing his brow. "Well, this won't work." He looks over at her. "How can I download something if I haven't heard it before?" He looks at her as if she just asked why dogs eat dog food. He pauses a moment, then says, "You have a player, don't you? Let's get it going. We're going to be here a while. Also, some lemonade."


Is she judging him? The shopkeeper laughs and nods. "I am, a bit," she answers, truthful but amused. Friendly. Good-natured. "But better someone like you than the guy who came in last week with a possum on a leash. If you wondered why we have that sign.." She points at a hand-written note taped to the front window that reads:

POSSUMS ARE NOT SERVICE ANIMALS

"..that's why." Suddenly, she yells as she pushes off the metal pole. "LLOYD. So help me, if you break what is inside there, you /have/ to buy it." This sudden ire is being directed at the other customer, the one shaking the box. He counters smartly: "How can we know if anything is broken? It's a --" Hand flourish, game-show hostess style, toward the sharpie lettering. "../mystery/." The cashier simply SIGHS and points at the exit. After one last shake-shake-shake, Lloyd exits the establishment.

So. Where were we? Oh yeah..

"We're going to listen to the CDs? But .." She presses her lips together and considers the box of music, the man and then shrugs. "Sure. Why not?" Grabbing a Sany -- not Sony -- brand CD player off the shelf, she starts to unbox it so they can get this party started. "I don't know if we have any lemonade. Will Mello-Yello be an acceptable substitute?"


"You should write it down. What you think now. I want to compare it to later." He smirks, but his expression seems good natured as well, playful even. Until she points towards the sign. He looks towards it, his expression growing curious. "What's a possum?" He says it so casually, as if it's weird for anyone to /know/ what one was. He doesn't dwell on it long, however, his focus returning to those CDs.

He slips off his jacket, setting it aside, even as she goes to deal with LLOYD. He unbuttons his cuffs and rolls up those expensive sleeves. And then he's diving in, pulling out CDs and looking at the titles. He can read, at least, and knows that 'Hoopamama and the Manatee' probably isn't oldschool folk lullabyes. He starts sorting. And by the time Figgy returns, he's sitting back, shaking his head, and laughing.

"This one, I have to hear it." He hands her an album labeled 'Twenty Five Whales and a Llama'. The first track is 'Serious Lava'. As opposed to the un-serious sort. "Oh, and then this one." He hands her another with an equally ridiculous name. It seems he's gotten slightly distracted. When she mentions mello-yellow, however, he looks over. "Mellow what? No, just lemonade, with the lemons. The /real/ thing." Because he's southern now and lemonade is his staple. As an afterthought, he adds, "I'll take them."


"You know, a possum. Nocturnal animal, ratty tail, beady eyes, plays dead." She just looks at him for a moment and then repeats, like that is going to make it sink in: "Possum." Now that that's sorted, she returns to her unboxing.

Once she has the CD player out of its packaging, she plugs it into the wall near the deli area and sets it on the counter. "Oh, that's not what you think," she states, pointing at the first CD he's selected. "It is /actually/ twenty five whales and a llama. It's a collection of their vocalizations." Pause. "Not the besssst." How does she know this? Well, sometimes she gets bored. Sometimes she samples the merchandise. And she will neither confirm nor deny dancing around the shop in a tutu and fireman's helmet while cranking up the tunes but that most definitely did happen.

Twice.

When he insists on lemonade, she disappears into the back room. It takes a few minutes but she does come back with a glass of yellow liquid. One prays that it is lemonade but the first sip divests one of that hope -- it's not piss, no. Piss would be better than this .. Crystal Lite shit she is serving up. But it is accompanied by a genuinely warm smile so .. that helps?

Letting him pop CDs in and out of the player, she sits herself back down on her stool and starts to write on a pad of yellow paper. What's she writing? That's a .. MSYTERY.


