Logs:When Even Google Doesn't Have Your Answers
When Even Google Doesn't Have Your Answers
|Characters:||Fen and Tris|
|Summary:||Fen might have the answers to Tris' questions, but Google doesn't.|
These are difficult times for brick and mortar retail, particularly music shops. Walmart, Amazon, streaming services, all these external pressures squeeze the little guy just trying to get by and make a buck. How can music shops survive? Diversification and cheap rent, that's how!
All Saints & Sounds inhabits a storefront that probably hasn't had a renovation since the Kennedy administration (yes, this possibly includes Katrina). Creaky wooden floors, broken plaster walls and barred plate glass windows. Posters and advertising do a lot to hide the general decrepit state of the place, including a big New Orleans Saints flag pinned to the ceiling that appears to be covering a vast water stain. It's got square footage though (a prior establishment sold furniture or household appliances or whatever), which is convenient for floor stock but also helps customers avoid unnecessarily bumping into anything. Which is probably for the best. Might get tetanus or something.
What is sold here? Vinyl, that's over to one side, as well as CDs, DVDs & Blueray. Mostly top-ten/box office easy sells but also some in-demand back catalog or rarities. Box sets. A rack of gift cards for every streaming, online or gaming service imaginable. Merch of all sorts (Funko Pop figures, shirts, hats, posters, licensed and bootlegged, etc). Cheap portable record players no one by any rights should be bothering with. Couple vending machines with overpriced soft drinks and imported Japanese candy. A shelf of Manga, board games. A back corner has some music instruments, mostly used guitars, bases, keyboards. Replacement strings. And there's a couple tables in the way back, for people who want to play board games and chill. Tables that can be pushed aside to make room for a band, if that were a thing that could happen.
A giant plush donkey greets people at the door.
There's people in this world who are given station in life not because of talent or qualifications or connections, but simply because they look the part. Such is the teenage girl behind the shop counter. She is quintessentially music shop clerk (or Hot Topic, coffee shop, indie book shop, etc). Tiny pink-haired thing in faded black jeans, camouflage babytee, pink cat collar and an eyepatch. It's a look, perhaps. She is nevertheless apparently an employee. And on this semi-busy evening of people checking out records or playing boardgames before the door opens on the nearby clubs, she's behind the counter and watching a Youtube video on the Point-Of-Sale computer and generally not paying attention, because there's little need for her to pay attention. Because she's a vampire, if senses are reading the situation correctly, and is probably hyperaware.
Or she doesn't care. One or the other.
Those incapable of seeing through the Glamour that maintains the illusion of normalcy might find it impressive that the good looking brunette in designer jeans (tastefully pre-distressed) and equally designer tee-shirt has made it through the weave of streets in Marigny and into old brick and mortar store with his obviously pricey camera bag over his shoulder, only as rumpled as he rolls out of bed in the morning. Though he looks fit, he doesn't especially say predator to those seeing only the Mask.
Those piercing that veil to the Mien beneath understand the reason he's gone completely unmolested on these streets for all that he seems to have 'ca-ching' written all over his choice of clothes, straight down to the soft leather loafers, is because bare forearms, parts of his neck, jaw and most noticeably the right side of his face are riddled with gossamer spun lines of raised scars. Not only do these extensive lines of subtle stitching extend like veins creeping down the line of his jaw on the right side and up in spindly fingers toward his nose, but they glow. It's not a lot of light that they cast off, but seeing as how it's presently rose, gold and dots of daffodil yellow, they're quite noticeable and spell a picture of beautiful pain on the Changeling.
Despite appearances, however, the Beast's stroll into the store is casual as can be. His eyes sweep the assorted offerings, before angling toward the Vinyl, even though he looks either too old, too young or not hip enough to really appreciate it. His step stops, his eyes drawing to the counter, to the girl working it. There's a hesitation before his path reroutes, heading instead for the checkout, empty-handed.
