2009-11-29: Am I Fired Yet?



Date: November 29th, 2009


After going missing for almost a week, Jade reappears to explain to her boss why she was MIA, and to buy some assurance. Randall must be the most understanding boss in the world…

"Am I Fired Yet?"

Pawn Shop

It was getting on towards evening, a whole ten minutes before closing time, actually. Coincidence? Not likely. It's not until the daily dose of Southern Baptists have left for the day that the front door chimes open, revealing a young girl swallowed in an oversized gray coat. The thing was seriously massive, with sleeves that covered her hands and a fur-lined hood that bundled her up tighter than an eskimo. Looking like a preganant penguin, Miss Giant Jacket waddles towards the counter of the store.

Once she's judged there are no suspicious-looking characters inside of the establishment, Jade pulls back the hood, revealing her face, as well as fanning herself rather irritatedly. She looked like a child that had wandered into her parent's closet and decided to try a few things on.

"God, it's cold outside and I'm sweating in this thing." She looks about the counter area, then between the shelves, and, if the store owner isn't in sight, she'd call for him, and then wait impatiently while prying strands of hair away from her flushed, too-warm cheeks.

"Just a minute!" the familiar voice calls out. He's not immediately visible - with his sole employee gone AWOL, it's only early or late that he's able to get much of anything done in the back room - and when he does walk out, his face is obscured by a cardboard box full of sundries, until he sets it down next to the register and looks around.

And does a double take at the Aleutian fashion plate. "The hell have you been all week?" he asks, mopping his brow with a paper towel; he's dressed warmly himself, if less so, and has the heat cranked up as high as he thought was safe without risking an arson case. "I was getting ready to put the help-wanted sign out again."

As she hears the voice from the back, she does her best to straighten out her hair from where it had been mussed up by the fur of the hood, then begins to unbutton the massive warming cloth from around her thin frame. She's half-way through shrugging out of the garment by the time Randall's accusing question has her caught with a deer-in-the-headlights look.

"I'm sorry!" Uncharacteristicly, the first thing the girl does is apologize, rather than come up with a snippy reply, her expression caught somewhere between contrition and pained. "I meant to call you, I wanted to, but I- I wasn't sure if I should. There's been some, uhhhhh… complications." Finally out of the garment that was causing her to perspire, she tosses it across the counter, then leans heavily on the counter with her best pleading-little-girl expression she knew how to muster.

"Just listen, okay? I, kind of, might be in trouble. Maybe. I don't know, yet. It might be nothing. Please don't fire me, I so, so, so need this job."

Good thing he's spent a good many years in the wage-slave role himself, it's given him a lot of tolerance for this sort of weirdness. Even the occasional broken item has been of little concern, he was losing twice that much stuff anyway just on account of it turning out to be exactly the worthless junk it looked like.

"All right, I'll bitch at you later," Randall murmurs, ducking the othe way to lock up early. Ten minutes of last-minute business he can afford to ditch, especially if there's Trouble going on. "So— what sort of complications?" he adds, turning around after making sure the door is properly bolted and the 'open' sign has done a 180 and not a 360.

"Weeeeeeeeell… I kind of have to eat my earlier words here, and if you say anything about it, I'mma pop you in the nose." She turns enough to follow her employer as he treads to the door to secure it against invading hoodlums looking to hawk their illegitimate wares, hunching her shoulders in a helpless shrug as she does so. Leaning back against the counter, she puts her palms flat against it, hoisting herself up to a seating position. "Okay, it's like this…"

"You know how you talked to me about the government and super powers? I guess I had to find out the hard way that it's all real. You already know about Lena and stuff, and how they're after her, right? And how she and Cheech were holed up at my place for a while? The thing is, Lena thinks they might have followed her to my place. And if they did, that they might be watching me, so…" She drums her fingers nervously on her knees for a moment.

"They just wanted to make sure I was safe, don't blame them. I've been laying on the down-low at this chick named Sydney's apartment. You know her?"

Leaving the high ground to Jade - she's always made it look better, anyway, a mixed blessing in its impact on the customer base - Randall flops into a swivel chair instead, one arm resting along the edge of the counter as he drums his fingers in thought.

"Yeah, Lena explained to me. About her ability, about—" About how everything got all awkward for a while, to the point that he's still antsy about saying anything about it out loud. "Anyway, yeah, she said they were crashing at your place for a couple of days. But why would they be watching you, you're not on their target list, right?" His one reason for believing otherwise has since evaporated. "And who's Sydney?"

"Well, I guess that answers that question. I think she's part of some kind of modern-day superhero team. But, uh, no. I mean, I'm just some bum from California, but if they followed Lena back to my place, and they know that I live there and all that junk, they know I know how to get in contact with her and probably her location, too. I swear to god, my life has become a b-rated spy movie."

Sucking in a deep breath, Jade pulls her legs up under her on the counter, running her hands back through her dark hair, and looking heavenward as if to ask the Almighty just what the hell He was doing. "I really freaked when they first told me. I thought I was gonna be snatched up, interrogated, and killed. I don't know how these guys work or anything, and we don't even know if they actually even know I'm alive. They just wanted to be careful, you know? Lena's apparently in tight with them because of what she can do, they, whoever 'they' are, want her abilities. I'm just hoping all this goes away soon. God, I'm not even going to be able make rent on the first because I haven't been working!"

Leaning forward, she begins to manhandle her giant coat, going through it's pockets before extracting a small scrap of paper, which she unfolds and frowns at. After a moment, she holds it out. "Here. I have this new crappy pre-paid phone. I might be able to come back in a few days or so. Don't hire anyone else, okay?"