Possum? She describes it in more detail but he just gives her a blank look, which quickly fades into an 'I wonder if that woman is alright in the head' sort of look. He smiles and lets it pass. Who is he to judge, after all? He has all these new treasures to explore. He picks one up after the other, reading the names. He pulls out one of the CD case covers. Some of them still include lyrics. Like the 'Froggy Christmas' where all the Christmas carols are typed out in ribbitts. Pure gold.

He looks over at her as he talks about the Twenty Five Whales. He frowns slightly, then laughs. "Well, put it on anyway. I mean, how bad could it be?" Flashbacks exist because of statements like that.

She's disappearing again, then. This time, he watches her. And when she returns, he stands to claim his treat. He actually looks excited. It's an almost boyish pleasure. He takes the glass and takes a long drink. And it's almost possible to watch his world crumble around him. The realization. The denial. The betrayal. The anger. He actually spits it out, spraying it over the poor neglected CDs, then looks at the glass as if it were the one to betray him. "What. The. Fuck."

He looks up at her, then, brandishing the glass. "Did you just try to poison me?" So serious! Except he's not that hard to read and he's not being all that serious. The offense is more or less real, but he doesn't think she actually tried to end his life yet. She hasn't known him long enough for that.


Scritch-scritch-scritch! goes her pen against the yellow pad, the corner of her mouth curled into a lopsided grin as she internally laughs at the thoughts she's committing to paper. There is a pause -- a pregnant one, you might say -- as he takes a sip. Dark eyes watch him intently, a breath held caged within her lungs as she lingers in this moment of anticipation. And there it is, the moment the Crystal Lite hits his tongue telegraphed so clearly upon his features. As he spits faux-lemonade out over his immediate vicinity, she becomes a casualty of the spray. Calmly, she wipes her face before starting to write again.

"..does not care for even the finest vintage of Crystal Lite. How low are his standards? Question mark, question mark."

She's not laughing but somehow she is, the entirety of her expression gleeful and amused. Putting aside her notepad, she take the whale CD and holds it up for a moment. "Don't say that I didn't warn you," she tells him, not addressing his query about intentional poisoning. Popping it into the player, she turns it up.

It starts out kind of nice. The songs the whales sing are soothing. But juuuuust as one might start to get into it, it's interrupted by a screaming--

"Llama," the cashier explains with a nod. "Because why not?"


Jacob understands what's going on. It is a trial of fate. He's played with fate and now it's playing back. Which is why it's put him here, in this situation, with the sugar-infused spacegoat passing for lemonade, with the so-called music that... and then the llama screams.

He pushes himself up to his feet and, to do him some justice, he remains fairly calm. He brushes off his slacks and offers a friendly smile. "It's fantastic." It most definitely is not. "I'd like to have the entire lot shipped to me. Except..." He reaches out, snatching up the Sany. "I think there's something wrong with... oops." He 'drops' the Sany. And it accidentally gets kicked into the wall. He's so clumsy. And also a bad actor. He looks back at her, now that the llama isn't screaming.

"So, can they be delivered? I rode here on a motorcycle, so space is limited." Just acting as if he hadn't just broken anything. "I'll take your notebook, too. What's it worth to you?" His gaze returns to her. Still playful, but now there's a hint of something more beneath that 'high class' surface. A little challenge.


The Sany practically -explodes- when it hits the floor. Which is surprising considering its fine, third-world economy craftsmanship. Figgy looks at the bits and pieces of electronica scattered about the immediate area. She then looks at the Brit. A moment passes. Then two. Finally, she taps the end of her pen against a little sign:

You break it, you buy it.

"So, the box of CDs, the CD player, shipping and delivery, one glass of 'lemonade'," -- she actually does one-handed air-quotes as she says that word -- ".. all comes to.." Her tongue peeks out the corner of her mouth as she does some mental calculations.

"Seventy-five bucks even."

Which seems very pricey but he can clearly afford it and she needs money sooooo.... yeah. $75. However, what she /didn't/ include in that tally was her notepad and she holds it back away from him, turned just so to prevent him from seeing what she's written. "This, though, is priceless. I mean, how am I going to compare my learned knowledge against my initial thoughts if you abscond with them? No, sir, not everything in this fine establishment has a price tag." A bright smile follows. "I will need you name and address though." Beat. "For the delivery."


