2007-08-20: Beware The Grocery Store Gestapo

Starring:

Aileen_icon.gif Mariska_icon.gif

Summary: Aileen meets her 'stalker' in the grocery store. Threats get made. Grapes get stolen.

Date: August 20, 2007

Beware the Grocery Store Gestapo


Midtown, NYC - Some Random Grocery Store

There's nothing like your common everyday neighborhood grocery store. It's where you can find things. Like food. And groceries. AMAZING. It's evening, again, after work of course, and Aileen is shopping for food. You have to restock your fridge every now and again. Currently, she's moving down the fresh produce section, glancing at the fruit and trying to determine what she wants.

Ironically, a grocer that actually has food to sell is a fascinating novelty to some people who may remember a time or a place when such was not always the case. Like Mariska, who has likewise found her way into the market and now roams the aisles with an almost touristy brand of wide-eyed fascination. She comes around the corner to spy stand upon stand of fresh fruit, vegetables, and… Aileen. Hm. It's like coming to a crossroads. Mariska lingers near the end-cap and eyes the other woman warily as if trying to decide if she should walk by or just turn around and head out of the store.

Picking up a pineapple and putting it into her cart, Aileen happens to catch a glance at the woman. Blinking for a long moment, she tries not to stare as she recognizes the woman as the one she caught a glimpse of walking around and seeming to follow her and Stan the day before. She idly pushes her cart closer, examining a bunch of grapes as if they were her original intent. "You were following us." She states, as if it was the most casual thing in the world.

Busted. Mariska's initial indecision lingers for a moment longer before she finally concedes to own up. She has an iron curtain accent but her English seems to be discernible enough. "You were talking about someone I knew," she says, doing nothing to disguise her visual inspection of the other woman. "Something has happened to him, yes?"

"You know Felix." Aileen purses her lips. "Yeah. He didn't come back to my place like he was supposed to. It worries me, a little." She glances for a moment to study Mariska. After all, she was being eyed; she might as well dish it back in return.

"I knew him," replies Mariska, either emphasizing the past tense or making an error in translation. Or, maybe she really is saying 'know' and her accent is fuzzing it up. She resists the urge to toss out a sarcastic comment about Felix's inability to find his way back to another woman's house and instead she offers a flat, "I am sure he will turn up eventually. He is grown man." And who just up and abducts grown men?

"I know, but he was involved in something dangerous. I worry for him." Aileen murmurs. "Nothing I can really do about that anyways." She purses her lips again. "So I take it you knew him before he came over to the United States?"

Mariska lets the talk of dangerous (pre)occupations fall by the wayside as the supermarket probably isn't the proper place to be discussing anything in detail… if she knew any details to discuss. Which she doesn't. Instead, she moves on to the question and nods her head to the affirmative, deflecting her attention now to, oh, hey! Grapes. They sell grapes here. Did you see the grapes? "How long have you known him?" she asks the fruit bin.

Aileen shrugs her shoulders a little, peering at the grapes. She absently plucks one and pops it into her mouth to taste it before she grabs a baggie to get a bunch. "A couple of months now." She replies quietly.

There's a moment of pause as Mariska eyes Aileen's grape consumption with some measure if interest and then looks over her shoulder as if waiting for the grocery market gestapo to suddenly appear. No? Okay then. "You are girlfriend?" How about that for an ambush?

Aileen actually laughs at the ambush question, twisting the bag and putting it into her cart as she looks over to Mariska. "Girlfriend? Oh. No. I don't think Felix is interested in girls, if you understand what I mean. Either that or he's just a little dense."

Mariska really can't help but to quirk her lips to one side and snort somewhat derisively at the suggestion. It's hard to tell if she's agreeing or disagreeing. Maybe she's just fighting a sneeze. "Da," she replies. "I worry for him, too. You, ah… mention dangerous things. What sort of dangerous things?" Wait. Wasn't she erring on the side of caution with this question earlier? Why hop on it now?

There's a bit of a pause when that question is asked, and Aileen shifts, seeming uncomfortable with the idea of it. "It's a little hard to explain." Still, she tries anyways. "There's a very dangerous woman who has been after Felix… forcing him to take drugs. He's trying to get away from her. That's why he was staying with me, but he has just disappeared. I'm afraid she might have gotten ahold of him."

Okay, get this. That answer? Totally a relief. Misha actually exhales a breath she hadn't even realized she'd been holding on to and then tries to wrap her brain around what she was just told. "What is her name?" Let's start there.

"He didn't tell me. He came to me for help to make sure she wouldn't get to him… and then he just disappeared." Aileen glances back, pausing for a moment. "I don't even know your name. I'm Aileen."

Oh, right. Good point. The Russian woman extends a hand in introduction and offers, "Misha." There. Now they've been introduced. Let the bikini grape-pit wrestling match begin — er, actually… let's tuck that idea away for later and get back to the matter at hand. "You think she find him?" Hell. Apparently, that isn't hard to do in this town. Everybody knows Felix Ivanov. They probably pass out maps to his house at Grand Central.

Aileen shakes the offered hand before she nods. "Right. I think that's what happened to him. Mostly because he was dealing with that and then just randomly disappeared. It's not like him to just do something like that."

Mariska looks down her sharp nose at a single white grape that's somehow managed to get separated from its bunch and wandered over into red grape territory. Instead of touching on the ever-present irony, she wonders aloud, "Is he dead?" And then, more directly, she lifts her head to lock eyes with Aileen and follow up with, "Do you think she kill him?"

"No. I don't think he's dead and I don't think she'll kill him. Not sure what she'll do. She will probably drug him, at the least. I can't say much more than that because I don't her or much of the situation otherwise…” Aileen comments, pushing her cart a little and moving to another produce stand in the aisle.

Mariska, having apparently developed some sort of curious kinship with the grapes or something, lingers by their bin for a moment or two longer before plucking a little sprig of three berries from the stem and stepping up her pace to rejoin Aileen while she shops. So, this isn't awkward or anything, either, right? "Good to know," intones the Russian, finally consenting to the consumption of a stolen grape. "I would not like to be her… if she make that mistake." It's so hard for things not to sound sinister with a Soviet shine making every vowel sound sharp. "You think Stan will find him?"

Aileen actually smiles at the almost-threat that Misha makes, giving a nod. "If anyone will find him, Stan will. If he's Felix's partner at work… those kind of things are hard to break up. They look out for each other. Stan will find him. It's just a matter of waiting and letting him know if we find anything."

"I think I have waited enough," she says with a determined certainty. Because, what, two whole days in America and apparently her patience is already exhausted? "Here," she says, a hand slipping in to the bag she's been toting around. She retrieves a scrap of paper, an old receipt, and scribbles down something on the clean side before handing it to Aileen. DISCOUNT INN. ROOM 304. "He come home, you tell me."

"I will. It was nice to meet you, Misha. I'll let you know when he comes back." Aileen insists, glancing at the paper and folding it up to tuck into her pocket. "Take care."

Mariska bobs her head up and down briefly in a stiff, acknowledging nod. "You, too." It's not a very warm departure but, then again, this isn't precisely an acquaintance made under heartening circumstances so anything shy of outright murderous is probably a step in the right direction.

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