At the description of Sydney and her running buddies, Randall quirks a brow. "Superheroes, huh? Are they going for yellow spandex or black leather? Well, at least black makes some sense if they're working night shifts…" Another thing he's familiar with, if only to pay the bills.

Speaking of… he nods, glancing over the paper and starting to punch the number into his own phone. "Won't be the first time I've juggled some long shifts, I can manage it for a little longer. If you do miss the rent— well, you're welcome to borrow my couch too, if you're worried about staying at the same place for too long." Yeah, like that won't give them a hundred new ways to get on each other's nerves.

"Wow, I just told you I could be on the run for my life and you're being shockingly cavalier about it. I'm impressed, I didn't know there was an ounce of ice in your veins. I though for sure you'd be all weepy and dripping concern."

She unfurls her legs and dangles them off of the side of the counter, gripping the edge as she swings her feet back and forth, back and forth. "Thanks, though. Your couch sounds a helluva lot better than a park bench. I mean, I don't know what all those guys get up to, and I know Cheech and Lena'll go to bat for me, but I'm just about a hundred and twenty pounds of useless baggage to them. Only a matter of time before I'm kicked to the curb. What about your ex, huh? Wasn't she into this kind of stuff when you knew her?"

Slithering off of the counter, Jade's sneakers hit the floor, making a small squeaky sound. She twists her fingers together, starts to open her mouth, shuts it again, and looks away. "Randy… would you…" She trails off, before finally managing to look back at the older male. "Sell me a gun?"

Randall rests his chin in his hands, leaning forward a bit and mulling it over fresh. "I had someone accuse me of that before, but then we were in a crowd and I had to keep a straight face. This… well, it's like you said, you could be in danger, you know? But maybe not. I figure they can't be pushing too hard or we would have known about it earlier, right?" For suitable values of 'we'.

"I think I can manage that," he continues, heading over to the firearms rack and unlocking it. "Have you used one before?" He pointedly avoids mentioning the ex, his expression merely twisting for a moment as she's brought up.

"R-Really!? Just like that? Gawd, I thought I'd have to beg. Must be my charm."

Jade hops along behind the taller male as he heads towards where the ballistic weapons were kept, shoving her hands into the back pockets of her jeans. She leans around to look at the selection with more than a bit of an apprehensive expression, shaking her head lightly. "No. No, no, not at all. I've never even held one before. I mean, I used to date a guy, way back in the day, who had a revolver, but I never tried to touch it. It's just point and click, right?" She holds up her hand, curling her fingers as if holding a pistol, squeezing her index finger as if she were shooting it, eyebrows raised slightly in question.

"Hey, speaking of, no one's been in here looking suspicious or asking questions, right? I mean, probably not or you'd have told me by now. But you haven't seen anyone, right? Did you go by my place? See any suspicious cars parked around the building or anything?"

Randall takes down an old but serviceable handgun from the bottommost rack, setting it down and locking up the rest once again. "Are you kidding? Point and squeeze hard, and then God only knows how hard it kicks— I only tried a rifle once when I was sixteen, my dad took me out to the middle of nowhere. Couldn't hear anything for an hour afterward. But I used to have a friend going through the police academy and he used to tell stories."

There's another reason he's relatively okay with selling her the piece: there's no ammo to go with it. In fact, there's none anywhere in the store, lest some crazy off the street should decide to go all Terminator on him. "There's a place down the street sells bullets," he offers, "but you might want to just carry it like that. Intimidation factor, you know?"

"And no, I haven't— well, I haven't seen any of that suspicious type." Bible-thumpers and random street folk, sure, plenty of those. "And I don't even know where your place is, the cab never got that far, remember?"

Looking very reluctant, Jade picks up the firearm, holding it by the barrel with two fingers, not even touching the handle at first. Eventually, she grips it, but keeps her finger off the trigger and grimaces. "Ugh, I'm already getting nauseous. Yeah, not having any bullets might work. It's already heavy enough. I'll just stick it in my purse and try to forget I have it."

Pulling her purse, discarded with her jacket, over to herself, she digs around in it's contents, shuggling the make up and 'feminine products' no girl should be without aside to withdraw her oversized wallet. She releases the clasp on it, pulling out a wad of small bills. "I only have about two-fifty or so. Is that good? I can, uh, try to borrow more if I have to."

The dark-haired teenager gives a roll of her eyes and a wry smile as she holds out the cash. "Oh, you don't have to remind about that. It's probably better that way, anyway. You'd feel so bad for me after seeing my place that you'd try to adopt me. Or put me in a homeless shelter."

"I'll take the rest out of your Christmas bonus," Randall deadpans, ringing up the purchase before locking the register up for the night. It's as good an excuse as any to ignore whatever else is in Jade's purse. "Anyway, you ready to hit the road? We need to get going soon before the monsters come out." Ha ha.

"I was getting a Christmas bonus? Awwww…" Looking decidedly put out about a bonus that was no longer meant to be, Jade scuffs the toe of her sneaker against the floor with a mild groan. At the mention of heading outside, however, she scowls at the giant piece of wool and fake fur she would have to wear again. With a long-suffering sigh, her wallet is put back into the purse, as is the gun, held by two fingers, as if touching it would get her dirty, then the whole ensemble is zipped up. Then her coat is picked up, and she begins to shove her arms into the too-long sleeves.

"I'm gonna need a shower after wearing this thing again. It's like freezing outside, and I sweat if I look at this thing too damned hard. Hey, you know, I don't mean to get all girly on you, but… Thanks for understanding." Working the buttons closed all the way up to her neck, the teen pulls up the hood, pushing the long strands of hair into it's depths, picking up the purse. "Sure, let's get. I should probably be getting back, anyway. I didn't tell anyone where I was going."

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