Jacob opens is mouth when she points towards the sign and it's clear he's going to actually have to pay for what he breaks. It wasn't like it was /his/ fault, after all. There were screaming llamas! Or llama. Either way, he opens his mouth to complain, but by the time he's taken the time to be offended and have flashbacks about the llamas, she's already calculated the total. And when she speaks it, his mouth closes.

Not for long, though, because he's offended now. "/Seventy five dollars/? Did you even read some of these titles? And the piece of shit player is probably worth that, to somebody. Gods forgive them. But the point is, you're asking /way/ too little. I'm going to accept it, but I hope it's a lesson to you. Because this, really, is highway robbery." That he seems willing enough to participate in.

As for the notebook, however. He doesn't look too dejected about the denial. Instead, he grins. "There's always a price. Think about it. In the meantime," He motions to her, for the book, and the pen. "I'll write my own name. I promise I won't just run off with." He /does/ have a runner's build (or a swimmer's, perhaps) but how far will he get? That suit stands out in this neighbourhood. As does his bike, for what it's worth. He holds his hands out. "You wouldn't get the flair right." His tone is not so much insulting as it is matter of fact. There's the more subtle hint of amusement in his words, but it's difficult to tell.


Her eyebrows shoot up. "I'm asking way too little?" she echoes. Not a second passes before she relents. "Fine. $125. But I am not going to budge." And to make it official, she punches some keys on the register to ring him up. And since this is Emporium and Convenience Mart rather than some store that exists within the boundaries of the 21st century, it's a manual register. With paper receipts. No Apple Pay. No emailing receipts. Nope. That will be $125 cash, mister.

Figgy tears off the top sheet of paper and folds it in half -- and half-again -- before slipping her notes into her front pocket. Then, and only then, does she slide the pad over to him. "Name and address," she says, tapping her pen against the pad before handing the writing implement to him. "Would you like another lemonade to go?"

She's joking, right? She has to be joking.

..and judging from her crooked grin and laughing eyes, she is. The cashier looks at him for a moment or two longer before she glances toward the exit. "I hope your bike is okay," she wonders suddenly. "I am guessing that you don't ride a beater. Something nice, well, it'll attract attention."


Jacob smirks as she suddenly ups the price. He doesn't look particularly surprised, however. Either he knew his words would have that effect, or he counted one it. He pulls out a wallet, pulls out two hundreds, and tosses them on the counter. He tucks the wallet back away, "Change in ones, please. I have tolls to pay." Nevermind that these days you don't even need cash to pay tolls.

He accepts the book, after she's removed those important pages, and then the writing utensil. He glances at her, lips twisting at the offer of another lemonade. "While I appreciate the offer, I wouldn't want you to have to adjust your bill." He signs his name - Jake Ramses - in the book, and then he tucks the book under his arm.

"I'm not running off with it. I'm borrowing it to ensure the safety of my bike. And I trust you have already remove anything particularly valuable writing. So, you can collect it when my items are delivered. Ravenstone plantation. I'm sure you can find it without elaborate directions." He smiles. "I'm looking forward to it." He starts towards the door.


Seventy-five dollars in /ones/? He overestimates the till. By a lot. Figgy gestures to the back-room, not seeming terribly bothered by the fact that he is walking off with her note pad. "I'd have to get the cash out of the safe and since I'm the only one here..." She smiles. She shrugs. "How about this? I will bring you your fifty-bucks in ones when I deliver the merch. Good? Good."

Wait. Fifty? Wasn't that supposed to be seventy-five? Listen, maybe she can't math so good! If she was a brainiac, she probably wouldn't be a thirty-something year old woman working in an .. Emporium and Convenience Mart in a bad neighborhood in New Orleans!

As he heads for the door, she watches him with unmasked curiosity. And then? She picks up her gossip mag once more and gets back to meaningful literature.