The music over the PA is 80s. Theme night, perhaps. Pet Shop Boys are singing about West End Girls. The pink-haired vampire clerk girl is watching what looks like some 'battle of the riffs' silly Youtube content. Her retail senses prick at the feel of an incoming customer. Or those are vampire senses. Or Spidey senses. Bored glance up. And a pause. Fen sees the mien. There's blink there, a pause. She's apparently not accustomed to dealing with Lost. And the girl is very clearly taking the I Am Not Reacting To This route. Everything is perfectly normal. "Hey." Polite upnod. 'What?' is the unspoken question.
Tris can't help that when he gets within two arms lengths, the heat in that locus of him rises, intensely. It's the dry heat of sunbathing in the desert at midday. But at least the Crimson Courtier isn't on fire or anything. The "Hey," from Tris comes with a provisionally friendly ghost of a smile. It's fine, it's normal, everything's normal. This is New Orleans. Unfortunately, this qualifies as normal.
"You wouldn't happen to have recommendations for music people might've listened to... oh... eighty or ninety years ago, would you? Maybe sixty or seventy, too?" This, too, is obviously a very normal request. The Millennial flashes a, 'everything's fine, what could not be fine about all this weirdness' smile at the one-eyed, pink-haired vampire.
Tears for Fears want you to know everybody wants to rule the world. Fen wants to know why people ask her weird-ass music questions. And opens a new tab on the browser, Google, types in 'popular music from 80 years ago'. A glance back suggests, in the driest of expressions, that you can do this too. It isn't hard. Of course she looks back at the screen and it's mostly 80s, not unlike the shop stereo tonight, though one link is 'What kind of music do old people listen to?' Click. Zeppelin, apparently. Faint nod. She likes Zeppelin. She can respect that. Though it isn't what she was looking for and she knows it. "Dunno," she'll state. As if exhausted by this minimum of effort. If the vampire isn't genuinely a teenager she's doing a very good job of faking it. After a moment of math, she alters the search to 'popular music from 1940s'. Hits enter.
Two can play the game of silent conversations says the uptick of a single brow on the scarred man's face, and the very slight hint of a smirk within the smile that takes on a dry echo of the expression turned on him. The silent commentary, 'yes, but I asked you to do it.' It can't be the first time a person made an excuse to talk to the girl behind the counter, can it? He does move to lean on the edge of the counter and lean his head so he can look at the screen.
If she's not doing teen vampire well enough to suit the current batch of teens, perhaps she can take a page out of Millennial Tris' book because he shows her the expert eyeroll of the generation. "I could ask you about yourself, instead." He supposes aloud. "Like how a nice girl like you," pink-hair, one-eye, vampire, "came to be working in a place like this. Somehow I didn't envision this for..." But he doesn't finish the sentence, just making a general gesture in the air that couldn't even be perceived by the mortals occupying the store to mean her in specific.
Paul Simon wants you to know you can call him Al. Fen is leaving the search results on the screen. In case we come back to that. Because she seriously has no idea and would've had to Google it anyway. The airdrop of Vampire is read. Duder knows what she is. She's not going to confirm or anything, but she's young and new enough at this to look faintly awkward. Like being outed as an alpha predator is a bit embaressing in social situations. It is a weird flex, when you get right down, and she doesn't know how to position it yet. "I like working here," she notes. Slightly defensive, both of her own employment here and here itself. "And I need the money." And let's be honest, this probably would be a cool place to work. If it were your first job. Compared to a coffee shop. Or bagging groceries.
Designer clothes are hardly sheep's clothing for this Beast, but nor are they particularly pointing to the way that his focus intensifies and takes on a feral quality to his observation of the vampire. "Everyone should do what they love, if they can." Tris' words are easy support. "It's just not like the movies." He must mean things like 'High Fidelity' if anyone's listening, not like, 'Dracula.' "But what's real is sometimes unhappily flexible. I'm Tris, by the way." He doesn't offer his hand, but perhaps he can be forgiven. Handshakes aren't really Millennial things to do unless they're on a job interview and he doesn't look like he's looking to pick up shifts.
His fingers drum on the counter, "Look, it's like this. I'm looking to make new friends. Friends who know their music." He doesn't mean music. "Friends that can help me with a problem or two. I can pay or I can find a way to make it worth your while or I can head out that door and you can forget you saw me and go back to googling... Hatchimals reveals, or whatever." Tris probably knows Fen doesn't quite look the type for that particular YouTube hole, but one never knows really. Not with YouTube.
INXS fading into Madonna now on the PA. Lucky Star. "I'm Fen," sez Fen. Little name for a little vampire, apparently. She doesn't look upset at the lack of a handshake. He might burn, or something. She's supersensitive to that sort of thing these days, for some reaon. It's disconcerting. "I like money." Money is good. It gets her into clubs and buys her clothing... Assuming she paid money for that tee shirt and didn't get it out of a box of cheap beer or something. "I...'m not sure what sort of problems I can help you with." The teen doesn't know how to phrase that in a manner that makes her seem cool and sophisticated. Because, after all, she's just a kid, really. Given a race of undead known for, y'know, being around for a very long time. They have to start somewhere, one supposes.
"Maybe you can't," Tris acknowledges with the realism that comes with having faced impossible problems before. "Won't hurt my wallet to try." He does have every sign of that being completely true. "But here and now is probably not the right place to have a detailed conversation." His brows dip down a little and he takes another look at her, perhaps even for the first time, really, to register beyond the broad strokes basics.
"You have an I.D. that'll get you into clubs?" She probably looks young to his dark eyes, but appearances are frequently deceiving. "If not, there's my studio, but that's more private," and obviously he's offering her the option of a semi-public location instead of meeting him somewhere private. A man with glowing scars. What could go wrong?
She holds up a hand, pointing at the back of her wrist, expression wry. Faded black X crossed there in marker. Such is her success at getting past doorstaff. No booze for her, ever. So stands to reason if there were a club with a hard 21+ limit, she's not getting in the front door. "Pret-ty sure no one would believe fake ID if I had any." Which is fair. Need to know your limits. "You have a studio?" There's a rise to her voice there, hopeful. People with studios are cool. Studios are also private places, which is of concern. Fen's confidence for being in such situations as a young and small female have skyrocketed what with recently becoming an undead creature of the night. But that confidence doesn't count with Lost and other Vampires. Because she doesn't know /their/ limits. There's always a bigger badder. Always. It is the way of things. "I'm sort of working right now," says the undead creature of the night. Freedom, on a part-time basis. A look around. Yep, people still here in the store. Though no one's buying anything. Some people still flipping through the vinyl. Some college kids looking at the Rick & Mortey licensed and/or bootlegged tee shirts. A small group in the back playing a board game and drinking overpriced imported softdrinks from the pop machine. Duran Duran is Hungry Like the Wolf.
"There are tricks for that," Tris replies with a shrug. "Enough cash and it doesn't matter what your ID says, most places." Rules are for people without cash or creativity. Tris is one or the other or both. He taps a pair of fingers on his camera bag. "Photographer. You can google me when you get finished with whatever else you have on your docket." He's reaching to the camera bag to unzip a side pocket and take out a matte black business card which he places on the counter and slides over to her. It has the words, "D. Kesel - Photographer - Kesel Holdings" and a phone number in white.
He is not concerned with the mortals in the store. "Studio's not open yet," but that doesn't stop Tris from meeting there. "We can meet at Asylum some night. Text me when you're free." He glances back toward the Vinyl. "If you can find the right records, I'll buy them. Anything that was popular from the 1940s through the early 60s. Call me a collector." He's not, but he's got the money to be one, if he wanted. "See you, Fen." That appears to be that because the man is taking his personal heatwave with him as he heads toward the door.
--Genesis is warning everyone about her Invisible Touch. Fen receives the card - without contact, just in case - to pocket it for later. She has a mobile, but it's a cheap pay-as-you-go because she is teh poor. This is an unlikely employment for anyone with liquidity. "Cool," she'll say, neutrally. Photography studio is less cool. But okay, I guess. And apparently this is also an affirmative that she'll reach out at some point. She watches him depart, glances around the shop to make sure no one's doing anything they're not supposed to, then gets back to her video.